Orphan Black S03 E05 – Trust no one

Previously: The sister-clones bonded with their brother-clones in real weird ways.

Scarred by Many Past Frustrations

Jessica: Helena is lying on the floor of her cell, bruised and bloody after being beaten by her captors for killing Parsons. Remember- she stabbed him in the brain? Yeah. Kinda hard to forget. Also, the Castor military folks weren’t too happy about that.

Marines: I mean, to be fair, they started it. 

J: And Helena brought it! They seriously did not know what they were getting into when they allowed her into their picture. Case in point– she chats with her scorpion spirit animal, then finds what looks like a nail on the ground and uses it to dig into her own back, which is all scratched and bloody, presumably from doing that over and over. Yeesh- are we going back to dark/evil Helena? The scorpion tells her “guilty pleasures won’t help you” and then scuttles under the door and into the next cell.

Guess who’s there? It’s Sarah. She’s unconscious on the bed.


Dr. Virginia, Rudy and the military doctor are all suited up and examining the baby skeleton that Sarah dug up in the last episode. Dr. V explains that the baby doesn’t have the genetic sequences that make Rudy and the other male clones viable. Military doctor says they can still use the baby’s genes and compare them to find a cure for what’s ailing the male clones.

Paul, whom they refer to as “the Major” is coming soon, and they all know he’s not going to like the fact that Sarah’s there. Dr. Virginia tells Rudy to GTFO so he doesn’t cause trouble. She gives him 48 hours off and he reluctantly agrees. (M: People who are reluctant about vacation are the worst. I’LL TAKE 48 HOURS OFF.) He gives her a quick peck on the cheek before leaving, which she smiles at slightly. The creepiest mother-son duo ever.


Mari: I bet she hates time off too. 

J: It’s hard to be an evil military scientist when you’re relaxing on a beach.

Sarah wakes up in her cell, looking around. She runs to the door and shouts but no one answers. She’s starting to freak out and then hears Helena’s voice through a grate in the wall that separates their two cells. She runs over to the grate, happy that Helena’s alive. She asks if she’s okay and Helena responds sarcastically, “I’m most wonderful.”

Then she says accusingly, “You put me here.” Sarah denies it, but Helena says she knows about the deal. Sarah tries to tell her that’s not what happened, while the scorpion spirit animal tells Helena not to say anything more. Helena sulks in her cell and Sarah takes a second to put her head in her hands and realize how much shit she’s in. (M: So it’s a day that ends in day.)

City. Art is worriedly leaving a message for Sarah. He opens the door and who but Gracie is on the other side! She sought him out, because Sarah told her to come to him if she was ever in trouble. Art lets her inside.

Siobhan’s house. She and Felix are having tea. They’re both worried about Sarah, as well as (less seriously) Cosima going on her not-Tinder date. Felix calls her and she responds wonderfully un-optimistically while sitting at the bar waiting for her date to appear. The bartender also reassures Cosima as she hangs up with Felix. The date walks in, long blond hair and a floppy hat thing that just reminds me of Carmen Sandiego. Shout-out to all the kids from the ’80s/’90s who remember the computer game or the TV show!

Congratulations, gumshoe- you found me!

Congratulations, gumshoe- you found me!


Her name is Shay (ah, traumatic GOT flashbacks!) and she’s played by Canadian actress Ksenia Solo who, aside from having a badass IRL name, was on the show Lost Girl, if you’ve ever seen it. There she is dark-haired and plays a sassy sidekick.

Mari: I didn’t even recognize her! I don’t know if it was the blonde hair or because floppy hats are good for hiding and disguise. #LessonsFromCarmenSanDiego

J: We could learn a lot from Carmen San Diego. Young Me did, for sure. Anyway, Shay compliments Cosima’s looks and they start chatting.

Art’s apartment. He and Gracie talk. She tells him about what happened at the creepy Prolethean house, where her mother kicked her out, but she stops him when they get to Mark. She has no one she can stay with.

Cut back to Cosima and Shay. They bond over a terrible date Shay had in the past. Shay seems to have a boring background, but I do feel a little bit nervous about Cosima, who knows she’s a clone, putting her potentially very recognizable and exact face on an internet app. Shay, you haven’t won me over yet, is all I’m sayin’.

Mari: This whole scene I was basically like, “yeah, yeah, yeah, real cute. TRUST NO ONE.” 

J: Military HQ. Sarah is talking with Helena through the grate. She admits there was a deal made for Helena, but that she didn’t make it. Scorpion spirit animal insists Sarah’s lying, while Sarah tries to explain, saying she sent Kira away again, and wouldn’t Helena also do anything to protect her unborn child?

