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Orphan Black – S3E3 – Formalized, Complex, and Costly

Previously on Orphan Black, ‘Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis’

Continuing last week’s theme, the title of this episode comes from a Dwight Eisenhower speech about the military-industrial complex. Eisenhower argued (in 1960) that research had become so “formalized, complex, and costly” that solitary inventors couldn’t afford to pursue their research independently. He warned that government funding could destroy the objectivity of scientific investigation, and public policy would become the captive of the elite who could afford to influence it.

In the Orphan Black world, these concerns are again embodied in the production of female clones for research and male clones for world domination. The men are considered a weapons project, and due to the “glitches” they are experiencing, the project is in danger of being defunded.

We find out in this episode that all the clones are siblings – the boys and girls share the same original genetic source, not a separate source per gender. The female clones wound up with a terminal design flaw that is physical. The male clones also have a terminal design flaw, but it’s purely neurological.

The male clone “glitch” advance by stages, with stage five being the most severe. The progression of the glitches in any given clone is moving at a faster pace than before. Locating the source genetic material is the Castor project’s best hope for a cure. The second best is Helena.

The purpose for the stress tests Helena underwent last week were to reveal whether she has the defect that leads to glitches. They are holding her in hopes of finding a cure in an as-yet-specified type of way.

Everybody is looking for this genetic material, including Prolethean Mark. He drops a post-coital “I’m not who you think I am” on Gracie. He never fled the military to join the Proletheans. He was undercover the whole time, trying to repossess some “valuable scientific material” that Gracie’s dad stole from the military.

They track the stolen material to one Willard Finch, who keeps it in the shed with his large rebel flag. The lock-box Finch gives Gracie doesn’t contain any refrigerated genetic materials, just several composition notebooks which no one thinks to read for further information. Mark throws them around the room like trash and heads to visit Finch himself.


Before Mark leaves, he promises a tearful Gracie that he will never abandon her. Of course he dies at Finch’s house, shot by Gracie’s mom in the corn field. The shot was fired off-screen, so we may see him again. Thanks to Sarah, he was the first Castor clone to know that the LEDA girls are his sisters.

Speaking of Sarah, she and Felix dragged Seth’s body into the apartment rather than leaving it at the crime scene downstairs. Why? Because the story needed the body in order to make the brother-sister reveal. Scott and Cossima removed Seth’s brain in Felix’s bathtub, using dissection techniques they learned on YouTube.

There’s some strange middle school flirtation going on between Felix and Scott. Felix keeps giving Scott fake nicknames and Scott keeps essentially saying, “Don’t call me that, boo!” I don’t know what’s going on there; perhaps I missed something.


Art takes Sarah along with him for all the police work that gets done this episode. He feels guilty that he wasn’t there for Beth, and Sarah is Beth 2.0. They find the former Prolethean midwife, who reveals that both Helena and Gracie are pregnant with Helena’s harvested eggs. Sarah is shocked that she’s going to be an aunt.


After Art decided to get back to the crimes that taxpayers are paying him to solve, Sarah sees Gracie praying over her food in a diner. She was saying the prayer extra loud, so she was pretty hard to miss. Sarah tells Gracie that Mark is a clone, and Gracie is grossed out. She decides to leave the man who, less than an hour before, she made swear to never leave her. She’s back with the Proletheans, but she tucked away the Finchian box under the hotel bed.

Score | 7/10Alison is campaigning hard for school trustee, because sometimes finding out you’re a clone, killing someone, and going to rehab doesn’t at all put things into perspective for you. She gets resistance from potential voters until she starts hitting up the client list with home-made soap packages. These aren’t just any soap packages – there are drugs underneath the soap! By the end of the episode, everyone but her opponent in the trustee race seems to know Alison’s the new dealer.

Rachel is working on her aphasia, and learns that Delphine claims she died in a plane crash. I don’t care about this story, but we’re going to keep following it.

About Nikki P (18 Articles)
Nikki is a fan of children’s books, graphic novels, British police procedurals, French cinema, and TV marathons.

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