Pieces are added to the neolution puzzle in this week’s episode of ORPHAN BLACK, “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil.” Good grief, that’s a long episode title. Very befitting, though, as Sarah and S go on an undercover mission to discover P.T. Westmoreland’s secrets, and Cosima does a little bit of investigating to figure out exactly what – or who – the “bear” terrorizing the forest is.
This is my favorite type of Orphan Black episode – one that gives us two solid storylines interwoven to feed us details about the overarching season menace, while putting our characters in tense, risky situations. To be specific, tonight’s episode played Sarah and S’s undercover intel operation like that of a smooth heist film, while Cosima’s attempt at intel played on horror tropes. The result was like pairing a delicious pinot noir with the perfect pasta dish.
This is the first episode this season that’s really given us much of anything from the top. Our season premiere set up the dilemma for the season and gave us our big bad guy reveal, but other than establishing where our clones will be and who they’ll be fighting against, it was rather slow for building up the type of pace and story reveals we’ve come to know and love from the show. The second episode felt fluffy – it had a better pace, but focused almost too simplistically on Kira’s refusal to runaway with Sarah, effectively explaining why we must always do things the hard way to keep Kira from Rachel. An explanation we probably didn’t need an entire episode for. The third episode started to get us somewhere, but it was all Allison, and it was all movement on the bottom of the food chain, as fair as our villains are concerned, which means that everything from up above was still a mystery. In this episode we finally, FINALLY, have started to get the ball rolling. And boy, is it rolling fast.
That’s not to say that this episode covers nearly the number of story mile markers that the show has been known to cover in the past, but it didn’t need to. The episode struck that nice sweet spot between story, action, and information, giving it that fast pace we know and love without being information-overload.
The episode starts with Sarah discovering Kira has cut herself pretty significantly on her arm. She’s not self-harming as a way to lash out, though (at least, that’s what she says). She’s cut her arm to see how quickly she heals, as she overheard Rachel mention that Helena’s babies healed miraculously quick.
Still, the action nearly drives Sarah mad with anger and anxiety for the influence Rachel is having on Kira. But before Sarah can lash out and do anything rash, S has other plans for them, since they have a three day break before Rachel comes back to visit Kira again. In that time, S and Sarah are going to go undercover to dig up as much dirt on P.T. Westmoreland as possible, and try to get to the bottom of what Rachel really wants with Kira’s genetics.
Meanwhile, Cosima learns from the little girls in the camp that the bear in the woods apparently has human teeth – at least, that’s what she’s gathered from the human tooth Charlotte brings back for her to look at. This sends Cosima on a unwittingly dangerous journey to discover what – or who – the human-like thing in the forest is, when it becomes apparent that keeping the deranged man-animal’s whereabouts a secret is intentional.
On Sarah and S’s newly minted mission, Sarah quickly discovers that S has quite the elaborate plan in place, with quite the amount of information at her disposal, none of her sources which she’s willing to share with Sarah. S’s sources – that’s a mystery we may never solve. With quite the talented dramatic scene and pickpocket skill, Sarah manages to swipe the ID off of a psychology professor who S then impersonates in order to get Sarah and herself access to the important source of information they need most in order to fill in their knowledge gaps about Westmoreland: Virginia, Castor’s lead scientist.
As we find out in the beautiful tango of scenes the episode gives us, Virginia was locked up in a psych facility by Susan Duncan after Castor’s downfall at Sarah’s hand. Susan and Virginia have had a rivalry going since the beginning, because P.T. Westmoreland chose Virginia over Susan after it became apparent that Virginia had no morals while there was a line (a very small one, keep in mind) that Susan refused to cross. The end result of Westmoreland’s change of trust from Susan to Virginia was the mangled man in the forest. (Dun, dun, DUN!)
Of course, other things happened in this episode, like Cosima finding a hideous dungeon in Westmoreland’s basement and then spotting the mangled man in the forest. And Felix’s sister coming for a visit after S calls her up to ask her to take Felix to Switzerland to “follow the money” behind neolution. Not to mention, Kira having a heart to heart with Felix and Sarah having one with Helena. But that’s all stuff you’ll appreciate more just watching the episode. So go watch it! I’ll be waiting anxiously to find out more secrets in next week’s episode.
Season 5, Episode 4 (S05E04)
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10PM on BBC America
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor