Orphan Black: Hello, Cal

And as we will lay, be reminded of the day, 

By the noises of footsteps and the slamming of doors, 

And the drilling and sighing of the workers under our bed. 

After press stills and promotional shots galore, Michiel Huisman finally joined the cast of Orphan Black this week so I hope everyone’s ready for some good old fashioned objectification from yours truly. I’m sorry but Hot Paul never really did it for me, despite the million dollar chin and his ability to know his way around a handgun. Huisman has been a welcome addition to other shows before this (Game of Thrones, Treme, Nashville) but for some reason this is the first time he’s come on screen and felt like a fully built character right away. It may be that his acting skills really can rise to any occasion, or it may be that his role here is the closest match to his personality and lifestyle in real life that he can slide into the role with ease. I could absolutely picture him holing up in a remote cabin somewhere in between busy shooting schedules and just enjoying nature and a cold beer. When he walked out the back yard to talk to not-long-for-this-world-Tom with a flannel button up and two chilled beers in his hand I almost fainted from the perfection. That was like a Levi’s ad come to life and it left me swooning.

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Something tells me Graeme Mason and Co. made sure to make Cal as appealing as possible, which I actually like for character reasons as well as the obvious ones. Every male figure on the show so far (besides Felix, duh) has come with either huge baggage or danger attached. Paul was never Sarah’s from the beginning, Art has been skeptical and an impediment for most of the time, and everyone else with a Y chromosome is a Rachel lackey. It will be nice to see someone from Sarah’s former life who actually seems to care about her be a part of this universe for once. His talk about government contracts and being forced out of a corporation did make me worry that there was some sort of long con happening here and that he was part of the clonespiracy all along but it doesn’t seem like that is where the show is heading, which is nice. Of course, everybody’s motives are subject to change at the drop of a hat but his willingness to protect Kiera one second and whip out a hunting rifle the next can only mean good things for where this Cal’s loyalties lie.

So much of the well-executed character building I touched on above was due to the mood the show built around Cal and his cabin before he even arrived. With every plot getting about the same amount of time this week  A safe haven, even one they arrived at because of past lies, felt like a welcome respite from the running and fighting Sarah and Felix have been through of late. The silence of the forest gave the impression that this getaway would work out for the better, which it did. At least for a short while, that is. The cabin itself felt so lived in and appropriate for a woodsy abode that I caught myself wondering if it was available for Airbnb anytime this summer. Orphan Black has stood by its commitment to not revealing where the show is actually set, but if one were to assume the answer was, say, Toronto and Sarah made the decision to cross a border on her way out of town, this would be a very well done representation of an upstate New York or back-country Vermont home right down to the attic bedroom and chicken coop outside.

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What tied everything together for me, especially in regards to the Sarah/Cal romantic angle was the use of Tim Moxam’s “Live In The Bedroom” as the music choice for when the two started to, well, “reunite”. A really wonderful use of the doorframe by director T.J. Scott here, slowly zooming in as they both hesitate to move closer at first and then give in to the chemistry that is so readily apparent between them. Moxam, former guitarist for Toronto-based band Great Bloomers now turned solo, plays music that is so up my alley from the start there wasn’t much chance one of his songs popping up would disappoint. Released last October, his first solo EP is a well balanced blend of folk, bluegrass, and blues. The closest comparison I can think of for those who aren’t already fans would be that his music has the sadness of Gregory Alan Isakov with the instrumental affectations found most recently in Jason Isbell’s Southeastern. It’s the type of music that is best suited for a relaxed Sunday where you wake up slowly and enjoy the sunlight streaming in through the windows before curling up on a wraparound porch with a scone and a good book, but could be listened to almost anywhere else and Moxam’s voice would be just as appealing. Finding a song that not only inhabits the events of a scene but also the specific mood is so difficult for any show, and accomplishing exactly that while also flawlessly introducing a new character is impressive to say the least. Welcome to Orphan Black Cal, and don’t let anyone convince you to stop wearing those flannels.

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One thought on “Orphan Black: Hello, Cal

  1. Your connection to the music in this show is unique and fascinating. Your comment, “Every male figure on the show so far (besides Felix, duh) has come with either huge baggage or danger attached.” brings up the point that most of the male characters on the show feel entitled to do whatever they want to the clones, giving the women no autonomy over their own bodies. That seems like an important theme in Orphan Black to me.

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