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Orphan Black – S4E6 – The Scandal of Altruism

Previously on Orphan Black, “Human Raw Material”

With plot twists galore, several devastating emotional moments, and the seeming culmination to various plot threads, “The Scandal of Altruism” felt very much like a finale. Since we’re still four episodes out from the end of the season – lucky us! – it serves as more of a reset, though; perhaps even to the series as a whole. Sarah may have had her implant removed, but with Kendall murdered, her genome samples obliterated, and Cosima and Scott’s research gone, what hope remains of a cure for Leda? Now that we know the truth behind Beth’s suicide – she chose to die so her sisters could live – is there hope at all for anyone in our beloved Clone Club? Furthermore, will there ever be an episode that doesn’t make me weep like a baby?

Images: BBC America

Images: BBC America

The losses in this episode were overwhelming. Not just the “new” ones, either. Though we already knew Beth’s fate, the added knowledge of why she chose to kill herself only made it all the more tragic. That a character’s death could be equally, if not more hurtful on a second (maybe even the third now?) viewing, is a true testament to the boundless talent both on and off screen in this show. The final shot of Beth walking into the train station was utterly gut wrenching. She simply knew too much, the penalty for which is enough to cause concern for all of Leda. The major theme running through this episode was the idea that digging too deep into Neolution/Brightborn is not something that seems to end well. Cosima’s intelligence was commented on so frequently in fact, that it’s a wonder she made it out of her encounter with Evie Cho and Detective Duko alive.

That scene was certainly packed with enough tension to encourage doubt, though. No word of a lie, I paused the episode and walked away for a while because I couldn’t bear the idea of losing Cosima. Maslany’s portrayal of her has always been a standout, and both her and Alison Steadman nailed the heartbreaking final moments between Cosima and Kendall. In only a handful of scenes together, they managed to give their characters a bond that was worthy of such a meaningful goodbye. As Cosima knelt behind the burning van, it seemed inevitable that Duko’s gun was coming for her next. Cho, however, settled on crushing Cosima’s world instead of ending it, by revealing Delphine’s demise. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. Damn.

However surprising Cosima’s survival was, it comes with a great deal of relief. After being sidelined for the majority of the season thus far, her death would have felt extremely cheap. Not only that, it would have meant the loss of yet another lesbian character on TV this year, and I think we’ve grown to expect better of Orphan Black. That said, season four might still bring the death of a main clone. We’ve seen how tenacious these women are, and it’s highly doubtful these events will stop them altogether from fighting for their lives.


Krystal is, perhaps, one of the only safe clones left that we know of. As much as she deserves to know the truth – and let’s face it, her intuition and personal brand of wisdom would be highly beneficial – she’s probably safer believing Vidal Sassoon is her biggest enemy. Even with Art and Felix keeping a watchful eye on her, she’s bound to eventually learn the nature of who/what she is. While she may have a skewed view of the real context, she already knows a great deal. She may even be the key to learning more about what really happened to Delphine. Sure, Evie Cho thinks Dr. Cormier has been killed, but here’s the thing: when you don’t actually see a dead body on TV, you can always hold out hope.

There is evidence that Delphine could still be alive; the credibility of which remains to be seen. Krystal refers to Dr. Cormier in the present tense – “is she involved in all this?” – despite having witnessed her being shot. Also, there’s that moment before Cosima hands over the hard drive to Cho, where we’re all reminded that this was Delphine’s research as well. I’d say there’s a good chance she shows up before or in the finale, possibly with her own breakthrough on the Leda research or, even better, a sample of Kendall’s genome. Even if she comes back empty handed, it would be nice to see Cosima have a bit of happiness for once.


It would be nice for all of our clones to find some true contentment, even if it’s short-lived. There’s a lot of ground to cover before they get there, though. What impact will the loss of Kendall have on Siobhan and Sarah’s relationship? How much time does Cosima have left? Where the hell is Helena? Now that they know Susan isn’t their biggest enemy, is it possible we may see an alliance between the Duncan women and our Clone Club? The bottom line as we round this turning point in the show: where do the sestras go from here?

A few nitpicks

Ok, as fantastic as this episode was, there are a few puzzling details left unexamined. First up, how in the world are we expected to believe that Cosima and Scott wouldn’t back up any of their data? It seems highly unlikely that two of the most intelligent characters on this show wouldn’t think to keep an extra copy of this valuable research hidden somewhere. You know, just in case the whole deal with Susan Duncan didn’t pan out, which it didn’t. Furthermore, why would Cho want to destroy the information? She claims to believe that clones are obsolete and obviously not worth her time, so why would she be concerned about them finding a cure? You would think she might have a soft spot for this, considering she was born with an illness that was cured by this field of science. There has to be something more to Cho’s story, and hopefully some clarity is given on the subject before the season’s end.

Orphan Black S4E6 = 8.7/10
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Dialogue - 8/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Jasmin George (185 Articles)
An avid reader of TV Guide in her youth, Jasmin has been a fan of all things television since she can remember. She’s very passionate about story, especially the kinds that use cameras and actors to convey them. When she doesn’t have her eyes glued to the tube, you can find her listening to podcasts or reading reviews about, well, TV. Yeah, Jasmin might have a slight addiction but she’s perfectly happy to coexist with it.
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4 Comments on Orphan Black – S4E6 – The Scandal of Altruism

  1. Ugh Evie Cho. I want to wipe that smug look off her face.

    Oh god, I have that smug look on my face too.


  2. This episode!

    Learning how Evie got that scar (from Beth beating her up in the car) was a fun reveal. And then Beth realizing she must kill herself was a truly heartbreaking one. I’d be curious to know of the writers storyboarded this far out when they wrote the pilot.

    • Yes, Kate! I was thinking the same. I wonder if they had Beth stuff ready for season one, but then chose to go in a different direction. Either way, I’ve been enjoying getting to know more about her and learning just how much she knew before Sarah ever came on the scene.

  3. Poor Cosima – what an emotional episode.

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