Orphan Black “Variable And Full Of Perturbation”

So, I watched the first two full seasons and change of Orphan Black, even getting my wife’s brother into the show.  But when I cut the cable, my biggest regret was not being able to finish the show.  I’m sure I’ve brought this up before, but this episode holds a special place in my heart…as the worst episode of Orphan Black I actually saw.

Now, the episode isn’t a complete loss.  Donnie and Alison have some nice moments where Donnie confesses he has a dead man in the trunk of the family car, and Alison reacts in the most Alison way possible.   Likewise, we see more of Ethan and Rachel, where Ethan lets slip that Sarah was the mistake in the cloning process because the clones were supposed to be sterile, an announcement that secretly infuriates his long-lost adopted daughter.

But those are minor moments.  Likewise, the Cosima plotline looks familiar as she once again tells the well-meaning but secretive Delphine to take a hike and then changes her mind.  That usually takes more episodes than this, but we also got the poorly-planned sight of Cosima and Delphine getting high in the lab together as Cosima’s health continues to deteriorate.

No, the bulk of what’s wrong with this episode can be summed up in one word:  Tony.

Tony is the new clone introduced for this episode.  Tony is a transgendered clone, so, Tatiana Maslany put on some fake facial hair and lowered her voice.  And I don’t care much for Tony.

The problem with Tony is twofiold.  First, for all Maslany’s gifts as an actress, and for all that she has thus far played each and every variation on Sarah in a manner that shows each clone has a distinctive personality and such.  She’s a really good actress.  But for some reason. Tony is kind of a bust as a character.

Second, and more importantly, Tony seems to serve no purpose in the episode aside from the fact he kisses Felix once to weird out both Felix and the audience, and to give Maslany a chance to play a transgender character.  And that’s it.  The first problem could be dealt with if Tony were going to stick around and give Maslany and the writers a chance to develop the character further.  But no.  Tony shows up, acts suspicious because he’s basically a criminal, he demands answers, frustrates Art and Felix, gets an explanation when Sarah finally shows up, and then they give him one of the special phones to keep in touch since people are after him, and he leaves.

Does Tony come back?  I don’t know right now, but if this is it, the character and the episode was something of a waste, perhaps intended to fill time when they needed an extra episode.  Bah.  Let’s go to the next one.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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