Orphan Black recap: 'Let the Children and Childbearers Toil'
Familiar faces return, and P.T. Westmoreland's science holds some dark secrets
Science has always been one of the core components of Orphan Black, but so has power — who has it, who loses it, and what those people do to wield or gain it. Now, with P.T. Westmoreland in the picture and Rachel by his side, we’re seeing more of those inner workings than ever before. We’re also getting revelations about those early attempts to push the boundaries of human evolution — yep, that “thing” in the woods was an experiment gone awry — and the splintering effect it had on the top of the Neolution pyramid.
So while S’s plans uncovered a wealth of information (and a familiar face or two), Kira also did some experimenting of her own in hopes of learning more about her special abilities. In honor of these revelations, this week we’ll run the clones through our trusted Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and export them by who’s discovered the most this week. Please enjoy the data set below. (#Science!)
Much to Sarah’s displeasure, Kira won’t tell her much about her meetings with Rachel — but Sarah does uncover a nasty cut on Kira’s arm, which she thinks Rachel inflicted until her daughter admits she did it herself to see how fast she could heal. Unable to provide the answers she seeks and with three days until she has to go back to Dyad, S asks Felix to take Kira while she takes Sarah on a recon mission — she has a lead that may help them get some leverage.
Their mark is a Dr. Elizabeth Perkins, who, S tells Sarah, could have a key to P.T. Westmoreland — but they need her wallet. S’s intel (the woman likes to drink and has a rough relationship with her own daughter) gives them the perfect setup: They stage a fight, and Sarah throws a drink at S and grabs Dr. Perkins’ wallet as Perkins makes sure S is all right and then invites her to sit down for another drink. Turns out, Dr. Perkins is a psychologist studying, in her words, “how PTSD co-occurs with major depressive disorders,” and she’s in town for some case studies. One person she’s supposed to meet is an Alex Ripley, who is supposedly a high-level Neolution defector who may be being held against her will at a nearby mental health facility. S and Sarah are going to go in as Dr. Perkins and her “assistant” to check it out. (Sarah, meanwhile, realizes there’s no way S’s usual methods would have known about the Neo. She won’t say where her intel came from, but I’m pretty sure we already know — remember when Delphine stopped by her door?)
Once the bespectacled Mrs. S and Sarah-posing-as-a-bumbling-assistant con their way into visitors’ passes, they sneak into an unauthorized ward and find Alex Ripley, who is actually (drumroll please)… season 3 baddie Virginia Coady. Oh hey, blast from the Orphan Black past! She’s initially very drugged up and unable to speak, but Sarah still calls her a “genocidal bitch” by way of greeting and gives her a slap across the face courtesy of Helena once she comes to. Virginia’s surprised when they ask about P.T., but after S hints they may be able to help her escape if she talks, she says an “old friend” had her locked away — someone who shared her goal of controlling human genetics but “didn’t always get it right.”
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That old friend, it turns out, is Susan Duncan, and here we get a wealth of backstory on their early attempts at Neolution-inspired human experimentation. Susan and P.T. recruited Virginia to their cause when she was young, and before they found Kendall Malone or started human cloning projects, someone else was their first human subject. He was “P.T. Westmoreland’s original obsession,” but too many “mistakes were made” on this child who possessed a “unique genome.” Their science wasn’t as refined then, and he began growing tumors and suffering brain damage — Susan wanted to stop their experiments, but Virginia disagreed, and, in her words, they created a monster. Susan never forgave her for it, and they split assets in the friend/science divorce: Virginia took Castor, Susan kept Leda, and P.T. kept them apart.
But before she can tell them anything more, the doctor whom the real Elizabeth Perkins had supposedly been there to visit interrupts the intel party. Seeking a means of escape and knowing she’ll soon be drugged into submission again, Virginia attacks Sarah and steals her visitor’s pass (which contains a key card), and when the orderlies and doctor restrain her, S and Sarah use the commotion as a means to sneak away. This definitely doesn’t seem like the last we’ll see of her.
They don’t explicitly say it, but it’s pretty obvious the thing Sarah glimpsed in the woods during her little vacation on Evil Mystery Island is the now-grown boy from Susan Duncan, Virginia Coady, and P.T. Westmoreland’s early days of human experiments — and via Cosima, we get out first real (albeit brief) glimpse of him.
After Charlotte and Aisha hear him — and spot what’s presumably one of his teeth — in the woods while going to look for a missing pig from the Revival menagerie, Cosima confronts Mud asking for answers. She already suspects that whatever took a bite out of Daisy the Pig has something to do with Westmoreland. “We’re on the Island of Doctor Moreau here,” she says. “Whatever weird s— is happening, it’s coming from the big house.” All Mud will say is it’s “not his fault”(probably talking about the man in the woods, but possibly Westmoreland), and she warns Cosima to stay out of the woods.
