Orphan Black continues to be delightfully complex this week, as we get more into the Castor clones’ background, motivations, and lives. But don’t worry: the writers haven’t forgotten our Leda clones, and there was a ton of new plot to digest. Having said that, this episode really needed to come with trigger warnings for rape, torture, and possibly epilepsy. Spoilers after the jump!
In this episode, Sarah is still working hard on finding Helena, but doing so looks like it’ll require getting back in contact with Paul and Mrs. S., both of whom she doesn’t like very much right now. When she finally makes herself talk to S, Siobhan tells her to take Kira and get out of the country. Sarah’s not really into that idea, both because of her sisters and because Cal’s back in town and wants to offer her and Kira a permanent home. Maybe Sarah’s tired of being “the wild one”—when Kira says she wants to live with Cal, Sarah readily agrees. But right afterward, Rudy, one of the Castor clones, sneaks up on Kira and holds her hostage so that he can demand the Castor line’s original genome from Sarah. Sarah actually starts crying, which I thought might have been strategic, before Rudy hears Seth, the Castor clone with the mustache, screaming from downstairs. He shoves Kira at Sarah and leaves.
I’ve never seen Sarah look or act so scared in our three seasons thus far, but then again, this is the first time anyone’s ever held a gun to Kira’s head. She quickly decides that the best place for Kira would be out of the country, and Cal volunteers to take her to Iceland, as he did in Season 2. I hope Kira and Cal aren’t gone forever—Kira as Sarah’s one weak point does get a little old, and I don’t want to see a little girl threatened all the time—but I think both Kira and Cal make Sarah a more interesting, more well-rounded character. Also, what about Cosima’s treatment? Without Kira in the country, how are they going to get any necessary biological donations?
Helena, meanwhile, is imprisoned on some presumably far-off, sandy base, and the military and Castor clones run “stress tests” on her (read: torture her) until a physician comes and tells the military to leave off, as Helena has tested pregnant. I’m not sure about the constant scorpion hallucinations—it seems to be an easy cop-out so that the audience can see what Helena’s thinking, which I don’t think we need—but I’m thrilled that at last someone is going to feed Helena and ensure that she survives until Sarah manages to get to her. Helena wants a family so badly she wouldn’t even consider the idea that Sarah had sold her out. I don’t want her to be let down yet again.
Alison had possibly the least plot-relevant storyline this episode. As she continues her run for school trustee, Donnie tells her that they don’t have the money to finance her new political ambitions. Unperturbed, Alison decides that since her ex-drug dealer, Ramon, is going off to college, she can just buy his drugs and take up as the new drug dealer of their suburb. I mean, I’m all for Alison pursuing her dreams, but last season Alison’s rehab storyline actually contributed to the plot quite a bit, and I can’t see how this season’s storyline is going to become plot-relevant. Is Vic going to come back into the picture? (Hopefully not.) Are Art and Angie? After Alison’s role in the fooling Ferdinand scheme of the first episode, she said that she wanted to help Helena. I want her to actually do that—I don’t want Alison to end up as comedic fodder for the entire season.
We also learned a little more about our Castor clones in this episode. Rudy, the one with the scar, and Seth, the one with the mustache, clearly care for each other—we see this when Rudy offers to “share” his rape victim with his brother and when Rudy stands up for Seth as Paul runs logic tests on them. (Perhaps this is how the Castor clones are monitored?) And we get a hint at the writing team using the male clones to comment on masculinity, like we were hoping at the end of last season: their victim says that when she rejected Seth, Rudy looked disappointed—as if by rejecting him, she had said Seth wasn’t “worthy”—a message that is often sold as part and parcel of toxic masculinity.
Just like the Leda clones, the Castor clones appear to be sick in some way. Rudy tells Seth that he’ll take care of him, then goes after Sarah to demand the original genome. After it’s clear she doesn’t have it, Rudy proceeds downstairs to where Seth is waiting and, as Seth seizes on the ground, Rudy kills him. Now what’s left to figure out is why—how much does Rudy know about this disease and what it does? The Leda clones are sick because of a complication that arose when they were designed to be barren—is that where the Castor line ran into trouble too? In terms of Orphan Black’s social commentary, I’d be surprised—women’s reproductive rights are controlled, but men’s aren’t. Maybe it came from some attempt to create Castor super soldiers, as cliché as that might be. And is the disease quicker than the cancer that affects the Leda clones? Or did Rudy just kill Seth because he didn’t want to see his brother to suffer?
Finally, at the tail end of the episode, we see Mark the ex-Prolethean burning off his own Castor tattoo, while a visibly pregnant Gracie waits nervously for him to finish. Looks like next episode, we’re going to get some answers—or, at least, more questions. See you next week!