Helena nose-cuddles with the scorpion spirit animal sitting on her forearm, which, when we see her from Sarah’s perspective, does not appear. Helena continues to sulk and Sarah gets fed up, saying she should have just “left you here to rot.” Helena snits right back and says it’s no big deal because “I once survived four months in broom closet.” Man, that girl had a rough childhood. I can’t blame her for her scorpion spirit animal hallucinations.

And people think cats aren't cuddly.

And people think cats aren’t cuddly.


The sound of a door being opened interrupts them, and Helena stands, coming to her door, counting down: five, four, three, two, one. When she finishes, the second door opens and Random Castor Clone and another non-clone soldier enter with food. Helena gets her food and taunts from Non-Clone Soldier.

They open Sarah’s door and handcuff her. As they take her out of the room, she yells to Helena that the male clones are their brothers. Helena perks up thoughtfully. When they’re gone, she looks at a pat of butter that came with her meal equally thoughtfully. She tests the bars on the tiny window of her cell door and finds one of them loose. Then she messes with a panel in her wall where she’s hid things, and we can tell she’s got a plan to get out.

Mari: You can’t even give Helena butter, y’all.

J: Sarah is brought to Dr. Virginia’s office, where she calls her “the bad mother” and wonders if she’s proud of her boys. The military doctor guy shows up and Dr. V calls him Dr. Silver so I can finally stop calling him “military doctor guy.” Awesome. They hold down a struggling Sarah to get a blood sample in order to get stem cells. Dr. V continues a creepily calm scientific dialogue while Sarah is pinned down and has her blood forcibly drawn. Sarah calls her a “psycho bitch” (which, true, and also drives home the very Norman Bates feel between her and Rudy) and Dr. V gets real, telling her she’s “not someone you can fight.”

Mari: I love that Sarah’s look back is part terror and part WATCH ME. Because Sarah can fight anyone.

J: Truth. Castor is creepy, but Sarah and her clan are fighters, each in their own way. And you just know this whole season is ramping up for an epic sister clone/brother clone throwdown.

Art takes Gracie to Siobhan’s house. Felix is reluctant but Mrs. S goes into Mom-Mode and reminds him that he was no angel when she took him in. She orders him to help make Gracie feel at home and he rolls his eyes but leads her upstairs. Siobhan mentions Sarah to Art and he says he’ll try and see if he can learn anything.

Mari: I immediately loved everything about Gracie at Mrs. S’s house. YES.

J: Agreed! Best possible solution.

Military HQ. Sarah is returned to her cell. Helena crawls over to the grate. She tells Sarah that Dr. V is looking for a cure for the male clones, and that she (Helena) wants to learn more about them being their brothers. Sarah is grumpy and tells Helena that she probably loves it here in her cage. Helena replies cryptically about rats and doors and Sarah realizes she’s figured a way out. But Helena remains mum about any plans.

Internet date bar. Cosima and Shay are still chatting about each other’s jobs. Cosima says scientist, and Shay says she’s a nutritionist. Someone is taking pictures of them from far away and this is not good. It might be someone investigating either or both of them. Cosima invites Shay to “go somewhere” and she responds “hell yes.”

Military HQ. Dr. V talks to Mark, who’s lying down in a hospital bed, telling him they fixed his wounds and asks what happened to his Castor tattoo. He lies and says he burned it off to prove his loyalty to Pastor Johansen. She also asks about his wedding ring, which he also claims was part of his cover. He admits he consummated the marriage and she tells him that it wasn’t a real marriage as she takes his ring off for him. Rude. “She’s not one of us,” Dr. V says of Gracie. She also hands Mark “your first logbook” for any intimate contacts. Man, this lady just continues to creep me out.

Mari: She’s a pro at upping her creep game.

J: Siobhan’s house. Gracie is upstairs in Sarah’s room while Felix pulls out a box of Sarah’s old clothes. She tells Felix she understands that he doesn’t trust her. He asks if, as a Prolethean, she disapproves of him being gay, but she vehemently responds, “I’m not a Prolethean anymore.” He asks how he can trust her, and she replies that though she doubted things her entire life, she was always told what to think and do, and believed her parents. She lists the things she’s missed out on, like rock concerts and skinny dipping, but Felix responds sarcastically and walks out.

Military HQ. Sarah’s trying to get information about the base from Helena, but she responds unhelpfully. They hear the outer door open and again Helena counts down from five. This time, Paul appears. He confronts Sarah through the door.

