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‘Orphan Black’ Season 3 Premiere Recap: “The Weight Of This Combination”

orphan black season 3 premiere

After a year long hiatus, Orphan Black kicked Season 3 into high-gear, wasting no time in kicking things off with the action and intensity we’ve been craving from our favorite Leda sisters.

“The Weight Of This Combination” picks off exactly where we left off in Season 2: Sarah has just broken out of Dyad’s clutches, Cosima is barely hanging on to life—but more importantly, still surviving, Rachel’s got a little something stuck in her eye, and Helena has been transferred over to the military’s clutches.

We open to a dream sequence, featuring Helena’s baby shower. There are colors everywhere, a euphoric atmosphere, and tons of sunshine. All of the “sestras” and Felix are reunited and happy as ever. Unfortunately, this is anything but what OB is actually about, and soon Helena wakes up to find herself locked up in a box, with a scorpion crawling out of her dress and towards her face.

Sarah, Felix, and Kira get precious alone time at the beach where they were previously seen holding Sarah’s “memorial” from Season 1. Sarah and Felix proceed to discuss the emergence of Castor clones; while Sarah feels rest assured that the problem is being taken care of by Marion (the woman who helped Sarah get out of Dyad at the end of Season 2), Felix remains skeptical considering Marion ran off to Europe. Right at that moment, they are greeted by a familiar and unexpected face: Delpine.

Delphine has gone through some major changes since S2. Last we saw her, Rachel was sending Delphine away to Frankfurt, effectively breaking up her connection with Cosima. As it turns out, Rachel’s “eye incident” benefited Delphine to some extent, as they find out she has taken over Rachel’s role as head of Dyad…temporarily (one time will tell for that bit).

Sarah is escorted over to Dyad by Delphine, where she is urged to talk to one of the Castor Clones, Rudy. Little is known so far about the Castor Clones, only that they all were brought up by the military (other than the Prolethean clone from S2, Mark) and thus bear similar resemblance to each other (unlike the Leda clones). Delphine reveals to Sarah that they managed to capture Rudy when he and another clone were found seducing another Leda clone Krystal into his hotel bedroom and later a car trunk. Fortunately they were able to capture and intercept him before they killed Krystal, but unfortunately couldn’t capture the other Castor clone.

When Sarah goes in to talk to Rudy, she finds out that he knows an alarming amount of information about her – everything from Mrs. S and Felix to Kira. Sarah threatens him that if he ever comes near her family she’ll kill him, at which point Delphine quickly brings her out of the room. As she’s leaving, Rudy tells her one more thing: “count your sisters”.

Disconcerted by her conversation, Sarah quickly calls through all her sisters and finds out all are ok except for one: Helena is still missing. She mentions this to Delphine, who believes Helena’s disappearance is not a priority. The more pressing issue? Topside is sending an inspector to DYAD whose job is to assess the security risks posed by the Leda clones. As a result, they must keep Rachel’s circumstances under wraps and not reveal anything to this man, and in order for this to happen, Sarah must play Rachel. Sarah immediately backs out of this (she’s impersonated one sestra too many).

We finally get to see Ali’s side of the town, and very appropriately at her kid’s soccer practice. We see her challenging ref’s plays and even talking politics with Marcia, a woman running for school trustee (instead of supporting Marcia, Alison declares that she’s been thinking of running against her. I’m so glad Ali’s not lost her power). More drama awaits the soccer field: Donnie shows up to practice and announces that he “quit”/got fired from his job.

Mrs. S arrives at her home, but quickly senses something is not right. As perceptive as she is, she is unable to take down the male assailant in her home, who turns out to be another Castor clone. His goal at S’s is find out what happened to Ethan Duncan, though he quickly finds out thanks to S that he is dead. When he asks where Duncan’s research is, Siobhan taunts him by telling him it must be at Dyad. Later on, Felix and Sarah find Mrs. S beaten up on her own floor. She garners their immediate sympathy, but when she reveals her role in Helena’s disappearance, Sarah is infuriated and storms out.

Over at Dyad, Rachel’s doctor meets with Delphine and informs her that the eye-extraction surgery was a success; however, she has sustained trauma and the extent of damage to her brain is unknown. The doctor mentions an incident in Helsinki, which supposedly Rachel doesn’t know about, and Delphine replies that Marion had told her all about this incident and as a consequence, it’s her duty to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Thanks to the magical and heavenly recovery of Season 2’s season finale (in which Kira somehow reversed death), Cosima is feeling much better and is now living at Felix’s. She answers a knock at his door and is pleasantly surprised to find Delphine. Sadly, it’s not all flowers and roses. Delphine reveals to Cosima that she’s actually there looking for Sarah. It doesn’t stop there: as a temp head for Dyad, she won’t be working with Scott and her anymore, and more significantly, she is supposed to treat all the Leda clones equally. They can no longer be in a relationship. Cosima is heartbroken and shuts the door, leaving Delphine crying in the hallway.

Alison and Donnie go over financials to see how they’re doing, especially now that Donnie is jobless. Donnie is reluctant to take money out of their retirement fund, and instead suggests that Ali returns to working with her mother at her store, “Bubbles” (to which Alison flat out rejects). While Alison admits to Donnie that is thinking of challenging Marcia and running for school trustee (to Donnie’s support), she gets a call from Delphine.

