We may not know everything about Orphan Black's Project Leda just yet, but this episode brings us a whole lot closer. Plus, one scene brought a heartfelt tear to our eyes. Spoilers ahead.
At one point during last night's episode, Scott, Cosima's friend from her PhD program, asks why he can't come out to the Dyad to work with Cosima and Delphine on all their cool, secret stuff. Delphine, distractedly, replies, "Because we'd have to kill his family."
And this episode was all about family—how families form, how they bend and break, and what happens when you don't have one. Rachel and Daniel might have been mistaken for a family; after all, they shared an apartment and, presumably, a bed. But when Rachel inspects Daniel's corpse, she cooly comments that he was more loyal to Leekie than to her.
It turns out that Daniel wasn't just Rachel's bedtime buddy and lapdog; he was her monitor. Like every other clone, Rachel has a monitor; she just has the privilege of knowing—and choosing—who that person is. With Daniel gone, she chooses Paul, and when Paul wonders aloud if he has a choice in the matter, she simply tells him to view it as a promotion. The major bonus (for the audience, at least) is that he learns more about Rachel's past. After Rachel's parents died, Leekie effectively became her guardian, but Rachel views him as too soft-hearted, too attached to his research subjects—including her. That explains why the two seem so close and yet so lacking in affection. I wonder how much of Rachel's present personality comes from her grief and her pushing Leekie away emotionally in the wake of her parents' deaths. It might be easier to see herself as a test subject and a corporate executive rather than a lost daughter in need of love.
At the same time, we're seeing another daughter pulling away: Kira. Where Kira used to run up to her mother and embrace her, now she refuses to let Sarah call her "monkey" and dashes off from the webcam to play. Kira has thoroughly attached herself to Cal, however, calling him "daddy" and delighting in the leopard hat he gave her. But something is up with Cal; he's a little too quick with the fake ID when a cop shows up at his RV door. Is he just a paranoiac with a bug-out van? Does he know about the Dyad and suspect they're looking for him? Or is there something more sinister in his backstory? Whatever the answer, Kira with her intuition and her mother's quick thinking proves a handy ally.
And before Sarah can reunite with her daughter, she needs to deal with her sister. Sarah has calmed down remarkably since last week's shower scene, trying to reason with Helena and even trying to convince her to accept Felix as part of their family—a brother-seestra. Helena isn't exactly excited about the idea, but she's willing to play along.
Well, sort of.
Still, Sarah sees Helena as a problem to be controlled (and she's still calling her "meathead"), and so hands her off to Art, who handcuffs her and plies her with food while he interrogates her.
Amidst gruesome tales of her convent childhood (she claims to have once gouged out the eyes of a nun who locked her in the cellar), Helena tells Art about the "Swan Man" and drops hints about the late Maggie Chen's storage locker. But before Art can get more info out of her, Helena slips her cuffs and overpowers Art. That's the last time he buys her cupcakes.
Meanwhile, Felix has a date! Date montage Felix preps for sexy time with the cute medical examiner from last season. All the minor characters are coming back, it seems. Poor Colin, though; just as he gets the lube on his hands, the police come busting through the door.
These are the real police (one of them calls Colin "morguie"), but they're in Dyad's pocket. Paul storms in and, in a genuinely frightening scene, points Daniel's cop-murder gun at Felix and then forces him face-down onto the couch, pressing the gun's grip into his hand.
Paul has been very hard to read this season, and this episode creates some questions as to where he stands. Dyad has controlled his life for a long time—and he's been conscious of their control and their power for much longer than Sarah, Alison, and Cosima have. Given his ambivalence toward becoming Rachel's monitor, it seems that he's still aligning himself with Dyad out of a sense of survival rather than a desire to switch teams. But this scene is weird; his treatment of Felix seems unnecessarily rough.
And is he smiling? Or just sneering through his own self-loathing?
