Orphan Black Recap: I Do Not Rot

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Photo: BBC America
Orphan Black
Episode Title
Scarred by Many Past Frustrations
Season
3
Episode
5
Editor’s Rating
3/5

Man, this week just bummed me out. Once again, apart from a few beautiful Helena moments, the clones and their kin have mostly disappointed, though this week’s ending has left some possibility of recovery ... though I use the word recovery extremely loosely.

We return to Helena: groggy, having passed out on the floor, back in her cell. Mango is chastising her, and then she finds a nail. “Oh Helena, guilty pleasures won’t help you escape,” Mango clucks, then crawls under the door as Helena drags the nail across her back, adding another feather to her scar wings. On the way out, Mango passes … Sarah, similarly unconscious in the cell next door! Well, at least Mark and Rudy didn’t kill her?

Coady and the clone boys examine their infant brother’s skeleton. The difference, Coady pontificates, is that this clone’s DNA sequence is untampered with — which means it doesn’t have the gene defect that makes the Castors short-circuit and die. Using his tiny little baby skull (seriously, guys, that’s so dark) they’ll be able to isolate the spot in the sequence and develop a gene therapy regimen. Coady sends Rudy away so when Paul returns to find that they’ve kidnapped Sarah, he won’t be around for him to punish.

Sarah wakes up and freaks out, then realizes Helena is in the next cell. As expected, Helena believes Sarah put her here and is dismissive of her revelations; it takes Sarah a minute to realize what semi-fib Coady & Co. have told her to turn her against her. IS THIS THE END OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP? Probably not, but it sure as hell foreshadows something about it.

Gracie shows up on Art’s doorstep because apparently when she met Sarah, she was given Art’s card and told to contact him if she was ever in trouble. Art thinks she’s still pregnant (strike one) and asks if she has any family she can contact (strike two), then offers to take her to a shelter (strike three, come on, Art). She doesn’t want to talk about Mark, but tells him what happened, so he takes her to Siobhan’s house, where Felix is tasked (against his will, naturally — the Proletheans are religious fundamentalists, remember) to take care of her. S tells Art she’s worried, and he offers to check government databases and whatnot to find “a trail.”

Cosima goes on her Tinder date with a girl named “Sapphire.” She certainly looks like a Sapphire. She’s dressed like Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. Sapphire has been on a lot of internet dates (sing it, girl), so she guides a very nervous Cosima through the basic getting-to-know-you items. She’s pretty and nice, and it’s cute, but also why is this happening … ?

Ahhh, maybe it’s because the pair are being photographed from afar, by some mystery person! Eventually, Cosima, against all odds (well, not really, considering she’s the world’s biggest sucker for cute blondes), has become quite taken with the holistic nutritionist (that’s how you can tell she’s in it — she’s abandoning her scientific skepticism!) and suggests they “go somewhere.” Is Sapphire a plant? I’m guessing “maybe, but there will be some sort of emotional caveat that will alleviate the betrayal.”

Back to Sarah trying to convince Helena that what she’s been told was not true. Mango doesn’t like Sarah, and that’s not cool. “I should’ve just left you here to rot,” Sarah says, getting all stubborn like she does. “I live for four months in a broom closet. I do not rot,” says Helena. God, everyone could learn something from this beautiful, filthy creature.

A bunch of non-clone Army bros come to feed Helena and take Sarah away. Helena smugly ignores Sarah’s pleas to believe her until Sarah tells her the Castors are their brothers. Her expression changes, and she realizes the bar on the little window of her cell door is loose.

Meanwhile, Sarah meets “bad mother” Coady, who tells her that they need her stem cells as the soldier bros hold her down and take a blood sample. When Sarah is returned to her cell, Helena presses her for details about the Castors, and when Sarah gets all bitter at her, she says, “For a rat, a small hole is like a door.” Sarah realizes she’s found a way to get out — but Helena just calls her “sestra” and tells her to eat her food.

Mark is in the infirmary recovering; his “mom” comes to see him and she’s got some questions, about his burned-off tattoo (“to prove my loyalty to the pastor”) and wedding ring (“I did what I had to do to complete my mission”). He tells her about Gracie and their consummated marriage, and Coady is a real meanie and slips the wedding band off his finger and tells him to remember it wasn’t real. He’s cute and pathetic and I still feel bad for him, even though he wussed out and gave Sarah to his mom.

