Orphan Black Episode 301 Recap: Clear Eyes, Straight Hair, Don’t Care

Welcome back to Orphan Black! Previously, four sestras joined forces to wage war against a faceless shadow determined to rip away their autonomy/destroy their lives, which looked like: Sarah Manning tracking down the Big Bad behind their cloning, beheading it, and watching helplessly as three other Big Bad heads grew back in its place; Alison conquering her booze-fueled bender habits and teaming up with her husband/former monitor to murder anyone who got in their way and bury their corpses under the garage; Helena eating a lot of candy and falling in love and trying not to get kidnapped and getting kidnapped and having her eggs harvested against her will and getting kidnapped again and also eating more candy; and Cosima researching a cure for her Leda Lung Syndrome while hovering near the edge of death while making out with her wicked smart and supernaturally beautiful girlfriend. Also, some boy clones came into play.

It’s a bright sunshiney day in Toronto, and Helena’s sisters are throwing her a baby shower. That is a lie. Helena is trapped in a crate, but she is dreaming of this baby shower and it is the sweetest and silliest and saddest thing you have ever seen in your entire life.


You’re alive!


Praise the Vanderjesus!

It’s Helena’s heightened, perfect reality and so all of her sisters (and brother-sestra) are outlines of who they really are, with Helena’s imagination coloring in the rest. Except for Sarah. Sarah is spot-on because Helena knows Sarah better than she knows herself. So Sarah needles Helena about being a meathead, and Alison has crafted literally every baby thing off of Pinterest (baby clothes and toys and cupcakes), and Kira is a fairy and very excited about the new monkey Helena is growing in her belly, and Felix is dressed like if Mad Men were a gay Disney movie and he was the Don Draper. While he grills marinated ox liver and babka, Cosima shows up dressed like a Ukrainian festival holding a basket of Ukrainian delicacies and talking about, “I’m way better thanks to science!”

Well, but like I said, Helena is actually stuffed in a wooden box, sitting in a warehouse. She wakes up and freaks out, and then, of course, a giant scorpion crawls out of her dress and starts chatting her up. The scorpion sounds like Marcel the Shell, but guess what? It’s played by Tatiana Maslany too. (The voice, I mean. That’s not Tatiana Maslany in a scorpion costume.) (Or maybe it is. Wonders never cease on this show.) The scorpion tells Helena she’s being tested again, and for some reason, this calms her right down. Also, he has a name and it is Pupok.


What the ffffffff…


I hang glided in here on a Dorito.


You brought Doritos?!

If someone doesn’t take Helena out for ice cream and also to fucking Build-a-Bear by the end of this season, I am going to have a fit.

Down by the river where Felix once hosted a fake funeral for Sarah, the two of them and Kira hang out and drink beers.


Neither boss ass bitch can live while the other survives.


That’s the opposite of feminism. Get in the car.

Felix: Kira, you don’t keep getting kidnapped by a many-tentacled leviathan that wants to disassemble your entire body. Why don’t you run off into the tall grass and play by yourself.
Sarah: It feels good to sit here and drink these liquors and not have anything to worry about.
Felix: I mean. Everyone you love keeps getting stalked and murdered by a seemingly infinite number of interchangeable straight white men with unknowable allegiances, but okay.
Sarah: Dude, I told you. Marion, that lady with the boy clones locked up in her basement and the tiny me-clone who lives in the cupboard under the stairs, she’s going to take care of us. She controls Topside and Topside controls DYAD and DYAD controls the people who keep killing us.
Felix: Sure thing. Hey, who’s that dark angel in the luxury sedan? Ah. Right. Delphine.

Delphine’s hair is straight now, but her swagger is not. She summons Sarah to DYAD to talk about the new ways she and her sisters are going to get killed to death this year. For one thing, Rachel — who is at this facility having surgery to remove that pen that was jabbed in her eye — is going to come after Sarah like a perfectly manicured wildcat, okay? And now Project Castor is in the mix. It turns out the boy clones are kidnapping the girl clones, as evidenced by a hotel surveillance video of a new Leda clone named Krystal making out with and then getting snatched by a Castor clone. Delphine wants Sarah to talk to Rudy, the Castor clone in captivity, and game him into spilling some secrets. Sarah wants Delphine to talk to her girlfriend.


Hammers and nails and puppy dog tails.


Sugar and spice and fuck you.

