Orphan Black S40E08 “The Redesign Of Natural Objects” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Netflix, Fridays
Writer: Peter Mohan
Director: Aaron Morton
Essential Plot Points:
- Donnie is in jail, and is settling in about as well as an ice cube in an oven. He’s been there five minutes before he’s threatened by a Neolution stooge.
- Rachel rallies Ira and then Susan to try to get them to find a cure, despite all hope seemingly being lost.
- Her cause is helped when MK hacks into their location and allows Sarah and Cosima to talk to them. An awkward truce is struck: Cosima will work with them to find a cure. After all, they’re all on the same side now: Evie Cho is the new Big Bad.
- MK’s sudden return is puzzling, but it turns out that she’s exhibiting signs of the illness… It’s a race against time now.
- Alison is frantic about Donnie’s plight, although help comes from an unexpected source: Felix’s sister, Adele, who is a lawyer. She gives him some advice, although Donnie is more interested in telling Alison about the Neolution bully.
- Meanwhile, Mrs S is on a mission – she wants Duko’s head because he killed her mum. “It’s some black Irish shit – revenge first, consequences later,” as Sarah observes, bitterly.
- The mission is complicated, however, when Mrs S sees Duko meet with Alison. Unknown to the rest of the team, he’s blackmailing her to give up Sarah’s location in exchange for Donnie’s safety.
- Alison goes on with her day as though nothing is happening, although she’s quietly freaking out. She takes part in a rehearsal for Jesus Christ Superstar as Duko stalks Sarah. It seems Alison actually did betray her sister to save Donnie!
- It’s all a double-cross, however, and the tables are turned on Duko when he’s captured. He calls off the dogs beating up Donnie in jail, and has to try to talk round Mrs S.
- Mrs S is having none of it, however, and shoots him dead.
- Alison gets the thumbs up from Felix that Donnie is safe, and, in her relief, gives the best rehearsal performance of Jesus Christ Superstar ever.
- Elsewhere, in boffin-land, Cosima comes up with a cunning plan: to get hold of the genes they need to manufacture a cure, she’ll take an egg from Sarah, combine it with Ira’s sperm, and experiment using the embryo. Sarah isn’t keen, but agrees.
- Cosima flies out to Susan’s private island to do the research there. Into the belly of the beast…
Orphan Black can always pull off a good montage, but we reckon this must be the first time in history that a song from Jesus Christ Superstar has been used to complement a guy in jail being threatened with violence. And it works magnificently – for a while there, you really think that Alison is in such a state because she’s given up Sarah (she’s even playing the part of Judas, after all – subtle!). But of course there’s a back-up plan, and soon Donnie is safe and Alison can sing her heart out, happy jazz hands and all. Phew.
Aside from this marvellous moment, most of the rest of this episode is fairly standard Orphan Black to-ings and fro-ings, with a few missteps: the revelation about MK being ill isn’t very impactful, for example, given that we hardly know her. Will she be the next to die, simply so that the writers can remind us of how serious the stakes are? It seems weird, somehow, to take that mantle from Cosima, who we’ve been worrying about for years now (not that we want her to die, of course – we’re not monsters – but if any of the seestras is going to go, it should really be one we love just for dramatic purposes).
Mrs S’s revenge mission is also slightly undramatic, mainly because it probably should have come hot on the heels of the murder last week – what took her so long? That said, however, her cold-blooded despatching of Duko is a shocker. There’s something about someone being murdered in a comic-book store that somehow seems… wrong. Well. More wrong than is usual for a murder, anyway. This is emphasised by the next shot of Scott, stalwart and supportive as ever, wiping blood off a comic poster. Ugh. It’s all proof, not that we needed it, that you DO NOT CROSS SIOBHAN.
Incidentally, Duko threatening Hell Wizard using Dungeons & Dragons terminology is both the weirdest and the most disturbing thing we’ve seen on TV in years. For a moment, he’s almost full-on Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men. Terrifying!
- Lots of juicy one-liners this week. Cosima’s brilliant put-down of MK’s mask, for instance: “If you wanna keep it on, I think it’s funny.”
- …Or Adele complaining about the jail having no valet parking – yes, we all thought she was being serious, too, but she’s not quite that bad.
- …And Alison’s horror at seeing her husband in an orange jumpsuit, and then telling her priest later: “He’s fine! Very comfortable in orange.”
- As always, the bond between Alison and Felix is a joy. Such different personalities, but it’s lovely that they can count on each other.
- The same goes for Scott; from backing up Cosima all the way to cleaning up police detective blood-splatter, he’s a gem.
- We love the hallucinations coming from Rachel’s bionic eye, although imagine living with an eyeball that keeps showing you pictures of a swan’s disembodied head? Ouch.
- Why didn’t Susan think of using stem cells from embryos before now? It seems so incredibly obvious in retrospect… Although perhaps it’s the kind of thing you only come up with once your main donor is dead.
- Note to everyone for next time they lure a baddie into a trap: spring said trap before the baddie slams your accomplice’s face into the shop counter. Poor Hell Wizard!
- Are we the only ones starting to really worry about little Kira? She never goes to school, she doesn’t have any friends, she spends her life worrying about her family and playing games on her computer, and has creepy visions. That kid is gonna explode at some point, you mark our words.
- We’ve been watching this show for so long that it’s easy to forget that Tatiana Maslany is playing more than one person in the same scene thanks to CGI. When it looks as seamless as this, it’s worth the occasional reminder.
- Best Quote: Scott: “Have you thought about insane you are? Jumping in a chopper to a mad scientist’s private island?”
Cosima: “Dude, we are mad scientists. Don’t be a hater.”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson