Orphan Black season 2, has introduced us to Cal. Cal is a cabin-dwelling, pot-smoking, bee-loving retired engineer who does origami and has achieved the perfect manly scruff. He also happens to be Kira’s father and as such has earned Sarah’s trust. But is he really worthy of that trust? On a show as full of duplicity as BBC America’s Orphan Black, it’s hard to accept someone as seemingly perfect as Cal. Let’s go through the things we know about him and see if we can guess the truth.
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He’s a Nice Guy
According to the backstory we’ve been given, Cal and Sarah were together for a month about nine years ago. Sarah was scamming him, but it seems that real feelings developed for both of them. It says something about Cal’s character that Sarah had the means to steal everything from him, but could only bring herself to take $10,000. Unless Cal is running the longest con ever, he was probably a genuinely decent guy back then and treated Sarah well. This makes his altruistic actions in the present seem more honest. After all, if Sarah was willing to pass up on untold amounts of wealth, he must really be a fantastic person.
He (Accidentally) Invented Drones
Creating drone technology is a pretty big red flag. It suggests very high-level connections, a ton of resources, and a questionable moral compass. But Cal insists that he invented the technology as a way to help the environment deal with depleting bee populations, and his partners sold the technology to the government. If true, this makes Cal both a genius and a Mr. Rogers level nice guy.
But can we really trust his story? If he was an unwilling bystander in this sale, how did he end up with so much money from it? What does he do now? Does he just practice origami and condition his beautiful hair all day? Why was he away when Sarah and Felix first got to the cabin? Is there any more goody-goody reasons to invent drone technology other than to help out the bees? It’s possible that he’s telling the truth about his past, but there are enough questions raised by his story that it seems unlikely.
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He’s Kira’s Father
It was inevitable that Kira’s father would turn up. What being Kira’s father means for Cal and his motives is less clear. So far, he’s embraced this recently-discovered role, protecting Kira from danger and playing with her while Sarah’s away. In the hours since he’s found out about being a father, he’s been completely devoted. It says a lot that Sarah, who is distrusting by nature, trusts Cal with Kira with almost no hesitation.
But let’s be real; Sarah doesn’t always have the best judgement. This is the woman who spent the entire premiere of season two convinced that storming Dyad with a gun and no plan was going to work out for her. Given her own parental feelings for Kira, it’s likely that she assumes Kira’s other parent will feel the same way. And that’s very possible. But parenthood goes far beyond genetics, and right now that’s the only connection Cal and Kira have. They have had no relationship and while Cal is Kira’s father, he can hardly be considered her dad yet.
Cal has also taken the news of his secret eight year old incredibly well. The only sign of emotion he’s shown about it at all is when he tells Sarah that he’s never been a dad before. And this is no ordinary paternity reveal; he finds out he has a daughter and is then engaged in a gunfight that kills his friend, all because that child and her mother have returned to his life. There’s also the small matter that Sarah knew Cal was Kira’s father all along and chose not to tell him. Instead of being angry that Sarah kept his child from him all these years, he immediately drops his entire life to become a fugitive with them. He has no proof that Sarah isn’t scamming him again, yet he lies to the police, commits what he thinks is vehicular homicide, and goes on the run. In the real world it would be difficult to find someone that well-adjusted and selfless, but in the double-crossing, lie-filled world of BBC America’s Orphan Black, it seems nearly impossible.
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He Has Some Shady Details
For all his impeccably trimmed scruff and ability to pull of plaid, there are some blatantly sketchy things about Cal. Most notably, he has a camper registered under a different name. This is not a thing that normal people do, even if they do live off the grid. For another, he is very adamant about getting the name of the company Sarah allegedly scammed. It’s natural that he’d want to know why they were on the run, but there is a suspiciously long reaction shot when he finds out Sarah is running from Dyad. Has he heard of them before? Did he make some connection with them back in his drone-making days? Does he simply stare meaningfully into the camera when he hears words beginning with “D”? As of right now, we simply cannot say.
What do you think? Is Cal trustworthy? Is he just another shady character in a long line of shady characters? Is it simply too soon to tell? Share your thoughts!
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm on BBC America
(Image courtesy of BBC America)