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ORPHAN BLACK Recap: Dissecting All the Details

Hello brothers and sestras, welcome to another recap of Orphan Black. Recap = spoilers. Like all of them (literally). SO if you haven’t seen episode 3, “Formalized, Complex and Costly,” we’d highly suggest you turn away now. Thanks!

We’re going in deep, Clone Club. The Orphan Black brother and sestrahoods are scattered and scared as new details have emerged from our third installment. As Sarah and Cosima search for answers, the Castor boys are getting even more antsy to retrieve alleged genetic samples from the original genome that are maybe-maybe not floating around out there in the world. But that was only the half of it (and we thought last week was intense). Hoo boy hold onto your butts kids.

First thing’s first: Seth is definitely dead. Like slumped-in-a-tub-in-Felix’s-apartment dead. Which wouldn’t be a problem Fee and Sarah couldn’t handle if it weren’t for Art showing up and bungling everything. AWOOPS. Still, the return of Art to the clone club sets up quite the predicament for the finally back-on-the-job cop, since it’s not exactly kosher to go covert mission-status when you’ve only just returned to the ranks. But Art’s desire to be involved runs deep: using her own brand of detective skills, Sarah dug in and discovered that he was in love with Beth (we knew it we knew it we knew ittttt!) and to him, it feels right to help Sarah and the girls. Sarah reminds him a lot of Beth (and not just physically), so we’re slightly concerned Art’s emotions might get in the way and end up hurting him in the end. Be strong, Art! Be strong.

Still, Art comes bringing good tidings: details and a possible lead on Mark. After running off with pregnant Prolethean progeny Gracie, he’s turned up in a town where the mysterious Willard Finch lives. Apparently he’s got some long-held scientific secrets of Henrik’s and Mark’s mission is to retrieve it. So Cagney and Lacey over here confront Alexis McGann the Proletheans’ old midwife (a/k/a Maslany’s IRL clone double Kathryn Alexandre) for details. It’s then that Sarah finds out that Helena “has a special purpose,” which is being pregnant with Henrik’s part-clone babies (just like Gracie). Oh snap shit just got real now didn’t it, Sarah?

Mark and Gracie, meanwhile, are playing a dangerous game of informational mambo — him giving her little vague details about how he’s “not who you think I am,” and how he grew up at an army school. Our most neurotic clone — he spends most nights staying up sitting, watching, and worrying — has turned out to also be a bit of a prude (“The other boys did sex things, but not me,” he noted to Gracie), but one with a mission: that of covert operative. He’s got to head to Willard Finch’s place to recover scientific material that Henrik had left with him many years ago in order to be “free” of his people and able to actually go AWOL for real. (He admitted he never left the army.)

So Gracie takes matters into her own hands, knowing Finch will not go gently into that good information-giving. She strongarms the fella into giving her the box, but it’s notes, not DNA. “It’s all junk!” So naturally, Mark decides he has to go back.

Elsewhere, Cosima’s cracking skulls — literally. Digging into Seth’s skull, our scientist and her Igor (Scott) are grabbing the brain for research purposes. Oh and also to give us a moment to expand upon Cos’ crisis of faith. Did Seth go gently into that good night, or was his soul aware of his leaving? Scott is having a bit of a rough time with it, prompting this little bit of Felixian wisdom, “A good lab partner should be metaphysically empathetic. Tongs or spoons?” Oh Fee, never change. For real.

Cosima’s study of the brain makes a pretty major reveal, though: the clones — all of them! — are genetically siblings. Brothers and sestras the lot of them. Which means they both come from the same genetic material. TWIST! Which is exactly what Sarah tells Mark once she finds him, but he’s less than accepting of the familial revelation. “You are not my family,” he bellowed with a gun to Sarah’s head — hmm, not very brotherly, Mark — only to end up with a gunshot death of his own. SAY WHAAAAAAT? Another dead male clone! But who would’ve done that? Why crazy Prolethean Kate McKinnon character, Bonnie — Gracie’s mom and Henrik’s widow, thanks to a tip from Alexis that the male clones were digging around.

And man oh man, isn’t Bonnie the actual, literal worst? What a self-hating woman, I mean really. We’re glad Gracie hid Henrik’s belongings under the bed before she got the nth degree from her mother. “He took advantage of your stupidity.” Well gee, mom, thanks for the vote of confidence on your own offspring!

On the other side of the Castor cabal, Helena is singing and trying to hold on, despite the menacing machinations of Dr. Coady, Paul, and Rudy. It’s through them we get a few more vague details about the glitching that forced Rudy to kill his own brother. “It’s getting worse, this glitch, isn’t it?” Paul posits. Coady’s tight-lipped but it seems to be the case. But she needs Paul to follow orders from higher up: “The director wants you in Arlington. Our weapons system has a glitch, Paul.”

Which — record screech — hold the effing phone here! The clones are a “weapons system?” What in the actual fuck is going on here, you guys? Are they literal ticking time bombs or future soldiers made to be expendable? Paul’s own affinity for both sides of the clone project ultimately shone through in his concern. “We owe them,” he pleaded to Coady, but she’s more focused on their sustainability: she needs Paul to buy more time with the director of their operation. SPOOKY, SHADY DOINGS, Paul!

Perhaps the saddest and most telling moment was with Rachel and DYAD’s shady Dr. Nealon, who clearly has ties to Project Castor, as evidenced by his showing the corporate clone in recovery the shady Castor two-horse logo (Mark and the other boys’ tattoo). Poor Rachel is struggling to regain cognitive control. She’s improving but her lot at the institution looks pretty grim now that Nealon and Delphine have told Topside that Rachel is dead in a plane crash, effectively making her a prisoner of the institute’s, usable for studying, probably in relation to the Castor glitch and her own vitality. “You’re more valuable than you know,” Herr Creepdoctor stated ominously. He must be in cahoots with Coady, no? Oh gosh are we going to have to care about and save poor Rachel next?

Oh and Alison is turning out to be quite the proficient drug dealer/politician, strong-arming the junkie housewives into voting for her. “We should’ve been drug dealers years ago!” says Donnie, because of course.

Other Stuff and Things:
– Favorite Alison Quote of the Evening: On school lunches: “Nothin’ but starches” and after Marcy leaves: “I need to cut something.”
– Team Hendrix WON’T BE BOUGHT, y’all!
– Favorite Helena Quote of the Evening: “You are the ugliest Mark yet.”
– Why is Coady making the boys keep logs of their sexual activity? WHAT SORTA PSYCHO TIGERMOM BUSINESS IS THAT?

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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