Previously: A whole season’s worth of drama that culminated in OMG. BOY CLONES.
The Weight of This Combination
Jessica: First of all, thanks to the Snark Ladies for adding me to the Orphan Black recapping team. I started watching this show since you recommended it and am now thoroughly pulled in. Also, I am soooo excited for this episode. I’ve been watching the trailer and I’m curious to see how much having the male clones in the mix will change the game and change the consequences of the world.
Ok. Deep breath. Here we go.
After the previouslies, we get a dream sequence— very 1950s and way too happy and full of pastels to be anything but a dream sequence in this show. The Beach Boys song “Wouldn’t it be nice” plays as a pregnant Helena in a bright pink dress is lounging on a chair in a backyard, next to a leather-clad Sarah. It’s a sort of baby shower, and Helena opens a present from Sarah while Kira frolics in the background. Felix is at the grill, and Alison brings out a big plate of cupcakes. Cosima shows up in some sort of Bavarian-looking costume with colorful ribbons and says she’s all better now “thanks to science.” (M: I laughed so much.) (S: SAME. My favorite of the many adorably amped up dream versions in this scene.) When the plate of sweets is put down in front of Helena, she digs in with gusto, and her happy face makes me that much more anxious for whatever bad thing we know is coming up next. (M: Because: Orphan Black.)
The music slows, becomes discordant, the sunshine fades into darkness and a scorpion crawls out from Helena’s dress. She freaks out appropriately, which brings us into the scene, with her locked inside a box. The cosmetics crew spared no effort with the coma makeup and she freaks out even more at her predicament which, legit. I’m not claustrophobic, per se, but being in a coffin box would definitely make me lose my shit.
Sweeney: Especially if you just sort of wake up in one, with no understanding of how you found yourself there.
J: There’s not much to see out the air-holes, but an empty warehouse looking room, not very inviting. Her efforts to get out of the box increase as the scorpion appears and my heart is legitimately pounding right now.
Then, a sort of disembodied voice comes from the scorpion which says, “Relax Helena. You remember me, don’t you? You’re being tested again.” It seems to be some sort of hallucination of a spirit animal, and she relaxes and starts talking to it. “They took me from my sestras,” she says and it makes me sad that she finally found people who accepted her and is once again being ripped away from them and no wonder she’s crazy. “No one said it’s going to be easy, kiddo,” the scorpion terrifyingly replies, and I’m pretty sure we can apply that phrase to this entire upcoming season.
Marines: And recapping experience. WELCOME ONBOARD, FRIEND.
J: Just keep the scorpions away from me and we’ll call it even.
Dyad Institute operating room. Suuuper gross close-up of the pencil coming out of Rachel’s eye. I hope Kirsti is not watching this because- ick!
Sweeney: This whole episode made me think of Kirsti. But also myself and how I needed to put my hand over the screen because EW.
J: Sarah, Kira and Felix are relaxing in lawn chairs on an industrial riverfront that I’m guessing is near Felix’s apartment. For some reason they let Kira wander off as they chat, as though all that kidnapping drama in Season 2 didn’t scar them forever. (M: Meanwhile, in the audience… *twitch*) Sarah wants to relax but Felix wants to address issues head-on. Apparently Marion, the lady we met with the Castor clone in her basement at the end of last season, is in Europe covering for them somehow with Dyad. Sarah calls Kira back to her when an unknown car drives up. It’s Delphine.
Mari: When you stack up, “trying to harvest my ovaries” with “pencil in the eye,” I’m sorry Rachel. You super deserved it.
J: Delphine’s task now, as appointed by Marion, is to keep Sarah and her sisters safe “at any cost.”
Delphine shows Sarah footage of another Sarah clone (technically a Leda clone, if we’re sticking with Greek mythology names here), who is lured into a hotel room with Scarface Castor Clone, then apparently jumped by another. They almost kidnapped her when Delphine’s Dyad guards got to them. One escaped and Scarface was captured after killing two Dyad guards. And here’s the kicker– he’ll only speak to Sarah.
