Here there be spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
Oh, Paul. You boy toy, you solid as a rock military automaton, you sensitive bastard, we hardly knew thee. After three seasons of story and after being intimately acquainted with three clones, Paul Dierden has taken his leave from this mortal coil in the latest episode of Orphan Black. Paul was a major part of the narrative in both previous seasons. At first, he was Beth’s love interest, the impetus for her suicide when she found out he was a watcher for the Dyad Corporation. He had a long standing romantic bond with Sara and was a double agent boy toy to Rachel. Fans never knew if they could trust Paul, a man who seemed to have a deeply hidden agenda. At times, he was the side of beef hero our sistras needed but at other times, he was the shifty eyed military robot. This week, Paul proved his mettle and sacrificed his life (or at least he seemed to) to help Sara escape the clutches of Castor and the vile Virginia Coady. Because of Paul’s noble sacrifice, Sara will have to deal with the fact that Paul’s last words to her were a confession of love, an admittance that he loved Sara over Beth, now, when thinking of Paul, Sara will always see that road not taken.
Paul alone wasn’t solely responsible for Sara’s freedom. Sara was also freed because of dear squirrel crazy Helena, who came back for her sistra this week. Like many heroes, Helena felt the clarion call of duty while lost in the desert. Last week, she abandoned Sara but this week, Helena had her moment of doubt and pain while trudging through the desert as her scorpion pal tried to convince her to forget Sara. But Helena is nothing if not stubborn (like all the sistras) and instead of listening to her little pal, she slowly and gleefully devoured her imaginary friend like a multi-legged circus peanut. As Helena ate the talking scorpion (did I really just write that?), she really devoured her own dark side, all those feelings of doubt and anger that drove her from Sara’s side, all that violence and hate that was making her more animal than human slid down her gullet in the form of bits of imaginary scorpion. What a strange but potent little metaphor. And gross!
Meanwhile, Sara’s family didn’t just rest while she was missing. Oh no, Felix forced Scott to take him into Leda so he could have a word with Rachel, who was still recovering from having her eye and part of her brain obliterated. After all the dastardly things Rachel did last season, it’s hard to imagine that one could feel sympathy for her. But as she sat there, all strength and beauty drained from her, and slowly did art therapy; it was hard to watch the once potent woman reduced to a twitching, wheelchair bound mass of weakness. Felix did not feel the same sympathy and mocked and tormented his sister’s clone as she cowered and wept. We have never really seen Felix take out his claws to such a degree and it was a reminder that to protect his family, Felix ain’t afraid to get nasty. Felix couldn’t have noticed the importance of what Rachel was painting, but Scott did. In Rachel’s paintings, Scott noticed many of the same symbols contained in the copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau that is supposed to hold all the genetic secrets of the cones. So it seems one eyed Rachel, as pathetic as she has become, might hold some very important secrets in defeating that disease that still threatens not only the male clones and their sex partners but Cosima as well.
Before we move on to Cosima, it needs to be noted the stunning bit of acting Tatiana Maslany pulled off as the brain damaged Rachel. It might even be didactic at his point to keep singing the praises of Maslany, it’s like, of course she’s awesome duh, but this week she took things to the next level. To be able to make the cold hearted, Cruella de Vil like Rachel into an object of sympathy required a skilled and subtle performance and Maslany gave it just that, creating a scene where Felix, who was totally justified in his actions, came across as a cruel bully and Rachel, the former ultimate Machiavellian evil, came across as a victim. Excellent.
So back to Cosima who was still distracted by her dating life. Of course, Delphine showing back up didn’t help things. Cosima seems enraptured by the seemingly to good to be true Shay, and Delphine, a woman who is so important in helping the clones, does not seem happy that Cosima has found another lover. I sense a dark turn coming for Delphine which could have a profound impact on the health of the clones.
Clearer on her path was Alison who is moving up on the ever growing illegal narcotics market. This week, Alison and Donnie were celebrating their ascension into Heisenberg territory by making it rain-while twerking-in their underwear-covered in craft glitter-on their bed-while popping bottles-because awesome. Of course, being the king and queen of suburbia, Alison and Donnie’s hip hop bacchanalia was interrupted by their kid, who just wanted a ride to her karate lessons. How this all falls into the whole Leda/Castor mass conspiracy is anyone’s guess but it don’t matter, because Alison and Donnie are making mad stacks, Mr. White. Now, all they have to do is figure out how to launder their ill gotten gains and things will be perfect for our favorite pair of adorable criminals.
So in this episode we got to see the rise of the suburban drug culture, the fall of Castor, and the salvation of Sara in the arms of the now repentant Helena. And we still have half a season to go!