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Orphan Black recap: Human Raw Material

Two clones walk into a Neolution-run IVF clinic and…

Posted on

Ken Woroner

Orphan Black

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

Oh, baby.

We discovered last week that Neolution’s quest to build better humans has brought them into the baby-making game, and now we got a much closer look inside their Brightborn clinic — and this being Neolution, the whole operation is scary and sinister beneath the shiny, fancy surface.

There weren’t any covert phone calls from M.K. this week (after nearly torching Beth’s house and Ferdinand with it, maybe she’s laying low for now) or funny one-liners from Helena — who I hope we’ll see back, or off on her adventures, very soon — but we did see the return of Krystal, in all her blond-haired, perfectly manicured glory. Not the brightest bulb of the Leda bunch, but it’s so nice to see her out and about again, even if she’s inadvertently causing our other clones trouble and proving what a bad masseuse Donnie (er, Ronnie) is. 

For this week’s hour, which boasts the appropriate (though, knowing what’s happening, also nefarious) title “Human Raw Material,” let’s put our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron to rank how scientific everyone is this week.


Or should we say Ava? Thanks to Alison’s fake-ID-making skills (she really is a full-service operation), Cosima posed as the surrogate “Douglas” and “Julian” are using to have their Brightborn baby. Attending orientation with Donnie (a.k.a. Douglas), Cosima can use her science background to figure out exactly what those guys are up to. There’s one problem, though: Evie Cho, who most definitely knows what Leda clones look like, just happens to be there today. Oh, and Susan Duncan, too.

Evie gives more insight into her background during her orientation speech: She was born with a compromised immune system and essentially grew up as the girl in the plastic bubble until she was put in an experimental gene therapy program. Now as an engineer, she says, when she sees a flaw she wants to fix it — which in this case means flaws in human DNA. Totally normal and harmless. “Your baby will thank you,” she tells the group of prospective mothers and fathers.

An attempt to sneak off during the facilities tour (swimming pools, yoga, a spa — Neos be fancy, guys) proves ineffective, but Cosima/Ava gets more answers from Susan — who just presents herself as a standard Brightborn employee — during a sit-down near the pool. After stealing the woman’s keycard without her noticing, Cosima asks for more details about the “embryonic enhancements” Brightborn promises. Also, all the Brightborn babies have dimples, which definitely isn’t a coincidence. She mentions “germline editing,” which I had to look up because I am so not a scientist but apparently means altering the DNA of an embryo. Cosima notes that’s risky because any mistakes will be passed on to future generations, and Susan replies that the practice is illegal in most counties…but doesn’t deny that Brightborn is doing it.

She uses the keycard to get down into the building’s lab facilities, where she changes into scrubs and does some recon — there’s a room with a two-way mirror where staffers can monitor a group of pregnant women, something mentioned about a “study” — but then gets pulled away to help with a “carrier,” as the woman is called, who is in labor. She’s there as the frightened woman delivers a severely deformed baby. The doctors take it away, and Cosima finds herself face to face with Susan again — and realizes it’s Susan Duncan, her maker.

She’s brought to an office where they debate the ethics of gene experiments. Cosima points out there are long-term effects to the things they’re doing — like how she’s sick now. Susan offers her a choice: Cosima is dying and can’t find a way to get better on her own, but if she shares Kendall Malone/the original’s DNA, together they can make a cure that could help everyone. Will she do it?

NEXT: Sarah arranges some DNA testing of her own