“Orphan Black” Episode 509 Recap: An Angry Angel Gets Her Wings

The bloodshed continues in this, the penultimate episode of Orphan Black. We’ve had episodes centering around Alison, Cosima, Rachel, S and Felix, and now it’s Helena’s turn.

A young Helena, true to brand even as a child, is rustling through a drawer, stealing chocolates. Sneaking candy, she catches a nun masturbating. The nun turns her internal guilt into anger and calls little Helena the devil, forcing her hair into a bleach bucket to mark her as having the devil inside her so that no one would believe her even if she did tell. The nun shoves little Helena into the chokey as a final punishment.

Helena, hair bleached and frayed, eyes red, shoves the last of her stolen chocolate in her mouth, and thus begins her origin story.

Young Helena is angry af

No, I don’t know why she doesn’t look like Charlotte, don’t ask me.

When we get back to present day, Sarah is speaking at Mrs. S’s funeral while someone sings the Parting Glass, which feels a little like my soul is walking on glass. Though I do have to say, I’m grateful for the small favor this show did in not showing us Sarah and Felix finding S’s body. I don’t know if my heart could have taken it. It was hard enough to watch Sarah start to read the letter S left them, but having to stop because Kira broke down crying.

Sarah looks down at the paper

I don’t think I would have been able to take Sarah choking up while reading anyway.

It was hard enough to watch Felix take over reading the letter, and hear his voice shaking. S writes to them that death is not the end, that she’s just in the next room, and that they’ll be together again, laughing about this very moment.

It’s very upsetting. Also upsetting is that Cosima and Alison can’t go to the funeral, what with having the same face as Sarah, so they’re video chatting and crying with each other.

Cosima looks upset at her laptop

Still singing “Stay Alive” at this one.

Felix had told them Sarah hadn’t even cried yet – at the funeral, Sarah was stone-faced and looked a little detached. Cosima says Delphine will be back from France soon, and then they can join Alison in supporting their sestra, together.

And I think their sestra could use them, because Sarah is at the post-funeral reception at her house, but she’s not talking to anyone, she’s just watching news of the Neolution exposition on her phone.

Sarah looks up from her phone briefly

I wish I could do this at family events but I get yelled at.

The only thing that gets her attention is when Felix tells her someone is here to see her and it’s Sister Irena. She’s holding Helena’s journal, and Sarah knows immediately that something is wrong.

And what’s wrong, specifically, is that Coady is whisking Helena away in an ambulance, talking about getting the babies out of Helena as quickly as possible, before the people who would be looking for her find her.

Cosima assumes they want the babies for their cord blood, and that Rachel would probably know more about where they would take her.

Sarah doesn’t love this plan, and also wants to stay with Kira, so Art and Felix say they’ll go instead. They’re kind of (understandably) hostile to Rachel until she turns around and her eye is sewn shut; I think then they realize she’s not exactly on the winning side of this, either. They ask her if Coady would have taken Helena back to the island, but she explains that the island is in chaos now, so that wouldn’t be the smartest plan.

And Rachel is right, because Coady has taken Helena to what looks like an old airplane hangar turned makeshift med tent. PT is there and he’s looking a little tough. He’s running out of time and he only has a few loyal supporters left. So he rips off his wig to get to work, a wild look in his eyes.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Sarah is walking round like a zombie, looking at the height markings on the doorframe that S kept for Sarah, Felix, and Kira. She smells an old jacket of S’s, but she still doesn’t cry. Honestly it probably hasn’t hit her yet, that the woman who was always there for her, one of the only constants in her life, even when Sarah didn’t want her to be, is gone.

Sarah sniffs S's jacket

Sarah might not be crying but I am.

Rachel, Felix and Art are talking more about the Revival Revolution and the timeframe of Helena’s disappearance when Art realizes it coincides with Detective Enger being MIA. So they recruit Scott to babysit Rachel (again), while Art and Felix go to the station.

Felix waits in the car while Art goes inside, and Enger is there with a wink and a smug smile. Art’s boss finds him and says Interpol wants to talk, which can’t be good for ol’ Art, but he’s more concerned with exactly how deep this police corruption goes. He determines his boss is on his side, and that it’s mostly just Enger who is decidedly The Worst.

hey girl

We flash back again to see the moment Thomas comes to get little Helena from the closet, saying he’s been looking for her for a long time, saying she’s special. Which was surely confusing for the little girl being raised by nuns and shoved in a closet to hear, though not unwelcome.

