Boob(s On Your) Tube: “Orphan Black” Wonders Who’s The Science Now, Bitch?

There’s not much new to report on the queer TV front since Thursday’s courtroom drama on Grey’s Anatomy, but I thought we could have a little rundown of Orphan Black, even though nothing explicitly gay happened on it. Also, thanks to Valerie Anne for letting me know that you can now watch the first four episodes of this season for free on YouTube! Episode five airs on Thursday.


Orphan Black

Thursdays on BBC America at 10:00 p.m.

orphan-black

Well, Cosima is still dying and Delphine is still missing and when did this show get so gross? I mean, I know it’s always been a little bloody, has always leaned a little into body-horror — but good lord! This week, Leekie’s head ends up on a table, prompting Cosima to ask him “Who’s the science now, bitch?!” (It is him. Leekie is the science.) They dissect the NeoWorm in his face and conclude that it’s some kind of protein delivery system, meaning it’s changing Sarah’s DNA, meaning she’s ten times more frantic about getting it out of her cheek than she was last week, and she was already acting thoroughly unhinged.

First, she gets Dizzy to help her break into MK’s RV (where they almost get blown to smithereens). Then, she tries to stiff-arm MK into helping Ferdinand so Ferdinand can find Rachel so Rachel can use her HBIC powers to get the NeoBot out of Sarah’s jaw. Too bad Ferdinand was the guy behind Helsinki and that Helsinki was the genocide of about a dozen Ledas, including MK’s best friend. So instead of helping Ferdinand, MK lures him to Beth’s old apartment and exacts the most beautiful revenge I have ever seen. She tricks him into sitting on a spring-loaded bomb, lights a candle for every clone he killed, takes him step-by-step through a slideshow of why he’s the worst, douses him with gasoline, and forces him to transfer his entire three million dollar net worth into her Paypal account. Then she bounces.

Sarah calls S and S diffuses the bomb while rolling her eyes because she’s just the baddest badass. Ferdinand lives to see another day … for now.

One of the other dumb things Sarah does is yell at Alison about how she’s not pulling her weight, indicating that she does not know about Leekie’s head rolling around in Scott and Cosima’s laboratory. So, Alison tracks down a Neolution fertility lab, makes color-coded binders containing her research, laminates some new IDs for Felix and Donnie, and sends them into to pose as a couple looking to have a baby. She even phone sexes Donnie and accosts one of her neighbors who’s visiting the clinic to find out how she and her husband were able to get pregnant even though they’d had as many problems as Donnie and Alison. The answer is: BrightBorn, which is basically Neolution gynecology. Designer babies.

Rachel tries to get another note to Ferdinand via Charlotte, but her mother intercepts it. She make Rachel choose between saving Charlotte’s life (Charlotte, who is kind of Rachel’s daughter) and letting her die of Cosimafluenza so they can use the “data set” for more clone research. Rachel says let her die, but that’s before she realizes her letter to Ferdinand has been confiscated. She had a backup plan, I think, to save Charlotte. But now she does not and her evil mother is going to let Charlotte die for data and for punishment.

Perfect, beautiful Helena packs her bags and scampers away from the Toronto suburbs after Donnie tells her to dial it back with the pregnancy talk around Alison. He’s an idiot. Helena buries her “science babies” in the garden before she goes, apologizing for not “feeding them liquid nitrogen” to keep them alive.

Stay safe, sweet angel!

This continues to be my favorite season since the first one. I know the plot holes and science holes are a little more noticeable this season, but I don’t care. I’m happy to suspend my disbelief a little more than usual for the reward of a slowed-down plot and getting to see Tatiana Maslany do brilliant character work.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 800 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. Yes, no queer content whatsoever but that’s fine by me. Finally I get some quality television after so much crap. Orphan Black and PoI are blowing my mind, thank you very much.

    Next week Shaw is coming so I need to get ready for the internet meltdown.

  2. Excuse you, we saw, in canon, that Root has a merit badge in gayness. (and kneecapping. <3 and GIANT HEART which clearly refers to amazing lover skills. and supreme motorcycle queerness.)

  3. The fact that I love all these batshit murderesses so much (not to mention, the batshit murderesses on PoI) makes me legitimately question my taste in women. Seriously, what is television doing to me these days!?

    As Freakazoid said, I’m just SO SO GRATEFUL for queer television that is not just queer, but also GOOD. Good television and queer television should not be mutually exclusive, but it sometimes feels like they are, and Orphan Black, and PoI, and OITNB when it comes back, remind me that good queer television DOES exist.

    Basically, more of this, is what I’m saying. More batshit murderesses on good queer shows.

    • You know, one of the things I love about PoI is that we all know that it wasn’t a huge commercial success for CBS but they never tried (I’m sure this is Jonathan Nolan’s doing) those classic cheap shots to get the numbers up (hello The 100, AKA Game of Thrones Reloaded).

    • I feel like there is so much to talk about with women on POI that doesn’t even touch on queer relationships.

