BBC America’s medical science-fiction show Orphan Black was renewed for a second season and picked up where season one left off.
Tatiana Maslany reprises the role of Sarah Manning, Cosima, Alison, Helena and new sister Rachel in a story for which many commentators suggest she should have received an Emmy. She’s able to give each sister a unique personality with behavioural tics of their own. Not only that, the sheer volume of work she’s doing, appearing in virtually every scene, sometimes several times, means she has her work cut out for her.
The game is afoot in season two, with Sarah in trouble with the law for impersonating a police officer, then whisked from frying pan to fire to meet Rachel, another sister who has designs on her daughter. Not only that, Siobhan and Kira have disappeared.
A new threat is revealed in the Proletheans, a cult headed by Henrik Johansen (Peter Outerbridge) with help from a strange young man called Mark (Ari Millen). They too are interested in Kira but must be content with Helena, the Russian assassin sent in season one to kill all the sisters.
Also returning is Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce) who turned out to be a man of many hats, employed by DYAD, the nefarious institute of science responsible at least in part for Sarah and her sisters plights. Matt Frewer as Dr. Leekie also gets some screen time and his role in the tale becomes clear. But he’s second in the pecking order to sister Rachel, who is a cold and calculating member of the cast.
Rachel has many axes to grind, not least of which is with her father who is revealed as the brains behind the sisters. Andrew Gilles plays Ethan Duncan, lead on the LEDA project. He may be able to help Rachel have a child, despite their being deliberately sterilised.
As with season one, you have to pay attention to these episodes and plot twists may require judicial use of the rewind button. The season is again 10 episodes, and given the amount of plot covered, would have been easily stretched to 15 or 20 episodes. However, it’s a concentrated watch, and worth the effort if you can spare the brainpower.
Orphan Black is available on DVD and through Netflix Australia.