Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Transgressive Border Crossing

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This season of Orphan Black continues to be off to a really strong start with Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 2.

Sarah picked up where Beth left off investigating Neolution, MK made an appearance, and other surprises were revealed.

Whereas Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 1 focused primarily on Beth – an interesting and risky choice for a season premiere, but one that ultimately paid off – "Transgressive Border Crossing" picked up where the premiere left off, in the present.

Sarah and her family fled Iceland after hearing from MK. This scene was deliciously tense, and that tension was only amped up by the spooky setting – the middle of nowhere, in Iceland. It was like something out of a horror movie as Kira peered out the window, noticing someone in the distance.

Mommy... They're coming.

Kira

Unfortunately, Kira has always been something of a Spooky Little Kid trope, not well-developed at all.

She doesn't appear to have much of a discernible personality, aside from her eerie and undefined "powers." It's consistently bugged me throughout the series and was even more noticeable when she was younger, in the earlier seasons.

Her Spooky Kid schtick worked here, though. Mrs. S snapped into badass momma bear action mode and burned down their little Icelandic cabin, eliminating any traces of their DNA, so the Neos couldn't get at it.

Smartly, the show skipped ahead to find the group back in Canada, smuggled to the comic book shop basement that Scott and Cosima had been using as their secret lab/clone headquarters. I was a bit leery that we'd get an entire episode of Sarah, Kira, Kendall, and Mrs. S journeying back from Iceland and I was not into that idea.

Cosima was struggling and Mrs. S immediately noticed. Cosima was still in poor health and on top of that, she was stressing about Delphine's fate.

Cosima: I need you to tell me that Delphine is alive.
Mrs. S: I can't do that, love.
Cosima: The last time I saw her, it felt like she knew something bad was gonna happen.
Mrs. S: But that doesn't mean that it did. You must know that this is a war, right? That means anything can happen.
Cosima: I just miss her so much.

This scene was lovely, and completely heartbreaking. As usual, it's remarkable how differently Tatiana Maslany and Maria Doyle Kennedy play off of one another when Tatiana is portraying her various clone roles.

The vibe between Sarah (who has known Mrs. S most of her life and considers her a mother figure) and Mrs. S is completely different than the one between Cosima and Mrs. S.

Delphine's fate was left uncertain, though it was looking dire as of the Orphan Black Season 3 Finale. Cosima and Delphine's relationship was fantastically developed and probably my favorite romance of the series, so I truly hope that Delphine somehow recovered from that point-blank gunshot.

The fact that the show (and show creators) are being cagey about her fate gives me hope that she's okay (or okay-ish).

Meanwhile, Felix was not particularly overjoyed about Sarah, Mrs. S, and the rest of his family being home from Iceland. 

Felix's big secret, which Alison knew about, was that he had decided to seek out his birth family. As painful as it is to see this rift between Felix and Sarah (when he testily asked her for space in the bathroom!), it completely made sense.

Over the course of the past three seasons, Felix has visibly grown increasingly annoyed with how much drama his foster sister has introduced into his life.

The discovery that the genetic Castor and Leda Original was Kendall Malone, and that by extension both Kira and Sarah were genetically related to their foster mother, Mrs. S, obviously affected him more than he initially let on. This installment confirmed that.

Now, Felix feels as though he's an outsider and wants to find his own belonging. This is a great opportunity for Felix to get a really great storyline.

Too often, he's been relegated to the funny sidekick of either Alison or Sarah. That's been fun enough, but we're four seasons in and Jordan Gavaris is a great actor – he deserves a Felix-centric storyline. He's earned one.

Over at Casa Hendrix, Helena has apparently continued to live with her sestra Alison and hubby Donnie. I never thought that any unlikely friendship could top Alison/Felix, but Donnie/Helena is really close.

Doctor: So, Mrs. Hendrix, how have you been feeling?
Helena: A little tired and many farts.

There were so many absolute gems during that ultrasound appointment sequence, but the above was probably my favorite. I love Helena, and I love her character development.

The awe in her eyes when the doctor told her that she was having twins and her immediate reaction ("I have to tell my sestra") were great and legitimately made me tear up.

While Donnie was visibly moved and psyched to find out that Helena was having twins and appeared to be 100% supportive of her, Alison was decidedly less on board.

Alison: This is Helena we're talking about here. She eats frozen bread and she's murdered people.
Donnie: Well... so have we.
Alison: That's different. Helena's trained to kill people. We're manslaughterers.

Leave it to Alison to weigh the various nuances of how much of a murderer the Hendrixes are in comparison with Helena.

Of course, as Donnie immediately realized, Alison was testy because Helena was able to conceive naturally – something that Alison always wanted, despite loving their two adoptive kids.

