This week on Orphan Black … Sarah helps out Alison after a dangerous admission. Kira makes a sacrifice to help a deteriorating Cosima. And a new villain arrives as another departs.
Convergence and humour
With the exception of Sarah and Helena, this season has seen the clones’ storylines operating mostly on separate tracks. Alison has been in rehab, while Cosima has been busy in her Dyad lab making crazy science with Delphine and keeping her health issues from her sisters. Rachel, of course, has remained aloof, leaving others to do her dirty work. But with Sarah’s investigations making Ethan Duncan‘s survival known, this episode sees her overlapping with Rachel, Alison and Cosima as the disparate threads start to come together.
The tone of this week’s episode is noticeably lighter, providing a little levity after six episodes of breakneck action and ahead of the sprint to the finale. It doesn’t go quite as far as last season’s Variations Under Domestication (the one with the pot-luck party), but there are several moments where tongue is firmly inserted in cheek, and a shocking final scene which is as funny as it is macabre.
The lighter side of rehab
It’s the rehab portion of the story which provides the biggest laughs, but not before Alison lands herself in hot water by confessing her role in Aynsley’s death to Vic, before overhearing him talking to Angie Deangelis. Felix offers him an opportunity to atone to Sarah. The foster siblings spike his tea and hide him away long enough for Deangelis to give up – for now.
In between the serious bits, it’s mostly played for laughs. In the way that only Alison could, she offers Vic a gift of a knitted pair of gloves with nine fingers. Sarah is forced to impersonate Alison and participate in an excruciating role-play with Donnie that has her playing Alison playing him. After drinking his spiked tea, Vic collapses and lands face-first in a pile of feathers, glitter and sequins. Felix carries him over his shoulders and smacks his head against the wall.
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Vic. Almost.
There’s also one beautiful shot in Alison’s room where she and Sarah interact face-to-face, with their reflections visible in the mirror behind them. Subtle, but seamlessly done.
Can anyone save Cosima?
Delphine stays with Cosima as stem cells are injected into her uterus to treat her worsening condition. Cosima overhears Delphine telling Scott that he must not tell Cosima that the origin of the stem cells is the tooth that Kira lost in her car accident – a limited, finite source. She angrily kicks Delphine out of her lab.
Cosima calls Sarah, admits the full extent of her condition and tells her that they need another tooth to generate more stem cells. Overhearing the conversation, Kira pulls her own tooth out.
Ethan Duncan reveals that his research survived the lab fire, copied on to old-fashioned 5¼-inch floppy disks. Mrs S marches into Dyad and offers Duncan to Aldous Leekie in exchange for disappearing with Kira. She’s really only fact-gathering but is there a hint of her true motivation in the request she’s bargaining for?
Rachel comes to visit her adoptive father. They sit and talk. She cries, a rare show of emotion.
Enraged, Rachel confronts Leekie in his office. Having supposedly allied with Rachel’s boss Marian Bowles (Michelle Forbes), he realises it is Rachel who Marian is really working with. Marian now regards Leekie as expendable. However, Rachel allows him to run – having been raised by him, nurture prevails. She knows he will probably be hunted down and killed anyway, but true to her nature she takes a step back and leaves it to others to finish the job out of sight.
Leekie’s reprieve is short-lived but the identity of his executioner comes as a surprise. Having learned the truth about how he was duped into thinking he was Alison’s monitor as part of a benign long-term sociological experiment, Donnie ushers him into his car and quits angrily, slamming his gun on the steering wheel and accidentally shooting Leekie dead. Oops.
Couples in counselling are often told to focus on what they have in common. At least now Rachel and Donnie both know what it is like to be instrumental in someone else’s death.
The calm before the storm?
Just as Variations Under Domestication served as a pause for breath before hurling headlong into the home stretch, this episode also provides an opportunity to enjoy a little light before the oncoming darkness.
Having stayed below the radar so far, Cal notices he is being monitored via his laptop’s webcam. But by whom? Is it the Neolutionists within Dyad? The Proletheans? Or a third party such as the military, who maybe never fully walked away from the Duncans’ experiments?
Alison’s liberty is now under threat from two angles. How will she continue to silence Vic? How will Donnie dispose of Leekie’s body – and was that Alison’s gun he used?
How far will Sarah go to help Cosima? Will she risk bringing Kira into Dyad to allow the stem cell treatment to continue? And what plans do Marian and Rachel have for both of them and for Duncan?
Finally, what of Helena, now back in the hands of the Proletheans? Will she carry her fertilised eggs to full term?
Three episodes to go – and so many questions still to answer …