Meet the mysterious Westmorland behind the curtain

By Jessica Derschowitz
June 17, 2017 at 11:00 PM EDT
Ken Woroner/BBC AMERICA
S5 E2
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“Sarah, you need to listen to her.”

Mrs. S tells that to an unconscious Sarah as she drifts in Rachel/tranquilizer-dart-induced slumber. She’s referring to Kira — who is now showing interest in finding out why she’s so “special,” which hopefully means we’ll finally get some answers on that front — but it’s also symbolic of Sarah accepting M.K.’s decision to stay behind, to stop running after all these years, and to accept the (awful, painful) consequences that came her way.

And, if all that wasn’t enough, we also got to meet the man at the top of the Neolution food chain: P.T. Westmorland, in the flesh. Was he what you expected? I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him, so there will be plenty of time to analyze his methods and motives.

With all that in mind, let’s fire up the ol’ Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron again and lay out where everyone stands at the end of this week’s episode.

Sarah
When Sarah comes round, she’s holed up in some sort of cell at Dyad HQ and definitely not happy to be Rachel’s captive. Ferdinard, class act that he is, is amused by her fury, but it’s nice to see he’s still sporting a nasty cut on his hand from where Siobhan came after him and that (much to his dismay) he couldn’t retaliate — because, as we heard last week, Rachel’s orders are for the Clone Club to remain unharmed.

He does queue up a video feed from Alison, still under watch at home courtesy of Team Neolution. Art appears on camera too, and tells Sarah there’s nowhere to run. “You can call it a truce or whatever, but they want you all to come in.” Cosima comes up on screen too, and tells Sarah they want her to stay put at Revival — Rachel administered the treatment so her trial is underway, and if it works on her she can expand the treatment to the other Leda sisters. Ferdinand cuts the feed before she can ask more questions and directs it to someone else close to Sarah’s heart: Kira, in a nearby room coloring. Rachel’s offering her the chance to go home – if she’s ready, in his words, to “behave.”

With Kira and S’s encouragement, Sarah agrees to Rachel’s deal and they’re taken home to reunite with Felix — but Ferdinand adds that when Kira’s done with school for the day, Auntie Rachel will pick her up for her first day of Dyad testing. When he leaves, though, all pretenses of agreeability drop and Sarah demands to know how they’re going to get out of this. The house is being watched, and so are S’s people, but Felix says he’s working on a plan (plus, naturally, he’s already a pro at sneaking in and out of Chez S). Without an escape method in place, Sarah dutifully takes Kira to school – being trailed by Rachel’s lackeys, of course. Not one to follow Dyad orders, Sarah orchestrates an escape plan with the help of M.K. (more on that later), but when everyone gets to the meeting point, Kira objects: “I want to know why I’m like this!”

Sarah, understandably, isn’t happy to hear her daughter choosing Rachel over her, but Mrs. S supports her wanting to learn more of her identity: “We can’t run from it any longer.” I understand that, and want Kira intel as much as the next Orphan Black fan does, but I don’t really get why they’re letting a kid dictate whether they hide from an evil clone heading up a massive biotech corporation. Anyway!

RELATED VIDEO: Orphan Black cast teases season 5

M.K.
M.K. has been laying low at Felix’s loft — but she’s in bad shape, apparently suffering from the same mysterious respiratory disease that’s affected Cosima and the other Leda clones. She’s been sick for a while now but is less concerned with that than she is with the fact that Rachel is trying to restart human cloning at Dyad. Via video chat, she tells Sarah that her network can help with an escape plan, so long as she can get Kira out from under Rachel’s surveillance.

Things start off according to plan when Sarah, dressed as Rachel, picks up Kira at school, but things go off the rails when the real Rachel shows up shortly after. To make things worse, M.K. never went to Scott and the lab, as had been part of the plan. Determined to help her fellow sestra, Sarah heads towards Felix’s loft while S takes off with Kira and they agree to meet later at the designated rendezvous point. Unfortunately for everyone, Ferdinand spots Sarah and follows her.

If you didn’t realize M.K. and Sarah’s goodbye in the loft was a single take, go back and watch it again. I’ve watched it no less than five times, and it’s mind blowing even considering the usual multiple-Maslanys-in-one-scene level of technical difficulty fans are accustomed to. M.K. knows she’s dying and is tired of hiding — she’s been on the run and off the grid for so long, and she’s finally ready to let go. She urges Sarah to leave her behind, they switch clothes so M.K. can buy her some time, and Sarah escapes down a side staircase with just moments to spare before Ferdinand busts down the door. You’ll remember, of course, that Ferdinand and M.K. have prior history (à la Helsinki), and he’s practically gleeful that he’s found her again. Sneering and yelling about Rachel (with the blonde wig on, he seems to confuse them and directs his rage for Rachel towards M.K.), he jumps on her chest repeatedly, forcefully, until she dies. Damn. I’ll miss M.K. and her sheep mask.
(Recap continues on page 2)

Rachel
Rachel is loving the control she’s holding over Sarah when she has her at Dyad — it takes a special kind of ice queen to offer your hostage tea like nothing is out of the ordinary. Rachel is willing to let Sarah, Kira, and S go home, but in return, Sarah needs to cooperate regarding Kira, because Dyad wants to study her “unique physiology.” Guess how well that goes down. “Shove it up your bleached ass,” Sarah replies.

