Hi and welcome to Denial Town where I refuse to admit that there are only three episodes of Orphan Black left and am going to carry on like my heart isn’t breaking.
Let’s do a clone check to start:
Helena is hiding out with a nice, tongue-less nun. Alison is on a retreat to find herself. Cosima and Charlotte are getting the hell out of dodge. Or the dodge out of hell, as the case may be. Rachel is losing her grip. And Sarah is probably missing her brother but mostly doing her best to protect her daughter.
So I’m pretty sure I was right in thinking we’re going to get a single-clone-themed episode for everyone, and this week it’s Rachel’s turn.
We open on the startling sight of Leekie with hair, and he has little Rachel Duncan with him. She recites things like ID tags to the DYAD board, picking her nails all the while. The board is impressed, and honestly I can’t tell if it’s because a young girl is rattling off science details with clear understanding, or if it’s because a clone is. Either way it makes me about as comfortable as it makes wee little Rachel.
Present-day Rachel is sitting at the head of this same board, talking science at them and calling upon PT, who credits her for finding the “Eve” of their new experiment. And by Eve of course, she means Kira.
Kira, who is done with Auntie Rachel time, and would like to go home, but that’s not on Rachel’s agenda. She won’t even let Kira call Sarah before bed. Kira hasn’t lost sight of her hustle though, so she gives Rachel a friendship bracelet. In a moment that succeeded in making me feel worse for Rachel than I ever have before: She had a best friend in summer camp once, who she made friendship bracelets for! Kira asks if they’re still friends and Rachel’s unfeeling “no” stabbed me in the heart a bit, I won’t lie. After her parents faked their deaths, all nurturing went out the window. And it shows.
Rachel is told that Cosima’s boat was found drifting but Rachel knows better than to count her sestras out and tells them to continue looking for her as though she’s still alive.
Sarah hates all of this, by the way. She’s pacing around, furious Rachel won’t let her talk to her daughter, despite having been mostly compliant with all this testing nonsense lately. Mrs. S is even angrier though, since Kira was taken on her watch, and Sarah has to remind her of her own advice to not go in guns blazing.
Across town, Wizardface is leading Scott to the basement of the comic book shop and it’s because he wanted to surprise him because COSIMA IS HOME! Cure and all.
Charlotte is also there, being cute af. I’m so happy that sweet baby angel is safe.
Cosima Skypes Sarah to tell her about DYAD’s plans for Kira and how they only have about 24 hours to get her out of there before they’ll harvest her eggs for the new cloning experiment. Sarah says they need leverage, and Cosima suggests perhaps revealing that PT Westmoreland is a liar, liar, cult on fire.
Mrs. S doles out orders again; Felix and Adele are on the Neolution money trail, so Cosima and the boys are to find out who PT was before he was the mythical 170-year-old head of Revival.
Alison Skypes in form her retreat; she’s coming back from California tomorrow. I don’t know if pre-retreat Alison would have ever let us see her without full hair, makeup, and wardrobe, so maybe she’s a new person.
Oh and Cosima has one more bit of news: Coady is on the island, which means probably Susan no longer is, in one way or another.
And sure enough, cut to Rachel arriving at the island and bringing flowers to her mother’s grave. Unsurprisingly, Ira is buried beside her, and whether he glitched to death or was helped along his way is anyone’s guess.
As she stands on her birth mother’s grave, the woman she thought had died when she was young, but who had just purposefully extracted herself from her daughter’s life, and who left her to be raised by men who pretended to be father figures without actually being father figures. Including PT, who went so far as to tell Rachel he considers her like a daughter.
PT takes Rachel to meet Coady, who says she’s looking forward to working with her and Kira, but also mentions Helena, which can’t end well, and I don’t mean for Helena. Rachel is told she’s going to be examined to check how the cure is doing and she looks less than pleased that this plan wasn’t cleared with her first. In fact, she’s so displeased that she has a flashback to when PT had her sign a waver saying she was free from the experiment, that she was no longer DYAD property, that she was no longer just 779H41.
But now, as she changes into her hospital gown to get ready for this surprise examination from this woman she just met, she sees her file up on the computer and there it is, clear as day: 779H41.
Coady comes in to examine her, calling the LEDA clones a baseline again, basically admitting to killing Susan, proving that she’s one of the ironic players in this game who is studying/trying to shape and create literal human beings and direct the evolution of the species, but has no humanity herself.
