Orphan Black Review: “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”

Orphan Black‘s first season has ended, with deceptions, three significant deaths, and several important revelations. Begun the Clone Wars have.

Title: “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”

Cast and Crew
Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Graeme Wilson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Alison Hendrix/ Cosima Niehaus / Helena / Rachel Duncan
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierden
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mrs. S.
Matt Frewer as Dr. Aldous Leekie
Ron Lea as Lt. Gavin Hardcastle
Daniel Kash as Tomas
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Natalie Lisinska as Aynesley
Inga Cadranel as Detective Angela Deangelis
Melanie Nicolls-King as Amelia
Matthew Bennett as Daniel Rosen
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
Michael Mando as Vic

Full cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Nothing that will make a lick of sense to anyone who hasn’t been watching the show, but here goes:

  • Rachel Duncan (the apparent “Proclone”) and Dr. Leekie pressure the clones to sign a deal.
  • Bell and Deangelis arrest Sarah and Felix, but have to let both go. However, they get closer to the truth about Sarah
  • Sarah and Helena have an expected confrontation after Helena stabs their birth mother
  • We learn more about Paul’s past
  • Alison confronts Aynsley, and the situation spirals down the drain
  • Cosima makes an unsettling discovery about the clones
  • Sarah tells off Rachel when she learns the truth, but does so before she has Kira secured….

High Point

While maintaining a high level of interest as a conspiracy thriller, the series in general, and this episode in particular, have offered intelligent commentary on identity, personal rights, reproductive rights, social responsibility, and social control. The deal offered to the clones may have particular relevance to women, but all viewers must recognize the difficult games we play when we engage in any social interaction, especially when the other side has more power than we do.

And while I doubt a patent on a human would have much legal weight as far as the individual’s choices go—at least in the west–, the legal issues raised will become increasingly important in the real world.1

Low Point

While Alison’s morally problematic decisions helps her not at all (though, for the moment, she believes otherwise), and the show handled the scene for both drama and dark comedy, I found the instigating accident a little hard to believe

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 It’s a mystery/conspiracy thriller with a lot of expected tv elements, but it does a few things I’ve not seen before.

Those wondering about a certain twist in the tail2 a couple eps ago might note that some of the people behind the scenes created the Canadian cult classic Ginger Snaps a few years back.

Effects: 4/6 The show lacks many real effects, thought he make-up plays a key role, and has been done well.

Story: 5/6 The story features some forced, if plausible, decisions and developments, but also some intriguing payoffs that will make this a must-watch next year.

Acting: 6/6 As this is our first true review of an episode, I’m going to give the highest possible score. The cast is generally strong, but Tatiana Maslany is extraordinary.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6 If you haven’t been watching Orphan Black, I urge you to catch season one before next year’s season premiere.

It will be available soon in DVD and Blu-Ray.

In total, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” receives 35/42

Note

1. In the world of the show, I suspect the Evil Corporation intends the legal documents offered to the clones as much as a psychological inducement as anything else. Leekie and company have actively tried to avoid public and legal scrutiny, for obvious reasons.

2. Not an error.

3 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “Endless Forms Most Beautiful””

  1. lost says:

    You know, the incident with Alison isn’t so far fetched as it might seem, I think. We know that Alison is mentally unstable – that’s been clear since episode one or two. We also know there’s a history of mental instability among the clones (witness at least two of them, one deceased). Mix in a liberal does of alcohol, insane stress, and not entirely unjustified paranoia, shake vigorously, and, well, there you have it. Mental instability can lead to some very implausible results.

    I’m also not convinced that the other party is entirely stable, either.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      I have no doubt she might (re)act the way she does. It’s the nature of the initial accident, and the victim’s inability to react in any other way once it happens, that I found a bit unlikely.

  2. zocalo says:

    I didn’t really have much of an issue with Alison’s reaction. I thought that was a pretty reasonable outcome after the events of the last few episodes; Alison has clearly been having “issues”, and when a means of revenge for her troubles arrives pretty much gift wrapped and with a bow… This *is* a woman who was prepared to torture her husband in her search for answers, and several of the clones have demonstrated a capacity for violence and even to kill.

    The biggest issue for me was actually Sarah’s decision to taunt the Evil Corp. before she was 100% sure that her loved ones were all safe and secure. It’s not like they haven’t been involved in dirty tricks before, and the Sarah of previous episodes seems smart enough to realise they would probably retaliate when she rejected their fake olive branch so this came across as a little out of character. Of course, it could be a fake out – Mrs. S. could have fled with Kira before the Evil Corp. arrived and ransacked the house or some other plot twist to be revealed in Season 2. Roll on 2014!

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