Orphan Black S03 E04 – Bullets and blood and brains, oh my!

Previously: The whole Castor thing got creepier but also surprise! They are the sister-clones’ brothers.

New Elements of Our Defense

Jessica: We start right back where we ended at the Finch Farm, with Mark facing off against Gracie’s mom. At the end of last episode, she had him cornered in the cornfield and we heard a shot go off.

Closeup on creepy corn. Sigh, it’s ALWAYS creepy corn.

Marines: If I ever have to run into creepy corn, I’m basically doing this:

J: Good luck. I can think of very few who have successfully escaped from creepy corn.

Prolethean Mama (also known as Septic Bonnie) walks all slow-mo and Terminator-ish out of the corn and towards the barn, where Sarah still is. Bonnie enters the barn, carrying her rifle and looking murder-y.

Sarah manages to sneak out and runs to the truck, hiding next to it, where she finds a gun on the ground, just like in a video game! Then she runs into the creepy corn, and finds Mark— he’s still alive, but shot in the gut and also the leg. He tells Sarah to get away from him but she decides to help him. He moans and groans loudly, while she uses her belt to tie off his leg wound. He wants to know what’s going on but she rightly tells him to shut up.

Another truck appears with more Proletheans, who Septic Bonnie sends into the corn after Mark. Sarah helps him up and they struggle through the corn. Mark is still grumbling about her help and she tells him, “I’m all you’ve got.”


Gracie is riding in a truck with her mom, Septic Bonnie. She takes off her wedding ring and puts it in her pocket. They arrive at a house with people singing church hymns and we see Midwife (aka Tatiana Maslany’s stunt double) has been accepted back into the fold. Mr. Appleyard, the old blind man who owns this house, welcomes Gracie. He says that she’s the one with “the blessed child” and the Proletheans say “Amen.” Gracie remains quiet and mouselike throughout, reverting back to her previous state.

Mari: That bullet wound Mark had looked pretty awful, but this might be just as bad. At least you aren’t here, Mark!

J: Desert military HQ. Helena eats her lunch, and pulls a bone out of her steak, and hides it for later. Then she uses a string from her pants to tie a tourniquet around her arm, puts on a jacket to hide the string and throws a fit in her room. Camo Clone gets her piss bucket thrown in her face, and he’s mad, so they go in to subdue her.

Dr. Virginia is there too, and they have a syringe to tranquilize her. “You know how this goes,” Dr. V says, and Helena gets the jab in the tied off arm and pretends to fall under the drug’s influence. As that guy in Jurassic Park said— Clever girl.


Alison and Cosima are chatting on their clone phones about Sarah going after the original genome. Alison prefers caution (except when it comes to winning school trustee elections!) but Cosima sees the value in having the original genetic material. Cosima says she’s still healthy, as Kira’s tooth stem cells are still working. They hang up as Donnie runs into the room. “Why are you sweatier than usual?” Alison asks. He’s afraid a car was following him, and might be on to their school trustee/drug dealer business. They throw in a Breaking Bad reference for good measure.

Creepy underpass. Sarah and Mark stumble around. Mark insists they don’t go to a hospital, so they find an unoccupied house nearby. In the yard, Mark says the bullet went through his gut but didn’t hit anything vital. His leg, however, needs the bullet removed. Guess what your job is Sarah? She agrees to help if he gives her answers.

Mari: He looks at her like, “aw man. Answers?” Priorities, Mark! BULLET REMOVAL IS WORTH ANSWERS.

J: Desert HQ. Camo Clone lifts weights while the doctor looks after a stupidly unrestrained Helena. Then he leaves her. The scorpion is back and tells her to get up, warning her she doesn’t have much time before her arm tourniquet stops working. She promises the scorpion she won’t blunder but will be “as quiet as church mouse.”

She runs around the compound, scouting the place, gathering info, intending to go back. Her hair blends in well with these yellow walls and desert lighting.

She stumbles as the drugs start taking hold, fighting them. She goes into a building, where she watches through a fan into the next room where a Castor clone is tied up. There are monitors all around him, images of brain scans. Dr. Virginia walks out and leaves. Helena hears pained groaning from the tied up clone, and stares into his crazy eyes. Then she slumps to the ground.

