Review Scorecard: Orphan Black 'Ruthless in Purpose and Insidious in Method'

Sunday, 07 June 2015 - 12:40PM
Orphan Black
Sunday, 07 June 2015 - 12:40PM
Review Scorecard: Orphan Black 'Ruthless in Purpose and Insidious in Method'
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Welcome to our review scorecard, where we (semi-arbitrarily) assign points to the parts of an episode that we loved and hated, the parts that worked and the parts that definitely didn't. We'll weigh more significant aspects of the show with more points, either positive or negative, and tally all the points up at the end for a final score that will reflect the quality of the overall episode.

The Good

Everything about Krystal in the opening scene +10
The episode was ultimately fairly humanistic towards Krystal, which I'll get to more later, but the writing and delivery of the opening scene was hilarious. Every line perfectly characterized Krystal as a ditzy but charmingly earnest young woman, from "I would have been thrown in the back of a van. Like legitimately" to "I really relate to that, the healing arts. I don't know if you feel that right now, but it's kind of my gift." And then that last kicker, "You can't crush the human spirit." This entire scene killed me.

Delphine's reactions to Krystal +2
Evelyn Brochu killed it in this scene as well, from her subtly disingenuous "I have a family practice" to the "Oh, you poor thing" look in her eyes as Krystal described her triumph of the human spirit.

Cosima and Sarah doing some sister bonding +2
Loved the brief sisterly gossiping between Project Castor/Beth drama.

Helena's inner child +2
It makes perfect sense that Helena would get along with children better than adults, and that adorable clothes-throwing fight offsets the fact that neurotic, type-A suburban mother Alison would never trust an assassin alone with her children.

Scott's "It's all drama with those two." +1
So true.

"You are strong like baby ox. This I like." +5
Helena wins the best line of the week, with the best description of Donnie I've ever heard. I don't know how I feel about Helena flirting with Donnie if it continues, but everything about this scene was adorable, especially Donnie's "Maybe we need two baby ox" with a terrible Ukrainian accent.

Gracie and Helena mend fences +2
Helena is ultimately a forgiving, open-hearted character, so this reconciliation rang true. I was especially touched by Helena's offer to make Gracie an honorary "auntie" to her baby.

Sarah's not the only hustler in the family +5
I appreciated the character continuity, as this was a throwback to Sarah's conwoman days, but I especially loved everything about Felix's subterfuge with Krystal. The fact that his voice got noticeably deeper when he was pretending to be straight, the fact that Krystal was naive enough to think he was straight, and his incredibly cheesy pick-up lines: "I'm pretty good with my tools." HA.

The humanization of Krystal +10
I used the word "ditz" to describe Krystal in the opening scene, and that's unquestionably a gendered word. On a less feminist show, Krystal would have remained a sexist stereotype, a manicured, bleach-blonde bimbo who doesn't have two brain cells to rub together or any qualities of an actual human being. But since this is Orphan Black, the writers emphasized that Krystal was much smarter and cannier than she appeared to be. Even more significantly, they showed compassion for her through Felix, and appreciation of her earnestness and overall niceness. When Felix says she's "worth ten of Rachel," we're supposed to believe him.

"What kind of psycho threatens a man's cat?" +2
Poor Scott. When he said, "She has feline asthma," he broke my little heart. I didn't even blame him for giving up information at that point.

"I may be a bitch, but I'm Alison's bitch." +2

Rachel's still got it +2
I didn't like that Krystal was the one who paid the price, but I love that Rachel is her old diabolical self again.

+45 points

The Bad

Delphine is a poor woman's Rachel -5
Diabolical Delphine isn't working for me. Most of her power trips are lame jealousy attacks, and even at her creepiest moments she's not nearly as formidable as Rachel.

"I'm French. We enjoy lovers." -1
I almost put this in the pro column because Cosima clearly didn't buy for a second that Delphine isn't jealous, but I wasn't a fan of the nationality stereotyping. It's such an old joke.

Sarah and Felix keeping Krystal in the dark -10
The justifications "we don't need anyone else in Clone Club" and "she doesn't need this shit" were weak. She's clearly in more danger not knowing the full situation, and Sarah and Felix should both know that, considering that she's already been abducted by Project Castor. They can't keep her out of it, so they might as well cure her ignorance. Not to mention that Felix went out of his way to empathize with Krystal, to tell her that she wasn't alone, but still didn't show her enough respect to tell her the truth.

It especially rubbed me the wrong way because Krystal ultimately served as a plot contrivance. The writers clearly think Krystal isn't a compelling enough character to bring into Clone Club, which isn't necessarily true and somewhat undermines the compassion the episode shows the character. Personally, I hope she comes out of the coma and is brought into the fold later.

Alison's mini affair -5
I was fine with Alison being curious about Cosima's kiss with Jason; it was just close enough to adultery without being melodramatic. But Alison actually kissing Jason in this episode was a step too far, especially considering that there hasn't been any foundation laid for problems in Alison and Donnie's seemingly solid marriage.

Cosima's near-death vision -3
Shay told Cosima that in a near-death experience, you see what you love. Later in the episode, Cosima tells Delphine that she saw Delphine when she had a near-death experience. It's way too much of a rom-com trope: one character says "_____ is when you really know you love someone," and later in the episode, that thing happens between whichever couple we're supposed to be rooting for. It's incredibly trite, and Orphan Black is too good for it.

-24 points


This was a fun, exciting episode, and one that felt much more effortless than the rest of the season. The treatment of Krystal was both the highlight and lowlight of the episode, but it will retroactively get a much higher score if she eventually comes back and is humanized even further.
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