Orphan Black S1x03 “Variation Under Nature”

I review the third episode of Orphan Black, entitled Variation Under Nature.


Orphan Black DVD Boxset

Three down, seven to go. Orphan Black has already established itself as my favourite 2013 show and I think it’s something that should deserve a lot more attention than it currently has. With a relatively unknown cast, and a high-quality writing team, we really could have something special here as the show builds on its impressive start, and allows the acting talents of Tatiana Maslany to really wow audiences, with this episode demonstrating why she, and this TV show – should be the next best thing.

This early on, the biggest strength of the show is what Tatiana Maslany can be bring to the table with her acting. As this is a show about cloning she has to adapt to a variety of different roles and does it with ease, really establishing herself as deserving of the awards that she has already won for her acting ability. Most people struggle to act the role of one character, but Maslany manages to do three, and aside from the fact that they’re all played by the same person, are completely different people. Whilst Sarah Manning remains the main character, Variation Under Nature sees Maslany not only flesh out Alison as the paranoid ‘soccer mom’, and Cosima – the character who we first met at the end of Episode 2 as another clone, and a hippie scientist. Felix, Sarah’s foster brother, also gets a nice role to play here, and Beth’s partner on the police force, Art – also get a considerably important role when Sarah has to continue playing the life of Beth, whose suicide at the beginning of Natural Selection really kicks the entire storyline in motion. Variation Under Nature continues to explore the consequences of Sarah’s decision to take Beth’s bag that she left behind, and continues to weave a very entertaining mystery.

The plot continues to remain gripping and whilst we’re no closer to getting any answers yet – instead with more questions being thrown at us, Variation Under Nature really allows for a satisfying watch that really helps to cement this series as the best new show of the year. Picking up from Episode 2 when Sarah buried Katja, The police inevitably stumble across the corpse as it was buried in a quarry without Sarah realising. Then, to make matters more interesting, Sarah-Beth gets put on the case with Art – allowing for some several fun scenes where Sarah finds herself really in over her head as she’s mostly unaware as to how the police operate, and must learn to use a gun in a way that prevents anyone raising a few eyebrows.

An element of humour comes into Variation Under Nature to give a light-hearted angle to an otherwise mostly dark show – when Felix is assigned to babysit Alison’s kids. This doesn’t come across as forced or cheesy, and neither does it feel like it breaks the tone of the episode. Jordan Gavaris also manages to improve the portrayal of Felix from a stereotypical role into something that manages to match the general tone of the series as well as remain humorous. I’m looking forward to seeing how the brother/sister type relationship between Felix and Sarah continues to develop over the seven episodes that remain, with the chemistry between Gavaris and Maslany pulled off pretty well.

In conclusion then, with Variation Under Nature, this show has continued to build on its promising start and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here. It’s already established itself as so far the best show of 2013 and is really something that deserves a lot more attention than other recent shows that have aired (cough Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D cough) and I really can’t wait until next Friday. If you’re not watching this show already then I strongly advise you to go back and check out the first two episodes. This show really should be up there with the likes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Seriously, it’s that damn good.

VERDICT: 4.75/5

ORPHAN BLACK SEASON 1 EPISODE GUIDE: S1x01: Natural Selection, S1x02: Instinct, S1x03: Variation Under Nature, S1x04: Effects of External Conditions, S1x05: Conditions of Existence, S1x06: Variations Under Domestication, S1x07: Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner, S1x08: Entangled Bank, S1x09: Unconscious Selection, S1x10: Endless Forms Most Beautiful

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