Orphan Black recap: 'Gag or Throttle'
Rachel begins to see the world a bit differently, and Alison (finally!) makes her return
Is everyone done covering their eyes after that final scene? Because YIKES.
I knew last week when S warned Rachel she may need the Clone Club someday that her allegiances would switch, but I was surprised to see it happen so quickly, and with that extra dose of eye-gouging (again, YIKES).
This episode proved to be a great Orphan Black hour — full of interesting plot developments (it was only a matter of time before P.T.’s lies were exposed, right?) with a few great twists (Rachel was being watched via her cybernetic eye!). Oh, and also, Alison just casually returned (!) with purple hair and a tattoo. My only complaint is that I wish Felix had been there to see it, though the look on Donnie’s face was pretty much perfect.
Without any further delay, let’s run our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and export them via the biggest surprises we saw this week.
Rachel Duncan, as we’re reminded in flashbacks, is the only one of the Leda clones who was raised aware of that identity — she’s known she was a clone since the age of 6, and she knows all about Dyad, the other clones, and the ID numbers encrypted in their DNA that tell them apart. We all know her as the “proclone,” the no-nonsense, power-hungry ice queen and foil to Sarah and the other Ledas. But underneath all that villainy, it’s easy to forget she’s spent her life as someone else’s lab experiment — knowing she was someone else’s lab experiment — and that obviously factors into what happens with her and Kira this week.
Present-day Rachel is about to bring Kira into that same walk of life. She introduces Kira to the Dyad board as their modern-day Eve (noting that Coady has taken over as head scientist on the island after Susan’s death), then tells the young girl she’s staying at Dyad another night and can’t go home yet. On the island, P.T. Westmoreland’s house is under heavy guard as Rachel arrives to pay her respects to Susan, who is buried along with Ira on the grounds. P.T. invites her inside and introduces her to Coady, who has set up shop in the basement — and who asks on the spot to examine Rachel, to see if Cosima’s treatment was effective.
This is definitely not what Rachel signed up for — back when P.T. asked her to join him in leading Neolution, he said he considered her like a daughter and gave her a contract to sign that emancipated her from being Neolution property. It doesn’t sound like she’s quite so “free” anymore. While collecting the endometrial tissue, Coady casually mentions she’s responsible for getting rid of Susan. Rachel recalls being examined by Leekie, back when he was still alive and she had longer hair, and noting how other clones had been suffering symptoms of what we know is the Leda disease. When she demanded to know her own results, he reminded her that she wasn’t exempt from the experiment, even if she was aware of it. Even now, in her supposed place of power, those rules still apply.
Back upstairs with P.T., Rachel tells him they can begin harvesting Kira’s eggs within 24 hours, and after that, they can study her healing qualities at “deeper tissues.” (Sounds like that could be painful, but my guess is they don’t care!) She assures P.T. that while she’s fond of Kira, her dedication to their project is unwavering, but she does bristle when he says he wants Kira brought to the island for next steps. “On whose behalf are you arguing now?” he asks. She says he knows best, but after he leaves the room, she sneaks a look at his computer tablet and sees… her hand holding the tablet. So P.T.’s been able to watch her through her robotic eye, which is insane and insanely creepy.
When she returns to Dyad, Rachel is obviously on edge. She’s drinking and watching old home videos of herself when P.T. calls to see if she’s all right — and a look at his tablet confirms he’s seeing exactly what she is — but she says everything is cleared to proceed. When Kira is brought into the room, she immediately senses Rachel’s distress and asks her, “Are you okay? Who hurt you?” Rachel’s only reply is, “All of them.” As they stand there, P.T. pops back up on the video screen to give Kira a little hello and say he can’t wait until he meets her in person. Gross.
But then, amazingly, Rachel has a change of heart. After initially shutting down Sarah’s pleas to return her daughter, Rachel sends Mr. Frontenac to S and Sarah’s house, claiming the women are trying to sabotage their plans. She then texts someone else out of her line of sight — where P.T. can’t see. That message is to Art, who gets S and Sarah out of the house before Mr. F and his cronies show up and brings them to Dyad, where Rachel wheels in a sedated Kira and gives her back to S, Art, and Sarah. As the elevators close, S mouths a “thank you” — a nice nod to their conversation at the end of last week’s episode.
