Sat
May 18 2013 6:42pm

Orphan Black’s Sarah/Paul: Tainted Love

Orphan Black's Paul and Sarah












Note: This post contains SPOILERS for Season 1 of Orphan Black.

If you’re not watching BBC America’s Orphan Black (and you should be!), you’re not only missing out on a great mystery/sci-fi drama series, but also one very twisted love story. When our grifter heroine Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) happens to witness the suicide of a woman, Beth Childs, who looks identical to her, she slips into her doppleganger’s life as a police detective hoping to score some cash. She gets more than she bargained for in all kinds of ways, but the most intriguing is Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce), Beth’s live-in lover.

Streetwise punk-rock Sarah (who was previously dating a drug dealer) isn’t too impressed as she scopes out pics of the chiseled clean-cut guy, declaring to her buddy Felix that “If that was my boyfriend, I’d jump in front of a train too.” But hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. When Paul comes home unexpectedly, Sarah tries some distraction, in the form of stripping him for some sexytimes on the kitchen countertop.  (And this is cable, so there is skin. And thrusting. And moaning. Mmhmm.)

Sarah in Orphan BlackDespite it seeming pretty mutually satisfying, Sarah’s relieved when Paul buggers off to stay at a friend’s, hinting that things weren’t too rosy between him and Beth. It would’ve been easy enough for the show to write Paul out, given that Sarah has plenty of other drama to deal with. But they bring him back just as the main plot heats up (for steamy shower sex!), and the chemistry between them continues to spark.

But…so does their suspicion of each other. After a truly disturbing experience where she thinks doctors came into their apartment and examined her while she slept, Sarah starts to wonder if Paul is a plant, who was monitoring Beth for the folks who seem to be trying to kill off the clones. She finds personal letters that confirm he didn’t love Beth, but suspiciously wouldn’t leave her either. She tries to spy on Paul, who is having his own suspicions as he suddenly (finally) realizes his girlfriend had a scar that Sarah seems to be missing.

A cat-and-mouse game ensues, but comes to a head quickly as various evidence leads Paul to confront Sarah at gunpoint demanding to know where Beth is. It’s not looking good for our girl, in true romantic suspense fashion, but she comes mostly clean then suggests Beth killed herself because of him. But when she asks Paul how he could do that, he admits he was monitoring Beth because he had no choice, and “they don’t tell us why.”

Paul in Orphan BlackTurns out Paul’s a former soldier, who’s been forced into spying on Beth in retribution for something he was involved with in Afghanistan (but clearly a good guy at heart!). They confront each other about their double dupe, (“You weren’t even you!” “And you weren’t you either!”  but you get the feeling that this soldier/spy Paul understands hustler/conwoman Sarah, and maybe even admires her. He admits he’s worried for her and knows she isn’t telling him something, but Sarah, who’s ostensibly in the other room starting to take a shower, has slipped out of the apartment entirely.

We see him slipping some pills into a bottle of alcohol in their kitchen, clearly planning to eliminate her when he then goes and lies to Olivier that he stopped Sarah from overdosing on pills the previous night. Paul asks point blank about what will happen to him if she tries it again, and Olivier insists there’s no wrong choices as long as the “subject” makes them herself.  Sarah, you in danger girl!

Paul and Sarah in Orphan BlackBut then the show changes things up again, Paul tracks her down to another clone’s house and gets an inkling of what’s really going on finally, and when Sarah’s drug dealing ex Vic corners her, he comes to her rescue (with the help of a nail gun!). And when he later questions her, she spills all the beans, telling him about the clones, and Paul opts not to poison her after all (hurrah?).

When he next meets with Olivier, whose own suspicions have grown and threatens Paul, telling him to call Sarah and lure her in to meet with him, Paul’s feelings emerge and he instead calls and tells her to run.  But Sarah cares for him too, and the girl who runs from every bad situation she can? Well, suddenly she’s all “I don’t do run!” and (with the help of another clone sis) manages to rescue them both. Touchingly, they have their first real kiss in the aftermath.

Will those crazy kids make it? It remains to be seen, but they sure do have a lot of enemies. Hopefully they’ll continue to save each other’s very fine asses (and keep steaming up our TV screens) as they buddycop it up, battling the bad guys together.

 


Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.

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11 comments
Heather Waters (redline_)
1. redline_
Quite liked the pilot for this, so I'll definitely be watching more. And the developments you mention between these two are very intriguing...
Keishon
2. Keishon
I just watched episode 8 tonight. Yes, I am enjoying the twisted romance between Paul and Sarah. I'm still waiting for the big picture here. So far it is an excellent show. Thanks for the summary.
Tara Gelsomino
3. Taragel
@redline_ I think you'll really dig it. There's a lot more ins and outs between them that I didn't capture here because I didn't want to spoil too much!

@Keishon Me too! I love that this show always zigs when I think it will zag! (That ending! oh my!) It'll be very intriguing to see where they end this season's finale and what next season will get into...
Lege Artis
4. LegeArtis
"...great mystery/sci-fi drama series, but also one very twisted love story." - I was somewhat reluctant to get myself into another show, but this sentence decided for me.
Great post, Tara. ;)
Minime
5. Minime
I am waiting for Paul's backstory to come out and why he never fell in love with Beth.
Chelsea Mueller
6. ChelseaMueller
Great post. It took me a few episodes to get into Orphan Black and now it's my favorite new show this season. Amazing acting, great tension and, oh, the sexytimes.
Tara Gelsomino
7. Taragel
@LegeArtis Oh good! I hope you enjoy it, the love story takes about five episodes to really get going but the show is so good in general, you'll be hooked. (And they do keep having very hot encounters even before that!) Thanks!

@Minime I'd like to know more about what he did in the war but I wonder if they'll get into his and Beth's relationship any more than they have. I think the reason he never fell for Beth is maybe because she was so straight-laced and perhaps they had no chemistry? He likes Sarah's edge and I think he was picking up on and getting attracted to that.

@ChelseaMueller Thanks! Yeah I liked it from the start, but I think episode 4 is where I got really good and hooked. Plus, the romance...well, every story is better when there's a ship to root for!
Keishon
8. hcanavero
Love this show. I happened uponit and glommed up the episodes OnDemand. Love Paul...he is hot. Felix is so fun and Helena is spooky scary. I love where it's going...but this past Saturdays epi was a bit hearbreaking!
Keishon
9. SassyT
I love Orphan Black (whomever that is...lol)!!! I agree that Paul is hot which made me not mind all his duplicitous behavior. I was pleasantly surprised that he warned Sarah. I think Mrs. S is going to play a big part in the whole thing. She didn't even bat an eye when Sarah told her what was what. That last part of the last episode was terrible but I knew something bad was going to happen.
Keishon
10. miller
I love the twists and turns in Orphan Black and am fascinated by the personalities of the different clones.
Tara Gelsomino
11. Taragel
@hcanavero It's so addictively good! I wasn't sold on Felix at first, but he's really grown on me and his relationship with Alison is especially sort of hilariously touching.

@SassyT Right? We've finally gotten a tiny hint at where the "black" part comes in from Mrs. S! There seems to be a lot more there! And eep! Kira! I was anticipating a kidnapping but then, nope! Something more horrifying!

@miller Me too! Who's your favorite clone? Mine was Cosima but I'm loving all the growth in Sarah and that's really winning me over now.
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