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ORPHAN BLACK Recap: Cosima and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Hello, sestras, and welcome back to our weekly recaps of BBC America’s Orphan Black. If you’ve not seen the episode, “Human Raw Material,” note that there will be spoilers below. You’ve been warned! 

Truth voice: we all make mistakes, but some mistakes are worse than others. And it looks as though Sarah’s messed up huge this time. On the halfway point episode of Orphan Black‘s fourth season — “The Scandal of Altruism” — what looked like a potentially major breakthrough turned into a total and utter disaster for the sestras, their health, and their future. Things are dangerous for them now, more so than they’ve ever been. Because if we’ve learned one thing throughout this series thus far, it’s to NEVER trust the fancy-dressing important people at the top of anything, especially shady medical corporations.

We’re sort of surprised that Sarah and Cosima teamed up with them, to be honest. On one hand: yes, they have a lot of capabilities the clones do not. On the other… isn’t this just DYAD 2.o? Like, isn’t Evie Cho just a bigger, badder, more aggressive Rachel with a science brain? Why would they think (especially Cosima, after everything she saw in that lab) that handing over information to Brightborn and Susan Duncan would result in anything other than death and destruction? Girls, no.

The episode mainly focused on establishing the tension between Susan Duncan, Evie Cho, and the clones, as well as diving deeper into the science behind the maggotbots, thanks to a series of well-placed Beth flashbacks, providing further context to those moments before she jumped in front of the train back in the pilot. As we learned throughout the episode, Beth was on the Susan Duncan trail, getting close enough to her maker to shoot her in the head. So why didn’t she kill her, and how could she have known about Susan Duncan? (More on that, later.)


Back in the present, Felix and Art were brought together to handle good ol’ Krystal and her deep dive into the stem cell/beauty conspiracy she’s convinced she’s involved in. (Oh, honey.) And no, she did not take too kindly to seeing Felix’s face again, truth voice or no—he did steal her wallet right before Neolution/DYAD kidnapped her, after all—so it was pepper spray to the face for poor Fee. Worth it, though? We’d say so, as it was revealed in the moments immediately after that Krystal actually saw what happened to Delphine Cormier. Wait, so will we finally know who shot Delphine?! And also, was it Scott? I feel like it was Scott.

Why do I feel like it might’ve been Scott? (Outside of the fact that I’m a crazy insane person with too much time on their hands for speculatory madness?) Because of how the realization of the trojan in their hardware went down. Scott’s been making me anxious all season with his reasoning and cagey actions. Now, this could very easily be me reading too much into things, but… if there’s a trojan wiping all of the data, would you really unplug every computer individually first and THEN shut down the master power source? It all felt backwards to me, and I can’t help but feel as though Evie Cho’s got something on Scott, too (and I say “too” because she also has something on Duko, as was alluded to by Kendall at the end of the episode), and he was a part of all of this. BUT PLEASE, by all means, Orphan Black, prove me wrong. I’d love nothing more than that right now for poor Cosima.

Because, hoo man, did Cosima have it rough this episode. Not only did she have to come to the conclusion that they kinda-sorta have to work together with Susan Duncan to cure her and get the maggotbot out of Sarah’s face, she also had to watch Kendall die at Duko/Evie’s hand after being told that Delphine was shot dead. Oof. Someone get this girl a joint, stat. Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad news bears: her cunning, forward-thinking genius had her swipe the shit out of Sarah’s newly removed maggotbot from Evie’s desk.


According to Evie Cho, each of the maggotbots has a purpose tailored to the person into which it is embedded. In the case of Dr. Leekie, it was to curb a predisposition for Alzheimer’s; for Sarah, it was allegedly put in her to make her sick (remember: they’re “beautiful baselines” after all). That said, I don’t buy that explanation for a second. I don’t think the maggotbot was making Sarah sick — I think it’s what made her immune (and her and Helena able to have babies. Evie Cho clearly had her hands in this in somehow). Why else would Evie’s eyes had dollar signs in them when she removed the bot?

Either way, Sarah’s immunity to the virus would likely help reverse engineer a cure; here’s hoping they’re right! Also/sidenote: you KNOW Evie would’ve let Sarah die on that table if it wasn’t for Cosima assisting. Cosima’s the best (after Helena. Also: I MISS YOU HELENA)!

Unfortunately, the plan to keep the clones with an upper-hand in the situation—holding the key to the original, not allowing the Castor line data—backfired tremendously. Because, as far as Evie Cho was concerned, the clones are nothing more than competing research and technologies with everything she’s trying to accomplish at Brightborn. And not only that, but they’re outdated, thanks to Susan Duncan’s obsession with their livelihood rather than the data they could provide and—in turn—the technologies she let pass her by. “Technology just passed her by. Clones are obsolete; you’re betamax. We don’t need your baseline, we can fix people now,” Evie uttered. And by the look of everything Neolution’s able to do thus far, we totally believe her.


We’re betting the only missing piece to that puzzle is finding a way for the bots to cure SCID, what Evie had (has?) as a child. Or maybe it’s something else entirely—something Beth took with her to the grave. Which, yes: back to Beth. According to her brutal chat with Evie Cho (who set her up to shoot Susan Duncan so that she might become the new head of Neolution), what Beth knows is enough to send Neolution after her and all the sestras. But what is it that she knows? Some Neo secret? Whatever Susan Duncan’s “mistakes” were that she alluded to in her at-gunpoint chat?

Clearly, there’s still more to know here—our money is on it having something to do with Castor and the government, and what they have/know and whatnot. (There’s definitely so much more there that we don’t know — and our money’s on them being the main big bad for next season, very likely their last.) But there’s also the mystery behind as to WHY the maggotbots have a deadly failsafe at all. “Nature’s nothing but a bunch of spare parts for you, isn’t it?” Cosima posited. To which Evie said, “I think of it more as a palette.” Could it simply be that she places her own tech’s importance over human life itself? DARK, y’all. Dark.

But what do you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t miss a bunch of Orphan Black spoilers from Kristian Bruun (a.k.a. Donnie Hendrix):

Images: BBC America

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor of Nerdis, co-host of Fangirling, and president of our in-office Clone Club chapter. Find her on Twitter @alicialutes!

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