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'Orphan Black' Recap: Let's Hear It For the Boys

By Craig Wack | TV | May 18, 2014 |

By Craig Wack | TV | May 18, 2014 |

When we last left the clones … Sarah was hanging with Helena in a hotel, Cosima was digging for the truth, Alison was drying out and an unnamed clone based in the UK was very upset at Andy Samberg.

Orphan Black’s latest episode “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” (Knowledge Is Power, for those who are dead language inept) opens with a tight shot of Dr. Leekie ghosted by a tribal self-portrait of Helena drawn in the blood of the very dead Daniel.

It’s a prophetic image because a quartet of non-clones - Leekie, Paul, Bell and Felix - push the plot along this time around, while the clones take a comparative back seat. It serves the show in a couple of ways. First, Tatiana Maslany probably only had to work 10 hour days for this episode instead of 14 and secondly it gave the show an opportunity to circle back with these characters and link them back to the primary story.

Paul gets promoted to Rachel’s handler/bodyguard/sex toy following Daniel’s bloody end. Paul carries out her will by pinning the murder of the cop at cabin on Felix, who himself was running out of things to do now that Cal is on the scene, Alison is in rehab and Sarah is on the run. In the span of one session of heavy petting, Felix went from having no stake in what was happening to being the stakes.

After being kind to Cosima in defiance of Rachel, it’s clear that Leekie is pursuing an agenda that’s at odds with Rachel and he has no problems putting Paul and Felix in the middle of it all.

Bell has been rescued from Prolethian stakeout purgatory and is helping Sarah with the Project Leda investigation and got the honor of interrogating Helena. He’s going to be vital to uncovering the mysteries surrounding Project Leda as Sarah goes on a fact finding mission of her own.

The episode wasn’t all about Felix’s adventures in personal lubricant and Paul dabbling in dom/sub culture, so here’s this week’s clone-by-clone rundown:

Rachel: She returns from her trip to Taiwan to see her suite covered in ghoulish cave drawings and her love Daniel murdered by a fellow clone.

We learn so much about Rachel as she tours the grisly scene inside her home. She’s still calculating and frosty as ever. For the first time however, Rachel shows a sentimental side. She’s more shaken by the “Cambridge 1991” videotape being out of place than the sight of a dead body in her living room. We get a second dose of that when Paul catches her reviewing the tape later on.

She realizes that Sarah is practicing some handy tips from the Art of War and getting to know her enemy. Rachel takes her own page from Sun Tzu (“When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled make them move.”) by cutting off a potentially breakthrough stem cell treatment for Cosima and sending Paul on his mission to strike at Sarah’s weak spot, Felix.

With her ex-handler’s body barely cold and smell of bleach still hangs in her suite, Rachel decides to break in her new handler Paul when the sun goes down. Rachel is a take-charge type in her relationships. She denies Paul a sip of wine after they toast (isn’t that bad luck?), makes him strip and then fetch a chair so they can have sex over the spot where Daniel lay dead just hours earlier. While Paul notches his third clone to his belt, neither he nor Rachel know they have an audience in the building across the street.

Helena: The stuff that happens off-screen on this show is creepier than what happens on screen. Think about this: Helena had no time or medium to make all those blood drawings in Rachel’s suite before she stabbed Rosen. And there’s no way Sarah would have willingly stood around waiting for Helena to finish her art project before they fled the room. So Sarah had to have remained tied up watching Helena paint the walls with blood. Yikes.

Helena compulsively uses art as a way to express herself, much the same as someone else currently residing in an RV does. She draws on the fog on Bell’s fish tank. She leaves the origami fortune teller for Bell and Sarah after she escapes. She’s got a collection of doll parts and drawings among the photos in Maggie Chen’s storage locker. She gives a doll head a Rachel haircut as she plans to blow the real Rachel’s head off … but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
After leaving the hotel, Sarah takes Helena to the Felixcave for some fresh clothes before being taken over to Bell’s place for questioning. Bell struggles to get Helena’s help connecting the dots, but uses a can of sardines and powdered donuts to grease the skids.

Helena cryptically tells Bell about the “Swan Man, who played God” and that he’s in Maggie Chen’s storage locker. Helena’s mind is shattered into a million pieces, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how you use it to her advantage. Bell turns his back long enough for Helena to improvise a handcuff key, get loose and overpower him before making her escape.

It’s worth noting here that the Proletians are still looking for Helena so she can carry the embryo Henrik fertilized. Gracie was punished for her role in Helena’s escape by having her mouth sewn shut and is told that if Helena isn’t recovered, Gracie will be the one who will carry the baby. Gracie finally breaks her silence after Mark shows her some kindness.

Cosima: Everyone’s favorite living search engine, is delving in to genetic patent laws when Delphine stumbles upon data about Leekie’s secret research. They become suspicious why Leekie isn’t sharing this vital nugget of info.

They barge into Leekie’s office looking for the magic serum, where they are promptly caught by Leekie. However, because he is in the presence of the mighty Cosima Search, Leekie spills the tale of what the real mystery of the clones is.

The explosion that destroyed the Project Leda lab not only killed a bunch of scientists, but it also destroyed the original genome of the clones, including some important DNA sequences that kept the clones viable. In an unspoken deal, Leekie agrees with Cosima to continue the treatment in exchange for info about the Project Leda.

Sarah: It’s another rough day for Detective Sarah. She checks in on Kira, who is still on the run in the RV with Cal. Kira has some nice new clothes and wants to be a leopard instead of a monkey. Kira and Cal are getting along so well; they are even scamming the cops together. Cal is now on Rachel’s radar, but he’s going to be tough to catch thanks to his fake ID, stash of cash and pistol. His cooking skills could use some work however.

Cops surround the Felixcave when Sarah comes back from Skyping with Kira. Paul calls Sarah on Fe’s clone phone threatening that her brother will go down for murder if she doesn’t surrender to Rachel. Not knowing what else to do, Sarah bolts to Bell’s place to find him handcuffed in the kitchen and Helena gone.

He fills Sarah in on his day with Helena, and they head to the storage locker. Sarah and Bell are a few steps behind Helena as she’s already left with a motorcycle and a sniper rifle once they arrive.

They discover the locker is decorated with Helena’s signature chamber of horrors style. Among no-eyed nuns and doll parts are two photos. One is of Rachel’s parents taken in the 1970s and of the Swan Man taken more recently. Bell and Sarah deduce that the men in the photos are the same guy, Ethan Duncan - Rachel’s adoptive father who is presumed dead.

Before they can hunt for him, they need to find Helena, who has made a sniper’s nest for herself across the street from Rachel’s flat. Luckily, Sarah sees the abandoned motorcycle and finds the room where Helena is lining Rachel up in her cross hairs, getting rid of a problem in the only way she’s ever known.

Sarah steps in front of the rifle, talks Helena down from her perch and the two plan on going on a road trip for a swan hunt. Before she can do that, Sarah has a covert meeting with Leekie to set up a deal using Rachel’s father as a bargaining chip for Felix. She also finds out that Cosima has been hiding her deteriorating condition from the group.

Paul witnesses the meeting and plans to follow Sarah. Leekie tells Paul that any discoveries made along the way need to go through him before they go through Rachel.

Next week: Road trip! I’ll bring the sardines if you bring the donuts.

Craig Wack would totally call Tatiana Maslany after he hugged her. Please follow his Twitter.

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