Season 2 Episode 9
"Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done"
Cosima takes a turn for the worse, forcing Sarah to take desperate action - with tragic consequences for those she loves. The Proletheans set their ultimate plan in motion. Alison and Donnie tangle with the law...[button color="red" size="small" link="http://www.bbcamerica.com/orphan-black/" target="blank" ]Official Site[/button]
Rachel’s lost it.
The Hive Writer’s Notes – Alex Levine
Hey #CloneClub, Alex Levine here. Hope you enjoyed episode 2.09, “Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done,” or as I like to call it, The Empire Strikes Back. Seeing as it was the penultimate episode of the season, and this season is all about the war between Sarah and Rachel, we wanted to show just what Rachel is capable of—to dig deep and pay off on all the compelling aspects of her villainous character that we’ve shown up to now. At the end of last season we introduced her as “Pro-Clone,” and we’ve spent part of the last ten episodes exploring this character’s humanity (or lack thereof). An old professor of mine wrote a book called The Corporation, which was turned into a documentary by the same name. His thesis was that a corporation, left unchecked, behaves much like a psychopath. So it’s fun to consider: is Rachel, who was raised mostly within the ethic and structure of a corporation, a psychopath? My opinion: the jury is still out.
In terms of this episode in particular, I can tell you that the writers had several discussions about when and how to reveal that Rachel was making a move. We also wrestled with what might push her to do something so rash as to imitate Sarah and abduct Kira. Some of us wanted her to be truly torn between her allegiance to Dyad and her allegiance to her newfound sisters. Others felt her intentions needed no grand justification beyond what we had already established. But it might surprise you to learn that the scene of Rachel in the black room—watching the video of herself as a child, and then surveillance shots of Sarah and Kira—was added after the show was shot and cut. The content of the scene—Rachel’s nostalgia for lost family, and her obsession with Sarah’s status as a mother and Kira—had been previously scripted, but was left by the wayside in subsequent drafts. But when the show was cut together, it was missing. The black room scene is vitally important in driving home her wants, her intention.
Rachel Duncan: Psycho-Clone?
As you can imagine, there was also a lot of discussion around how best to pull of this latest switcheroo. We had to figure out the geography, the tactics, and, of course, how much to disguise Rachel. It was up to Tatiana, of course, to calibrate the performance. As spoiled spectators, I can only judge the results by whether people were indeed fooled. And many have told me they were. But either way, the story works because Rachel fools Mrs. S and Benjamin… and even Felix.
As for Helena, this was one of the juiciest storylines one could hope for. We were challenged by the fact that Helena had gone back to the Prolethean ranch many episodes ago, and though we intended to drop in on Helena in subsequent episodes prior to 209, we had too much story to juggle and we simply couldn’t fit her in. So in returning to her story line, we had to justify what she had been doing, and why she’d been so compliant. For that we turned to the naïve, childlike persona that forms part of Helena’s character. We see it in her love for Sarah, in her fascination with children, in her simple desire to be a mother.
At the same time, this was our one and only chance to pay off on Johanssen’s storyline. And as always, we were tasked with finding the unusual, the new, the fresh attack. It would have been easy to develop a plot line where the Proletheans were building a fertilizer bomb for some nefarious purpose, but this is Orphan Black, where the stories are deeper, more personal, and hell, just a whole lot freakier. And we knew we were building to the ultimate revenge scene with the insemination rod (a concept that had been in John Fawcett’s mind since we convened for season 2 development). We also wanted to fully realize the budding relationship between Mark and Gracie—two great young actors I’m sure you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of.
As to Alison and Donnie’s storyline, I have to give credit to staff writer Aubrey Nealon—he’s the guy who realized, at the eleventh hour, that this was Donnie’s day to shine. The strongest arc in that story line was Donnie’s, and it really came together at that point. Plus we all wanted to see that “#donniesjunk” hashtag trend once again.
Mrs. and Mrs.
A couple of interesting factoids about this episode:
- The clinic was actually the interior of Bridgepoint Health Centre—the very building we use for the Dyad Institute. Bridgepoint is connected to the old Don Jail, which serves as an establisher for Cosima’s lab (the old wing).
