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‘Orphan Black’ Recap: “Unconscious Selection” & “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”

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Photo: BBC America

1×09 – “Unconscious Selection”

While Kira recovers in hospital (a miraculous recovery, at that), Sarah finds out more about that connection that Helena insists they share.

And it turns out it actually does mean something, because Helena and Sarah are twins born from the same birth-mother, Amelia. She was paid to host a child in her body (and ended up with two), but when she realized that the ‘parents’ who hired her were in fact scientists… She ran away, hiding one baby with the state, and entrusting the other to the church.

And that’s how Helena ended up with the nuns and Tomas, while Sarah was hidden away with Mrs. S.

The two were produced as a part of neolutionism, but it’s when Kira’s internal cells begin to re-make themselves that we see the bigger picture. Delphine hid the existence of Kira from Leekie, and it’s because she realized how important the little girl is: she is, potentially, the true and intended outcome of the clones. It seems like Kira could be a huge step-forward in human potential and science, and it’s possible that the clones are just a by-product of the intended outcome.

Or, alternatively, because Sarah remained hidden from Leekie with Mrs. S. (or so we think), it’s possible that she remained untainted by something that the other clones hadn’t, which has allowed her to have a daughter. We don’t know the exact importance behind Kira- just that there is a lot- and that she’s in danger, because of it.

She’s not the only one in danger though, Sarah’s cover getting closer and closer to being blown as Art’s partner gives up the evidence they’ve gained so far on the investigation… And Art visits the train station where Beth killed herself.

But before Art realizes the truth, Sarah meets with Helena, someone who’s loyalties have shifted, as Sarah convinces her to hurt Tomas and not her, when she finds Helena locked up in a cage. And who do they both Sarah and Tomas make their arguments on behalf of? Kira. Tomas tells Helena that Kira should be her true child, as she is the original, but Sarah forces Helena to look at her own life and upbringing, asking her if wants to turn Kira into another version of herself, because that’s what she would be doing, if she placed Kira into Tomas’ care.

Helena doesn’t trust the clones, but she recognizes a family in Sarah and Kira, and she won’t have them hurt by the same people that, she’s realized, have hurt her. So she locks Tomas up in the same cage that he had her trapped in, before Sarah puts her in the exact same position, essentially, the boot of her car, ready to take to Leekie. He says that Helena will be safe with him, and that they want and will be able to rehabilitate her… But Sarah takes a detour to Mrs. S. first, when she calls, and that’s when she finds out the truth about her and Helena.

Cosima, meanwhile, gets the results of her blood samples. There aren’t any respiratory disease markers, but there is a difference in the clones’ DNA, allowing them to be differentiated.  Something that should be… Impossible.

It’s as Sarah tells Art, really: “You don’t wanna go there.”

But it’s too late, because the truth is coming out. For Cosima as she has final proof about Delphine (she sees her photo on the Dyad institute’s website, and confronts her about it), and for Alison as well, as Ainsley organizes an intervention with the neighbourhood, where all of her secrets are opened up  for the public. No one allows her to defend herself, just forcing her to listen to her wrongdoings, and to take in how much she has hurt all of them with her actions, until Felix tells her to take her moment, and not wait for it. Alison ends the intervention, not allowing Ainsley or Donnie to judge or embarrass her anymore- at least not without her consent, anyway.

Back at the train station, Art realizes the truth. It was never Sarah Manning that killed herself, but Beth. His partner is dead, has been since before the Maggie Chen hearing, and it’s Sarah Manning that he’s been working with, and that he orders an arrest warrant for.

Things aren’t looking good for Sarah, especially not when we get a glimpse of another clone, Rachel, who’s in business with Leekie and the neolutionists.

They say they want to protect the clones and give them their freedom, but there are limitations that Sarah is right to have concerns about.

1×10 – “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”

Series finales rarely live up to their hype. The best has come before them, and there are always too many expectations attached onto them, but season finales- season finales are fun. Season finales set up for new beginnings, and being the nostalgic creatures that we are, season finales usually force people to think over what’s happened in the past season to the characters that they’ve come to love.

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is a discussion all about freedom. What freedom the clones have, what freedoms they could have, and most of all, whether or not under Leekie they’d have freedom to, or freedom from.

It’s freedom from, I hate to say it, Cosima realizing that those codes that separate them all in their DNA are, in fact, patents. The clones are property, and signing the documents that Rachel and Leekie are providing them with would just cement that.

But Alison doesn’t find that out until after she’s signed, Leekie telling her that there will be no more monitors… And then meeting up with Donnie, to ask about Alison’s progress. It’s all back on track, Donnie tells him, because in truth, he’s been her monitor all along. It was never Ainsley, poor Ainsley, who chokes to death in her incinerator while Alison stands by and watches, happy to be rid of someone she thought was watching over her maliciously.

Alison thinks she’s safe at the end of the season, with her kids and her husband back beside her, but with one signature she traps herself back in the same place that she was at the start of the season.  (But she has, at least, gained a few new friends.)

Cosima doesn’t work out the truth on her own though, Delphine crashing at Felix’s to apologize… And to pledge her allegiance. Cosima doesn’t necessarily completely believe her, but they stay together to work out the truth about the codes, and to reconnect enough that they’re not fighting, anyway. What Delphine’s connection to Leekie still is, we don’t know. Cosima’s sick, though, and that’s enough to occupy the time for now,  because we have no idea why, just that it has to have connections with Katja’s illness from episode one.

We’ll see, I suppose.

And then there’s Sarah. She’s taken into custody by Art, about to tearily confess the truth to him- a man who is one of the only people Sarah completely trusts: not Paul, not Mrs. S., not even Cosima sometimes- before lawyers (sent by Rachel) pull her out and make her an offer.  They can protect her and her daughter, or she can be on the run, forever.

…But when she finds out the truth about the coding from Cosima, on the run it is. She and Paul escape out of the elevator as they’re on the way to agree to Rachel’s deal of twice-yearly medical testing- and a lot more that’s been left unsaid- going back to Mrs. S. and Kira.

But before that, there’s Helena to deal with. Helena who, in revenge for abandoning them and ruining her life, she feels, kills Amelia. She blames their birth-mother for splitting the two of them up, but not before Amelia tells Sarah to watch out for Mrs. S., handing her a photograph of her adopted-mother working as a scientist.

Sarah screams at Helena for killing her, but Helena tells her that she did this for them. For their family. It’s not like she would never hurt Sarah- and Sarah could never hurt her, either.

Or maybe she can, Sarah shooting Helena, and telling her that she already has a family. One that she goes home to, only to find that Kira and Mrs. S… Are gone.

The window to Kira’s bedroom is open, and Sarah’s daughter isn’t there anymore.

And so ends season one. Alison’s signed over the rights to her body in exchange for freedom- of a sort- while Cosima’s throwing up blood, and Sarah’s world is spinning, because the only thing that matters to her; the only thing that she’s been fighting for, is gone.

Even though they share the same actress, Orphan Black’s clones have become wholly recognizable, separate characters. And they’re all coming back now, for season two.

Memorable Quotes

  • Mrs. S met Paul in episode nine, too: “…She knows everything.” “Well not everything, clearly.”
  • “I need to change. Fetch me something gay.”
  • “I only want to talk to Felix!”
  • And to end, the immortal line: “UP YOURS, PROCLONE.”