Orphan Black S1x06 “Variations Under Domestication”

I review Episode 6 of Orphan Black’s terrific first season, Variations Under Domestication, with spoilers.

Orphan Black DVD Boxset

Well, it seems as though we’re in a part of the year that’s given us some truly excellent TV shows. We’ve already had the wonderful 6-part drama Peaky Blinders, and the second season of Arrow is really impressing, and to top it all off, Ripper Street returns with its second season on Monday in the UK. And whilst all of this is going on, the jaw-droppingly awesome Orphan Black reaches its sixth episode out of ten, continuing to impress as one of the best new TV shows of the year. It’s just an incredible piece of drama that deserves a lot more attention than it’s currently getting, and the only downside really about this episode was the fact that I wasn’t able to watch it until Thursday, as I was busy getting stuck into Supernatural S3 and watching the Arsenal/Dortmund Champions League Game the day before. However, I’m glad that I eventually caught up – because with a double bill of episodes 7 and 8 in the UK tonight, I can’t wait to see where this show takes us as it’s seemingly something that starts off strong and only gets better with every new episode.

That is, in large parts – thanks to the acting talents of Tatiana Maslany. We get the attention on three clones this time around – with an Alison-heavy episode that gives Sarah plenty to do and manages to not really push Cosima to the side – as the character still gets a healthy amount of screen time as various threads are developed with all three character’s arcs. Sarah’s story in particular is really coming to a head here, with a party being held at Alison’s house whilst Alison is interrogating her husband in the belief that he may be his monitor, as was revealed last episode. The episode also sees Paul finally learn the truth about Sarah – who has explained away her connection to Beth Childs being that they’re twin sisters. However, it’s revealed to him at the end that they’re clones – and to make things more interesting, we’re not done with “Vic the Dick” yet – and before this reveal, which he doesn’t stick around for, tracks Sarah to Alison’s house and runs into Sarah – who’s impersonating Alison for the party-goers, as well as Paul – who’s a step closer to uncovering the mystery when he stumbles across the real Alison.

There’s a lot going on in this episode, and Variations Under Domestication shows the real improvement of the writers over this season and just shows how you can make a show that started off good even better, as it manages to keep the show fresh, interesting and entertaining despite a seemingly generic theme that’s been done countless of times in the past. Mainly this is because of the incredible Tatiana Maslany and her awesome acting abilities, but the writers also play a large role in making this drama consistently brilliant and entertaining.

We’re still not close to getting any answers yet, though, and this isn’t helped by the possibility of yet more questions – Matt Frewer plays the role of Dr. Leeke, a chief proponent of Neolution that certainly will add another layer to the central story thread with the clones – and with no main antagonist revealed since the sidelining of Helena, who might not even be classified as a ‘main’ antagonist at all, we could be seeing the main bad guy if you will here – especially when you consider the end reveal regarding his connection with Delphine, who is at this point, almost certainly Cosima’s monitor.

I think, Variations Under Domestication may well be one of the best episodes yet. Maslany’s acting improves and the tense dynamic of the show allows for a very entertaining watch. The Alison-heavy episode went a great way to improve her character, and it’ll be certainly interesting to see how the fallout from this episode is dealt with now that we know her husband is not her monitor.

I really can’t wait for episodes 7 & 8 – and with four episodes left, It’ll be interesting to see if there are any major revelations for us to look forward to. I’m certainly interested in seeing how they unfold.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

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