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Orphan Black recap: From Instinct to Rational Control

Bombs, babies, and what happened in Helsinki

Posted on

Ken Woroner

Orphan Black

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

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.


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 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…


“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