Sarah mocks him and he warns her about being “short on friends.” He asks if she’s all right and she accuses him of not caring. He insists he does care and that he tried to keep her out of it. Helena makes kissing noises through the grate.

Sarah tells Helena that he’s the one Mrs. S sold her out to. “It was either her or you,” he says, looking directly at Sarah. He also insists that what he’s doing for the Castor clones isn’t any different from her trying to protect her sisters. “So they can assault women and abduct people?” she asks. He throws Helena’s violent past in her face. Sarah asks him to do the right thing and let them go. She puts her hand on his chest, but he pushes it away and walks out of the cell, closing the door behind him, saying it’s out of his hands. “The military is just another family, Sarah,” he says.

Helena inserts that Parsons would not agree to being treated like family, and Paul insists he made a sacrifice. “He begged me to end it,” Helena says, but Paul insists it was murder, not mercy. “Maybe you’re next, Paul,” she says with this suuuper creepy smile on her face. He sneers handsomely and walks away as Sarah shouts, “Yeah, Paul, maybe you’re next!”

Mari: Sarah is a good hype man. 

J: Sarah’s old room. Gracie is looking through a photo album of Sarah and Felix together. Mrs. S comes up and they talk. Gracie says she was taught to think of the clones as abominations, less than human. “They’re all just people, love,” Mrs. S says, even the Castor clones. She tries to bring up the baby but Gracie shuts it down. She wonders why Mrs. S is being nice to her. She tells Gracie how the husband she eloped with was killed, and that set her adrift. Felix is eavesdroping just around the door. Siobhan says her aunt took her in and helped her. Gracie asks if she’s penance, but Mrs. S insists she’s a guest.

Military HQ. Paul angrily tells Dr. V that she got Helena in order to leave Sarah alone. Dr. V is unapologetic, saying Sarah just “fell into our hands.” She says that Sarah and Helena are unique, and provide other “options” which is just sort of terrifying to think what that might mean. She also promises that Sarah will not come to harm. Paul wonders what they’re even doing anymore, but Dr. V insists it’s necessary.

Felix’s Frisky Pad. There’s candles and wine glasses and Shay is giving Cosima a massage. Shay asks if she should go or stay, and Cosima says she isn’t sure. Shay starts to head out when Cos starts talking about her ex, Delphine. Shay kisses her and we can guess what happens next.

Military HQ. Sarah is watching the camera that’s guarding their cells, as it rotates from side to side. Helena is doing push-ups while Sarah tries to get her to tell her the escape plan. Helena asks if Sarah wants to be her “sandwich” — a weak person you take along with you to eat – and giggles.

Sarah gets real, telling Helena the story of her young life, why she left Kira with Mrs. S. Helena is interested and starts listening. Sarah wanted to see Kira but one time Mrs. S wouldn’t let her, so she skipped town with Vic to make a point. She starts to get teary-eyed as she talks about the year of Kira’s life she missed, and how stupid it was. Sarah tells Helena to hold onto her grudge if she wants to, but then Helena says she’ll need help with her escape plan.

Mari: I felt bad for Sarah during this story. She did go from negligent parent to super loyal parent pretty quickly, but this story makes sense in that regard.

J: Siobhan’s house. Felix talks to Mrs. S in the kitchen, about how he never knew how her husband John was killed. He asks for more details — in a drunken fight, he got a pair of garden shears to the throat. Damn.

Their talk gets interrupted when Gracie appears downstairs in some of Sarah’s old clothes — all black, skin tight, short shorts, some kind of midriff top with fishnet thing. They both look shocked, and Mrs. S calmly asks, “Everything all right, chicken?” Gracie excitedly says, “I’m going out,” to which Felix snarkily replies, “To a Victoria’s Secret fashion show?”

Mari: She over-corrected.

J: Also another candidate for the Willow Rosenberg Crazy Birthday Cake Fashion Disaster seal!

Gracie frowns and says she was about to invite him to go with her, causing Felix to laugh, but Mrs. S takes charge of the situation, asking where she’s going and giving Felix a significant look. He says they can have fun there, and that they should definitely all drink cocktails. Mrs. S agrees while Gracie smiles happily and just … awwww!

Turned that frown upside down!

Turned that frown upside down!


Military HQ. Nighttime, lots of floodlights. Helena starts her escape plan in motion. Military guy and Random Castor Clone enter and ask for Sarah’s meal tray, but she won’t give it to them, telling them to come and get it. When they do she fights them, grabbing the keys on military guy’s belt, but Random Clone grabs her arm and they overpower her. A punch knocks her to the floor, while Helena looks on through the grate thoughtfully.

