BBC America's sci-fi thriller Orphan Black—and especially Tatiana Maslany's brilliant performances in it—has taken TV critics by storm recently, and we're just as enthralled by Sarah, Paul, Alison, Felix, Helena, Art, Cosima, et al. While the series is on hiatus until 2014 (sob!), we here at H&H are eager to relive the glory of Season 1 with a hiatus rewatch led by Kiersten Hallie Krum, who also recaps Lost Girl, every Thursday for the next 10 weeks or so. Won't you join us?!
(Haven't watched the series yet, or looking for a way to watch it again? BBC America has a list of places where you can watch the episodes; plus, Season 1 will be out on Blu-ray/DVD on July 16 for Region 1.)
First up, the pilot episode, “Natural Selection”...
Late at night, a young woman sleeps on a train as it enters a nameless major city that we all know is Toronto but all righty. She’s beautiful with a punk, street style and long dark hair peppered with various bleached strands of hair on the side of her head that’s not braided tight to her skull. She jerks awake at the announcement of her stop and as she gets off, we see she’s wearing a short skirt, leather jacket and thigh-high combat boots. Seems there was a prime op missed here to play Cake’s Short Skirt, Long Jacket over the scene, though it’d be only half accurate. Wrong tone too.
Our mystery lady’s mien is sober and cautious if determined. She counts the few coins in her pocket and makes a call from what may be the last pay phone in the city. “Hey, it’s Sarah. Yeah, I’m back in town,” she tells the person she’s called. Her accent is all London. Halting if firm, she states that she wants to see Kira. By the frustrated jerk of her head, whoever she’s talking to denied her. Sarah swings around, still on the phone, and notices a sobbing woman approaching the nearly deserted tracks. While she shouts that it’s not fair, she keeps an eye on the clearly distressed, business-dressed woman. She demands to speak to Kira but slams the receiver down with a muttered “bitch!” when the other person hangs up on her.
The other woman is still sobbing. Sarah goes to make another call but doesn’t have the coin. She approaches the distraught woman to ask for change. Her back to Sarah, the other woman slowly sets down her expensive purse and steps out of her high-heeled pumps. As Sarah gets closer, the other woman discards her suit jacket, folds it neatly, and carefully places it on top of her shoes, sniffling all the while. Intrigued but cautious, Sarah slows down but is yet drawn to this curious woman. As she finally reaches her, the woman turns around…
She is the spitting image of Sarah. Down to the smallest detail. They are identical.
Stunned, Sarah stares at her reflection, but the other woman is too far gone to have much of a reaction to Sarah. That or she’s not at all surprised to see she has a double. Her hangdog expression the very picture of lost despair, the other woman doesn’t hesitate but takes four confident steps forward, straight off the edge of the platform and into the path of a speeding train. Horrified and shocked, Sarah is almost compelled to inch forward and view the resultant atrocity but she’s hustled back by first responders before she can get close. Coming back to herself, Sarah takes advantage of the chaos to sweep up her mystery twin’s purse and hurry away.
Welcome to Orphan Black.
Back somewhere on the mean streets of
Tdot, Sarah finds a quiet, derelict corner to rifle through the stolen purse. “Elizabeth Childs,” she reads from a driver’s license. She digs further and finds two mobile phones, one with a pink, rubber case, and a set of keys. Pausing in front of a mirror, she brushes her hair back and examines her own face as if looking at a stranger.
At a local pub, she gleefully meets up with Felix, her foster brother, who is seven kind of fabulous. He too is English with the same inner-city London accent. They clearly adore one another. He asks after “Vic the Dick,” and Sarah admits that this time she hit Vic the Dick first. She indicates the coke in the bag at her feet and asks if Felix can “flip it.” Felix doesn’t like this idea and asks what Sarah’s up to. She admits she’s back for Kira, her daughter, and that “Mrs. S.” is going to have to let her have her, despite whatever it is that Sarah did before she left. From Felix, we learn that Sarah’s been gone for nearly a year. Sarah: “So, I’m back on the run, the usual Sarah shite storm.” Felix: “Apparently.” Sarah segues into the “something really weird” that just happened at the train station. You know that whole, see-someone-who-looks-exactly-like-you-jump-in-front-of-a-train kind of weird. Sarah admits to a ghoulishly amused Felix that the jumper looked exactly like her. She pulls the bag up. Felix: “Oh! You robbed her body!” Sarah corrects that the bag was left on the platform. She shows Elizabeth Child’s license to prove the lookalike point. Shocked by the resemblance, Felix, or Fee as Sarah calls him, agrees that it’s weird. “It’s you with a nice haircut.” Sarah points out the nice address too and wonders if she could have a twin sister. “Well, now when you’re a poor little orphaned foster wretch, anything’s possible,” Fee quips. “Or so we tell ourselves.” Sarah decides she’s going to visit the nice address. Fee: “Yeah, to find out who she is or rob the rest of her shit?”