The scorpion wakes her up, urging her to get back before it’s too late. She stands, but a soldier goes into the med room and sees her empty bed. He draws his gun, but psych! she is lying on the floor next to the cot, passed out. He rolls his eyes. (M: Whatever. Jokes on you.)

Makeshift surgery basement. Mark is groaning in pain. Sarah is freaking out, saying, “I’m not putting my finger in your leg,” but she starts asking questions, like where Helena is. Mark says he doesn’t know because he’s been on assignment, and that their headquarters moves, so she could be anywhere. He pours a clear alcohol all over the wound and doesn’t scream nearly as much as I bet that would call for in real life. Sarah sits down and psychs herself up. Mark advises, “Stick it in fast, it will hurt less” and Sarah, bless her, doesn’t let a “that’s what she said” moment pass, even in the midst of emergency basement surgery.

Mari: A “this character is just like us!” moment if I’ve ever seen one.

J: She takes a swig of booze and then sticks her finger in the leg. Both she and Mark made noises, and there’s some gross closeup of her finger going in. She can feel the bullet and pulls her finger out. Mark tells her to get the pliers and pull the bullet out. Sarah says she will, but there will be answers first. She tells him about Rudy’s temporary kidnapping of Kira. She says she knows the boys are sick, because the girls are too. Mark tells her they had intel that Johansson, Gracie’s dad, stole samples before the project was shut down, but he didn’t find anything.

Sarah pulls the bullet out and Mark pours more alcohol over the wound. As he cries in pain, he leans forward, and his and Sarah’s foreheads touch.

Drug dealing suburbs. Donnie grumbles about having to carry heavy boxes. Alison can’t stand his whining and grabs them from him without too much effort. There is a dude in a black leather jacket sitting in their backyard. Donnie recognizes him as the guy who was following him, and Alison’s mostly pissed that he shushed her. She demands if he works for Marci Coats, the lady she’s up against in the election, but he says he’s a messenger about the drugs. Apparently Ramone, the teenager, skipped out on some money, and now that Alison and Donnie have his business, they inherit his debt. Black Jacket says his boss wants a meeting. He takes the drugs from Donnie and says he’ll be in touch.

Cosima at home is talking to Scott in the lab over the phone. They’re trying to figure out the code from the Dr. Moreau book, but still don’t know which code goes with which sequence, so they’re at a dead end. Scott brings up the scary possibility that maybe Duncan was crazy, and there’s no code at all. Felix arrives and makes fun of her sweater, and deduces that Cosima is pining for Delphine, despite her denying it. His plan is to go to the bar.

Mari: All his plan usually involve alcohol. Never change, Felix.

J: Religious house. Gracie stares at herself in the bathroom mirror. She starts to get into a new dress, but then doubles over in pain. (M: Not because of the dress, though it was an all jean abomination.) She reaches her hand between her legs and it comes back bloody. Her mother starts knocking on the door and Gracie tells her she’ll be there in a moment but Septic Bonnie seems to sense something wrong. She freaks out when she realizes the door is locked and opens it with her own key. (M: She would have a key to every room of a house that isn’t hers…)(J: So far there’s nothing redeeming about this woman.) Gracie tries to pretend everything is normal, but then doubles over in pain and Bonnie calls for help.

Surgery basement. Sarah apologizes for her poor skin stitching skills. We learn more about the Castor clones from Mark. They were raised in the military, together, without parents, and to keep them from outside attachments. They were trained to hunt people, which is why Mark didn’t run away with Gracie, because his brothers would track them down. He hoped to trade the genome sample for his freedom.

He leans back, starts to fade away, saying how all he found of Johansson’s was just junk. Sarah tries to get him to say more, but he’s passed out. She checks his pulse, then goes through his jacket and finds his motel key. She calls 911 and reports an injured person, then splits.

Rudy gets the name of the motel and heads there on a motorcycle.

Desert HQ. Helena is chewing at the meat bone, making it jagged with her teeth. She pretends to sleep when someone comes, then gets back to gnawing.