Sweeney: You need to look really long and hard at your life and choices when deranged assassin clones think you are the one they want to reason with.
J: Inside the cell — kindly provided with exercise equipment — Sarah confronts Scarface. “You’re a legend, Sarah Manning,” he says, but she ignores his flattery and wants to know his name or serial number or whatever. He rambles and tries to get her to come closer so he can whisper his secrets (into her hair) but our girl is smarter than that. Scarface Clone knows the names of everyone– Felix, Mrs. S, Kira. Hearing her daughter’s name gets under Sarah’s skin and she threatens that if he comes near her family she will kill him. On her way out he tells her, “Count your sisters” and smiles like a creep.
Soccer Field. Our best suburban mom clone Alison is simultaneously coaching her kids from the sidelines while talking on her clone-phone to Sarah and Felix. Alison checks in and says she’s fine, and Felix, at his Frisky Flat, says he, Cosima and Kira are fine. Helena hasn’t come back and Sarah instantly knows this isn’t good. In the background, Scarface Castor Clone stares creepily through the monitor screen.
Mari: That is both commitment to the creepy bit and lots of faith that they’d look back at the monitor. ‘Cause if not, then you’re just smiling at the camera creepily for nothing, you know?
Sweeney: Yeah, but I imagine you’ve got a lot of time on your hands being held captive and stuff. Gotta pass the hours somehow.
J: And maybe he wasn’t warmed up enough to use that exercise equipment yet.
Sarah tells Delphine that Helena is the main priority right now, but Delphine says there are other things that need worrying about. Apparently the Dyad bigwigs at Topside have sent a cleaner. Anyone who has seen any kind of mafia movie knows that anyone called a cleaner is bad news. They have to pretend that everything’s normal or he’ll start “cleaning” aka setting their world on fire. This means that Sarah has to impersonate Rachel again. As much as that sucks for Sarah, I cheer a little bit because my one of my favorite parts is watching Tatiana Maslany play a clone pretending to be another clone. Sheer brilliance. (S: Cosign.) Sarah argues and leaves without agreeing and Delphine looks worried.
Soccer Field of Pretended Normalcy. Alison is ordering the children onto the bus when a woman approaches her, asking for her vote to make her school trustee. But Alison’s got some dirt on this lady and announces that she’s actually going to be running for that position. How do these women act so civilized and sophisticated and yet make everything feel so creepy and Stepford-ish at the same time?
Donnie, Alison’s husband, approaches as trustee lady leaves. He’s still much the bumbler, and apparently has quit his job and needs a ride home.
Sweeney: I have missed you least of all, Donnie.
J: Siobhan’s house. She enters and senses she’s not alone. She walks quietly into the kitchen and grabs a knife, then is attacked by a masked intruder. They fight and she loses the knife but stabs a pen into the guy’s leg. What is it about these people and using writing implements as literal weapons?? (M: The sword would actually be mightier here guys. Just FYI.) She gets knocked down and the intruder pulls of his mask to reveal himself as a Castor clone with a mustache. “You know my face,” he tells her and kicks her and we fade to a commercial break.
Back from the break, Mustache Castor Clone has Siobhan, face all swollen and beat up, facing him on a chair. She realizes that he’s a clone and says that when she turned Helena over, the military told her she and her people would be left alone, but Mustache Clone says he’s not under Paul’s command. He wants to know about Duncan, and Siobhan says Duncan is dead. Light flashes and the clone grabs at his head, like he’s in pain. He asks about Duncan’s research and Siobhan tells him Dyad no doubt has it. The flash happens again and he jumps up, freaks out, grabbing his head, knocks her down and runs away.
Dyad hospital room. Dr. Nealon tells Delphine that Rachel’s eye is lost and there was some damage to her frontal lobe, and no knowing how that will affect her until she wakes up. Delphine shares that Ferdinand, the cleaner from Topside, is coming soon. Dr. Nealon says that Topside has taken action against the Leda clones before, referring to an incident in 2006. “Helsinki,” says Delphine, who has been briefed by Marion about it. “I’m here so it doesn’t happen again.” Neither Sarah nor Rachel know about it, and they can’t, Dr. Nealon says. Delphine asks if she can count on him to put the Leda project as a priority above its individuals. He replies pointedly that neither of them can afford to play favorites anymore and she agrees.
