'Orphan Black' S4E6: The Scandal of Altruism

I loved this episode! It felt like the action and suspense of three episodes packed into just one short hour. I've found Season 4 to be a little lackluster, especially compared to last year's Castor/Leda showdown, but this episode did not disappoint! Hopefully it's onward and upward from here and the second half of this season finishes strong.

We are finally privy to what Beth experienced while she masqueraded in that blond wig. The keycard she cut up after returning to her apartment turned out to be an ID to enter a fancy Brightborn event (we now know the logo on the card is the Brightborn logo)! How she acquired the ID remains to be seen, but she's in regardless. Beth spots Susan Duncan and Evie Cho casually chatting over drinks about Evie's progress (or lack thereof) with her implants. Beth bumps a waiter as he hands Susan her drink, forcing her to excuse herself to freshen up in the bathroom. There is some shady eye contact exchanged between Evie and Beth — could Beth be in league with Evie??? Beth confronts Susan in the bathroom and draws her gun.

Orphan Black S4E5

In the present, Cosima is getting real about her progress in developing a cure. She admits to Sarah that she and Scott have hit a wall in their research. Cosima may not have much time left and the reality is they need Susan Duncan's help if they hope to develop a cure. If they allow Susan access to Kendall's genetic material, she can resume human cloning and pick up where Cosima left off on the cure. Susan is invested in finding a cure, but I don't think it has anything to do with the Leda girls' well-being, nor is it a sense of responsibility to clean up her own mess. No, Susan wants the original genome to cure Ira, who seems to be stable for now but could start glitching any day. That presents a problem though; if Sarah and the others give Kendall's samples to Neolution, they'll not only have what they need for a cure, but they'll have the potential for a biological weapon capable of sterilizing women. Because of Kendall's chimera DNA, they can't give Neolution the means for a Leda cure without also giving them the Castor sterilizing pathogen. It'll be Virginia Coady all over again, and nobody's got time for that.

Cosima has a plan, but it is very risky. Sarah goes to Brightborn to give Evie, Susan, and Ira the rundown. This is the first time Sarah's met Ira and their interaction is less than chummy (although I love seeing Tatiana Maslany and Ari Millen onscreen together, whomever they're playing). Evie finally explains the specific function of Sarah's implant. Since Sarah is immune to the Leda defect, the bot is trying to isolate the disease by activating specific genes. Sarah assumes that her good health is a sign the bot has yet to succeed, but Evie bluntly informs her that if the bot had succeeded, she'd already be dead. Sarah will give Susan and Evie the original genome in exchange for the extraction of her implant. Here's where Cosima's plan comes in, though: Since Kendall's cancer is only present in the Leda cells, they can use the cancerous cells to isolate just the Leda genome, therefore providing the key to the Leda cure without giving Neolution access to the Castor pathogen. Ira is not pleased with this turn of events, and he expects Susan to back him up and refuse to comply with the plan. Susan agrees — I guess she didn't really love Ira that much, but with some conditions — she wants Cosima's research and to be present when they collect Kendall's samples. She sends Ira to fetch a hard drive, and like a kid throwing a tantrum, he goes only after getting in the last word. He teases that Sarah is not the first of her sisters to make it this far.

Flash back to Beth, who still has Susan on her knees at gunpoint. Susan warns Beth that if she kills her, Neolution will replace Susan with someone who won't protect Beth and her sisters. As their creator, Susan has devoted her life to keeping Leda safe, to protect them from her own mistakes — the defect — but the new head of Neolution wouldn't be so benevolent. Susan is just trying to stall, but her words ring true and Beth leaves without harming Susan. After learning all this from Susan, Sarah and Art discuss Beth's motives over the phone. Sarah watches the surveillance footage of Beth returning from the Brightborn event, telling Art that once Beth couldn't pull the trigger on Susan she couldn't live with herself and that pushed her to commit suicide. Art points out that if she didn't shoot Susan, why did she have blood on her hands? Very astute, Detective Bell.

