Progress can always be made, but at what cost?
Orphan Black tries to answer that question with the latest episode “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”, in which perhaps the biggest conspiracy surrounding the Castor clones at the military base is revealed.
When we last left off, Sarah has been left alone to the military, thanks to Helena ditching her. Right at the start, she begins having some hallucinations, with dreams of her leaving her room, wandering around the military base, and finding Kira dancing around creepily. She then has a premonition that Rudy’s blood was injected into her while she was unconscious, which turns out to be true.
Paul meets with an unnamed business man in the city, who he converses with about the status of the Castor Clones, and specifically Rudy’s notebook in which he details all the women he screws around with. It’s clear that Paul is acting behind Dr. Cody’s back – there’s something weird going on.
Over in Mrs. S’s place, S and Felix are skyping with Kira. While they put on a happy face when talking about Sarah, behind closed doors they’re extremely worried about where she could possibly be. S has sources, but they’re ultimately unreliable and sketchy.
In the meantime, Cosima has been getting cozier with Shay over at her place, though her work at Dyad is becoming persistent. Over at Alison’s place, my favorite married couple are also getting pretty comfortable with the large sums of money they’ve acquired from drug dealing. Alison continues negotiations with Jason, though Donnie is persistent that he be present at all meetings too.
Back at Dyad, Cosima receives a surprise guest: Delphine. Sadly, the only reason she’s there is because Sarah is missing. They all look at the genetic sequences between the Castor brain and Gracie’s brain. Turns out that there are some matching folding protein patterns between both brains, leading them to believe that they share some type of defect.
Paul comes into Sarah’s operating room and finds her malfunctioning and reacting violently post-blood transfusion. She urges Paul to get him out of the base. Dr. Cody arrives on the scene and keeps up her optimistic stance, but it appears that Paul remains to be held in the black.
Helena is quick on the move in some unidentifiable part of the dessert, but quickly collapses. Pupok arrives on the scene and urges her to continue, that her mistakes lie in trusting Sarah and believing that she deserted her. To these claims, Helena decides she won’t have any more of it and eats the imaginary Pupok.
In a private conversation with the base doctor, Paul finds out that things have changed. The mission isn’t entirely about curing the six soldiers. They talk about how one of the love interests between one of the clones had blood shot red eyes after their consummation that she went into treatment and since then things have remained super secretive. The only place where things may be revealed are inside Dr. Cody’s quarters. Paul then approaches Mark, the only Castor clone who seems to be in the black about everything else as well, to help him find out more information.
While they await the arrival of Gracie into Dyad for testing, Cosima and Delphine share a super awkward moment. Delphine asks Cosima if her late arrivals into work and missed calls are reasons for her being sick, but Cos brushes that off quickly. Felix enlists the help of Scotty to find out where Sarah is, by using Rachel.
Between Paul snooping in on Dr. Cody’s papers, and Cosima operating on Gracie, two things are revealed: the defects in the castor clones are contagious and are being transferred between the Castor Clones and whoever they share bodily fluids with. And these deficiencies typically mean sterilization.
While Sarah is undergoing another horrifying test (most likely Castor-pathogen injection) with Dr. Cody, Paul arrives on the scene and places Dr. Cody—and anyone else on her side—under arrest for sterilizing women.
During this tramautic period for Sarah, she goes through another hallucinatory period, in which she envisions a conversation between herself and Beth in S’s kitchen. Their “conversation” quickly becomes inflammatory when Sarah says she misses Beth, to which Beth replies “you don’t get to miss me”. When Beth mentions that she let herself get consumed by this thing, and that Sarah is too, she gives her a piece of advice: “stop asking why, and start asking whom.”
In another part of Dyad, Felix pays a visit to Rachel with Scotty, though he very quickly loses his temper with Rachel’s inability to help him. Scotty notices some very peculiar symbols on Rachel’s artwork that she’s been creating to pass the time.
When tests conclude with Gracie, Delphine and Cosima share yet another awkward moment in which Delphine tells her that she misses her. Cue an hour later when everyone’s left, where we see Delphine in her own, isolated apartment, poring over tons and tons of pictures and video files of Cosima and Shay together on their first date (and possibly other occurrences). Looks like someone’s not so over it.
Things are going slightly better for Cosima: while she’s paying a visit to Shay, she receives a phone call from Scott and finds out that the symbols from Rachel’s artwork matches those in Dr. Moreau’s Island. Rachel may know the code to the genetic sequence after all.
Alison’s relationship with Jason remains on very friendly and happy terms, with promises of continued prosperity and success in the air. Jason suggests not being tied down in the business and paying up front, but Alison promises him that she and Donnie are very much interested in continuing on with their business. When Jason tells them that their garage-soap selling front won’t cut it anymore, Alison suggests a new idea, much to the surprise of both Jason and Donnie: selling out her mom’s business, Bubbles.