Felix and Sarah are talking to Siobhan. She tells them that Mustache Castor Clone wanted Duncan’s research. Sarah says she’s sorry, and Siobhan decides this is a great time to give in to her guilt and tell Sarah that she betrayed Helena and handed her over to Paul, calling it a “wartime decision.” Sarah’s incensed, and Siobhan says it was the only way to save her and Kira. Neither Dyad nor Cal knew about the deal, Siobhan says and Sarah walks away in anger, despite her pleading. “You’re not my people,” Sarah says to a devastated Siobhan.
Mari: Every single thing choked me up in this scene. I was not a fan of beat up Siobhan, not a fan of voice cracking Sarah and not a fan of that exit. It’s too soon for all these feelings, guys. Too soon.
Sweeney: MY EMOTIONS WERE ALSO NOT PREPARED.
J: Felix’s Frisky Flat. Cosima and Kira are playing. Cosima brings up her maybe-near-death experience, where she was drifting away and Kira called her back. She asks if Kira remembers it, and Kira is evasive. “I don’t really have words for what I’m trying to say,” Cosima admits, and Kira tells her she had to come back so Kira’s stem cells could cure her.
At that moment, Delphine knocks on the door. A big smile lights up Cosima’s face and they hug. Delphine cuts down on the affection saying she only has a minute and wants to know where Sarah is. She reveals she’ll be taking over some of Rachel’s duties and Cosima’s face falls. “So you’re the new Rachel,” she says, and adds a sarcastic “awesome.” Delphine tries to keep it cool saying she’s working to care about all the sister clones equally, “but to do that, I can’t do this.” Cosima’s expression is heartbreaking. Delphine says everyone has a part to play and it’s Cosima’s job to cure herself and her sisters. “I love you,” Cosima says and Delphine turns away. When the door closes she gasps and cries in the hallway as Cosima runs in tears into the bedroom. Kira pulls out the container of what we believe to be Helena’s embryos that she left behind last season. Maybe to do some pre-birth sibling bonding?
Mari: A+. Read ’em a story, Kira!
Sweeney: LOLOLOL this is perfect. I totally did not catch this. Excellent.
J: Stepford-esque house of suburban bliss. Alison is crunching numbers now that Donnie lost his job and it’s not looking good. However, she announces her plan to run for school trustee and he’s totally behind it and it’s adorable. Then Delphine calls and it’s probably not with campaign fund support for Alison.
Back at the riverfront, Sarah and Felix talk. Sarah says she can’t abandon Helena and Felix counters that he’d have made the same decision as Siobhan, if he had to choose between Helena and her and Kira. Sarah’s phone rings; it’s Delphine and Felix says “we definitely need new clone phones.” He also wonders why they all need her help since she never finished high school and their sibling moment is as fleeting as it is adorable. He tells her not to pick up, but she does because she needs Delphine’s help to retrieve Helena.
Rachel’s apartment. Delphine, Felix and Sarah are raiding Rachel’s closet. Sarah practices her cold bitch accent, Felix helps with the clothes and Delphine agrees to help with Helena once this cleaner situation is taken care of.
Felix’s Frisky Flat. Cosima is being doctored by Scott. She’s doing all right physically but as far as emotionally, “I’m done with the French,” she says, referring to Delphine. Scott is less enthused to be in collusion now that military-grade clones and “lesbian drama” are involved, but Cosima knows her audience and hands him the Dr. Moreau book that holds the key to Duncan’s formula. He’s hooked. No one but he (and Kira) know that she has it, not even her sisters, and Cosima thinks it’s wise to keep it that way for now. Cosima, you are definitely one of the smarter clones, though maybe the bookshelf isn’t the best hiding place? Or maybe it is. Definitely better than a pasta box, at any rate.
