Orphan Black Episode 305 Recap: Sestra, Sestra

HELLO, SESTRAS. This is a recap for Orphan Black episode 305, “Scarred By Many Past Frustrations.” I was trying very hard to get a recap up for last week’s episode, but what happened was a lot of really super queer stuff in real life and also on television, and so much A-Camp preparation, and Orphan Black had no queer stuff and was very Castor-focused, so it kept getting shoved to the bottom of my endless to do list. And now here we are. So I am going to recap this week’s episode fully, and tell you very quickly what happened last week. Okay, sestra? Okay.

304: “Newer Elements of Our Defence”

Gracie’s mom shot Mark in the cornfield and then skedaddled because she assumed he was dead. Who gets hit with some shotgun shells and walks away? Well, Mark, that’s who. Sarah dragged his ass halfway across Canada to some random cabin in the woods, pulled the bullets out of his guts, and sewed him up. In the middle of the surgery, Mark confessed he was torturing Johansson because he was pretty sure Johanssen had an original sample of Castor DNA. And Mark was right. But Johanssen used the DNA to try to make his own clone baby and that clone baby died when it was still barely born, and so Sarah and Mark dug up the baby’s bones and of course Rudy found them doing it, so the brothers decided to take the bones for themselves and “tie up the loose end” of Sarah.


OOOHHHHHHH, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?


Shut up about the pineapples.

Helena chewed a pork chop bone into the shape of a skeleton key and broke herself out of her cell at Castor HQ, but then found one of the Castor clones in a hospital room with the top of his head sawed off because Mother and some doctors were messing with his open brain. He asked Helena to kill him, so she used her pork chop key to do that by stabbing his literal brains.

Cosima sat around in Delphine’s clothes wearing Delphine’s perfume and smoking Delphine’s cigarettes and doing science and feeling awful.

And Allison and Donnie upped their drug game by making promises to the kingpen supplier of the neighborhood, who, it turned out, was Alison’s high school boyfriend.

Also, Gracie lost her baby and the Proletheans kicked her out of their cult.

305: “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations”

Rudy is feeling extra proud of himself for bringing the baby bones back to Mother so they can mash them up into some kind of potion to cure the Castor clones’ brain glitches. Rudy wants to stay around and do the alchemy, but Mother tells him to take off the weekend and go bang ladies and chop off their hair and write about his humpings in his diary and hang out on the MRA boards or whatever. Just hit up that warp zone that connects Mexico with Toronto and be back in 48 hours. Rudy kisses Mother on the cheek and bounces.


I had the weirdest dream Alison was a drug dealer.

Sarah wakes up from her kidnapping and finds herself in a cell at Castor HQ. She yells a lot of insults and climbs up onto her bed to try to see out of the tiny window near the ceiling. And then, through the vent in the wall, she hears Helena talking about, “Not so smart after all, are you?” Sarah is shocked and relieved and she scrambles over to the vent to try to see her, but Helena’s not interested in reconnecting. Kill her once, shame on you; kill her twice, and you’re going to hurt her feelings. Sarah tries to explain about how it was Ms. S who did the dirty dealings. Ms. S and Paul. She begs Helena to at least peep her through the little grate separating them, but thanks to Pupok, who is being a real butt hole today, Helena isn’t feeling it.


Hello, yes. One Iced Capp Supreme and an order of 10 Timbits, please.


There’s no Tim Hortons here. Welcome to hell.

Felix and Ms. S are starting to panic a little about Sarah disappearing. She used to do this shit all the time, of course, but that was before she discovered she was part of a sisterhood of clones being relentlessly monitored, pursued, and murdered by every governmental shadow agency and cabal of mad scientists in the world. Felix distracts himself with Cosima’s problems. Well, one of Cosima’s problems at least. The problem of her deep and debilitating heartbreak. He has signed her up for a dating app called Sapphire and she is, at this very moment, waiting to meet someone named Shay at the local pub.

Felix: Give it 20 minutes before you bail, do you promise?
Cosima: Knowing this show, a sniper will shoot me in the face through the pub window by then, but okay.
Bartender Bobbi: Just don’t talk about your ex, girl.
Cosima: What? I’m not going to talk about my ex. Do I look like I want to talk about my ex?
Bartender Bobbi: You look like you want to go home and pile up the clothes she left behind and roll around in them like a cat while listening to Bon Iver and eating ice cream with your hands.