Back at S’s house, Gracie gets all melancholy at Felix about never having smoked or skinny-dipped or even gone to a rock concert. Siobhan — ever the foster mom — talks to her, saying that just because the clones are clones doesn’t mean they’re not people; when Gracie gets suspicious as to why she’s being so nice, S confesses that she, too, eloped when she was young; her husband died, and her aunt took her in.

Felix overhears and confronts her in the kitchen, because she never told them about her husband’s death, which apparently was pretty gory. Just as things start getting really serious, Gracie appears, looking like a member of the Cell Block Tango. (Whose fishnet stuff is this? Sarah’s? or Felix’s?) She makes her way to the door to go “to a club or something ... wherever they serve mai tais.” Felix is visibly impressed, but he and S stop her from leaving, agreeing to make her a cocktail. She gulps it down as they put on Teenage Head’s “Let’s Shake” and then they teach her to dance.

Sarah is back trying to get info out of Helena when Paul shows up. He’s mad she didn’t stay away (blah, blah, vanilla boy). Helena makes loud, gross kissing noises and calls him “dirty Paul,” proving yet again why we keep watching this show despite the soapy turn it’s taken. Sarah tells Helena it was Paul who sold her out to Coady & Co., and he confirms it. He reminds her that the military is like a family, too, and that he’s just doing for the Castors what Sarah is doing for Helena and their sisters. Helena points out that this is bullshit because brothers don’t experiment on each other’s cracked-open skulls. Paul equivocates for a minute about him sacrificing himself for his brothers, and then leaves as both Helena and Sarah remind him that he could be next.

So he goes to Coady and is very mad, even existential, about what exactly they’re doing here, even after Coady promises that no harm will come ... to Sarah, anyway. Later he goes and stares morosely at the corpse of Dr. Finkelstein Clone in his body bag, and fondles the vise that once held his mutilated head. I remember when I liked Paul. Who wants to bet he’ll die saving the Ledas? Since we’re on such a predictable bent these days, we might as well start taking wagers.

Cosima takes Sapphire back to her place and lights like a million candles and then decides she likes her enough to trust her with the details of her breakup. They make out and it’s cute ... albeit still extremely suspicious.

Back in sand prison, Helena is doing jailhouse push-ups and making fun of Sarah for trying to get her to reveal her escape plans. Then Sarah tells her the story of how she abandoned Kira because she was scared, I guess to prove that she’s no stranger to guilt, and that convinces Helena to drop her grudge. They make a plan:

Sarah fights the military dudes when they come into her cell and they knock her out, taking her to the infirmary and telling her when she wakes up to respect her brothers, then taking her back to her cell. Little do they know, she’s just like Helena and hid some metal medical bars in her mouth, which she ties to a length of cloth and swings to Helena through the cell bars. Helena uses them to pick her ankle shackles, then smears herself with the butter squares she’s been hoarding from her meals, uses the cuffs and lock-pickers as leverage and kicks out that loose bar in her cell door. The opening is just big enough for her tiny, emaciated body (though how she got her hair through there is another matter entirely), and eventually she pops her hips through and leaps like a pro parkour star up to disconnect the video feed. When the security guard comes to check on it, Sarah tells him to check the camera and Helena springs out from behind the door and shoves the guy’s head into a random spike on the wall as though it was an olive onto a toothpick.

Then, instead of letting Sarah out of her cell, she walks up to her, dead in the eyes, and says, “Now we are even.” And walks out the door. Honestly, I can’t say I blame her?

She continues her crazy parkour and actually scales the damn wall of the compound. At the top, she starts feeling bad about having left Sarah, but Mango the Freudian Scorpion returns to tell her to forget about her and run; when the military dudes swarm the courtyard once they realize she’s escaped, though, she doesn’t have much choice, and hops down on the other side.

Meanwhile, Gracie collapses in S’s living room mid-dance, clutching her abdomen and screaming and writhing in pain. Simultaneously, Art goes to visit that woman who had the encounter with the Castors; she is wearing sunglasses, even though it’s nighttime. Art asks her why, and she takes them off and looks at him, saying she’s been sick, and that the Castors probably gave it to her. At the same time, the paramedics show up for Gracie and shine a flashlight in her eyes: The whites of both women’s eyes are bloodshot.

Maybe Coady wasn’t just being a mean mom when she forbade her boys from making friends outside the family and made them write down everyone they had contact with in little black logbooks?

Next week, it would seem that Sarah is going to get sick, too — and that includes what seems like a hallucination of Kiran ... or it could be a real Kira clone?! AHHHHHHH!! Okay, if we want to go the SUPER-ridiculous route with this dang show, I guess I’m not mad about that. Then again, I watch SyFy miniseries, so ...