Back at the beach, Sarah and Felix are discussing S’s betrayal. Sarah doesn’t want to betray Helena and wonders if instead Delphine and she could do a little trade-off to benefit each other. While Felix doesn’t like this idea, Sarah ignores him and accepts an opportune phone call from Delphine to meet up. At Rachel’s place, Sarah and Delphine come to an agreement: if Sarah becomes Rachel for the Topside investigation, Delphine will help get Helena back from Project Castor.

Scott arrives at Fee’s place for Cosima’s check up. Scott admits that considering all of the craziness that has recently occurred, he’s not so sure that he wants to continue working at Dyad. Cosima’s got some tricks up her sleeve however: she entices him with the book that Duncan had given to Kira with all of his scribbles. Scott is immediately hooked in and promises Cosima that he’ll solve it with her, and it’ll be a secret just for the two of them.

Undergoing a transformation, Sarah becomes Rachel and goes in to meet the Topside investigator, Ferdinand. While she tries to get out quickly, Ferdinand insists on her presence. They discuss Dyad’s incompetency in dealing with Paul, a Castor spy who infiltrated Project Leda, and to distract, Sarah busts out the news of Helena’s disappearance to Ferdinand (against Delphine’s wishes). Ferdinand demands to go to the holding area where he believes Sarah is still being held. They reluctantly head down to see “Sarah” (who is really just Alison). Ferdinand is increasingly skeptical of their ongoings and feels “Sarah” up to see if she is actually Sarah: if she was, she would have a scar from her Oophorectomy. As he quickly finds out that that’s not the case, Delphine explains to him that they had to postpone to surgery. Though Ferdinand accepts this as an excuse, he tells “Rachel” that he’ll be coming over to her place that night to discuss Helsinki.

Delphine visits Rachel in her hospital bed. At this point arrives the biggest character development: in turns out that Delphine is not so puppy like anymore. With straightened hair comes the “uber-bitch” personality of Rachel’s, as Sarah would delicately say. Delphine asks Rachel a few questions, to which Rachel has difficulty in answering (thanks to the brain damage resulting from the incident). Because of Rachel’s stammering, Delphine says that this is all personal now, and forces her thumb onto Rachel’s missing eye. When questioned with what she and Ferdinand have planned, Rachel manages to say “Helsinki”, though according to her doctor she is not supposed to know anything about it.

Back at Rachel’s apartment, Sarah (“Rachel”) is greeted by Ferdinand’s appearance. Expecting to discuss Helena, she is surprised when Ferdinand tries to get real close to her, and insists on discussing Helsinki. He explains that Helsinki was actually Rachel’s own decision, since if the ongoing clone operations continued, Topside could have been exposed. Helsinki, as it turns out, was a major operation in which six clones were terminated in Helsinki within 24 hours. He orders “Rachel” to kill Sarah once he ovaries are removed, and that Cosima will be the next to go. Alison is currently being taken care by a hitman, who plans on chloroforming all the Hendrix’s and setting their home on fire.

Sarah escapes for a moment and runs to the bathroom, in an attempt to call Alison and warn her. Her plans are thwarted when Ferdinand enters the bathroom. He believes that “Rachel” is getting second thoughts about Helsinki. He urges her to continue, all under the motivation of Kira. Since he still has no idea that “Rachel” really isn’t Rachel, Sarah takes advantage of this and brings him straight to the bed, where she starts to beat and choke him with his belt. She starts to pull tighter but is intercepted right in time by Delphine, who takes time to chastise Ferdinand’s sexual involvement with Rachel. Sarah explains to Delphine that Helsinki is currently happening, though she replies that Topside will definitely kill Ferdinand if they find out he was conspiring with one clone to kill the others. Helsinki is immediately called off by Ferdinand, and just in time in saving Alison’s life.

As Ferdinand is led out, Sarah confronts Delphine, wondering why she didn’t tell her about Helsinki (since Sarah was only helping her to save Helena). Delphine promises her that she’s working on saving Helena, and that Sarah should not try anything until the deal with Project Castor is figured out. Sarah agrees.

We finally get another Helena scene, in which she’s still locked in her crate in an unknown location. By this point, she has now befriended the scorpion. The scorpion “tells” Helena to imagine herself inside a box, inside a box, inside another box. A woman within the security box who is watching over Helena’s crate, orders an officer to remove Helena. As the man moves over to release Helena, we find out he’s another Castor clone.

As the episode draws to a close, we’re taken back to Dyad and Rudy’s holding cell. The man watching Rudy is suddenly shot by someone from the back, and as the assailant moves into Rudy’s cell, it turns out he’s the Castor clone that attacked S. The clones greet each other and hug.

It’s definitely safe to say that Season 3 is wasting no time in pushing the narrative forth. I’m most intrigued by Delphine’s transition. I want to believe that maybe this will be the Season where she doesn’t betray the Leda sisters, but her Rachel-tendencies leave me a bit questioning of her motives. Long-term wise, I’m a bit sad that we’ll only be seeing Cal (Michiel Huisman) for one episode, and thus will only be seeing Sarah-Cal action for one episode. One the other hand, my favorite power couple Alison+Donnie will be playing a huge role in this season (maybe to make up for the heartbreaking absence of Cosima and Delphine).

Every single introduction for each character and subplot introduction wasn’t really smoothed into the episode: it was abruptly brought in as if it was just trailing an episode from last week. And honestly, it’s a good thing. Rest assured, we’re in for a wild season.