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[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Saturday’s episode of Orphan Black, “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est.”]
Paul (Dylan Bruce) has a lot of explaining to do.
Orphan Black‘s latest episode shed more light on Paul’s intentions. Forced to work for the enemy and “promoted” to be Rachel’s monitor, Paul did several questionable things at the request of his powerful boss. From planting Felix’s fingerprints on Daniel’s murder weapon used to kill the police officer to having sex with Rachel, Paul isn’t exactly winning over any of his old friends. “He’s definitely looking out for No. 1 right now, and he definitely has an agenda,” Bruce tells The Hollywood Reporter.
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So what is this plan of his? In THR‘s latest installment of Orphan Black Declassified, Bruce breaks down the latest episode, the Sarah factor and whether Paul can ever be redeemed.
There was suspicion early on that there was something going on behind closed doors between Rachel and Paul, and this episode confirmed that. Is this solely a forced arrangement for him or is it more complicated now?
He’s a master manipulator. It is forced, but only to a certain extent. He’s doing something that’s trying to progress his own agenda. He’s not just a patsy. He’s got a few tricks up his own sleeve. At the same time, I think he actually is a little terrified of Rachel. I think everybody is.
The episode’s big “wow” moment was Rachel and Paul’s sex scene.
When I read it on the page, I had never seen anything like this on television before. It’s amazing how quickly Tatiana [Maslany] jumps into all these different characters and how immersed she is in each character she’s playing. Our director for this last episode, Helen Shaver, she’s very good in the realm of sexuality. She knows how to bring the sexy out of her actors. A lot of the moving parts in that scene were added by her. It’s almost like Rachel’s inspecting Paul like he’s a derby horse — looking at his teeth, making sure that he’s clean and worthy of her. It seems like she has a lot of suppressed sexual energy and very kinky as well. I was anticipating that they’d have whips and chains in the room. (Laughs.) I called her Fifty Shades of Rachel. I thought she would have some sort of sex room with a swing or something. That scene was absolutely brilliant. It’s very sexy on a completely different level than other sex scenes that I’ve seen on television. It’s weird and sexy at the same time.
Creepy, but hot. I don’t know what to feel [about it]. (Laughs.)
And across the way you have Helena, who’s about to kill Rachel, and Sarah watching this all play out.
Yeah. (Laughs.) The scene between the two of them, and Art, is brilliant too. The last episode ended on such a huge, creepy, climactic note. It seems like this episode does the same thing but in a totally different way.
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At the beginning of the season, Paul was still trying to help Sarah, but now, that’s put into question. Would he still lend her a hand if given the opportunity?
She did pistol-whip him in the face [in the season-two premiere]. I can’t believe Paul didn’t go down. She hit him pretty hard. He’s got an iron jaw. There’s a certain level of need for Paul to help Sarah because of what happened to Beth. His path for redemption is through helping Sarah. At the same time, it doesn’t feel like she has that deep of feelings for him, so it’s almost mutual. They’ll use each other when they need to but they’re both going to be pushing their own agendas. Paul’s far down on her list of people she wants to help, but she did save him in episode seven last year. He does feel a little obligation to help her out, but I’m not so sure how far that goes.
Are Sarah and Paul done?
I don’t know. I definitely don’t think they’re done done. After what he did to her brother [Felix], which was pretty terrible, I could understand her wanting to put a bullet between his eyes.
How is Paul adjusting to his new role as Rachel’s monitor? Will he be taking advantage of his current position?
He’s in a situation right now where it’s definitely to his advantage. The fact that Daniel is out of the picture, Paul’s not a disposable asset anymore. Now he can become a usable force. That helps him out and helps him progress his own cause. It seems like he’s being blackmailed into doing this, but there is something much bigger that this guy is involved with. That’s about all I can say about that. He would want nothing more than to burn the Dyad corporation to the ground, I think.
There’s an interesting power struggle between Dr. Leekie and Rachel, and Paul’s stuck in the middle of it. Out of the two, who does he have more allegiance to?
Neither. This is another great thing for him. He can answer to two masters. That allows him to play both of them at the same time, but it’s a slippery slope. He has to walk that tightrope between the two of them. It’s almost like he’s waiting to see who comes out on top. He’s maintaining that guise where he’s tied to both of them, but in reality, his allegiance is going to lie with the one who wins in the end. He’s not going to pick a losing team, that’s for sure.
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Speaking more specifically about the Felix matter, does Paul have even an ounce of guilt over putting him in jail?
When I read [the scene], I thought, “Oh my god, this is going to be really hard to play with Jordan [Gavaris]” because I love Jordan so much and I love the character of Felix. The way I was playing it, I was trying to show the least amount of emotion because Paul’s a pretty stoic character. [Paul] was not pleased at all with having to do what he had to do. That was a necessity to do that. When he takes the gun out of the bag and Felix is like, “What are you doing, Paul?” it was more like an air of disappointment. If Paul didn’t do it, [Rachel] would have gotten rid of him herself.
Paul’s not helping himself in the friend department this season now that he’s on the other side of things.
When that elevator got to the top floor [in the season-one finale] and they were both gone, the writers wrote it a bunch of different ways, where Paul might have gone off with Sarah. But I liked how they left it ambiguous as to what Paul was doing. At first, I was like, “You’re putting me in this world with Rachel and the Dyad and Leekie and I’m doing these awful things to Felix — how do I become a redeemable character after that?” It was a genius move to put Paul in that world because that dynamic between those three characters is interesting, and I think it was a surprise for the viewers as well. You never know a character’s true intentions. You think Paul is on the good team and now he’s on the bad team. Possibly he could go back to the good team again.
Paul says it doesn’t bother him that Cal is back in Sarah’s orbit. Is he lying?
Yeah, I think he’s lying. I definitely think there’s a certain level of hurt that’s involved with that. It is her baby daddy, right? How disappointed can you be? [Paul and Sarah] didn’t meet on the greatest of terms — it wasn’t romantic bliss, it was more like they were thrust into this crazy kaleidoscopic event. He understands it. As I perceived it, Paul was starting to have true feelings for Sarah, but unfortunately they haven’t really prevailed in season two, have they?
It was dropped in that Paul has slept with three clones: Beth, Sarah and now Rachel. Is that notable?
When he slept with Beth, he was blackmailed into being her monitor and her boyfriend, or he could have faced military trial or the death sentence or life in prison or who knows what. When he slept with Sarah, she initiated the intimacy and now he sleeps with Rachel, she again initiates the intimacy. So he’s definitely not a prude but he’s definitely not the aggressor in the situation. (Laughs.) I don’t know how much you can say “Paul gets around” because it seems these clones are the aggressor in these situations. It’s so empowering because we have a brilliant female lead and all these brilliant female characters. It’s almost like a role reversal.
You’ve hinted several times that Paul has an agenda. How soon before what he’s been plotting is revealed?
You’ll find out this season tidbits, just snippets of it. That will [lead] to the next season. He’s very mysterious, isn’t he?
Every week, THR will bring in-depth, spoiler-filled chats with the producers and stars on Saturday nights following original episodes. Check back next week for the next installment.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.
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