Orphan Black / Screen

Orphan Black Says a (Bloody but Funny) Goodbye to One of its Villains in “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things”

One of my favorite things about Orphan Black is that, by the time the “Next time” clip starts rolling, it doesn’t seem as though enough time has passed for the episode to be over. There are few shows that manage to have this effect, and it’s part of the show’s rapid pacing (which makes their few too-slow moving stories, like that farm, stand out in how bad they are). “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” is an episode that pushes the show forward by wrapping some things up while still prompting more to come. It’s like a finale in that way, particularly in Alison’s storyline which has been leading to the particular climax of her getting to confront Donnie about being her monitor and its bloody resolution.

Fresh off last week’s revelation that Leekie’s the big bad the clones should be worried about, he gets offed by Donnie. Certainly it was clear Leekie wasn’t long for this world (he certainly wouldn’t survive the season) after it was revealed that he was the cause of the lab fire that killed Rachel’s mother, but Michelle Forbes’ appearance as Marian Bowles promised that Leekie was out the door. Forbes, who I can’t remember ever having a role that wasn’t at least slightly villainous, is fun in her few minutes of screentime. Marian’s dignified but not stuffy, responding to Leekie’s report on Ethan Duncan being alive with a partly-incredulous and partly-annoyed “This is a thing”. Then she moves up the ladder by sanctioning Leekie’s murder, though it gets derailed when Rachel, now clued in about her father being alive, spares his life and lets him run away instead.

This is a deceptively important episode for Rachel, whose screentime is considerably less than her clone counterparts as she’s reunited with her father. Their reunion happens mostly in the backdrop to Mrs. S and Paul, but not before Rachel’s sighting of Ethan leads to her very-contained tears. Since we know how vicious Rachel can be, and have seen her order severe punishments for those she feels have wronged her, her killing Leekie herself wouldn’t have been unexpected. But it’s more unexpected to see her revealing Marian’s plans to get rid of him and commanding him to leave. Rachel’s seemed far from compassionate in the past. We didn’t get to see her relationship with Daniel, just her reaction to his death, but with Leekie alive and in front of her it’s an opportunity (which Orphan Black takes full advantage of) to show that Rachel can be swayed by her emotional attachments to other people, cutting Leekie a sliver of slack even after learning that he murdered her mother. It’s the people Rachel doesn’t feel anything for that have something to worry about. Which puts Marian on a slippery slope, since she at least knew the truth of Rachel’s parents if she wasn’t an active participant in Leekie’s plan.

Also at the Institute Cosima realizes Delphine’s lie about the stem cells which belong to Kira, taken from a tooth she lost after she was hit by the car. Thankfully Cosima’s storyline is picking up and going places, accelerating along with her illness and treatment. Her part in this week’s episode also asks an interesting question about Kira and what role she could play in the future. From the start it’s been a given that Kira can never be allowed to fall into the Dyad’s hands, but with her stem cells on the way to curing Cosima, that could change. Surely a tooth is a relatively small thing to offer up, since it’s not Kira herself (though now that she’s back with Sarah that could be a possibility), but it’s still a huge gesture on Sarah and Kira’s part to Cosima, one that’s very sweet when you consider how these women ended up in one another’s orbits. For Kira as well this is another step in making her a more active participant in the show, continuing the trend this season has begun of showing that Kira’s got more going for her than just being a pawn over which everyone fights.

Meanwhile Alison’s rehab experience is front and center with Family Day and her confession to Vic about her role in Aynsley’s death. The resulting dash of Alison, Sarah and Felix to keep Vic from telling all to Angela was both fun and tense. Though it’s a constant worry that Angela will see Alison and Felix trying to hide an unconscious Vic, It’s loaded with the trademark comedy Orphan Black allots to Alison’s storylines from Alison defiantly leaving Donnie’s nametag without decoration, Felix doing Vic an incredible amount of accidental bodily harm, and Vic getting a bloody, glittery nose after succumbing to Felix’s spiked tea. But it eventually spirals into the important and emotionally tolling as Alison is finally candid with Donnie about his spying and how it’s ruined their relationship which is actually quite affecting for Donnie, who had no idea what he was doing, thinking he was carrying about some study from their college days.

That Donnie’s actually stupid isn’t something Orphan Black tries to tiptoe around because there really is no excuse for the level of horrible Donnie’s ignorance unleashed upon his family. Who honestly believes that they’re still conducting some kind of sociology experiment from college when they’re like, thirty? Donnie Hendrix apparently. But his rage-induced pursuit of Leekie indicates that he’s looking to make amends somehow which is a nice turnaround for Alison, who’s been having an especially rough season as far as having people she can trust around her.  And his adamant refusal to take part in spying on Alison anymore, culminating in him accidentally shooting Leekie in the head when he bangs his gun on the steering wheel. Talk about a bad death. Who wants to go out with an accidental shot to the head from Donnie (who Leekie calls a “turnip”)? It’s morbidly hilarious, and also shocking, to see Donnie, as useless as he, is actually do something kinda useful and not even doing it on purpose. How he’ll get out of killing Leekie is a giant question mark since it’s doubtful that Donnie’s at all equipped to manage this particular fallout.

Orphan Black also has the ability to make me forget just how close we are to the end of the season. A lot has happened, but it also feels like not that much has happened. Ten episodes isn’t much, and there are only three episodes left for the show to wrap itself up. I’ve no doubt it’ll be able to handle most of its currently in-progress storylines. The only one that worries me is the farm which can only have one satisfying ending for me: everyone there dies. But we’ll worry about that later. For now let’s bask in the glow of another excellent episode.

Stray Observations

  • Vic is definitely a dick, but his face when Alison confessed to letting Aynsley die and following up by gifting him with gloves, was priceless. He’s also looking way more attractive now that he’s sober and cleanshaven, and if he wasn’t so awful, I’d be shipping him with someone.
  • Mrs. S is really getting around these days. Paul was first in unlikely scene partners but then she ended up face-to-face with Leekie and then Rachel. It’s uncertain how real her offer to Leekie was (to offer up the Duncans’ research in exchange for leaving Kira alone), but considering hers and Sarah’s currently tense relationship I’d buy Mrs. S letting Sarah do her own thing while ensuring Kira’s safety, which has been one of Mrs. S’s talking points since the jump.
  • Still don’t know what the point of Cal is. He’s not a bad character certainly, I’m just waiting for us to find out what his deal is. Sure him wanting to argue with Sarah about what should happen with Kira is a given and all, but I’m not watching an ABC family drama, I’m watching sci-fi about clones so I’d like to see Cal get in on the action more than just camping out with Kira.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.


One thought on “Orphan Black Says a (Bloody but Funny) Goodbye to One of its Villains in “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things”

  1. The Donnie/Leekie bit was a complete blindside to me. Loved it, what a way to off Leekie.

    Wasn’t Cal some sort of researcher/scientist type before he dropped out? He does seem familiar with some of those names, if not the people themselves.


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