Fast forward a while, long enough for little Helena to learn English and create a cardboard dollhouse where she spits on little lesbian Barbies and curses the “copies” she is being taught are sins of science, with the exception of The Original, a mysterious woman she must protect from the evil scientists.

Grown-up Helena is being induced into labor by Coady, at PT’s command, and she wakes up now, furious at Coady, spitting at her.

Helena glares at Coady

If looks could kill Helena would be even more of a murderer than she already is.

Helena knows she’s just doing PT’s bidding, so she calls Coady a coward, but Coady responds by having her assistant put a muzzle on her. And just like that the assassin clone who learned to love her sestras is alone, tied down, and muzzled. And super pregnant.

Art comes back the car and he and Felix call Cosima to tell Team Science about how the board members are dying, and there are only three left, including Rachel.

Cosima is doing science

“No, I’m not playing MASH…”

And one of them is that one guy who said the word debt and is about as nice as one so I have been considering him a Lannister, Al-Khatib. Felix flounces into the boardroom, where Frontenac is about to kill Al-Khatib, but Frontenac doesn’t seem particularly surprised, even when Art busts in. Frontenac threatens them, so Art shoots him dead, leaving Al-Khatib looking a bit shaken.

Art calls Sarah to tell her what went down, and she hates that he’s so tangled up in this now.

Sarah is on the phone with Art

What would they have done if Felix didn’t buy them new phones every season?

But his heart’s tangled up in it already, so a little gunshot between enemies didn’t really make it any better or worse.

Meanwhile in the chaos cave, PT is telling Coady to put Mark down like he’s a dog that bit a kid while out for a walk; he says Mark only wanted the cure so he could grow old with Gracie, and Gracie is dead now, so what’s the point in letting him live? Coady is a little horrified; she didn’t even want Gracie down in the first place, and she surely doesn’t want to kill the last of her Castor boys. Even monsters have their limits. But PT doesn’t care about Castor anymore, only LEDA and their offspring. He leaves shouting, “the future is female” even though has no right to considering he sees these women as merely pawns and objects.

But, Coady is under his thumb, and whether she truly believes in the science or what is anyone’s guess at this point, but regardless she tells Mark she’s giving him his cure and lets him talk about his future with Gracie. He tells her he’s happy, calls her mom, then dies in her arms. And man, I didn’t even LIKE Mark or the entire season we spent on the Castor clones, but Ari Millen is so great in this scene, and it actually made me really sad??? Then again it’s the second-to-last episode of one of my top-five-ever favorite shows so everything has been making me sad. “Is this their last Skype call?” “Is this our last flashback?” etc. I’m a mess.

Speaking of flashbacks, we go back now to a fully grown Helena, being given her fish knife for the first time, ready to start her mission of “cleansing” the copies. Why they had her wait ’til adulthood is anyone’s guess; I suppose it stands to reason it took them that long to start finding them.

Helena looks to the light

omg I have a picture of myself just like this from high school

So off Helena goes, ready to kill her first mark, having presumably practiced on puppies, and follows the copy into a church of all places, her very first scree-scraw leading the way. The woman kneels down, and Helena stabs her from behind, quick, clean, hesitation-free. But then the woman falls back and Helena realizes the woman she killed looks just like her.

Helena goes home (if you can call it that) and sits on her bed having an existential crisis; for almost two decades, she has been raised and trained to hate these “copies,” told they were abominations, that they needed to be eliminated. And now she finds out she IS one. Thomas tells her then that she is the original, she is the one they copied, she is the special one. She needs to believe this to keep some grip on the reality she’s been forced to build, so she does. It’s unclear to me whether this was his plan all along, or if it was a panic switch when he realizes how upset she was. If she was always meant to believe she was the original, or if he truly believed there was an original out there that needed to be protected. Something tells me it’s the first thing.

And then, possibly as a way to help alleviate her guilt, Helena cuts herself for the first time, the first feather in what will someday be an angry angel’s wings.

