Orphan Black

Orphan Black: “Formalized, Complex, and Costly”

Of all the things I didn’t want to continue in Orphan Black‘s third season, it’s the Proletheans, who are back in the forefront (along with some other boring stuff) in “Formalized, Complex and Costly”. Mark’s looking for scientific material Henrik stole, apparently having been his goal all along (okay, show) and has taken Gracie along for the ride. I’m not sure if anyone was really thrilled by last season’s Prolethean angle, especially not enough to see it revived this time. To be fair, the show does attempt to wrap up that particular loose end, at least somewhat by having Mark kick the bucket. 

The show’s limitations are painfully apparent in its hurried explanation for Mark’s presence on the farm. He was sent there to find whatever Henrik stole, something vital to the military. The show has to go backwards to explain how a Castor clone ended up on the farm, having decided late in the game that Ari Millen was going to be the face of the Castor clones. What follows is mostly boring, though  Zoe De Grand Maison  finally gets to do a little bit more with herself in an episode that has her threatening her way to retrieving  her father’s property. This episode does make a case for Gracie having like, the worst life ever. First she’s forcefully impregnated by her father, carrying his child and that of someone she believes to be an “abomination”. So she runs away with the man she loves only to find out that he too is an “abomination”. So she has to return to her mother, who allowed the pregnancy to happen. And then the mother kills Mark. So overall, not a great run for Gracie.  That’s not  to say that her role is any less superfluous, even carrying Helena’s other baby. Mark’s removed as an accompaniment to her storyline, which does her a nice favor, but I’m not very enthused about watching Gracie navigate the world on her own either, and I’m really not interested in seeing her return to the Prolethean way of life.  But she has to return at some point, being pregnant with Helena’s other baby.

Meanwhile Helena’s still imprisoned with the Castors, who turn up to periodically taunt her about her family having  turned her over to them in the first place, which is becoming a very old and tired taunt.   Almost as  old and tired as Helena being in these particular positions.  If anything I’d much rather be seeing what Helena’s actually doing there, instead of seeing her every once in awhile, more time being spent on Coady, Paul and their attempts at saving the Castor operation. There’s been on explanation for what exactly the Castors do, or why they’re so important to the military. They wear uniforms and have training, but that seems to be the depth of their military involvement, and I’m just not positive what exaclty it is Coady and Paul are trying to keep running by solving the glitching problem.

Said glitching is caused by a neurological design flaw, much like that of Ledas biological one. Cosima and Scott’ s investigation of Seth’s brain yields the discover that the Ledas and Castors are actually siblings, a bit of information that’s treated as being super unexpected and thrilling but isn’t really much of either one.  We’ve already seen what affect biology has (or rather, doesn’t have) on clones. Rachel’s one of the Ledas, and she conspried to have them all killed and also had her eye taken out by one of her sisters, so I’m not really feeling the sibling angle as being anything other than a new tidbit of information. When Sarah tells Mark that they’re related, I suppose that’s supposed to be a big deal, but why?  The Castors are raised to value family so maybe being related would change their opinions, but what sort of affect is this supposed to have on the Ledas and their interactions with them?

In another neck of the woods, Art returns to the forefront and brings some reminiscing of Beth along with them.. The lack of Beth has been one of the one low points of the show, since she came and then went so quickly, despite being such a huge part of how Sarah got to where she is right now. Though Art and Cosima both have some fond memories of her (and Art confesses to having been in love with her), we still know very little about her.  Bringing Beth up again now is something that the show could use, but it also feels like another something just tacked on. The love vibe is never one that I got from Art/Beth, and I’m not sure I buy Art having not caught on to Sarah sooner when she impersonated her if that was the case. And while I like Sarah and Art’s interactions and their partnership dynamic, I fear the show’s going the route of having Art admire Sarah they way he did Beth which just doesn’t feel….It feels dumb is how it feels.

Stray Observations

  • I would not at all mind a flashback episode that was all about Beth. Unfortunately that would also mean seeing Paul, but I’d take that tradeoff.
  • Well at least Sarah’s finally clued in to what happened to Helena at the Prolethean compound.
  • I’m confused as to why Bonnie’s decided now to be mother of the year. Or what I’m supposed to make of her killing Mark.
  • Helena: “Another one…You are the ugliest Mark yet.”
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