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Orphan Black creators on their first Italian phone sex scene

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Ken Woroner

SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Thursday’s “From Instinct to Rational Control” episode of Orphan Black.

If you have been watching Orphan Black for four years waiting to see a phone sex scene between a husband needing to…ahem… deposit a sample while posing as gay in a corrupt infertility clinic and his suburban wife role-playing the personality of an Italian flight attendant, well, this was your week!

Alison Hendrix went looking for answers at a fertility clinic in Thursday’s “From Instinct to Rational Control” episode so she sent Donnie and Felix in undercover to investigate. But when Donnie had to provide some sperm for testing, he… well, let’s just say he needed a little help. We spoke to Orphan Black creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson to get the inside scoop on that crazy scene as well as everything else that went down.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: A lot of different stories this week. Let’s start with the Dr. Leekie corpse and this disgusting bot that Cosima and Scot cut out of the cheek. Scott finds bioluminescence on the tissue. What does this ultimately mean: that these bots are changing the DNA of their hosts, including Sarah?

GRAEME MANSON: Well, I think that that’s the suspicion at this point in the episode, but there’s still a lot more to uncover about these lovely little worms.

Disgusting little worms. Freaks me out. Every time I see it, I subconsciously reach for my cheek.

MANSON: There’s been some dental horror issues with our loyal fans.

That’s because going to the dentist is so nerve-wracking just to begin with, so once you put that in there, it’s like, come on!

MANSON: It was one of my childhood fears, for sure.

It’s one of my adult fears.

JOHN FAWCETT: Everyone loves going to the dentist.

Okay, we have Donnie and Felix posing as a couple inside this fertility clinic to find out more about Brightborn. And it eventually leads to a situation where Donnie has to provide a sample, if you will, so calls Alison and asks her to help him along, which means role playing an Italian flight stewardess. And as a result, we get our first ever Orphan Black phone sex scene. Congratulations on that, by the way. Any questions you guys had about how far you could actually take this on basic cable?

FAWCETT: Well, you know, actually, we took it a whole lot further than it was. There’s the expanded producer cut of what we affectionately call Air Italia — the Air Italia sequence — and it got a lot more extreme than this. Let’s just say that. But it is a sequence that we all laughed heavily about when we were developing it. Alex Levine, who wrote the script, did a great job. I mean he was really responsible for the Air Italia part of it.

MANSON: You’ll have to ask him and his wife what’s that all about.

FAWCETT: That’s right, and then Tat and Kristian kind of improvised in there, so we had Alex’s awesome script and then they were, of course, way off book for good chunks of it. And in the end, we had to cut the three-minute sequence down to about 40 seconds. So this is the end result, and then it was just a fun thing to be like, “What music are you going to put on there?” And, well, you’ve got to put some Italian opera with some accordion music in there, don’t you think?

MANSON: If you can bear a teaser, this may not be the only Kristian Bruun orgasm we see this year.

Oh my goodness! And you know we were all wondering whether it was going to be tighty-whities or blue thunder when it came to Donnie’s underwear, and it was blue thunder, indeed! Okay, let’s switch gears a little bit here. Take me inside this big conversation between Susan and Rachel and Rachel having to decide whether to let Charlotte’s disease advance, which could help the others by studying the disease, or intervene to help her. This is a brutally cold decision and Rachel eventually says that they should not intervene, even though we saw them building a relationship, so what’s that all about?

MANSON: As Rachel says during it, she wonders if this is a test, and it really is a test for Rachel on a number of levels. We do know that Rachel, in spite of her ice queen exterior, she has this yearning for motherhood — or at least the fact that Rachel seems to want everything she can’t have, and the fact that it’s been dictated that she is not going to have children seems to be something that she’s reacted to for as long as we’ve known her.

So it operates on that level, and then it’s also playing against her same sort of greed and lust for power. It’s if you make the right decision, will you be back in the good graces of your mother, of the person who holds the strings to the power of Neolution? I think it’s playing on Rachel and on her deepest levels and her deepest needs. Would you say, John?

FAWCETT: It’s about Rachel’s desire to be back on top and to be close to her mother, her desire to be close to her mother and to be a mother herself.

MANSON: But what’s the right choice for Rachel there is the nice question. It’s: Does she make the humanitarian choice or the cold, hard, scientific choice? She, obviously, chooses the cold, scientific one in the end. Is that the right decision? I like the feeling that we still don’t quite know whether she made the right decision.

Let’s talk a little about Helena, because Donnie has a little talk with Helena about toning down the baby talk and next thing we know she’s giving the liquid nitrogen canister a funeral and taking off. Does she have a plan and a place to go, or is Helena sometimes most comfortable when she’s going it alone?

FAWCETT: I think that Helena’s kind of realized that she’s becoming a bit of a burden as she’s brought the heat down on the Hendrixes, and is feeling like it’s time for her to move on. I don’t know that she has a complete plan, but Helena certainly functions well by herself and it’s sad to  see her pack up and go, but it was also fun. This was the scene that Graeme talked about endlessly, the tank babies. Graeme, why don’t you explain why you were so obsessed with the tank babies and having a funeral for the tank babies?

MANSON: Well, frankly, it was a hanging chad. It was a little hanging story fragment that…

FAWCETT: I think it was more of an obsession, personally.

MANSON: Yeah, I wanted to close out that story. I felt bad for the babies, just like Helena.

FAWCETT: So, we did it. We buried them. We had a funeral in the backyard.

MANSON: Luckily, there was the well that just happened to be above the studio right there, so we could dig down without hitting solid concrete.

The big one this week is the storyline involving Sarah and M.K, or Mika, or Vera, or whatever her name is. M.K. discovers that Sarah is working with Ferdinand and not only says she’s cutting Sarah out now, but she steals all his money, douses him with gasoline and tries to blow him up. And we learn that she was a survivor of the infamous Helsinki and lost 6 other clones, including one named Nikki.  I guess we’re starting to learn more about why M.K. is so paranoid and what her interest is in taking these people down, right?

MANSON: Speaking of obsessions, John.

FAWCETT: Yeah, well, the Helsinki story was of particular interest to me early on in the season, and we actually kind of wrote an entire comic book series around Helsinki and around the character of Vera, who, basically, becomes M.K.

I can’t imagine that this is the last we’re going to see of her, though.

FAWCETT: No.

How does this impact the Sarah and Ferdinand truce going forward?

FAWCETT: Ferdinand and Sarah have had this kind of relationship of being frenemies since the beginning. Ferdinand is not exactly someone that we can entirely trust, but it appears that M.K. isn’t either, so this is kind of what the Orphan Black world is like — very grey allegiances and hanging yourself out for people that you’re not sure whether you can trust or not. Going forward, both of these characters play into later parts of the season, so this is just a little building block towards something bigger.

Okay, we know we have a Krystal sighting coming up next week. What can you say about the next episode?

FAWCETT: Krystal is definitely part of the fun of the next episode, which is really exciting. As is one of the pairings that we have been so enthusiastic about from the beginning of planning season 4, which is putting Cosima with Donnie in a mostly comedic scenario, so that’s definitely the fun to look forward to next week.

MANSON: And if you’ve been having the dental horrors watching the last couple episodes, we’re sorry to say everybody should get ready for Alison and Donnie’s IVF intrigue to get deeper and more uncomfortable.