‘Orphan Black’: Holy Tilda Swinton!

Published 11 months ago by

Felix Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 8 ‘Orphan Black’: Holy Tilda Swinton!

[This is a review of Orphan Black season 2, episode 8. There will be SPOILERS.]


Why not just get right to it? We have a new clone! Even though there are just two episodes of Orphan Black season 2 to go, the writers have given us Tony, our 12th clone and the first to identify as transgender.

There’s an inherent thrill that comes with the reveal of a new clone, and Tony’s reveal certainly has that effect. Still, his introduction begs the question – did we really need him this late in the season? Where ‘Variable and Full of Perturbation’ leaves off, we’re under the impression that Tony is now on a bus and long gone. If that is the case, what was the point in introducing him to begin with? There could have been many other ways to deliver Sammy’s message that Beth needs to keep the faith because “Paul’s like me. He’s on it. He’s a ghost.

The need to serve a purpose would have applied to any new clone with any gender identity, but the fact that Tony is transgender makes it even more pressing to give the character a chance to breathe and become a fully realized individual. It’s a hot button issue and if you put it in the mix but give it no real weight in the narrative, it’ll never grow beyond that.

Paul Orphan Black Season 2 ‘Orphan Black’: Holy Tilda Swinton!

On the one hand, it’s hard not to focus on the fact that Tony is Tatiana Maslany dressed up as a more masculine-looking clone, but she still sells it well, especially alongside Jordan Gavaris. Tony has two main purposes in this episode – to shed light on Paul and to have an effect on Felix.

Of course, there’s something odd about going for a guy who looks just like your sister, but Felix and Tony share a very palpable, curious connection that says a good deal about who they are, what they want and what their priorities are. Tony absolutely has the potential to be a viable player, but if he winds up a one-off character, then there’s really no point to all of this because it won’t go anywhere at all.

Back at the Dyad, things are looking grim for poor Cosima and ‘Variable and Full of Perturbation’ really lays it on thick. The scene during which she joins the game with Scott (Josh Vokey) and the one in which she lets loose with Delphine are particularly enjoyable because it’s so nice to see Cosima having fun again. But that means they also make the ending even more devastating, and sadly, that’s exactly what the show needs at this point. I don’t want an Orphan Black without Cosima, so that turns her situation into a highly effective, anxiety-ridden ticking clock to power us through the end of the season.

Cosima Scott Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 8 ‘Orphan Black’: Holy Tilda Swinton!

Even though Cosima and Tony are the heart of this episode, the situation between Alison and Donnie does get a very satisfying payoff. As hoped, the fact that both now have blood on their hands brings them closer together and lets them tap back into the honest, loving relationship they once had.

Even though Ethan makes a distractingly abrupt transition from loony hermit to eloquent genius, his dealings with Rachel do introduce a number of possibilities, the most curious of which are that Sarah’s fertility makes her a failure, not a success, the references to “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” and the fact that Ethan’s notes will give Cosima “unlimited resources” but that Kira will still remain priority number one.

A lot has happened this season, but now it seems as though it’s all converging on two particularly key issues – the need to find a cure and the value of clone reproduction. Both have been building all season long and have become quite riveting and interesting to track, especially considering how they may overlap.


Orphan Black continues next Saturday with ‘Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done’ @ 9pm on BBC America.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

Follow Perri Nemiroff on Twitter @PNemiroff
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  1. #SaveCosima

  2. First off….I have every confidence that the star can morph into any clone part and sell it. My problem with Tony was cosmetics. With the other women they have different hair styles, color, and fasion styles. With Tony they basically made him look like Sara doing a bad job of making herself look like a dude. I have totally bought into the other clone, but I just couldn’t buy into this one. Maybe if they gave a full beard and mustache I could have bought it, but I’m gueaaing they didn’t want to lose the facial recognition completely. So they should have done something different with the hair. If you watch The Americans they have Keri Russell changing into many different wigs to pull off many different disguises, and it really works well.

    As for Cosima. My guess was that the end scenes where Kira is looking into the book, The Island of Doctor Moreau and we see all those notes in there make me think the answer has to be there. By the way….How hard do you think it will be for them to actually find a working computer with a five and a half inch floopy drive that still works? Talk about ancient tech……Better hope the answers are written in the book

    • Not very hard considering EBay has a few of them this very moment

      • Really? People actually still run those? I can’t figure why anyone would actually want to. I’m old enough to remember using those. The amount of storage was really small. I guess there must be collectors for just about everything then

        • There’s also the fact that some collect them for nostalgic reasons and others in case there’s something on the floppies.

  3. Introducing Tony with only two more episodes to go in this season is not a problem, because I’m pretty positive that Orphan Black will get a third season…… I know BBC approves only one season at a time for all their shows…. Even popular ones like Doctor Who get the green light one season at a time.

    Orphan Black, I predict, will get at least one more season. Then they can do some character development for Tony. Maybe even create a prequel for the German clone Katja in Europe, while she is running from Helena…….Whatever. The possibilities are endless.

    And at some point when Tatiana is ready to move on….. They can “discover” another clone batch and go forward with a different actress (or actor). Season 4?

  4. At some point they’re going to have to come straight about why they have this test run with all these female clones. I guess you could train a group of spies from a young age. Or you could have doubles for wealthy children as a security diversion. Weren’t the Chinese interested in the company a while back. They really don’t need clones there do they? Should be interesting

    • What’s more interesting is that they were meant to be unable to procreate but Sarah had to be the dodgy one able to get pregnant. I have a strange feeling Ethan Duncan will probably die before he’s able to explain it and it’ll be up to Rachel to let us know because she clearly knows more than she’s letting on.

  5. I don’t remember what the other clnes referred to each other as, but with Tony they kept talking about his “Sistes.” Clones don’t have brothers or sisters right? I mean since they’re all reproductions aren’t they just clones? I guess it’s an easier concept to call them sisters, but it’s not really that kind of relative. Just seems they should keep it on the up and up to me….

    • No, they’ve called each other sisters because they wanted to avoid the C word as much as possible. Even Kira refers to them as her aunts, even if the only legit sisters are Helena and Sarah (though they’re still clones of Rachel, aren’t they?).

      • I don’t know who’s the original. I thought it had to be Sara since she was the one who could reproduce. But after the doctor saying that was a flaw I don’t know anymore. If it is one of the others then that means she had the material to make clones taken from her in her first year. That in itself is really creepy. Otherwise they could produce another version that’s like 18 to 20 years older and claim she was the original that the rest were made from. Speaking of that…. Would she be considered “Mom” then? How about the other one they’re trying to make a second generation of clones from? Would she be considered “Mother” then? I know they wouldn’t be scientifically, but show wise?

  6. I love this show. Respect to Tatiana Maslany for playing all those characters,personalities,accents etc. And she does it pretty well. I’m German, and I can say, when she played Katja, her accent was very authentic.
    + SPOiLER +
    Adding Tony was a little bit too much for my taste, but ok, I’m sure the show will at least get a third season, more probably even a fourth season, cause there are only two episodes left, and I got the feeling that we’re still just scratching on the surface. I’m sure there will be more clones. Maybe they show us the two clones from Italy and Austria, who are supposed to dead. Helena is still around, the christian cult (whatever they are) is still there.
    I’m excited.