Okay, but like, it doesn’t make sense, medically, that sexual energy can heal a person.


Wanna test out that theory?

Cosima promises to keep it tight for at least half an hour, okay, and then Shay walks into the bar. (It’s Ksenia Solo and she looks like Kenzi and sounds like Kenzi but she’s so not Kenzi.) Cosima tries to make small talk and it’s more awkward than all the small talk you’ve ever made in your life, but Shay is super into it. She calms Cosima down by weaving a yarn about her first terrible Sapphire date. But also, she makes Cosima even more nervous because her voice is so sultry and she doesn’t break eye contact. It’s intense, and kind of — I feel hypnotized watching it happen, and Shay’s not even staring into my soul like she’s doing to Cosima. The challenge soothes Cosima, I think. She likes to win. She settles in and levels up her banter and it’s pretty wonderful.

Art’s at home flipping out about how Sarah has disappeared, when Gracie shows up looking for a place to crash. The last woman he let hang out here after she left the Prolethean compound ate all of his snacks. So Art takes Gracie to S and Felix instead. Ms. S feels a deep sense of empathy with the lost little widowed chicken, but Felix does not. His emotional chain of command goes: Loyalty > Fierceness > Flawlessness > Gayness > A bunch of other things > Empathy. And since Gracie comes from a religious cult that keeps kidnapping and murdering his sisters, he’s not feeling particularly gracious toward her. And I’ll tell you this: Felix is more of a brother to Helena and Alison and Cosima and Sarah than those Castor jerks EVER will be. Fuck the DNA. (You heard me, hard science. I said: Fuck. The. DNA.) Felix eventually relents and helps Gracie settle into Sarah’s old room that is now Kira’s old room. He gives her a box of Sarah’s clothes but doesn’t warn her that people that one person per day dies in this house.


No, check this. She doesn’t even know who the Kardashians are. I’m like, “Kimye” and she’s like, “Is that a sandwich?”

He does tell her he’s gay in an attempt to throw her off her recent birth into the secular world, but even Gracie’s not that sheltered. She says she knows and it’s whatever. No big deal. It’s not like he’s an abomination, like a woman who can’t have a child or something.

Castor HQ.

Sarah: Okay, look. I know I shot you one time. And I’m sorry. But this one wasn’t me, Helena. You’ve got to believe me.
Pupok: She’s just going to crush you again, like some hot butter.
Helena, verbatim: Shut up about the butter!
Sarah: You’re a jerk.
Helena: You’re a jerk!
Sarah: Fine! I want my #EvanRachelWould t-shirt back and don’t ask me to cover for you again when you’re out stabbing people in the guts!
Helena: FINE! And you don’t ask me to spy on your boyfriend when he’s bonking the rich one!

One of the Castors and a not-Castor come clanking in and feed Helena a tray of food through a slot in her door. They drag Sarah to see Mother. The first thing out of Sarah’s mouth is not, “Let me go!” Or, “How dare you!” Or, “Oh, you wait until Alison finds out about this!” The first thing out of Sarah’s mouth is, “What the fuck did you do to Helena?” In this world of constant flux and assholery, one of the only things Sarah knows she can count on is Helena’s generosity and affection, however cuckoo bananas those things manifest themselves. Well, Mother says not even to worry about it because Helena has been in a cage her whole life and so this is probably comforting to her. And then she extracts one gallon of Sarah’s blood for the potion she’s making with the baby bones.


I hope you never win another Motherboy pageant!

Back in her cell, Sarah argues with Helena some more about how she probably likes being institutionalized. Helena doesn’t know what the word “institutionalized” means, so she just catalogues it as a general insult to employ at her leisure.

