Orphan Black: Stigmata of Progress Review

Zany comedy and anatomical horrors continue this week as Sara’s quest gets even more twisted.

This Orphan Black review contains spoilers.

Orphan Black: Season 4, Episode 3

“Stigmata of Progress” continues the great Orphan Black strangeness all brought to life by that maestro of insanity Tatiana Maslany. Maslany plays five roles this week (MK had the week off) as the seestras are all put through their paces in very different ways.

Let’s start with Sara, who is trying to rid herself of the world’s most disgusting implant. Sara knows that if she tries to remove the mouth maggot, her head could explode as Orphan Black tries its level best to make David Cronenberg proud. Sara calls on the seestras for assistance and Alison, Cosima, and Helena are more than happy to try and help Sara rid herself of her maxillofacial parasite.

Alison is so willing to help Sara than when she finds out that all neolutionists have the parasite embedded in their jaws, she does what anyone would do to help a friend. Alison and Donnie dig up the dead neolutionist they buried in their garage to extract the dental worm from its desiccated corpse. God, I love this show. Remember now, good old Donnie actually shot the head of the neolution movement, Aldus Leakey, a few seasons back and Donnie and wifey Alison hid the corpse under their garage, where it and its mouth maggot still remain.

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So Alison and Donnie get to work digging up the now completely rotted corpse and brave the smell so they can dig into the dead man’s check and rip out the rotting maggot. Have I mentioned I love this series? Unfortunately, the cops arrive halfway through the process to question Alison and Donnie about the nearby murder of a bunch of Portuguese drug dealers. Yes, the very same drug dealers that Helena killed last season. Helena is still Alison and Donnie’s permanent house guest, so the always squirrely albino clone has to now answer the police questions — while pretending she’s Alison — as Alison is digging up a dead body in the garage.

It’s as funny as it sounds as the black comedy abounds. Needless to say, Helena’s assassin training takes over and she is able to relieve the police of their suspicion — for now. This allows Alison to secure the jaw worm and begin the process of getting it to Cosima for study. Except now Cosima knows that Donnie killed Leakey. As I said — hilarious.

Meanwhile, Sara might have the help of Alison, Donnie, and Helena, but she does not have the help of her most loyal confidant. Felix is one a mission of his own to connect to his biological family. This week, we meet his flighty, southern blood sister and to be honest, and this might be my loyalty to Sara talking, I do not trust this woman in the least. Indeed, when Sara first meets her she gets her dander up as this trailer trash arrival reeks of trouble.

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Felix’s new connection might be the least of Sara’s problems as she tracks down where the bug in her mouth may have come from. You ready for some dental horror? I certainly wasn’t. Sara finds herself at an urban dental clinic and surprise, surprise, some dental technician who clearly knows all about the worm implant thinks Sara is Beth. Sara plays one of her signature cons, and convinces the woman that she is indeed Beth and is panicking because she now has the mouth maggot embedded in her jaw.

The woman agrees to remove it and puts Sara through a really horrific ordeal. It turns out the woman betrays Sara/Beth and reports the arrival to her superiors. Before anything truly horrific happens, Sara is saved by the returning biotech Ferdinand (James Frain, and yes, he is indeed in every genre show). So it seems that whatever this maggoty monstrosity is, it is somehow connected to Beth.

These goings on are so big that Art and Mrs. S are also on the case to go along with Cosima, Helena, Alison, and Donnie. And speaking of Cosima, isn’t it time we get a little hint or clue about the murder of Delphine?

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Delphine may still be among the missing, but we did have the return of Rachel this week as the most evil of clones (or is she misunderstood) is going through some biotech rejiggering of her own. She now has a mechanical eye and is still going through physical therapy so she can walk again. Her PT is none other than a newly introduced Leda clone named Ira. Of course, Rachel’s adoptive mother is overseeing the recovery and she may have something to do with the wormy ordeal Sara is going through.

So we had some squirms and some laughs as Orphan Black juggled a ton of moving parts to deliver a very satisfying episode.


4 out of 5