Orphan Black recap: The Stigmata of Progress
Do you hate the dentist? Then this is not the Orphan Black episode for you.
Sarah’s discovery that she’s playing host to one of those totally unharmless, definitely not run-of-the-mill maggot-bots (they showed that video from last week again, ugh) leads her to try and find out more about what it is and, more importantly, get it out of her face. But that, like all things on this show, leads her and Team Leda into more troublesome territory with Neolution and Topside. Nice to see you again, Ferdinand!
And now that we’ve all sat through this week’s episode, it’s time to put our favorite sestras through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron to determine who was in the most danger this week.
It’s easy to win a danger contest when there’s Neolution tech embedded in your cheek. Cosima and Scott take a closer look at whatever it is with an ultrasound machine and note that it’s taken hold of an artery and has a non-organic (i.e. man-made) core. But without further study, there’s no way to know what it is or what it’s for.
Her first step is to find Dizzy, the hacker who showed Sarah the video last week, thinking she was M.K. She goes to his apartment, introduces herself as M.K.’s sister, and gets his attention by telling him she’s got one those things in her cheek. He’s heard chatter about this biotech for a few months — it could be a biometric monitor or a delivery system for insulin or narcotics, but he notes ominously that putting it in the jaw gives it proximity to the brain. Yikes. He also gives her another clue: the guy in the video that gave me nightmares last week/forever is named Alonzo Martinez.
With Art’s help, we find out someone by that name had a local address but recently moved back to Bogota, save for a quick one-night trip that happened to involve a stop at a dental clinic specializing in dental implants. Bingo.
She goes there and runs into a hygienist who thinks she’s Beth and knows she’s been digging around. Running with this woman’s assumption of who she is, “Beth” asks about Martinez and tells her she has one of the implants. She says she knows how to remove them, and after the clinic closes she sets Sarah-as-Beth down in a chair with a really scary looking tool propping her mouth open.
After poking her cheek with another dental instrument, she tells Sarah she’s hit the device and if she moves at all, the thing will explode and release a dose of a fatal toxin. The woman, now evidently firmly on Team Neo, says her superiors are on their way and babbles on about how lucky Sarah is to be a test subject. Someone walks in with a knife that seems bound for our clone pal, but it’s Ferdinand (who caught wind of what was happening via Mrs. S & Co.’s search for a doctor familiar with this sort of Neo tech), who cuts the hygienist’s throat and tells Sarah she’s fine – if the woman had punctured the device, she’d already be dead. He also tells Sarah he got a message from Rachel Duncan, but we’ll get to that…
NEXT: Digging up Dr. Leekie
There’s no good time to have detectives poking around asking you about a triple homicide, but it’s particularly bad to have it happen when you and your husband are digging up the dead body in your garage.
After giving his wife a mouth checkup to see if she’s been bugged, too (it seems not), Donnie and Alison ask Cosima if it would be helpful, say, if they had one of those bots to study. Her answer is basically, duh, it would be invaluable, so the two ask Helena to watch the kids while they dig up the late Dr. Leekie to see if he volunteered himself to play host to a deadly bug robot.
Alison (with a pink hairnet, naturally) and Donnie get appropriately grossed out by their grave-digging (“It smells like hot garbage juice,” he says), but it turns out to be a fruitful endeavor: Leekie indeed has something that looks to be very much alive in that very dead cheek of his. All they need is someone with scientific know-how to get it out. Paging Cosima!
Amid all this, the police are wondering why Alison’s campaign posters were found at Pouchy’s crime scene since that crew didn’t seem to be civically engaged.
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Let’s get to Helena next because her dilemma this week is related to Alison’s. She’s the one who comes to the door when the detectives knock and has to pretend to be Alison when they come in and start asking questions. Ever the gracious hostess, she also offers them some “breads.”
Donnie, who happened to be passing through the house during a break from the Leekie digging, alerts Alison and then joins Helena-as-Alison on the couch. When he begins to answer questions about her campaign before she can, the cops get skeptical and pointedly ask her to give them the names of her election team. Thankfully, somehow she knew all the right names and credited Donnie at the end as her biggest supporter of all. Well done, Helena — you’ve earned whatever food you raided from the fridge.
Not a danger-related thing, but my favorite part of the episode was when she called Sarah to tell her she’s having twins. “I know they’ll always have each other, like us,” she tells her sestra, before adding that she doesn’t want her babies to grow up like her.
NEXT: “Did they get my message out?”
Rachel and her new eye are being kept under close surveillance where she’s being held, with little one Charlotte always nearby. Ira, the Castor clone raised away from his brothers, checks out her high-tech eye and gives her a very uncomfortable-looking “pigment treatment” that’s supposed to make it look normal. Could other people have these cyber-eyes and we don’t know it? Just a (paranoid Neos-are-everywhere) thought…
Susan Duncan makes an appearance after being away for a period of time, and Rachel (correctly) assesses that they weren’t able to find the original. There’s a tense dinner where Duncan also tells her that Charlotte was cloned from Rachel — which explains why Charlotte had a question earlier about “Adam’s rib” (Eve, of course, was created in that way from Adam). She tells her mother to get out; her mother calls her a disappointment — typical family dinner stuff.
Later, Charlotte and Rachel are painting a picture together at an easel. Blocking the camera from seeing their artwork, Rachel raises the painting, and we see a message written beneath it: “Did you get my message out?” Charlotte, we learn, has a computer for her online schoolwork, a connection to the outside world that Rachel is not allowed to have. “Yes,” the girl writes back, before they both paint over their messages. (The message in question is the one to Ferdinand about Susan Duncan.) During this exchange, Charlotte coughs up blood, something she says happens sometimes and means she very likely has the same disease as Cosima.
This isn’t dangerous, but it certainly is curious — while Sarah is out investigating the Neo tech in her cheek and Mrs. S is trying to find someone to remove it, Cosima is left behind to watch Kira.
“They never tell me when things are bad, but I always know,” Kira said earlier in the episode to the man who works in the comic shop above the safe house. Now, after Cosima gets her attention as she was staring into space, she gives another eerie response.
“I was dreaming…all the Aunties were there; you set Mom on fire,” she tells Cosima. “You had to — she was changing.” Changing how, Kira says, she doesn’t know because she couldn’t see.
Orphan has hinted before that Kira is “special,” but we still haven’t gotten specifics — it reminds me of Lost, when Walt was given a mysterious aura of sorts but the show never followed through on what or why. She’s the only child we know of born to a Leda clone, but does this give her any special abilities, a sixth sense, or is she just a very calm child with extremely good perception of what’s happening around her? Whatever it is, what she tells Cosima is downright unsettling.
Additional genetic material:
- Sarah meets Adele, Felix’s biological half-sister (who has a Southern accent and seems to party just as much as he does), when she stops by his apartment and Adele mistakes her for a drug dealer. Felix opts to hang out with Adele instead of helping Sarah, and she tells him to piss off. I would really love for these two to stop fighting, because the world is a better place when Felix is in cahoots with Sarah & Co.
- Donnie giving instructions to Helena: “Clear?” Helena to Donnie: “Crystals.”
- “My sister has a robot maggot in her face. You tell me what the solid plan is. No, go rent a jackhammer.” —Alison to the rescue!