Dyad goes under the microscope as new characters are introduced in the season 3 premiere.

By Nicole Sperling
April 20, 2015 at 04:08 PM EDT
Credit: Steve Wilkie/BBC AMERICA

Welcome back Orphan Black fans! It’s time for season 3, which if the opening episode is any indication, it’s going to be chock-a-block with male soldier clones and if we’re lucky, lots of our self-aware girl clones mimicking each other as much as possible. The season picks up right after season 2 left off with just enough time for Delphine to get a blow-out and everyone else to realize that Helena is missing. Castor, the super-secret military science project that’s produced the male clones, is wreaking havoc with everyone’s lives and though Rachel lies in bed recovering from that incredibly effective pencil gun, her desire to be elevated to the queen evil clone is being felt all over clone land. There’s so much to talk about! Between Helena’s new buddy, Tatiana Maslany’s meta-impersonations, and the rise of Delphine, it was a busy, busy episode. Let’s get cloning.

I’m new to the recap game, but I’m going to follow in the footsteps of the great Darren Franich, who introduced us to Orphan Black Clone Status Variable Invasive Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron, where we will rank our favorite clones in their race to beat the evil soldier clones.

1. Sarah, this week’s best Rachel

Nothing makes Orphan Black sing more then when Maslany plays one clone playing another. You know those producers are super-serious about this season when they do it twice in one episode! In one scene! Delphine has risen to the role of new-Rachel and needs the functioning clones to help keep the little pencil-to-the-eye mishap away from the lecherous Topside cleaner Ferdinand (James Frain). So she cons Sarah into playing Rachel, while Allison must impersonate Sarah. And Maslany is just so damn good at doing so, it makes me forget she is just one actor playing some 18 different people. Sarah kinda walks like Rachel but with a stiffer gait while Allison throws out Sarah’s cockney with just a bit too much guttural punch. And the moment Ferdinand tries examining Rachel and Maslany gives that uptight Rachel reaction, it’s just another affirmation of how good this actress is at making these characters so specific. Which is why I’m still not sold on this brand of male clones. Yes, we got a whiff of three of them (I think?) in this episode and yes, they were all bred in the military, but so far I can only tell naked Buddha from mustache man from scar face by their physical attributes. They all appear certifiable but, at this point, indistinguishable. Wondering how much that will change as we move forward?

2. Rachel, best performance from a hospital bed

No, all she did was mumble a few words and land on the receiving end of straight-haired Delphine’s newfound aggression. But we learned so much about her, even with her frontal lobe compromised. We knew she liked the alpha position in sex from last season’s interlude with Paul, but who knew she liked it so rough? Apparently Sarah did, whose imitation of Rachel led to a good whipping of creepy cleaner Ferdinand and a near homicide had Delphine not interrupted. (I, for one, really wanted to hear what this cute couple’s safe word is. Alas.) Perhaps more importantly, we uncovered Rachel’s motive: motherhood. She and her boy-toy Ferdinand were attempting to reenact the 2006 Helsinki experiment where they offed six clones in 24 hours. This time around as soon as Sarah’s ovary was in her hot little palm she would kill off all the sestras so she could become Kira’s mother. Hence, last season’s Ikea prison. Too bad! At this point she’ll have to remain bedridden with her only amusement coming from Delphine and her super strong thumbs. The French woman gives new meaning to “A thumb in one’s eye.”

NEXT: Broken hearts, PJ workouts, and ox liver

3. Cosima gets her heart broken

Cosima didn’t get much action this episode. She is recovering, after all. But boy did she get blindsided. I’m pretty wary of this new power-hungry Delphine. I’m ready to blame the straightening products. It’s clearly done something to her heart. And I’m not totally confident she’s on the sestras’ side. Her little sidebar with Dr. Nealon asking him to value project Leda over its individuals was a bit disconcerting and she definitely took his warning, “Neither of us can afford to play favorites now,” seriously. But the moment when she broke it off with Cosima was too much: “I’m keeping my promise to love all your sisters equally. To do that, I can’t do this.” Woah. And Cosima’s little “I love you” just crushed me. If only science could bolster its weepy audience like it does Cosima. Once that little dreadlocked biologist was being examined by Scott she seemed far more energized than those of us watching. Nothing like a little decoding to give a girl her strength back. Now Cosima and Scott, the-man-who-fears-soldier-clones-and-lesbian-drama, can have their own little secret as they try to uncover Ethan Duncan’s synthetic code. Yay, science!

4. Allison exercises in her pajamas

I don’t understand why Allison does the stairmaster in PJs. Surely, that woman has a trove of Lululemon at her disposal for just this type of nighttime I-need-to-get-my-steps-to-reach-my-Fitbit-goal. I also don’t get why she gets a side story about her new plans to run for school trustee while Sarah is all about Castor and Helena is stuck in a box. But life isn’t fair in clone land. What is fair is how on board Donny is with her plans, even though he’s not really contributing much to the household after quitting his job. (“I’ve run the numbers Donny. You can’t run from numbers.”) In his defense, he is trying to get some $300 in receipts reimbursed from Dyad from his days as her monitor. Who knew Dyad hands out expense accounts to its nefarious employees? And luckily Helsinki was aborted right before she got chloroformed. Also, her portrayal of Sarah was so bad it was good. That one may be uptight, but she’s definitely willing to take one for the team.

5. Helena dreams of ox liver

Poor Helena. All Sarah’s Ukrainian twin wants is a little family as evidenced by her Technicolor dreamscape baby shower complete with Felix at the BBQ cooking up some ox liver while Rachel baked hundreds of cupcakes and Cosima did her best Frida Kahlo impression. But in reality she’s stuck in a box (within a box within a box) captured by the Castors and talking to a scorpion. At least the scorpion calls her “kiddo.” I can’t wait until she head-butts one of those evil male clones. I hope it’s the one with the mustache.

As for what’s going on with Topside, Dyad, and Castor, it’s still rather murky. What does Castor want with Helena and how much does the all-knowing Mrs. S, who got beat up by mustache clone, know? Was Topside involved in Helsinki Part 2 or was that just a side job between Ferdinand and Rachel? What is Marian doing in Europe and what side is Delphine on? She’s so far kept her promise to Cosima and wound up saving all the sestras’ lives, but it seems that power is an equally consuming aphrodisiac for her. Time will tell. I’d love to hear your theories, and I’ll be back next week for more Orphan Black fun.

Episode Recaps

Orphan Black

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

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  • BBC America