Credit: Ken Worone/BBC AMERICA

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Thursday’s “The Mitigation of Competition” episode of Orphan Black.]

Everything — and everyone — is beginning to come together as the fourth season of Orphan Black revs up to its finale next week.

Thursday’s penultimate episode, “The Mitigation of Competition,” saw not just one, but two long-awaited character returns to the series. First, Helena, who disappeared after departing the Hendrix home in episode 4, was found to be living in a remote locale that looked to be one bear short of The Revenant.

“She felt like she needed to be alone for a bit,” explained Orphan Black co-creator John Fawcett of Helena’s off-the-grid life. “She’s been that kind of person who has gone away and come back and needed her own space.”

But her return was well timed, allowing her to save Alison and Donnie from a run-in with a Neolution lackey; he got an arrow through the neck courtesy of Helena before he could put a bot in Alison’s cheek.

“Helena’s always been concerned about Sarah, and it’s nice that she’s formed bonds with the Hendrixes, and there’s an urge to protect now that she’s found her sisterhood,” Fawcett added. “She was a bit hurt when she left Donnie and Alison’s, but this shows her true loyalty that she wanted to come back and help out.”

The other big reveal? At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Delphine is indeed alive. But besides that proof-of-life glimpse, Fawcett wouldn’t reveal anything else about where she is or what’s happened since she was shot at the end of season 3.

The circumstances surrounding Delphine’s whereabouts and whether she was even alive were one of the biggest questions throughout the show’s fourth season, but Fawcett says preserving the mystery was necessary. “As much as it’s made the fans crazy, it is part of the drama and the journey our characters have to go through to discover the truth,” Fawcett said.

Sarah and Rachel also forged an unlikely alliance this week in hopes of taking out their common enemy: Evie.

“The really cool thing about this episode was seeing Sarah reluctantly engage with Rachel in this quest to take down Evie Cho. And at the end of the day, toppling her is a really cool and exciting victory,” he said, adding that after the duo leaked video of Evie admitting to euthanizing Brightborn babies with birth defects, that “she might not be CEO for long.”

All that — plus Rachel’s increasingly strange visions, Alison’s test of faith, and Felix choosing the sestras over biological sister Adele (both out of Leda loyalty and an attempt to protect her from the burdens of Clone Club membership) — sets the stage for next week’s season finale, an episode Fawcett himself directed.

“It’s the finale, so of course let’s go out with guns blazing, and it’s big!” he teased. “I’m so excited to show people the end of this season. It’s a roller coaster, and I think there’s gonna be a lot of things that people aren’t expecting.”

Orphan Black airs its season 4 finale next Thursday on BBC America.

Episode Recaps

Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.

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