Overall, this week was a pretty info-heavy episode. We get lots of answers about the Duncans and Project LEDA, but as always, the new information raises even more questions. Cosima’s situation gets more intense, we catch up with Alison’s adventures in self-improvement, and Helena gets some quality screen time.
Let’s dive down the spoiler-ridden rabbit hole.
We begin the episode with Helena and Sarah going on a road trip to Cold River, picking up the trail of Ethan Duncan (aka Swan Man). I’m getting a strong Winchester brothers vibe from the sisters, like something from early Supernatural episodes, and I love it! Sure, there’s a scary Paul hiding in the woods and stalking them, but Helena’s shadow puppets and rocking out to “Candy Girl” by the Four Seasons thoroughly distracts me from him. The sisters reach the church in the Swan Man picture, and Sarah insists that Helena stay in the truck while she searches for clues. This strikes me as either really stupid or out of character on Sarah’s part. Every single time Helena’s been told to stay put (most of the time by Sarah herself) she runs off and gets into trouble. Taking the truck keys won’t do any good for a woman resourceful enough to break out of Art’s apartment. I don’t believe Sarah’s that dumb, so I think this was just a way for the writers to separate the sisters again.
Not that I’m complaining, though. We get to follow along with Helena into a bar, and watch her have a (mostly) glorious time. A skeezy trucker guy comes onto her, and she breaks (or sprains?) his finger. She drinks, she arm wrestles the locals, she meets a cute townie boy and dances with him. I love this sequences because it humanizes Helena so much; she’s the clone most in need of some empathy. It’s easy for us in the audience to see her as the psychotic monster clone, especially from Sarah’s perspective. If the clones were cars, Helena would be the one recalled for failing brakes and an exploding engine. So scenes where Helena gets to act like a normal human being, even portrayed as sexually desirable through the affections of the cute townie, cast her in a different light. I’m guessing this will serve us well later on in Helena’s plot. Her bar antics end with Helena being taken away in handcuffs. At the jail, Helena is visited by her “sister,” who turns out to be Gracie from the Prolethean cult. Gracie needs Helena to come back and get pregnant with her stolen egg cells or Gracie will have to do it for her. Helena seems to want a family more than anything else in the world, so she returns with them.
Meanwhile, Sarah rummages through the church and finds evidence of horrific child experiments and Ethan Duncan’s address. Sarah goes there, knocks on the door only to be greeted by… Mrs. S.! Are we ever going to find out what the deal is with her? It turns out she and her friends hid Duncan after he wanted out. She steps outside while Sarah questions him. Sarah finds out that Project LEDA was contracted by the military, but dropped by them after the scientists were accused of ethical problems. The project was then picked up by DYAD, and Dr. Leekie took Rachel from the Duncans. He then had Susan Duncan killed, so Ethan has stayed in hiding all these years. The DYAD needed little girls for the experiment, but we don’t know why. My biggest question now is what’s Rachel’s deal, and how much does she know about Leekie and her parents? This might explain why Rachel keeps old home movies of herself as a kid around her apartment; she must have lost her parents when she was young.
While Sarah questions Duncan, Mrs. S confronts Stalker-Paul. Their exchange further hints at Mrs. S’s mysterious motivations. She tells him that he can’t serve two masters, and doing so means he can only be loyal to himself and not trusted by either. She also mentions that if he doesn’t do what she wants, whatever happened in Afghanistan (aka the whole reason why Paul’s neck-deep in clone controversy) would be for naught. It seems like Mrs. S is trying to convince Paul to make sure his loyalties really are on Team Sarah and the Clones and not Team DYAD. I really hope we get some clarity on Mrs. S soon, but I have a nasty feeling she’s got some deep secret that’s integral to the very heart of the clone project.
Last week we missed out on what Alison has been up to, but it doesn’t look like there’s much to do in rehab. We see her attending group therapy, begrudgingly. While the group leader tries to force Alison into baring her soul to the group, in walks Vic, Sarah’s old boyfriend. Alison, of course, remembers meeting Vic in a parking lot and being accused of being a no-longer-dead version of Sarah. Vic seems to have found religion on his rehab journey, and tells Alison that the godhead must have put her in his path to test him. Ha. It turns out Vic is in cahoots with Angie, Art’s rogue partner, and has to gather information about Alison in exchange for his charges dropping. I guess it’s impossible for Alison to avoid clone drama, even locked away in rehab.
Back at DYAD, Cosima seems to be responding well to initial trials of the treatment, but she’s not acting hopeful. I think Cosima’s becoming depressed and pulling back from any support system. It’s one thing for her to stop trusting Delphine. Like Paul, it seems like Delphine is trying to serve two masters. I don’t think she’ll be able to balance her obligations as a monitor and her affections for Cosima much longer. Delphine hires Scott, Cosima’s secret lab tech, to work for them, but Cosima isn’t happy about it. She tries to fire Scott on the spot, but Scott protests by saying that he knows about the clones. It turns out the synthetic DNA belongs to a niece or daughter of the cloned sample. Does that mean it’s Kira’s DNA? If so, how did they get their hands on it? Kira has some mysterious healing powers; does that mean her stem cells could heal Cosima?
The first thing this theory makes me think of is a modern parable that floats around some Christian circles. The story goes that one day there is a massive outbreak of illness, some pandemic that is sweeping your world, killing lots of people. Scientists get to work on it and figure out that they need someone with “clean blood” in order to make a cure. The call goes out and everyone gets tested. The one match they find is your young son, and it turns out he’s so little that they need all of his blood in order to make enough to cure everyone. You sign the consent form, and while everyone is celebrating the cure, you’re left mourning for your son. It’s supposed to be a metaphor for how God the Father feels about sacrificing his son, Jesus, to save the world.
While the modern parable is scientifically dubious (at best), it makes me wonder if Orphan Black is going down a similar road. If Kira’s stem cells really are the key to saving Cosima’s life (or heck, the rest of the world—everyone can benefit from healing powers), those stem cells could be collected by injecting Kira with a compound that makes her body release the cells into her bloodstream, and then collected from the blood. That’s one way that doctors harvest stem cells from donors (the other involves a giant needle and more pain). That would match up with the mythology of Leda and the Swan, in which one twin unknowingly sacrifices her daughter to save her sister and win the war. Regardless of whether or not my theory holds any water, it looks to me like not everyone’s going to survive Clone Club. Till next week!