Maya Reddy ‘17/Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Much like in previous seasons, halfway through the third season of Orphan Black, Helena and Sarah are reunited. Their reunion in “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” is a bit rocky considering Helena’s finding out that she was kidnapped in exchange for Sarah’s safety, however the intro to this episode dives right into their interaction, leaving little room for the silent treatment. Perhaps it’s a bias, but Helena and Sarah arguably have one of the best dynamics between the clones. They are always a delight to watch together, so the narrowed focus of “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” made for an extremely pleasant watch.
While Tatiana Maslany portrays both Sarah and Helena, there is still a palpable chemistry between the two and this episode sheds light on the similarities that go even further between the sisters. One of Sarah’s defining traits is her quick thinking and creative ways of getting out of situations; this has be seen in Helena as well but to an even greater degree now as she plans to escape their military prison. Seeing Sarah and Helena work together was thrilling and felt reminiscent of earlier Orphan Black episodes when the plot was simple enough to just focus on one task—in this case, escaping.
The sharp focus of this episode can be seen in its other plots as well. While Gracie’s (Zoé De Grand Maison) attempt to experience normal life outside of the Proletheans is relatively light until the end, it creates interesting bonds between her and Mrs. S and Felix (Jordan Gavaris). It also allows for a closer look at Mrs. S outside of her strained relationship with Sarah. Besides Mrs. S’s interactions with Kira (Skyler Wexler), we get to see Mrs. S’s maternal side really shine with Gracie as she opens up to her. Gracie’s sudden collapse at the end of this episode was also very surprising and unlike some earlier problems with “big reveals” feeling anticlimactic, this new discovery actually felt like a discovery. And although this weird illness in both Gracie and the girl that Rudy and Seth (Ari Millen) assaulted is surprising, it also doesn’t feel completely out of the blue. It’ll be interesting to see where this plot goes and how it all ties in with everything.
And finally onto Cosima finding her rebound in a dating app called Sapphire. With Alison not in this episode (although missed, ultimately a smart decision), Cosima’s date is part of the comedic relief of “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations”. Cosima’s charm in this episode, keeps her plot from feeling too out of place when paired with the life-threatening situations of Sarah and Gracie. However, there is a brief dark moment in knowing Cosima and her date are being watched. Cosima’s date, Shay (Ksenia Solo) works as a Holistic Healer which will tie in well with Cosima’s spiritual questioning that’s been happening since her brush with death at the end of the last season.
The end of “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” offers many moments of surprise, but one of the most heart-breaking moments is Helena not following through with helping Sarah escape. While the two have formed a certain kind of bond, it is not surprising that there would still be residual anger for Helena, especially since a lot of her relationship with Sarah has seemed one-sided so far. However, it’s even more heart-breaking to then see Helena regret her decision when it seems too late for her to go back to Sarah. What will happen with Helena after this is hard to predict, but hopefully she’ll stay somewhat involved with cloneclub in the tail-end of this season, as it has been done with the last two seasons.
The clones are always at their most compelling when they’re interacting, and hopefully they’ll be reunited shortly. While Cosima’s plot seemed a little unrelated to the rest of the stories, besides the brief idea that she is being watched, this element of having her move on from Delphine will definitely have an effect on how she interacts with Delphine in the episodes to come. And while Alison may not have been in this episode, it overall made for a less spread out episode and it seems like she’ll be featured prominently again next week.
This decision to really focus in on only a few storylines this episode, made a drastic difference in how everything was absorbed. It really allowed for a greater pull into the stories of Orphan Black, creating an investment in the characters for the audience that has been somewhat shaky these past few episodes. “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” definitely made for an incredibly engaging watch from the beginning to the end.
Episode Grade: A