- We rebuilt an exact interior replica of Alison’s garage (previously established) in our sets, and built it four feet off the ground, so we could “dig out” the grave.
- The Helena revenge scene was sparely scripted and had little dialogue, but the actors were given free rein to improvise, partly because we were running out of time. The use of the pipe, the other props, and much of the dialogue (“you think I’m trying to be funny”) was all improvised. So all props to Tatiana and Peter Outerbridge (who plays Johanssen); boy did they bring it. And kudos to TJ Scott for letting them run. Another great TJ episode. Working with that guy is the best.
“I’m not as perfectly comfortable with manslaughter as you.” – Donnie Hendrix
The Hive Observations, Unexpected Results, and Mind-Benders
The Hendrix Garage of Horrors
During the filming of episode 2.09, we were also prepping for the season 2 finale. In the photo below, John and Graeme are deep in prep mode, talking story during a lighting set up on set. We had to build a replica of the Hendrix’ garage to film Tatiana and Kristian jackhammering the cement. In previous episodes we shot in a real home, but for this episode the Art Department built a duplicate garage, designed with a floor that could be demolished.
Graeme and John talk season finale on the set of episode 2.09.
KATHRYN ALEXANDRE! Tatiana’s brilliant acting double made her on-screen debut this week as the midwife who assists Johannsen with the IVF. It was an awesome opportunity for Tatiana to work with Kathryn in a completely different capacity. Everyone at The Hive was thrilled that Kathryn got a moment to shine!
Tatiana Maslany’s acting double, Kathryn Alexandre.
At the end of episode 2.09, we reveal that Johannsen is impregnating all of the women on his farm with his own sperm. So for the nursery scene, we had to find 20 or more children that somewhat resembled the actor Peter Outerbridge. Creepy!
In the photo below, John Fawcett and First Assistant Director Joanna Moore are shooting the home video footage of little Rachel and her father, Professor Ethan Duncan, reading stories. Fun fact about this scene: The two-walled set was built in the old morgue from season 1.
Behind-the-scenes of Rachel’s home footage shoot.
Set Inspection: Pediatric Clinic
The pediatric clinic where Kira gets her bone marrow procedure is actually the same hospital that we use for the exterior of DYAD. It’s also the set of Helena’s first appearance in season 2. In order to make sure that the bone marrow transplant looked authentic, we had a specialist on hand to guide the actors through the procedure. What you see is as authentic as it possibly could be! Director TJ Scott executed a beautiful and emotional scene.
“What kind of mother am I?” – Sarah Manning
Old School Technology
Check out the working computer that the art department sourced for Duncan and Scott. It was awesome to see it actually function. The cipher decoding is a real playback in that screen – not a VFX.
Anyone have a computer with a floppy disc drive?
Six Feet Under
The hole the art department designed in Alison’s garage was the perfect spot for some awesome TJ Scott low angles. Really makes the tension in this scene work.
“God I hate this garage.” – Vic
Donnie rocks. Case in point: The scene of Donnie telling off DeAngelis and Vic. Priceless. Did you catch the DeAngelis and Vic selfie? Unfortunately an actual photograph wasn’t taken that day on set. It’s too bad—it would have been one for the books.
“Have a shitty day.” – Donnie Hendrix
Tatiana and Peter improvised most of the Johanssen torture scene. They had a lot of fun on set that day—in a creepy way.
The Hive love how Tatiana and the Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe teams executed the Rachel-as-Sarah cloneswap. The clone switch troupes is one of our favorites, and its always fun to have a new clone impersonate Sarah. You never quite know how Tatiana will play it.
Inside The Hive
Here’s a peek inside the heart of the OB Hive. Pictured below are Graeme Manson and producer Karen Troubetzkoy pitching the final outline to our network executives for the season finale. Tune in for the epic finale next week!
Creator Graeme Manson and producer Karen Troubetzkoy pitch their season 2 finale plans.
On the season finale...
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