Orphan Black recap: Transgressive Border Crossing
After focusing almost exclusively on Beth last week, our second entry into season 4 caught us up with the rest of the key clones — and yet another nefarious threat against them.
“Transgressive Border Crossing” shed more light into Beth’s final days, and also added “maggot-bots” into the show’s lexicon and my future nightmares (did anyone else have to cover their eyes?). Suffice to say, this gives “bugged” a whole new meaning.
Last week we didn’t rank the clones because it was essentially a Beth Childs bottle episode, but now that more of our beloved sestras are in the mix, I will place them all through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron to determine how much we learned from (or about) each of them this week.
This episode picks up immediately after M.K.’s call, which was spot on but didn’t give them much lead time — just as Sarah, Mrs. S, and Kendall Malone (Mrs. S’ mother and the original for the Leda and Castor clones) are arguing about whether to wait or go, Kira sees headlights in the distance and they bolt, but not before Mrs. S sets the house on fire to prevent the Neos from getting any useful trace of genetic material. That sight of poor Kira’s toy monkey in flames seems rather ominous, no?
They smuggle themselves out of Iceland and back to Canada, where a safe house has been set up by Scott beneath the very appropriately named Rabbit Hole comic books shop. Sarah wants to track down M.K. to get some answers, so she starts with Art, who tells her about the Capra case and how Beth received an anonymous tip that led to the body (which we know came from M.K.). He holds up a key to Beth’s apartment and suggests they go take a look. Once there, Art notices the camera in the painting and concludes Paul was spying on Beth — but Sarah points out it was actually the opposite (more on what they see in my Beth breakdown on the next page).
What they see sends Sarah to Club Neolution, with a reluctant Felix in tow since she can’t exactly walk in the front door there, to try and track down the pregnant Neo from last week who was seen in Beth’s house on the surveillance tape. At the bar, a man recognizes her, and thinking she’s M.K., he pulls her aside to show her something — a video taken in Bogota of a man with something in his cheek, like we saw in Capra and the other guy from last week. But this time, someone cuts this man’s cheek open and ohmygod things start SHOOTING OUT OF THERE, and the man screams, and then the video cuts away. It’s a built-in defense mechanism, the guy says, that kills the host. Sarah asks what it means and inadvertently outs herself as Not M.K. since she’s the one that put him onto this. Busted. She gets away but grabs his phone and uses it to find where he was planning to meet her.
That meeting point, a laundromat, is where Sarah has a scary run-in of her own. The EMTs from last week — that black woman and white man — corner her in there and pin her to the floor. She’s not the clone they were looking for, but the man puts a gloved hand inside her mouth, feels for something, pulls it out, and somehow knows she’s Sarah Manning.
Somehow allowed to leave the laundromat of horrors after this scene, Sarah bursts back into the safe house — she thinks there’s something in her jaw and realizes in horror that Dyad had Kyra at one point, too. We don’t know about Kyra yet, but Sarah was right about herself: When Mrs. S gets a flashlight and they look inside her cheek, the light shows them something is there and moving.
NEXT: More insight into Beth’s final days
Did you think we’d see more of Beth after last week? I was on the fence, since there was still so much we don’t know about her or the Neolution secrets she uncovered, but on the other hand, we ended back in the present day, and her role as a means to connect M.K. to Sarah could have ended with that.
But yes, we get more Beth, both in flashbacks and what Art and Sarah see on the surveillance tapes they caught in her home — they see her put her gun on Paul behind his back, they see a pregnant Neolution woman in her apartment (that would be the one from last week, with the now de-bugged boyfriend), and they find her copy of Dr. Leekie’s book, signed by him, evidence these two crossed paths.
We also see that Detective Duko finds the book, too, when he comes over to her apartment for a very non-routine follow-up visit. He more or less confirms what present-day Art suspected – that Beth continued to look into the Capra case even after she was pulled off it.
