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'Orphan Black' recap: 'Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis'

The handsy Castor boys come looking for answers while Allison finds a new career.

Posted on

Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Orphan Black

TV Show
Action, Drama, Sci-fi
run date:
Taitana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris
BBC America
Current Status:
In Season

If these Castor clones are a bunch of glitches, why are they taking up so much of our time? It’s Episode 2 of Orphan Black and those unstable, freaky copies are mucking about, messing with our girls—and girls everywhere—for that matter. The title of this week’s episode, “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” comes—as did Episode 1’s title, “The Weight of This Combination”—from President Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell speech, which addressed the need for maintaining a sufficient military presence with concern over Cold War enemies. But it also warned that focusing too much attention on these prolonged engagements could hinder our way of life. The phrase “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” is found in this sentence: “To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much ‘the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis,’ but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle—with liberty at stake.”

In the context of this season of Orphan Black, we are mired in “transitory sacrifices of crisis.” Eisenhower’s quote feels markedly similar to Dr. Nealon’s comments to Cosima and Scott when he makes it very clear that he will do anything in the name of science and his overall goals, and will not get caught up in the casualties along the way. “Hard science requires hard choices,” he tells them. Of course, along the way there will be casualties, which as we saw in Saturday’s episode came in the form of mustachioed Seth and his glitchy fits of rage that ultimately caused scar clone Rudy to put a bullet in his chest. Did anyone else feel a twinge of glee when he went down? One less Castor Ghost Soldier to deal with.

While the show creators want us to feel sympathy for these Castors—after all, they are in fact as manipulated as the Leda girls—I’m not yet feeling much sympathy. I’d like that to change since the real enemies are the ones behind this grand demented experiment, and I have faith that it will.

Let’s get down to business and put our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Variable Invasive Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and rank them according to their superiority over the Castors.

1. Helena, the Scorpion Whisperer

Poor Helena is at ground zero of the Castor experiment, a desert-like military base which, according to Dr. Cody, is filled with good nighttime air and ample smoking spots. But that doesn’t mean Helena isn’t having a bitch of a time. Just when she is released from the box, military Castor takes charge of waterboarding her relentlessly while taking blood and saliva samples until Dr. Virginia Cody—who looks a lot like Mrs. S.—calls them off. Apparently the Prolethean fertilization worked and she is in fact pregnant. The good news is she will no longer be tortured. The bad news is she’s likely carrying a demon baby inside of her and Dr. Cody makes her believe her sestras have sold her out. “You’re not expendable to me or my boys,” Dr. Cody says, reminding us that we still don’t really know what the Castors want from Leda. Cody is clearly puzzled by the sestras’ overall resilience to both nature and nurture issues while the Castors appear to be much more vulnerable. Thank goodness Helena’s pet scorpion is still around to provide her solace and even test advice. Helena is administered some logic tests, the same logic puzzles Paul puts to the male clones that Seth has trouble completing. But not our Helena. She ignores the test completely, and rather than answer with true or false, she says, “Where are these mangoes? I would like to see these mangoes,” providing one of the few moments of levity in an otherwise relentlessly bleak episode.

NEXT: Another great performance by Tatiana Maslany