Orphan Black Recap: Good Intentions, Bad Science

Orphan Black
Episode Title
To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings
Editor’s Rating

Strange things are brewing in the midst of Helena’s joyful noise.

There’s such a paucity of really fantastic women-driven shows that this one always makes me reflect on the evolving relationships of the clones, and how this sisterhood reacts to new people in their orbit. They’re bonded by their cloneness, but not necessarily as family; it’s tough to watch other people try to get close to them, but fascinating to watch them try to get close to each other.

I’m so conflicted about Helena’s decision to return to Pastor Henrik’s Creepfest Acres. I can understand her wanting to get back what was taken from her (even if it has since been tainted by Pastor Henrik’s demented seed); it seems that her deeper connection to and curiosity about Sarah and Kira is making her think about her own potential role as a mother, which makes sense, in a way. They’re twins, and even though her organs are flipped she wants to know if she can be like Sarah, if she can be a mom or have some semblance of normalcy. It was sweet to watch them camping — making shadow puppets, farting (Helena), and generally behaving like some trust has been rebuilt. But Helena’s recent attractiveness to motherhood is weird, right? Since when is she “very good with children”? Did she learn how to change a diaper in between bouts of being locked in a cage and poking a nun’s eyes out with her thumbs? Where would she even put a baby when it’s time to bust out her sniper rifle or speed away on her motorcycle? Can you get bloodstains out of a baby easily? Because that child would be covered, Carrie-style, almost all the time.

There’s a tenderness with Helena when she’s with Sarah and who knows — the nuns could have reinforced her love of children before the Proletheans sealed her away with Tomas. If she’s capable of belting out “Sugar, Sugar” at the height of happiness during their road trip, it’s possible Sarah brings out all sorts of new and stabilizing emotions for Helena. I think she makes great strides whenever she’s around Sarah for a while, I just don’t think she’s necessarily ready for all night scream sessions that don’t involve her working the business end of a gun.

She kind of proves my point when she goes Berserker on that guy at the bar — he deserved it, but Helena’s frailty and inconsistency is right on the surface, explosively so. I always love watching her kick ass and break fingers (“Don’t be baby I only sprain”) and this fight was deliciously brutal, but her decision to go with Grace and Marc back to Creepfest Acres after they spring her from jail seemed one made of exhaustion.

And what was Sarah doing, leaving her behind like that? Sure she called Art to make sure Helena was okay, but his call clearly came too late — Grace used her Kool-Aid mouth to convince Helena to come back to the farm to get her babies, and Helena tried to reassure Grace that she, too, had been “sewn silent” and her wounds would heal. Bonding over torture, how quaint! Art has enough on his hands — he’s trying to deal with a very drunk Felix while simultaneously putting together a wall of clues from Maggie Chen’s storage unit a la Carrie in Homeland. He’s not really there to focus on the woman who out of his handcuffs just a couple of days earlier.

Alison, our missing sister in the struggle, is having a tough time of it lately in rehab, made all the more impossible by the reappearance of Victor. She insists that she’s just there for her kids, so when Donnie refuses to bring them until she makes a commitment to her treatment she threatens him and tells him she’ll “cut off his dangly balls.”  God, I can’t wait for Alison to be let loose on the world again. Victor works her until she acquiesces and admits she’s a “bottle hider,” even reaching out to him for a little bit of help, but it turns out he’s just in there trying to dig up dirt on her for Angie, who has promised to get rid of his charges. Dammit, Victor! We were rooting for you! Well, not really — I sort of thought we’d never see him again, so when he showed up I knew he was bad news.

Cosima is dealing with her own semi-emergency when Dr. Leekie hires Scott, the assistant she’s been using to map her DNA. He’s figured out that they’re working on clones, but he doesn’t know that Cosima is one. But Scott confesses to Delphine that he’s figured out a much more major part of the puzzle — that whoever was cloned has a female relative, like a niece or daughter. So now we’re definitely going to figure out Kira’s larger role in this, right? Or is some other clone relation going to pop up and confuse the issue?

Sarah was a little too busy finding out more about Cold River to keep a close watch on Helena, but she got some good intel amidst a bunch of pictures of creepy babies. The Cold River Institute was closed in the '70s but all of their records are stored in the church; after Cosima finds an old picture placing Duncan at the institute, Sarah figures out that he’s stolen the identity of an orphan whose records were stored there — Andrew Peckham. When she uses the name to track him down at a house two and a half hours away, Mrs. S opens the damn door!

Mrs. S is still being a bit standoffish with Sarah, but she leaves her alone with Peckham and goes outside to confront Paul. He’s been trailing Helena and Sarah for a bit — first when he was rifling around their campground, then he followed them to the church and bar, and now at Peckham’s house like a creep. Mrs. S saunters up, reminds him that he’s not taking Sarah back without getting through her, and gently bringing up his Achilles heel, Afghanistan. Who knows what Paul is going to do — he’s sort of an aimless sack of meat at this point.

Sarah found out a lot from Peckham, but the two most riveting parts were that the Neolutionists inside Dyad, namely Dr. Leekie, stole Rachel from him and Dr. Leekie killed Rachel’s mom! I don’t know what to believe anymore — last week, Leekie was saying Rachel was in charge, but this week, Peckham has Leekie pegged as the mastermind. Leekie is probably deflecting, especially since he has Cosima taking the experimental drug now while simultaneously working to reconstruct clone DNA without the original genome. Peckham insists they were going to expose Leekie, but he found out, and stole Rachel from them. Sarah, enraged, is like, “HEY, GUESS WHAT, THAT’S A SAD STORY BUT WE’RE ALL DYING SO HOW ABOUT YOU HELP US NOT DIE?”

Unanswered Questions

  • Seriously, why did Sarah just leave Helena? I know she’s on a mission, but I thought they were bonding.
  • Mrs. S’s Pussy Riot shirt — everything, or EVERYTHING?
  • When Cosima was looking through some of the Cold River documents, one said, “Process of Eugenic Sterilization.” Is it possible the other clones can’t have babies not because of a genetic defect, but a forced sterilization in the name of weeding something out of the gene pool, something that Amelia avoided by running away when she was still pregnant with Sarah and Helena? And is that sterilization part of what’s killing them now?
  • Mrs. S knowingly told Paul that Dyad was a hydra. If that’s true, what fresh hell will the other noodly appendages bring? Who runs them? Are they all working on clones? 

See you next week!