Following last week’s heartbreaking episode in which Evie Cho effectively eliminated Kendall Malone and all hopes for a genetic cure, the Leda clones faced their own downward spirals in this week’s dark offering. Sarah’s hard-partying ways, which have been alluded to since the pilot episode, returned in full force as she battled against Beth’s path and grappled with suicide. Cosima faced a death wish of her own when she desperately tried to insert Sarah’s discarded cheek-worm into her face, despite Scott’s forceful pleas. And as for Alison, she dealt with the tragedy in the only way she knew how: by throwing an extravagant birthday party and trying to make things right for Mrs. S, with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a hand-crafted card.
Thanks to Cosima’s last-minute grab of the aforementioned cheek-worm and the fact that the lab still has one live vector from which to work, there seems to be some hope for the Leda clones yet. Add in Rachel’s surprising swan vision reveal at the end (a swan song, anyone?) and the technology is obviously more advanced than viewers have been led to believe so far — even if understanding it is a bit of a chore. If the sestras can actually join forces now that Leda itself has been dismantled by the disgruntled Cho, things might not be as dire as they previously seemed. Plus, it sets up a whole new dynamic heading forward with the series — one between gene therapy and cloning technology that could see plenty of interesting new pairings.
Given how much Mrs. S hated her mother before last season, her newfound loyalty to Kendall has been slightly against character. For her to treat Sarah so badly for making that deal with Susan Duncan seemed more of a plot convenience than something she’d actually do as a natural mother hen (she calls her kids “chicken,” for goodness sakes). Plus it completely disregards the fact that Mrs. S has been known to make her own backdoor deals when it comes to protecting her family — perhaps trading Helena to the Castor clones rings a bell with some?
The Island of Doctor Moreau
Co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson have long said there are strong elements of the H.G. Wells novel in this series, so it should come as no surprise that that’s where Susan Duncan has gone to give up all hope. Watching her and Rachel bond over the failed experiment continued to showcase a whole new side of the former bad guys, one that will be important for audiences to witness if the show does indeed head towards an alliance between Rachel and the other sestras. With Evie threatening something worse than Helsinki on the self-aware clones, Rachel could actually be the one to save everyone this time around — something no one saw coming back in the second season.
We knew the writers wouldn’t kill a fan favorite character off screen, not when Kendall got such a momentous exit. Thank goodness Felix was just a little daft and forgot about Krystal’s intel. The alternative was pretty anticlimactic.
Say what you will about Felix and Sarah’s fractured relationship this season, but in the end it makes perfect sense that he would be the one to finally come around and try to save Sarah from herself — at this point in the series it’s hard to think of anyone else who could, given her constant need to be the strong one. Not only does Felix have her complete history (something the other sestras aren’t exactly privy to), but he’s long been her most loyal confidant. It’s a dynamic that’s been sorely missed this season.
Beth Versus Sarah
Looks like Kira was finally wrong about one of her visions, and Sarah was not actually on the same path as Beth after all. (Maybe this means she’s also wrong about the other aunts having to kill Sarah?) Still, with Sarah going off the rails it was a nice exploration into what that character came from and how far she’s come. Given that she’s the leading character of the series, it’s surprising how little audiences actually know about her personal life. That’s what happens when you set up a cat-and-mouse series like this one; sometimes there’s just not enough time to insert that kind of character development.
Just when you though Kira has become a supporting character, the Dolly mask returns to up the ante.
Once again Donnie Hendrix proved he could be a one-man show. Earlier in the episode he fell into the loving, supportive husband role when Alison was having her breakdown, but also proved towards the end that he’s still the same adult child goof that people fell in love with back in the first season. Little kids everywhere are probably jealous they don’t get to have Donnie-branded ghost stories at their sleepovers. Although, given the fact that Donnie wound up getting traumatically arrested at the end, we’re sure the scarring will go much deeper than a well-timed knock and a flashlight in the face.
Hope was the name of the game for all the characters this week: who had it, who lost it and who dealt with its exit best of all. That little reset allowed the narrative to slow down and for the writers to delve into the characters a little better, setting this episode apart from all of the others. Sure, the sestras have dealt with loss before, but this was a loss bigger than any of the others and came with even greater consequences. Next week the show will have to resume that high-stakes-chase feel in order to progress all of the science stuff viewers learned this week, but at least it will be with a better understanding of the characters’ motives. It’s just too bad, as a part of that, Helena wasn’t around to go crazy on one Miss Evie Cho in retaliation.
“Orphan Black” airs Thursdays at 10pm on BBC America and co-producer Space in Canada.