I share my thoughts on the first episode of the second season of BBC America/BBC 3 series Orphan Black, starring Tatiana Maslany, entitled Nature Under Constraint and Vexed. This contains spoilers!
The first season of Orphan Black absolutely blew me away. It was the best new TV show of 2013 hands down and right now the only show that prevents it from being my favourite non cancelled or ended show is Game of Thrones. In large part due to the incredible performances of Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black has quickly become one of my favourite shows and one of the few that I actively try to get people to watch because it’s really one of those must-watch programs that deserve your attention. It should be on the same level of audience viewing as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Whilst it’s passed under the radar by some, which is unfortunate, it’s the crowning jewel of BBC America and arguably BBC 3’s best program that they’re currently airing.
The first episode aired on Wednesday and it was great to be back with Tatiana Maslany and company – it had been too long since there had last been an episode of this series on our screens. The first season focused on the fallout from streetwise hustler Sarah Manning discovering her newfound identical twin commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, and the consequences that this action had on her life. If this happened to you and you were left with the dead person’s identity, what would you do? It was a compelling storyline that made us sympathetic towards the lead character.
Nature Under Constraint And Vexed introduces a new approach for season two following the cliffhanger ending of the first season. Sarah has lost her daughter Kira, and her foster parent Mrs. S. Cosima, another clone – is ill, and Alison, having killed her suspected monitor, is dealing with the emotional fallout – not knowing that her real monitor is in fact her husband, who she initially suspected, but managed to cover his tracks very well.
The opening of Nature Under Constraint And Vexed is just as strong as the first episode of the first season, Natural Selection. It’s raining, and Sarah’s racing through the rain, in search of Kira. She enters a late night diner, otherwise empty – and after she’s given a cup of tea from the cook in an act of kindness, two henchmen walk into the diner, leading us to believe that the bad guys are closing in on her. In the ensuing fight which costs the lives of the cook and a henchman, Sarah manages to get herself free and goes looking for Felix (Jordan Gavaris), her homosexual foster brother who provided some excellent comic relief moments in Season 1.
The veterans return to the show over the course of the episode. We’re reintroduced to Cosima and Allison – as well as Paul (Dylan Bruce) – who’s apparently working pro-clone Rachel, the mysterious Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer), Cosima’s love interest Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and also Art (Kevin Hanchard) is on the hunt for answers. As you’ve gathered by now it’s a lot to deal with, and the show packs more into just one episode than most shows do in an entire season. The various plot threads are handled well and we get a great look into the various characters with a strong pace that doesn’t let up.
Maslany’s acting is incredible, but if you’re familiar with this show then you’ll already know that. The camera crew also really work wonders with fitting the double characters together, with some great complex visuals that work very well.
The only problem that I had through this episode was that whilst it was whilst Helena’s character is interesting – I wasn’t happy that she survived, and would have preferred if she had been killed off for good in Season 1.
Orphan Black then, returns to excellent form. It’s a fantastic series that really deserves your attention and we could be settling ourselves back in for another amazing ride. Next week’s episode can’t come quickly enough.