Orphan Black recap: History Has Yet To Be Written
Ahh, we made it, Clone Club. After ten jam-packed episodes, some frustrating, some incredibly satisfying, we’ve reached the end of this long, convoluted journey. Were you satisfied? I know I was. Sure, there are mysteries that remain but it could be worse. We could be like Krystal—in the dark with no idea why weird things keep happening to us. Instead, we have some answers: Both Topside and the Castors are being manipulated by the Neolutionists. Drats! We thought they were just a front for the Leda Project but they are still real and still up to no good. Mrs. S and Sarah were brought together by Kendall Malone—her one act of goodness in an otherwise “foul life.” Krystal still has her eye, Helena got her Jesse, Rachel got her new eye, Sarah got her Kira, and Alison got her spot as a school trustee. Cosima even got her genes if not her girl, whomever that ultimately is. Everyone seemed to win—everyone, that is, except for Delphine, who took one for the team, in the one big mysterious outcome we won’t understand until next season. The episode’s title, “History Has Yet To Be Written,” comes from President Eisenhower’s farewell speech, of course—a speech I’ve paid more attention to in the past ten weeks than I have in my whole life prior. As we walk down the long lane of the history yet to be written, the takeaway from this episode is that Clone Club is stronger than ever, fortified with healthy marriages, a network of allies, and the sestras at the center. Moving forward, it seems they can tackle anything that comes their way.
Let’s get on with it and put our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron to determine which clone won the most in this season finale.
What a season Sarah has had. Between losing her daughter, getting thrown into a military prison in Mexico, and trying to save the whole lot of them, it’s been one arduous ride. So it was nice finally to see Sarah in control: orchestrating with Arthur a safe house for Kendall Malone, the original, while she defeats Castor and allies with Topside. The revelation that Topside is being controlled by the Neoleathans didn’t even disturb her groove, in that the wily Ferdinand took care of that threat on his own with his bonkers beatdown of his flunky after that revelation came to light.
Can we take a moment here and celebrate Ferdinand? Not only did the writers give him the best lines of the night (“There is nowhere I like to be more than under the heel of a woman”), but his completely unpredictable behavior was pretty epic. I’m glad he joined Leda’s side and I’m guessing his bigger role this episode means there’s a lot more of him to come next season.
Sarah was also savvy enough to manipulate Ferdinand to join their quest with the mastery of her own place in this wicked game—the one clone immune to the genetic flaw that is killing the others. She also orchestrated what looks like Dr. Coady’s demise, though we never saw her killed, so I suspect she will return. But she convinced Mark and Gracie to help them manipulate the doctor and allow Helena to kill Rudy. Why Mark ultimately sided with Leda wasn’t addressed, but he knew he was doing the wrong thing, and Sarah and Co. offered him a way out—freedom from those that lorded over him.
Sarah was also given the opportunity to understand how she and Mrs. S became connected, brought together by Kendall once Professor Duncan reveals that one clone was lost in the foster system. The revelation was a biggie and served us a pretty emotional moment, yet it still doesn’t explain why Sarah is immune to the genetic flaws that afflict the others. Guess we can’t have it all. And who wasn’t aching for that final scene in Bubbles, with the moshed-up family all together celebrating Alison’s win. Ultimately, this show has been about creating family from shards of empty lives, and that scene felt earned and satisfying. Even more so than the final moment when Kira and Sarah are reunited in Iceland, on the snow as the camera pulls back, offering a final reunion of mother and daughter. Not bad, Orphan Black, not bad.
A little shout-out here for EW’s Dalton Ross, who had a sweet cameo in the finale as one of Alison Hendrix’s campaign supporters. She clearly didn’t need his vote as she slaughtered her opponent Mary Coates by 56 votes, winning the school trustee job. This season was a great one for Alison, who came to really love Donny after mistrusting him completely when she discovered he was her monitor. She’s got a giant family now, is no longer a drug dealer, and has a pile of cash at her disposal. I would have given her the prize for biggest winner tonight if Sarah’s stakes hadn’t been so much greater.
NEXT: A few more answers, but so many more questions…
Ah, Helena, finally some happiness for you. Throwing her into the domesticated world of Alison and Donny was a terrific add-on to this season, tamping down her freak flag a bit (no wine for you, Monster) but letting it still fly when need be—like taking out the Portuguese mafia or one last deranged clone. Her scene tonight with Rudy when she lies down next to him as he’s dying was amazing. That girl has her ethics in the right place. Like when her final words to him were “No, you are a rapist,” after he tries convincing her that the Castors were just like the Ledas. One could argue that presenting her trucker Jesse (“You had me at soap-making”) felt a bit too neatly wrapped, but what I like about it was it showed how well Donny has come to understand Helena, and reward her with things that mean something to her.
Poor ignorant Krystal. At least she has her nails, and both of her eyes. If only someone would explain something to her but I guess this late in the game, does it really matter? Her clone does have the potential for greatness, I believe. A total ditz on the outside but still very intelligent. I think she and Sarah could get along well if she was let into the fold. Perhaps next year.
Cosima’s bedside manner was at its best tonight with her handling of Kendall. “Can you give a sister a little blood?” It made me want to see more of her at work and a little less of her soap-opera love life. Still, the final goodbye from Delphine was tragic and it turns out the clones should have trusted her all along. I still don’t understand how Shay and Delphine fit together, and what Delphine knows about Shay that hasn’t been shared with Cosima. But some things are still secret. Why did Delphine give Shay that code 324B21 to give to Cosima? Why not give it to her directly? And, of course, who shot Delphine at the very end? Once Delphine discovered that Dr. Nealon and the Neolutionists were manipulating both the Castors and Topside, she knew she was toast. He told her so. I still don’t understand how the transference of that creepy bug was going to kill Delphine but it was an interesting weapon. Delphine was a fascinating character this season, given a lot to do, and it would be a shame for that to come to an end. I would guess the writers would save her for next season but if not, it was a heroic journey in the name of Leda and Delphine’s love for Cosima.
So, she’s working with the Neolutionists. And so is her mother? Locked away in a rehab facility in Innsbruck, Austria, with a love for Darwin and his finches, one can only gather that the Neolutionists’ agenda with the clones involves some survival of the fittest kind of experimentation. Nonetheless, Rachel has a new eye and a new purpose: motherhood. That was quite the surprise when little girl Charlotte, the clone from Season 2 who survived, marches into the room, telling Rachel she will now be her mother, before Rachel’s own mother, the other Professor Duncan, the one we thought was dead, also re-emerges. Quite the surprise, and one that shows the sestras are not yet out of danger. Because, of course not. This show would be rather dull if it just dealt with human drama on a human scale. Now that it’s ramped up to life-and-death in every episode, there’s no way they can scale it back down.
I’ll wrap up with my wishes for Season 4. No more male clones. I think we should be finished with that one, though I’m still fascinated with the super-creepy agenda to militarize their genetic defect. More Felix the gay painter, less Felix the enabling sidekick and caretaker. Bring Cal back for Sarah. More fully evolved Donny. And, as always, more Helena! Thanks, Clone Club, for a great season. May you win every school trustee election and may you not swallow any poisonous worms.
Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.