Mari: Also, the “and Kira” is a pretty big AND I think. Something to consider.
Sweeney: YUP. I’m curious how much thought Cosima has given to that particular “and.”
J: Forget boy clones; I’d say Kira is still the biggest unknown and potential game-changing reveal in play here.
We get a musical montage of Felix Rachel-ifying Sarah. Then Sarah and Delphine walk into Dyad to greet the cleaner, Ferdinand. He’s sufficiently creepy. More than, actually. Sarah tries to make an excuse about being in-between flights to leave, but it doesn’t work. Ferdinand talks, saying that Marion’s judgment is being called into question for keeping a Castor Clone in her basement for three weeks and not telling anyone about it. They discuss Paul being a Castor Project mole, then Sarah decides to go for broke and bring up Helena’s kidnapping, while Delphine gives her a “seriously right now?” side glance.
This news upsets Ferdinand, and he wants to question Sarah Manning, who he believes still to be in Dyad custody. After an awkward elevator ride of Ferdinnad staring at Rachel!Sarah, they go to the cell and all of us who know her can tell this is Alison, pretending to be Sarah. Seriously I am blown away by Tatiana Maslany right now, how she can wear the personas of these clones so convincingly that we can recognize them when they’re dressed completely like each other.
Mari: Well, almost completely. That wig is janky.
Sweeney: I laughed at Alison getting the janky wig. I’m surprised it hadn’t occurred to anyone to keep a good Sarah wig on hand.
J: Well, Felix can only be in one place at one time, so someone had to get the janky wig. Luckily for them, Ferdinand was more interested in staring at Rachel!Sarah than Sarah!Alison.
“Holy doodily, here we go,” Alison whispers under her breath adorably as she gets ready to perform as Sarah. Ferdinand is ridiculously creepy, and Sarah looks pained as he pressures Alison about any knowledge of the male clones. Then his Ick Factor shoots way up the scale as he puts on gloves and shoves his hands under Sarah!Alison’s shirt. Alison understandably freaks out and Sarah slaps her, pretending to be angry Rachel, and they manage to get Ferdinand away from her. As they leave, Delphine and Sarah both give her “I’m so sorry” eyes.
Outside the cell, they make excuses about “Sarah’s” lack of surgery scars, saying that they couldn’t do her oophorectomy surgery that they were planning in the finale yet. He’s put off but seems to accept their explanations. He sends Delphine to take “Sarah” back to her cell, then pulls Rachel!Sarah off to the side. He says he knows she’s lying … about her flights excuse earlier and wonders if it was for his benefit or Delphine’s. Sarah rolls with it, saying she wouldn’t try to trick him and he marvels that her nemesis Sarah is still alive. He warns her about getting cold feet since “things are already in motion.” She tries to talk about Helena but he says that they need to discuss Helsinki. They arrange for him to come to her apartment that night, and I ready myself for more ick coming soon.
Mari: Same. My sister and I turned to each other specifically to make disgusted faces in silence.
J: Dyad cell. Scarface Castor Clone is doing naked pull ups and then sits in a cross-legged meditating pose on the metal table. Still naked. The guard makes a comment about him thinking of himself as a “naked Buddha” and, mocking the deranged prisoner? My Spidey-sense tingles and I predict that he will soon die.
The sister clones are on the phone, Sarah filling them in. They support her efforts to get Helena back. Sarah hangs up and answers the door of Rachel’s apartment to creepy Ferdinand.
Sweeney: LOOK AT ALL THOSE SISTER FEELS.
