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Orphan Black – S4E4 – From Instinct to Rational Control

Previously on Orphan Black, “The Stigmata of Progress”

In episode four we started to answer some of the questions that have been raised in the previous episodes. We discovered that MK/Mika is actually Veera Suominen, a clone from Helisinki, who was the sole survivor of one of Ferdinand’s clone assassinations that killed her friend Nicki. Her desire for vengeance puts her at odds with Sarah, who wants Ferdinand’s help to get the worm out of her cheek.

MK

Ferdinand is willing to help her out, in exchange for her assistance in freeing Rachel, who, for those of us who can’t even keep track of what happened last episode, let alone seasons ago, was his lover (how I forgot those uncomfortable sex scenes is beyond me). Rachel spent the episode contemplating whether attempting to treat Charlotte’s illness was worth ruining her as a control sample to help find the cure, eventually choosing not to treat her.

Elsewhere in the episode, Felix and Donny went undercover as a married couple to investigate a fertility clinic, Cosima and Scott dissected Leekie, and Helena ran away.

The Good

Props to the props department for their amazing work constructing Leekie’s rotting head. That is one believably gross severed head.

Shows so rarely make it through the old “pretending to be a gay couple for the mission” storyline without relying on cheap homophobic gags, so it was a nice change to see it done right. The humor came, not from the concept of two men being in a relationship or from outdated stereotypes, but from Donny’s cluelessness.

I have a soft spot for Alison bringing her phenomenal craft and organizational skills on board for the mission. Somewhere in an alternate universe there’s an Alison sending agents off on missions with color-coded binders and impeccably laminated fake IDs.

Remember back in season one when we all hated Donny? It’s hard to imagine now that he’s become such an integral member of the team, whether it be going undercover with Felix, or explaining human emotions to Helena. The show can get bogged down in its overcomplicated mythology, but Donny scenes often bring things back to the human core at the heart of the show. Not sure that I needed such an intimate knowledge of his airplane based fantasies, however.

Orphan Black S4E4 - Felix and Donny

Bad

This season the writers seem to be at a loss for what to do with Cosima. She is being treated as scientist first, character second. Given that she is still seriously ill, and that the woman she loves is AWOL, there should be a lot to explore, but instead she is being used as a mouthpiece for exposition. Hopefully they give her more to do in the back half of the season.

Why on Earth is Sarah so trusting of Dizzy? This is a woman who had serious trust issues before she had even heard the word monitor. Not too long ago no one would even use the c word, and yet Sarah spilled the entire clone conspiracy to Dizzy on their third meeting.

Quote of the Week:

“I’ve got two spicy meatballs” – Context redacted

Orphan Black - S4E4
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Dialogue - 7/10
8/10

Summary

This was an episode that was strong on the comedy, but became a tad exposition heavy during the dramatic scenes. It seems redundant at this point to mention what a phenomenal actress Tatiana Maslany is, but the scene of Alison discussing her inability to conceive with Portia conveyed the perfect balance of real pain and manipulation.

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About Alison Millward (103 Articles)
Alison is a big nerd living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lover of all things television, particularly anything in the "hot young people in depressing sci-fi situations" genre. When not watching tv, Alison enjoys long walks on the beach, corrupting young minds, and actively avoiding thinking about her future.
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