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'Orphan Black' recap: 'From Instinct to Rational Control'

Posted on

Ken Woroner

Orphan Black

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA
seasons:
4
run date:
03/30/13
performer:
Taitana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris
broadcaster:
BBC America
genre:
Action, Drama, Sci-fi

Things almost took an explosive turn this week between the bombs (plural!) and M.K. almost burning Beth’s place to the ground (with Ferdinand inside). That didn’t happen, and our Topside man might still make himself useful — even if it’s just to make us one of those fluffy frittatas.

The revelations about M.K.’s backstory might even rival Beth’s in the heartbreak department and certainly explain why she’s so paranoid and prone to wearing animal masks. But the person I ended up saddest for tonight was Alison, when a lie told in the name of recon revealed a lot of truth about our Mrs. Hendrix.

Basically, no one won anything this episode (unless you count Ferdinand winning at not getting blown to bits), but all the reveals gave us a great episode. And so, for “From Instinct to Rational Control,” it’s time to put our sestras through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and rank them by the biggest bombshells revealed this week.

M.K.

I’d hoped we’d learn more about M.K. as this season went on, and tonight’s episode delivered — we get her real name (was it Vera? That’s what I thought I heard, but correct me if I’m wrong), her aforementioned tragic backstory, and the knowledge that her skills not only include surveillance but also making bombs. She sorts through Dyad files I’m sure she didn’t have permission to access, putting names and faces from the organization to other names at Topside. One blank spot she focuses on? Ferdinand Chevalier.

There’s a reason she wants to find him, and it’s a pretty serious one — it turns out he’s responsible for nearly killing her and definitely killing another clone named Niki (Tatiana in a light brown wig and big smile in photos) and five other Leda sestras, along with 32 of their loved ones. When she pulls her hair back, you can see scars from the Helsinki car crash that was supposed to take her life.

“I always suspected one clone escaped the purge,” he says as she has him captive, sitting in a chair rigged with a homemade bomb that will explode if he gets up. Having lured him to Beth’s home by sending a text as Sarah, she doused him in gasoline and would have easily gotten the revenge she’d wanted had Sarah and Mrs. S not been there to stop her. But she still got away with all Ferdinand’s money, forcing him to enter his bank password before she transferred his millions of dollars in holdings away from him and leaving the three of them at Beth’s. Lucky for Ferdinand, Mrs. S knows a thing or two about disarming bombs.

Alison

Alison stumbles into a pretty big Neolution revelation just by being at the right place at the right time — a coffee shop, singing Jesus Christ Superstar, as one does — because Trina from Club Neolution spots her and mistakes her for Beth, yelling at her for looking into something called Lifespring Fertility despite her urging that she drop it. “I told you I was a carrier in confidence,” Trina says. A carrier? Say what now?

She investigates the fertility clinic at Sarah’s insistence, but she can’t go in herself because they’ve already seen Beth. So, Donnie and Felix go instead, pretending to be a couple looking to have a baby of their own. While there for the initial consultation, Donnie spots a friend of Alison’s named Portia, who is happily pregnant.

Alison then “runs” into Portia and they have a heart-to-heart in her car, claiming that she and Donnie tried again for a baby and that it didn’t happen. She asks Portia if she did anything special, and the friend initially denies it, but then Alison says that while she loves the children she and Donnie adopted, she’s getting older and everyone is pregnant and she wants a baby of her own — seeing the sadness in her eyes, you know this isn’t just part of the ruse she’s using to extract information. Portia then tells her to go back in and ask for Dr. Bosch and, more specifically, the Brightborn treatments.

She relays this information to Donnie, who is sitting in Bosch’s office with Felix. The man asks how they know about Brightborn, he cites a “satisfied customer,” and the good(?) doctor gets them introductory materials on it. As for what that is…

Cosima

“Who’s the science now, bitch?” Cosima asks Dr. Leekie’s head, delivered to her and Scott in an insulated and fashionable bag courtesy of Alison, because of course.

They cut the living thing — which looks like a tumor with the bot latched on — out of the dead flesh on the late doctor’s cheek. They extract the bot from the tumor and put it under a microscope, looking at it’s makeup and synthetic core. Scott can’t say if the thing is even alive, but he does find something very interesting about it — when flipping the lights in the lab, he finds parts of the tumor are bioluminescent (glow in the dark). Because of science words I didn’t quite understand, this leads them to believe the bots were introducing foreign DNA to their hosts and that they could be a gene therapy delivery system — meaning the one Sarah’s currently toting around could possibly be changing her DNA.

