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ORPHAN BLACK Season 4 Premiere Recap: The Collapse of Nature

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

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this episode of Orphan Black since it premiered back in April 2013. Legit. Ever since Sarah Manning stepped onto the platform and saw Beth Childs jump in front of a train, I’ve been wondering (surely not alone) about the how and why behind her death. Left to our own devices, we’ve speculated on the Maggie Chen stuff, considered unspoken aspects of her relationship with Art, and always knew she held secret knowledge about the true origins of the LEDA clone experiment, but we, ultimately, had no real idea about any of it. Well, now that’s all changed. We got all those answers and more tonight, fully contextualizing the three seasons worth of mystery we’ve run through thus far.

Godfuckingdamnit, I really love this show.

To have an entirely Beth-focused episode finally showed us just how close she was to the mystery that’s taken the rest of the clones three seasons to unwrap. (In fact, it was almost downright frustrating how evasive she was with Cosima and Alison, though we know it was with good reason.) But perhaps more interesting were the details we got about her as a person. Beth was a good cop rattled by an impossible situation. Was she using drugs before she found out about being a clone? Her little pouch of tricks leads us to believe so, but it’s hard to say at this point. It’s been 6 months since she found out about being a part of such a sestrahood, and a lot can happen in that short amount of time on this show.


How nice was it to see so many familiar faces return, though (including Beth’s)? Dr. Leekie, BDP (hi Paul!), Raj, and Ang (freakin’ ANG! I swear.) all got their own returns to the show. But let’s get back to the meat of it: and by that we, of course, we’re talking Neolution.

Beth spent most of the episode investigating the bizarre murder/body dump of a now-dead Neo with a huge chunk of his cheek missing. M.K., the mysteriously childlike, downright Björk-ian new clone (with a serious aversion to privacy invasions) has, it seems, clued Beth in on the whole damn shebang and has been guiding her hand towards the truth. The tech-savy amateur spy was hot on the heels of the two Neo EMTs behind the body’s burial—Frank and Roxie, otherwise known as Neolution’s clean-up crew—perhaps hoping Beth’s law enforcement connections could finally bring down Neolution. She’s been in hiding ever since she faked her own death and, yes/of course that has us wondering: could Beth have faked her own death in order to try and take down Neolution from the inside? (There’s a theory I have about this that has to do with Krystal but ask me about it on Twitter. Now’s not the time.)

Sounds like a trip to that crazy Neo club from season one is in order! And would you look at that, everyone’s favorite tail-haver, Olivier, is back and creepier than ever. And when he hears Beth Childs is in his club? It felt like a real “the tail wags the dog” situation. (Meaning he’s really, really excited. Also ew.)


Unfortunately, Beth was taken off the case fairly quickly—after the revelation that the call (from M.K.) that led to the crime scene came from an untraceable burner phone and could’ve come from a source close to Beth. Plus there’s that whole “Beth is really, really unstable and so no one really trusts her” thing that seems to be fueling every flame at the police department that doesn’t belong to Art or Raj (aww, poor Raj). That didn’t stop her from continuing to follow leads sent her way, though—like the call from the pregnant club girl whose boyfriend went off with some “hardcore Neos” (a.k.a. Frank and Roxie).

This, it turned out, was the night Beth shot Maggie Chen. Which: WHOA, you guys—I wasn’t expecting that so soon. While watching Frank and Roxie remove the cheek from the pregnant girl’s boyfriend’s face, it was revealed that even Detective Duko, the union rep, also just so happens to be a goddamn Neolutionist. They’re literally everywhere. No wonder Beth lost it: paranoia is unavoidable if your worst nightmare is your reality.

Thankfully Art was there to try and set things right, which: yes, this is our segue into talking about Art. Bow chicka bow wow. We’ve ALWAYS known that Art had feelings for Beth—even before he admitted as much to Sarah in season three—but to see it play out? That was truly heartbreaking for everyone involved. (Yes, even Paul.) Beth felt so isolated and alone in her world, a victim of her own biology and a plaything of someone else’s creation. Her whole life was a lie, and no one really saw her for the person she was; instead, people saw “clone,” or “cop,” or “fuck-up.” She was alone—physically, mentally, and emotionally. And it’s tough, for people as autonomous and strong as Beth clearly was, to withstand that without consequence. Not even M.K. and her glass of iced tea could save all that.


Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the moment we saw it all come together: when M.K. called Sarah (in Iceland) to alert her to Neolution’s impending move. Guess she didn’t stop monitoring the group after Beth died—let the games begin.

Some Additional Thoughts:

  • There’s something different about M.K.—and not just in a “she has an accent like Helena” sorta way. She seems, like, way more naive than the rest of the clones: could she be younger than the others? That’d be a TWIST.
  • There were so many moments where Beth and Sarah’s actions mirrored one another’s in the pilot, but it was never in a way that felt corny, overt, or too wink-wink-y. I loved that.
  • We saw Felix in the police department! BE STILL MY HEART! FEE!!
  • I can’t believe Beth almost shot Paul.
  • Did anyone else think Beth was going to be this poetic?
  • Anyone else DYING to see what else is on that surveillance footage?

What did you think of the premiere? Excited to see more Beth? Let us know in the comments below!

And make sure you don’t miss our spoiler-filled interview with the cast about season four:

Images: BBC America

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor of Nerdist. Find her on Twitter (@alicialutes) and check out her videos from the set of Orphan Black here.

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