Sarah: Hello, I am here to discover your secrets.
Rudy: I am here to leer at you and speak in riddles like a perverse Willy Wonka.
Sarah: I kicked one of your brothers in the face with my industrial punk boots, is a thing you should know before we get started here.
Rudy: That’s just one of the reasons you’re our favorite. The other, of course, is your functional uterus. If you’ll lean close enough for me to strangle you with these handcuffs, I’ll whisper some secrets to you.
Sarah: You can suck a camel nut. I only trust my sisters.
Rudy: Oh? You don’t trust DYAD, whom you’re now working for? DELPHINE, DON’T PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE ME, GIRL! I KNOW YOU SAW ME!

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Okay, first off, brilliant recap! Love it, and the captions were amazing, and I was this on a tshirt or something “Neither boss ass bitch can live while the other survives.”
    “That’s the opposite of feminism. Get in the car.”

    Delphine is soooooooooooooooo awwessssssssssssooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmeeeeee as a boss. Holy shit. Like, I liked her because she has the most perfect angelic hair and a sexy accent and seems nice, but now she’s instantly become my favourite character. I love that her character has been amplified so much. More lady-bosses. More misandry.

    Also, as a Ukrainian, it really got me in the feels to see traditional costumes and food and actually hearing Ukrainian on TV! For the first time! I have never ever seen a Ukrainian character on TV like this, and I have never heard Ukrainian (not Russian ugh) on my TV screen before so this was just the most wonderful and validating scene ever. A queer scientist dressed up in traditional costumes serving kovbasa and paska while Ukrainian music is playing in the background, hello, that is me, thank you for letting me exist on TV.

    • A queer scientist dressed up in traditional costumes serving kovbasa and paska while Ukrainian music is playing in the background, hello, that is me, thank you for letting me exist on TV.

      That made me tear up! :’)

      • The opening scene made me tear up, and not just because it was cute. Considering how most of the world assumes we’re just like Russians, it’s really important for me to know that Tatiana is Ukrainian, and that Helena is Ukrainian and have that identity mean something more than “dumb gangster who works for Russian mobsters”. Representation, y’all. It does things to the tear ducts and heart.

  2. Goddamn, but you are the World Grandmaster of recaps.

    I felt a little whiplashed by this episode. The Castors made me want to leave the room, and it was extremely hard to watch Siobhan being brutalized, even if I completely don’t trust her (how the hell does she already know about Castor?).

    A little side note. There’s a piece by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess where she talks about her prosopagnosia (face blindness) and mentions how it complicated her appreciation of Orphan Black. The whole piece (like the rest of her blog) is brilliantly written.

  3. The more food and cupcakes and whatnots kept appearing, the more I just wanted to hug the shit out of Helena.
    And all the while the episode reminded us of season one, where “someone” really creepy and scary was after the clones..what a long way we’ve come in twenty episodes. Great callback.
    Did anyone else notice that Helena is a literal Schroedinger’s cat this episode?
    Just how awesome is that?
    I’m still a little confused by Delphine, but thank you for the hero explanation, Heather, that really is starting to make a lot of sense!
    Did I miss something or was Mrs.S somewhat out of character, pleading with Sarah like that?
    I’m not yet sold on the Castor clones. Making all of them loopy and putting a pull up bar in a cell with gratuitous nudity isn’t helping so far.
    I’m also not convinced that directly juxtaposing another actor next to the amazing Maslany (especially while supremely maslanying all over the place!) is a well founded idea in general.
    However, I’m super happy that OB is back and thanks for the recap!

    • I thought the same thing about Mrs. S, but then I started thinking about how complicated her relationship to Sarah is. Mrs. S is tough as nails, but she loves Sarah. She knows she has seriously jeopardized the relationship by messing with Sarah’s family – her people. And that’s when Mrs. S becomes vulnerable, when she stands the risk of losing Sarah.
      That at least is how I read it.

  4. This is such a good recap! Thank you!

    While the break up kinda ripped my heart out a little, I think that Cosima and Delphine are both gonna be more interesting characters apart than together, and I’m excited to see where they take that next.

    My god, can Helena catch a break ever??? Why can’t Helena have nice things???

    I also had the same EXCUSE ME reaction to the Castor clones for all the reasons you listed. And also, like, is it just me, or is it kinda awkward that Tatiana Maslany is able to make all these totally unique and instantly differentiable characters, but I literally can barely tell the boy clones apart except for one has a mustache I guess? I was talking to my sister about it, and she suggested that maybe they’re less variant because they were all raised military or something, which I suppose makes sense but I don’t know.