Now Sarah needs something that she can trade to the Dyad for Felix's liberty, and Helena, of all people, may have the solution. Sarah and Art find Maggie Chen's storage locker, where they realize Helena has been sleeping. The locker is a lot like Helena: chaotic, filled with childish objects turned creepy, with occasional bits of useful information. The latter comes in the form of a photograph labeled "Swan Man," which appears to be a recent picture of the male Dr. Duncan, Rachel's dad. So one of the Project Leda scientists may still be alive. Do you think he's still keeping tabs on his daughter?
Well, Helena is. She's taken her sniper rifle and parked herself across the street from Rachel's apartment. She also took a doll head from her lair of crazy and has been clipping its hair to look like Rachel's. As she talks to the doll it seems that Helena goes full Doge on us.
Last week's reunion of Sarah and Helena was filled with screaming, but this week the two are all tears. Sarah implores Helena not to kill Rachel because they need Rachel alive in order to save Felix. "You just want to use me," Helena says.
Sarah is a liar. The first few episodes of Orphan Black had her lying almost as much as breathing. She knows how to manipulate people and what they want to hear. But when Sarah tries to convince Helena to put down her sniper rifle, she tells her the strange truth—that when she shot Helena, she couldn't tell anybody what she had lost: a sister.
We know how you feel, Helena.
And as they walk away, the sisters immediately slip into sibling behavior. When Sarah calls Helena "meathead" this time, it's with affection, even if Helena reiterates, "Don't call me this."
The expression on Art's face is priceless.
Oh, and what was going on in Rachel's apartment all this time? Just the latest molestation of Paul. At one point, Sarah mocks Paul for having slept with three different clones, but really Paul hasn't had much choice in the matter. Beth was a job. Sarah was a deception. Rachel is for survival. Rachel goes all 50 Shades of Grey on Paul, ordering him around and slapping him. Maybe it's supposed to be hot, but I can't shake the sense that Rachel is raping him. Sarah may have given up on Paul, but I'm not sure we should.
Then there is Cosima, who has separated herself from her little clone family by hiding her illness. Perhaps she was hoping to avoid entanglements from Alison and Sarah while she searched for a treatment. But Rachel is going to entangle them anyway, insisting that Leekie withhold a promising stem cell treatment from Cosima "until Sarah comes to heel." But Leekie is, if not paternal to his subjects, at least paternalistic toward the clones, and he decides to override Rachel's order and give Cosima the treatment anyway.
He also gives us the fullest look at the cloning project yet, explaining that several synthetic sequences were inserted into the original genome to overcome the challenges of the cloning process. The original genome was lost in the Project Leda lab fire, however, along with any information on the synthetic sequences. That's why Rachel refused to give Cosima the original genome—as far as she knows, it doesn't exist. But who wants to bet that Swan Man has some information on the genetic differences between the clones and the original?
It's also interesting to see Cosima, Delphine, and Leekie have a moment as they prepare to start Cosima's treatment. Perhaps this trio will become a little family unit of their own? Leekie seems to doubt the strength of Clone Club's familial ties when he realizes Cosima hasn't told Sarah about her illness. At the moment, though, he's content to side with Sarah and Cosima—and perhaps even Helena—over Rachel.
But we mustn't forget the creepiest family of the lot, the ones who go on and on about how they're a family. Henrik and his vicious wife(?) are punishing Grace for her attempt to kill Helena and her insistence on clinging to the old ways. They keep prompting Grace to confess, which is pretty demented give the form of her punishment:
Mark actually comes off as the least horrible of the lot this episode, sweetly kissing Grace on the cheek and telling her he doesn't care what she's done. He's still a true believer of Henrik's, though, and assures Grace that confession is the best route. Too bad no amount of confessing is going to rescue Grace from the fate her mother(?) threatens if the Prolethians can't retrieve Helena: she'll have to carry Helena's embryo herself. Brrrr.
Alison was MIA this week, but next week she's back and running into a familiar face in rehab.
This week's gifs come courtesy of the Orphan Black Tumblr.