'Orphan Black' Recap: Send in the Clowns and a New Villain
Last time we saw the clones, Sarah was sleuthing, Cosima was poking, Helena was bonding, Rachel was hooping, and Rachel was nowhere to be found …
“Donnie, you’re out of your element.” - Walter Kovacs, The Big Lebowski
After experiments in horror, sci-fi and road trip genres this season, the latest episode of Orphan Black, “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things,” takes a stab at some slapstick comedy.
While there are some significant developments in the episode (Michelle Forbes!), it’s the first time this season that the show has deliberately broken momentum to reset the pieces. The ability to adjust on the fly has been one of the show’s strengths. The pratfalls and hijinks ultimately led somewhere important; the journey filled with pratfalls, misadventures and a comic death felt out of character for the show.
There was some non-comedic tension thanks to the introduction of Forbes’ Dr. Marion Bowles as the big bad, behind who we thought was the big bad. If she had a handlebar moustache, she would have been twirling it during her scenes. Instead, she glided into her scenes with a scowl and a monochromatic wardrobe, so you knew right away she was up to no good.
She knows all about the cloning experiment and pulls more strings than either Leekie or Rachel combined. After learning that Ethan Duncan is still alive, she’s coldly ready to tie up that loose end (or Rachel or Sarah) once and for all. Ultimately it’s Leekie who draws Bowles’ lethal attention. Lucky for him (for a while anyway), Rachel lets nature prevail and merely banishes him.
While it’s sad to see Leekie go, it does raise the stakes for the flagging Cosima plotline significantly with the man behind the science out of the picture. Bowles is a deeper layer of the onion. She seems to have passed her calculating side on to Rachel, and Bowles’ motivations are going to drive the plot the rest of the season.
Here’s this week’s clone-by-clone rundown of the madcap zaniness:
Cosima: The living search engine doesn’t get in on the funny stuff this week, because she’s too busy getting treatment and finding stuff out.
She shares a tender moment with Delphine when the stem cell treatment is placed in her uterus. The scene is the reminiscent yet the polar opposite of the flashback Helena had of her wedding night in the honeymoon suite of horrors on the Prolethian compound.
Later, Scott and Delphine are still going around in circles about the source of the stem cells, unfortunately this time within earshot of Cosima. She angrily confronts Delphine, who explains the tooth came from the hospital after Kira had her accident. The supply is limited and it’s the biggest factor why Dyad is after Kira. Delphine said they went down the Kira path because there were no others that could possibly save Cosima’s life. Cosima still kicks Delphine out of the lab and slams the table in disgust after being put between a rock and a hard place by this knowledge.
Rachel: Her presence is almost ghostly in this episode. Bowles and Leekie discuss how they think she’ll react to knowing her father is still alive. After cutting a deal with Mrs. S exchanging Ethan Duncan’s location and data with Leekie in exchange for Kira’s safety, Paul takes Rachel to see her father so they can have a tearful and mostly off-screen reunion. We do get a bit of Mrs. S badassery when she tells Rachel she’ll shoot Ethan in the head if there is even a hint of funny business.
Rachel ultimately sends Leekie into the wind, though it’s not clear if it’s a move that sides with Bowles or is the start of a power play against her.
Alison: The comedy team of Alison and Felix reunite in rehab after she spills the beans about Aynsley to Vic, who leaves the custom gloves Alison made for him behind in his haste to set up a meeting with Deangelis. Alison brings the gloves to him but overhears him on the phone with the cop and knows she’s in trouble.
She sneaks to call Felix so he can come over and help her deal with Vic. The next morning, she leads Vic to her room where Felix is waiting for a different kind of intervention. They try to convince him to not to talk to Deangelis, it takes the promise of a meeting with Sarah to get him to stall at least.
While Alison is making Family Day preparations, Sarah sneaks in a side door for a face-to-face with Vic. He seeks absolution and an apology from Sarah, but not before taking a big swig of Felix’s Earl Benzi tea. The drugs take effect right after Vic pleads with Sarah to get back together. Right as his about the drive the point home, he dives head first into a table full of glitter and a Felix one-liner.
The comedy of errors begins.
To cover for Vic’s incident, Sarah has to impersonate Alison at Family Day which includes a speech and role pay with Donnie. Felix tries to stash the sack of cement that is Vic somewhere. His first hiding place is nixed by Alison, so he has to FelEx Vic’s glitter covered bulk around the facility, ducking Deangelis in the process until he and Alison find a suitable place to stash him.
Vic is eventually found drooling behind a nurse’s desk seemingly relapsed and no longer of any use to Deangelis. Sarah leaves Family Day to “tinkle” and meets Felix and Alison back in the room. Donnie interrupts a strategy session and enters a whole new world.
While Donnie is Alison’s monitor, he was just as clueless to the clones’ existence as anyone else, so seeing Sarah in the room was a shocker. He claims it was all part of a big university experiment, but knew nothing about the midnight visits and the probing. Alison, more hurt about the situation than ever, flips out accordingly.
Later, Donnie seeks out and confronts a fleeing Leekie at gunpoint. Donnie really was clueless to the true nature of the experiment and did love Alison. He tells Leekie he quits the experiment (much to Leekie’s delight) and slams the gun on the steering wheel for emphasis.
The gun goes off and sprays Dr. Leekie’s genius all over the passenger side of the car. Better call The Wolf, Donnie. You are going to need him.
Sarah: The comedy starts right at the top of the show as Sarah and Mrs. S tentatively paw their way through Ethan’s stacked and stagnant smelling papers looking for a needle of a red box in haystacks of trash.
After grabbing a petrified mouse, Sarah’s freak-out knocks over a stack of boxes and the red tin filled with random keepsakes (and vital cloning data) that Ethan needed before abandoning his hidey hole spills out.
Sarah still doesn’t trust Mrs. S but they agree on a course of action, which is to pit Leekie and Rachel against one another. Mrs. S grabs Ethan and the info while Sarah goes to check up on Kira after Cal discovers his computer has been hacked.
She and Cal talk about the relative merits of bugging out to Iceland as Mrs. S goes to Dyad and cuts a deal with Leekie for Kira’s safety. Following the divide and conquer strategy, Mrs. S then has Paul bring Rachel over for a face to face with her father.
Following the adventure at rehab, Cosima sucks it up, calls Sarah and tells her about Kira’s special purpose as Sarah returns to the RV. Sarah and Cal argue about what to do next. Once again, Kira, being the smartest and most mature character on the show, yanks a loose tooth through the old string and doorknob gag, solving the dilemma.
Much like with Helena last week, Cal’s usefulness to Sarah is at an end, so she moves on into the night with Kira in tow toward a certain meeting with Cosima and an uncertain future.
Next week: Cosima don’t look so good, yo.
Craig Wack never thought Felix was much of a glitter guy anyway. Please follow his Twitter.