Orphan Black Season Premiere Recap: Count Your Sisters

Orphan Black

The Weight of This Combination
Season 3 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Orphan Black

The Weight of This Combination
Season 3 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Welcome back, Clone Club! It’s seriously felt like an eon since we said good-bye to Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, and Tatiana Maslany, doesn’t it? I won’t waste any more time explaining where we left off last season, mostly because E. Alex Jung has already done that for us, bless him. Read up there, and let’s get started.

We return, much to the delight of all — especially Helena — with a sunny day and a baby shower. A cover of the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” frolics in the background. Crazypants Clone is super preggo now, wearing actual human clothes (a pink dress) — actually, this is starting to seem a little odd. Why has Alison baked so many cupcakes? Why does everyone seem so cheerful? Why is Cosima up and totally fine “thanks to science,” as though that’s something she’d ever say?

OH RIGHT, BECAUSE THIS IS HELENA’S DREAM. And there’s a terrifying black scorpion crawling out of her stomach. She suddenly wakes up — only to find herself in a real-life nightmare: She’s shut in a coffinlike box with air holes … and the scorpion, which is actually real and has an adorable cartoon voice. (Or maybe, probably, it’s a Helena-constructed delusion. A scorpion, after all, is a deadly self-defense machine — just like her.) Man, this girl-creature cannot get a break.

Back in regular hell, Delphine appears almost poetically, after Felix wisely tells Sarah not to trust any of these Dyad nutters, to tell Sarah that, “Hey, we caught two of these Project Castor aggro-bros trying to kidnap another as-yet-unknown Project Leda clone, Kristal Godrich, and one got away, but we have the other one and, oh yeah, he’ll only talk to you.” Ah yes, the famous “he’ll only talk to you” trope.

Anyway, Sarah meets Castor Bro No. 347 (probably) and he does his creepy prisoner thing, calling her a legend, saying she’s “made of the good stuff” (white supremacist much?), and showing he knows an uncomfortable amount about her sisters, Felix and Kira, which of course prompts her to rage blackout and threaten to murder him. As she’s being dragged out of the cell, Castor Bro calls out: “Sarah? Count your sisters.”

A couple of phone calls later, Sarah’s found out from Felix and Cosima (who is still alive, but not better) that Helena’s missing. Delphine says there’s a “cleaner” coming, and she wants Sarah to stay and pretend to be Rachel so said cleaner doesn’t know they skewered Rachel’s eyeball like a cocktail onion, which she hates but will agree to do, eventually. More on that later.

While loading up the kiddies on to a tiny school bus after a soccer game, Alison puts another rude mom in her place by announcing plans to run against her as school trustee. Oh, and then Donnie shows up in his suit because he called his boss a bitch and got fired. Does this mean Donnie is planning on not being such a waste of space this season? Stay tuned, I guess.

Back at Casa de Mrs. S., another of the Castor aggro-bros, the one with the sex offender mustache, is waiting for Siobhan when she gets home. She puts up a skilled fight with a couple of kitchen knives, but hey, there’s only so much a person can do faced with a genetically engineered government experiment soldier-monster. These dudes are Helenas on steroids.

Mustachioed Castor ties her to a chair and interrogates her about the whereabouts of Duncan (dead, honey) and then of his research (at Dyad, but actually not at Dyad but in Cosima’s and Kira’s hands). Unlike (most of) the Leda clones, it would seem the Castor clones have all been enhanced with severe pathological issues — first, the nut locked up beneath Marian’s pad, then the kidnappers, now this sad mustache boy with daddy issues. “Not the sharpest knife in the box, are you?” Siobhan observes, right before he kicks her chair over. Later she confesses to Sarah and Felix, who come and find her beat up on the floor, about giving Helena to Paul in exchange for Kira; naturally, Sarah flips and takes off.

Unfortunately, Rachel is still alive after her encounter with Sarah’s brilliant fire extinguisher/pencil missile. Delphine and Dr. Nealon are discussing her condition — possibly brain damaged? Let’s hope — when Delphine tells him about Topside sending Ferdinand, that aforementioned cleaner. The pair’s conversation reveals that some sort of “incident” went down in Helsinki in 2006, presumably involving lots of death, and that none of the clones, not even Rachel, can find out about that “incident.” “Can I count on you, Dr. Nealon, to put Project Leda above its individuals?” she asks. “Neither of us can afford to play favorites, now can we?” he responds, pointedly.

