Orphan Black recap: Human Raw Material
We discovered last week that Neolution’s quest to build better humans has brought them into the baby-making game, and now we got a much closer look inside their Brightborn clinic — and this being Neolution, the whole operation is scary and sinister beneath the shiny, fancy surface.
There weren’t any covert phone calls from M.K. this week (after nearly torching Beth’s house and Ferdinand with it, maybe she’s laying low for now) or funny one-liners from Helena — who I hope we’ll see back, or off on her adventures, very soon — but we did see the return of Krystal, in all her blond-haired, perfectly manicured glory. Not the brightest bulb of the Leda bunch, but it’s so nice to see her out and about again, even if she’s inadvertently causing our other clones trouble and proving what a bad masseuse Donnie (er, Ronnie) is.
For this week’s hour, which boasts the appropriate (though, knowing what’s happening, also nefarious) title “Human Raw Material,” let’s put our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron to rank how scientific everyone is this week.
Or should we say Ava? Thanks to Alison’s fake-ID-making skills (she really is a full-service operation), Cosima posed as the surrogate “Douglas” and “Julian” are using to have their Brightborn baby. Attending orientation with Donnie (a.k.a. Douglas), Cosima can use her science background to figure out exactly what those guys are up to. There’s one problem, though: Evie Cho, who most definitely knows what Leda clones look like, just happens to be there today. Oh, and Susan Duncan, too.
Evie gives more insight into her background during her orientation speech: She was born with a compromised immune system and essentially grew up as the girl in the plastic bubble until she was put in an experimental gene therapy program. Now as an engineer, she says, when she sees a flaw she wants to fix it — which in this case means flaws in human DNA. Totally normal and harmless. “Your baby will thank you,” she tells the group of prospective mothers and fathers.
An attempt to sneak off during the facilities tour (swimming pools, yoga, a spa — Neos be fancy, guys) proves ineffective, but Cosima/Ava gets more answers from Susan — who just presents herself as a standard Brightborn employee — during a sit-down near the pool. After stealing the woman’s keycard without her noticing, Cosima asks for more details about the “embryonic enhancements” Brightborn promises. Also, all the Brightborn babies have dimples, which definitely isn’t a coincidence. She mentions “germline editing,” which I had to look up because I am so not a scientist but apparently means altering the DNA of an embryo. Cosima notes that’s risky because any mistakes will be passed on to future generations, and Susan replies that the practice is illegal in most counties…but doesn’t deny that Brightborn is doing it.
She uses the keycard to get down into the building’s lab facilities, where she changes into scrubs and does some recon — there’s a room with a two-way mirror where staffers can monitor a group of pregnant women, something mentioned about a “study” — but then gets pulled away to help with a “carrier,” as the woman is called, who is in labor. She’s there as the frightened woman delivers a severely deformed baby. The doctors take it away, and Cosima finds herself face to face with Susan again — and realizes it’s Susan Duncan, her maker.
She’s brought to an office where they debate the ethics of gene experiments. Cosima points out there are long-term effects to the things they’re doing — like how she’s sick now. Susan offers her a choice: Cosima is dying and can’t find a way to get better on her own, but if she shares Kendall Malone/the original’s DNA, together they can make a cure that could help everyone. Will she do it?
NEXT: Sarah arranges some DNA testing of her own
You can love your siblings and also drive them crazy, and that’s what Sarah continues doing with Felix this week. Skeptical of Adele’s intentions and jealous that Felix has formed a bond with a sister that isn’t her, Sarah arranges to have a DNA test done to prove, Jerry Springer-style, whether the two are related. It doesn’t help that GeneConnection, the company Adele used to find Felix, is apparently connected to Neolution — nor does it help that Kira takes a quick liking to Adele, who dances with her in Felix’s loft and is generally really sweet to her.
Everything comes to a head at a family dinner — Mrs. S, Kira, Adele, Felix, and Sarah — where Sarah fires questions at Adele about GeneConnection and her connecting with Felix. In the middle of it, Scott calls with the results. Are they actually related? Yes, Sarah admits, before Kira leads her out of the room in tears.
In the other room, Kira admits something to her mother that could be science or a sixth sense, but either way it’s more evidence of the girl’s “special”-ness. She can sense what her aunties are feeling, Kira tells Sarah. She knows when Cosima is sad, Rachel is angry, Helena is lonely, and more from other Leda clones she doesn’t know yet. My working theory (and if you agree or feel otherwise, say so in the comments) is that Kira is a more “evolved” child, which is all the more reason why Neolution would love to get its hands on her if they knew.
When Cosima does undercover work, she tries to blend in. When Kyrstal does it, she strolls into Brightborn in a tight dress and heels, uses a name incredibly close to her given one, and declares that she’s late for her own pregnancy. Oh, Krystal. I missed you.
Krystal’s unaware of Cosima’s presence at Brightborn or that she’d be immediately recognizable to the same people whom she should be fearful of, so Evie immediately recognizes her as a Leda clone and tells Susan, thinking it’s Sarah Manning. Close, but not quite.
She breezes into orientation and nearly gives Donnie a heart attack and tries to get her out of there at Cosima’s instructions. She’s in the spa area, stealing skincare, and when he pretends to be an employee, she asks to book a massage. This leads to the most awkward massage I’ve seen on television; all the while Krystal babbles on about how she thinks Dyad and Brightborn are conducting human experiments, putting stem cells in skincare, and compares herself to Edward Snowden (they’re both whisleblowers, she says!). If it weren’t for “that blond French doctor,” she’d be dead by now, she says, which raises an eyebrow from Donnie. “Dr. Cormier?” he asks. Whoops. She asks how he knows Delphine, freaks out even more when he uses her real name, and then puts her sharpened self-defense skills to use to get out of there. Deemed harmless by Susan Duncan, she’s escorted out of the facility with no other harm done — that is, until she sees Ira (who, of course, looks like the other Castor clones she had run-ins with last year) and freaks out even more. Sorry, Krystal.
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It’s not science, but it does spell trouble — Det. Duko gives Art a warning about Alison and Donnie being questioned in that triple homicide and how the cops are aware of their drug-dealing/soap-selling business. Duko tells him to focus on his family and stop worrying about Beth, and it sounds more like a threat than a suggestion.
Art, not surprisingly unhappy that he went to a dinner party at a drug front, calls Sarah about it, and she confronts Alison, who admits to their dabbling in drug dealing but says it’s over (and points out that Sarah was up to similar wrongdoing when they first met her). Their argument also brings in Helena, whom Alison accuses Sarah of dumping in their home, and how she’s now taken off. That’s news to Sarah — who did, by the way, get a text from Helena at the top of the episode saying not to worry about her. Alison doesn’t know where she went, claiming she’s not her pregnant sister’s keeper. Not being the best of sisters this week, Mrs. Hendrix. But hopefully we’ll find out what Helena is up to soon.
Additional genetic material
- Krystal can take down a grown man like it’s nothing. Those self-defense classes she’s taking are no joke.
- Donnie wanting to know Cosima would be co-parenting or just carrying his and Julian’s child. It matters for the story!
- Also, Donnie’s response to how Cosima dressed him for orientation: “I look like a geriatric skateboarder.”
- “Is that a rocketship?” —Kira, to Felix, about a painting on his wall that definitely isn’t a rocketship.
- Susan and Ira K-I-S-S-I-N-G in the pool. Did that make anyone else feel…icky? Like she was making out with her son? ::Shudders::
Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.