Season 2, Episode 9, "Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" | The House Next Door | Slant Magazine

June 15, 2014 1:10 AM

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Season 2, Episode 9, "Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" | The House Next Door | Slant Magazine

If you follow these weekly recaps of BBC America's almost-great drama with any regularity, you know by now that I take Orphan Black's allusions to the prolific work of English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon seriously. It may simply be a writer's prejudicial affection for the clever arrangement of words, but in truth such signposts crystallize both the thematic thrust of the series as a whole and the strengths and weaknesses of each individual episode. Bacon's complex alchemy of faith and reason is the framework in which Orphan Black situates its suspicion of any system or institution that threatens to elide the personal and the familial. His words frequently reflect the stylistic and narrative messiness ("Governed As It Were by Chance") or precision ("Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est") of individual episodes, as though a self-reflexive comment on the episode's shape. In this vein, "Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" perfectly describes the penultimate entry in Orphan Black's often inspired, sometimes vexing sophomore season: Pushing the series into previously unexplored terrain, the episode counts among the best hours of television I've seen so far this year.

Never before have we witnessed Alison (Tatiana Maslany) and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) operate so effectively in tandem. The burial of Aldous Leekie, dispensed with in stages that scaffold the proceedings from the opening minutes, calls up fond memories of Alison's musical, Blood Ties, with its juxtapo...

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