J: Dyad hospital room. Delphine shines a light into Rachel’s eyes (sorry, eye) and she gasps and wakes up. She can’t immediately form words, mumbling in confusion and obviously a little brain damage. Delphine channels her inner Bond villain and mocks Rachel, telling her it’s personal and demanding Rachel say her name. When it doesn’t happen immediately, she presses her thumb against the bandage over Rachel’s ruined eye and nyeeeargh it’s hard to watch. “You can do better than that,” she says, pressing harder as Rachel mumbles and I’m pretty sure that’s not how brain damage works, but Rachel manages to choke out “stop Delphine!” Delphine tells Rachel she will erase her completely unless she comes clean about what the deal is with Ferdinand. She gasps out “Helsinki” and Delphine narrows her eyes. “You wicked sister,” she says, “you’re not supposed to know about that.” Then more non-eyeball trauma happens and I’m relieved when the scene cuts away. Yeesh.
Mari: Even reading back this paragraph makes me squirm. That was so awful and I hate Rachel. But damn. You are a scientist, you know brain damage doesn’t work that way!
J: Kitchen of Lies in the Apartment of Pretending to be your Sister-Clone. Sarah pours a drink for Ferdinand and tries to talk to him about Helena, but he’s all about other stuff. He tells her she doesn’t seem herself and wonders if she slept with Paul. She asks him what he thinks, and he correctly calls Paul a bitch (Too biased? My bad). She puts her foot on his balls and he’s excited about it. “Hello again,” she says and all this awkward dirty clone talk is happening and recapping this is uncomfortable.
She puts her foot down and switches to business talk, wanting him to consider a prisoner swap with the Scarface Castor Clone and Helena. But he decides now he wants to talk about Helsinki. “You wanted this!” he yells, frustrated, and helpfully exposits. Rachel thought Marion was too weak and Ferdinand tells Rachel!Sarah to be strong and stick to the plan to repeat Helsinki, which was apparently just straight-up murdering a bunch of clones and various people close to them. He suggests they harvest Sarah’s ovaries and then kill everyone. Unfortunately, Alison’s (and her family’s) assassination is already underway. Sarah barely conceals her freak-out and walks into the bathroom, saying she needs a moment.
An evil assassin guy pulls on blue gloves outside Alison’s house. Alison’s getting her exercise on with her elliptical machine, but unfortunately exercise is not healthy for her right now because she doesn’t hear Sarah calling her phone. Sarah tries to leave a message but Ferdinand comes in and why in all that is good did she not lock the door?!? She grabs a nail file behind her back as he asks what game she’s playing.
INFURIATING COMMERCIAL BREAK!!! This is going downhill fast. Fast! I don’t care about Subarus and other stupid shows right now! (M: DAMN YOU, SUBARUS.) (M: Wait, unless you want to pay us for some product placement. Everyone should buy Subarus!) (J: I actually have a Subaru! I’m ahead of the game. #winning)
Sweeney: I watched this on YouTube because BBC America is beautiful and put it up there. I still had commercial breaks but they were strange breaks in which they inserted commercials for Orphan Black? Like, obvs I’m into it, BBC America! I hope they know that they can insert commercial breaks into YouTube videos. I hope this partially because I feel left out of this Subaru party but mostly because I want them to continue this thing they’re doing for the rest of forever.
J: We’re back! “What are you up to?” Ferdinand asks.. He warns her that if she’s not careful, Helsinki will get her too and she won’t get what she wants. Sarah says she wants her sisters, but Ferdinand says no, she wants “the child,” meaning Kira. He grabs her face like he’s John Travolta and she’s Idina Menzel at the Oscars, asking “who’s behind that face?” Maybe all the talk about Kira jarred her back into the game, because suddenly she’s Rachel again and pulls some Fifty Shades of Grey action, ripping off his belt and whipping him with it and he’s totally into it and that Ick Factor is rising steadily again.
They fall onto the bed and she straddles him, throws the belt around his neck. He looks excited and asks if she remembers his safe-word, but she’s all nope! and starts strangling him with the belt. (M: Cool, so exactly like Christian Grey!) (S: She could really commit to the Christian Grey performance and later yell at him for not using said safe word!)(J: All that was missing was the hymn music)
Exercising Alison notices the outdoor light go on, and goes out to investigate. We watch her walk around, with the assassin guy lurking just out of sight.