After that, Rachel sends proof that P.T. Westmoreland is a fraud (we’ll get to that obituary in a bit) to the Neolution/Dyad board and casually drinks another martini as she ignores his calls. When P.T. sends a glitch/signal/whatever that weird thing was through her eye again, she breaks the glass she’s holding and decides to perform a little on-the-spot eye surgery. It’s bloody and gross and looks PAINFUL as hell, but it looks like Rachel has officially and literally cut the cord with P.T. Westmoreland.
Alison doesn’t get a front row seat to the Rachel/Sarah/Kira drama, but boy, does she know how to make an entrance. After taking some time away in California after her relapse earlier this season, she returns home and, to our/Donnie’s surprise… she’s cut her hair and dyed part of it purple. “I wanted something creative and free,” she explained. It’s all very un-Alison like, but she seems happy and, in her words, much more present. Oh, and she also got a tattoo, which says, “Live deep.” It kind of looks like it says, “Liver deep,” but we’ll let that slide. Alison’s back, guys!
This new, more carefree version of Mrs. Hendrix seems very surreal to Donnie, from that entrance to her decision to clean out her craft room (past Alison would be livid) and put a keyboard in there instead. Perhaps most un-Alison-like of all, she tells Donnie she doesn’t need to tell him what to do anymore. (Recap continues on page 2)
Cos and Charlotte thankfully made it back home safely (and then promptly sent their boat back out again to be found abandoned by our Neolution friends — smart move, guys). At the safe house, Cosima and Scott have a reunion that made me more emotional than I expected it to. Our favorite science nerds, together again! But the happy part of her homecoming is short lived, because then she has to tell Sarah about Dyad’s plans to harvest Kira’s eggs. (Cosima science lesson: Women are born with all the eggs we’ll ever have, so it’s irrelevant that Kira’s a child, except for the minor detail that they want to use a child for genetic experiments.)
Because Dyad will need at least another day to give Kira hormone injections in preparation for extraction, they have a window of opportunity to get her out of there — but they’ll need leverage. So Cosima tells them what she knows about Westmoreland being a fraud, and she and Scott continue their search to uncover P.T.’s true identity. After a bit of digging (Scott: “White Cambridge nerds who died in the 1960s, present yourselves!”), it’s a success: John Patrick Mathieson, presumed dead in 1967 after he “failed to return after sailing through a storm off the coast of King’s Lynn,” according to his obituary. Cosima calls Sarah immediately: “We got him.” That’s the intel that Sarah later sends to Rachel, which Rachel then shares with the board. To quote season 4 Cosima, “Who’s the science now, bitch?”
After Sarah’s calls hoping to speak to Kira at Dyad are denied, S decides it’s time to bust in, guns blazing, and get her out — but Sarah says they need a better plan than just storming in, which is where Cosima’s intel comes into play. When Rachel finally does allow Sarah and Kira to video chat, Kira shows her mother the next part of the story she’s written — which, ingeniously, contains a code to tell her mother and S what’s going on at Dyad, and that “Elephant” (Rachel) is taking “Mouse” (Kira) to “Wonderland” (the island, where Cosima has told Sarah that Coady now resides, too).
Thankfully, due to Rachel’s shift in allegiances, they’re able to get Kira back before she’s taken there. But I can’t imagine P.T. and Coady will be willing to let her go that easily, so it remains to be seen what happens to them next.
While Kira hasn’t set foot on the island yet, another familiar face does: Mark, the Castor clone we haven’t seen since the end of season 3. Apparently, he’s still alive and has been out in the world with wife Gracie. Mark is brought in as Coady’s “guest” (though a handcuffs and a hood over your face don’t make for a very hospitable way to arrive), and she tells him he’s the only male clone left now that Ira’s dead. Also, she needs something from him: a semen sample, presumably so she can continue revamping all her cloning experiments. But he has something else she’s after: information on where they can find Helena.
And sure enough, when Helena wakes up in the convent, Gracie is standing over her. Wonder how that reunion’s gonna go…
Additional Genetic Material
-As if we needed further confirmation that Rachel can be cold and terrible, another flashback reveals she killed a fellow clone (or had her killed) so they could perform an autopsy and find out more about the Leda disease. When even Dr. Leekie thinks you’ve gone too far, that’s really something.
-The previews for next week look like a doozy: Helena with Gracie, S staring down Ferdinand, some sort of art exhibit with paintings of the sestras, Cosima dancing (would it be too much to ask for another #CloneClub dance party before this show ends?), and something else happening with Rachel’s eye…