So Delphine drops by the loft to break up with Cosima just as Kira mentions the stem-cell-donation thing. It’s a heartbreaking scene, because it’s still really hard to tell what’s up with Delphine, even as she loses it after Cosima tells her she loves her and shuts the door in her face. (This scene is what tipped this episode’s rating from three to four stars.) Later, Cosima shows the Island of Dr. Moreau book to Scott, just as he attempts to back out of the whole secret-research thing. They’re going to complete the missing sequence together, without telling even the other clones.

Delphine calls Alison (unknown reason) and then Sarah (still wants her to pretend to be Rachel); Sarah agrees but only if Delphine helps get Helena back, to which she nominally agrees.

Cue makeover montage, which is really just Tatiana Maslany getting her Rachel hair and makeup done on-camera instead of off. Ferdinand is here (and he’s Franklin from True Blood!), and he makes “Rachel” and Delphine show him Sarah, whom he has been led to believe is in custody.

Not to worry, though. Now we know why Delphine called Alison: to pretend to be Sarah in a terrible wig. Ferdinand gets all sexual-assault-y and puts his hands in her pants — but only to feel the scar from the oophorectomy she’s supposed to have had by now. Delphine and “Rachel” convince him they haven’t done the procedure because “Sarah” is on her period. (The throw-a-dude-off-track-by-freaking-him-out-with-menstrual-blood tactic never gets old.) He speaks to “Rachel” privately because he wants to “discuss Helsinki” (which Sarah doesn’t know exists), but “Rachel” would prefer to discuss getting Helena back. He gets all close to her and tells her he’ll “come to her tonight,” which means Rachel and the cleaner were definitely banging (or worse, he was extorting her for sex, or maybe even a little of both).

After a quick Sarah-Alison-Cosima three-way call, Ferdinand arrives at “Rachel”’s apartment and she lets him in. Through a series of super-dommy chess moves, Sarah gets to the real story: Six Leda clones (and “32 collateral”) were murdered in Helsinki, and Ferdinand and Rachel were planning on doing the same to their clone club (Rachel really wants a child). Sarah is to be “put down,” Cosima is expected to die naturally, and that creepy bald assassin dude has already been dispatched to chloroform Alison and her family and set their house on fire.

Meanwhile, Delphine gets the same story out of the real, hospitalized Rachel, whose brain is partially Jell-O at this point, by literally pressing her (eyeball wound) for the information. She arrives just in time to stop Sarah from strangling Ferdinand with a belt (“Rachel” has conveniently forgotten their safe word) and blackmail Ferdinand into calling off assassin guy and returning to Topside with a clean report. She convinces Sarah to chill on trying to get Helena back herself because she already is, and Project Castor is batshit cray …

… As demonstrated by the next scene. Topside Prisoner Castor has been doing naked jailhouse pull-ups, meditating like a comic-book villain, and flashing his very cute butt at us. Enter Mustachioed Castor, who rolls up, executes a guard, and frees his brother. They hug. It’s creepy.

Helena has now been in the box for 48 hours, we learn from the Fatigues Castor Bro from the military plane in the finale, speaking a leathery-faced woman around Mrs. S.’s age. She’s smoking a cigarette as she watches the “box inside a box inside another box,” as Cute Scorpion describes it, on a security cam, and agrees that he can let her out. For what, I’m kind of worried to know (but by the next-time-on–Orphan Black montage, it looks like water-boarding? Oh, goodie).

Side notes:

  • Really glad this show depicts physical injury accurately — after her and Castor’s fight, Siobhan looks bad.
  • Have we talked about her amazing braid, though? I don’t know if that’s your real hair or not, Maria Doyle Kennedy, but either way, it is a thing of majesty.
  • Hey, did you hear the Grimes sync “Go” in the montage scene? Love you, Canada.
  • Damn, with this many clones of the same two people running around, it seems kind of impossible that regular people haven’t noticed?

Orphan Black Recap: Count Your Sisters