Orphan Black Recaps – “Clutch of Greed,” “Beneath Her Heart,” and “Let the Children & Childbearers Toil”
Greetings, Clone Club! Apologies for the lack of recap for the past two episodes. This Saturday night time slot makes life difficult when you have out-of-state conventions to attend and other things swirling around in your life. Let me catch you up quickly before giving a full recap of last night’s episode.
Episode 2, “Clutch of Greed,” contained a lot of setup. Notable moments included Sarah’s grudging agreement to let Rachel test Kira at the Dyad Institute (where Rachel is now running operations away from the Island), Cosima meeting the super-old P.T. Westmoreland for the first time, and Alison being watched by the cops in Neolution’s pocket (including Art, whose daughter has been threatened if he doesn’t play along). Helena had the best and craziest moments of the episode, as she and Donnie were in the hospital after the “stick in baby” incident. Helena doesn’t trust a single nurse or doctor, and it appears that her injured child healed on its own in utero. After whispering to Donnie where she is planning to hide, Helena pins her doctor to the bed with a huge amniocentesis needle – through her cheek and tongue. It is super gross! But not as gross as what Ferdinand does…MK resurfaces, and is very sick. Ferdinand finds her at Felix’s apartment after she and Sarah switch disguises, knocks her down, and stands on her chest, crushing her. Kira can feel MK’s death, and wants to continue with Rachel to find out why she has special powers. No one likes this arrangement.
Episode 3, “Beneath Her Heart,” is almost entirely an Alison episode. It revisits that time when she allowed her friend Ainsley to die via strangulation from her scarf caught in the garbage disposal, and her feelings after that incident. We flash back to her first meeting with Cosima at Beth’s urging, a meeting for which Alison was high on mushrooms. In the present, the Neolution cops and Art search her house, finding the body (but not the head) of Aldus Leakey under the floor in the garage. Fed up after a day of chaos at the community’s fall fun fair, Alison calls out her entire community after Donnie passes out on stage after mistakenly drinking a bottle of iced tea that Alison laced with pills. She calls them hypocrites, having sold drugs to most of them. Then, she goes head-to-head with Rachel for the first time, depositing Leakey’s head on Rachel’s desk. Rachel calls off the cops, and seems impressed with Alison’s nerve. At the close of the ep, Alison tells an improved Donnie that she needs to get away and figure some things out – she doesn’t say where.
Onward to the new episode! “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil” starts unraveling the mystery of P.T. Westmoreland and his experiments in eugenics. First off, Susan Duncan is not dead despite Rachel’s stabbing her in last season’s finale. She has been healed with a stem cell treatment, and Westmoreland wants her to resume her scientific work, citing a breakthrough – which we assume is related to Kira’s cells and Cosima’s investigations. Ira also reunites with Susan, displeased that she is going to work with Westmoreland again – she says she’s only doing it to protect herself and Ira. I’m not so sure it is as black-and-white as that.
Cosima’s geek team is still digging, passing along info to Mrs. S and Sarah about Westmoreland’s vital statistics – born in 1843, fancy British schooling and subsequent published writings on genetics, disappeared on an expedition in Borneo and originally presumed dead in 1898. Mrs. S wants to know what he got up to in the intervening 120+ years and how they can exploit that. On intel that we presume she got from Delphine – Sarah is kept in the dark about who gave up this intel – they target a female psychologist to steal her credentials and get into a psych facility where a high-level Neolution participant is being held. Sarah knows her and so do we – Virginia Cody, the doctor who ran the military-based Castor project. Cody is being kept sedated, but S jolts her back to cognition with some adrenaline. Sarah almost chokes her to death, remembering how she held her and Helena hostage in the past. Finally, after some additional persuading, Virginia talks – it was Susan Duncan who put her in the home for the insane and keeps her sedated and incapacitated. She mentions an original human subject, a child with a “unique genome” that went wrong under Westmoreland’s experimentation. She said he started growing tumors and that the three of them had created a monster.
A monster is just what seems to be prowling the woods on the Island of Dr. Moreau (as Cosima calls it…she isn’t wrong). Charlotte finds a human tooth in the woods and gives it to Cosima, who starts following Mud around looking for answers. Mud is so obviously lying about what is going on, and still lies after Cosima finds bloody walls and shackles, a destroyed hospital cell, and other evidence of experimentation in Westmoreland’s basement. It also appears that ol’ P.T. needs some kind of dialysis to keep things running, as we see Mud hooking him up to a machine. It could also be a stem cell infusion to keep his body at its current state of regeneration. After Mud throws Cosima out of the basement, Cosima follows her to the woods where she sees Mud gives warm clothing and food to a deformed man – surely the childhood test subject gone wrong.
Earlier, we got a nice moment with Sarah and Helena. Before walking into the psych facility to see Virginia, Mrs. S and Sarah stop at the convent where Helena is staying. A former nun that Helena knew as a child is taking care of her. Sarah and Helena’s twin bond is truly discussed for the first time and Sarah tells Helena how worried she is about Kira, who has taken to cutting herself to see how fast she can heal. It is a quiet bonding moment with the two, who are not often in the same place. Both vow to keep the unborn twins safe.
Felix’s half sister Adele is also back, having been recruited by Mrs. S to “follow the money” of Dyad and Neolution in the hopes of unraveling Westmoreland’s mysterious organization. They must head to Switzerland to do so, which means Felix will be separated from the family for the new few episodes at least. The episode ends with Westmoreland and Susan Duncan drinking in his study, with her agreeing to continue their work, but with Rachel remaining in charge. I’m sure that will go great!
In my opinions, this week’s episode far outshone the previous two. I understand that the complexity of this narrative will often require a great deal of setup, but we really didn’t need to see all of Alison’s shenanigans and Donnie’s ill-fated Scottish/Irish dance two weeks ago. Alison has always been my least favorite clone, and I feel that far too much time has been spent on her antics within her community – from musicals to drug distribution. Not to mention that we never see her kids! They are always off at grandma’s so as not to be in the way of the plot. I would prefer to spend that time with Helena or Cosima, honestly. I do see the writer’s point that Rachel grossly underestimated Alison, but there were probably quicker ways to establish that. Do you agree?
I am so glad that Mrs. S is the proactive human being that she is. I feel like Sarah would flutter about, angry and worked up, without her direction. S gets sh*t done, and the clones/Felix/Kira need her. She is smart and a total badass – I would want her on my side without a doubt. I hope she makes it to the end of the season! Her idea to follow Neolution’s money is practical and intriguing, as I am curious to see what else the organization is doing at the behest of P.T., Susan, and now Rachel. Someone needs to pay for all the high-end whiskey and collectibles that reside in P.T.’s study!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments!