Orphan Black: Newer Elements of Our Defense Review

The clones break bad for an eventful outing. Here is our review of Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 4.

We kick things off with a bit of a Children of the Corn riff this week, well, more corn than children, but you’ll get the idea. Remember, last week, we left clone boy Mark hunted by the Promethean matron in a cornfield while Sara could only watch helplessly? Well, this week, Sara did what she does best; she protected her family by selflessly coming to Mark’s aid. Last week, Sara found out that her sistras and the clone boy were biologically related so Sara went into mama bear mode and protected her blood, and believe me, there was a ton of that blood spilling out in that cornfield. This rescue speaks so profoundly to Sara’s role as the protector of the clones, even if Mark’s intentions are unknown, as long as he is blood, Sara still risked everything for him. Imagine how far dear Sara would go to save Helena or any of her sisters if she is willing to risk life and limb for Mark. During the course of this episode, Sara removed a bullet from Mark’s leg and generally plays big sister to a man that may still be a threat. Of course, we have seen Sara go to any length to protect her family but what is so shocking about this is just how short a period of time Sara has considered Mark family, yet, there she was protecting her brother.

But was Sara rewarded? Not really, as later, Sara tracked down the dead infant that was used as genetic material for the male Castor clones. Mark and Sara dug up the dead infant so we had a baby exhuming which is always something. Sadly, this was when Rudy, the scarred solider boy clone, reappeared and the chase was on. Mark sided with his clone brother Rudy so I guess Sara should have just let Mark bleed out. I must admit that now that we are a few episodes in, the personalities of the male clones are starting to diversify. Rudy is kind of a tool and Mark- well; Mark is the most like the Sara we met in season one. He is a being who walks that razors edge of morality and is trying to balance his instinct with his morality. You can sense his loyalty to Gracie and his brothers but he is also blinded by duty which is why he sided with Rudy over Sara. Or, is Mark driven by self preservation? There is so much to discover about Mark in particular but while we wait, man, Sara seems to be in some deep clone shit.

But not as deep as Helena who continued to be held prisoner by Castor. This week, dear crazy Helena finally made her move and attempted a prison break. It involved Helena chewing a chicken bone into the shape of a key and it was pretty awesome. Instead of escaping after her poultry assisted breakout, Helena stumbled onto another male clone, this one a victim of torturous medical experiments with his brain exposed and begging for death. What Castor and Virginia were doing to this poor clone is anyone’s guess, but thanks to Helena, he was now beyond pain. Actually, this moment was the most poignant and brutally beautiful moment of the season. With Helena, every instinct screaming to escape (even being told by her imaginary scorpion pal that she was making a mistake by not running), Helena showed mercy to a fellow being in need of release. Virginia did not look happy over the loss of her experiment and God only knows what tortures were awaiting Helena for her actions. I guess it’s safe to see no more chicken for our dear Ukrainian killing machine.

Speaking of experiments, this week, Cosima began an experiment of her own. Yeah, she continued to try and unravel the secrets of the Castor clones and even got her hands on some valuable notes regarding the original Castor experiments, but Cosima’s true experimentation this week involved dating. Of course, any affairs of the heart on Orphan Black will involve Felix who noticed Cosima pining for Delphine (believe me, Cos, we are all pining a bit for the lovely Delphine). So Felix stepped in and insisted that Cosima try the Orphan Black version of Tinder, an app called Sapphire. This should result in some wackiness I’m sure.

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But not as much wackiness as the Breaking Bad portion of our show featuring television’s newest drug lords Alison and Donnie. It seemed that Alison was horning in on the local drug kingpin’s territory and the drug lord in question wanted a parley. Well, it would be more difficult to find a couple less ready for an illicit meet and greet but as usual, Alison pulled it off. You see, she used to date her territorial rival and the two came to a happy accord. So Alison is now growing her business, her territory and unifying local crime figures. All in the name of a school board election. Seriously, only Alison.

And isn’t all this the strength of this wonderful series, balancing an overarching mythology with over the top, hilarious plot asides to form something wholly unique on television. The Alison stuff provided a break from the overwhelming darkness of the clone stuff while we have such human moments like the ones between Felix and Cosima. Truly, wonderful.

Alison’s story provided some comedic respite which was greatly needed when combined with the tension of Sara, Helena, and the Castor storyline. If all that wasn’t enough, poor Gracie, abandoned by Mark, found herself back with Prometheans and the woman that shot Mark in the first place, Gracie’s psycho mom. Things seemed okay until Gracie miscarried Helena’s baby. The Prometheans blamed her from running away in the first place and now poor Gracie is in deep. So Sara, Helena, and Gracie were all prisoners held by hostile forces while Alison built a drug empire and Cosima looked for a date.

Eventful, indeed.


3.5 out of 5