‘Orphan Black’ recap: How many bad guys are there, anyway?

04.26.14 4 years ago 6 Comments

BBC America

This week someone asked me why they should bother to watch “Orphan Black,” and after watching this week's episode, one element that I forgot to mention in my spirited defense of the show was drummed into me like a bad EDM record. In addition to the smart science and the exceptional acting and the dark humor, there's a very non-Big Four network interest in shades of grey. Bad guys don't slap on masks and kill for sport on this show. No, motivations are complex, as are loyalties, and right now I'm not entirely sure who the Biggest Bad is in the Clone Club universe — or if all of the Big Bads are entirely bad. How's that for twisty? 

The first burning question all of us have (which is shared by plenty of people in the hospital, too) is how Helena survived a GSW to the chest. Before we can ascribe super powers to clones, we get a pretty straightforward answer from her new keeper, Henrik. Yes, before she can heal up long enough for Art's meddling partner Angie to yank her out of her hospital bed, Mark (the spooky guy with the fish belt buckle) snatches her. After assuring her that he's “family,” he delivers her straight to Henrik, who is nothing like what I expected.

Initially, it seems that Henrik is living a lifestyle that borders on Amish. Women are dressed in handspun clothing, hanging clothing on a line while Henrik toils in a barn. What doesn't seem to fit this unplugged scene is that Henrik is inseminating a cow — not the act of a man who doesn't believe in scientific interference.

When we see Helena, Henrik has her in a rudimentary hospital bed in what appears to be a barn — and shocker, next to the bed is her captor Tomas, flogging himself and grumbling about what an abomination his charge is. So… Henrik is a Prolethean? Or something else altogether? Tomas and Henrik chat at length, with Henrik tossing out some intriguing ideas that certainly don't fit with Tomas' rigid view of the world.

Henrik has discovered that Helena's organs are reversed, which is why the bullet didn't hit her heart. Though Tomas thinks this just confirms that she's an affront to God, Henrik very calmly explains he takes a different view. He “steered his faith through science at M.I.T.” and thinks this is just “God opening a whole new door.” He genially invites Tomas and Helena to stay for as long as they need to for her to recover. He also wonders if Helena could “procreate,” like Sarah, which seems like a red flag, but he's just so nice… 

I'm just starting to think this Henrik guy might not be the worst thing to happen to Clone Club when Mark drills a hole through Tomas' head and Henrik smiles beatifically, as if he just got a batch of homemade biscuits. So, Sarah may want to run elsewhere.

And yes, Sarah is running. When Felix gets a phone call from Kira and she and Art follow it to a hotel room, Sarah finds herself in the back of a car driven by an odd-looking guy to parts unknown. That's not the weird part. What's strange is that Mrs. S is there when she gets out of the trunk (and starts beating the hell out of the odd-looking guy, which is really Sarah's go-to approach at this point). Mrs. S! She's okay! And we have no idea where her loyalties lie! 

At first, it's all very cozy. They're at the safe house Mrs. S took Sarah and Felix to as children, and the two other occupants — Brenda and Barry — seem like old hippies who are just delighted to have guests. But Sarah isn't letting down her guard, and neither is Kira, who reveals that Mrs. S was rummaging through Amelia's things before the clone birth mother died. Sarah also feels uneasy when she shows Mrs. S the Project Leda photo and Mrs. S claims to have no idea what it is or why it's significant. Other revelations — that Mrs. S ran guns for the cause, for example — are also unsettling. When Mrs. S reveals she's bought plane tickets for herself and Kira to go to London, Sarah knows it's time to flee.

This is about the time when we discover Brenda and Barry aren't the cuddly hippies we thought, and even Mrs. S is surprised (well, not entirely — she does kill them both, so you can't really say they got the jump on her). But what Brenda does confess before Mrs. S shoots her is that “it turns out God has deep pockets.” While it's surprising that Mrs. S is such a cold-blooded killer (she stabbed Brenda's hands to the dining room table! What kind of “Nikita” move is that?), it's even more surprising (but understandable) when she lets Sarah escape with Kira in a beat-up truck. At this point, I'm not sure who Mrs. S is allied with or how much she knows about Project Leda, but she realizes, despite her impressive skills, even she can't keep Sarah and Kira safe anymore. 

Meanwhile, Alison is swiftly unraveling, although for her that really means becoming so tightly wound she no longer gets blood flow to the brain. At the funeral for Aynsley, she chances across Donnie's phone and finds leading, “monitor-ish” text messages, which leads to her conspiring with Felix to test Donnie's loyalties. This leads to Donnie hiding behind tombstones and bumbling around the cemetery (really, Dr. Leekie couldn't find a better monitor than this guy?) until Alison lets him burble a bad excuse and leave. Confirmation that she's married to a monitor — and Aynsley died in vain — is too much for Alison, who is chugging wine and gulping pills at a dizzying pace. When she learns Felix, her new bestie, is going to run off to London with Sarah and Kira, it's almost more than she can stand, poor thing.

While Cosima's storyline this week is definitely the least dramatic, we can't dismiss the truth that we now have a clone entering the belly of the beast, ostensibly to stop Rachel from punishing the clones after that little beating courtesy of Sarah. Cosima decides to take up Dr. Leekie on the offer of her own lab (and Delphine sweetens the deal by purring “I want to make crazy science with you,” which should soon become the most popular college pick up line ever). Cosima gets in a few zingers about her new home being “where they sterilized lunatics in the '30s,” but she practically melts when Dr. Leekie tells her about sending a vaccine to a colleague who recreates it on a 3-D biological printer. It's only when Rachel stops by that things go south.

Rachel reveals that Cosima's illness may stem from a problem with the cloning process, but she's only interested in handing over Sarah's coded genome. The implication that the Dyad Institute isn't all that interested in finding a cure for Cosima — but it is very interested in finding out why Sarah could have a baby and the other clones can't. This issue — procreation — seems to be a hot button for both Rachel and Henrik. The question is, though, which one of them is more dangerous? Run, Sarah, run!

What do you think Henrik's end game is? Do you think Cosima is making a mistake by working with the Dyad Institute? 

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