More family tensions are on the rise as the hunt for the original genome continues on Orphan Black.
“Formalized, Complex, and Costly” reintroduces to us the conflicts of the proletheans, specifically newly-married Mark and Gracie.
The episode begins with Sarah and Felix trying to figure out what to do with Seth’s body, shot dead by his brother Rudy in the last episode. As fate would have it, Art comes over to their apartment and discovers the body that they try so hard to hide, and while he’s not on board with their actions, he turns a blind eye. Art tells Sarah that he’s got a lead on Mark.
Mark remains very apprehensive and nervous following the burning of his tattoo/of his relations to the military, and has a freak-out when Gracie goes out of the room to get breakfast.
Gracie is able to see through Mark’s plans of “laying low”, to which Mark reveals that he never really left the army when he was with the Proletheans. He was assigned to retrieve “valuable scientific material”. He tells her that he needs to find something her father stole, and then they’ll be free of both their people, visibly upsetting Gracie.
Alison and Donnie continue their parade in the suburbs, garnering votes for the school trustee election in exchange for drugs. While mothers are initially skeptical of her involvement in politics, once word of Alison’s business gets around there’s a definite raise in interest for her election.
Marcia comes over to Ali’s garage and offers her a trade-in for a nice house in return for her dropping out of the election. Ali’s response? “Go sell a house.”
Sarah and Art go out into the same town Gracie and Mark are in, where they approach a midwife from the Proletheans. Sarah wants to find the samples of the original genome first so that she can trade it in to the military for Helena. When the two corner the midwife Alexis, and they only find out that Gracie and Mark took the Johannson’s truck, until Alexis happily reveals that Helena was impregnated by Johannson, and that Gracie is a surrogate for their child.
Mark has plans to approach Millard Finch, a friend Johannson who might have the stolen scientific materials. Gracie manages to convince him to let her go instead, so that they don’t run into another “violent mess”. Under a “threatening” personality, she is able to retrieve a mysterious box from the old and wizened Mr. Finch at his farm.
Throughout their time together, Sarah wonders why Art continues to stay involved in her sisters’ affairs, each time they mention Beth and their partnership. It turns out that the night Beth jumped off the train platform, she had called Art and for that, Art remains guilty.
Over at military headquarters, Rudy and Paul return. While Paul is well received, Dr. Cody slaps Rudy for killing his brother. Dr. Cody and Paul discuss stress tests and the defects that occurred in Seth – Helena doesn’t have it. No matter what, the original genome is the most desired item. Dr. Cody reveals they are one inspection away from oblivion, due to how badly the Castor clones are faring in the real world. Rudy gives his logs from out in the field to Dr. Cody (Patty’s samples), and receives solace from Dr. Cody when he appears to be distressed from Seth’s downfall.
In the meantime, Cosima and Scott do an autopsy of sorts on Seth, in an effort to extract his brain so they can do tests. Over at another medical center, Rachel is doing more picture tests with Dr. Nealson. Rachel is somewhat able to get most of the words, until Dr. Nealson reveals that “Rachel” is dead due to a plane crash, and that Delphine has taken over her role. Upon hearing this, Rachel seems to suddenly reboot up and answer the cards more thoroughly, specifically a two-headed horse card.
Sarah and Art arrive at Mr. Finch’s farm, and tell Mr. Finch that they’re on the lookout for Mark and Gracie. While Mr. Finch tries to play it dumb when it comes to Johannson, he does give a little away, saying Gracie did come over only to give news on Johannson’s death. Right at that instant, Alexis is shown at the house of Gracie’s mother, telling her that Gracie and Mark are indeed in the area.
Mark and Gracie open up the box given to Gracie, only to find out that that is contains documents and paperwork, no test tubes or samples relating to the original genome. While Gracie is scared of his involvement, Mark promises to come back in an hour.
Over at a café in the same area, Art has pressing issues at the detective agency and has to leave early. And there’s something else that’s tying him to the Leda/Castor case: it turns out that Art and Beth were in love with each other for a time. He says to Sarah: “you’re just as fierce as she was.” It turns out that there’s another familiar face at the café: Gracie.
Sarah approaches Gracie and tells her that her husband does have brothers, and that she knows that Gracie is carrying Helena’s baby (thus making them “family”). Sarah continues on, telling Gracie that there’s a ton more that Mark hasn’t revealed to her, specifically that he’s a clone. When Gracie freaks out, Sarah tells her that she must tell her where Mark is, so that she can find Helena.
Rudy visits Helena in her cell (“Another one. You are the ugliest Mark yet.”). Paul arrives on the scene and pushes Rudy away from Helena, giving him another assignment (possibly to retrieve Mark). Helena tries to entice Paul to come into her cell and add another clone under his belt. While Paul gives his condolences to her situation, Helena remarks that one day, she’ll kill them all.
Back at the motel, Gracie quickly tries to pack up her materials as fast as possible, trying to escape from this clone hell-hole as fast as possible. As fate would have it, she is visited by her mother. Though the meeting is initially very tense for Gracie, she loosens up and lets herself be taken care of by her mother. Unbeknownst to her mother, Gracie puts the box of paperwork from Mr. Finch’s farm under the bed.
Meanwhile, Mark has tied up Mr. Finch, and since Mr. Finch seemingly has no idea where Johannson’s stolen scientific materials are, Mark essentially kills him.
Sarah later arrives on the scene, while simultaneously receiving a call from Cosima. According the autopsy performed on Seth’s brain, there’s yet another major reveal: the Castor clones are brothers of the Leda clones. This reveal is too much for Mark, who is trying to threaten Sarah, and runs out to the field.
Running out doesn’t do too much good for him. Gracie’s mother has arrived on the scene, and with a rifle and no mercy for his traitorous tendencies to both the Proletheans and Gracie. While Mark may love her daughter, the love is “not like her mother” and she shoots him.
Honestly, it’s more of a “count your brothers” situation now. If there was a Castor clone I was most interested in seeing long-term it was Mark. And knowing that his love for Gracie was real makes even sadder. His death doesn’t bode well for the military at all, who can’t afford any more clone deaths. This makes me more nervous for our Leda clones, since they will undoubtedly be targeted next.
The reveal that the Leda and Castor clones are siblings seems a bit forced and honestly, unnecessary. This news has to be significant leading into the next couple of episodes and finale as somewhat of a decide factor in future circumstances.
It’s a little upsetting that most of the familiar characters that we love: Delphine, Kira, Cal, Mrs. S, even Felix and Cosima to an extent, are being majorly sidelined by the Castor clones plot. Two of my favorite clones, Alison and Helena, are being extremely subdued in the writing: one serves as comedic relief strictly while the other one spends the extent of her time stuck in a cell.
A lot of the recent subplots that have been coming up – specifically Art and Beth’s romantic involvement – seem really unnecessary and extra. I mean, I’d really like to believe that it’s out of Art’s good heart and interest in Sarah’s affairs that he’s helping her and her sisters’ case out, not just because he loved Beth and feels guilty about not saving her life. I really hope that this is a temporary problem and everyone reunites by the end of this season.