Back in her timeline, we see part of that — she snorts drugs, pulls on a blond wig, and has a card with an insignia on it I couldn’t make out (comment below if you were able to or have theories about it — I am assuming it’s Neolution related). Later, she returns, with blood on her hands that isn’t hers. She washes it away, throws the cut-up card in the toilet, and tells M.K. to drop everything and go into hiding. What did she do? What did she see?
We don’t know, at least not yet. But when M.K. begs her not to leave, she hugs her and says, “watch the others for me,” before walking out the door. That night, it seems, is the night Beth took her own life.
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M.K. and Sarah’s talk, before she sped away and cut it off, gives us one big clue to this puzzle: Beth didn’t tell her what she’d found out when they saw each other at her apartment that night, but M.K. does know it has something to do with the “maggot-bots” we saw in that video.
She also, out of the fear of the safety of herself and her sestras, won’t talk to Sarah face to face and speeds off (with a mask on, which I can’t imagine leads to safe driving) when Sarah notices her parked outside. It will kill her like it killed Beth, she says.
That’s the other thing — the moment M.K. begged Beth not to go felt so sad. “I need you,” she told her. At that point, this was the only sestra she knew. But now she’s connected to Sarah, and I would predict that will lead her to meet the others.
Welcome back, Helena! Our pregnant clone goes to the doctor, where she and Donnie (they’re pretending she’s Alison) find out she’s not expecting one baby, but two — identical twins! “Look! They’re fighting,” comments a stunned Helena during the sonogram, giving the most perfect Helena response I could have ever hoped for.
NEXT: “I just miss her so much”
Cosima was in the Clone Cave (can we start calling the safe house that?) to greet Sarah & Co., but she’s not looking so hot. Mrs. S notes to Scott that she looks weaker, and he says they’re making progress with the gene therapy but apparently not enough. They take blood from Kendall Malone again, but Mrs. S says this will likely be the last time for a while since they have to move her.
Later, while smoking some home-grown marijuana — they have a crop; she says it helps with her appetite but not much else — Cosima turns to Mrs. S (who did not partake, though a high Mrs. S is something I’d be keen to see) and punches me right in the gut, telling her, “I need you to tell me Delphine is alive.” The last time she saw her alive, it seemed like she knew something bad was going to happen. Mrs. S tells her this is a war and that anything can happen. “I just miss her so much,” she cries into Mrs. S’s arms.
While this is happening, Kendall and Scott are in the other room. He notes her white blood cell count in her test results seems high, and she tells him she has leukemia, was diagnosed a few months ago before all this other mess came into her life. She makes him swear not to tell Mrs. S, and they shake on it.
Mrs. Hendrix is “completely overbooked” with “no time for Neos,” she tells her sisters at the top of the episode, but she might not have a choice. She also still has Helena staying with her and Donnie, and Helena’s eating and messy crafting is fraying a nerve.
She also doesn’t take it well when Donnie tells her Helena is expecting multiples. How is she going to handle double the babies? “This is Helena we’re talking about here. She eats frozen bread, and she’s murdered people,” she says. (When Donnie points out they have, too, she brushes that off — it’s different, she reasons, because Helena is trained to kill and they’re just manslaughterers.) He asks if she’s upset because Helena is pregnant and they couldn’t have children on their own — she denies it and says she’s overjoyed, but it seems to lack conviction. Donnie also kindly reminds Alison not to be too hard on Helena because she wants to be just like her.
Additional genetic material
- Felix is looking for his birth family, which strikes a nerve with Sarah. She tells him she, Kira, and Mrs. S are his family, and he responds that they’re hers, and he (biologically speaking) isn’t a part of it.
- It’s like the bloody Batcave in here” —Sarah, on the safe house.
- “Can you hand me a towel so this gets a little less Flowers in the Attic?” —Felix to Sarah after she pops in on him in the shower.
- “Shiitake mushrooms!” —Alison’s version of cursing after seeing Felix’s bare behind.
- “A little tired and many farts” —How pregnant Helena has been feeling
- Cosima gets a laugh out of learning M.K. uses a sheep mask — because of Dolly the Sheep, a fellow clone. Science!
Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.