Orphan Black recap: Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow
Woah, Orphan Black way to up the stakes. It’s the penultimate episode of Season 3 and things are getting real in Clone Country. Alliances of the club are being beaten to death in jolly old England, Helena is going all homicidal on the Portugese mafia, even Delphine is threatening an imminent demise for former military-current homeopath Shay in an effort to get her to talk. And the mole!!! Who would have thought that it was Gracie, not Shay, all along, the meek Prolethean willing to trade the kindness of Clone Club for a reunion with her one true love? I only saw that coming once she began her lame doctor’s appointment ruse? Really clones, a doctor’s appointment? The woman has no money, no means of her own and you all are going to let that one slide? Perhaps we are a bit too occupied with our drug-dealing/soap operation to be the caretakers Gracie really needs right now.
The title of this week’s episode is “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” from President Eisenhower’s farewell address back in 1961. In his speech he urged his fellow Americans to prepare for the future, to protect the country’s democracy for fear of it becoming the insolvent phantom of tomorrow—a moniker that could clearly apply to the Leda line of clones if they don’t find the original genome and fix their genetic mutation. Only problem is there are a lot of Leda enemies who want that genome too—the Castor/CIA alliance and Topside. But Sarah Manning and her fearlessness shows up first. Even after Mrs. S. tells her and loyal brother Felix to abort their mission, Sarah sticks to her convictions and tracks down the old paroled jailbird that’s the answer to all their questions. She also happens to be a woman who has absorbed her male twin back when she was in the womb and therefore carries two cell lines inside her body. Oh yeah, and she’s also Mrs. S. mother?!? I’m super confused how it all goes back to Mrs. S. I’m just thrilled that woman has such a soulful singing voice. It more than makes up for this crazytown plot twist. Let’s get cracking on this week’s ranking system, putting our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and rank our clones by who has the most blood on their hands…
Obviously our convent-raised clone is the winner of the prize this week since she went all Kill Bill on us and massacred a bunch of drug dealers in the name of family and freeze-dried babies. (If only the show had a bigger budget we could have actually witnessed the massacre, rather than just see Helena’s post-game highlights.) Yet, those discordant twangs that play under each of Helena’s rabid-dog moments really need some recognition as does her crazytown laugh/snort that makes her clearly the most entertaining of the clones, especially as she teaches Alison’s daughter how to gouge out her karate opponent’s eyeballs. I also enjoy Helena’s Minion get-up for making soap. Really I could just watch an entire season of Helena. She and Donnie make an odd, yet thrilling, couple as Donnie takes the righteous path asking for the nitrogen tank bank, yet willing to give up all his profit in order to save them. That’s clearly not how Helena’s brain works and she opts to turn Alison’s puffy jacket into a blood-splattered art project in order to reclaim what belongs to her sister and her husband.
Sarah clearly isn’t interested in any London-area sight-seeing. And other than the respite she received in the form of Mrs. S. crooning, it was all business for Ms. Sarah Manning and her quest for clone answers. And what a bunch of answers she found. Standing over Siobhan’s old pal Terry as he took his last breaths should have been enough affirmation that the Ledas and their snooping have delved into deadly territory. Still they power on: Mrs. S. less determined to destroy the original Castor genome in order to prevent the government-backed sterilization program from moving forward, more worried about their safety. But Sarah follows the clues, with Topside following her the entire way, and tracks down prisoner number H46239 to a small apartment where Kendall Malone—the original genome—lives. Yet just as Sarah starts to ask questions, Mrs. S shows up. Not only does Ms. Malone carry the genetic DNA of both Castor and Leda she also happens to be Mrs. S. mother. So here’s the question: did Mrs. S know the whole time that this was her ultimate target? She’s more than ready to fulfill her promise and kill her mother yet she seems genuinely confused when she hears that Malone carries a male genetic line as a result of absorbing a twin when she was in utero. She is also confused when Sarah points out that Malone not only carries the Castor gene line but the Leda one too. And what does this mean for Mrs. S? How does this familial connection affect her story? Malone says she was tested by Professor Duncan when she was in jail? How long ago was that? Must have been after Mrs. S was out of the house but other details are still murky. And this new wrinkle/coincidence means there is a lot of explaining to do in the final episode and I’m curious how they will iron out all the details.
Heartbroken once again, Cosima limps over to Dyad to offer Delphine a mea culpa and reveal that Sarah, Felix and Mrs. S are all in London trying to track down the genome before Castor gets it. Delphine reinforces that only Shay could have given the book to Castor—leaving Cosima bereft and retreating to Scott’s house and his measly selection of alcohol to nurse another round of perceived deception. Delphine then makes her own visit to Shay, threatening her with a warm bath and a razorblade—an attempt to create a staged suicide for Shay that doesn’t seem all that scary or realistic coming from Delphine. But alas Shay is spared after Cosima gets the call from Grace revealing that she is actually the mole that gave up the book in order to help save Mark. When did she learn about Dr. Moreau? That was never revealed but that sneaky little mouse had to have uncovered it during her trip to Dyad for that last round of genetic testing. Apparently shelter and inclusion wasn’t enough for Grace, she needed to be reunited with Mark—who clearly escaped Paul’s blast unscathed.
Alison was here this episode but not given much to do aside from gawk at Donnie’s injuries and the amount of money now in their freezer. The Rachel/Krystal swap was left completely unaddressed in this episode, meaning we will spend the final moments of this season sussing out how that will all end. There is a lot yet to come in the final episode: will the two mother’s Dr. Coady and Mrs. S have a showdown? Will Krystal lose her eye, while Rachel escapes a free woman joined together with the evil Topside organization? And what is Topside/Rachel’s agent after all? Can Grace and Mark remain together? Who will Cosima choose: Shay or Delphine? Now that Donnie and Alison are out of the drug business, what happens to Jason Kellerman? Maybe they, along with Helena, will open an IVF clinic with all of Helena’s extra babies. Will Cal come back with Kira? Will Sarah ever be happy? Will Felix paint again? Will Mrs. S. sing again? So much left to resolve Clone Club. See you back next week to see how it all wraps up.
Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.