Previously on Orphan Black, “Beneath Her Heart”
Long before Kendall Malone’s rare biology was taken advantage of to create Leda and Castor, PT Westmoreland, Susan Duncan, and Virginia Coady inflicted horrors on a “beautiful child” with a unique genome, all in the name of scientific progress. The thing that attacked Sarah in Revival’s woods is the tumor-filled, physically deformed product of a few scientists gone mad with power. Despite Susan’s protests that she isn’t a monster like her old cohorts, she agrees to work with PT once more. Despite Westmoreland’s obsession with the future, it seems his awful history is bound to repeat itself, this time with Kira as his subject. “Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil” puts this idea of life’s cyclical nature, specifically in regards to Sarah’s familial bonds, front and center.
Though her exact circumstances may be different, Sarah has been forced to lead a life that looks a lot like to her mother’s earlier days. Both of these women have had to be highly secretive, they’ve had to take their children on the run, and they’ve had to make difficult, sometimes regrettable decisions along the way to stay alive. On the surface, Kira is just an annoying little girl with too much attitude for her own good. Dig a little deeper, and you see a child struggling to understand why she’s different. You don’t need to look too closely, however, to see that Kira is very much her mother’s daughter – and it goes beyond the resemblance Felix describes as “breathing like a pug.” Her defiance towards Sarah is a mirror image of Sarah’s reaction when S keeps her in the dark. One could argue that this cycle of secrecy all started with Kendall. That if she’d only been honest with S from the beginning, everything would be different. Still, it’s up to Sarah to break that cycle now.
If Sarah’s progress in other relationships during this episode is any indication, then being honest with Kira may come sooner than expected. For what felt like the first time in a while, Sarah openly stated her faith in S. The way in which Sarah shifted so effortlessly from genuine to phony argument at the bar, and the way S knew immediately what her daughter was up to, proved they have a solid connection. And though hiding Alex Ripley’s (Coady) true identity felt mostly like a plot device to keep the audience in suspense, Sarah’s lack of negative reaction towards S shows she’s learning to trust in her mother’s motives.
For what was definitely the first time, Sarah admits her failings in being a good sestra to Helena. She confesses to being afraid to acknowledge the very real, yet inexplicable link they’ve always had, but won’t deny it any longer. In turn, Helena offers Sarah perhaps the best advice regarding Kira she’s ever been given “share our horrors with her.” As much as Sarah dislikes this idea, she knows Helena is right in saying Kira will have to deal with it sooner or later, and knowledge may be her best defense. Their heart-to-heart is beautiful and the highlight of the episode; Helena looks so healthy, there’s cry-worthy dialogue, and it’s yet another moment where you can easily forget Maslany is the only one on screen.
Sarah’s reveal about feeling the connection could have used a touch more focus, though. It felt like a very significant moment that was ultimately rushed; particularly the line about it being something Rachel couldn’t take from them. Perhaps, in the long run, it will become clear this approach was intentional; a subtly placed clue for what’s to come. With no other leads, except for Adele and Felix to “follow the money,” this connection could be shaping up to be one of the few tools available in the fight against Neolution. At the very least, it’s a way for Sarah to start being more open with her daughter. The closer they become, the more Kira will understand why her trust in Rachel is so misplaced, and Sarah can finally put a stop to the cycle Neolution has inflicted on her family.
- A lot of this episode was reminiscent of season one, when Sarah was pretending to be Beth. Watching S and Sarah work a con together was great, but the best part was hearing S’ Canadian accent.
- I get that Cosima is constantly in pursuit of the truth, but she needs to learn when enough is enough. In this episode, she was that person in a horror film who keeps pushing their luck. “Oh, look, a shady room with a bunch of chains and blood on the wall. I should definitely go into the woods at night and try to find whatever did this.”
- I don’t know how I feel about Felix getting shipped off to Switzerland with Adele. It’s frustrating that his character has been given so little agency over the past 4 seasons. Bringing Adele into the Clone Club fold may be the show’s way of starting to tie-up loose ends in Felix’s plot, but I think he’s right in saying that wasn’t a call for S to make.
- Delphine has to be the person feeding S info from inside Neolution, right? Otherwise, what was that late night house call about in “Clutch of Greed”?
Orphan Black S5E4
"Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil"
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Skyler Wexler, Josh Vokey, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu
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