Paul reveals to Sarah that the big military scheme revolves around human sterilization trials. Sarah barges in on Dr. Cody’s quarters and questions why. Dr. Cody is in awe over Sarah’s body’s rejection to Rudy’s fluids and defects, though as if she already knew this would happen (Sarah’s fertility in having Kira). Dr. Cody’s reasoning behind everything is that the Castor and Leda siblings share the same disorder: while it attacks the boys’ brains, it attacks the Leda’s in their epithelial tissue. Sarah and Paul struggle to get answers out of Dr. Cody, but they reason that she intends on using this scientific advancement and research as a weapon/peacemaker in future conflicts and wars.
Though Paul’s contact in the city has ordered an extraction team to clear out Dr. Cody’s team, Rudy’s vehicle has arrived back on the scene (after trying to find Helena), and Rudy wastes no time in killing those who oppose Dr. Cody and freeing those who support her. During this time, Paul realizes the gravity of their situation and takes Sarah out to a secret pathway, leaving her on her own. As he goes off Sarah begs him to join her, but Paul says little else other than that “it was never really Beth that he was in love with”.
When Rudy frees Dr. Cody and go to the main operating tent with the original Castor genome (the baby skeleton), they find Paul. Fresh from a scuffle from the military Castor clone, he appears to be waning on health, but strong in resolve against Dr. Cody’s plans. As each party recognizes failure to compromise, Dr. Cody appreciates the time he spent with the military/his devotion to the Castor Clones, and shoots him multiple times. At that point, he drops down a grenade (as if he anticipated this), and just a few seconds after Dr. Cody and Rudy bolt out, the major explosion is felt. Even Sarah, who is busy tunneling herself away, feels the impact; but she is not alone, as Helena appears from above and goes immediately to her, in a moment of pure luck.
Wow. Tons of things to process here. Let’s break it up.
Paul: I’ve honestly had little appreciation for Paul, specifically because of how much back-stabbing and deception there was in his character. Towards the end of his run, you could definitely get a sense that he was on Sarah’s side in terms of generally helping her out, and this really escalated explicitly in this episode (all of the Beth-Paul flashbacks, and the randomly placed segments where Sarah would ask Paul if he loved Beth, and Paul’s final statement to Sarah in which he basically says he loves her). Their whole romance thing was really rushed and frankly random. I get that a large part of it was to justify his sacrifice and make his intentions known, but it honestly makes little sense. With that being said, Sarah’s supporters in the real world are running low, and losing Paul is actually a big blow. We won’t know till next week if his last moves in blowing up Dr. Cody’s research room, and presumably the entire base, were significant. But if there was any a way to go down in this show, it would be getting shot as a martyr for scientific morality in progress and then throwing down a grenade. RIP, BDP.
The reveal: The big reveal, in the grand scheme of things, was honestly not entirely overwhelming. This moment was being built up to over the course of the past 6 episodes, and I was honestly expecting something more dramatic and unlike any themes we’ve been introduced to before. At some point, reveals like these seem almost intuitive after knowing for a while that the Leda Clones (except for Sarah and Helena) are infertile, and after knowing that the Leda and Castor Clones are related and thus should share some genetic defects. It’s on the next step now though: I’m sure the next big thing is to reveal who Dr. Cody is working for, a question she refused to answer to Sarah and Paul in the episode.
Rachel: Ahh, Rachel. The underdog of the season yet perhaps the most powerful player. At her most vulnerable state, we’re beginning to find out crucial information to the origins of the Leda clones (something I really wanna learn more about) that is central to Rachel herself. While her departure to Ethan Duncan at the end of last season was less than ceremonious, it’s clear that she still has deep emotional ties to her surrogate father, and that there are major unresolved stories to discover. I’m not entirely confident in Scott’s diagnosis that Rachel has the key: the pencil in her eye may have stimulated some sort of discovery for her, but I’m sure it’s a longer path than that to success.
Delphine: Boy did things get serious. Here I was, thinking that Delphine was absolutely cold-hearted and displaced for not appearing in several episodes and just leaving Cosima hanging. Turns out that she’s been following Cosima and taking photos of her and her dates, almost as if she’s still a monitor. While I really love Shay and Cosima’s drama-free relationship, I’m worried about what her involvement may bode for Cosima and how things will actually turn out between the two: there’s been a lot of heartbreaks involved, but maybe that’s what actually attracts them to each other. To be honest, this is the subplot that I’m most interested, and I’m really hoping we get more of this next week.