Elizabeth Child’s non-pink mobile rings with a call from “Art” displayed on the screen. Fee tells her to answer it. Instead, Sarah tells him to try to move the coke and leaves. The next morning, she cases Elizabeth Child’s posh address and cautiously lets herself in with Elizabeth Child’s key. No one is home so she prowls through the townhouse. “Boyfriend,” she dismisses pawing through the walk-in closet. “Squares,” she scoffs as she flips through Elizabeth Child’s unremarkable clothes. On the fridge is a travel itinerary. “Paul Dierden out of town till Saturday,” Sarah murmurs, fingering a note left behind by said Paul. She helps herself to a lager from the fridge but is caught by the snapshots of the happy couple, her face shining back to her snuggled up with a (it has to be said) smokin’ hot man whom Sarah’s never met.
Back at Felix’s Fun Flat (FFF), a nekkid Fee pulls up his pants. The half dressed man on his couch tests Sarah’s coke and then fastens his own trousers. He tells Fee it’s crap but he’ll pay 10 grand for it. “Ten,” Fee scoffs, “with a hay roll?” He insists boy toy can do better as someone pounds on Fee’s metal door. No, that’s not a euphemism. Someone is actually knocking on the door. The pounding continues (not like that!) as Toy Boy promises to see what he can do. Fee hides the coke and opens the door to Vic the Dick, who promptly tries to choke Fee all while demanding to know where Sarah is. Vic the Dick, lovely readers, is played by Michael Mando, who also played Thumper on Lost Girl and, more recently, was a guest star on the Canadian TV show, The Listener. Yes, I am a cornucopia of meaningless if mildly intriguing six degrees of separation, pop-culture intel. Toy surprise in every recap! (Not really. Don’t tweet me asking where to get your toy surprise, ‘kay?) Anyways, Fee points out that he hasn’t seen Sarah in a year because she’s been with Vic the Dick. “She’s not my problem anymore,” he quips with a toss of his head. But what Vic the Dick really wants is the coke and Felix finally concedes. “Here,” he says, passing a bump over to Vic. “Blow me.” Heh.
Felix asks after Vic the Dick’s bruised and bandaged face and Vic admits Sarah blindsided him and took off with the coke. Now Vic the Dick’s on the hook with his dealer and will eventually start to lose body parts until he finds Sarah and the coke. “Until I do, that’s on you,” he tells a no-longer amused Felix, with a slap to the face for added measure. Vic the Dick grabs an apple and goes. “I’ll be back. She’d better be here, fruitcake,” he warns. “Lovely to see you again, Vic (the Dick),” Felix snarks back. But he’s worried.
At the townhouse, Sarah calls Fee as she wanders through the kitchen making herself at home. In the foreground are more framed snapshots of Elizabeth Childs and Paul being romantic and adorable together, so they likely hate each other in situ, right? Sarah has done some digging and now explains that “Elizabeth Child’s” is actually called “Beth” and while her credit is maxed, she has a “sweet pad and her new boyfriend Paul is out till the weekend.” “Unfortunately, your real boyfriend, Vic the Dick, was already here,” Fee complains as he checks his bruised neck in a mirror. Sarah apologizes and puts him on speaker as she continues to go over the paperwork of Beth’s life. “Your blow’s abysmal, by the way,” Fee adds truculently. Snort. Cause that’s what’s important. Priorities, Fee has them.
Sarah objects that the 10 grand Fee’s been offered isn’t enough for them to get out with Kira and set themselves up somewhere. Fee demands to know who Elizabeth Childs is and Sarah admits that she still doesn’t know beyond a girl who looks like her. “A girl with a pretty nice life,” she adds quietly as she tries to break the password on Beth’s laptop. Fee points out if Beth had such a nice life then why did she kill herself? Good question.