Helena cuts into her back for the first time

I really hope it wasn’t one cut per sestra…

Present-day Helena is mid-contraction and crying out that she’s not special, that she’s been just a copy all this time, just like her sestras, even the ones she killed. She sees Coady standing there and begs her not to take her babies, woman to woman, mother to mother; they took Coady’s babies, don’t let PT do this to her. But Coady just had to kill her last baby so she’s not feeling very much like bonding right now. She tells Helena she’s committed sestracide and she stinks and would be a horrible mother. Helena loves these unborn babies so much, it never occurred to her that she might not be cut out for motherhood, so she cries.

Helena cries


Back in Rachel’s hotel room, something truly shocking happens. They’re trying to figure out where Coady and PT are, and Al-Khatib keeps calling Helena “the science,” but Rachel — Rachel fucking Duncan — interrupts him and says, “Her name is Helena.” It might be the kindest thing Rachel has ever said.

Sarah is on the phone and says that they’re running out of time, because Kira can sense that the babies are coming.

Sarah holds a worried Kira

Can Kira sense how Tony’s doing? I’m a little worried about him.

Al-Khatib swears he doesn’t know where they took Helena, all he knows is that Rachel is next. So Sarah says they should try to get ahead of the game by giving them exactly what they want. So Al-Khatib calls PT and offers Rachel up and Enger checks the trunk, is pleased as pie to have the ProClone in her grasp, and brings her back to Westmoreland.

Cosima. Is. Stressed.

Cosima is on the phone with Sarah

“Listen Sarah, I know we don’t talk about it, but you’re bisexual, so you also need a bulletproof vest. At all times.”

She hates this plan so much and not because she feels so deeply for all her sestras, but because the person in the trunk is actually Sarah, cloneswapped.

Over in the med tent from hell, Helena pretends to be drugged, but as soon as she’s left alone, she gets down to business, swiping some scissors from a tray by her bed and working on releasing her wrists from their cuffs. When she can’t get them off, she speaks to her babies in Russian, saying they deserve better than a life with her, better than a life of being a science experiment. So she decides to set them all free, slitting her wrists with the scissors.

Helena looks like she's dying


One thing Orphan Black has always had going for it is that no clone ever truly felt safe; when one actress plays every character, all of those characters are expendable. So I truly thought we were losing Helena in this moment, and boy was my heart broken. To have just watched her journey, from angry and tortured child to angry and tortured adult, to sweet and goofy woman who loved snacks and her sestras and her babies more than she ever loved murder…and then to have that all end? When her evolution was only truly beginning? It hurt. My only solace was knowing that truly the only acceptable way for Helena to go out is by her own hand, no one else’s.

But worry not, because her family is on the way. Art is tracing Sarah and follows Enger to the DYAD building where Cosima’s lab used to be. Have I mentioned the Cosima is worried, because she’s still super worried.

Cosima looks hella stressed

“This is more stressful than an episode of Game of Thrones.”

But between WizardFace and Rachel, they have enough intel that they have hope they can pull this off. Sarah just has to stall.

When Sarah gets to PT, he starts to tell her things about Rachel he learned through watching her through her robot eye; deeply personal things that Rachel would hate that Sarah now knows, but that give Sarah an insight into her most serious sestra’s humanity. For example, the most upsetting piece of news: Rachel writes letters to the biological mother she never met.

Sarah as Rachel glares at PT

Ah, there’s that “if looks can kill” thing again; I finally see the resemblance.

Punch me in the heart, why don’t ya?

Eventually Sarah yells at PT to stop telling her these things and pretends to cry, calling him “father.” He’s suspicious now, and soon rips off her wig to reveal Sarah, who drops the act instantly, jumping up and slashing PT’s face with her knife.

Enger comes in and pins her down so PT can point a gun at her, ready to rid himself of the nuisance clone once and for all.

Sarah is pinned to the desk


But Coady runs in then, expecting to have to borrow Rachel, but instead snatching Sarah. Helena needs blood and she needs it NOW.

Meanwhile, Scott and the Wizard sneak into DYAD and get Art in through a back door, letting the alarms go off to alert the masses. Art whips out his nightstick and heads toward Sarah, because he’ll always have her back.

In the med tent, Coady hooks Sarah up to Helena to give her more blood, right from the source.