      *vaguely spoilery*

      -Shaw’s backstory showing how she is essentially punished for lack of empathy. I feel like that situation would have been different if Shaw had been male, even if just in the reasons stated, “We’re firing you because of your atrocious bedside manner” vs “We’re firing you because you are clearly a sociopath”
      -Root’s backstory based on violence against women, and how it can be buried/ignored by society. That is her starting point for her opinion on society, and it can really only go downhill as she interacts with the both the criminal and tech communities as a teenage girl. In comparison, Finch’s much higher opinion of people and his (at the beginning of the show) rather rigid views on violence reflect (in my opinion) his much more privileged experiences. He probably hasn’t seen the level of darkness Root has, and judges her for how she has been shaped by it. The way that these two characters come to meet in the middle (ish) is a huge part of the show.

      • Well actually bedside manners is a proper term in the medical field I think ? it directly relates to how medical personnel treat a patient, and if enough patients complain the person could get fired for it (aka House would have never lasted this long). I kinda want to believe that this would have played out similarly if Shaw had been male

        what IS different is that Shaw as a character might never have been “diagnosed” by the writing team / other characters / the audience as sociopathic to begin with if she had been male because that would have just been expected of a male CIA assassin.

        • I think we are actually in agreement here? I was trying to say that “bedside manner” was an appropriate enough reason for firing, but her boss barrels straight past that to “yep, definitely a sociopath”

      • Your comments about Root/Finch and their various upbringings are really interesting. I almost want to go back and watch The Contingency/Bad Code while keeping this in mind. And then rewatch Zero Day/God Mode, once Finch knows about Hanna, to see if/how his judgement of her changes once he knows more about her history.

  4. Sarah is my least favourite clone right now. She’s just dialled it up to 11 and is running around shrieking at people and being mean to Felix, and being mean to Alison. She owes a number of people, not least of all her daughter, some very sincere apologies.

    Also, I want to be Siobhan Sadler. I love how she just swans about, nonchalant as you please, diffusing bombs and asking people what’s the matter with them when they’re acting freaked out about something – like, she’s got so much class that even in the middle of the most batshit crazy goings on, she’s still schooling people about how to behave in a crisis, and it’s NOT the way Sarah is behaving.

    Helena makes my world go round.

    The fact that TM plays all these different characters still makes my head spin – I read a thing by Emily Nussbaum the other day that said TM even has chemistry with herself, which I thought was perfect and brilliant. It’s so true. She’s luminous and incredible. Love this show. Love you talking about this show, Heather – now that we’re in this brave new world of no PLL recaps, I miss your writing.

  5. Also POI twice a week? So bloody happy about it. Especially as this series is just so GOOD atm. Like seriously loving all the plot and the subtle changes to the characters and just all of the geeky stuff. Hajj.

      • Well my mind is editing every scene to put them together all the time.

        If I have to be honest every time I’ve seen Root’s or Shaw’s name anywhere my mind just goes to that little gif, kinda like my own constant serotonin+endorphins fix.

    • There’s a longer preview out with scenes we hadn’t seen yet and everything hurts. I think I’m going to feel actual physical pain when I watch the episode. It’ll be worth it, though.

    • So I’ve got this issue – I totally want to watch how the whole thing happens with them because you guys are all so excited about them, but I like to watch these things from the beginning so that I’m invested – my issue here is that the pilot really wasn’t very good. It was a lot of posturing from that dude with no lips and some serious eye-overacting like that guy who was in Weeds and is now the murdery dude on the team in Scandal – you know the guy I mean, right? He overacts so badly. I stopped watching Scandal because I can’t stand him. Anyway – the dude on PoI reminds me of him.

      So – should I persist with PoI? Can I start from the season where these two are in it? Or will I miss something?

      • I recommend that people watch all the episodes, because Joss Carter is an amazing character and it makes me sad that anyone would miss out on her awesomeness, and the white guys grow on you eventually, but if you absolutely can’t stand them you could skip to Root’s introduction in 1×13, and then to the season finale. You’d miss a LOT of character development, important flashbacks and information about the Machine, though.

        Here’s a skip list by twitter user artincircles made with the intent to get people through the slow parts of the first two seasons: https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=D3E8119EE99D529C!423&cid=d3e8119ee99d529c&lor=shortUrl&app=Word

          • Yeah, Zoe’s awesome! Her first episode is “The Fix” and it’s a pretty traditional number of the week episode, but she’s a recurring character so I’d recommend watching her introduction. I think the one with the Carter flashbacks in Iraq (was that 1×09?) isn’t on the list either, so I’d also add that one because Carter <3

          • Haha I feel you! I want to rewatch Relevance before the next episode airs, but if I do I’ll probably end up in a feelings spiral and I’ll have to rewatch every episode Shaw was in. Not that it would be a bad thing! I miss that wonderful grumpy assassin so much.

  6. Since MK first turned up I’ve been saying she was to do with Helsinki – This week I was shouting it! Sad that I was so smug. Also I saw a link on Twitter to a weekly Orphan Black science round up that was brilliant and explained how stuff was true or not. But now I’m not sure where that is or is link to it. But it’s out there folks!

  7. GUYS. I had an amazing dream that Delphine Cormier was my girlfriend and I also helped her save the world from, like, a virus explosion situation? (I don’t know but there were monkeys escaped from the zoo and decimated buildings and a whole bunch of other stuff going on). She had season three hair. I’m pretty sure we got to do stuff.

    OK THANKS FOR LISTENING EVERYONE

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