Sarah stops the presses as she finds a bank statement that shows Beth opened a new account three weeks earlier with $75,000 in it. She realizes that’s more than enough money with which to lose Vic the Dick and start their new lives. Felix points out that any minute now someone is going to identify Beth’s body and that’ll be the end of it all. As Fee compliments Sarah’s work with the ashtray on Vic the Dick’s face, Sarah is caught by a breaking news report about Beth’s suicide. She gets an idea…an awful idea. Sarah gets a wonderfully, awful idea.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s MONTAGE TIME!!!
As MIA’s “Bad Girls” plays on the soundtrack, we’re treated to various scenes of Sarah taking over Beth’s life. She rubs Beth’s bank card against the inside of the fridge door as she puzzles her puzzler. Then she goes to work. She watches home movies of Beth to learn her mannerisms and flattens her accent into Beth’s North American tones. She views vids of Beth training for a marathon to see how she moves, clips of Beth horsing around with Paul, though not looking all that happy as she does it. Sarah practices Beth’s signature, paws through her closet, and finally, dyes her hair to match Beth’s straight brown streaks. In the bathroom, she finds shelves of meds all prescribed for Beth. As she covers up her own bleached streaks, the mobile phone rings again. “Sorry Art, whoever you are,” she says to the unanswered caller, “I’m gone for good.”
Wearing Beth’s clothes, carrying Beth’s purse, and sporting Beth’s classy if reserved style, Sarah enters the bank where Beth stashed her 75K and takes an appointment with the bank manager. How does she not still smell of home hair dye? I mean, that stuff is potent.
Back at the pub, Felix vacillates over the landline phone, half drunk pint near at hand. Steeling himself, he dials and tells whoever answers that he’s heard about the suicide at Huxley station and thinks he knows the victim. “Sarah. Sarah Manning.”
Dun, dun DUN!!!
Some grounds rules before we go any farther. For the purpose of identifying who is actually who in this show, the name of the actual character will come first and the name of the doppelganger being impersonated will come second. So Sarah pretending to be Beth at the bank is Sarah/Beth but Beth (in this case, as a corpse) being toe-tagged as Sarah is Beth/Sarah. Actual person/Person being impersonated.
Expertly impersonating Beth after what can only be a few fast hours of assuming her life Sarah meets with the effusively accommodating to a ridiculous degree bank manager, Stephen (guess 75K buys that kind of fawning) and explains she wants to make a complete withdrawal of the funds. She fumbles her way through what I can only assume is marathon runner speak and then explains she wants to withdrawal the amount in cash. He tells her it’ll take 2 to 4 business days (that phrase alone just burst an aneurysm in my head) to special order that much cash. As he swipes her bank card, she spies the running trophies at his back and coyly asks if he would make it a 24-hour rush if she sponsored his next race. This adroitly shows how Sarah can think on her feet. She’s smart, observant, and quick and isn’t afraid to move fast to use what she picks up on. She rolls with it. I dig it. Stephen capitulates easily. He even licks her hand in gratitude for being able to be of service (not really).
Stephen flirts that the bank card isn’t being read and Sarah is quick to suggest she may not have even activated it yet. He rolls over and shows his belly for her approval (not really) and then offers to set up a whole new card for her and use it to complete the withdrawal process. As Sarah goes for Beth’s license, she is surprised to a small key from the wallet. Seeing it Stephen asks if she’d like to access her safety deposit box too. Sarah is only too happy to do so. As she rummages its contents, the pink mobile phone chirps. Sarah scrolls down a series of text messages from an unidentified caller. Have arrived. Must see you. Where are you? Still waiting. “Yeah, good luck with that,” she mutters, tossing the phone aside.
The only things inside the safety deposit box are three birth certificates, one each for Allison Hendricks (April 4, 1984, Scarborough), Elizabeth Childs (April 1, 1984, East Fork), and Katja Obinger (March 24, 1984, Germany). Shaking her head, Sarah gathers them up and leaves the bank.
As she approaches the townhouse, a luxury sedan blinks it’s headlights at her insistently. Sarah tries to ignore it, but before she can duck into the townhouse, an unmarked police car pulls up beside her. A man leaps out, angry and irritated and demands that Sarah get in the car. She tries to refuse but he’s quite enraged and demands she get in the car. No stranger to being arrested, Sarah yet isn’t quite herself at the moment. Caught in her ruse, she can’t run as Sarah, but doesn’t know how to respond as Beth. She stumbles around asking after the charge. “Don’t Beth, not today” the cop chides, aggravated. He grabs her arm and hustles her into the car as the luxury sedan with the tinted windows slides right on by. When she hesitates, the cop insists that they’re already late and need to hurry. Confused, Sarah plays out the scene and gets in the car, more than a little shaky as she urges the agitated cop to calm down. As he closes the door on her, she glances down at the clipboard of police reports balanced between the seats but doesn’t have enough time to read anything.