At the Cubby Hole, Shay and Cosima are getting flirtier by the second, talking about holistic medicine (which is always just an excuse to touch someone you like, I think) and the science of sensing another person’s sexual consciousness with your mind. The whole time they’re leaning in on each other, someone’s outside snapping photos like Initiation Day in Rosewood, PA. (Step one: Here’s a supernaturally amazing lesbian human. Step two: You’re getting stalked. Step three: Enjoy this hole in Spencer’s backyard, bye.) Cosima asks Shay if she wants to peace to a more private/comfortable place, and duh, of course she does.


Life is but a dream, Hanna. And I’m your nightmare –A


Oh, whoops, sorry, wrong number. – A

Back at Castor HQ, Paul comes busting in, which means we get to hear Helena call him “Dirty Paul” and make smoochy noises at him through the vent while he chastises Sarah for screwing up the hero narrative he’s writing for himself in his imagination.

Paul: I saved you, I am Batman!
Sarah: No, you ass. You hurt Helena; that is the opposite of saving me.
Paul: Well, I saved the brothers, too! That’s my whole thing! I saved the brothers like you saved the sisters!
Sarah: Yeah, forging a trail of destruction in every direction to keep a bunch of brainwashed rapist soldiers alive is real heroic, Paul.
Paul: Helena kills people too!
Sarah: Yeah, to put them out of misery when their brain is poking out the top of their skull.
Paul: Well, this is out of my hands now.
Sarah: Gosh. Not having control over what happens to you or the people you care about, that must really suck donkey nuts. I can’t imagine what that must feel like. What next? The government will start regulating what you can and can’t do with your dick?
Helena: [giggles]
Paul: I am just going to make this face I make.
Sarah: Yep. That’s the face you make.

As Paul is storming out, Helena teases that maybe he’s the one she’ll kill next and Sarah smashes her face into the bars to agree about it.


Knock, knock, Dirty Paul.


Yeah, guess who’s there, Paul? It’s us and we’re going to murder you! 

Paul’s next stop is the infirmary where Mark is recovering from his shotgun wounds. Mother is just pulling his wedding ring off his finger and handing over one of those sexual encounter diaries, when Paul busts in with his existential crisis. This is what it has taken for him to start questioning what he’s doing with his life. Seducing Beth and building a life of deceit around her, letting doctors experiment on her in the middle of the night, bartering Helena like a piece of property, twiddling his thumbs while people tinker with an alive guy’s exposed brain: Whatever, NBD. You do you. But now Sarah’s calling him a wanker, and he’s like, “But Mother, are we monsters?” (Spoiler alert: Yes, Dirty Paul.)

At Ms. S’s house, Gracie is feeling blue, so S comforts her with a story about how she, too, once lost her husband at a young age, and she didn’t let that stop her from growing up and moving to the United States to escape the militant scientists who were trying to wreck her foster daughter’s life, or grandmothering a magical unicorn child, or raising the glory that is Felix Dawkins. I mean, yeah. Sometimes a person gets stabbed to death in her basement. And sometimes people get kidnapped through the windows of this very bedroom. And yes, on occasion, a manic clone trooper will creep in and beat the shit out of her while demanding information about the demented genetic engineer she used to keep chained to the kitchen table, but like, it’s been a pretty good life. Felix listens from the doorway and feels such an affection for his mama.


Sarah looks so happy when she’s not being relentlessly stalked like a deer.

Cosima and Shay have retired to Felix’s loft for massages and talk of novels, teacups, and skirts that trail along the floor. They’re listening to some sex music about “I don’t know what I should do! I’ve got a fever!” And that about sums it up for Cosima, whose pants are on fire right here in Toronto, but whose heart is 4,000 miles away sipping on a Bordeaux and snacking on some cheese and making science sound like foreplay.


What? Friends light a hundred candles and listen to scissoring playlists in the dark.

Shay: Should I go?
Cosima: I … don’t know.
Shay: Do you want to talk about your ex?
Cosima: I … don’t know that, either.
Shay: I’ll go.
Cosima: Cool, yeah, whatever.
Shay: [gathers her purse and giant hat and whatever else. crystals. tarot cards. love potion.]
Cosima: Okay, look, her name is Delphine and she’s like — you think femme fatale, right? The hair, the skin, she’s fucking French, okay. But then, like, she’s warm. Her touch is warm. The way she smells is warm. 324B21, you know?
Shay: What’s 324B21?
Cosima: Exactly.
Shay: Should we kiss real hot on the lips anyway, a little tongue, while this sex music plays on?
Cosima: Yeah, for sure.

And they do.


Found, girl.

Guh! I’m like Cosima, y’all. I know who owns my heart, but I’m also not blind!


Okay. At Castor HQ, Sarah drops her prickly armor and tells Helena the whole truth about how she had to let Kira go this time, but that she walked out on her once before, to be with Vick, and it was to try to prove something to herself or to Ms. S, she can’t even remember what it was anymore, but what she does know is that she lost a year of her life with Kira that she’ll never get back, and now she might die in this stupid cell in the middle of the Canadian desert. Helena goes from joking that Sarah can be her sandwich when she escapes, to telling her the plan for getting out of here.


How are those Timbits, Sestra? Are the cherry cake ones delicious?

First thing is, Sarah has to incite the guards to punch her in the face so she can go to the infirmity and steal anything sharp. Next thing is, she sneaks the sharp thing to Helena with the old “shoelace pendulum” trick. Then, Helena — not even kidding — removes a loose brick from her wall and lathers herself up in the little butter packets she’s been collecting from her lunch tray. She knocks one of the bars loose on her door, and contorts her way through there, all slicked up, while Sarah keeps a lookout. After she’s out, Helena takes out one of cameras and then kills one of the guards. And then. AND THEN. She leaves Sarah behind! She says it makes them even! She leaves Sarah behind while Sarah cries and smashes herself against her door!

Helena! Heeelllleeennna! Nooooo!


Kristen Stewart and Alicia Cargill are only friends.


You’re just trying to hurt me.

Once she’s parkoured her way to the top of the fort, Helena thinks about going back for Sarah. She tells Pupok Sarah tugs at her heart. But that jerko scorpion convinces her to run out into the night alone and let Sarah rot. PUPOK, YOU DEVIOUS BASTARD! I THOUGHT I KNEW YOU! I will never give you any of my mangoes, Pupok! Never!

Gracie decides she’s going to become a real person who isn’t in a cult, so she suits up in something Sarah bought from Hot Topic when she was 16 and announces her plan to hit the clubs. Felix thinks it’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen in his life, but Ms. S talks Gracie into staying for a few cocktails and dancing with Felix in the living room. It’s all fun and gin and juice until Gracie doubles over with stomach pain and Ms. S tells Felix to call 911.


It’s orange juice with a splash of Ambien.

The paramedics show up to examine her and while they’re doing that, Art calls on the woman Rudy and Seth raped. She’s been out of touch because she’s been sick. Her eyeballs are bright red. She says the doctors don’t know what it is, so maybe the Castors gave it to her. And at the same time, the paramedics open up Gracie’s eyes and hers are red like the fires of hell also.

And that is why misandry is the order of the day, children.

Next week: Delphine rushes home because she heard Sarah was kidnapped, and Cosima tries to play it cool because she’s been boning Shay, but: ha! I am so sure! Felix and Cosima tag team to extract information from Rachel. And Helena goes back to Castor HQ to rescue Sarah and murder Paul.

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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. I have been waiting on this episode for months because I love me some Ksenia Solo and would follow her anywhere but I don’t trust her character one bit. She mad sexy though. As always.

    • Oh, for sure. No trust. Zero trust. I don’t know how Cosima will ever be able to put herself out there for dating again after this.

    • If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you never ever ever ever trust someone named Shay. It’s usually not even their real name.

      All you Shays, I’m onto you.

  2. “Hello, yes. One Iced Capp Supreme and an order of 10 Timbits, please.”
    “There’s no Tim Horton’s here. Welcome to hell.”

      • Real talk: the first thing I do when I cross the border when I’m driving home from school in the States is go to a Timmies. I know where my heart lies.

        • The first time I went to a Tim Hortons, I was like, “Blah blah I am so sure this place is so special I’ll be be blown awa–oh my god, I never want to leave here.”

  3. Getting to see Cosima be a total dork on a date with Kenzi was such a delight. I’m also completely incapable of calling her Shay. Partly because Kenzi, but also because she is decidedly not Shane’s little brother.

