Orphan Black Recap: The Confidence of a Mediocre White Man

Orphan Black

Manacled Slim Wrists
Season 5 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Ken Woroner/BBC America

I regret using up my best Step Brothers reference a few episodes ago, because that truism about oppressing people until they rise up has resurfaced once again, in an episode that’s more transitory than anything else. Thankfully, the one who learns it the hard way this week is P.T. Westmoreland, because it was finally revealed that P.T. is actually just … some dude named John. Gotta say, I’m tickled by this. The Orphan Black writers could’ve given him a better boring name, of course — like Carl, or Gary, or Tim — but “John” is so ordinary that it’s not even funny-ordinary, which I suppose is what made the whole grift work. “John” had to be boring so he could easily fade away and be forgotten and Percival T. Westmoreland could live on.

Unfortunately, John finally got a little too carried away in his Machiavellian ways, bringing in Virginia Coady (who, of course, came running back after escaping the psych ward with Sarah’s key) to neutralize Susan Duncan’s silly moral whinging. As a general rule, when bending people to your will — especially women scientists — you should probably not remind them that you’re wildly successful, despite your mediocrity, because you “bought” their superior intellects and have a penis. On what planet would this have been a good idea, John?

That’s not to say it worked out all that well for Susan, either. John’s dig, coupled with the return of Coady’s genocidal ruthlessness, is the last straw, inspiring her attempt to assassinate a weakened Westmoreland, who has been undergoing (shudder) parabiosis treatments, a medically unsound approach to “staying young” that, in this case, means having one’s crusty, old-man blood transfused with blood “donated” by healthy, young Revival children. Susan forgets, however, that Coady has had a lot of time to nurse that grudge, and (although I’m not exactly sure how, logistically) she catches them moments before the poisoned IV bag o’ plasma kills Johnny for good and turns the murder weapon on Susan herself. But hey, she redeems herself in death by helping Cosima escape and giving her the 1967 photo of her and young John that (together with Aisha’s unexpected death — the Fountain is a lie!) sparks Revival’s fiery undoing. Her death has probably also sparked the rage Ira needs to abandon his Coady feels (and temptation of a cure) to avenge her before he glitch-dies, too.

Westmoreland might have gotten away with pushing Susan over the edge before she was able to hurt him, but it’s looking more and more like he won’t be so lucky with Rachel. On Delphine’s newly informed recommendation, Sarah and Siobhan help Kira (who is still supposed to be EIGHT?!) avoid a Dyad appointment with a little ipecac. Initially, the hooky stunt fools Frontenac and Rachel, but when Westmoreland, whose biological clock is running low even before he’s nearly poisoned to death, calls to lecture his pet clone at, like, 10 p.m., hell-bent on beginning trials immediately, she has to spring into action. Maybe it’s her microexpression when they collect Kira an hour later and Siobhan says, “There will come a day when you need us,” but something tells me Rachel will be far less likely to suffer this mediocre white man’s hubris once she finds out John’s little secret. If our gods are merciful gods, maybe this whole operation will go nuclear and wipe out all three of them, Coady included, for real this time?

We do encounter one pocket of sunshine on our journey this week: Of course Krystal Goderitch is a YouTube personality who believes she’s doing investigative journalism. She and her roommate Brie (yes, spelled like the cheese) run Kay-Bee Natural Beauty, a channel dedicated to makeup how-tos and uncovering the evils of the cosmetics industry — which is why it’s uncanny when Brie’s hair unexpectedly starts falling out in the middle of a tutorial about getting the perfect going-out curls. (Though, why they would actually upload this video of her humiliation to their 50,000 subscribers, let alone edit it heavily in every other way, is a mystery unto itself.)

Convinced she’s been poisoned in retaliation by “Big Cosmetic,” Krystal takes Brie to Rabbit Hole for inspection. Art has Skyped in Siobhan and Sarah, who were examining Adele and Felix’s Swiss financial findings and noticed that Neolution-infiltrated companies have been making major acquisitions left and right, in the medical field and beyond — including BluZone, an “amazing,” “totally ethical” cosmetics company recently sold to a Dyad subsidiary by Leonard Sipp, a CEO whom Krystal had been “cultivating as a source” … before he ghosted her, that is. Krystal is asked to make another date with him (despite … having … been … ghosted?), and Sarah plans on impersonating Krystal. But nobody puts Baby in a corner: Krystal insists on doing it herself, leaving Sarah and Art to feed her intel and watch them make out in the car outside, via Krystal’s impressive surveillance hookup.

Scott nearly chokes on his own awkwardness when he determines that Brie’s hair loss must have been a side effect from a bottle of face cream the flirty kleptomaniac stole during a party at Sipp’s penthouse. Len Sipp, it turns out, is your garden-variety capitalist douchebag (not very bright, extremely greedy, disgusting beard — in other words, another new Ken doll), so once Sarah and Art are briefed about the cream, it takes Krystal a shocking five seconds to put him in a headlock and get him squawking. Turns out that cream Brie stole was a failed prototype for a new “dermal delivery system” for “regenerative therapy,” some sort of Franken-retinol with the power to alter your DNA? Guess we’ll find out soon — but maybe after Krystal uses a handful of it to exact her revenge on that chin roadkill Sipp calls a “beard.”

Scattered Notes

•The whole “Westmoreland drinks the blood of the innocent” twist does track with his whole maniacal deal, but am I wrong in wondering whether making it this literal is going too far? This isn’t Giedi Prime.

• Siobhan has more than one Neolution mole! One, obviously, is Delphine. Is Frontenac another?

• Now that Cosima and Charlotte are taking that one boat, how will any of the Revivalists, who have all burned down their homes, get off the island?

Orphan Black Recap: The Confidence of a Mediocre White Man