Thanks to her new position alongside Westmorland — whom she assures Sarah is indeed real — Rachel has a new sense of purpose and fulfillment now, much to Ferdinand’s dismay (no more crazy sex for the two of them, sorry dude). She says he can either get with the program or get out — and then is none too pleased when he disobeys her orders.

“Who are you now, exactly?” Ferdinand asks her. It’s a good question. In lieu of a reply, she just has Ferdinand seen off the premises. And when she collects Kira at the house, it’s with a smile that says she knows she’s holding all the cards.

Cosima
Cos and Charlotte are still sitting tight in Revival, taking meals in the mess hall and avoiding the mystery vitamins they’re given along with their food (probably a good idea, I’d say). She also spots Aisha, who tells her she met P.T. Westmorland after she was first examined by Delphine, and that the elusive man behind the curtain said she has a Wilms tumor (per the American Cancer Society, because I do research so you don’t have to, it’s a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys and primarily affects children). Before she can find out more, their little meeting is interrupted by Mud and the still-nameless Messenger, who says it’s time for her to meet Mr. Westmorland herself.

Inside his house, there’s a room filled with an old-school gramophone, fossils, taxidermy, and photographs allegedly of Westmorland with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1904, posing with a giant tortoise that belonged to none other than Charles Darwin. It’s here that we finally get our first look at Westmorland, and he…looks like a regular guy, save for some very windswept hair and piercing eyes.

He credits his longevity to Neolution science and his own genetics, and hopes the same magic will work for Cosima — in fact, he says, her test results from the previous night already look promising. He gives her full access to the village’s lab to work on curing herself, Charlotte, and her sisters, but also strongly hints she should remain on after and continue following the science with the rest of them.

Alison
Not much Alison this week, sadly — Mrs. Hendrix is getting antsy at home with Art and his Neo partner as babysitters, as they wait for any intel on Helena and Donnie’s whereabouts. Her voicemails provide no answers but do reveal she’s being usurped as chair of the church Fall Fair, which for Alison is something that cannot stand. But Detective Neo (can I just call her that from here on out?) nixes any sort of movement until the other Ledas are found and contained, and Art has no choice but to tell her to go along with it.

Helena
Helena is recovering at a hospital with Donnie at her side. Doctors were able to successfully remove the impaled tree branch (again, ouch), but she somehow knows one of the babies was hurt and a nurse confirms the branch punctured the amniotic sac and sternum of one of the twins. But when the nurse and doctor look again, the injury is…..gone. Like it never happened. Which, as you can imagine, is a bit puzzling to the medical staff.

Convinced her babies are special like Kira and that the doctors want to take their DNA — it probably doesn’t help that neonatal sounds a lot like Neolution — she wants to get the hell out of there. When the doctor comes back to perform an amniocentesis, Helena pulls a Helena and pins the doctor to the bed with the giant needle, impaling it through the woman’s cheeks and tongue. (Yikes, but, on the bright side, at least it’s sterile?) She makes a break for it, heading to a hideout she makes Donnie swear he’ll share only with Sarah. Where would she go? This being Helena, I imagine it’s somewhere with food.

Additional Genetic Material
-Seriously, that single take. Bravo.
-“If you’ll excuse me, I need to stop an insurrection at the church” – Alison not getting to plan something is probably Alison’s worst nightmare.
-”Uncle Felix says the trick on the first day of school is to find the biggest kid in the yard and punch him in the nose.” – Kira (Can we get a book of Felix Dawkins schoolyard wisdom, please?)
-Ira picks sides, and it’s against Rachel — which means he’s heading back towards the island, and Susan Duncan.
-Just a friendly reminder for those who might have forgotten, but M.K.’s mask is a nod to Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal ever created from an adult cell. Science!
-When Mud said “I live here,” did she mean in Westmorland’s house? What is her whole deal, anyway?
-Before M.K. and Sarah part ways, she tells her Westmorland is the key to everything. We already know this, but she poses some good questions: How did he build his power, and what is he doing with it?
-“Thank you for trying, Sarah. I wish it could have been different for us.” RIP, M.K. :(
-Kira’s ability to sense all the sestras means she knew the moment M.K. was dead: “I don’t feel her anymore”
-Who’s that knocking on Mrs. S’s door late at night? DELPHINE, that’s who! And she doesn’t want Sarah to know she’s dropped by. Hmmm…..

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