The cop gets in the driver’s seat and, a little more calm, demands to know where Beth was. “We were going to go over it again today,” he reminds her. Still floundering her way through this, Sarah/Beth admits that she got held up. She tells him not to worry about it. “I worry!” he exclaims and adds that when she doesn’t, he gets pissed. He fills in that his ass is on the line too. So clearly, Beth was hip deep in shit all the way around before she offed herself. What?! Felix is rubbing off on me, yeah?
The cop orders that Sarah/Beth better be ready and, still clueless, she insists that she is. He notes she’s over dressed and wonders if she was out all night. She offers to go change and he locks the doors to keep her in, saying she’d probably run off on him. Less agitated, he offers that he knows it’s been as hard as it gets, “but you gotta stop making it worse!” Sarah/Beth glances down at the clipboard and zeroes in on the name at the top, “Detective Arthur Bell.” She tells “Art” to just drive.
At the morgue, Felix is being led in to identify Beth/Sarah’s body by the cute, nerdish morgue attendant. Felix is, again, ghoulishly entertained. “Don’t get me wrong, I usually do enjoy creepy, I do,” but he finds the air smells like…“death,” Cute Colin, the morgue attendant supplies with a small smile. He sweetly encourages Felix that he can “do this. It’s like a gestalt.” “Oh my,” Felix giggles.
Art pulls up in from of the police station, and Sarah/Beth has a quiet little internal freak out as she looks around at all the cops. “Ho-ly shite,” she mutters. Art takes her arm and hustles her across the lot and into the precinct. Tatiana Maslany does an amazing job of showing Sarah’s complete distress at willingly going into her equivalent to the Den of Iniquity all while maintaining the shell of Beth who, for as much as Sarah knows, could even belong in this environment. Frankly, the work Maslany does throughout this entire show is nothing short of brilliant, master class level work. Extraordinary.
Art hustles her inside. She’s wished good luck by a nameless, gorgeous woman—okay, look, it’s Inga Cadranel who plays Aoife on Lost Girl, so until someone names her outright, she’s Aoife, ‘kay? Good. A man approaches and chides Sarah/Beth again for being “fashionably late.” Art points out to the lieutenant that Sarah/Beth is there now. The lieutenant dismisses Art and tells the “detective”, meaning Sarah/Beth, to come with him. Sarah flinches to hear that Beth is a cop but can’t fully process that before the lieutenant is gesturing for her to follow him into what appears to be a full on tribunal. When she hesitates, the lieutenant, mistaking the reason for her pause, quietly advises that Sarah/Beth to just “stick to your statement and you’ll be fine.” Sarah/Beth glances in at the impatient inquisitors who await her and insists that she needs to use the wash room first. The lieutenant sends her to “get sorted” and Sarah/Beth hurries off…in the wrong direction until the lieutenant corrects her. Beth checks the washroom for other people and then loses it. She phones Felix, but gets his voicemail where she leaves a shaky message. “Felix? I’m a cop! Beth is a cop! Felix, abort! Abort!”
Back in the morgue, Cute Colin advises that this will be shocking for Felix but was instant for Beth/Sarah. He draws back the sheet and Felix freaks out, but then he really takes a look and is fascinated in spite of himself at Beth’s resemblance, even dead, to Sarah. He finally breaks and Cute Colin offers that Felix can lean on him. Felix is totally okay with that. Aw. Love in the morgue. Sweet.
Back in the washroom, Sarah/Beth is freaking out. Spying the soap dispenser, she forces herself to ingest some of the liquid soap. Back in the morgue, Cute Colin and Felix continue to flirt under the veil of condolence. Felix: “Well aren’t you an odd duck.” Hee.
Back at the cop shop, the lieutenant is waiting outside the washroom door for Sarah/Beth. He guides her into the conference room where someone official reads the minutes of the hour or whatever. “Statement of Officer Elizabeth Childs entering into the record her version of the line of duty shooting, 7 October of this year, resulting in a civilian fatality, one Margaret Cho.” Sounds like Beth was having a grand ole time of it, doesn’t it? Sarah/Beth is asked to give her statement in her own words but as she opens her mouth to respond, Sarah/Beth vomits all over the conference table, which successfully shuts down all proceedings.
Sarah/Beth and Art sit in the waiting room of Beth’s psychiatrist not looking at one another. Their brief banter shows the genuine affection Art has for Beth and that he’s picked up on something being off— “You haven’t called me dipshit all day”—but, for the moment, is attributing it to her being under investigation. He drops the black humor and tries to reassure her. “Try to forgive yourself. Shootings happen to whoever’s there with the gun in their hand.”
Back at Felix’s Fun Flat, Fee is painting out his issues, which, for the moment, include a head shot death portrait of Sarah, complete with Xs across her eyes, centered atop a penis. Look, I just recap what I see, okay? Vic the Dick bangs on his door again. Fee takes a pregnant pause to set his motivation for the upcoming scene before he wrenches open the door and smacks Vic the Dick across the face. “You bastard,” he intones with great drama. Vic the Dick doesn’t believe Fee’s crocodile tear-filled announcement that Sarah is dead “because you [Vic the Dick] are such an asshole!” until Fee shoves Beth/Sarah’s death certificate at him. Vic the Dick still isn’t buying it, so Fee takes him back to the morgue to see Beth/Sarah’s body. Vic the Dick breaks down when Cute Colin pulls the sheet back, tearfully calling Beth/Sarah a “stupid bitch” so we know he’s really in love with her. He lies on top of Beth/Sarah’s chest and, sobbing, embraces her. Fee rolls his eyes and smirks at Cute Colin before hilariously perfunctorily patting Vic the Dick on the shoulder.
In the shrink’s office, Sarah/Beth indirectly pumps the doc for information by claiming she can’t remember anything about the shooting beyond that she shot a civilian. Doctor Bower provides the civilians details. “Maggie Chen. 44. Church goer.” ‘Cause that makes it worse then? Sarah/Beth rubs her forehead and says she’s missing something, perhaps herself. Suggesting that she “glitched”, Sarah/Beth stumbles through a request for official leave. “You’re under suspension,” the doc reminds her dryly. Whoops. Sarah scrambles to cover her gaff by admitting she’s having a problem with detail so she’s not sure if she should say anything at all. Doctor Bower dismissively reassures her that it’s all confidential (sure) and then asks if Sarah/Beth has shared any of this “disassociation” with Paul but Sarah/Beth really doesn’t want to talk about Paul. The doc sighs and tries to analyze Sarah/Beth unaware of the actual psychological mine field she has before her. “Getting back on the job for you is about moving forward from a moment you can never take back. You need to talk to me about that moment. About seeing “cell phone” and reacting “gun”.” Sarah hums in agreement and then asks to make another appointment.
Sarah and Fee hang out in Beth’s townhouse nursing beers and debriefing. The pink mobile chirps and Sarah sees there are another 12 unread texts for Beth. Where are you? What happened? Back at hotel, call. Still waiting. Idly strolling around the room, Fee recaps Beth’s shooting incidence. “So, you’re twin, all hopped up on cop tranquillizers, guns down an innocent Chinese lady holding a cell phone in her hand. Is that true?” Sarah doesn’t know and admits she doesn’t think Art knows either. “Feels like she’s lying about something.” Takes a grifter to know a grifter. Fee notes the 75K in a new account as further proof of Beth’s dodginess and Sarah sums it up: “Whatever she was into drove her bloody nuts, yeah?” But Fee wants to “get the elephant out of the room” and goes back to Beth’s identical likeness to Sarah. “You’re related! This could be your story!” Sarah insists that it’s not and gets up to search the kitchen for the harder stuff. “Every foster kid dreams of their lost family,” Fee reminds her. “Deep down, we all think we’re special.” Sarah: “Yeah, the last thing I am is special.” She points to a picture of Paul and snarks that if he was her boyfriend, she’d jump in front of a train too. Fee teases her that Paul is hot and Sarah knows it. Well, I know it for sure!
