Episode two wastes no time placing us right back in the action at the very moment where the explosive premiere left us hanging. The mystery gets even more complicated, the tension is amped up, and Sarah meets even more “identicals.”
Sarah had just answered the pink phone when episode one ended tearing us away from the mystery for another week-long wait. The woman on the other end of the line apparently knows Beth and she’s asking about Katja and a briefcase.
Sarah tells her Katja was shot dead and the woman continues to ask about the briefcase. Sarah doesn’t see a briefcase so the woman says to be sure and get blood and hair samples from Katja before getting rid of the body. Sarah drives to a remote, wooded location and buries Katja. It’s a difficult task. Even though Sarah’s done some questionable things, she’s never been involved with anything like this.
She goes to Felix’s apartment, still concerned that her daughter, Kira, might think she’s dead. When they open the satchel that had the cash in it, all the cash is gone. Art took it when he broke into her car in the first episode and he’s holding it until the investigation into the shooting is over. He’s worried Beth/Sarah will disappear before the incident is resolved.
Sarah heads home. Paul’s there and he seems genuinely concerned about her. What he sees as erratic behavior on the part of Beth is, in fact, Sarah doing her barely-informed best to slip into Beth’s complicated life. Paul can’t take any more worrying about her so he says he’s leaving for a while. This is a decision he made before she got home because his bags are packed and sitting by the door.
Felix visits Mrs. S and Kira. He tells Mrs. S that Sarah’s alive, but that doesn’t convince their stepmother that she should let Sarah see her daughter. At least Kira knows her mom is alive.
Still at Beth’s apartment, Sarah takes the case file on the shooting and memorizes it thoroughly. She meets Art at a restaurant and tells him the money was a joint savings account she had with Paul. Her story is she cleaned out with plans to leave him, but she decided to stay to clear the shooting incident. Sarah knows this is a lie, but while Art doesn’t, she really has no idea where the money came from, so they’re both in the dark in one way or another.
Art grills Sarah on the shooting incident in great detail and she’s got it down. One surprising fact we learn is that Art put the cell phone in the victim’s hand after the shooting. Art did that to help Beth whom he knows has been taking a ton of drugs prescribed by her psychiatrist. If the truth about the drugs comes to light then the fact that he planted the phone will come out, too. Art cares about Beth, but he doesn’t want to be dragged down because of her demons.
Sarah goes back to Felix’s and he tells her Kira knows she’s alive, which provides a lot of relief. Felix is still pushing her to tell him what’s going on. She tells him Beth was investigating her twins’ and whatever she found must’ve driven her to kill herself.
The pink phone rings and it’s the same woman who called right after Katja was killed. She’s asking about the briefcase again and tells Sarah to find it and she’ll call later. Sarah has a hotel keycard she found on Katja’s body so she disguises herself like the German and goes to the hotel to find the briefcase.
She finds the hotel room completely trashed and no sign of a briefcase, but there is a claim check. Management demands she pay for the damages totaling over $6000 and she says to charge it against her credit card they have on file. A few tense moments pass while the authorization is pending, but the charges go through. She hands the hotel staff the claim check and demands her briefcase, which she receives.
Sarah takes the briefcase to an empty parking structure and pries it open. Inside are some papers and several vials of blood. The papers contain identification information for Katja and at least three more clones. There’s also a handwritten note with the name Alison Hendrix and an address that’s not far away. Alison is the woman who’s been calling on the pink phone.
Right on schedule the phone rings again. It’s Alison calling back as promised and Sarah decides to use her own accent which only spooks Alison into hanging up. Her paranoia is justified with all the cloak-and-dagger activities and clones getting killed.
Not content to leave this alone, Sarah drives to Alison’s home which is in the suburbs. She waits for Alison to drive away (in a minivan) and follows her to a park. A couple of kids get out of the van; Alison’s a suburban soccer mom! The horror!
When Alison goes into a small building at the edge of the field, Sarah follows her inside and tells her Beth is dead. Alison is none too happy by either Sarah’s presence or the news of Beth’s death and tells Sarah to leave and wait for her to call later.
As she’s leaving the park Art calls and tells her the psychiatrist has ruled her unfit for duty which means no hearing and a delay in the resolution of the shooting incident. Sarah meets with the shrink who seems like a bitch and refuses to change her ruling, so Sarah uses a bit of leverage. She reads off the long list of drugs the shrink has casually written for Beth and threatens to tell the board that the shooting was because of the over-prescribing of drugs. This would ruin shrinkbitch so she capitulates. The hearing commences and Sarah nails it.
Alison calls while clipping coupons in a room filled with ribbon and wrapping paper. The juxtaposition of their lives is almost comical. Alison says to come by after 9 and knock quietly. The meeting is set.
Felix rides with Sarah to Alison’s subdivision and has a wonderfully comic reaction. “There’s redness, it’s right there. Tiny, little suburban stress zits emerging in direct proximity to bad architecture.”
Sarah has Felix wait in the car while she meets with the very uptight Alison. Once inside, Sarah gets a shock. From a door adjacent to the room they’re in yet another clone walks in. “Hey, I’m Cosima. We talked on the phone.” Sarah’s jaw literally drops as she asks, “How many of us are there?”
We’ll have to wait for the answer to that final question, an answer to which may never quite be known at the rate duplicates seem to be emerging, but that’s part of the appeal of Orphan Black. In just two short episodes the show has created a deep mythology many other shows never achieve.
We feel invested in Sarah’s troubles and Felix has become the lovable voice of sarcasm and wit. Vic continues to deliver his bipolar form of comic relief, too. These two provide a balancing contrast to the ever-tightening situation Sarah’s found herself in. Actually, between the clones and Beth’s shooting of a civilian she’s in several bad situations. I can’t help but think the two are related and I’m going to have a great time finding out.
Tatiana Maslany continues to deliver stunning performances. We didn’t see much of Cosima, but the way she played Alison was again so thoroughly different from the other characters that it was completely convincing. Maslany does an unparalleled job of making each character unique right down to miniscule mannerisms.
Orphan Black delivers a bundle of interwoven tales that make for great television. But even if it wasn’t so wonderfully written, watching Maslany move between characters would be fascinating enough to keep me coming back every week.
Orphan Black airs on BBC America Saturday nights at 9/8c right after Doctor Who and just before The Nerdist. Now you know where you should be on Saturdays.