Orphan Black S40E09 “The Mitigation Of Competition” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Netflix, Fridays
Writer: Alex Levine
Director: David Frazee
Essential Plot Points:
- Rachel’s visions are accelerating. She keeps seeing the swan and a strange man. What’s that about, then?
- Evie’s cause is also accelerating; she announces that Brightborn will be opening a new centre in her hometown and they hope to get their gene therapy rolled out to the world in three years. Yikes!
- After a few weeks with no word, we finally get to see what Helena’s been up to. Being Helena, it’s weird: she’s been living in the wilds of a snowy national park and having a whale of a time, from the look of it. She calls Sarah to check in, and realises that stuff’s happening back home. (Mind you, when isn’t it?)
- Evie is sent a blackmail video by two girls who fled Brightborn’s illegal human trials. The video shows a nurse euthanising a deformed baby. Evie is not happy about this possibly being made public.
- Sarah and Felix meet up with Rachel and Ira in a hotel room. It is not a happy reunion for the two seestras, who loathe each other, but they have bigger fish to fry: Evie. Rachel tells Sarah to go out and find the two pregnant women so they can use them to take Evie down.
- Donnie is released from jail, much to his joy, but Alison is having a religious crisis and decides that it’s all too much. They are going to do a runner until everything calms down.
- In Susan’s lab on the island, Cosima successfully fertilises a Leda egg with a Castor sperm. Now they just have to wait until they can use it to find a cure. Susan gives her a book on the history of Neolution to read, and while doing so, Cosima bonds with little Charlotte.
- Art and Sarah track down one of the missing pregnant girls: but it’s too late for her, as she has been found hung in a boarding-house in a suspected suicide. But was it actually murder? Art thinks so, spotting defensive wounds on her hands, but the detective with him is dismissive. He’s a bad guy, like Duko. The police just can’t be trusted!
- Sarah spots Trina – the pregnant girl from Club Neolution – and realises she knows the girls. Trina, still thinking she’s Beth, tells her where she thinks the other one, Kendra, could be hiding out.
- Adele is suspicious of the Hendrixes when she visits them as their lawyer, and things get even worse when Helena suddenly turns up at Felix’s. Another sister? Felix won’t tell her anything because it would put her in danger, so Adele decides to leave for a while. But lucky for us, not before some excellent bickering with Helena.
- Art and Sarah track down Kendra and find she has a blind newborn baby. Kendra, who is terrified, threatens them with a gun, but they talk her down. She refuses to go public with the video she filmed, however, because she’s scared for her life and the lives of her children.
- After hearing this, Rachel takes matters into her own hands. Behind Sarah’s back, she calls Kendra and threatens her other son unless Kendra goes with Ira. She does, and Sarah is furious.
- Alison and Donnie are about to do a runner – but one-half of the nasty paramedic duo appears and takes them prisoner! He wants to know what’s happened to Duko, and threatens Alison with a maggot-bot.
- Helena arrives and saves the day by killing him – with a bow and arrow, no less!
- Rachel meets with Evie just before a Brightborn press conference and blackmails her: she will release all the details about Evie’s illicit activities unless Evie puts her on the Brightborn board. Evie reluctantly agrees. Rachel asks why she euthanised the babies and Evie explains that she doesn’t like loose ends.
- Evie begins her press conference… but unknown to her, Rachel just did an EPIC DOUBLE-CROSS. She filmed their conversation! The video of the baby being euthanised and of Evie explaining it is suddenly leaked to the press, who swarm Evie until she’s whisked away from them. Victory!
- Later, Rachel keeps seeing the vision from her eye and realises it’s not a glitch: they’re scenes from the island and someone is trying to show her something.
- Who could that someone be? Well, we see Delphine sitting at a desk… could it be her?
There’s a lot crammed into this week’s episode and it’s all good, juicy stuff, although it doesn’t seem to properly kick off until Helena fires that arrow – from there it’s as though the writers are having so much fun it’s almost obscene.
Not only is the sight of Rambo-Helena just wonderful (even very pregnant, she’s menacing enough to make you fear for Adele’s safety when they meet), the fact she rescues Alison just as Alison is praying to God for sign is a lovely way of restoring her faith – well, we assume so, anyway. Come on, though: if your missing sister barging into your house with a bow and arrow to take down the guy threatening your life isn’t a sign, what is?
You also have to love the first meeting between Helena and Adele: talk about worlds colliding!
“You’re so preggo and foreign,” snarks Adele, as Helena does her usual weirdo prowling around the room, and then later she blurts the hilarious: “Did you just step up to me, little triplet?” before Helena snarls at her like an animal. No wonder Adele leaves soon after – what the hell is her bio-brother into? We can’t say we blame her, but we will really miss her. This show really can write some genius female characters.
Evie’s fall from grace is also deliciously satisfying to watch: as soon as you realise what Rachel’s done and those journos’ phones start buzzing, you almost start to salivate. Just imagine being one of those guys, too: you come to hear an announcement from a medical company and you end up being present when its head is outed as a child-murderer – best day of journalism ever!
Of course, saying that, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of Orphan Black and forget that this show is actually tackling some deeply heavy themes – seeing a baby killed is bad enough, but somehow the sight of the heavily pregnant Tabitha lying dead on the floor is worse. It’s not something you actually get to see on television much, even in this age of corpse-of-the-week on police procedural shows, and it’s both brave and upsetting that Orphan Black went there. This is some powerful drama, right here.
- Adele on Helena’s hat: “I don’t think that hat was store-bought, either.” Knowing Helena… nope, it most certainly wasn’t.
- Helena telling Sarah how her babies are doing: “Much kicking – they’re fighting like us.”
- Cosima has always been good with Kira, and here she bonds almost instantly with Charlotte, who asks her how she brushes her hair. The way children are integrated into this show is expertly done – well, if you excuse the Hendrixes’ kids, who almost never appear (at least this week they’re explained away as being in Florida).
- “Adele, you’re making it sound like we’re the Mob,” says Felix. “What, so I’m reading this wrong?” Adele replies. When Felix points out that she just mixed mood stabilisers with gin, Adele simply replies, “That’s brunch.” Come back soon, Adele.
- Check out Evie’s Death Glare at Rachel when she realises all her schemes are about to come crashing down… Ouch.
- Donnie’s flirting sinks to an all-time low. Not only does he grab Alison’s arse the second he meets her after leaving jail, he responds to her crisis of faith by telling her: “I’ll make you see God, Mrs Hendrix.” Ewwwwwwwwww.
- So what’s going on with Delphine? Has she found a way to broadcast footage to Alison’s bionic eye? Is she living on the island with the rest of the people in the vision? Is she being held prisoner, or is she one of them? And why the heck did she send (albeit symbolic) images of a swan getting its head cut off when she could have just shown a piece of paper with all she wanted to say on it? Or is something else entirely going on? Next week is the finale, and there are a lot of questions left to answer…
- Best Quote: Ira: “You really don’t like each other, do you?”
Rachel: “She put a pencil in my brain.”