Tuesday 14 November 2023

Orphan Black: Echoes - Do you think we’re happy?

Orphan Black: Echoes: 1x04 It's All Coming Back.

First you should know, you were made out of love.

The mystery is unravelling fast in Echoes’ fourth episode. After the horrible experience of her foster parents forcing her to take medication she hasn’t consented to, Jules runs away from home, smart enough to exchange her phone (which Tom and Myung, her handler, monitor) and her clothes with Wes. She takes the study drugs she’s been making to Lucy’s house, where the two of them put them into a nasal spray (I’m just wildly assuming this will be relevant later, because why else bother?) and get high so they can experience their shared nightmare of the blood-covered bathroom together. Jack monitors, mildly amused by their antics. They end up drawing the individual elements of the bathroom they can both remember on some butcher’s paper and end up with a complete view that includes, as identified by Tina (who is great in this episode – Charlie knows about what’s happening now, but Tina is still in the dark, but would rather not know), a window view of Jamaica Plain, the former “lesbian capital of Boston”. It leads them straight to a sorority house, where they find that same bathroom, cheaply renovated, and realise that whoever lived there before the sorority will be the next clue in the puzzle. Conveniently, two of the girls remember an old lady from an assisted living community that wandered off because she remembered the house. Again, this is all very treasure-huntey and neatly arranged. I find both their struggles with identity, which surfaces during their trip, more compelling: does the same thing make both of them happy, since they are technically the same person? Do they have a soul in spite of being a “print-out” (I’m beginning to wish they had gone with the more pedestrian “copy”). Lucy seems more settled, since she has found happiness with Jack and Charlie, but Jules appears like she needs these answers because her life is in the balance and she has nothing to hold on to. 

In the meantime, Tom and Myung are working together to recapture their respective charges, and find they have much more in common with each other (also a distinctive lack of morals) than Tom has with Emily, who seems eager to help Kira save Lucy. They’re bonding over their shared love for Celine Dion, they have the same appreciation for feline comedy, Myung lets Tom know that Wes’ comedy is pretty good for a teenager, and available to view online. In summary, this is Emily’s worst nightmare: not only is she going behind Tom’s back when she shows Kira Lucy’s caravan which they’ve towed to a warehouse, to give her the opportunity to look for clues they may have missed, but also Tom has found an ally who is just as willing to go to extremes to tie up loose ends. It’s all fun and games when she’s sitting in the back of the car, suffering through a live performance of Dion’s dark ballad It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, but not so much when she has to ask Lucy to push her down some stairs so she can escape before Tom lays hands on her (surely there was a better option here that would have been easier on her collarbone). Emily’s gone rogue, and it’s obvious that part of the reason is her sympathy for Kira Manning. 

Kira: Why are you helping me? 
Emily: I guess I know what it’s like to be the only one looking out for someone. Weighs on you. 
Kira: You know, I made her. I put her into the world. And I’m not a religious person but hoping she’s okay, wanting her to be safe, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to praying.

At the nursing home, Melissa calls both Lucy and Jules “Eleanor”. Her behaviour is concerning enough that the receptionist calls Kira’s phone to let her know about it, a phone that is unfortunately monitored by Tom, which means that everyone is now heading there for an inevitable showdown. Before they arrive, Lucy and Jules find a pillow that shows a younger Melissa with a slightly older version of Jules: it was her high school graduation. Melissa is their mother, but she doesn’t want to talk about what exactly happened in the house in Jamaica Plain, something that must have been traumatic and troubling (as are several references to the character flaws of their dad). Lucy spots Tom and Myung and they run – Lucy escapes with Emily’s help, and after some prompting (specifically, a picture she’s drawn of the as-yet unidentified baby that must be Lucas), and Myung fires some shots after them, making it clear that Kira’s pleas to spare her have remained unheard. Jules escapes too – because Neva turns out to maybe not be in on everything. She ends up pepperspraying Tom before he can lay hands on her. 

In the end, Kira and Lucy are on a park bench, and Kira promises to tell her everything. She was made out of love…

Random notes: 

Jules ribbing Lucy for her choice of partner is hilarious: she calls Jack a “cis-het snoozer” (aww) and sees a “quaint normie picket-fence scenario” in their future. 

Charlie is very cool about finding out about Lucy’s identity, and takes no time at all to identify Jules as another “print-out”. 

Kira rips the drawing of the baby from a “The Philosophy of Identity” book in Lucy’s trailer – it’ll work later as bait for Lucy, but it also seems to be an attempt to hide Lucas’ identity from Tom and Darros, as if they don’t know how Lucy is connected to her. 

Kira tries to appeal to Paul Darros again at some kind of rewards ceremony at his compound, but he is almost threatening when he replies that whatever blood ends up on his hands regarding Lucy’s fate will be on hers as well. Corporate evil hasn’t changed much since 2017!

The scene of Tom and Myung singing in the car is hilarious, and played with gusto, and I did spend a solid hour trying to figure out if the man on the motorcycle in the original music video for the song is in fact Reed Diamond… results inconclusive. 

Regarding next steps, the pillow of the graduation ceremony conveniently has the name of the high school on it. 

“Frosé pong” is truly a fresh kind of horror. 

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