Airing in the UK on Netflix, Sundays
Written by: Jenn Engels
Director: Helen Shaver
Essential Plot Points:
- A villager is attacked by the mutant-man while Cosima checks out the DNA on the tooth she found. The computer tells her it’s “Restricted Intellectual Property”.
- This triggers a flashback in which she remembers complaining to Delphine about how she is the same thing – and how Delphine had betrayed her by being her monitor. Snogging ensues as Delphine talks her round.
- Cosima wakes up to hear a commotion. A mob forms after the loss of the villager. They don’t believe it’s a bear, and damn right too.
- Cosima examines Aisha and is happy, if puzzled, to find that her tumour is smaller. “If he can cure cancer, he can cure death!” says Aisha’s mum.
- A posse is formed to hunt down the beast. Mud is devastated, but they take her with them to calm it down.
- She tells Cosima he wasn’t always bad – new experiments performed by Westmorland changed his personality…
- Rachel arrives on the island and Westmorland vaccinates her.
- Delphine has arrived too – she seems twitchy and doesn’t want to be there. Rachel tells her “everything will be revealed tonight”.
- Rachel and Susan have a reunion, which is awkward given that Rachel tried to kill mummy dearest. Relations are prickly but they call a truce – although Rachel is adamant that Kira is in HER care, not Susan’s. She forces this point home by pressing on her mum’s wounds. Ouch.
- Delphine goes to see Cosima, who shows her Aisha’s medical diary; Westmorland has been using gene therapy from spiny mice on the little girl. It’s not a cure for cancer, just a way of changing it.
- Kira explains to her mum why spiny mice are special.
- With the help of Scott and Hell Wizard, Mrs S starts a mission to discover if Westmorland really is as old as he says he is.
- Cosima and Delphine go to Westmorland’s for a dinner party, which is uncomfortable to say the least. Cosima does share a little about her parents, though, which you’d think would hopefully humanise her in the eyes of all those scientists around the table. It doesn’t, alas.
- Sarah and Kira hatch a plan to fool Rachel.
- Amidst much talk about genes and DNA, dinner conversation is unpleasant. And Delphine is shifty – she tells Westmorland that Cosima was in the basement! Cosima is not pleased.
- Later, Delphine reassures her that she promised to protect Cosima, and she still means to. They make up.
- The monster kills one of the hunters, but lets Mud go.
- We discover that the monster was a little boy who had a highly unusual healing gene. This was then put into the clones but it didn’t work – because it skipped a generation and went to Kira.
- Susan says she’s going to harvest Kira’s eggs so they know if the trait is inheritable.
- Cosima is obviously horrified by this. There will be 1,300 surrogates: “Those are Kira’s children!”
- Injured, Yannis comes home, hiding in the basement with his creator. Cosima, who’s figured out that Westmorland is dying, accuses the scientist of “dismantling him – all this suffering just so you can extend your life!”
- Westmorland gives Cosima a gun to put Yannis out of his misery. She can’t, of course. She says he can’t take away her humanity.
- Westmorland shoots Yannis anyway, and Cosima is distraught.
- Delphine turns up at Mrs S’s. We thought the ‘Deep Throat’ who was giving Mrs S information last episode was Delphine – but it wasn’t. So who was it? The plot thickens…
- Cosima, meanwhile, ends the episode locked in Westmorland’s basement.
Oh dear, by our reckoning we’ve now had three ‘middling’ episodes in a row – come on, Orphan Black, you can do better than this! Where are the jaw-dropping, arse-kicking episodes of old?
While this week’s offering was still interesting – as were the other two, of course; we’re not saying they’re rubbish – it also felt like a gigantic missed opportunity. Sure, we found out some interesting, important stuff: the “monster” running around in the woods is actually responsible for Kira being so genetically awesome, and there’s also some significant doubt being cast upon PT Westmorland’s apparent Methuselah-like qualities (which, funnily enough, we never doubted for a second, assuming it was true from the start… good old Mrs S for being cynical).
However, these revelations (the first in particular) really should have been given more force. Why introduce poor Yannis and then kill him off before we’ve had a chance to empathise with him? Where’s the shock value in that? At the very least, he deserved one episode spent bonding with Cosima. Instead there’s a gunshot and he’s gone, and it’s hard to give a damn despite Tatiana Maslanay’s wonderful acting skills (we hate it when Cosima cries! It hurts!).
Westmorland, too, is nowhere near as powerful a character here as he needs to be: he’s overshadowed by everyone around him, which is odd considering that without him, they wouldn’t exist. Of course, this is, perversely, a rather good thing: usually male characters overshadow their female co-stars! So we suppose we can’t really complain as we revel in something so unusual in a TV show.
Revelations aside, there’s not much of interest elsewhere this week: it’s nice to see Delphine again, and we’re glad she’s re-affirmed her bond with Cosima, but her “worried” face does start to get a bit tiresome after a while. The scenes in the woods seem superfluous. Sarah and Kira doing a bit of plotting is sweet (the shot of mum, daughter and gran all cuddled up together is adorable), but really there’s not much else here that’s noteworthy. Some episodes really need an Alison, a Felix, a Helena or a Donnie to elevate them, don’t they?
“Aldous Leekie – could you have predicted that we would’ve ended up buried under some random crone’s garage?” Westmorland gets sassy.
Cosima will not wear a dress, thank you. “Frock that,” she huffs, and opts for a suit. Good for her.
“You have a lot of dead things in here,” she points out at the dinner table, much to Delphine’s horror and Westmorland’s amusement. Never change, Cosima!
The cinematography in this episode is rather lovely, from the sepia-lit dinner party to the framing shot of Rachel meeting Susan in the old conservatory (which must be freezing, by the way, why does Susan never wear a coat in there?).
Is Ira glitching? We really hope not – Ari Millen has been a joy as the Castor clone (and all of the others, too) and we’ll be sad to see him suffer before he goes.
So why, exactly, is Yannis so dangerous? What was it that they did to him to turn him so violent? We hope we get to find out, because otherwise (revelation about Kira aside) he seems to have been nothing more than a walking McGuffin.
Cosima says of Westmorland: “This is what he does: he divides women.” This episode has a female writer and a female director. Westmorland might divide women, but Orphan Black brings them together.
Best Quote: Ira to Rachel, as she goes to see Susan: “I’ve hidden the knives.”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson