Orphan Black “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” – Our Brains Explode with Theories Galore!

Orphan Black Sarah Manning and Mrs S Tatiana Maslany Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion

Episode 2 of Season 2 “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” continued at an unrelenting pace (part of what we love) – and while we didn’t necessarily feel like we were moving in a distinct direction point in the second season story it had more than enough to keep us hooked.

In the conversation about the episode topics quickly veered away from the episode as a single entity and instead had us thinking about what the show was doing in it’s larger mythology and more generally about the conversation the show is having with the audience.

There has been so much more happening in this story at this point; the discovery of clones and learning about each other, that we’ve hardly stopped to think about why. Project Leda has been name dropped a few times, but diving further into the Dyad Institute, and Mrs. S’s network has led us to really start to question where this all started, and why.

Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 2 "Governed by Sound Reason and True religion" Felix and Alison

The exploration of exercising ownership of a person, particularly a woman is at the heart of Orphan Black. What does it mean for your personal freedom when someone holds a patent on your DNA? Or for that matter when your life has been closely monitored by those who should be your most trusted partner – as Allison wrestles with her discovery of her husband Donny’s role in her life.

While women’s reproductive systems have often been put at the centre of uncomfortable story lines in even our favourite sci-fi series, Kara Thrace in BSG, Aeryn Sun in Farscape, Olivia Dunham in Fringe – just to name a few. In Orphan Black the anomaly of Sarah’s fertility has been a point revisited throughout the series – rather than reaching outside of the bounds of the series it is part of the show’s DNA. How much are the clones alike, how do they differ. Was fertility part of the plan or an exception to it? These are all areas that may be explored as we move further into the mystery of the clones.

As the men discuss the idea of Helena’s fertility without her consent the show veers into exceptionally squicky territory. It plays on our past understanding of how fertility plot lines typically play out in sci-fi feeding into the weirdness of this situation. It runs counter to Sarah’s experience of having a child outside the bounds of an experiment and later finding out it may be something unusual. We certainly don’t want to see Helena subject to further experiments, including fertility treatments against her will – the conversation around the topic sheds light on the side of the religious fanatics who are somehow involved in this whole clone project. It may continue to help us understand the roots of their involvement and their overall goals.


“Oh, you’re gay”, one of the first statements Rachel puts forth to Cosima. She’s clever too – she was clever when she was like, six (aside: so Cosima is the Doctor and Delphine is her companion, right?). At first it seems like it’s a statement that is meant to throw Cosima off by distilling her into her sexuality. Although, we look at Rachel again – as a woman who we believe is leading research into the clone project, we can’t help but think she’s pushing further. If all the clones began the same (’cause clones) – she’s curious about anything that differentiates the clones in a way that might be meaningful. Is her sexuality, or her brilliance, a clue into this research? As Delphine pointed out last season, as a scientist she knows that sexuality is on a spectrum, where society codifies attraction. In an experiment of clones who were separated and existed separately for so long – it seems as thought this is just one more factor to include in the research.

Some other questions we have about the origins of the clones that came out of this episode:

  • What was the purpose of the project – were they building super soldiers, spies?
  • With the focus on fertility – were the clones supposed to be able to reproduce or was this meant to be repressed (and what does this mean for Sarah and Helena)?
  • How long has this been going on? Are they different ages – created in batches?
  • What is the original genome – was there an original person, was it then modified or is it completely synthetic?
  • Do the clones have super powers? We know that Kira and Helena have some kind of healing power – they’ve each taken significant hits and come out okay. Kira was hit by a car last season and was completely fine – Helena took more damage but she’s recovering better than a “normal” person could have. Does Sarah also have some kind of accelerated healing ability?
  • Why did Beth kill herself? Did She discover that she was healing very quickly – was she testing it? Or driven out of her mind by discoveries of certain abilities?
  • Do these special abilities also tie into the sickness exhibited by many of the clones, including Cosima – like some kind of side effect, or rejection of the alterations to the DNA.
  • Are the clones all exact copies, or were there modifications made in each, or in batches?

What do you think is going on with the Clones – Why were they created and what was Mrs. S’s role in it? What do you think the Dyad is ultimately after? Who can the Clone Club trust now? 


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