    • Oh my heavens, I had COMPLETELY erased TLW Shay from my memory. That guy. What a sad life!

  4. Delphine is so endgame. But I’m cool w Shay because Cosima should have somebody, and it opens it up for Delphine to do something super loyal and heroic down the line. I’m pretty sure Shay has other motives, but then again they already did that with season 1 Delphine.
    The next episode is really hyped, I’m pretty excited.

    • Oh, I agree for sure about Delphine endgame. No question. I won’t be sad if Delphine gets mad jealous next week when she finds out about Shay. I won’t be sad if she breaks a beaker or something in a fit of temper.

      • Now I want nothing more from next episode than for Delphine to tear apart the lab when she finds out about Shay. It’ll be just like the time Rachel freaked the fuck out about not being able to have babies, or about Duncan being alive, or maybe about Duncan killing himself. I’m not entirely sure what actually happened in that scene…

        • I’ll bet that’s how Rachel reacts even when it’s just something like Kroger is out of the cereal she likes.

          • Does Kroger run out of Grape Nuts? Does any store ever run out of Grape Nuts? I’m not sure why I think Rachel loves Grape Nuts. It’s either that or something on the complete opposite end of the cereal spectrum, like Cookie Crisp.

          • “What’s your favorite lesbian character’s favorite cereal?” is now a post I am writing in my head.

  5. Shay,Shaw,Shane,Kenzi, Bo, Cosima, puppies and Pupok.
    Gracie in Madonna’s Erotica outfit.
    And Helena battered in butter.
    You know, I’ve taken to watching Orphan Black twice.
    Once when it airs, and then another time, a couple months later, when I’ve stopped blinking and wrapped my head around everything that just happened to appreciate the plot.
    Paul reminds us,that Helena is a killer, and we’re graphically reminded of this.
    Maybe this isn’t a story about good or bad, but about brothers and sisters and family and the more threads they unravel, the more complex it gets.
    Maybe Paul is a brother to the Castors the same way Felix is to the girls?
    Maybe there is a difference,though, and the difference is unwavering loyalty and genuine affection, well, Love, to name it, because that is what drives Mrs.S and Delphine to protect and shelter and fight, while with the Castors…they follow the science.
    Without mercy.
    I can’t wait for Delphine to return and for Helena to go on a desert hike with her seestra.
    And I do love Art, but the love struck thing for Beth he had supposedly going on..I see how that works for the theme of the show, but I’m not really buying it,yet.

  6. – I was hoping that Sarah would see and hear Pupok.
    – Cosima and Shay. Two tiny people having fun together.
    – I think that Shay works for Delphine/Dyad. The photographer was just documenting their date. #MonitoringNeverEnds
    – Is it possible that “Mother” made their problem into an STD? That way the clones spread it. Any woman who survives may have a genetic cure,and the Castors have already collected a DNA sample.

    • Two tiny people! Yes! I couldn’t figure out why Kenzi suddenly didn’t look like a tiny tiny doll anymore, and it’s because Cosima is also a tiny tiny doll :-)

      • It’s like when Emily saved Aria and Mona from being run under by picking them and putting them in her pockets.

  7. “And that about sums it up for Cosima, whose pants are on fire right here in Toronto, but whose heart is 4,000 miles away sipping on a Bordeaux and snacking on some cheese and making science sound like foreplay.”

    Ah, Heather, you always sum everything up so perfectly. This was my exact reaction whilst watching this scene. Ksenia Solo is brilliant and hot and I definitely would (if you know what I mean), but Delphine…is just, Delphine! The Frenchness and the science and the amazing chemistry. And the hair, did I mention the hair?

    I literally cannot wait for Saturday’s episode. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

  8. Be still my heart, Ksenia Solo is super sexy as a blonde. Love the chemistry. Sorry Delphine

  9. I love this show on so many levels! SO. MANY. LEVELS. But one little consistency thing that bugs me is that we never see Helena’s angel wing scars anymore. I know, they were mostly on her back, I know, she’s got tank tops that largely cover them, but we’d see some of it. Those things were huge!

    I guess there’s only so much time one human can take sitting in the make-up chair, even if the human is a god like Tatiana Maslany.

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