Orphan Black Review: “Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done”

(Episode 2.09)

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<i>Orphan Black</i> Review: &#8220;Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done&#8221;

Some good news right off the bat—Tony is nowhere to be seen in “Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done.” It remains to be seen whether the miscalculation that was the transgender clone character will return for the show’s finale or any of next season. Indeed, with most of this episode it feels as if that little detour never happened. Aside from Donnie’s confession about Leekie and Cosima’s collapse, one could almost have skipped over that episode entirely and not missed an awful lot. So, yes, this penultimate episode is back-to-basics. And that’s just fine by me.

What we do have is a continuation of the Cosima/Kira dilemma. With Cosima’s condition reaching a critical low, an increasingly desperate Delphine begs for Sarah to bring Kira into Dyad, as her bone marrow may be her love’s only chance. The rest of the storyline is basically a back-and-forth wherein Sarah ultimately arranges an operation to extract Kira’s bone marrow, but not before making Dyad agree to some strict stipulations. Kira, of course, proves herself to be nothing less than a little Jesus-type by voluntarily offering whatever Cosima needs to get better.

If the past eighteen episodes have proven anything, however, it’s that Dyad cannot be trusted. And so, in the final few minutes, Sarah’s worst fears are realized—Rachel, dressed up like Sarah, sneaks into Kira’s room and abducts her. What’s more, a now guilt-ridden Delphine appears to have—wittingly or unwittingly—played a part in the kidnapping.

As much as I love Orphan Black, I am very much aware of when it effectively recycles various plot beats. Being that it’s a show that’s always evolving and changing at a rapid rate, it becomes all the more obvious when familiar elements begin rearing their head. As such, going forward, I hope that we won’t get too many more “they’ve taken Kira!” moments because there are only so many times the girl can get kidnapped/go missing before it starts to feel like an overly repetitive crutch.

Meanwhile, back on the Prolethean Farm, Helena is in the midst of an insemination procedure where Pastor Hank and crew will implant her with a baby. But instead, she discovers that Gracie will be the one forced to carry the baby. Adding to the gross factor, Hank has used his own DNA to become the father. Hence, in a bit of scientific molestation, he has incestuously planted his baby in his daughter’s womb. It’s a prospect that, understandably, Gracie is not too happy about, and Helena is eventually able to convince both her and her boyfriend/Hank’s henchman Mark to fight back against Hank’s patriarchal tyranny. We’re then blessed with a scene in which Helena restrains Hank and sticks a medical syringe right where the sun don’t shine.

While it’s certainly not out of the question that Pastor Hank could make a return in later episodes, the show certainly implies that he’s down for the count for now. It’s an untimely end for a character who I once saw becoming a promising villain in his own way. Instead, the show has almost exclusively relegated him to the Helena-centric stories. One of the bigger issues with this season of Orphan Black has been the general disjointed feel, with each of the clones seemingly living in their own separate plotlines. By effectively wrapping up the story here, the Prolethean farm now feels all the more like a strange tangent that went nowhere. I kept waiting for the story to significantly bleed into the Sarah, Cosima or Alison subplots (beyond a superficial cameo related to Helena) all season, but it never came to pass. Judging from the fact that Helena is shown walking away from a burning blaze that was once the farm, I’m not sure how much the group will be playing into future installments.

That being said, Alison’s ongoing subplot has not only had some influence on other plotlines (her husband killed Leekie), but it also just serves as a wonderful bit of Coen Brothers-esque dark comedy. One of the few highlights of last week involved Donnie confessing his involvement in the death of Leekie. The duo’s subsequent attempt to cover up the body plays out pretty much exactly as you’d expect and it’s wonderful to behold.

What’s more, after close to two seasons of being the hapless schlub, Donnie’s recent dalliance with crime appears to have given him a newfound sense of confidence. When he catches Vic spying on him and Alison attempting to dispose of Leekie’s body, he manages to give the degenerate a good scare with a (safety-locked) gun. This goes one step further when he confronts Detective Angie about her spying on the couple. In a fierce monologue that is wonderfully delivered by actor Kristian Bruun, Donnie lays down the law and threatens to kill them if they continue their probing. “Have a shitty day!” he smirks after snapping an incriminating photo of the two and subsequently slipping back to the house. The icing on this joke is that Alison finds herself thoroughly turned on by her husband’s change and the two proceed to engage in some down-and-dirty sex. Given the structure of the show, it’s not often we have such a meaty scene given to a non-Tatiana Maslany character, but damn if Bruun doesn’t step up his game here.

“”Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done”” is a nice rebound after the mess that was ““Variable And Full Of Perturbation”.” Ultimately, however, it works mostly to move its various characters into place, just in time for the finale. It’s a predictable episode made better by how its characters react to those same expected developments. I can’t pretend to know how everything will dovetail next week but, assuming the show can match the quality of last year’s finale, I’m hoping it will all come together in a satisfying way.

Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy Moment of the Week:
• Not a lot of great solo moments this time around but rarely has the dynamic between Alison and Donnie been stronger than it is here. Their back-and-forth in discussing how to dispose the body (Donnie: “Let’s drop it in the lake, with weights!” Alison: “Do we HAVE a boat?!”) is nothing short of gold.

Mark Rozeman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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