Sarah and Helena are hooked up by machines

With our powers combined…

Coady is going to give Helena a C-section, but after some loving “meathead”s, Helena wakes up.

Helena gives her twin the eye, and Sarah hangs tight while Helena does her thing.

Sarah looks at Coady and I dunno I just liked her face in this one

Nice knowin’ ya, Coads.

She asks Coady for water, and while she’s giving it to her, Helena SMASHES Coady’s head into the utensil tray. It’s pretty brutal but man I hope she stays dead this time. Helena calls Coady a shit mother and has Sarah help her up so they can escape. But as soon as they’re both free and standing, Helena’s water breaks. The babies are coming.

Sarah and Helena look like they need HALP

Ruh roh.

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 558 articles for us.


  1. There are many things that make me sad. OB ending. No more Cophine. No more happy sestra dance parties.

    But man, not getting your OB-related captions every week, this will be the end of me. Big shout to you, Valerie Anne, because as much as the last two episodes have broken me into many, many pieces, your amazing captions still have me chuckling into my phone at work.

    Til next week. Except I really don’t want next week to arrive.

  2. “Listen Sarah, I know we don’t talk about it, but you’re bisexual, so you also need a bulletproof vest. At all times.” Pfft, I snorted.

    But seriously, I am SO glad the final episodes of this show are SO GOOD. But it makes it hurt even more that it’s going away forever :'(

  3. I was so confused about why she doesn’t look like Charlotte. Then I remembered there’s only one Tatiana Maslany. Seriously, I can’t imagine Charlotte/Helena.

    • I also wondered if it might be due to needing a child actress who could speak Ukrainian?

      I agree, it’s hard to imagine the Charlotte actress playing a young Helena, but I kind of wish we had gotten to see her try!

      • I thought about the younger age too, by someone on Reddit pointed out that Helena was taken by Tomas at the age of 12, which is about how old Charlotte is now. They talked about an interview Graeme Mason had where he said they cast the new actress simply because she was perfect as Helena. Which, true. But the lack of continuity took me out of the story during every flashback.

  4. “Helena SMASHES Coady’s head into the utensil tray. It’s pretty brutal but man I hope she stays dead this time,” HA, with her? Tis but a scratch.

    Helena makes my heart hurt.

    So what’s up with Rachel? It’s been how long and she’s still chilling in the hotel room, is she waiting for people to kill her? With PT putting a target on her back, she’s free but not really.

  5. – Helena shoves the last of her stolen chocolate in her mouth – this made me LOL like ofcourse she did!! It’s very Helena!
    – No, I don’t know why she doesn’t look like Charlotte, don’t ask me. – SAME VA, SAME!! LMAO love your captions! PS. @iamamisfit1 – your theory RE Charlotte at a younger age actually makes sense…
    – the Lannister / GoT reference!
    – My only solace was knowing that truly the only acceptable way for Helena to go out is by her own hand, no one else’s. – SAME!!
    – “This is more stressful than an episode of Game of Thrones.” – it sure was! I mean, maybe GoT S07E03 haha
    – I hope she stays dead this time HAHA “can’t someone stay dead in this town?” – Teen Wolf reference LOL
    – I feel like it hasn’t sink in yet that this week’s episode is The One, The Big One, The Last One. I don’t want it to end :( I hope we get to see Tatiana in a new project. Or we get a spin-off!

    • Also, Helena is queen of multi-tasking eh? LOL She’s like Wynonna, “pregnant, not helpless”

  6. I love the Molly Weasley reference!

    Also, ‘I finally see the resemblance’ made me laugh out loud.

    I’m trying to focus on the (genuinely) funny bits of this recap to drown out the sound of my heart breaking…

  7. When Helena cut her wrists I was strangely at peace. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, Helena is perhaps the clone I love the most (Cosima is the clone I identify with the most, but that’s not quite the same thing) but she was making a choice to protect her bebies from suffering the same sort of life, or worse, that she’d had and she’d at least some of her sestras suffer through.

    Now Coady denied her that choice (and I hope Coady, who was too much PT Shitforbrains’ puppet to resist even when it meant killing the last of her ‘sons’, her science, rots in the hell I don’t actually believe in) I will be really hacked off if they kill her off next week. I really need Helena to live and raise her bebies and prove Coady wrong by being a brilliant mother to them both.

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