I have that flu that’s been going around, so I was worried that watching the notoriously twist-happy Orphan Black would be a little difficult when my head was already hurting. Fortunately, compared to the previous seasons, the premiere of Orphan Black‘s Season 4 was extremely straightforward, making it a real pleasure to watch. Spoilers after the jump.
It’s back to basics for the Clone Club: we start not with Sarah, as one might have assumed, but with Beth, back when she was alive. Beth, in bed with Paul, gets a phone call from mysterious new clone M.K., who tells her about a body she saw Neolutionists dumping in the woods. Beth and Art go to dig it up, and, upon seeing the body’s extensive body-mods, Beth sets off to investigate the Neolutionists, which eventually leads to the suicide that kicks off the series.
It was lovely to see Beth finally—not Sarah-as-Beth, but actually Beth—even as it was distressing to see her hopeless, paranoid, and drug-addicted in the days leading up to her death. I’ve been hoping they’d really focus on Beth ever since the start of Season 3 when the creators said they were going to, and now that we finally see her, it was more heartbreaking than I would have thought it would be. When pretending to be Beth, Sarah did a lot of the things that Beth did, even though she couldn’t have known it. She and Beth both flirt successfully with Raj in order to get police equipment, and they both try to seduce Paul in the same place and same way, though Beth was less successful on that front. They both go out of their way to take care of their fellow clones, too—Beth teaches Alison about how to use guns and makes Alison give Cosima the money to transfer to a closer school. Though Sarah never knew Beth, it’s clear that the two of them shared the same ruthless efficiency and the same protectiveness, and it makes me think that Beth would have really gotten along with Sarah (and that Sarah could have really helped her when she was so clearly overwhelmed). See? Heartbreaking.
In the flashback, Beth only has a couple of people to depend on: her fellow clones, Cosima and Alison and M.K., and particularly her partner, Art, despite the fact that M.K. tells her constantly that she can’t trust anyone. Beth is quick to believe that Paul, who’s as dead-eyed and emotionless as ever, is a spy, but she’s less willing to believe that Art is a spy. Art obviously cares about her, and though it’s unclear if Beth returns those feelings or if she was just taking some comfort wherever she could get it, the two of them share some touching scenes. In Beth’s plotline, Art finally has something to do, and though he’s largely been sidelined in the other episodes, in this episode he becomes more than just “grouchy police helper”. Now that we know that Art was pretty open about his love for Beth—it wasn’t just a Season 3 reveal to him—and it makes me wonder what he really thought of Season 1 Sarah. His bullheaded-ness with the money Sarah tried to steal from Beth’s bank account now makes sense—he knew Beth was on drugs and acting, as far as he knew, extremely irrationally, and this was just one more straw. I think he even takes Sarah-as-Beth to the same restaurant to discuss the shooting, too—he must have felt so betrayed when he found out. Oh, Art.
As for the Clone Club, I’m really looking forward to finding out more about our new clone, M.K. According to Wiki, she’s in some of the Orphan Black comics and was one of the clones who escaped the killings at Helsinki that Rachel and Ferdinand referenced last season. I haven’t read any of the comics, but I love what I saw of M.K. in this episode, and she’s a great way to tie this flashback to our present-day troubles. I was a little disappointed with Season 3’s writing because it brought up all sorts of possibilities but didn’t delve into any of them to any useful extent. However, Season 4 looks like it’s going to get back to showcasing the relationships between Leda clones and those they have relationships with, as shown by the many shots we got of the clones sleeping next to people they cared about. The Season 4 premiere didn’t really involve our current plotlines or any of our other clones, but I’m cautiously excited for the future.