Orphan Black: “Human Raw Material” Review

orphan black season 4Happy Friday the 13th! Orphan Black just missed airing on today’s supposedly unlucky date, but last night’s episode was probably unlucky enough for some of our clones. Spoilers after the jump!

This episode centers around two clones, the first of which is Cosima. She and Donnie infiltrate Brightborn—Donnie as a prospective parent and Cosima as his surrogate—and once in, Cosima slips away from a tour group to see what she can find out. She takes pictures of Brightborn’s samples, maps, and documents, and while dressed in scrubs, she’s mistaken for a nurse and called in to help with a patient in labor. Continuing Orphan Black’s trend of body horror this season, the patient gives birth to a baby with severe abnormalities, and Cosima turns away only to realize that Susan, the doctor she’d talked to earlier, is actually Susan Duncan. Susan pulls her into an office to push the point that the Leda experiments were much more efficient and effective than any gene editing that Neolution’s been working on, and says that if she had access to the original, Kendall, she could figure out a cure for Cosima and all her sisters. Cosima, however, refuses to give Susan the original just so Susan can “make more lab rats”.

It's a nice dress to wear to meet your creator, though.

It’s a nice dress to wear to meet your creator, though.

This is the first episode this season where Cosima has gotten a meaty plotline, and on the one hand, I’m thrilled that for once it has nothing to do with romance. For the past couple seasons, Cosima has just bounced around between feelings for Delphine and feelings for Shay, and letting her have some time to focus on science and on her own health both makes sense and allows Cosima some room to realize the severity of her own situation. On the other hand, it’s a pretty severe situation—as Susan says this episode, Cosima is dying. She and Scott are trying to find a cure using Kendall, but as Stinekey pointed out, Kendall has cancer which could affect any possible treatments—wouldn’t more brains help on this topic? Is Cosima willing to die to keep the original out of Neolution’s hands? It’s a great moral and emotional issue for her to struggle with and is definitely going to showcase more of Cosima than as just the “geek monkey” of the team.

The other main clone this week was, of course, Krystal Goderich. I’ve been waiting eagerly for her to return, and her return was as awesome as I thought it would be. Krystal’s still a good detective, if overly given to flights of fancy, and she’s picked up some serious self-defense skills after Delphine apparently just let her go at the end of Season 3. Krystal cons her way into Brightborn under an assumed name to investigate what she sees as Brightborn’s war against beauty professionals. This leads to some of the funniest scenes I’ve seen from Orphan Black yet this season, because while Cosima’s off learning stuff about Susan Duncan and Brightborn, Donnie has to try and distract Krystal. Donnie. Of “failed monitor” fame. He doesn’t mess up as much as he did when he accidentally killed Dr. Leekie, but he does manage to come up with the super-clever pseudonym of “Ronnie”, calls Krystal by her actual name which he isn’t supposed to know, and then talks about Delphine, after which a suspicious Krystal beats him up. Donnie might still not understand anything about queer issues at all, but he’s oddly growing on me. More Krystal and Donnie interactions, please!

krystal goderichIt looks like we’re going to get more of Krystal in next week’s episode, and my personal opinions on her aside, I do hope that she eventually is let in on the whole clone thing—as she is a clone, I feel like she has the right to know what she is and why people may be after her. However, I’m a little nervous about letting her on the team. While I’d love to see her interact with Alison (so, so much), Krystal does have a bad habit of telling random strangers everything about her life. If she learns where Kendall is or even meets Kira or, god forbid, M.K., who’s to say that she wouldn’t go spilling the beans to any Neo-in-disguise? The team could certainly use another person to help them put the pieces together, but would Krystal be more of a help or more of a hindrance?

Finally, rather than being out in the field, Sarah spends this episode at home with her daughter trying to be a mom (another thing that I wanted to happen—great!). However, she’s extremely paranoid about everything, and rather than just relaxing, she ends up insisting that Scott do genetic testing on Felix and Adele to prove that they’re really half-siblings. Scott does, and concludes that they are indeed related, but Sarah’s relationship with Felix looks like it’s well and truly jeopardized at this point. It’s possible her cheekbot is also contributing to Sarah’s mental state, but she’s clearly pushing away people like Felix (and Alison) when she needs them now more than ever. Meanwhile, Kira tells her mother that she can somehow tell what Sarah and each of her sisters — possibly even the ones she hasn’t met yet—are feeling, confirming my theory that Kira’s taken some evolutionary step that Susan and Neolution would be very interested in. With Kira’s strange powers now confirmed in-show, it’s going to take the whole team to keep everyone safe, and Sarah’s actions are definitely going to come back to bite someone in the ass.

And on a truly bad note, we end the episode with Susan Duncan kissing Ira in the pool at Brightborn. It’s totally… unexpected. Okay, it’s gross. Not only is there a huge age difference between the two, but Susan was also involved to some extent in creating Ira, and she raised Ira, so either way it’s incest. On After the Black, Orphan Black’s after-show commentary show, co-creator John Fawcett even said that he was excited about “the relationship” between the two that they’re going to delve into, but this is not a) a relationship that b) I want to get into. Like, does Susan Duncan really need to be a sexual abuser on top of her already evil personality? I’m just.

No no NO NO NO.

NO! No no no. No.

Anyway, Orphan Black is back same time next week, and we will be too! Can’t wait to see Krystal bamboozle Art in next week’s episode. See you then!

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  1. Pingback: Orphan Black: “The Scandal of Altruism” Review | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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