This Orphan Black review contains spoilers.
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 5
This Cophine-centric episode of Orphan Black featured a truly masterful use of flashback, as well as an excellent braiding of the A, B, and C plots in the third act. Bringing all of our island characters together for the first time, we’re at the halfway point of the final season, so the first set of mysteries have been solved. Of course that only leaves us with new questions and problems, not the least of which is the fact that not all the information (or clones) made their way off the island and back to CloneClub HQ in S’s kitchen.
Kira leaves the kids table
Sarah has decided it’s time to let Kira in on what the grown-ups are up to, albeit in an abridged, kid-friendly version. S doesn’t seem so sure, especially when it comes to hustling and conning people. I have to say, I’m with S – can’t Kira become part of the sisterhood without entering the family business? I would imagine her (preter)natural instincts would serve her better with Rachel than anything her mother could teach her. I’m sure this will come back to endanger Kira and bite Sarah on the nose.
I’m glad to see characters directly acknowledging Kira’s abilities, as well as for us to learn more about their origins and mechanics during the dinner of the damned over on the Island of Doctor Moreau. How well will Sarah be able to foster her latent abilities? We now know she and her sisters all have the same genetics as Kira, they just didn’t manifest.
The denizens of Revival hunt for a “bear”
Meanwhile, our favorite cult member Mud tries valiantly to stop her comrades from killing the “bear,” who we now know to be Yannis, a Latvian orphan and unwilling science experiment of PT’s who bears the same intellectual property tag as the Ledas, gone awry. It was Mud who set him free, which gives me hope that she will aid in Cosima’s eventual coup and/or escape.
Two things worth noting about the hunt: 1) Others in the small circle knew full well who they were looking for, and 2) At least one of them was shooting to kill, in spite of orders to capture Yannis alive. This means PT doesn’t have either his secrets or his loyalty quite as locked down as he thinks, which is good news for Cosima. So to whom or what are they loyal? The idea of eternal life? Perhaps Susan, which is why she’s kept out of sight?
Cosima defies them all
As I mentioned up front, the flashback that bookends the episode is expertly used. It serves to remind us of Cosima and Delphine’s love, the intellectual property tag on the Leda sisters’ genetic code, the fight about Delphine being Cosima’s monitor, and the resolution. Each part of those two scenes informs the present tense of this episode, in a way that a mere verbal reference or “previously on” would not.
Throughout the episode, there were moments of originality and defiance where Cosima chose to be herself rather than capitulate to what “they” what, whoever they may be – the Neos, society, the rest of Revival. She kept checking in on her patient Aisha in spite of Grumpy Gus’s orders to the contrary. She questioned Mud and Cosima to find out more, and eventually spilled the beans on the genetic fountain of youth, getting herself invited to the world’s worst costume dinner party. And if you didn’t cheer when Cosima came down the stairs in her 19th century tux, in all her George Sand-style glory, well, then you’re probably a Grumpy Gus, too.
Finally, she rejected PT’s premise that the ethical thing to do would be to shoot Yannis. This was the only part of that story tonight that felt weak for me – they never established that Yannis dying would be the ethical thing, only the convenient thing for everyone else in Revival. Was he really hurt that bad, and in so much pain? Even so, he’s a person not a horse – physician assisted suicide is hardly a straightforward issue even in the best of circumstances, never mind with a pistol in a mad scientist/charlatan’s basement of horrors.
It’s easy to remember Cosima a the sick one, the scientist, the (inexplicably) hot one, or one half of the show’s strongest ship. But she’s also a defiant, independent woman with immense strength of character, traits that we usually associate with Sarah. The Allison-centric episode Beneath Her Heart took the time to remind us of a similar message for that character. Perhaps after all these seasons that others have focused on their genetics, the writers are taking the time to remind us what kind of stuff these women are really made, as they gear up for the final showdown, the fight of their lives.
Of course, Cosima’s short-term reward for all of this was to witness a murder firsthand at close range and be locked in Yannis’s cage herself. Somehow, I doubt she’ll be there long. In between all that hubbub though, she hatched a plan with Cosima to trick PT and Rachel, and of course figured out a few things: PT Westmoreland is dying, which is why he’s being so insufferable, and Rachel plans to harvest Kira’s eggs and impregnate 1,300 women with them. On the whole, not bad sleuthing and trickery for a night’s work.
While Ari was right, Susan was trying to get him off topic by acuity testing him, he appears to have been doing the same thing because Cosima caught him glitching. He won’t be able to keep himself, Susan, or Cosima safe if that’s the case, and we now know PT will put a former test subject down in a heartbeat. Does PT know about Castor, what they look like, and their own illness? If he did, I would’ve expected a derisive comment and some of his own acuity testing by now.
Is anyone else afraid for Mud? I’m wondering what she has on old PT that everyone with a gun seems to knows she set Yannes free and has been keeping him alive, yet no one has attempted to punish her. The other Revival resident I’m worried about is Aisha, whose cancer has just been manipulated, not cured according to Cosima. Personally, I’m Team Cosima on the science, which means that adorable little girl could be in some serious trouble again soon.
Finally, and this is a big one: PT injected Rachel with “Cosima’s innoculation,” saying Rachel deserved it more than the others, meaning the rest of the Ledas. It seems Aisha isn’t the only one who’s current good health is only a matter of temporary appearance. There was no way Rachel could be trusted to actually inject Cosima with the cure, but let’s hope Cosima is still studying herself as meticulously as always.
Next week we get the return of Krystal, and hopefully some of Felix and Adele’s adventures. And try not to think too much about the nightmare fuel that is the creepy children’s science song during the end credits.