Orphan Black: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings review

Science takes center stage on Orphan Black's "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings." Here's Marc's review.

This Orphan Black review contains spoilers.

Science and religion have been dual themes of Orphan Black from the beginning, two aspects of man that can be the salvation for our favorite set of clones or damn them to being dissected or violated in ways unimaginable. This week, for the most part, science takes center stage, as all four protagonist clones are on personal quests for salvation while being hunted by purveyors of science gone wrong or religion gone even more horribly wrong. 

We began with Sarah and Helena, two clone ladies who were discovering the joys of sisterhood while on the road looking for the man they believe to be their maker, the enigmatic Dr. Swan. First off, not many women get to bond with their psychotic clones while camping, but Sarah is no typical woman. Even when Sarah was a seemingly irredeemable drug dealer and con artist, she protected her family. Whether it was her step-brother Felix (who is still in deep Dyad stirred doodee, but we’ll get to that in a bit), her daughter Kira, or her badass stepmom Mrs. S. This familial loyalty and love extends to Helena now, even though the wild haired Ukrainian once tried to kill Sarah.

The sister clones have come a long way, sharing a tent, sharing a laugh over Helena farting, enjoying the ride together while Helena sings along to the Archies, and generally, just ironically enjoying the heck out of each other’s company. Sarah has become Helena’s guide through a world that once rejected her, and it is very sweet to watch. Each sister is on a quest begun by the aforementioned science or religion: Sarah to find Dr. Swan and Helena to find the eggs stolen from her by the Prometheans. Ugh, even typing that sentence gave me the yucks.

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Helena has this wide eyed innocent quality to her, as if everything she sees, she is experiencing for the first time. As the trip continues, Sarah unwisely left Helena in the car while she tracked down leads on Dr. Swan. Sarah found lost records of Project: Leda in a dilapidated old church, file after file of medical horrors and fetal atrocity. When this show decides to bring the horror, they don’t fool around but they do so with a subtlety and frankness that makes the subject matter even more chilling. As Sarah looks through those files, the question is raised, is she an abomination like those stillborn thalidomides or is she somehow the next step in human evolution, created by men (some who say monsters) and not God?

As for Helena, what made Sarah think it was good idea to keep old twitchy pants alone in the car? Seeking food, Helena wandered into a rough looking pub, where she was instantly accosted by a dope named Carl. One broken finger later, Carl sulked off to his barstool and Helena found herself sharing some suds and some arm wrestling with a nice redneck in a trucker cap. Poor Helena, just wants to experience the world, and something always gets in the way. She actually shared a very nice moment dancing with Trucker Cap, when stupid Carl interceded, which caused Helena to get arrested. Also in the bar, was Rachel’s new sock puppet Paul and one of the Prometheans, agents of science and religion who are dedicated to possessing the clones, and not allow them to eat pork rinds and dance with handsome rednecks.

While Sarah tracked down Dr. Swan, Helena was brought to the police station where she was bailed out by her “sister.” Not Sarah, but Gracie, the little Promethean girl that tried to kill Helena a few episodes back. Helena still bears her scars from where her “family” sewed her lips together, something Helena confesses they also did to her at one point. Gracie gave Helena a chance to be brought back to the embryos taken from her, and suddenly, Helena was back in possession of the Prometheans. No Archies, farts, pork rinds, beans, or dancing there.

While Helena reentered the Hell that is the Promethean yoke, Sarah finally tracked down the man who is essentially her father, Dr. Swan, but a gun totting Mrs. S found him first.  Surprisingly, Mrs. S is not there to harm Mr. Swan but protect him. Swan made with the exposition and told Sarah how she was created and why, and that it is not Dyad that is a threat to her but Dr. Leekie who has corrupted Dyad from within. Leekee and his neolutionists are the science Judases who have corrupted Sarah and the clones to such a degree. Even Rachel is revealed to be a victim of Leekee as Swan confessed that his own wife was murdered by the charismatic scientists.

Leekee’s reveal as the devil bodes ill for Cosima, who was still searching for a cure to the genetic flaw in the clones’ DNA. Cosima trusts Leekee as does Cosima’s lover Delphine, whose true motivations are still obscured, especially since we now know the depths of Leekee’s evil. Cosima found a new ally, or the physical presence of an old one, as this episode marks the first time Cosima met Skype pal, Scott in person. Nerdy Scott is sincere and in a little over his head as he discovers some secrets about Cosima’s genetic makeup, a discovery that seems to disturb Delphine. Good hearted Scott better hope that Delphine is what she seems.

As for Cosima, Sarah’s sisterly concern extends to the adorable science clone just as deeply as it does Helena. Sarah realizes just how much she relies on Cosima’s brains. The four major clones are becoming quite a formidable unit but the machinations of Leekee, Rachel, and the Prometheans have fractured the group.

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Alison has been taken from the heart of the group by something else, her alcoholism. As she was forced to endure meetings and confinement, good old Alison forges an unlikely bond with Sarah’s former abusive boyfriend, the ex-drug dealer (a man Alison once maced), Victor. Victor has found the Buddha and assists Alison in her recovery, until we find out that he is a rat reporting back to Angela, Art’s immoral partner in crime busting. Buddha Victor, we wanted to love, you dishonest sap.

Poor Alison was in danger of being betrayed yet again, but at least we got to hear her tell her stupid, dumpy husband that she will “cut off your dangly balls.” Even Felix can’t help Alison in this as he was still recovering from the mental trauma of being framed by Dyad and has become Art’s unlikely crime solving partner. Art and Felix might seem like an unnatural pairing, but they are both a man’s man, but in very different ways.

As we close this week’s episode, let’s think about science once again. Science gave the clones life, a life they certainly have a potential to enjoy to the fullest, as seen in the bonding session and sisterly joy between Helena and Sarah, the love of Cosima for Delphine, Alison’s love for her children, and even the parental love and happiness Rachel had with Dr. Swan and his late wife, yet science in the wrong hands, such as Leekee or the Prometheans, threaten to take it all away. With the clones fractured and moving in different directions, how can they put up a united front against science gone so wrong?

The Good

Friendly rednecks.

Beans and farts.

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Alison playing basketball one handed.

Felix and Art, Fabulous crime busters. 

The Bad

– “Stay in the car, Helena?” Really, REALLY?

The Ugly

– Helena’s singing.

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– Those photographs Sarah found (shudder).

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4 out of 5