Orphan Black: “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method” Review

orphan-black-season-3Greetings, Clone Club! We’re now in the final stretch of Season 3; this episode really packs in the twists to set up the last two episodes of the season. While Alison and Donnie play babysitter, a three-way power struggle ensues between Clone Club and its sympathizers, and we get to meet a new clone! Spoilers after the jump, of course!

Clone Club decides it’s Alison’s turn to keep an eye on our religious refugees, so Alison gives Gracie and Helena jobs working at Bubbles. Helena runs into Gracie in the back room. Gracie’s cautious and guarded, but happily accepts Helena’s peace offering of being an auntie to her baby. Helena’s really getting what she wants most in the world, a loving family. She even takes a shine to Donnie, and finds him fiercely funny.

gif via gossipandgab

gif via gossipandgab

Donnie’s got other problems to worry about, though. Alison meets with Jage to tell him to stop trying to seduce her, but Jage ignores her and lays “another” kiss on Alison. Alison’s clearly got some leftover sexual attraction for Jage from high school, but overcomes it to fight him off. She clearly wants to stay faithful to Donnie, and Jage is sexually manipulating her the best way he knows how. She insists to Donnie that everything’s fine and she took care of it, but Donnie knows better than that. He confronts Jage in their stockroom, and doesn’t care that Jage can (and does) beat him unconscious. With everything he and Alison have been through, Donnie’s marriage is the most important thing in his life and he’d rather die than see it die.

Cosima gives Shay a tour of her lab (ugh why, Cosima, you can’t trust a blonde in this show) and Shay takes an interest in the coded copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Cosima makes an excuse and takes it from her, and Scott puts it in his backpack. Cosima and Sarah realize that they need Rachel to translate the book, their ace in the hole against Dyad and Castor. Rachel insists she’ll only do it if they get her a new identity and set her up with a quiet life in Taiwan. They reluctantly agree. Sarah and Felix steal the wallet of our new clone, Krystal Godwin. She clearly knows that something strange is going on, but Sarah insists on keeping her out of Clone Club.

orphan black delphine

Delphine: annoyed that trust isn’t one-sided

Later, Scott comes home to find Rudy sitting in his apartment, holding his cat hostage. Scott’s forced to hand over the book. Now faced with no other choice, Cosima and Scott come clean about the book to Delphine. Of course, she’s really pissed that somehow manipulating and withholding information from Cosima didn’t translate to Cosima telling her absolutely everything. Scott uses his influence on his gaming buddy coworkers to get Rachel out of the lab, while Cosima distracts Delphine by handing in her resignation. Cosima’s sick and tired of Delphine’s manipulative oversight, and Delphine doesn’t understand why Cosima would abandon her lab and the protection Dyad seems to be giving her. Cosima begins to cry and Delphine kisses her, but then pulls back and coldly tells her, “You should have trusted me.”

Meanwhile, Rachel’s at Mrs. S’s place with Sarah and Felix. One of Scott’s friends plays the courier and drops off a photocopy of the book, because Cosima and Scott “aren’t complete idiots”. Rachel begins to translate, and we discover that the project started in London with an original “named” H46239. But Dr. Nealon and his cronies bust into the house, confiscate the copy from Rachel, and Rachel fakes a seizure. Nealon takes Rachel with him. As far as everyone knows, Rachel’s now convalescing in a medically-induced coma in Dyad labs. But what we really know is that Rachel’s undergoing prosthetic eye surgery and Krystal is in a medically-induced coma in Dyad labs.

orphan black krystal

Plus she’s blonde, so of course we don’t want to trust her.

Easily the most surprising and heartbreaking storyline of this episode was that of our new clone, Krystal Goderich. At first sight we’re lead to believe she’s a ditzy plastic slut with her bleached hair, wide eyes, super low cut shirt and lacy push-up bra, and job at a nail salon. She must be a throwaway clone, stupid and sexy-slutty-worthless. And that’s how Rachel and Sarah treat her. Sarah and Felix steal her wallet to craft a new identity for Rachel, but Rachel pulls one further and steals Krystal’s body to do a swap in the Dyad labs. But we quickly see that Krystal is so much more than a throwaway gag. Unlike the other sisters, she wears her heart on her sleeve and is incredibly open with random strangers. She’s grieving the loss of her boyfriend (monitor) and admits to Felix that while she knows she isn’t smart, she’s got a strong intuition. Oh Krystal, you’re pretty brilliant, you just don’t know it. When Felix rifles through her locker we find a notebook with the Castor horse symbol filled with all kinds of notes about, well, everything. She’s pretty damn close to figuring everything out, and she’s been totally on her own in doing it. But Felix and Sarah just content themselves with keeping her ignorant, and later that night Dr. Nealon kidnaps her from the salon. When we next meet her she’s in an induced coma posing as Rachel. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s going to save her.

The thing that strikes me the most about this episode is just how appropriate the title is. Rachel is usually the ruthless one, and it’s surprising but totally in character that she’s insidiously biding her time before putting her plan into action. But Sarah’s insistence on keeping Krystal in the dark about Clone Club is a pretty ruthless decision in its own right. Sarah insists to herself that she’s doing the kind thing by keeping Krystal’s life uncomplicated by the truth. But it’s that very decision that allows Krystal to be kidnapped and swapped out for Rachel at Dyad. If she had allowed Felix to tell Krystal the truth, it’s easy to imagine that she would have dropped everything right then and there to follow him and find out more. Sarah insists on treating Krystal like any other mark, instead of who she really is: just as much her sister as Cosima or Helena or Alison. In that sense, in that moment, Sarah’s basically just as ruthless as Rachel or Delphine.

Next week it looks like it’s full steam ahead with the convergence of the Castor and Leda factions. I’m still looking for Shay to turn out to be an evil Castor agent, and I’m actually thrilled to see that Rachel’s still got her villain game. But now that Clone Club’s only bargaining chip is in the hands of both Castor and Leda, I’m not sure how they can keep one step ahead in this game.

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2 thoughts on “Orphan Black: “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method” Review

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