This rock-bottom moment was inevitable. Following last week’s emotional terrorism, Orphan Black forces everyone to encounter their worst selves. (Well, everyone except Felix, who continues to be a paragon of near-superhuman crisis management.) Each character’s particular form of suffering is exquisitely, uniquely painful — which means, when they do rally, it’s all the more satisfying. Just as they’re all about to fall apart, they don’t. We’re making progress! Dynamic character growth! I definitely burst into tears three times. Maslany, my god, woman.
In the wake of Kendall’s murder, Sarah falls back on old habits: fleeing difficult situations, drinking to the point of hallucination, and sleeping with random strangers (or trying to, at least). Her conscience haunts her in the guise of “Beth,” as does Dizzy, who’s hardly perfect but has the decency to (1) curb her drunk machismo/raging libido, and (2) confess that Capra (a.k.a. Base Pair 86) was a friend and he wants revenge. Where are we going with this dude, exactly?
Since she can no longer blame her parenting failures on Leda’s success, Susan explicitly contemplates suicide to anyone within earshot. Rachel takes out her own anxieties and frustrations on Charlotte by telling her she’s dying. Alison copes with her well-worn security blanket — those Stepford-esque organization habits and an obsessive-compulsive attention to routine — as Donnie tries his best to lift her spirits by inviting her pastor (?) to their daughter’s sleepover (??). Even Siobhan, ever the steely-eyed guerilla matriarch to whom we all grovel, is losing it. She again blames Sarah for everything, in particular for their mother’s death. At least she wisely insists that Kira stay behind as she runs again.
And yes, I did save Cosima for last. It’s finally confirmed: Sad Cosima is the most agonizingly emotional relationship I’ve ever had with a fictional character. Words cannot describe the vivid depths of my agony when the most brilliant, logical sestra loses herself to PTSD and survivor’s guilt, first with Delphine’s apparent death and now Kendall’s. She’s so upset that she’s willing to cut open her own face to insert Sarah’s bot in the hopes that what it’s “learned” about the Leda disease might be continued and lead to a cure, even if it means sacrificing herself to see it done. If this woman dies, I might have to die, too.
Thank the gods for Felix and his unreal ability to save the lives of not one but two clones. First, he talks Cosima down from her suicide-by-bot by relaying Krystal’s revelation that Delphine was picked up alive from the parking lot where she was shot. Then, he literally talks Sarah off a ledge at the train station, where a Beth hallucination informed her that even if she jumped, she’d probably only cripple herself like Rachel. The way he manages to do all of this with a cell phone, a taxi ride, and unwavering emotional maturity is a testament to Jordan Gavaris’s magic. Please give this man lead roles.
The other Angel From Heaven Award® this week goes to Scotty — poor, underappreciated Scotty, who painstakingly cares for Cosima as she spirals into paralysis, forgoing food and sleep, and insists on sweet optimism in the face of almost certain defeat. He even has the courage to take gentle verbal offense when Cosima, still stricken with grief, says her lab partner is dead. (She’s talking about Delphine.) Scott is the kind of dude all Nice Guys mistakenly believe they are. Without his persistence as a scientist and friend, Cosima’s hopelessness might have killed all the clones.
Other Important Developments:
- Kira’s ESP is proving helpful, as she now senses when the clones are in danger. If she didn’t tell S about Sarah, Felix might not have reached her in time, which means Sarah and Siobhan couldn’t have had their stubbornly silent reconciliation over undercooked scrambled eggs and apple slices and hand-squeezing. (Let’s pray Evie Cho doesn’t yet know of this highly profitable talent.)
- Donnie is arrested for his and Alison’s short-lived Bubbles drug empire. Given the beatdown pharma companies have been dealt of late for encouraging the growing opioid epidemic, I’m not mad about it. I love the Hendrixes, but they very well could have been fueling overdoses left and right. Even if Duko had initially agreed to Neolution’s bidding because his “hands were tied,” now his heart is in it too. That’s the downside of Art kicking the crap out of him for killing Kendall and persecuting the clones. His threats — directed at Art and Alison — are getting more enthusiastic.
- In expediting the transfer of resources from Leda to her army of random, joyless Brightborn suits, Evie Cho has revealed some enhanced personal incentive, not to mention a widening margin for failure. (She’s sick again, this time with shingles.) Now her health, as well as her pharmaceutical fortunes, depend on the swiftness of the DNA bots’ consumer debut — a dangerous combination, especially considering that she’s marked “Sarah and her self-aware sisters” for death and made an enemy of the still-viciously-brilliant Rachel in one fell swoop.
- Speaking of Rachel, she either hallucinates in a moment of panic as she falls down the stairs, or her new Neolution implant is more than just an eyeball. As she’s lying on the ground, a swan appears in the living room, then disappears in a flash of pixels. This is interesting because (1) swans are the most terrifying and vicious birds on earth; and (2) Susan revealed to Rachel that the house in which she’s being held captive once belonged to P.T. Westmoreland, a (fictional) Victorian-era industrial titan and the founder of Neolution. Westmoreland created “a secret scientific society” with his vast wealth based on Darwinism and “early eugenical thought,” and his foundational tome prominently features images of the Leda swan. In other words, the Greek myth definitely gave Neolutionists the idea for cloning as superior reproduction: Leda is raped by Zeus in the form of a swan and she subsequently births four children, two by Zeus via one egg and two by her husband Tyndareus via a second egg. Kendall’s chimeric double genome makes her the quintessential Leda, “Zeus” is the superior force creating a better human, and two sets of clones — Castor and Clytemnestra, Pollux and Helen — are the ideal outcome. Just to be clear: This is all happening because two centuries ago, a rich old white guy pumped millions into his obsession with an ancient rape myth. That, my friends, is the Patriarchy in a nutshell.
- How did MK (Vera? Or, “the girl in the shadows,” per Kira?) know Kira had a laptop to hack, let alone its IP address? Why does Kira have a laptop, let alone one with built-in Wi-Fi? (You know the safehouse can’t be wired for that.) MK did need a dignified way to re-enter the sestras’ fold after abandoning them in a moment of traumatized fear, and this is as good a plot device as any, but …
- When she’s eventually defeated, Evie will simply be left to wither at the mercy of her own immune system in some secluded bubble room, right? Locked, in a Poe-esque twist, in the basement of her own corporation, perhaps?
- Who do we think picked up Delphine? The only feasible answer has to be Marion Bowles.
- Can Peaches come back and play next week?
Correction: A previous version of this recap incorrectly claimed that Orphan Black had never referenced The Island of Doctor Moreau before “The Antisocialism of Sex.” A genome written in the margins of an old copy of the book figured heavily into season three’s plot.