    • I thought that Mark and Rudy and Mustache all had distinct body postures, but since we’ve only met them (and they don’t have any major focus WHICH GOOD), there’s probably not as much that we need to see them as wholly different individuals.

      I’m hoping they stay at this level of storyline because then that means that the Leda clones are still the primary focus.

    • I think more similarities makes sense if they were raised together and self-aware. If you know that you’re all the same and one of the others gets praised for something, I think it’d be likely that you’d imitate them because if you’re the same, you can do it too, right? You’re just as good as them right? (I think this inadequacy feeling is central to creepy mustache Castor, thus the rage when Mrs. S insults his intelligence)

      Not to mention that Leda clones are all different as they were raised in varying environments, but Castor was all raised together so similarities are more likely. (Though that article does mention that Millen is working on the differences between the Castor clones. It’ll be interesting to see that over the season!)

      But yeah, as PaperOFlowers says, we also got very little time or focus with them so our evaluations at this moment are likely a little superficial.

  5. – Everybody in the Helena dream was spot on, especially Alison…except for Cosima. She was a little “WTF?”
    – Of course Helena’s spirit animal is an orphanblack emperor scorpion.
    – Listen to the Castor Sarah. Don’t trust Marion.
    – Sarah/Rachel and Alison/Sarah is perfect.
    – Is Cosima the only main clone that hasn’t impersonated another clone?
    – I knew that that was Alison playing Sarah in the preview.
    – I love Rachel, so when Delphine did her eye push, I hated Delphine.
    – The clones seem to have an innate ability to imitate each other. It’s bordering on the supernatural. Is it something like the Kira special abilities?
    – When Ferdinand said that what Rachel wanted more than anything was a child, I think that Sarah saw into her with total clarity.
    – I thought that one of the Castors was going to kill henchman, and stop him from killing Alison

  6. Well I think I’ve thoroughly blogged the hell out of this.


    -I’m way psyched for next week.
    -Delphine now terrifies me in a way that’s borderline sexy and in total conflict my core non-violence clause.
    -Kira, you supernatural lizardchild empath, what are you hiding what do you know
    -Everyone is alone now except for Team Hendrix and I don’t like it.
    -I’m really excited to see where the frontal lobe damage plot arc takes Rachel/DYAD
    -Someone needs to save Helena. Someone who is not a figment of her imagination. Someone who is preferably not a scorpion. Even if that scorpion is Tatiana Maslany.
    -Someone also needs to protect Cosima’s fragile baby science heart.
    -Where is Cal? What wild computer hack-y, secret lumberjack darknet stuff is he up to?
    -What’s Gracie going to do when she finds out Mark is part of the brother project of Leda, which she hated?
    -Tony has a Clone Phone. Where is he, is he ok, and is he coming back? I want him to come back.
    -Krystal is supposedly still alive. What does she know, or not know? What’s her deal?
    -Why do the Castors want to kill Leda anyway? How do they know so much? What’s their motivation? So far they’re pretty flat characters. All I’m picking up from them are threats, violence, and butts.

    • Yeah, what happened to Cal? My last memory is of him hacking in to Dyad for some reason or other….and that is where my memory ends.

      What happened to Delphine in Frankfurt?

      I don’t remember how much time passed between her having to board the plane w/o saying goodbye to Cosima and Rachel being shot with a pencil– or if that time was even addressed.

  7. I am in agreeance, why must they add boy clones, when Tatiana Masly is SO PERFECT. I can’t get over how amazing she is, and why doesn’t she win every award ever? Also, the fact that you can TELL that Sarah is playing Rachel and Allison is playing Sarah, that they aren’t the same characters, blows my mind…WHEN IT IS ALL THE SAME PERSON. I love this show so much.

    I like your take on Delphine, Heather, because I was feeling eh about her being in charge. I liked sweet Delphine, girlfriend to Cosima-but the eyeball scene was pretty badass.

  8. This episode made me wonder what Delphine went through/was like before Cosima met her. Her change is terrifying and I feel like there had to be a kernel of monster in her before everything went down.

    I also kind of wonder if there isn’t some kind of psychological conditioning that happened- it’s hinted at in last season with Rachel, maybe they did something to Delphine?

    I totally agree that Helena brought the babies with her. I also think, given the shots, that no one is going to notice & the eggs + Dr. Moreau will soon be stolen.

    • Season 1 she was at the right hand of leekie. Remember that. I felt this episode was more in line with s1 Delphine than s2.

  9. Did anyone else find themselves worried about whether or not Sarah would be able to pull off a convincing Allison? Tatiana Malsany is sooooooooo good y’all that sometimes I get lost in her acting.

    • Oh man, I remember in season 2 wishing that one clone would get more camera time & thinking that they were focusing too much on… oh, riiight, they’re all Tatiana. She’s so amazing!

    • I’m legitimately surprised that Ferdinand didn’t see through Sarah’s acting, but since he had never met Sarah before he didn’t really know what to expect.

  10. -first of all holy shit Delphine has really come into her own, i love how the creators are very slowly giving us the goods.
    -after this episode I really feel like the series needs to end with Sarah becoming a legit actress and wins a Tony, Emmy and an Oscar in the same year and the final shot is her looking directly into the camera and lifting a single perfect eye brow.

  11. “This show takes some of the best and grossest things about Pretty Little Liars and cranks them up to eleven, because this is 10pm on BBC America and sex doesn’t have to be a metaphor.”

    PLL and Orphan Black are my two favorite shows and just earlier today I was ruminating on thematic similarities between the two. Thanks for articulating what I sensed about these shows!

    • Tell me, tell me! I love both shows, but I have no idea if it’s for the same reason! All I can think of is “Women run the show – boys are good for eye candy”.

  12. “This show takes some of the best and grossest things about Pretty Little Liars and cranks them up to eleven, because this is 10pm on BBC America and sex doesn’t have to be a metaphor.”

    PLL and Orphan Black are my two favorite shows. Nothing do i love more than seeing A’s ridiculous shenanigans and the feverish activity of clones. and just earlier today I was ruminating on the thematic similarities between the two. Thanks for articulating it!

  13. Heather, when I watched the episode I was excited but also a bit underwhelmed because I thought it was all over the place.
    Then I read your recap and I’m excited all over again because you’re contagious.
    Thank you so much for giving this to us <3

  14. OMG DELPHINE! I got scared a little!
    OMG FELIX! Your lines never get old, you are awesome, Fee!
    OMG ALISON! I LITERALLY HAD TO COVER MY GAPING MOUTH! I can’t bear if they hurt you!
    OMG COSIMA! I want to hug you! They way you said “I love you” — UGH! </3

    *Can't wait for the next episodes and recap!
    **I missed our weird little clone show! #cloneclub

  15. I….honestly didn’t expect to see this on Autostraddle, and no one else has commented, so I guess I will:

    Every time you refer to them as boy clones and girl clones, Tony and I die a little on the inside.

    (Alternatives: Leda clones and Castor clones, Tatiana clones and Ali clones, the clones we care about and the clones we don’t care about, etc)

    • I think most of us have forgotten Tony, since he only popped up for a second – and, frankly, was a pretty badly done character. Or at least that’s what I think.

      But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to keep him in mind! Just that it’s easy to forget he exists.

  16. Shannon, thank you for addressing that — Tony is also a “boy clone.” I vote for calling the clone sets LEDA and Castor, or just Maslany and blah.

    ALSO, everything else that I would have wanted to say has been said, except for the fact that I was dying of laughter at the Marcel the Shell thing! That is so spot-on and hilarious, Heather Hogan!!

  17. “Nearly every other TV show in history, Paul is the hero. Paul is the main character. Paul is running around sticking his dick everywhere he wants like James Bond and crashing through windows to save the day and condescending to Sarah or Rachel while solving their problems and fucking them. Right, and Donnie is whatever Kevin James character. And the female clones die so the men can learn lessons, and the female clones are exposition vessels, and the female clones are there to listen and be pretty. But no! This show is the opposite of that; it flips everything upside down, and instead of these male clones taking over, it is Delphine who has kicked it up to a completely new gear with new hair and new motivations that are twisty and complicated and loving and nefarious and queer.”

    THIS! THIIIIIIS!!!!! I can’t even add anything intelligent to this discussion because your recap is basically my thoughts put coherently into beautiful sentences. Amazing recap, thank you!

  18. I FINALLY caught up so that I can watch the new episode that airs in TEN MINUTES. I just want to hug Helena and bake her a million cookies and rub her pregnant feet. Also <3 <3 <3 Pupok.

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