Deeply amused, Fee supplies that Vic the Dick is “keening like a banshee” and wants a funeral. Sarah pulls out a bottle of scotch (even unmarked, it has to be scotch, right?) and asserts that Vic the Dick can’t have a funeral for her. “The whole sad point is that nobody’ll notice that I died.” But Fee’s found the birth certificates from Beth’s safety deposit box and is going through them. He notes seriously that all the women’s birthdates are within a month of Sarah’s, but she brushes it off as coincidence though it’s clear she already noticed. She says she doesn’t care and is just going to finish the score and come back for him and Kira. Soberly, Fee realizes Sarah plans to disappear again and Sarah says she has to. “There’s dangerous shit in this life. Look, someone keeps texting her…” She tries to show Fee the pink phone messages, but Fee is in a huff. “Oh, texting! My god, how terrifying!” Ha. Sarah ignores the drama and tells him to sell the coke and split the money with Kira. “You left Kira with Mrs. S overnight and you didn’t come back for 10 months!” Fee shouts at her. Sarah recoils but knows he’s right and knows too that in his head, Fee’s substitutes his name for Kira’s in that accusation. She quietly asserts that she’s trying to fix it. “Tell it to the angels, Sarah,” Fee sneers. “You’re already dead.” These guys are great together, by the way.
Later, Sarah emerges from a shower wearing panties and a Clash t-shirt. She starts to pack some things from Beth’s closet when the sound of a key in the front door freaks her out. Paul is home and yes, he is hot and is standing in the bedroom door in tailored black pants and jacket and white dress shirt. At a glance, I’m gonna say Hugo Boss with Armani a close second option. Strewth. He immediately calls her on the shirt. “The Clash rock,” Sarah/Beth says with a nervous laugh. “Yeah, but you don’t,” he replies a little puzzled. Noting the bag, he asks if she going somewhere and she dissembles that it’s gym stuff. “Weren’t you supposed to be away till the weekend?” Paul steps closer and says he wanted to be there and asks how it went. Sarah/Beth, having already dismissed the hearing from her mind, doesn’t follow for a minute. She heads for the kitchen as she admits that she basically puked all over the committee. Paul slowly pursues her through the kitchen and Sarah/Beth gets increasing jumpy as he continues to quietly if firmly interrogate her. Paul seems to realize on some level that something is wrong or at least different about Beth/Sarah and is not letting it go. A tenacious fake boyfriend; what could possibly go wrong there?
“Beth, what’s happened!” he finally demands, getting frustrated. Sarah/Beth takes a deep breath and considers the events of the day. “A lot,” she admits truthfully. “Yeah, I know but you’re…” Paul trail off. “I’m what?” Sarah/Beth asks. He examines her more intently and asks what she did to her hair. “I got it cut,” Sarah quickly spins. “It’s longer,” he says wryly and ambles closer. “It’s just wet,” she tries again, playing with her hair as he backs her more into a corner, literally and metaphorically. I love this verbal dance they’re doing. Paul frowns and shakes his head as he studies her. “Something’s different,” he decides.
As a last resort, Sarah/Beth launches herself at him and kisses him. Paul’s brow furrows—I gather this is not normal behavior for Beth—but not enough to make him stop her as he’s immediately into it. He shucks the jacket as Sarah/Beth whips his belt off. Yes, exactly like that. They yank his trousers halfway down his legs. “Bedroom” he mumbles against Sarah/Beth’s mouth and then picks her up and basically hobbles over to the kitchen table where he tries to lay her down. But Sarah/Beth shifts off to stand before it and turns so she can push him back against the table. Someone means to stay in control of this. “Right here,” she says and by the look on her face, she is not pretending any more, not about this. She strips off her panties without looking away from his face as Paul shoves down his black boxer briefs just far enough to be useful. His trousers are still around his calves, which for some reason I find endearing. Kissing her, Paul lifts her Sarah/Beth up again and sidles back on the table with her on top of him. They shift and—BINGO! Sarah/Beth gets this intent, nearly vicious expression on her face before she shoves Paul onto his back, still wearing his now open, white shirt. She strips off The Clash. Opened mouthed, Paul looks at her body. Before he can note anything specific that might be different, Sarah/Beth pulls his hands up to her waist and starts to ride. The conflict on her face as she does this, desire, shock, some horror that she actually doing this and enjoying it a helluva lot, and a whole lotta oh my God what’s next, is amazing. Later in bed, (so I guess they got to the bedroom eventually) Sarah/Beth eases out from under a sleeping Paul’s arm. She gazes at him for a moment. What the hell was that? What do I do with you now? Then carefully gets out of bed and goes into the closet to get dressed.
