‘Orphan Black’ recap: Is Helena really a threat on ‘Unconscious Selection’?

05.25.13 4 years ago 21 Comments

BBC America

One of the best things about “Orphan Black” (and there are many, many good things about this savvy little series) is how meticulous the writers and producers have been about all the little details. As so many of you have commented, when there is a mistake on this show, it’s like spotting a Scaly-sided Merganser hanging out by the public pool. It happens, but not all that often, and it really goes to show how carefully constructed this show is. Granted, it has to be. If it wasn’t, do you really think any of us would be this excited about clones, a subject that could easily be pure ’70s retro kitsch?

Luckily, there’s nothing of the sort to be found, and tonight’s episode is no exception. We pick up where we left off, with Kira clinging to life, Sarah losing her mind that her little girl might die and even Helena feeling awfully bad about the whole thing. I kept staring at the clock waiting for someone in the emergency room to announce that Kira had two hearts or a microchip in her liver or something. But when someone finally delivers the line “Doctor, you need to see this,” at the three minute mark, there isn’t any notable follow-up. This would imply Kira’s just a lucky little kid who bled a lot and had no serious injuries, but I doubt it. I think this moment, which passed in a blink, will pay off by the season finale (or if not then, will come up in season two). It was too much of a set-up for it not to be on a show as precise as this one.

Ultimately, all is well, Kira goes home, and everyone gets to return to the big, sloppy mess that being a clone has become. Poor Sarah and Alison’s worlds are unraveling faster than a sweater tossed into a bag of cats. While Beth’s old partner Detective Art Bell is very close to figuring out just enough to ruin everythin (and, at the end of the episode, realizes Beth is dead and Sarah has taken her place), Dr. Leekie seems to know even more. He knows who Sarah is, and he wants Paul to arrange a meeting.

This is annoying to Sarah simply because she’s in such a rush to find Helena and rip her heart out with her dirty fingernails. She blames Helena for Kira walking into traffic, which is understandable but a bit unfair. Helena did get Kira to run off with her, but she certainly didn’t push the kid in front of a moving car. In this episode, it’s hard not to feel compassion for Helena. When she returns to Tomas, he sticks her in a cage like a feral animal, furious with her for not killing Sarah. Unfortunately, Helena tells Tomas about Kira, but Tomas might not be a problem long enough to do anything with this tantalizing information anyway.

Sarah agrees to meet Dr. Leekie, and he admits he (like everyone else in this gigantic puzzle of rapidly moving parts) only knows the part he plays. As he tells Sarah, “I oversee data collection and quantify your well being. I look after you.” Sarah isn’t all that impressed, as Dr. Leekie doesn’t seem all that benign. Still, he makes an offer she finds hard to refuse. He wants Sarah to find Helena and return her to him to be “reprogrammed.”

He also gives Sarah a little more information about the big picture, at least as far as he can see it. Tomas is a “prolethean,” a religious extremist who stands against science and, yes, clones. Maggie Chen, the woman Beth killed, was also part of the movement. Maggie and Tomas managed to snag Helena from a convent to brainwash her and turn her into a clone killer. 

Though Sarah wouldn’t care all that much if Dr. Leekie wanted to kill Helena, he assures her he won’t — and more importantly, if Sarah brings him Helena, he’ll get rid of all the monitors to allow the clones to live as they choose. 

I highly doubt this, and it turns out Paul and Sarah don’t seem overly convinced, either. But when Helena gets a hold of a phone, drags it into her cage, and calls Sarah, the opportunity is impossible to ignore. In short order, Sarah rescues Helena, sticks Tomas into the cage, and is on her way (at least, that’s the assumption, because the show just cut to the end result, I guess figuring we’d seen enough of Sarah kicking ass this season). Before Sarah can take the crazy blonde to Leekie, though, Mrs. S calls and asks her to come over, with Helena, pronto.

Mrs. S, who seemed so crotchety and unkind in the beginning of the season, has blossomed into a great ally for Sarah. Not only does she promise to protect Kira by brandishing a shotgun and snarling, “One of the great things about this country? Hunting’s not just for the rich,” she’s helping Sarah find out crucial information about her past. 

How crucial? Oh, the reason Mrs. S wants Sarah to come over with Helena is because she needs to meet someone. And who could be more important than Leekie? How about Sarah’s birth mom, Amelia, a kind black South African woman? Yeah, that happens. Given that Sarah doesn’t react or even blink just reminds you of how many twists and turns have already been thrown at her since the beginning of the season.

Amelia tells Sarah about how she decided to hide her when she realized the couple who hired her to be a surrogate was up to no good. So, Amelia put one twin in an orphanage and the other at a convent. Sarah is not only a twin, her twin is Helena. Head, consider yourself spun. 

Cosima doesn’t have much to do in this episode other than rail at Delphine for snitching to Dr. Leekie and explaining to Sarah that the clones are not, in fact, bioidentical. I hope that she can manage to patch things up with poor Delphine, not only because I think the suddenly bi-curious woman does have feelings for Cosima, but if Cosima is too much of a bitch (snarking about her inexperience in bed was not nice), she may tattle to Dr. Leekie about Kira after all. 

Another element that makes “Orphan Black” fun is that yes, the show does have a sense of humor, and as usual, it involves Felix. When Alison asks to crash at his pad (and scours his filthy apartment unasked), she convinces him to come with her to pick up her things — and the duo walks right into an intervention. As Donnie whines about being hit with a golf club and Aynsley moans about how Alison has betrayed their friendship, Alison stomps upstairs to hide in the bathroom alone — at least until Felix talks with her. As she reaches for her pill bottle, he reacts — only to says, “Sharesies?” Alison and Felix are an odd couple who are weirdly, wonderfully charming together, even more so than Sarah and Felix, and I hope we see more of them together in the future as long as it doesn’t suddenly become sitcom cuteness in the midst of it all. 

Because, with Helena screaming in the trunk of Sarah’s car, Detective Bell demanding Sarah’s arrest, and Alison possibly being forced into surburban hell or, eek, some kind of counseling, there’s a lot of not-cute stuff in the pipeline for the season finale. 

What do you think is going to happen to Sarah? Is Felix in trouble? And what do you think Amelia’s end game might be?

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