Motel Room. Sarah enters and looks around. She finds the box under the bed.

Mari: Meanwhile, Mari is yelling, “TAKE IT AND RUN. GET OUT GET OUT.”

J: Parking lot. Donnie and Alison are waiting for the drug dealer boss. Alison is upset when she finds out Donnie has a gun, reminding him what happened the last time he had a gun in the car. The drug dealer arrives. Black Jacket walks out, ignores Donnie, and frisks Alison. Donnie looks on nervously. He says he has touching issues, but BJ says the boss only wants to talk to Alison. He stays with Donnie while Alison walks up to the car. She gets in and the guy says, “So it is you.”

Turns out, they were high school sweethearts. He hasn’t seen her since she dumped him. They laugh and have a little reunion. He tells her she looks great and she points out Donnie, her husband.

Bar of Forgetting Feelings. Felix and Cosima are chatting. Felix signs her up for a sort of Tindr thing called Sapphire. He hopes it will help her get over Delphine to date someone else. They have a chat about love and it’s sweet.

Drug deal parking lot. Alison and Drug Dealer With A Heart Of Gold Jason are having a nice, giggly conversation. Jason asks why she’s getting into this business, but she doesn’t want to share. She gives him her pitch— she knows the neighborhood and can double Ramone’s rate. He agrees and they shake hands.

Mark’s motel room. Sarah stupidly hasn’t left the motel room yet, giving me a heart attack, as she looks through the contents of Johansson’s box, which are lots of journals with notes and medical looking papers. She sees that Johansson was Dr. Duncan’s lab assistant. She calls Cosima to tell her everything. Johansson had original Castor material. She takes a few photos of journal pages. She figures out Johansson transferred clone cells— to his wife. They realize they’re looking for Johansson’s son, not tissue samples. Turns out, crazy Septic Bonnie was pregnant. Is it Gracie?? I mean, I guess it’s boy DNA so probably not, but still. Questions!

Mari: And the weirdest family tree that ever was.

J: Religious house. Everyone is in white standing around Gracie while the Dr. Apple guy presumably tries to do something medical, but basically he just puts his hand on her forehead and says that the baby is dead. Bonnie’s face has lots of emotions. She yells at everyone to leave her and Gracie alone. She looks at Gracie with crazy eyes and blames it on Gracie’s betrayal, saying that God cursed her. Gracie apologizes and asks what she can do. Septic Bonnie sits down and says the only reason they took her back was because of the baby, and says that she will not be welcome back. OH MY GOD COULD THIS WOMAN GET ANY WORSE??? I feel like this is a “Carrie” sequel or something.

Motel room. Someone approaches as Sarah packs up the box. She goes into the bathroom and turns on the water to wash her face or something as the person comes in. She draws her gun and is disarmed. Mark pushes her onto the bed and points the gun at her head. He’s mad because she called 911 on him. She speaks quickly, telling him everything that she just found out, that Johansson used the tissue samples he stole to make his own clone. She says all they have to do is find his son, and asks if he ever mentioned one to Mark. Mark knows where he is.

They drive to a house where the two Prolethean parents lived right after they were married. To find the son, they pull around back, to the family graveyard. They walk up to a gravestone that says “Abel Johansen.” Sarah is grossed out by digging up a dead baby, but they have no choice.

Mari: She already stuck her finger into someone’s leg! What’s a little grave digging in this busy, full day?

J: The life of a clone is full of challenges and new experiences!

Desert HQ. Someone checks on Helena pretending to sleep and leaves. She pulls her bone out, which she’s bitten into a sort of lock pick. She watches a camera in the corner, which rotates. She puts her hand through the bars and sticks the bone into the keyhole on the other side, while the camera pans away.

Graveyard. Sarah is digging and asking questions about Helena. “You sure seem to care a lot about someone you tried to kill once,” Mark says, and tells her that he and the Proletheans took care of Helena after that incident. Sarah tries to explain, saying it’s not Helena’s fault she’s the way she is, that she’s a trained killer, and compares her to the Castor clones. “How do you even know she’s still alive?” he asks. “I can feel it,” Sarah answers. She wonders why the military wanted Helena, and Mark says they’ll do anything to find a cure.

