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'Orphan Black' recap: 'Formalized, Complex, and Costly'

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Steve Wilkie/BBC America

Orphan Black

type:
TV Show
genre:
Action, Drama, Sci-fi
run date:
03/30/13
performer:
Taitana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris
broadcaster:
BBC America
seasons:
5
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA

“Formalized, Complex, and Costly.” What a perfect title for an episode that showcases just how complicated this entire Castor/Leda experiment is and how costly it has become to its participants, both physically and emotionally. The line comes again from Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell speech where he addresses the U.S industrial arms revolution. And in the case of Orphan Black, it’s clear that the creators of the clones were engineering their own revolution, however ethically dubious it is. We learned some important things in this episode. Mainly, thanks to Cosima’s YouTube-taught surgery skills, that the Ledas and the Castors are siblings. But also, Sarah discovered that Helena’s eggs have been harvested and implanted both inside her and Gracie, expanding the seestras’ family in ever more weird ways. (Kira’s going to have some odd first cousins.) Art was also filled with revelations: mainly that he was in love with his former partner Beth Childs and his quest to save the seestras stems from that love. Oh, and we can’t forget that clone managers Paul and Dr. Cody are also part of some ethically dubious weapons program, leading me to believe that the Castors are somehow part of that same program—human drones? Soldiers bred to fight?

It was a great episode overall, one with just the right mix of plot advancement and character development. And I will confess, I started to feel some sympathy for the Castors—well, specifically Mark and his poor bride, Gracie. Rudy remains awful, but I have hope that Helena will get to “the ugliest Mark” sooner or later. While we wait, let’s put our girls through the Orphan Black Clone Status Variable Invasive Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and rank them according to their bone-cutting abilities.

1. Cosima: Doesn’t Cosima work in a lab? Isn’t that a more appropriate place to cut open mustachioed Seth’s diseased skull rather than Felix’s apartment? Regardless, this is a TV show, and I think we should take one moment to pause and acknowledge that Cosima cut open a skull based on watching some YouTube videos. Nuts. But I will admit I loved all the gore and how Felix and Scott were losing it while Cosima was having a grand ole time playing Dr. Frankenstein. And plus, without her, we’d have no idea that the Ledas and Castors are one big happy family now. But it is worth noting that the women didn’t inherit the genetic defect that is turning the Castors from sociopath freaks into neurological zombies. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. I would have thought they’d be going in the direction of forming an uneasy alliance with the Castors but with only crazy Rudy really left, who wants to partner with that guy? Perhaps Gracie can find some solace with the sisters considering she’s carrying some of their genes, but that will only happen if she can escape her crazy Puritanical-looking mother—a woman who seems to have completely lost her marbles. She goes back with her crazy mother who knows what’s coming her way.

2. Sarah may have stayed away from the chain saw but she certainly cut to the bone in her dealings with Art, Gracie, and Mark. I enjoyed Art and Sarah’s shoe leather detective work. They certainly make a good pair, and Art’s reveal about his feelings for the deceased Beth Childs gave him a more human, vulnerable side. Plus his recognition of the clones’ ferocity was pretty great. There was actually quite a bit of male vulnerability in this episode, and I think it’s what made it so good—from Art’s official intro to Clone Club to Scott and Felix’s flirting to Mark experiencing “sex things” for the first time. Sarah and Mark’s meet-angry at Willard Finch’s farm also felt like the beginning of a new chapter until freaky Mrs. Johannson put a serious damper into that nascent brother-sister relationship. Who didn’t freak out when Mark begs for his life by saying, “I love her,” and she replies, “Not like her mother,” before blowing him apart.

NEXT: Pharmaceutical entrepreneurs 

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