'Orphan Black' S4E4: From Instinct to Rational Control

Mika doesn't just time her phone conversations for security purposes — she has her entire routine planned out to the last second. Her morning is punctuated by alarms going off, signalling the start of the next task, whether it's brushing her teeth, doing some light morning hacking, or constructing a bomb. This character is so complex and layered even though we've seen so little of her. MK is specifically hacking Dyad employees; she adds Marion Bowles — Charlotte's former guardian — to a tree of Topside board members. Most of them she's marked as deceased, including poor Marion, but so far the only information MK has on Ferdinand is his name.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand also wants answers about MK. He questions Sarah and Mrs. S about who tipped them off in Iceland, reasoning that if their source knew about Neolution's movements their connection must run deep. Ferdinand gives Sarah Rachel's message, which is encoded on a thumb drive, in the hopes that their source can recover Rachel's location from it. Sarah agrees to talk to MK, but she doesn't make Ferdinand any promises, nor does she reveal MK's identity. She arrives at Dizzy's apartment, hoping to see MK in person, but she is once again disappointed when MK only appears on a computer screen, allotting her the usual three minutes. Sarah quickly explains that Susan Duncan is holding Rachel. From MK's reaction, it is clear she didn't know Susan Duncan was alive. MK is someone who has all the answers, and if she doesn't, she digs and digs until she uncovers them. This is the first time we've seen her in the dark about something. Sarah inserts the drive into the USB port and, in exchange for the information it provides, asks to meet MK in person. MK agrees to meet at Beth's apartment in an hour. (I love that they've brought Beth's apartment back as a set piece — it nicely calls back the events of the pilot as well as the first season every time we see it.) However, when Sarah shows up at Beth's MK calls her. She's discovered that Ferdinand is the one who delivered Rachel's message and is outraged that Sarah would trust someone from Topside. MK tells her, "We're finished. I can't trust you now," and hangs up.

Orphan Black S4E3

Desperate for answers, Sarah returns to Dizzy's apartment. She needs to know what the implant does and how to remove it, and Sarah believes that the only way to do that is with MK's help. Dizzy refuses to help her until she levels with him. In her panicked state Sarah finally caves. She tells him that she and MK are clones, two of the nine (I guess they're including Charlotte in this number) still living, 22 known in all. Dizzy accepts this pretty readily and they work together to pinpoint MK's location. When they arrive at MK's trailer, Sarah smashes a brick through the window and nearly has one foot in the door when Dizzy stops her. He points out a bomb underneath the threshold, the bomb MK constructed in the opening, and the two enter the trailer more cautiously. Sarah trusts Dizzy very quickly — you'd think after everything she's been through, she'd be a little more skeptical, but now he's saved her life so I suppose that solidifies his trustworthiness. My judgment's still out on Dizzy, but for now I'll have to take his intentions at face value and trust that he's just a good guy trying to do the right thing. While Dizzy attempts to hack MK's password — you'd think this would be more difficult — Sarah finds her personal computer. The background is a photo of MK and another clone. Could there be a new Leda clone? Dizzy finally unlocks MK's password and they realize that MK hasn't been tracking Susan Duncan, but Sarah instead. MK sent a text to Mrs. S from Sarah's phone in order to draw Ferdinand out.

Ferdinand arrives at Beth's apartment, where MK's false text had told him to meet Sarah. He realizes it is a trap, but stays when MK entices him with information about Susan and Rachel. He sits, but in doing so he triggers a pressure-sensitive bomb, which seems to be MK's weapon of choice. If Ferdinand gets up from the chair, the bomb will detonate. Back at MK's trailer, Dizzy realizes that any information on Susan Duncan has been wiped clean, while Sarah finds a newspaper clipping from Helsinki. She realizes MK and the blond clone from the picture were not part of Project Leda, but Helsinki. MK was the only clone to escape Helsinki, although it was believed until now that all of them were dead. No wonder MK is so secretive! MK reveals to Ferdinand that she is Helsinki by showing him the burn scar on the side of her face previously covered by her hair. He recognizes her as Veera Suominen and realizes this is revenge for the death of her sisters, especially Niki, the blond clone in the photo. MK dowses Ferdinand in gasoline as Sarah races to Beth's apartment to stop her. She arrives just in time, although not before MK transfers Ferdinand's $3.7 million nest egg to her own account. MK disappears and Mrs. S arrives to disarm the bomb. Ferdinand is penniless, but at least he's alive; Sarah will need his help if she's ever going to remove the implant from her jaw.