Over at Felix’s Fun Flat, Vic the Dick is back. Felix is wearing an emerald green kimono. Hee. Vic the Dick tearfully admits that he doesn’t know where to go. “A men’s shelter?” Fee suggests helpfully. Heh. Fee realizes Vic the Dick is even more beat up than before. Vic the Dick admits he got into a fight. “Why Vic,” Felix patronizes, “why are you such a dick?” Ha! Vic the Dick says he doesn’t know; he’s angry. He pushes his way into FFF and flops onto the couch. Vic the Dick whinges that he keeps seeing Sarah’s face. “Yeah, me too,” Fee tosses off, disgruntled. Ha. Vic sobs that they have to have a memorial to get some closure. Fee likes this idea. Vic lists a bunch of people he wants to call to be there but Fee insists locals only, “fast and light”. He helps Vic the Dick up who, sobbing again, hugs an incredibly uncomfortable Fee. The kimono rises up to show Fee is wearing a black thong. Fabulous.
Back at the townhouse, Sarah is frantically trying to get shit together before Paul wakes up. She rustles through his trousers and takes his keys and the cash from his wallet. Paul surprises her though when, with a very satisfied rumble, he embraces her from behind. “For real?” he says. “That was amazing.” The camera pulls back and—hello hot, tight buns! —Paul is naked and ready for round 2. Or possibly round 3. He wonders where Sarah/Beth’s been hiding “that” for two years. She slides out from his arms with the excuse that she got up for the gym. Her glance down at his groin says she knows exactly what he got up for. A little surprised at the rebuff, Paul regroups to ask again about the outcome of the hearing. See? Tenacious. She admits she choked and that the committee will reconvene in a few days. Paul is serious when he asks if “Beth” is back on the meds. Sarah pauses for a second as she searches for the right answer and goes with her gut. “No.” Paul smiles warmly. “Then you didn’t choke,” he determines and gets in close to hold her again. “You’re just finally feeling something.” Right now, she’s pretty much feeling all of you. “Feeling like the real you.” Nope. Definitely not that.
Sarah/Beth slips away from him with the gym excuse again because she is a crazy woman and as she hurries to the door, all too casually asks if Paul is driving his car today. Still naked, Paul ambles in her wake. When he asks why, Sarah turns and asks to use it as she can’t find her keys. It cracks me up how many times she surreptitiously checks out his crotch during this exchange. He asks if she checked the thing where she always keeps them. Sarah/Beth says yes, but of course, she has no idea what the thing is where Beth keeps her keys. STILL NAKED, Paul strolls over to a bowl by the door. Sarah takes a moment to admire his ass, so there’s hope for her yet. He hands over the electronic key to Beth’s car. Sarah/Beth smiles at him but ducks away from his kiss and Paul hums as she hurries out the door. Outside, Sarah exhales hard (no shit, sweetie) and starts pushing the key fob to identify Sarah’s car. A luxury car beeps from its slot next to the townhouse and damn me if that’s not a Jaguar. “Nice,” Sarah admires. She puts her things in the trunk, never noticing that Art is sitting surveillance across the road, watching her.
Back at the bank, Sarah is leaving a message for Fee in her natural accent “we can’t part angry. It’s bad for your skin.” Hee. Stephen the bank manager enters to hear the last bit about “bloody bollocks in a vise” and Sarah skips over an excuse about obnoxious English relatives. Stephen has the cash and just needs Sarah/Beth to sign for it, which, after a flinch, she does as Stephen stacks 75K in cash on the desk before her. Stephen compares the signature to the doctored driver’s license as Sarah watches intently. He doesn’t question it and, giddy with success, Sarah shoves the cash in her bag and leaves the office with a wide smile.
She drives over to Felix’s Fun Flat, followed by Art. The flat, incidentally, is above a steam bath which is guarded by an enormous, pasty white man in a long towel who pulls down the graffiti-covered door as Sarah hurries up the stairs to FFF. While she’s gone, Art breaks into Beth’s car and rifles through the trunk until he finds the 75K. Upstairs, Sarah calls for an absent Fee and quickly finds the funeral cards for her own memorial service. “Felix, you little shit.”
