Season four of Orphan Black has been the ultimate refocus. Our clones are back together after being scattered to the wind, and with that reunion has come a new sense of purpose. Tatiana Maslany has been at the top of her game for every single character (not that she ever wasn’t), and despite containing the stakes, the tension has never been higher. While exploring the ethics of genetic tampering, Orphan Black is also digging into the complexities of family and how even the strongest relationships can become strained to their breaking points over time. The premiere was a stripped-back look at what fans loved about the show in the beginning, and that idea has continued on through the entire first five episodes. If viewers left after a confusing third season, they are missing out on some truly human sci-fi.
In “Raw Human Material,” this season’s fifth episode, Sarah has not-so-slowly started to unravel. With the Neolutionist bug still in her face, she can’t help but feel like a ticking time bomb. After a failed correspondence with M.K., a clone who knows way more than she lets on, Sarah is forced to bide her time while she waits for Cosima and Scott (Josh Vokey) to finish their tests on the bug that was removed from the skull of the decaying Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer). On top of feeling useless at the safe house, she and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) are still at odds. Felix is tired of being the sidekick, and is instead spending time with his biological sister, Adele (Lauren Hammersley). The two may share DNA, but Sarah has plenty of legitimate misgivings about the American.
The startling revelation that Kira (Skyler Wexler) is an empath/clairvoyant is sure to add a new level of trouble. The fact that she can feel all the emotions of both the Leda and Castor clones will not go unnoticed by Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore). The decision to make Duncan, the clones’ creator previously thought to be deceased, was an excellent call made by show runners John Fawcett and Graeme Manson. With her “distinguished grandmother” persona, her evil is a calculated one, and her personal connection, as the adopted mother of Rachel, makes her an even greater threat.