Helena’s bone lockpick worked. She opens the door and sneaks out, going back to the tented area where she saw Dr. Virginia. No one is there now. A sheet on the door labels the occupant as Parsons. Helena enters, to find Parsons strapped into a chair. He moans, and we see that THE TOP OF HIS SKULL IS MISSING, LEAVING HIS BRAIN EXPOSED, WITH ELECTRODES STICKING OUT OF IT. Sorry for the caplocks, but I had to express the horror and grossness of this scene. Parsons begs through gritted teeth, “Kill me.”

The scorpion tells her not to risk her escape on him, because he’s already dead, but Parsons begs. She looks between the two. She says they were both betrayed and left to suffer, and she will take his pain away from him. She grabs a scalpel from the table while shushing him, then stabs it directly into his fucking brain, and tells him to go to sleep. The monitors go haywire when he dies, and Dr. Virginia rushes in, calling for the guards.

“You say you love boys, but you lie,” Helena says. “You’re a shit mother!” Dr. V backs away and yells at the guards to recapture Helena, which they do. This is an interesting turn for Helena’s character, who we were introduced to while she was assassinating her girl clone sisters. She’s come a long way.

Mari: To mercy killing her brother. THIS SHOW.

J: Graveyard. Sarah is tired of digging, but Mark, leaning against a nearby wood pile, is fading, due to his injuries. She yells at him to keep him awake. She calls him her brother, and he tries to argue, but she argues back. Then her shovel hits something hard. As Sarah digs the little coffin out, someone comes around the car. They check Mark’s pulse, who’s passed out, and take his gun from him. Sarah emerges from the grave to face Rudy, pointing the gun at her.

She tries to bargain the box for Helena but Rudy knows he has her at his mercy. She tells him what’s in the box and he orders her to open it. He gets impatient and kneels down to do it himself, and she hits him with a shovel IN THE FACE.

She runs away into the nearby barn and he follows her. He clanks the shovel against the floor, holding the box in one hand. He says he was going to make her death quick and painless, but now he’s not so sure. He stalks around the barn, asking how Kira is doing, and being a general creep. His voice stops and she looks around, but then he grabs her from behind, holding a knife to her face. She begs for her life and he’s not inclined to listen, but then we hear, “Soldier! Stand down.” Mark’s awake and apparently he outranks Rudy. Rudy considers disobeying, calling Mark a traitor, but Mark tells him he did what he had to do to complete his mission. “They never expected much from you, did they?” he says and Rudy is furious. He cracks Sarah’s head against the wall and she falls, stunned. Mark dares Rudy to try and take him on, and somehow manages to out-crazy Rudy the fucking crazy clone. Rudy stands down and they hug. Mark calls him little brother, which might be significant?

Rudy grabs the box and says they don’t leave loose ends, looking significantly at Sarah. Mark agrees and walks toward her and she gives terrified face and the music goes crazy and that’s it. Yeesh.


Next time on Orphan Black: Sarah and Helena reunite in S03 E05 – Scarred by Many Past Frustrations.

Jessica (all posts)

I'm a chronic book nerd and love storytelling in all forms. I'm particularly excited by the rise of the television show as an art form with long, cinematically beautiful plots and complex character arcs (I also watch cartoons). My travels in the past handful of years have led me through three continents and most recently landed me among the majestic mountains of Colorado. Some day I will compile all my travel journals/blogs into one place. Some day. Until then, you can find me with craft beer in hand, ready at any moment to deeply and passionately discuss survival tactics for the zombie apocalypse.

Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • Karen

    So much for Gracie and Mark and happily ever after. Man, I feel so bad for her, but seriously girl, take your chance and RUN FAR FAR AWAY.

    I’m sensing a sort of parellel between Mark & Rudy and Sarah & Helena. The scene in the barn (Mark tells Rudy to stand down and then they hug and Mark calls Rudy little brother) reminds me of the scene in S2 when Sarah stops Helena from shooting Rachel. (Then they hug and Sarah called Helena Meathead.) Am I imagining it? Is it more blatant actually watching it, or totally different?