[This is a review of Orphan Black season 2, episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]
Episodes where the clones are off doing their own things have marked some of the weaker installments of Orphan Black’s season 2, but that’s not the case with ‘Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done.’ Sarah, Alison, Rachel and Helena all have their own immediate concerns, but this time, they’re especially refined and share just enough overlap to make the second to last episode of the season one of the most cohesive and engaging yet.
The moment only lasts a mere minute, but the Skype conversation between Cosima, Sarah and Alison is key to the success of the episode. Even though our core clones are apart, this serves as a reminder that they still care deeply for one another. And by doing that, their relationship establishes a connective tissue of sorts between their individual agendas.
Cosima is correct in dubbing Alison’s problems “real problems,” but they still come with a good deal of humor, which serves as an excellent complement to the more intense elements of the episode. After almost an entire season of Donnie coming across as an adversary, it’s extremely refreshing to finally see him working alongside Alison. Donnie may not be as deft at covering up murders as Alison, but even with her bossiness and his more bumbling demeanor, it’s still quite clear that the two are very much in sync and genuinely need each other.
And as someone who’s frequently complained that Angie’s storyline is a total dead end, I find it immensely satisfying to see Donnie of all people man up, put her in her place and stomp all over her operation. It’s unlikely it’ll be enough to finally get Angie to concede and move on, but the big win for Donnie at her expense is still a particularly pleasing turn of events.
Over at the Prolethian compound, Helena gets exactly what she wants – her eggs. But she’s not the only one. Henrik insists that Gracie carry Helena’s embryos, too. The Helena/Gracie relationship has been spot-on since day one. Between Helena’s unhinged behavior and Gracie’s intensity, the two have always shared a strikingly unusual chemistry and it fosters a monumental turnaround.
Gracie goes from trying to kill Helena to ditching her own family and running away with her, and you believe it because Zoé De Grand Maison and Tatiana Maslany earn it. Maison has sold Gracie as a person who doesn’t take anything lightly and is also incredibly perceptive, while Maslany has established Helena as someone who’s a little off, but also knows who to respect and when to listen – for the most part.
That combination of traits paired with the incredible amount of access Maison and Maslany give us to their characters have made us part of their back-and-forth. When it culminates with Gracie recognizing that she’s better off alongside Helena and Helena feeling comfortable taking Gracie with her, it’s not an announcement they make during an ah-ha moment, but rather something you come to realize right along with them.
The two don’t wind up running off into the sunset as new sestras together because Helena’s got to stay behind to learn how to “make babies,” but after such a successful buildup throughout the season, it’s hard not to hope Gracie will be adopted into the Clone Club family. However, with Gracie carrying a clone baby, it seems more likely she’ll be shoved onto a bus with Mark and sent away for her own safety.
Back at the Dyad, Rachel is finally taking matters into her own hands. She hasn’t done all that much accept boss people around since the day we met her, but with Leekie gone and Paul MIA, she’s really got no choice but to get what she wants all on her own.
This isn’t a black and white build nor a gotcha moment, but rather, the writers put all the pieces of her plan right out there and then challenge us to put them together, and they don’t make it easy either. Even though we get to see the Benjamin e-mail and Rachel testing out her hoodie, when Kira goes missing, it isn’t quite clear what happened and how until Sarah, Delphine and the rest of the group figure it out, keeping us right on the same page with them.
‘Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done’ is a particularly well-written episode, possibly even one of the best of the season. It’s not making a mad dash for the big finish by desperately trying to prep the abundance of storylines for closure; rather, it keeps the focus on a select few, a choice that may not allow the season to answer all of the questions it’s proposed, but certainly better serves the quality of the episode.
Orphan Black continues next Saturday with the season 2 finale, ‘By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried’ @ 9pm on BBC America.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.