As for the purpose of the maggot-bots, Cosima may have figured that part out without Ferdinand's help. Alison thoughtfully wrapped up Leekie's head for Cosima and Scott to examine and the two extract the tumor-encased bot. Although Leekie is long-dead, the tissue in the tumor is still living, apparently it continued feeding off its host even after Leekie died. When Scott discovers the tumor glows in the dark, they realize that the maggot-bot had introduced foreign DNA. Once its host (Leekie) died, it all congregated in the tumor, hence the bioluminescence. They hypothesize that the bot is used as a gene-therapy delivery system, which means the bot in Sarah's jaw could be altering her DNA! That implant can't be extracted quickly enough as far as I'm concerned.

The B-plot this episode featured our usual cast of characters, Alison and Donnie, but this time they were joined by Felix. It was mostly fun and played for laughs, but we also learned some really valuable intel. After Alison meets her BFF, the delightful Sarah Stubbs, for coffee, she is mistaken for Beth (there are many cases of mistaken identity this season) by Trina, the formerly pregnant, former Neolution girl. She's opted for a more mom-friendly appearance, sans white eye, although also sans child. She is furious at "Beth" for continuing to investigate at Club Neolution and at Lifespring Fertility. Alison obviously has no idea what she's talking about, but she recovers fast. Trina says she told Beth she "was a carrier in confidence," whatever that means, and storms off. A carrier of what? Her baby? More biotech? Alison snaps a sneaky photo of Trina and relays the incident to Sarah, Mrs. S, and Felix, who has finally been brought up to speed about Sarah's implant.

Orphan Black S4E3

Alison, Donnie, and Felix team up to investigate Lifespring Fertility, but since Beth has already been there, Alison will undoubtedly be recognized. So it's up to Donnie and Felix to go undercover as a couple interested in surrogacy. Initially Donnie goes in with a stereotypically gay persona, but Felix quickly nips that in the bud. He asks Donnie if he has any gay friends and when Donnie says no, Felix informs him that statistically 5-10 percent of his male friends are gay. Felix shuts him down with, "You can't tell, so don't act gay." Yaaaas, Felix! The pair have to provide a sperm sample, but on the way to his room, Donnie spots an acquaintance, a very pregnant Portia Grossman. He quickly calls Alison and she confirms that the Grossmans had given up on IVF and were considering adoption. Donnie insists that Portia is five or six months pregnant. Hmmm, I smell something fishy going on at this clinic…

Alison makes sure to "bump into" Portia outside the clinic and tearily asks her to talk. While Alison is definitely playing it up to get information from her, seeing Portia pregnant is difficult for her, just like seeing Helena pregnant. There is real pain in her voice when she admits, "I just want to have my own baby." It is her vulnerability that finally cracks Portia. She advises Alison to see Dr. Bosch and to ask for the Brightborn treatments. Back inside the clinic, Donnie and Felix do just that. They receive an information packet that includes a DVD that Felix and Cosima watch later on in her lab. The DVD features Dr. Evie Cho, CEO and founder of the Brightborn Group, who we first met in the pilot episode with Dr. Leekie. Evie's mission sounds a lot like Susan Duncan's words to Rachel last week: "Our purpose is in service of the greater good, to control human evolution." Evie promises not only a fast inception, a smooth pregnancy, and a healthy newborn; she also ensures that the baby will be stronger and healthier using the Brightborn treatment. I guess that's what Trina meant when she said she was a "carrier." I'm simultaneously curious and terrified to know what one of these Brightborn babies is like. This episode took a creepy turn, although realistically scientifically engineered super-babies are a thing of the not-too-distant future, rather than science fiction.

MVC of the Week: Felix, for ditching his new-found sister to help out his adopted ones and for going undercover with the adorably clueless Donnie. Felix can always be counted on to be a team player, no matter how begrudgingly he does so.


1 comment

Large burn notice sam

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May 12, 2016 11:02AM EDT

Nice recap! I love the new season so far. The Donnie and Felix team-up was funny, and I'm curious to find out more about MK.

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