Orphan Black S1 Ep2: Instinct

And here's another one ...

Sarah is forced to continue impersonating Beth and gets drawn deeper into the mystery of her ‘identicals’ as she buries one and meets two more.

After the opener’s breathless pace, this second episode brought things down a notch, showcasing Tatiana Maslany’s versatility while fleshing out the main storylines further.

Who am I, again?

We start by learning that the call Sarah-as-Beth received at the end of the previous episode is from Alison Hendrix. She seems less perturbed by Katja’s demise than with obtaining her briefcase.

One Alias-like hotel raid by Sarah-as-Katja later reveals the contents of the briefcase as blood samples and papers of three European girls – all presumably fellow ‘identicals’.

Sarah herself would much rather be getting the hell out of Dodge. However, Beth’s detective partner Art has snatched the cash for her escape and won’t return it until she is fully exonerated. Why? He was involved in planting a cellphone on the innocent woman Beth shot while high on meds. If she goes down, so does he.

Forced to continue her charade, Sarah-as-Beth aces her hearing and goes to confront soccer mom Alison, where she reverts to just-plain-Sarah and tells her Beth is dead. Alison knows more about what’s going on, and when Sarah returns to see her, she discovers yet another clone, Cosima.

And if you’ve successfully followed and understood all that, you’re doing better than I am!

Questions and loose threads

This didn’t have quite the same dizzyingly convoluted structure as the opener but there was still plenty of suspense and progress in both the main story and Sarah and Beth’s histories.

For every question that was answered, we were left with at least one more loose thread. Why exactly did Sarah and Felix’s foster-mother bring them over from London for a fresh start? Exactly how many clones are there – and why do they exist in the first place? What do Alison and Cosima already know that Sarah doesn’t? Are the other, as yet unseen clones still alive, or have they also been, like Katja, killed? How long will Sarah be able to pass herself off as Beth before someone rumbles her? Answers on a postcard, please.

While Jordan Gavaris’ Felix steals every scene he is in, Maslany’s performances are fantastic. In this episode alone she portrays six distinct personas: Sarah, Sarah-as-Beth, Katja (albeit only as a corpse), Sarah-As-Katja, Alison and Cosimo. Each is subtly different and distinct – and who knows how many more there are to come? – and Maslany sells each one with conviction.

Am I hooked? You betcha. You can forget any comparisons to Ringer – this is vastly superior in every respect.

Clone count

Sarah Manning: Currently posing as Beth.

Elizabeth Childs: Police detective, deceased.

Katja Obinger: German, deceased.

Alison Hendrix: Soccer mom.

Cosima: Unknown.

Assumed to be clones: Danielle Fournier (French), Janika (Austrian), unidentified Italian.

Sarah continues to pose as Beth Childs as she tries to recover the cash she needs to make a fresh start, and discovers that her ‘identicals’ aren’t limited to just Beth and Katja. Meanwhile Felix goes to confront their former foster-mother.

Orphan Black reviews

1.1 Natural Selection

This review was originally posted on Metro.co.uk.

2 Comments on Orphan Black S1 Ep2: Instinct

  1. Probably “better” than Ringer, yes, but what Ringer had going for it was lipsmackingly trashy fun to go with its preposterous story. I’m not sure I wanted another season of it, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it!

    • I have to admit, I’d had my fill by about episode 9 or 10, and promptly gave up. OB knocks Ringer out of the park in terms of how it pulls off multi-clone scenes too.

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