This Orphan Black review contains spoilers.
Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4
Last season, things were much busier on Orphan Black. We didn’t have a whole heck of a lot time to breath with the introduction of around four to five Castor clones, a whole paramilitary operation, and Sara’s constant quest to keep her family safe. Let’s not forget about the the introduction of some of Mrs. S’s allies, a bevy of drug dealers trying to compete with Alison, and a love triangle involving Cosima, either.
The results were usually satisfying. After all this is Orphan Black, but sometimes episodes seemed overstuffed. This season, so far at least, is much more streamlined with Sara’s quest to remove the neolutionist mouth maggot taking center stage. There is pretty much just one other running plotline that involves Helena and her pregnancy with everything else orbiting around Sara and the neolutionists.
This week, Sara’s quest to find the truth regarding the mouth worm leads her to MK, the paranoid hacker clone introduced this season and we discover MK’s origin and the reason why she is so squirrely. It seems that years ago, MK found and befriended another clone, so MK and this clone were the original seestras. Remember when Dyad heavy Ferdinand (James Frain- but not Azrael James Frain, creepy metrosexual James Frain) was a clone killer? He bumped off MK’s pal and MK has been on a quest for vengeance ever since. This week, MK caught up to Ferdinand but Sara had to convince the twitchy clone to let him go because Sara needs the dirtbag in order to get the molar maggot out. I really like how the clone conspiracy existed before Sara (and by extension, the viewer) got involved. It makes everything seem sort of mythic.
While Sara is learning about MK, we get to check in with Rachel who proved just how intensely focused she is on learning about her strain of clones. Lately, Rachel has been growing fond of Charlotte Bowles, the only successful Leda clone to be created in years. Now, Charlotte is just a child and just seeing her reminds Rachel of her own a youth, a happy youth. Sadly, young Charlotte is suffering the same degenerative disease as Cosima and Rachel knows that allowing Charlotte to die will yield some valuable research. So for science and for herself, Rachel decides to let Charlotte waste away. Rachel continues to be all that is wrong with science.
But Cosima continues to be all that is right as this week. Cos and Scott get to dissect the desiccated head of Aldous Leekie (God, I love this show), and Cosima grabs some valuable data from the extracted mouth maggot. The gleeful dissection was one of the highlights of the episode.
We don’t get much Alison this week, but we get plenty of Donnie. First, Donnie tells Helena how upset Alison has been over Helena’s pregnancy. After all, Alison has never been able to conceive but happy pregnant Helena is enjoying her child bearing months in Alison’s home. Donnie tells Helena that this has depressed the usually vivacious Alison, so Helena leaves the Hendricks house. Now, Helena is one her own and that’s just going to lead to lots of bloodshed somewhere along the way isn’t it?
But Donnie isn’t done there. The clones have discovered that a nearby fertility clinic is using cloning tech for purposes of artificial insemination. So Donnie has to infiltrate the clinic to find out the truth—but not with Alison—with Felix. Donnie gets some lessons on passing for gay from Felix and the two go deep undercover. And by deep undercover I mean Donnie has to jerk off in a cup while Alison talks dirty to him in an Italian accent. You know how Donnie being hot glued by Alison in season one became a thing? And you know how Donnie shooting Leekie in season two and Donnie and Alison making it rain and twerking in season three became things? Well, the season four thing will be Donnie busting a nut into a cup while Alison talks dirty to him. Freaking hilarious.
And of course, through it all, we have Tatiana Maslany working her magic, bringing nuance, and subtleties to so many different characters. You would think that it would be hard for Maslany to differentiate between Helena and MK. After all, they are both semi-nuts, accented loners, but the voice work and facial tics are so different between the clones. Furthermore, there is such warmth in Cosima and such coldness in Rachel, it is just impossible to imagine it is the same actress. I may be beating a dead clone horse by saying this, but man, is Maslany just a joy to watch week after week.
So we had the truth about MK, Helena leaving home, Rachel’s horribly inhumane choice, and the greatest masturbation scene in BBC America’s history. All in all, a good week wouldn’t you say?