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Orphan Black – “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” Review: High Drama

“Mingling Its Own Nature With It” is yet another fun and entertaining episode of Orphan Black’s sophomore season. This episode has everything: a ritual cult wedding, murder, surprises, Blood Ties: A Musical, shoplifting, a car crash, and so much more. It is a truly packed hour with a lot to enjoy.

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Last week’s episode left the Sarah storyline wide open and this episode takes her in an unexpected direction. She is finally reunited with her daughter and Felix, which has kind of been her goal all along (since that very first episode) and is free to run away with them. And it’s where she runs away to that provides an ample amount of conflict and drama. While most of her narrative is interesting, it involves a significant surprise/revelation (hello, daddy!) and plenty of suspenseful and tense moments. However it is, unfortunately, soured by the clichéd and painfully predictable romantic interlude between Sarah and Cal.

Everything from the awfully heavy-handed soundtrack to even the dialogue (shocking for such a well-written show) is just too much. Did the show get hijacked by the Grey’s Anatomy writers or something? The moment feels rushed, like the writers decided they needed to get this moment out of the way before more important things could occur. They really needed to communicate Sarah’s feelings towards Cal, or maybe they just thought that the season has gone too long without any sexin’ in it. Regardless of the reason, there is no denying that the scene comes across as clunky and out of place. In the midst of all the heightened tension, the move to romance is an awkward tonal shift. And there are so much more interesting things going on in the hour that it feels superfluous and totally unnecessary. The conflict between the characters is definitely enough to sustain the hour.

It is not like romance or relationships cannot be incorporated into the grand scheme of the series, the show has done a great job in exploring the various characters’ personal lives and how the people in them affect their behavior. Though, it isn’t difficult to see that this is not the time for Sarah to be embarking on a new relationship or anything of the like, the timing could not be worse. I just wish the writers would have taken their time with this inevitable development, given the characters at least a full day to settle in. They could have easily covered time with other characters’ stories in the meantime.

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Despite the awkward deviation, this narrative provided plenty of great moments like Felix’s heartbreaking conversation with Sarah. In the general discussion of Orphan Black there is no shortage of (well-deserved) praise for Tatiana Maslany’s performance and obvious talent, in a show where one person comprises most of the ensemble the focus is going to be on that performer. However Jordan Gavaris who along with Maria Doyle Kennedy is often overlooked, gives an amazingly compelling performance this episode. So often he is employed as the comic relief dude and does it wonderfully (especially in his interactions with Alison) but it is great to see the writers give him more to do. He shows vulnerability and emotion and pulls it off remarkably. Also, it is about time he called Sarah out on her shit, “I’ve got other drama in my life, Sarah.” Everything he says is absolutely true and she needs to realize how her actions affect the people in her life.

So Felix escapes Sarah’s drama and arrives to Alison’s imploding disaster of a life in a timely fashion. Poor, Alison, who always manages to be the most engaging and captivating character time and time again. While I would have enjoyed an entire episode dedicated to the opening of “Blood Ties: A Musical”, Alison’s storyline works beautifully. More than any of the other clones (except perhaps Helena) Alison is the most extreme personality; her arc consists of a great combination of high comedy and compelling pathos. She is a source of magnificent humor while at the same time provides some of the most devastating scenes of the series. Her fall off the stage was equal parts hilarity, because come on that is funny, and devastating tragedy, because she is obviously battling some serious demons. Her Stepford Wife shtick can only last for so long before all her issues completely destroy it. And she has a lot of issues which she is pretty much dealing with on her own. Thank God Felix is back in her life so she can have someone she feels safe with, also they are the best character combination. So, while Alison’s personal life might be looking up after that rock-bottom fall, Cosima’s future is looking quite bleak. Once again, Cosima’s storyline is less expansive as the others, as she is now confined to the Dyad and her research, but the stakes are raised when she learns about Jennifer, which is intriguing. Also encouraging is Cosima’s growing suspicion of Delphine. During last week’s episode it seemed that Cosima was getting too chummy and comfortable with the idea of working in the Dyad, it is good to see that she hasn’t completely let her guard down.

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“Mingling Its Own Nature With It” also gives us an extended look into Helena’s experience and it looks appropriately creepy and weird. The Prolethean compound continues to be an intriguing environment and serves as an idyllic setting for the most romantic wedding in television history. You can truly tell those two kids really love each other. Helena’s glazed over eyes really convey the love and excitement of a young, blushing bride. Seriously, that scene is deeply unsettling; “…we are your instruments in the war for creation…” And also confusing, the Proletheans’ whole belief system is still indecipherable, it’s basically Christian sounding nonsense, but the actors deliver the lines with conviction and gravitas, which makes it easier to accept. I may not know exactly what they are fighting for, but I know that they are passionate about it and willing to go to great depths to do whatever they intend to do.

“Mingling Its Own Nature With It” is a great episode of Orphan Black despite some reservations. As much fun as it has been to follow the characters’ individual stories, they have spent too much time apart. Aside from some fun skype sessions and telephone calls there hasn’t been much else in clone interaction. There is a certain electricity in those group clone scenes that is missing from the show and we need it back, two episodes without it is too long. Amirite?

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What did you think of “Mingling Its Own Nature With It”?

 

Final Thoughts

  • “Our dear old mum’s a dead eye with a rifle.”
  • Ugh, Angie is so the worst. She remains infuriating and annoying and persistently horrible at investigation. Just stop. Listen to Art. I actually didn’t recognize her when she first approached Alison, shows how little I pay attention to the character when she is on screen. Though it is thoroughly amusing to watch Alison call her out.
  • Tatiana Maslany playing Helena always manages to weird me out, so unsettling. She is an acting treasure.
  • “Blood in the bathrooooom!”
  • I’m totally not buying that Sarah would just let Kira wander outside to feed some chickens without her supervision. Sure, let the little girl, who you know is being pursued by multiple threatening forces, who you know are actively looking for you and likely to be hot on your trail, just run outside far enough away that you can’t hear her begin to struggle and scream for help. Come on. There is a lot of suspension of disbelief in a show like this, but this is just ridiculous, that confrontation could have come about in many more plausible ways than Sarah (who has spent how much time trying to find and then protect her daughter?) being lenient on the child watching.
  • That last shot was quite the surprise; of course Sarah will survive the impact, I mean, really? But what will the Dyad do now? Will she reunite with Cal and Kira immediately?
Rating
8.6
Pros
  • Blood Ties: A Musical
  • Alison Continues to Shine
  • Weird Proletheans
  • Jordan Gavaris and Tatiana Maslany are Acting Gold
Cons
  • Some Uncharacteristic Behavior
  • Superfluous and Cliched Love Scene

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