Cosima also gets to bear witness to the DVD brochure Donnie and Felix got from the fertility clinic, which features Brightborn CEO Evie Cho (the woman we met with Leekie in the Beth-flashback-centric season premiere) and a lot of promises about stronger, healthier babies, which means one thing: Neolution’s got baby fever.

NEXT: Sarah lets someone new into the Clone Club [pagebreak]

Sarah

It’s rare to see Sarah and Ferdinand on the same side, but after he saved her life at the dental clinic, she owed him one, and he wanted the favor repaid by using her mysterious contact (a.k.a. M.K.) to find Rachel’s whereabouts. See, he wants the two of them to run away and hide out together until the time is right and they can return and climb back to power. That’s love right there, folks!

She does ask M.K. to try and track down Susan Duncan, which leads to the almost explosion with Ferdinand mentioned at the top of this recap. The plan goes south when M.K. realizes the contact Rachel sent her S.O.S. to is Topside and asks if Sarah’s source is, as well. She says yes but that she made a choice to work with him because she’ll do anything to get the bot out of her cheek. M.K., obviously, feels differently and says she can’t trust her anymore.

With M.K. gone dark, Sarah appeals to Dizzy for help and, when he refuses to do so without knowing the whole story, lets him in on the big secret that they’re all clones. So they start looking into M.K. and find her trailer hideout, which, this being M.K., is rigged with a pressure bomb under the welcome mat.

While Dizzy hacks her computer looking for anything related to Susan Duncan, Sarah uncovers newspaper clippings and photos that clue her in to M.K.’s past and what happened in Helsinki.

When she finds her at Beth’s with Ferdinand, she tries to stop her by revealing what Cosima found out about the bots and how she needs all the help she can get to find out more, which includes Ferdinand. When M.K takes his money and runs, Sarah gets pissed — that she threw her into all this and is about to just blow it all up. She asks about Niki and Beth and all the other sisters who are still alive, but M.K. just says sorry and walks out the door.

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Rachel

Rachel is forced to make a big decision regarding Charlotte, her young ward and secret courier to the outside world, who we learned last week has the same disease that’s affecting the other clones. Susan Duncan, really gunning for Mother of the Year, tells her that Charlotte is the youngest subject to exhibit symptoms — they could put her on immunosuppressants, as Rachel suggests, or they can let the disease progress and collect data that could be of use to all of them. What should they do? She offers Rachel the choice, saying it’s the sort of difficult decision they need to make every day.

Later that night, Susan comes back and asks her daughter what she decided. Rachel gives the answer she knows her mother wants to hear — they won’t intervene because treatment likely won’t work and, if untreated, her data is of more value than her life. That’s not all mom came to her room for: She holds a piece of paper Rachel had given to Charlotte, another message to the outside world, and tells her she knows Rachel contacted Ferdinand. Busted.

Helena

Not to end on a bummer note, but I felt so sorry for my often-favorite clone this week. All she wants is to make “very cuddling” collages of babies (which is weird, but this is Helena we’re talking about here), and Donnie tells her that he and Alison couldn’t conceive on their own, which has made seeing Helena’s pregnancy difficult for her. He says she’ll learn to tiptoe around her, like he has, but Helena instead takes the selfless route and leaves — but not before buying the canister containing her remaining embryos (she didn’t know they needed liquid nitrogen) and telling those babies about her own babies before saying goodbye to the Hendrix home.

Additional genetic material:

  • Rachel is very specific about her frittatas, per Ferdinand. “Only a fluffy frittata would she abide.”
  • Sarah’s still hurt over Felix finding his biological sister and how he wouldn’t leave her to help last week.
  • Scott’s final beef with Leekie: On top of all the other stuff he’s responsible for, the dude never gave him a raise.
  • Oh man, that Alison-Donnie phone sex scene. The flight attendant fantasy, the Italian accent, Donnie telling his wife he has “two spicy meatballs” for her, the classical music it was set to. I cringe-laughed through that whole thing. 

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