This season is potentially going to a weird place with adoption – Felix deciding to seek out his "real" family, as opposed to his non-biological foster family, and Alison feeling regretful for not having conceived naturally – so I hope the show runners tread lightly with this theme. It's an important, sensitive issue.

Regarding the larger Neolution plot, everything slowed down (momentarily) once Sarah and her family returned from Iceland. She had a chance to meet with Art and debrief about MK.

Art, being a smart cookie, was able to piece together MK's warning and the last case he worked with Beth, the Ed Capra case (bisected penis dude), which was the central plot in the season premiere.

He shared that intel with Sarah and then they decided to check out Beth's apartment to figure out what she was up to after her suspension and shortly before her death.

Obviously, this was painful for Art. Luckily for the two of them, they uncovered the surveillance equipment that Beth had set up to spy on Paul before her suicide.

This allowed the show to nicely intertwine the flashback sequences with scenes of the characters actually watching the security footage. It was a neat plot device that made the flashbacks feel less shoehorned in and more organic. Great storytelling choice.

I also really appreciated the fact that the surveillance equipment, information introduced way back in the first season, ended up being this incredibly important Chekhov's gun sort of plot device.

We saw four very important scenes in Beth's life. The first was her confrontation with Detective Duko, who visited her at home and strong-armed her, not really bothering to keep up the facade that he was not involved with Neolution.

He mentioned that he was only doing what was necessary to keep the people he cared about safe, a comment that definitely made my ears perk up. The idea that Neolution wasn't "all business" hadn't even crossed my mind.

What's the deal with these guys? They're shrouded in so much mystery that this whole thing is starting to become very confusing. I hope we get some real intel on them soon.

The second scene was only a glimpse: Trina, the pregnant girl introduced in the premiere, visiting Beth at home. There was no audio, and no accompanying flashback sequence, so we don't actually know what happened between them – only that it (apparently) led to the third important scene.

That third scene was Beth disguising herself in a blonde wig, taking a gun, and preparing to go to a hotel. We don't know what happened there, as we only saw the aftermath: Beth returning home, hands covered in blood, and visibly shaken.

Whatever happened to Beth at the hotel led, directly or indirectly, to her decision to kill herself. The fourth scene was Beth's emotional goodbye with "Mika," which was saw both through Art's eyes (in the video footage) and in MK's own flashback, when she warned Sarah off, citing her own feeling of culpability in Beth's demise.

Poor Mika. That final scene between her and Beth was heartbreaking. It was also possibly the last interaction Beth had before dying.

Seeing Trina on the security footage led Sarah directly to an encounter with a bearded man named Dizzy, who seemed like he'll probably be an relatively important figure this season.

Mistaking her for MK, Dizzy showed Sarah a video of the maggot implant's self-defense mechanism detonating in a Colombian mans cheek, killing him. Gag. Gag gag gag. A million times gag.

I mentioned in my last review that body horror is the only thing that truly gets to me, in horror or thrillers. This whole Neolution implant thing is incredibly hard to watch for that reason, which I think is the point. So, good job there, show, in making me super uncomfortable.

After tracking MK to a laundromat using the phone she stole from Dizzy only for MK to flee once Sarah realized she was in a car outside, Sarah ended up with no new information about those creepy maggots – but she did have a horrifying encounter with the Neo EMTs.

Restraining her and poking around in her mouth, they realized she was not the clone they were looking for (are they looking for MK?). Apparently, they were able to tell that it wasn't MK because of the fact that Sarah had a maggot implant of her own in her jaw. They don't need Sarah, for whatever reason, so they left her alone and retreated.

Sarah doesn't typically look terrified but she looked practically delirious with fright after Mrs. S confirmed that there was a small something moving near the bottom of her cheek. That made this development all the more jarring. I can't wait to see where they go with this, despite it being really hard to stomach.

Other thoughts:

  • Only six months have passed since this all began (established when Felix stated that Trina the pregnant chick visited Beth six months ago). Six months over the course of three seasons. How crazy is that?!
  • I don't care for Kendall Malone. I get the feeling that we're supposed to, but so far she's mostly been just a crotchety old woman. The reveal that Kendall was diagnosed with leukemia (a presumably terminal diagnosis) didn't land as powerfully as it should have, given how weakly-characterized Kendall has been so far.
  • Art better get something interesting to do this season. I fear that he's fallen victim to Felix-style sidekick characterization, and he's more interesting than that.

What did you think of "Transgressive Border Crossing"? Sound off by commenting below and watch Orphan Black online here at TV Fanatic to catch up on anything you've missed!

Transgressive Border Crossing Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (37 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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