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Review: ‘Orphan Black’ Season 3, Episode 4, ‘Newer Elements of Our Defense’: A New Strategy

Review: 'Orphan Black' Season 3, Episode 4, 'Newer Elements of Our Defense': A New Strategy

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Orphan Black’ Season 3, Episode 3, ‘Formalized, Complex, and Costly’: The Body Count Rises

Cloning Around

jumped the gun last week
and put entirely too much stock in Mrs. J’s
shooting skills, because rather than shooting Mark in the head, she gave him
the ole leg-and-tummy treatment instead. From the appearance of things, that
move was to keep him alive long enough for her Prolethian goons to come fetch
him, maybe for questioning or torture purposes. Either way that didn’t happen —
because fortunately for him, Sarah intervened first and proved yet again that
she’s probably the most loyal sibling on the planet. Something tells us that
despite her need to save Helena and extract info from Mark, a larger part of
her helping him had to do with her finding out they’re brother and sister.

Science Class

Oh hey there, Robocop clone Parsons. All right, so
the dude Helena discovered was less robot and more torture victim, but the
world of “Orphan Black” is growing darker and gorier by the episode.
Turns out Dr. Coady is not quite the matronly figure she appeared to be when we
first met her, and has no problem performing bodily experiments — open brains
and all — on the male clones in order to serve her greater purpose (which, we
are to assume, is saving the others from becoming ill). It makes sense that Helena
would want to put Parsons out of his misery given her own feelings of
abandonment, even if it meant getting herself recaptured. Something tells us
she wouldn’t have fared very well on her mission anyhow, and would be better
off in that cage for now. Hopefully, in the meantime, she doesn’t become Dr.
Coady’s next experiment. And also that we can get the image of Helena driving
and turning a scalpel into the middle of Parson’s open brains out of our heads.

A Little Dance

On the lighter side of things, Felix and Cosmia had
a quick but fun “nip” at the bar, where online dating became the
subject of conversation. Because you know, everyone needs to scratch that itch
every once in a while. Perhaps it’s a little bit ridiculous for one clone to
start dating while all of their worlds are about to be blown apart, but this
story thread is probably going to lead to the introduction of Ksenia Solo’s
Shay, so we can get down with it.

Come All Ye Faithful

We traveled into the Prolethians’ strange new home
this week, where they were merrily singing songs and perhaps even baking
cookies together as a newly united family unit. Mr. Appleyard, the man who
first brought Gracie into the world, seemed to immediately know something was
up with her baby when she returned, so the miscarriage a few scenes later wasn’t
completely unexpected. Sad as the situation was, we knew Gracie didn’t want the
thing in the first place, and now it has opened her eyes up to her mother’s
true nature. Casting her out was the best thing Mama could have done. Hopefully
now Gracie can grow a pair and head on off after her entirely more
compassionate husband, and stop seeing him as an abomination. Something tells
us she could have a key role in things coming up.

Bone Yard

There were lots of bones in this week’s episode, so
we’d be remiss if we didn’t salute them. This one’s for you, homemade pork chop
shank and dead baby Johannsen.

A Male’s

Let’s applaud the decision to keep Mark alive a
little while longer, especially now that we know he holds rank over Rudy. Sarah’s
decision to pry a bullet out of Mark’s leg is ultimately what will keep her
alive now that Mark has been reunited with his brother, but who knows what his
attitude will be once they arrive back at the compound. They were, after all,
raised together with no outside attachments. (That insight kind of makes the
attraction between Mark and Gracie a little clearer, doesn’t it?) We have no
doubt Sarah will be headed back to the compound with them — no loose ends,
after all — which means that Helena and Sarah will hopefully be reunited

Tatiana Who?

This week’s non-clone MVP has Donny Hendrix written
all over it. From his inability to haul boxes of soap, to his wimpy freak-out
over having too much to do, his bumbly behavior served as comedic relief in
every scene he graced. 

A High School

The episode also marked the appearance of guest star
Justin Chatwin as Jason Kellerman, Alison’s former high school flame. Of course
he’s now the local drug kingpin, and of course he still carries a torch for his
ex. Something tells us he’s less keen on having a potentially elected official
hock his goods than he is on spending time with Alison, but there’s no denying
the chemistry there. As far as late-night soccer field drug deals go, this one
had to be one of our all-time favorites.

Lab Results

If last week was setting up things to come, this
week kicked it into overdrive. Finally pairing Mark and Sarah put the clones
back on common ground, which should hopefully help the stories intersect more
as we head into the middle of the season. Small reveals (Johannsen was the lab
assistant during Project Leda) helped push the story along and put missing
pieces back into place, while there were plenty of comedic moments to help
lighten the dark stuff (Helena’s escape attempt, digging up dead babies and
bullet retrievals come to mind).

Quote of the week

“Sure, we’ll label everything, we’ll put it
into tubs, and we’ll make it in time to swimming lessons.” – Alison

“Oh my God, is everyone else’s lives this
chaotic?” – Donnie.


Runner Up

“What happened, Gracie, is that you betrayed
your family. God wanted to punish you, so he took the child. Our legacy, and
you lost it.”

Tell us how you really feel, Mrs. J.

Grade: B+

“Orphan Black” airs
Saturday at 9pm ET on Space and BBC America. Next time: Sarah and Helena are
close to reuniting and Cosima begins dating.

READ MORE: ‘Orphan Black’ Cloned Again, Renewed for Season 4 at BBC America

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