Rachel is reminded of an examination Leekie gave her when she was younger (when she started to lighten her hair, maybe to separate herself from some of the other subjects, but not before she went to full bleach, which maybe was born out of her desperate need to control everything; everything clean, crisp, in its place.) They’re doing a biopsy on her and Rachel knows enough to realize this has to do with a few other clones who are sick; Leekie even goes so far as to call it a disease.
She’s still picking her nails when Leekie tells her that just because she’s aware of the experiment doesn’t exempt her from study, and that they’ll have more information as more clones get sick.
At Mrs. S’s house, it’s looking a bit like a conspiracy theorist convention, papers strewn about as they try to put the pieces together about Neolution, the DYAD board, anything, and stumble across a consulting firm a DYAD shell pays. Similarly but a little more modern with their clear boards, markers, and computers, Cosima and the boys are using college records to try to figure out who PT might have been before he was the man, the myth, the legend.
Across town in the suburbs, Donnie cleans up the house for Alison’s returned. Her goofy happy slightly warbly theme plays in the background and the door swings open and our favorite neurotic soccer mom is—
She immediately starts talking about Kira like her hair isn’t short and black and purple until Donnie interrupts her. I can’t help but wonder if Donnie thought for a moment that it might not be Alison, knowing there are people with her literal same face running around out there. But no, it’s the same old Alison Hendrix, at least technically. She’s spent time learning how to be present and “live deep” which she has tattooed on her body and I’m sorry but sounds VERY DIRTY TO ME.
In the Revival mansion, Rachel overhears PT questioning her conviction on the phone and when she pops in she sees him tuck away a weird looking tablet. She tells him she wants to choose her own physicians and schedule her own appointments and he agrees. She gives an update on Kira and swears she’s not attached to her and can be objective but when PT tests her by saying she wants Kira on the island, Rachel questions why this is necessary. Frankly even objectively this is a bad idea, because she even later calls Sarah the “nuisance clone” and Mrs. S hasn’t exactly been staying out of their way, so why would they want to risk that by breaking their agreement? But PT insists, again probably just to see if Rachel will do it. So Rachel concedes and says, “You know best,” as a nod to but potentially a mockery of his perceived role as a parent to her.
In the basement of this very mansion, Coady is meeting with long lost Mark, who is here for a cure, because he doesn’t want to glitch like his brothers. So of course she’s blackmailing him, because she’s about as good a mother figure as any of Rachel’s supposed fathers.
What Coady wants in exchange for giving Mark the cure is Helena, and unfortunately it seems Mark can deliver…with a little help.
When PT is gone, Rachel sneaks back into his office and steals the tablet and turns it on. What she sees is an endless loop of the tablet, like when you stand in a hotel bathroom vestibule and there’s a mirror in front of you and behind you and there’s just you forever and ever until your brain hurts and you have a mini existential crisis. But this is worse because what Rachel realizes is that the reason she’s seeing this effect on the tablet is because her synthetic eyeball is a fucking CAMERA.
Talk about a violation of one’s body, privacy, and entire life.
When PT comes back she doesn’t flinch or reveal that she knows anything or confront him at all, she just says goodbye.
We’re given another flashback now, and I think it’s probably one of the more pivotal turning point moments in Rachel’s life: she killed a clone so they could autopsy her and learn more about the disease.
She sees her as a subject in an experiment, and even Leekie is a little horrified; unlike Rachel, he knows more about her than her call number. And actually interestingly, after Leekie calls the deceased clone creative, Rachel calls her homeless and says her mother was a drunk and in THE SAME BREATH says she’s objective. Leekie doesn’t help things by asking her literally, “What are you?” as if she hadn’t been questioning her own humanity since the day she learned her ID number.
Rachel returns to DYAD (annoyingly fast, considering how long Sarah and Cosima were stuck), and Kira tries to chat with her but Rachel isn’t having it this time. She does allow her to call her mother though, but she tells Frontenac to make sure he watches them closely.
Also happening at this time is possibly the cruelest death of the season. Alison murdered her craft room! She even throws away the glue gun she used to torture Donnie in the first season! (Which he flinches when he sees, in a subtly hilarious moment.) She’s talking like that one weird music teacher you had for like 3/4ths of sixth grade who you sometimes wonder if you made up, saying she has to face her shadow self or it will manifest into bad habits, and that she’s now going to jam on her keyboard and follow the music and not tell Donnie what to do anymore.
