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

Rudy name-checks all of the people closest to Sarah, so she jumps out of her chair and tries to snap his neck, but Delphine is watching the closed circuit footage and orders her out of there right this instant. On her way out of his cell, Rudy tells Sarah to count her sisters.


Are you okay? I hear crying.


That’s just Tom Brady. He can’t take constrictive criticism.

First up, Sarah calls Allison, who is coaching soccer and yelling at the referees and honestly doesn’t have time for Sarah’s interrogation right now. She’s fine. The kids are fine. Everything is fine. So Sarah dials up Felix, who is hanging out with Kira and Cosima, and they’re pretty good too. Cosima’s not dying quite as fast as usual, at least. But Helena hasn’t shown back up and her bag is missing. Felix and Sarah agree to meet up at Mrs. S’s to make a plan to find Helena, which is like Inspector Gadget levels of dumb. Mrs. S’s house is a perpetual ambush. They need to burn that place down to the ground.


Cosima said can you please bring some depressing lesbian movies when you come over.


So literally any movie with lesbians in it. Any of the five of them.

Sarah is prepping to bolt when Delphine appears behind her in a cloud of Chanel wearing one of those “who run the world?” Bluetooth things in her ear.

Delphine: I forgot to mention that in addition to Rachel and the Castor clones and the Proletheans and the regular old Canadian police, there’s another group of people after you.
Sarah: Don’t care, gotta find Helena. And you need to call Cosima! Christ, Delphine. It’s been like two days since she was resurrected and you haven’t even texted her.
Delphine: It’s Topside. They’re sending a cleaner in tonight.
Sarah: And by “cleaner,” you mean…
Delphine: Team of assassins. And if they find out about Rachel getting stabbed in the eyeball, they’re going to kill all y’all for sure.
Sarah: Motherfucker.
Delphine: Grab your merlot and a blonde wig, stick a broom up your butt, and I’ll see you at six o’clock.
Sarah: No. No. No. Helena first. Your bullshit second.


I will bite off that finger if you put it in my face again.

Out in the ‘burbs, Allison is loading up the Soccer Starz shuttle with children when some new Aynsley wanders up to frenemy her, and be like, “And here’s a button because I’m running for the school board and I know I can count on your vote, Miss Drinks-a-Lot!” Allison does not have time to whip out the shivs she is no doubt hiding in the sleeves of her turtleneck and poke this woman in the gizzard, because Donnie arrives with all of his office supplies in a box because he has quit his job and lost his company car and he needs a ride home on the school bus.

Mrs. S shows up at her place before Felix and Sarah and gets the shit beaten out of her, as expected. It’s one of the Castor Clones. This one has a mustache. And he is glitching something fierce. I guess instead of problems with their lungs and their ovaries, the Castor clones have problems with their brains, and when they get stressed out, it’s like flashes of light in there and flashes of bugs and flashes of atomic bombs. Like TV static from the old days but also nightmare blips. The Castor clones are looking for Ethan Duncan too, for his specific science to cure them, but Mrs. S breaks the news that he’s dead.



Nice mustache.

She actually knew about Castor but she’s never seen one of the dude clones before. She’s unimpressed. Which is fair. You see four Tatiana Maslany-shaped faces in a room at the same time, everything else for the rest of your life is bound to be a disappointment. Finally, Felix and Sarah show up.

Sarah: The heck happened to your face?
Mrs. S: It was pulverized, as all faces are pulverized when they come to this house. But don’t feel too sorry for me, I have to tell you a thing that’s going to piss you off.
Sarah: Jesus, you’ve got more secrets than a wizard’s wand. What is it?
Mrs. S: I, um, traded Helena to Paul for some information to give to Marion.
Felix: Uh oh.
Sarah: YOU DID WHAT!?!??!!
Mrs. S: It was an in-combat decision, like enhanced interrogation techniques or setting a child on fire.
Sarah: To hell with your dumb face! I’m going to find Helena! You and your wartime morality can shove it up your tits!
Felix: …can I get you some tea?

Cosima is struggling to wrap her mind grapes around the power of Kira’s unicorn blood. She tries to talk to her about how her heart and brain and lungs stopped working the other day, and about how she was sort of hovering over her own body in the form of a spirit, but then Kira started reading that book of Duncan’s and she felt the magnetic pull of her physical body absorbing the pulsing energy of her soul, and then she woke up and now here she is. Kira’s like, “Relax, dude. It was my stem cells. I’m not some kind of paladin druid cleric or something.” And then she scampers off to do her coloring books.


Don’t let go yet. Nope, still not yet.

At which time Delphine shows up looking for Sarah. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you right now it’s like your soul getting punched in the teeth, watching this scene, so go ahead and wrap some armor around your heart and get ready to throw up.

But hang on because first I want to say a parenthetical thing. At the end of last season, when the reveal was Project Castor, my girlfriend and I sat glaring at the TV for about 15 minutes and then went out to dinner and got a little drunk and were like, “EXCUSE ME” the whole time. The reason why is that Orphan Black is legitimately brilliant. I’m not being hyperbolic. This is, truly, a once-in-a-lifetime (maybe once-in-five-lifetimes) kind of television show. A lot of it is there’s no more Tatiana Maslanys. There’s just this one and what she can do is like watching real magic.

Okay, but the other part of it is we’re talking about a show that takes the patriarchy out of the ether and gives it a whole lot of one-dimensional straight white guy characters to walk around in, while shining a sci-fi-sized spotlight on these really big questions about female autonomy and the commodification of women’s bodies and gender and sexuality. 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. With the exception of Felix, the guys on this show might as well have been manufactured at a Man Factory. All of these vanilla buffoons. This is what it would be like if Wonder Woman brought TVs to Paradise Island.


Do you want to come inside and do stuff? Kira’s busy playing with explosives.


Yes. Wait, no. Actually, yes. No. No? I don’t know!

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. You could’ve knocked me over by blowing air through a straw in my general direction from five miles away during this episode because of Delphine. I love Cosima and Delphine, yes I do, but I also love that she’s leveled up in all areas, including the less puppy-like ones.

So. Delphine shows up and is looking for Sarah, but Cosima thinks she is there for her, and she’s so glad to see her, she gets the actual color back in her face for a second. But there’s a reason Delphine has been avoiding Cosima, and it’s not because she doesn’t love her. It’s because she loves her too much. She knows she’s got to call this whole thing off. See, because Cosima made her promise to love all her sisters equally, to make top level decisions to save them all, and Delphine knows that when she’s looking at Cosima looking at her, she’s only ever going to make the best decision for the woman she loves, even if it means she has to firebomb the rest of the universe.


Cosima tries to play it cool, like yeah, it’s all good, and she sees how it is, and Delphine’s minute is up so she’d better get going, and the scientific method and whatever. Like the hard ass she was before Delphine scampered into her life. But she’s gooey now, in her heart! So she also sobs, “I love you” and limps back inside.

Delphine loses it in the hallway, falling against the wall and crying her beautiful, French eyeballs out.

That’s good. That’s good stuff. Only Batman ever gets to do that stuff. Hardly ever the sidekick, and certainly never the lady one. The hero you need vs. the hero you want. It’s a great story.

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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 1717 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.

      • 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.

  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.

  9. -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.

  10. “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!

  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. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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)

  15. 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!!

  16. “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!

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