Mrs. S, Scott, and Kendall wait at Felix's loft for Susan to arrive to supervise the collection of Kendall's samples, while Cosima accompanies Sarah to Brightborn to assist Evie in the implant extraction. Evie begins the extraction by putting the bot to sleep so she won't trigger its defense mechanism. As she begins to remove it, the bot begins leaking toxin! Cosima quickly and calmly plugs the leak and she and Evie remove it together — Cosima to the rescue! With Sarah finally bot-less, Scott isolates the cancer cells to give to Susan. Sarah heads to the loft to assist in transporting Kendall, while Cosima stays at Brightborn. She will leave once Susan has Kendall's genetic material in hand. However, when Kendall reaches the van outside, she and her driver are attacked! Sarah arrives at the loft, sees the blood, and connects the dots. She races upstairs and dowses the samples in bleach right before Susan's eyes. She tells the others that Kendall is missing, but Susan swears she's not behind it. They take Susan with them — Cosima is still at Brightborn, waiting for their call. When Evie asks for Cosima's research, Cosima probes her for information on Delphine. Evie plays dumb, but I'm pretty sure she knows more than she's letting on. Cosima hands over the hard drive just as Roxie comes in to announce Susan's gone dark. Cosima's phone rings but Roxie takes it and restrains Cosima. How did things get so out of hand so quickly?!

Orphan Black S4E5

Kendall wakes up in the back of the van to see her kidnapper — it's Detective Duko!! He's obviously not the one pulling the strings; Kendall attempts to offer S's services to hide him, but he's not having it. Is he being blackmailed? What could it be for? Scott calls Sarah at the safehouse where they're holding Susan. A virus introduced by the Brightborn hard drive is wiping his and Cosima's research. With the samples destroyed and all their research gone, Evie now holds all the cards. She doesn't care about Kendall's genome, she just wants to see Project Leda destroyed. Evie arrives to where Duko has Kendall, with Cosima in tow. Duko has been working for Evie all along! But he's not the only one who was manipulated by Evie Cho. It turns out she was the one who ordered Beth to kill Susan. When Beth can't pull the trigger she turns her gun on Evie instead, realizing Evie has been playing her. But it's too late now; Evie threatens that if Beth tries to run her sisters will pay the price. The only way to save them is for Beth to kill herself. Beth hits Evie with the butt of her gun, explaining the scar on her cheek, before Duko stops her. Beth escapes, but not truly — we all know what she did next. All this time we thought Beth cracked under the pressure of everything she knew, that she committed suicide because she just couldn't take it, but in reality she sacrificed her life to save her sisters.

Evie explains to Cosima that clones are obsolete. She needs to eliminate Kendall to cease any further development in human cloning and make way for her implant technology to progress. Cosima begs Evie to spare Kendall. She desperately asks, "Kendall, what can we do?" Kendall just responds, "No tears Cosima." I found it fitting — and heartbreaking — that it was Cosima who was there with Kendall. Kendall became a reluctant mother figure to all the clones, but the two of them had the closest relationship by far, with Cosima's life literally depending on Kendall's willingness to share her DNA. Kendall asks Cosima to tell Siobhan that she's done right, and to tell her sisters she was proud to have been part of them. Cosima turns her back as Duko shoots Kendall and lights the van on fire to destroy any of her DNA. While Cosima is still in shock over Kendall, Evie cruelly informs her that Delphine was shot dead in the Dyad parking garage. She returns Cosima's phone so she can relay to Susan that the original is dead (we still don't know by whom — but Krystal might). As for Sarah, Evie warns that she'd better drop it, or Beth will have died for nothing. When we first met Evie I didn't expect her to be the villain she turned out to be, but Susan was right — her successor doesn't care at all about the well being of the Leda clones. Things are looking pretty bleak for our girls, I don't know how they'll get out of the hole Evie Cho has put them in.

My only complaint about this episode is that Krystal's storyline is being played solely for laughs. Which is not necessarily bad, but she's becoming the butt of the joke and I don't like that. When we first met Krystal last season, I loved how she was a little bit ditzy, but also strong, optimistic, and genuine; her character had depth but that's been diminished in favor of making her the punchline. Just because someone is ditzy doesn't mean she's stupid. We've heard several times now that Krystal is "harmless," but I still think she shouldn't be underestimated. For all we know, she'll be the one to come out of nowhere and save her sisters from all this nonsense Evie's put them through.

MVC of the Week: Kendall. She was hesitant to get involved in the fray in the first place, yet she ended up giving her life for Cosima and her sisters. She managed to salvage her broken relationship with her biological daughter, Mrs. S, while also becoming a mother figure for the clones — especially for Cosima — something they desperately needed with all the chaos going on around them. We salute you, Kendall Malone.

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