After a commercial break, Sarah is in the medic room. Dr. Silver suggests she show ” the brothers” some respect, and treats her for her bloody nose. As he turns away, she sneaks something from a tray of metal implements.

Party House. Mrs. S puts on a record while Felix serves the gin and juice cocktail. Gracie slugs hers down as the music starts, then she and Mrs. S start to dance. Mrs. S teaches her some moves and it’s adorable. A much needed sweet interlude in this super dark, bleak episode. Felix joins in and offers some moves.

Mari: I’m sure I mentioned this before, but Orphan Black is really good at sneaking in these sweet interludes into episodes. Things that, even if you know they will not last and trouble is around the corner, warm the heart for a moment. Ups to balance the downs. (*coughtakenoteGameofThronescough*)

J: Military HQ. Sarah is returned to her cell. The guards leave and she pulls a pair of tweezers out of her mouth. She passes them to Helena by tying them to her pants’ drawstrings and swinging them between the door windows. They have to try twice, as the rotating camera goes back and forth.

Helena uses the tweezers to pick her leg shackles, while Gracie continues dancing and drinking cocktails at Mrs. S’s house. She seems to be having a great time and shouts, “I love alcohol!” Many of us can relate. (M: Especially in certain corners of this website.)

But then Gracie suddenly collapses on the ground, curling up into a ball and crying that something hurts, clutching her stomach. Mrs. S tells Felix to call 911.

In the cell, Helena is free, and reaches into her secret wall stash, which is filled with butter tablets. She grabs a handful and butters herself up. Sarah watches the camera and tells her to “go now!” Helena uses the shackles to bust out one of the bars in her cell door opening. Sarah watches the camera nervously as Helena grunts and struggles to fit between the space. The camera spins around, but the guy who’s supposedly watching the cameras is reading a book, and doesn’t see Helena hanging half in, half out of her cell.

She drops to the ground and runs to the camera. Her face appears for a half second before the feed goes to static. The guy finally looks up and walks into the cell room. Helena hides while Sarah distracts him by talking. As he looks away, Helena runs and crushes his head against the wall. It’s gross. Sarah is visibly freaked out but Helena spits on him.

Mari: Very much highlights Paul’s earlier comments about how what he’s doing is no different than what she’s doing: protecting morally questionable people. 

J: Sarah tells her to get the keys, but Helena just approaches her door. “Now we are even, sestra,” she says, and Sarah’s face as she realizes this betrayal is just heartbreaking. She yells after Helena but to no avail. Helena runs out while Sarah pulls at the bars on her cell and cries. (M: DAMN. She got punched in the face for this escape plan.)

After a commercial break, Paul enters the Military HQ morgue and unzips a body bag, staring thoughtfully at Parsons who THANKFULLY has had the top of his head reattached. Meanwhile, Helena sneaks around the compound.

Mrs. S’s house, the paramedics have arrived. Mrs. S looks really worried.

Helena steals a water canteen from a parked car, while Paul contemplates Parsons’ personal effects. There are two medals, and a logbook. Paul opens the book and starts to flip through it, frowning.

Art talks to the girl from a few episodes back who was raped by Seth and Rudy. She enters his car and has sunglasses on, even though it’s nighttime.

Helena scales a wall all dramatic-like with tense music, and makes it to the top.

Mari: I hate to say it but Sarah wouldn’t have made it out anyway. No way she’s scaling that wall. 

J: Art’s girl says she’s been sick. She takes off her sunglasses to reveal bloodshot eyes. Meanwhile, the paramedics shine a light into Gracie’s similarly bloodshot eyes.

At the top of the wall, Helena hesitates. The scorpion spirit animals urges her to go, but Helena says, “My sestra, she tears my heart.” Scorpion says her sister is dead (to her) and it’s her baby that matters now. Below, one of the Castor soldiers starts shouting that Helena has escaped, and alarms begin to blare. Sarah listens to the commotion from within her cell, staring at her clasped hands and the episode ends.

Well this is an interesting turn of events. Helena is free and Sarah is captured. I didn’t really see the Helena betrayal until right when it happened. I, like Sarah, seem to have forgotten how crazy she actually is. I’m curious about Paul, whose confidence in his job seems to be waning, and I’m suspicious of newcomer Shay. I am, as always, disgusted by Dr. Virginia and her favorite boy Rudy.

Mari: All of those are my feelings as well. Paul is a character I just keep flip flopping on. It used to be that I didn’t trust him, but that doesn’t seem right anymore. Now, it’s like I know exactly what his motivations are and his loyalties are split, you know? I feel for him and I hate him but he’s so pretty. It’s rough. 

