Orphan Black: Twisted and Complex Even When It’s Simple and Straightforward!

Sarah (TATIANA MASLANY)

Even when Orphan Black (BBC America, Thursdays, 10/9C) lightens up on the mythology to go for seemingly straightforward character stuff, it’s still twisted and complex.

The Antisocialism of Sex is one such episode as Sarah seeks to drown her guilt in sex and drugs and booze; Cosima attempts a bit of crazy science; Alison tries to give her daughter Gemma a great birthday slumber party, and Rachel is freed from her cozy prison.

The ep opens with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), guilt-ridden, fleeing the safe house – leaving Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy) looking to deal with her grief over Kendall’s death by cleaning (just cleaning?) a nasty looking sniper rifle. Meanwhile, Alison (Maslany) is trying to write Mrs. S. a sympathy card while starting to crack under the weight of her own grief – and Cosima (Maslany), well Cosima is prepared to do something really stupid (high risk; high reward stupid).

When Kira (Skyler Wexler) says that Sarah is ‘following Beth,’ Felix (Jordan Gavaris) decides to try to find her – hitting her old haunts and flashing a photo of her on his smartphone to anyone and everyone.

What Sarah is doing is drinking – alone at first and then with Dizzy (Joel Thomas Hynes). Finally, she lets herself get picked by a couple and does a bit of blow, drinks a bit more and the three head to a back room to engage in a three-way. Before you know it, Sarah’s on a bridge – followed by a figure that’s been haunting her since she started in on her one-person pity party.

Orphan Black 4.07 - S&D&R&Ra

Elsewhere, Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) has freed Rachel. There’s no hope so why should she bother to keep Rachel cooped up. Neither Rachel nor Ira (Ari Millen) is pleased that Susan has apparently given up.

Of course, even when the sestras are trying to wallow – or not (as is the case with Alison) – nothing goes as planned. Y’see, Krystal (remember the investigative aesthetician?) has told Fee something important; actions taken by Alison and Donny (Kristian Bruun) earlier in the series have come back to bite them, and Rachel has seen something.

And then there’s Art (Kevin Hanchard) – who learned something that has him hopping mad/angry/outraged (pick one or all) and does something about it. And Kira gets a few terrific moments including a great ep-closing encounter.

A brief Skype between Susan, Rachel and Evie Cho (Jessalyn Wanlim) adds to the downward trend, hope-wise. Wanlim makes a wonderful villain – she doesn’t chew the scenery so much as nibble around the best bits.

What began as a study in characters dealing with grief has turned into a twisted mess – some of which could be very positive and some of which is assuredly not.

Susan Duncan (ROSEMARY DUNSMORE) and Rachel (TATIANA MASLANY)

Writers Nikolijne Troubetzoy and Graeme Manson have allowed our main characters a bit of time to deal (or not deal) with their feelings in the aftermath of last episode’s events – and then throws a few tasty bits of information into the mix, suddenly taking the ep into new territory and setting up only God (and/or the writers) knows what.

Each week I think, ‘If Tatiana Maslany submits this episode for the Emmys, she should win in a walk.’ And this week, she’s in peak form as she captures the complicated mess of emotions that is swirling around the clones.

The Antisocialization of Sex is a bit of a change of pace for the series – it keeps things (relatively) simple while the sestras deal – before ramping up the mythology weirdness near the conclusion.

It’s refreshing.

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Photos by Ken Woroner/Courtesy of BBC America