ORPHAN BLACK Review: “The Antisocialism Of Sex”

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Airtime: Thursdays at 10PM on BBCAmerica
Episode: Season 4, Episode 7 (S04Ep07)

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Tweetable Takeaway: All cloning aside, #OrphanBlack will implode if the clones we love stop fighting to survive.


 

In Season 4’s “The Antisocialism of Sex” our clones face a profound crisis of faith, so it seems fitting that sex and human connection lie at the core of it all, especially since it appears the clones have some weird psychic connection to each other that goes beyond DNA.

Kendall, the original, was incinerated, and the Leda clones’ best hope for a cure vanished with her, (along with Siobhan’s chance to reconnect with her cantankerous mum). Sarah faces the ire of Mrs. S, who blames her for Kendall’s death. Cosima is tortured by her part in Kendall’s murder and the, (new to her), death of her soul mate, fellow scientist, Delphine. Alison, goes full Stepford and is on the brink of shattering. And Rachel, the clone we love to hate, may finally be humanized into realizing she’s not better than her sisters.

We open with Rachel taking in Susan Ducan’s resignation to having lost the science battle to Evie Cho. They’re like old Roman cites, built one on top of the other, and Duncan’s buried. But Rachel wants to fight it. After all, it’s her life on the line, but learning that the original is gone puts one more nail in her coffin.

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After a bitter fight with Siobhan over Kendall’s death, Sarah takes off, heading straight for whatever trouble she can find. She hits a gritty bar and knocks back shots, careening straight into an epic bender with the ghost, or maybe something more useful, of Beth by her side. Luckily Sarah runs into Dizzy, and with him around, she might make it through the night.

Cosima is despondent. She doesn’t see a way forward scientifically, and now that she knows Delphine is dead, she cares a lot less about living.  It takes Scott’s optimism to open her mind to the possibility that they can think of another way forward, but since she barely cares about living, she’s willing to risk her life on an unscientific solution that’s seems like a terribly bad idea.

Alison, though trying to maintain her idea of a normal, (read ‘totally over the top’), suburban life, is having her own crisis of faith. Donnie reaches out to their reverend for help, but Alison’s going to need more than positive affirmations to get through this one.

When Felix learns that Sarah is gone, and Kira is saying weird things about Sarah following Beth, he takes off to find her before she does something too stupid.

Sarah’s bender takes on epic proportions to the crushing riffs of the inimitable Peaches. Sarah ditches Dizzy for a couple of powder pirates and loses herself in sex and drugs.

At Bright Born we learn Evie isn’t well. Her immune system is weak. Dr. Vanleer, who’s been treating her since she was a child, assures her that their gene therapy implant, patent pending, will heal her, but if the deformed baby we saw delivered at Bright Born is any indication, nothing comes easy on the frontiers of science. If Evie weren’t so hell bent on killing our clones, we just might have a little empathy for her.

Dizzy manages to get Sarah out of the bar before anything terrible happens, but she’s not slowing down. They go back to his place to hook up, but when he discovers her bot is gone, he wants to know how. Someone else he cares about has a bot they want gone, maybe him. But Sarah doesn’t want to talk shop, she’s in full hedonistic mode. When he can’t get it up, she’s ready to move on. She sees Beth again, whose mere presence brings Sarah closer to the edge, (exactly what Kira warned Siobhan about), and Sarah takes off. She heads out alone, just like Beth did the night she jumped in front of the train.

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Things look kind of cute at the Hendricks house, with Donnie telling ghost stories, but a knock at the door changes all of that. The police bust in and arrest Donnie in a chorus of screaming children and popping party balloons.

And as if that isn’t enough, Sarah takes to a bridge, the apparition of Beth her only companion. Beth’s shoes and purse, (yeah the ones she left on the train platform before she jumped),  sit by the railing.

At the same time, in her own potential suicide, Cosima prepares to plant the bot in her cheek, just in case it helps her, and if it kills her, oh well. What does she have left to live for anyway?

Luckily, Felix, though he’s been a bit absent lately, isn’t giving up now. He reaches Cosima at the eleventh hour and reveals something critical: Delphine might not be dead. This is the best news we’ve heard all episode, because Cosima and Delphine weren’t just good together, they were great, and we need a little light in all this darkness to get us through.

Felix finds Sarah on the bridge and talks her down. Siobhan may not have the chance to have the mother she longed for, but she and Sarah have a chance to repair their relationship and that’s worth something. Not to mention that Kira needs her mom.

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But it’s not all happy endings, because Donnie is in jail, MK has mysteriously reached out to Kira, and perhaps most pressing: Rachel is glitching, which means this may be her swan song.

The “Antisocialism of Sex” feels like the ‘all is lost’ of the season. Everything we thought we wanted for the clones is gone, and they have to rediscover their desire to live and persevere against the odds. It is perhaps meandering at times, but whose spiritual journey isn’t? It’s what we begin to understand along the way about Leda clone’s special connection, that connection Kira has to them too, that going to become crazy important. We just don’t yet know how. Orphan Black’s cut throat world is still against the sistras. Evie Cho and her goons want them dead, and their own biology is destined to turn against them, but if throwing Peaches prominently on stage this particular episode means anything, it’s an indication that with a vibrant grabbing of life by the crotch, the place from which human life comes, Sarah and her sistras will not only live to see another day, they’ll fight to see the one after that, and the one after that.

By the way, where is Helena? I guess writing Peaches and Helena into one episode could be considered redundant by some (not me). Or maybe that actress just needed some time off? Tatiana Maslany never rests.

TB-TV-Grade-B+

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is a 2015/16 NBC Writer on the Verge who’s interested in dark, gritty worlds where characters keep searching for light.

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