What’s better than a road trip episode? A road trip of episode of Orphan Black! Sarah drives in search of more answers about the clones’ beginnings as Helena rides shotgun. “To Hound Nature In Her Wanderings” brings us into the second half of the second season. It placates us with some answers while intriguing us with more questions. What I like most about the episode is the way it shows Sarah and Helena bonding, becoming more sisters than clones, before showing just how precarious this bond is for them.
Toward the beginning, “To Hound Nature” was more light-hearted than I’ve come to expect from Orphan Black which meant that it immediately put me on edge as I anticipated some heavy stuff going down by the end of the hour. Before that, there are the sisterly scenes between Sarah and Helena. First, spending the night together in the tent making shadow puppets — I’m always stuck by the way Helena teeters between this wild-eyed childish nature and her animalistic, violent tendencies that we see later in the episode — and there’s a quiet pause when Helena curiously questions Kira’s existence; if Sarah can have children, can Helena, too?
Second, there is a wonderful moment in the car a Helena loudly (and poorly) sings along to the car radio while an amused Sarah tells her to cut it out. It’s funny and familiar and could easily fit in with any road trip movie which makes it so jarring — but welcoming — here. I loved this break from tension, this reminder that although Sarah and Helena are dealing with some Very Serious Shit they are still, after all, sisters in their young twenties. It’s a reminder that they are humans before they are clones (though I should note the show has always been great with putting this real humanity that exists within the clones before the science-fiction).
This happens once they arrive at the church, too. Sarah goes off to investigate more inside the church while Helena kills time at the bar across the street. She’s on “vacation,” she claims, and lines up an impressive array of drinks on the bar in front of her. After breaking — ahem, straining — a creeper’s finger she meets Jesse (Patrick J. Adams, also known as The Hottest Of The Hot Guys On Suits). Jesse’s a blue-collar dude, trucker hat and all, and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Arm wrestling leads to dancing, dancing leads to a hot and furious make-out session against a pool table. The two are quickly interrupted by the asshole from before and a fight breaks out. Well, it’s not exactly a fight but more of Helena beating the living piss out of a trucker. What’s more? Both Paul and Mark are on the fringes watching.
Helena’s been creeping up to the top of my list as my favorite clone but Alison still has a hold on the number one spot and, thankfully, she’s back this week! She’s still in rehab — though Sarah and Cosima are planning on getting her out soon — and her story is getting more interesting, too. She’s in the same rehabilitation facility as Victor, Sarah’s somewhat reformed ex-boyfriend from early in the first season, which surely can’t be a coincidence (and yes, we later learn he’s up to something shady). Alison can’t hide from Victor but he’s not interested in hurting her, instead he seems more confused. “What are you, twins?” “We’re clones.” Alison is the likely clone for unlikely pairings — think of how organic and important her friendship with Felix has become this season — and here, she hesitantly opens up to Victor a bit and it’s not long before they are shooting hoops together he’s helping her with her awful husband. After all, rehab is lonely.
Back at the bar, the cops have been called and Helena is cuffed and being hauled off to jail as Jesse protests. She refers to Jesse as her boyfriend, a nod to the way she has remained on the outside of the rest of the world. The guys don’t press charges and she’s free to go but when an officer announces that Helena’s “sister” is here, it’s not Sarah that shows up — it’s Gracie.
Sarah has paid a visit to Mrs. S where she meets Ethan Duncan, Rachel’s adoptive father. It’s a weighty scene; in addition some big revelations from Ethan (and an emotional performance) like how Dr. Leekie murdered Ethan’s wife and Rachel’s adoptive mother Sarah, Mrs. S is outside in Paul’s passenger seat explaining that Duncan is “the only person alive who can give Sarah — and her sisters — what they need.” She also tells Paul that he’ll have to kill her in order to get Sarah, and kill them both to get to Duncan.
As for Helena’s plot, Gracie urges her to come back to the compound with them (creepy Mark is creeping around, as usual). You can see your babies, Gracie says, knowing how to appeal to Helena. Helena does want to see her children, even if they are the result of the Proletheans stealing her eggs. So Helena does decide to go back to the Proletheans and Sarah has no idea. It’s heartbreaking that the episode doesn’t end with Sarah and Helena, as it started out, but I know they have to come back together soon. As the clones have learned, “We’re stronger together.”