This present situation sucks for Sarah, but I’m sure she’ll escape. Escaping is what Sarahs do best.


Next time on Orphan Black: Paul figures out what’s going on with those log books in S05 E06 – Certain Agony of the Battlefield.


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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  • Ryan

    “I feel for him and I hate him” <- basically yes. His motivations make more sense now, but after around 2.5 years of not knowing where he stands it's made us extremely wary of him. I rewatch each season after it ends because it helps make sense of things in my mind, but now I think a rewatch of the entire series might be in order… It could be very interesting to see how the S3 view of Paul changes the view of him in the first two seasons.

    I love how Gracie's character is such a reverse of what it was when we first saw her. Our first time with Gracie, we see her as hateful to the clones while her parents want to "protect" them. Now we have her estranged from her family and helping Clone Club. Orphan Black really likes those kind of transformations.

    • Jessica_antiscian

      Yes, I’m really curious to see how my perception of Paul changes on a re-viewing of the entire series. I’m guessing the most interesting part will be the times where we see him falling in love with Sarah. He never loved Beth (he may have been fond of her) but he definitely falls for Sarah, which probably messes with his motivations/plans. I’m curious too if this was something the writers knew all along or ret-conned. I’m guessing it was at least mostly the plan, but I guess I’ll have to re-watch to really decide.

      Gracie’s arc is great, and having dynamic characters like her and Helena are a big part of what makes this show so interesting.

  • Karen

    I’ve never really cared about Paul. I pegged him as the Ambiguously Loyal Love Interest the moment he showed up, and that’s a character type that never works for me, and he’s not really interesting enough for me to care which way he’s swinging at any given moment. It’s like, “Oh, I guess Paul’s on our side at the moment. Okay.” So. *shrug*

    But Gracie! Oh my goodness, poor Gracie. I am pulling for her so hard. Please let her be okay.

    And geez, those gifs of Helena leaving Sarah just break my heart. Though I have to admit, I was sometimes a little annoyed by how cuddly they tried to make Helena in season two, so I’m kind of glad something happened to remind us how dark/crazy/dangerous she can be. While including the “she tears my heart” line so as not to completely lose how sight of how much she really does love Sarah. I dunno. TL;DR: Helena’s a super complicated character and that’s why I love her.

    I also agree with everything Mari said about how good this show is at balancing out the ups and downs, and I think that’s a really important part of storytelling that misery porn shows like GoT forget. We care about these characters and want them to be happy, and moments like the
    dancing in Mrs. S’s living room, or the clone dance party last season, or Sarah and Kira’s reunion in S1 give us hope and energy so we can keep going through the dark stuff to get to the next moment of happiness. When all you get is terrible people doing terrible things, you lose any
    faith that there will ever be those moments again, and that is just exhausting. You (or I, at least) either end up giving up or you just hang around to see which of the worst people will get their comeuppance. That’s not a good viewer/show relationship.

    • I want to not care about Paul because I too thought he was shady and I didn’t much like going back and forth on who or what he was. BUT STILL. My heart gives a little bit toward him, not because I think he’s right or that I agree with anything that he did, but just kind of in the way that my heart goes out to pretty much anyone mixed up in this clone mess. It’s a mess for everyone.


      Really, I think the real point is that OB is super good at creating these complex characters that you want to root for even if they are not strictly “good.” Just like Helena, who is not good, but she’s had such a rough go of it and I truly believe that she does love Sarah too. AHH.

      “When all you get is terrible people doing terrible things, you lose any
      that there will ever be those moments again, and that is just
      exhausting. You (or I, at least) either end up giving up or you just
      hang around to see which of the worst people will get their comeuppance.
      That’s not a good viewer/show relationship.”

      This exactly. This is why I struggle with Game of Thrones so much recently. When I think of the end of GoT, I basically imagine everyone dead in a pit. Everyone. The end.

      • Simon

        Ugh. I hate that about GoT: they seem to do their very best to make the characters as depraved as possible, whether or not it makes sense. It feels almost exploitative.

    • Jessica_antiscian

      I absolutely agree that those little happy moments are the glue that holds a lot of this together, particularly in my expectations and hopes for the show/characters.

      I really liked Paul in the first season, but I feel like I’ve grown very distant from him since then, so his recent reappearance in the plot feels a little ‘meh.’

      Meanwhile: complex characters for the win!

  • That’s exactly how I feel about Paul, too. Mixed emotions … BUT HE’S SO PRETTY. Damn that square jaw and those puppy-dog eyes.

    • Jessica_antiscian

      I know, right?! Even though I feel less connected to him that the first season, I’m never sad to see him on my screen.