‘Orphan Black’: ‘Instinct’ review

If it wasn’t already obvious after the first episode, the way ‘Instinct’ ends makes it clear Orphan Black is a show that is primarily about clones and that this story thread is what the plot will be mainly be focussed on.

The mystery of why Beth killed herself remains an interesting addition, and it’s guaranteed to end up connecting to the cloning conspiracy in some way further down the line.

This instalment finds Sarah scrambling for answers after the surprising conclusion to the premiere, in which she meets her German lookalike only to see her suddenly shot by a sniper. Like the first episode, things get moving quickly, with Sarah cleaning the car and disposing of the body before the consequences of her decision to take on Beth’s identity continue to come at her in ways she can’t predict, bringing about developments that she can’t necessarily handle.

We also get a chance to go deeper into certain storylines, as Felix heads to the house of “Mrs S” (real name Siobhan Sadler) to make sure that Sarah’s daughter Kira doesn’t believe her to be dead. Funnily enough, Mrs S appears to be a relatively reasonable person, something that is surprising when you consider how Sarah refers to her in the first episode. Despite her being the protagonist, Sarah is hardly a faultless person and the further Orphan Black progresses, the clearer it becomes that she is the one responsible for most of her own problems.

In any case, the show doesn’t give us much time to consider Sarah’s morality as she’s got more than a few situations that she needs to get herself out of in this episode so that she can get her money back from Art and move away with Felix and Kira. It’s her own curiosity, though, that is steering her into a potentially far more dangerous situation when it comes to her clones.

The material with Art and the hearing at the police station is some of the strongest in the episode, as Sarah’s ingenuity continually enables her to deceive everyone around her. It makes for riveting television, just watching her steadily absorb everything about her surroundings and work out her next best move. In some cases, such as when Art reveals more about the shooting than he might be expected to, it seems that she is simply lucky but it’s usually the case that she’s manipulating people very subtly to either give her information she needs or do what she wants.

Tatiana Maslany’s performance continues to be incredible, and it’ll be fascinating to see what happens now that three clones are going to be ending up in conversation. The work she has to do for Orphan Black must be absolutely exhausting, but the final result looks effortless and is deserving of recognition.

There are some issues that persist, as the presence of Vic becomes irritating and the central conspiracy only narrowly avoids some clichés but, for the most part, this promising second episode doesn’t disappoint, proving that Orphan Black has what it takes to keep its twisty plot intriguing.

Aired at 9.45pm on Friday 20 September 2013 on BBC Three.

> Order Season 1 on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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