Over by the river, a group gathers around a bonfire. Vic the Dick cradles the golden urn that holds Beth’s ashes. There’s a danger sign behind them that reads PIPELINE ANCHOR. Classy. Vic the Dick pulls out a tattered piece of paper from which he reads a eulogy. He says it was always fight or flight with Sarah. “You guys remember how she was, right? This is all based on facts.” It’s kind of sad and hilarious at the same time. From behind his shades, Felix rolls his eyes. Across the way, Sarah watches her own memorial service through binoculars. Gotta admit, I’d do the same. She calls Fee on the mobile. “So?” he asks. “Is it heaven or hell?” Snort. Sarah argues that she didn’t want a funeral for just this reason. Fee: “Well you’re dead so you don’t have anything to say about it.” Ha. She admits that she’s watching. Entertained, Fee skips over to stand behind the still eulogizing Vic the Dick. “I dressed Vic,” he preens. “How do we look?” Snicker. Sarah laughs and they dish about “Rockabilly Rob” who is tricked out in a way that would make Brian Seltzer proud.
She tells Fee she has the money. “This is our chance for you, me and Kira to start over.” Fee starts to argue when Vic the Dick interrupts. “Felix, do you mind? I’m trying to…do you want us to go and come back?” HA! Fee scrambles to Sarah that Vic the Dick’s getting upset, but Sarah’s noticed a new arrival and it’s freaking her out. “Oh shit, it’s Mrs. S.!” she yells at Fee. Fee swears and scrambles to intercept their foster mother. Sarah watches from a distance as Mrs. S. gets out of the car and starts to argue with Felix as Sarah watches from afar. Mrs. S. is played by Maria Kennedy Doyle, best known for playing the discarded Catharine of Aragon in The Tudors. Cornucopia. A little girl gets out of the truck and Sarah starts to cry at this first glance of her daughter in nearly a year. “Oh shit, Fee. Kira’s there! She can’t think I’m dead, Fee!” As Sarah watches, Mrs. S. rushes Kira back into the truck and drives away.
Calmer, Sarah makes her way back to Beth’s car. As she gets inside, a woman scrambles into the back seat. She has short, magenta-colored hair, is wearing large shades and a fuzzy jacket, and clutches a pink mobile phone. “Beth! Beth! Why don’t you respond to me?” she asks a startled Sarah in a heavy German accent. Sarah leaps out of the car and shakily orders the woman to get away from her. The woman pursues her. “Beth, it’s Katja,” she says, removing her shades. Sarah: “Holy, holy shit.” Yeah, no kidding. Her face is identical to Beth and Sarah’s. “I brought the briefcase. Ja? The samples? For your friend, Beth. I was careful like you said.” Sarah is too freaked out to do more than circle the car and order Katja to stay back. But Katja is desperate too. “I’m Katja. Katja Obinger, Beth.” Sarah: “Yeah, I get it. The German. Okay? I’ve seen your birth certificate.” Katja responds that yes, Beth asked for it as proof. She pauses to take out a handkerchief and coughs up some blood. Horrified, Sarah covers her mouth.
Katja begs Sarah to take her to Beth’s scientist friend. With her eyes fixed on the bloody hanky, Sarah says she can’t help Katja and gets back into the car. Not looking too good, Katja climbs back into the back seat. Sarah orders her out of the car. Katja asks why Sarah/Beth is doing this. “Your partner,” she says, “he was following you.” Sarah goggles at Katja. “You were the one in the black car,” she realizes, “the one that flashed their lights.” Katja confirms this. Sarah tells her forcefully that Katja needs to go. “You are police, Beth. We need you,” Katja insists. What’s with the “we” business?
Look, I know this is the same actress expertly playing both roles, but not for a moment do I think anything other than that these are two completely different women who just happen to look exactly alike. That is some extraordinary work there.
Katja peers at Sarah carefully. “Just one. I’m a few. No family too. Who am I?” she says, which appears to be an established code with Beth. Puzzled, Sarah doesn’t reply. “You are not Beth,” Katja says with conviction. Before Sarah can deny this, a gunshot slams through the windshield and into Katja’s head, splattering blood and brain matter across the back seat. Sarah screams and gapes at the perfect hole in the Jag’s shattered windshield. She barely ducks beneath the dash before another bullet wings through the car. Shaking, she manages to extract the key from her pocket, turn the ignition, and drive away as the gunman continues to shoot at her.
The Jag streaks down the road. Sarah swears in a full out panic. Katja’s pink mobile phone rings. It stops when she doesn’t answer, but almost immediately, Sarah’s identical pink phone starts to ring with the same ringtone. Swearing but aware that she’s too deep into whatever this is to ignore the connection any longer, Sarah tentatively answers the phone. “Hello?”
Next week: Instinct
Sarah/Paul gif via popinsomniacs.com