Apartment of Fifty Shades of Ick. Sarah is strangling Ferdinand but right before he dies Delphine comes in and shuts it down. Sarah tells her about the next Helsinki about to happen and she threatens them both — “won’t Marion be impressed, conspiring with one clone to murder the others” — and tells Ferdinand that he’d definitely take the fall for any Helsinki-type action going down. He’s escorted downstairs by guards after Delphine tells him he’ll tell Topside everything is hunky dory at Dyad. Somewhere in there he manages to send a text to his assassin guy, who doesn’t kill Alison but just hides in her garage until she gives up on her suspicions and goes back inside.
“Rachel was going to eliminate us; everybody we love,” Sarah says. Delphine says they’re going to work it out, and going to get Helena back too. She tells Sarah to stand down until she figures out what to do, and leaves. Sarah takes a moment to cover her face with her hands and I do pretty much the same thing.
Helena’s box. Helena is chatting with her scorpion spirit animal. A lady smoking a cigarette is sitting in another room, watching Helena’s box on a monitor, which surely is rather boring, since it’s just an unmoving box. (M: Maybe that’s why she took up smoking.) A blurry figure in the background says she’s been in there for 48 hours, so the lady gives the ok to let her out. The guard goes in and takes the locks off of the box. “Congratulations, you escaped the first box,” the scorpion spirit animal says. The guard, we now see, is a Castor Clone in military camo gear.
Meanwhile, in the Dyad prison cell, Scarface Castor Clone pulls his clothes back on. Just as the mocking guard from before makes a comment, someone comes up behind him and shoots him in the head. Called it! It’s the Mustache Castor Clone who beat up Siobhan. He enters the cell. “Hello brother,” says Scarface Clone and they hug.
Whew! That was an episode. It picked up the threads from last season’s finale and laid some groundwork for what we can expect this season. It’s interesting watching Delphine move into her new role, and I feel a bit unsure whether she’ll remain loyal to the clones or go corporate. We’ve got the Cosima/Scott team-up which I feel pretty good about, and some more questioning about Kira’s abilities and her knowledge of said abilities. We’ve got Sarah running around playing the hero, but just bashing about like she’s done in the past probably isn’t going to cut it this time. I like seeing Alison having a big role. The Castor clones are definitely being cast as villains, or at least villainous pawns, so it will be interesting to see what the married Castor does, whether he fits the mold or not, and if any other Leda clones pop up. And, not gonna lie, I’m a bit excited to see how Helena handles her captors this time around, seeing how well that went for the Proletheans last time. And I predict that Season 4 will just be one big montage of everyone taking care of baby clones.
Mari: That prediction is my new favorite thing. I was a bit confused for parts of this premiere. We mentioned at the end of season 2 that one of the downsides of the season for us was all of the plots they set into motion. Here, they have all of that to contend with in addition to the boy clones. To be sure, it was a captivating and tense episode, but in the future I’ll be looking to see how well they pace problems and reveals and if they can manage to keep juggling without dropping balls.
I’m so invested in these characters, though. This episode was just one huge reminder of just how much I want things to be okay. In that way, the Helena dream at the beginning was a perfect way to start. Yes, Helena. We all wish you could all be hanging out at a backyard baby shower too. The fact that that’s how we started the season doesn’t bode well, though. I hope I’m ready for this.
Sweeney: The show is definitely setting itself up for a hard task – there is a lot to juggle here and NGL, I’m a bit pessimistic about their ability to handle it all and pace it correctly. It feels like they’ve bitten off a little too much. That being said, this show has done such a brilliant job of selling me on its characters that I also…kind of don’t care. The casting, too, is amazing. Ari Millen has impressed me so far, and I have hopes that he can hold his own against the beast that is Tatiana Maslany. (And all the other actors who boringly only play ONE character are also brilliant at what they do.)
That opening dream sequence destroyed me in all the right ways, and I’ll keep watching, hoping against hope for it to come true. “Wouldn’t it be nice…” Let’s do this, show.
Next time: More Castor Clone conflict and Helena goes head to head with her captors in Orphan Black S03 E02 – Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis.