‘Orphan Black’ TV recap: Season 2, Episode 8, ‘Variable and Full of Perturbation’
We open this week’s “Orphan Black” on a van speeding through the streets. An individual with a suspiciously placed bandana concealing his face jumps out of a van to help a friend with a gunshot wound. The individual pulls down the bandana to reveal Tatiana Maslany … with a goatee. That’s right, it’s a trans clone. He helps his friend, who gasps out that the clone needs to find Beth Childs. Good luck with that.
Back at hotel Mrs. S, Sarah stops by to visit Ethan and check out the safety of the house before she brings Kira over. Sarah and Mrs. S talk about how strong their negotiating stance is, and then Felix arrives with Kira. Ethan seems awfully interested in her.
After their big blow up last week, Cosima has somewhat childishly locked Delphine out of her lab. Delphine points out that she can just override this security measure, which Cosima encourages her to do. Maturity all around! She drops off a package from Sarah, which turns out to be Kira’s tooth. That must have been a weird trip to the post office. Scott points out that bone marrow would be way more useful.
Alison comes home from rehab to find Donnie wrapped up in bed. She tries to initiate a conversation about clones, only to discover that he’s in bed with a pile of empty liquor bottles. That’s not very supportive of your alcoholic wife, Donnie.
Art, meanwhile, meets up with the new clone, and isn’t sure what to tell him about Beth.
Great, Ethan is reading “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” That seems fitting. Felix makes a hasty escape from this lovely domestic scene to help Art with clone business and tells Sarah he’ll call her if she’s needed. Ethan wants to know how old Kira is, but Sarah doesn’t want him to know anything about her.
Meet the new boss
Delphine goes to find Dr. Leekie, and is not too excited to find Rachel in his office. Rachel is busy leaving Paul a message. He has apparently ceased responding to phone calls and is taking a mental health day from the office. Rachel tells a very weak story about Leekie suffering a fatal heart attack and tells Delphine she’ll be reporting to her now.
Felix meets up with Art and the new clone, Tony, at Felix’s apartment. Tony is mad Beth hasn’t showed up, but Felix and Art aren’t sure how much to tell him. Nobody trusts anyone on this show. They’ve learned that Tony’s friend Sam was taken out by mysterious men in suits (Dyad agents?) and that he has a message for Beth, but Tony seems unwilling to say more without a few answers of his own.
Sarah and Kira make a mobile together, and Kira asks where Helena is. Sarah gives only vague answers to this, because she forgot to actually check up on Helena? Can this plot hole be closed soon, please? When there’s a knock at the door, Kira immediately asks if they should hide. Weird childhood that kid is having. Delphine has arrived to negotiate for Ethan. She claims he can make a synthetic gene therapy to save Cosima that would keep Kira safely away from the Dyad.
Cosima finds a group of nerdy doctors playing Runewars, a strategy game, in her lab. She tries to focus on work, but can’t resist joining the game. It turns out she’s better than all of them, which is a cute bit of fan service. Her complete thrashing of them is interrupted, first by a coughing fit, and then by Delphine. She tells Cosima about the shady circumstances of Leekie’s death and asks Cosima what she wants to do. A good first step, Delphine, instead of just doing something without asking her.
Felix and Tony are hanging out as Felix nervously tries to get information out of him while simultaneously hiding evidence of Sarah in his apartment. Tony is kind of pushy and weird. Look, I’m all for “Orphan Black” going ambitious, but the slow pacing and odd script for these scenes is giving the whole trans plotline a “Very Special Episode” vibe.
Even clones have parents, right?
Alison catches Donnie trying to sneak out at night, and they finally start to have a heart to heart. Best part? Donnie apologizing for hating Alison’s mother, to which she replies, as though it’s surprising that he’s even mentioning it, “Everybody hates my mother.” If we don’t meet Alison’s mother (or Cosima’s, frankly), it’s going to be very disappointing.
Ethan claims he can heal Cosima, but says he’s worried it means giving Dyad the keys to the kingdom. Sarah just wants a solution that keeps Kira out of things, so she decides to send him to Dyad.
Art has learned that Tony’s dead friend Sammy definitely knew Beth, and met with her a few times. He votes for bringing Sarah over to explain the clone thing, but Felix wants to try and get Tony to pass on Sammy’s message to Beth before involving her. He goes back to talk to Tony and engages in some more incredibly labored banter with Tony.
Ethan very carefully gives Kira the copy of “Island of Dr. Moreau” he’s been reading and tells her he’s nobody’s pawn before heading out to the Dyad.
Felix has given up on Tony, and sneaks off to call Sarah to come help him. Tony catches him at it, then kisses him. Well, that was a bit queasy. Felix pushes him away after a few seconds, but not as quickly as you’d hope. This seemed like an unnecessary test of Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris’ chemistry. Like, they’re so good together that there must be some way to get them to hook up. It’s hard to believe that Felix would have done that even for a moment. It turns out Tony has discovered a painting Felix did of Sarah and wants to know who she is.
Cosima and Delphine are busy getting stoned together using helium balloons. So many random things are happening in this episode! Like, it was fun to see Cosima playing the strategy game, and it’s cute to see her and Delphine having fun together instead of being emotional all the time, but I’m not sure what the point was? At least at the end of it, Delphine finally tells Cosima she loves her. Cosima makes a pretty good point that Delphine can’t just love her — she has to love all the clones. Delphine’s efforts to protect Cosima can’t come before the lives of the other clones anymore. She makes a quick threat on Delphine’s career to emphasize the need for Delphine to be fully a team player, and then tells her she loves her, too.
Donnie and Alison are bonding so well over Donnie finally being honest about the fake sociology experiment that Alison tells him what really happened with Aynsley and he responds by telling her what happened with Leekie.
Tony tries to storm off, and miraculously runs into Sarah on the way out. Sarah explains clone club to him, and he gets much friendlier. Tony seems kind of amused by the whole thing, and finally comes out with his big message for Beth, which is that she needed to trust Paul. Turns out dead Sammy knew Paul from somewhere, and that Paul was “on it.”
Paul has left the building
Rachel finds out Paul has completely disappeared around the same time, and meets up with Ethan, who she coldly says will have to be professional with her. She asks the big question: Why doesn’t Sarah have the fertility issues the other clones have? It turns out the rest of them aren’t flawed. Sarah is. The clones are supposed to be barren. He quotes a bit of “Dr. Moreau” to her, which is that it’s worse to be irresponsible than it is to hate someone. That seems likely to come up again, doesn’t it?
Alison and Donnie’s sweet reunion is a bit marred when Alison disapproves of his body packaging tactics, and then learns that he used her gun to kill Leekie. Donnie is going to be lucky if he doesn’t end up in that car trunk as well.
Rachel keeps it together during her conversation with Ethan, but as soon as she sends him off with Delphine, she destroys Leekie’s office in a rage. I guess we just found Rachel’s big motivation for staying involved in the Dyad. What happens next for her?
Tony heads back out of town, with a clone phone from Felix and a promise that they’ll try to keep Tony out of things.
Cosima finally comes clean to Scott about being one of the clones, and he has a very sweet response to it. It’s sort of like she came out to him? She’s excited to finally meet Ethan Duncan, but then collapses in a coughing fit, and we fade out as Delphine and Ethan try frantically to revive her.
Kira, safe in bed with Sarah, opens the “Dr. Moreau” book Ethan left her and sees he’s filled it with what appears to be chemical breakdowns. Wonder what that all means?
Grade: C+ That episode was all over the place.
Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.