Orphan Black: 402 “Transgressive Border Crossing” Review
Reviewed by Connor Johnston.
The second episode of Orphan Black’s fourth series, “Transgressive Border Crossing” holds much more of a ‘business-as-usual’ structure than its predecessor, seeing all of its main characters brought back into focus as we are updated in the lives of the Clone Club following Sarah’s chaotic return into the fold. Regardless of how familiar the narrative of this week’s installment feels at first, it very quickly becomes evident that in returning to its roots the plot has not sacrificed any of the ambition we have come to associate with the series.
One of the greatest highlights of this week’s episode was the exploration into Donnie and Helena’s friendship. There is something really unique and special that is created with such an inappropriate (yet perfect) dynamic. From their hilarious exchanges pretending to be in a loving marriage to the incredibly moving moment when Helena sees her babies for the very first time, their scenes together are both genuine and entertaining.
However, Donnie and Helena aren’t the only strange pairing that make up the narrative of this episode. While Delphine’s fate remains a mystery, it is reassuring to see her absence have a substantial effect on Cosima emotionally. It is Cosima’s heartbreak that allows Mrs. S to act as a source of comfort and counsel, given that she has become a pseudo surrogate mother to the entirety of Clone Club. It is the success of moment’s like; Mrs. S and Cosima’s heart-to-heart, Donnie and Helena’s hospital appointment, as well as Alison and Felix’s flourishing relationship and even Scott and Kendall’s arrangement– where we see the borders between each separate group of characters’ blur completely – that reinforces the idea that they’ve all become quite a dysfunctional and intimate family, and contributes incredibly to the show’s high spirits and overall tone.
In terms of the main narrative of the series, both Sarah and Beth’s storylines continue to interweave throughout the past and present as the mystery revolving around Neolusion, their motivations and their role in Beth’s suicide continue to take form. Mika’s presence once again acts as a powerful bridge between the two storylines, and although it is difficult to speculate over the extant of the new clone’s hidden knowledge so far, it is clear that the influence she has in current events is unequalled.
It will come as no surprise that with such an energetic and intense episode, its conclusion holds back no punches in delivering a powerful climax. With the revelation that Neolusion has been implanting and forcibly extracting worm-like organisms into people’s anatomies, some inauspicious questions are posed regarding both Sarah’s future and wellbeing. Also alarming is the unexplained absence of Cal, who one assumed would have found Daenerys by now and be back where he belongs, but only time will tell.
With only 2 episodes under its belt, already Orphan Black Series 4 is shaping up to be one of the most successful and focused run of episodes in the show’s brief history. The momentum and energy of the show currently is unparalleled among serial and mystery dramas, and however rewarding the episodes seem to be already, it is clear that things are just warming up.
As we journey into the weeks ahead we can look forward to answers regarding Beth’s discovery, Neolution’s motivations, Delphine’s fate and of course the origins of the organic matter that has invaded Sarah’s anatomy. Is this the strongest position Orphan Black has ever been in? While it may take a few more weeks for me to give a definite ruling, it is evident the series has made a stunningly confident start.