Orphan Black S02E01: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed [recap w/spoilers]


This went up early by mistake and has been taken down; it’ll be republished after the show airs. Sorry for the screwup, everyone.


I was so confused! Did it air already and I missed it! LOL


It’s still in the RSS feed. How can you have a review before it’s aired?


How did you manage to see it early?

The dodgy accents killed this show for me early on :-\

Agreed, his poor British accent jars.

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Great recap of a great season opener Caroline. Thanks.

Felix’s? Remember that he and Sarah moved to Toronto when they were kids. Some people keep their old accent, some people change their accent entirely, and some people end up with a weird hybrid.

One thing that is bugging me is the whole business of their genes being patented. According to this case, you can’t patent a genetically-modified mouse in Canada, let alone a human.


It’s a fantastic show, and the possibilities are wide open for where it might go. Tatiana’s many roles showcase a singular talent, which quickly makes one forget that a single actor is playing all the clones.

It is strange to see that amidst the countless raves everywhere are sprinkled a few strident haters… but that’s the internet for you.

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You’re missing a key point of logic.

The tag on their genome is more than 20 years old. It predates your case by more than a decade. Moore v. Regents is more likely to be concurrent to the gestation period.

Regardless, the core strategy of corporations these days is to claim legal rights they don’t have, then use the courts as a weapon in which those with the resources to outlast the others are most likely to win.

Quite a bit more than 20 years old. The clones’ birth dates are all in March and April of 1984. The case was decided in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2002, but Harvard applied for a patent on those mice in 1985. I’d say that’s pretty contemporary.

Moore v. Regents took place in California. Orphan Black takes place mostly in the Toronto area. I can see a court case being dragged out for decades, but I can’t see a Canadian court’s first ruling on the case to be an injunction declaring the clones to be property.


So the girls are around 30? I thought they were younger.

In the world of the show, it is stated that a recent Supreme Court ( I presume Canadian ) decision makes a distinction between natural and artificial organisms for the purpose of patent law. Presumably, they are diverging from the real world in which Venter made that case and was unsuccessful, but in which Monsanto wins for plant patents so long as the patented organism is asexually reproduced… which may be why the clones are sterile…

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Here’s the German’s passport. March 24, 1984.

Part of Cosima’s chart with birth dates.

Do you recall when the Supreme Court decision was mentioned in the show? I probably missed that when I watched the first season. I still think the courts would be unlikely to declare what are obviously sentient beings to be property, but I can see them being worried about the risk of having to go through that against a powerful corporation.

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It was this episode - S1E1 - when Rachel was talking to the Japanese investors, she was saying that the recent Supreme Court decision distinguishing artificial life forms was a victorious result of her extensive lobbying expenditures. In the real world, certainly not, thought I look forward to the first AI being granted standing to assert constitutional rights. But in the world of the show, it went the other way.

edit - Sorry - meant S2E1.

Somehow I missed that earlier. I wonder if the writers of the show noticed that real-world decision while doing research and decided to include that scene to stop nitpickers like me. If so, good job writers. I love it when a show addresses potential plot holes.

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It gets weirder because when this issue is brought up in Season 2, Episode 1, Rachel Duncan appears to reference the US Supreme Court decision which denies the ability to patent naturally occurring DNA, but does allow entirely artificial DNA sequences to be patented (I believe Duncan refers to natural vs. synthetic DNA).

Perhaps the company has a plan to get their case heard in a US courts rather than Canada.

Or, since it is still a science fiction show, maybe the Supreme Court of Canada in the show went the US route when making its ruling.

Except the Supreme Court of Canada didn’t make a distinction between synthetic and natural DNA, but rather between higher and lower life forms, ruling you could not patent higher life forms at all.

It was the US Supreme Court that was fixated on the natural vs synthetic DNA distinction.

Yes, Rachel spoke indeed German, and this was one of the better ‘studied really hard to get it right’ exceptions. Still not fluent, but much better than i.e. the German on Grimm

Note that the actual actress grew up speaking german at home.