‘Orphan Black’ recap: You can’t keep a crazy Ukrainian clone down

05.10.14 4 years ago 8 Comments

It seems that clones are hard to kill unless they have a suspicious cough. It's an important distinction to make, because even as Cosima circles the drain I'm beginning to wonder if Helena might actually possess super powers. Talk about takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. I'd say you can't keep a good woman down, but it really doesn't apply here. 

Fittingly enough, Helena's twin Sarah is remarkably resilient herself. It turns out that the truck that T-boned Daniel's car in last week 's episode was indeed driven by Cal (phew!), and while Daniel seems mostly dead, Sarah is ducky. She's able to shake off the wreck, grab her Project Leda photo, Daniel's gun and phone (then toss back the gun when Cal points out it was just used in a murder) and cover Daniel's car with branches. Most people spend the first few minutes after a car accident just trying to figure out where they put their insurance. 

If there was ever any doubt that Sarah is wily but not cold-blooded, she doesn't bother to break Daniel's neck or shoot his limp body. I wonder if the time will come when she becomes as calculated as Mrs. S (who would certainly have disposed of Daniel on the spot). Even if she doesn't have it in her to knock off bad guys, she has amazing skill at keeping a secret. Poor Cal tried to finagle the truth out of Sarah from every angle, all the while sneeringly assuming she had run a scam on someone else to warrant all this attention. 

I know she's trying to keep Cal in the dark for his own protection, but I'm amazed Sarah didn't at least snap that none of this Dyad Institute nonsense is really her fault. She may not have helped herself any by punching out Rachel, but let's not nitpick. Sarah's far too busy trying to stay one step ahead of all those who see her as a high functioning guinea pig. That she finally gave Cal a clue — the Dyad Group — is a huge relief. I'm pretty sure Cal will dig up good intel faster than you can say Google. 

I'm glad that when Sarah decides to go hunting for answers in Mrs. S's house she leaves Kira with Cal in his (well, not exactly his) tricked-out RV. He may be Kira's brand-new daddy, but he seems to have a knack for it, making her origami butterflies and saying all the right things to keep her calm. Really, he's a nice balance to Sarah's frantic hugging and bullet dodging. 

Then we have poor Helena. If Henrik and Bonnie were all the weirdness she had to face when she woke up from her drugged stupor, that would be scary enough. As I feared, Helena wasn't plopped on the matrimonial bed by Henrik but slapped into the matrimonial stirrups (if that's a thing, which I hope it isn't). Even though her new “family” tries to reassure her that she's safe now, Gracie pretty much puts the lie to that darn fast. 

I guess we should have known that it would be a natural step for Gracie to go from dismissing Helena as an “it” to trying to smother “it” with a pillow, but Gracie woefully underestimates her opponent. After Helena takes her down (glad she didn't kill her, though), Helena hikes up her 19th century old West wedding dress and hightails it out of there… and right past Art.

I'm a little concerned that Art is only meant to stick his nose into clone business when it's best for the larger plot, but there was some satisfaction in watching him slow down Mark (I like to call him Creepy Buckle) and the gang by asking for their long gun permits. 

But back to Helena. I'd hope her escape would mean the end of Henrik's clone fixation, but no such luck. It seems Helena's unintentional parting gift are some rapidly dividing cells that look like something out of a middle school sex ed video. I'm still unclear as to why Henrik is so fascinated by the clones and so eager to pump out a hybrid, but I'm sure the answer will be far more twisted than I can fathom right now.

I do feel I have a somewhat clearer picture of Mrs. S, who isn't simply a shlubby foster mom but is really a woman who has sex in nightclub hallways with ex-boyfriends. We meet Carlton, who Mrs. S has hunted down to get more information about the “ferryman” who brought Sarah to her. Carlton (as we also learn from Siobhan's convenient newspaper clipping collection) served time for human trafficking, so it seems Mrs. S' network of questionable characters extends far past the Birdwatchers. She warns Carlton that if Sarah digs any further “a world of shit is going to unravel,” which it probably will anyway. 

Meanwhile, Alison wakes up in a rehab that clearly isn't Malibu Promises. It's all a bit like those first few episodes of “Orange Is the New Black,” but familiarity doesn't make it less funny. Felix drops by to reassure Alison that instead of wasting time blaming Donnie for her confinement, she may try enjoying a week of “me” time. Once she accepts her “spa week” will be a little grittier than she likes (“I saw a woman shaving her armpits!” she exclaims in quiet horror), I'm sure Alison could use the rest.

So could Sarah, who doesn't seem to be making the smartest decisions in this episode. I'd say stepping into the path of a speeding police car while holding a gun (which completely freaks out Cal) wasn't one of her finer moments. When she insists that she leave Kira and Cal to dig around in Mrs. S's house, you know that can't end well. At least Felix goes with her, having determined he's still a little useful to his favorite clone. 

I'm a surprised when they discover an old newspaper clipping revealing Professors Ethan and Susan Duncan (as in, parents of Rachel Duncan) are the clone creators. Stranger still is that Mrs. S scrapbooked about it — a sloppy move for someone so careful at covering her tracks. Once Sarah heads to Rachel's local digs to dig further, poor Cosima spins out theories about Rachel's parents over the phone. All it takes is one retro VHS tape for Sarah to know she's wrong.

While I can appreciate the idea that Rachel would want to watch the original tape in an old school video player, it seems odd, too. Why not transfer it to disc? A hard drive? Why take the risk of wearing out a tape clearly labeled “1991” on crusty masking tape? I suppose this is to show us Rachel's sentimental side, but it's a little convenient, too. Still, it's the fastest way to make sure Sarah sees a pint-sized Rachel rolling in leaves with her Mommy and telling her off-camera Daddy she loves him. Rachel may be a controlling narcissist, but it doesn't seem that her parents made her that way.

Alas, further snooping around Rachel's pad is interrupted by her “boy toy” — Daniel. Yes, he isn't dead after all, and he's quite delighted to have Sarah hand delivered to his door. From eavesdropping on his phone conversation, Sarah learns he's Rachel's monitor, answering directly to Dr. Leekie. It's a fun fact, but not one that's going to do her much good since he's the one with the gun. She tells him she knows he can't shoot her, but that doesn't mean he can't hurt her. 

He demands she tell him what she knows about Project Leda (Sarah has already gotten the Zeus/swan story from Cosima, though that is best filed in the back of the brain pan for future reference). Sarah doesn't want to talk — but when Daniel has her tied to the shower head and he's busily setting about cutting around her ear, she's probably reconsidering. Cue Helena!

Helena had been at Mrs. S's house when Felix and Sarah broke in, then followed her dear “sestra” to her next location. The shot from Sarah's perspective of the battle between Helena and Daniel is gorgeous — gory, but gorgeous — leaving everything to our imagination except the gurgling, dying body of Daniel. 

Watching Helena, her white dress covered in blood, shuffle toward Sarah like something out of an Amish production of “Carrie” is priceless. Of course Helena wants to cuddle, and of course she doesn't choose to cut Sarah free first. Sarah looks like she's going to have a heart attack, so it's not what you would call a sweet reunion. While I'm not entirely convinced that some of the elements in this episode weren't a little too conveniently fit together, the fact that it brought us to this bizarre moment is a weirdly wonderful redemption. 

Do you think Cal is a good dad? Are you amazed Helena is still alive? What do you think will happen to Cosima if Rachel stops the research project? 

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