Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”

Helena, did you burn down the Fish People’s ranch?–Felix

Season Two arrives at its uncertain conclusion with another death, a new sister, and a Mark 2 Clone Batch.

Also, Rachel should now be even easier to distinguish from the others.1

Warning: Spoilers.

Title: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”

Cast and Crew
Director: John Fawcett
Writer: Graeme Manson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Alison Hendrix / Rachel Duncan / Helena
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Andrew Gillies as Ethan Duncan
Josh Vokey as Scott
Michiel Huisman as Cal Morrison
Evelyne Brochu as Delphine
Zoé De Grand Maison as Grace Johanssen
Ari Milen as Mark Rollins /
Michelle Forbes as Dr. Marion Bowles
Kevin Hanchard as Art Bell
Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierdan
Cynthia Gallant as Young Rachel / Charlotte

Full cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Sarah surrenders to Dyad, but rival plots work to spring her. We meet even more clones as Siobhan strikes a devil’s bargan, we learn more about the clones’ purposes, and it becomes difficult to imagine who is on what side.

Cosmina finds the late Ethan Duncan’s code.

High Points

Maslaney shines as the party clones, where each character has her own dance moves, and Sarah has a heart-to-heart with Cosmina.

The final moments with Dr. Bowles do not bode well, what with the creepily-slowly shutting door, and the Helenac version of Mark.

Low Point

We expected some kind of revelation, and Orphan Black delivered. However, the show has carried itself on (1) the struggles of the female clones and (2) the low-level nature of the conspiracy. This week, Dyad takes some very heavy-handed actions of the sort you might not expect from people worried they might be exposed or arrested. We also see how deep the various conspiracies go, and I start to worry we may soon have a conventional resolution—and one which threatens to overwhelm us with new characters and implausible cover-ups.

We’ll have to see.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 Orphan Black remains contemporary TV’s most innovative show, but it took a few steps closer to conventional thriller this week.

Effects: 6/6 The core clones party together, and the editing is seamless.

Story: 5/6 The story feels a little too conventional here—and I’m waiting for a coherent explanation for Siobhan’s past. The show, to be fair, has pulled off greater implausibilities.

Acting: 6/6 Other than Maslaney:

Both child-actors in play have great presence.2

Kevin Hanchard doesn’t get much to do much this week beyond sink into exasperation. To his credit, he does it well.

We’ll see if Ari Milen can manage the task the finale has assigned him.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6

In total, “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” receives 37/42

Notes

1. Assuming she survives. I suspect she has

2. Am I imagining things, or did Kira’s pink nightmare of a room feature a Frankenberry doll on the dresser? Because that would get the Emmy for Best Easter Egg.

9 replies on “Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried””

  1. Vulch says:

    My brain freaked out partway through the dance number when it realised what was happening technically and compared it to the contortions we had to go through when I worked in TV in the 80s and early 90s.

    It wasn’t quite perfect. They’re not casting enough shadow on the carpet for the way their torsos are lit, nor on each other except in shots with just a clone and Felix, but it’s still incredibly impressive.

    • lost says:

      I suspect they ran out of time for finessing the fine points in that dance scene. I read an intervew suggested said they were cutting it close on post production. Personally, I was so caught up in “ZOMG! FOUR CLONES!” that I wasn’t looking for details like that.

      Apparently there was also a few minutes with Allison and Donnie that got cut for running time. Word of God suggests it will be on the DVD.

      • Vulch says:

        Wouldn’t surprise me. I went back and had a second look with the residual TV Engineer in me set to Technical Review mode to pick out the details.

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          Hmm…. I don’t suppose you’d run a check on that Frankenberry sighting?

          • Vulch says:

            I had to look up “Frankenberry”, but it doesn’t look like it is. There’s a lamb on the table by the window, an octopus being served tea on the bed, and a dinosaur and ordinary doll (probably the one Kira was playing with while Cosima was there) on the dresser though they move around between scenes.

  2. Karrde712 says:

    Just a note: for some reason, all of the spoiler-tagged content in this article is just plain missing (not even in the HTML source)

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      There is no spoiler-tagged content. I decided to just write the review, and warn that it contains spoilers.

      It’s a season finale: I didn’t see the point in trying to hide portions.

  3. quantaman says:

    I noticed that they explicitly made the military the US Army instead of the Generica setting they’ve used for everything else. Hopefully this won’t be a complete Americanization of the setting but rather just an acknowledgement of the fact that if there’s a massive military organization in play, it’s probably going to be the Yankees.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      A number of agreements, in fact, allow for a level of cooperation between the two countries on military matters. Their presence didn’t strike me as particularly problematic– save in ways noted in the review, not related to national identity.

Comments are closed.