It’s all very strange.
Kira, smart little cookie she is, tells Sarah a story using the code words they made up, complete with drawings of Elephant Rachel stepping on Mouse Kira’s tail and telling her she has to go to Wonderland. Sarah uses this same metaphor to comfort her daughter, telling her they’ll be together to write their own ending soon.
When she hangs up, Sarah tells Mrs. S that the story means they’re taking Kira to the island, and she knows they’re running out of time.
Rachel, armed with the knowledge that PT can see everything she can see, takes some gin and a martini glass and goes into the Room of Erised, watching that one memory of her and the Duncans rolling around in the leaves over and over and over. PT calls to check in, and Rachel knows for sure that his promise she was monitor-free was the opposite of true; she is the most monitored now. She has a resignation in her voice and God it’s not even like she snapped as much as she…deflated. It’s kind of heartbreaking.
Kira comes in and asks, “Who hurt you?” and Rachel looks her square in the eye and tells her, “All of them.”
Rachel tells Frontenac that she’ll be the last face Kira sees before she leaves DYAD, whether for the control or because she knows it will be a small comfort to Kira, who knows. Then PT comes on the screen to talk to Kira for a bit.
Back down the rabbit hole, Cosima and the boys finally find PT’s original identity.
Sarah emails it to Rachel, who immediately calls her to tell her that no one is going to listen to her if she spreads this information. Out loud she makes it sound like she doesn’t believe it, and what we know that Sarah doesn’t is that PT can hear her. Sarah tries to get to her by reminding her PT took her family from her and used her as an experiment, but what we know that Sarah doesn’t is that she is consumed by this knowledge and doesn’t need reminding.
So it’s with tears in her eyes that she hangs up on her sestra.
Rachel goes to give Kira her sedative juice and they have a conversation; Rachel says she doesn’t remember how she felt at Kira’s age but eventually got used to being studied. A combination of Rachel’s gin intake and mental breakdown causes her to hallucinate her child self and she asks the little girl why she doesn’t run. But the little Rachel answers that she has nowhere to go.
PT watches as Rachel forces Kira to drink the OJ sedative and hears as Rachel gives Frontenac the hit on Sarah and Mrs. S and tells him not to hesitate. But as soon as he’s gone, she focuses her eyes on her necklace spinning while she also holds her phone in her good eye’s periphery and sends a text message.
Turns out that message was for Art, and he busts in to warn Sarah, and GUYS I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MOSTLY HATED RACHEL ALL THIS TIME WHY DO I WANT TO HOLD HER NOW.
Rachel goes to her meditation spot and closes her eyes, which PT would know is not unusual these days, and then she slips on her eye patch and goes to wheel Kira out of her room.
Frontenac finds an empty house when he goes to kill Sarah so PT starts pushing images into Rachel’s eyeball. But her job is almost done now, because Art, Sarah and Mrs. S are there and they take Kira from her. As the elevator closes and they leave her behind, Mrs. S mouths a “thank you” to her, but no one even asked her if she wanted to come.
Rachel emails the information Cosima found to the board, then pours herself some more alcohol, making sure her eye is getting a good long look before she takes a good long swig.
When the glass is empty, she smashes it, leaving only the stem behind. And then, my friends, she SHOVES IT INTO HER EYEBALL. When I watched this episode the first time I was just wailing “nooOOooo” like some kind of Moaning Myrtle. Then I watched this episode with my parents, and decided to watch them instead of this scene again, and it was pretty hilarious. My mother fully covered her eyes and shouted, “THERE’S GOT TO BE AN EASIER WAY!” and even my dad, who laughed with almost a sick delight when he realized she was going to poke her eye out, started to make grossed out noises and eventually nervously exclaimed, “She’s going to POP IT OUT.”
And reader, she did. She had to sever the tendon and everything. It was awful. Then blood was just POURING out of her eye socket. But PT can’t see what she can see anymore. She might die from this injury, but this was her choice, her decision.
I was going to show you guys pictures from the “next week on” that I got on my screener but then when I watched it live it said it the episode was TOO INTENSE to show any of it so now I’m stressed out and I’m afraid the short clip I saw was a decoy and EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE.