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'Orphan Black' recap: 'The Weight of This Combination'

Dyad goes under the microscope as new characters are introduced in the season 3 premiere.

Posted on

Steve Wilkie/BBC AMERICA

Orphan Black

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

Welcome back Orphan Black fans! It’s time for season 3, which if the opening episode is any indication, it’s going to be chock-a-block with male soldier clones and if we’re lucky, lots of our self-aware girl clones mimicking each other as much as possible. The season picks up right after season 2 left off with just enough time for Delphine to get a blow-out and everyone else to realize that Helena is missing. Castor, the super-secret military science project that’s produced the male clones, is wreaking havoc with everyone’s lives and though Rachel lies in bed recovering from that incredibly effective pencil gun, her desire to be elevated to the queen evil clone is being felt all over clone land. There’s so much to talk about! Between Helena’s new buddy, Tatiana Maslany’s meta-impersonations, and the rise of Delphine, it was a busy, busy episode. Let’s get cloning.

I’m new to the recap game, but I’m going to follow in the footsteps of the great Darren Franich, who introduced us to Orphan Black Clone Status Variable Invasive Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron, where we will rank our favorite clones in their race to beat the evil soldier clones.

1. Sarah, this week’s best Rachel

Nothing makes Orphan Black sing more then when Maslany plays one clone playing another. You know those producers are super-serious about this season when they do it twice in one episode! In one scene! Delphine has risen to the role of new-Rachel and needs the functioning clones to help keep the little pencil-to-the-eye mishap away from the lecherous Topside cleaner Ferdinand (James Frain). So she cons Sarah into playing Rachel, while Allison must impersonate Sarah. And Maslany is just so damn good at doing so, it makes me forget she is just one actor playing some 18 different people. Sarah kinda walks like Rachel but with a stiffer gait while Allison throws out Sarah’s cockney with just a bit too much guttural punch. And the moment Ferdinand tries examining Rachel and Maslany gives that uptight Rachel reaction, it’s just another affirmation of how good this actress is at making these characters so specific. Which is why I’m still not sold on this brand of male clones. Yes, we got a whiff of three of them (I think?) in this episode and yes, they were all bred in the military, but so far I can only tell naked Buddha from mustache man from scar face by their physical attributes. They all appear certifiable but, at this point, indistinguishable. Wondering how much that will change as we move forward?

2. Rachel, best performance from a hospital bed

No, all she did was mumble a few words and land on the receiving end of straight-haired Delphine’s newfound aggression. But we learned so much about her, even with her frontal lobe compromised. We knew she liked the alpha position in sex from last season’s interlude with Paul, but who knew she liked it so rough? Apparently Sarah did, whose imitation of Rachel led to a good whipping of creepy cleaner Ferdinand and a near homicide had Delphine not interrupted. (I, for one, really wanted to hear what this cute couple’s safe word is. Alas.) Perhaps more importantly, we uncovered Rachel’s motive: motherhood. She and her boy-toy Ferdinand were attempting to reenact the 2006 Helsinki experiment where they offed six clones in 24 hours. This time around as soon as Sarah’s ovary was in her hot little palm she would kill off all the sestras so she could become Kira’s mother. Hence, last season’s Ikea prison. Too bad! At this point she’ll have to remain bedridden with her only amusement coming from Delphine and her super strong thumbs. The French woman gives new meaning to “A thumb in one’s eye.”

NEXT: Broken hearts, PJ workouts, and ox liver