Later that night, Cosima follows Mud as she makes her way in the dark up toward Westmoreland’s house. Inside, P.T. is hooked up to some sort of IV treatment (is that a dialysis machine? Science people, drop some knowledge in the comments if you know!), and Cosima’s snooping brings her down into the basement, where she finds not just old medical equipment but photos of painful-looking experiments/procedures — and, more disconcertingly, a cell with chains and blood on the walls. When Mud finds her down there, Cosima demands to know what they did to the man in the woods, but Mud just begs her to get out and frantically sends her out a side door. Still not deterred, Cosima stays close enough to the house to see Mud bring a blanket out to the man and try to talk to him, but he only appears for long enough to growl and bare his teeth before taking her gift and running back into the shadows.
(Recap continues on page 2)
I’m calling this the Rachel category, but it’s really all about Susan… and all these revelations will likely link back to Rachel very soon, thanks to her close association with Mr. Westmoreland.
Susan is very much alive — no thanks to Rachel’s stabby efforts last season — and recovering from her injuries in Westmoreland’s house, a place that is obviously familiar to her. “Too many memories here,” she says. “Imagine how I feel,” Westmoreland replies (remember, he’s allegedly 170).
She’s not happy with him, since he turned Rachel against her and all, but she knows she’s only still breathing because he needs her help. Susan is also reunited with her beloved Ira, and later explains to him that she and P.T. have a “complicated history” (which seems to be putting it lightly). Is that a hint of jealousy I detect in Ira? In any event, Susan says years ago, good ol’ P.T. chose “another path” with a different scientist who was willing to do the things she wouldn’t. But she’s adamant that she and P.T. share the same vision — the only way they differ is the means to get there.
That other scientist, we know, is Virginia. So she locked away her former colleague-turned-nemesis to keep her and her extreme methods away from P.T., who believes Virginia to be dead. (How soon do you think it is before that notion is disproved?)
Susan deduces that if P.T. has made a scientific breakthrough, it’s related to Kira. And over a drink with the man himself — as Ira eavesdrops from outside the room — she warns that Rachel is too “damaged” to handle the pressures of being his No. 2. (Exhibit A: trying to kill her mother.) Plus, Susan argues, in terms of the science, he’s lost without her. So when she asks for access to all the data Rachel has gathered related to Kira, he agrees — but adds that Rachel still holds the reins. That seems agreeable enough for Susan, and the two of them toast “to the future.”
Before they tracked down Virginia, Sarah had S make a pit stop on their little road trip and gave us the Sarah-and-Helena reunion I didn’t know I needed. Helena, who has been passing her time at the convent writing her memories down, is happily surprised to see her walk in but senses that Sarah is troubled. Sarah tells her about her fears regarding Kira. “She’s an old soul,” Helena reasons. She thinks Sarah should tell her daughter more about what’s happening to all of them. Sarah doesn’t want Kira to deal with all the bad parts of Clone Club, but Helena points out that she’ll have to eventually. Convent Helena is Wise Helena.
In a more emotional moment, Sarah also admits she avoided Helena even after she came to the good side and was brought into the Clone Club fold — that her twin scared her because of the way Helena knew they were connected. Sarah says she never felt that until she was on the island and Kira seemed to “flow” through her. “I don’t give a s— about genetics; this is what Rachel can’t have,” Sarah vows. You said it, sestra.
Additional Genetic Material:
-P.T.’s first name is Percival! This probably isn’t actually important, but Susan said it, so I want to document it for the record.
-Speaking of P.T.W., Scott tells us more a bit more about him: He was allegedly born in 1843, he’s a onetime member of the Royal Geographic Society, and he was presumed dead after disappearing in the Borneo jungle in 1898. Again, no idea if any of this will matter later, but you never know…
-Per Cosima, Charlotte is getting stronger. Maybe Revival is agreeing with her?
-Sarah sliding the pilfered wallet back behind Dr. Perkins’ laptop just as she begins looking for it: smooth.
-Pour out a drink because ADELE. IS. BACK. (S gave her the download on the clone situation because the gang needs her and Felix to travel abroad for a mission; apparently, there are a few Neolution-backed corporations in Switzerland, and she can use her legal know-how to follow the money.) I didn’t realize I missed her until she showed up at Felix’s door.
-A very good point, from Felix to Kira: “Darling, you know that even if Rachel is being nice to you, we can’t trust her — we don’t know what she wants to do with that special part of you.”