Orphan Black – From Instinct to Rational Control

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By: Alex Steele

After the shocking discovery that Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) is alive, and more so that she is holding Rachel (Tatiana Maslany) captive, the mission this week takes a new direction. From Instinct to Rational Control uncovers even more wanted answers to questions that the sisters have, but not without a little fun and games and role play beforehand. For the first time since we’ve met her, the opening sequence of this week’s episode gave us an insight into MK’s life. Her morning ritual, in fact. As I’m sure most of us predicted, it is regimented and bordering on obsessive-compulsive and yet we can’t help, but fall more and more in awe of this new clone. She’s completely endearing, even so while she makes a bomb (something I am sure Tatiana Maslany is only able to succeed in illustrating). Nonetheless, not only do we get this insight, we also see MK’s extensive research into Topside, Dyad and all things Neolution. She’s good, like super good, but what strikes us is her ongoing dialogue with someone called “Nikki” about being closer to Ferdinand. Who is she you ask? A photo tells us she’s another clone; blonde haired and looking quite cozy with our own MK. So what’s their story? Read on.

Elsewhere, Sarah, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Ferdinand (James Frain) arrive at a hideout to discuss a deal or a plan. Ferdinand wants to rescue Rachel, but not before Sarah reveals her source. Meanwhile, Cosima and Scott (Josh Vokey) have received a somewhat rotting package in the mail; it is Dr. Leekie’s head, ready for its examination. After cutting out what appears to be a tumor, Cosima and Scott have a visual of the bot. (The Neolution stuff this season has been next level disgusting, but you can’t look away.) Cutting back to Ferdinand, getting his chef on while trying to bargain with Sarah, he has a flash drive with a message from Rachel on it he needs it tracked or decoded, something we all know MK could do in an instant.

Alison is first seen this week enjoying a show-tune themed catch up with Sarah Stubbs (Terra Hazelton). It’s short and sweet as Sarah has to get to hot yoga, but as they both leave Alison gets mistaken for Beth. Remember Trina (Allie Macdonald)? The girl from the Neolution bar? That’s who recognises her. Meanwhile, Donnie (Kristian Bruun) checks in with Helena who is completing a cute and cuddly baby collage. Nesting Helena is downright adorable, so I can understand how hard Donnie must be finding it between her and Alison. Telling Helena about his and Alison’ fertility issues as a way of helping her to understand Alison’ current mood evidently leaves Helena a little upset. So much so, later on in the episode she buries her liquid nitrogen babies and leaves. Where is she going?

One of the other great storylines this week saw Alison, Donnie and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) team up to infiltrate LifeSpring Fertility Clinic. Unfortunately, Alison/Beth have been seen there before so this leaves the task to Donnie and Felix. Alison has done her research and sets the boys up with solid fake identities; however, the catch is the guys must play a gay couple. And might I say, Kristian Bruun playing gay is quite hilarious. In fact, Felix tells him to tone it down a bit. Donnie is required to give a sperm sample, something he calls Alison to assist with and once again Tatiana and Kristian deliver another comedic piece of gold that had me in stitches. Their phone sex, with the theme of Air Italia, was at times a little cringe-worthy, but for the most part laugh out loud stuff. Following up this comedic beat, Tatiana Maslany as Alison, shows how fluid her ability is to move from one emotion to another as she discusses her fertility problems with an old friend. The immediacy yet genuine nature of Alison’s emotions are staggering and you can’t help, but applaud the manipulative nature of Alison when she desires something. While Alison and her boys are orchestrating this plot, Sarah arrives at Dizzy’s to ask a favor, but is shown the door as fast as he answers it. He wants in on what is going on and after a little reluctance, Sarah spills on all things Clone Club.

After a volatile confrontation with MK earlier that saw her cut ties with Sarah due to her connection to Ferdinand, Sarah needs Dizzy’s help in reaching out again. Dizzy (Joel Thomas Hynes) and Sarah have arrived at MK’s yet there doesn’t seem to be any movement at the premises. Throwing a rock through her front door – Sarah really doesn’t care anymore – her and Dizzy are in. Well, so they think. Thanks to his quick thinking nature, Dizzy saves Sarah from stepping on a trigger plate, rigged to a bomb underneath the stairs of MK’s caravan. Gosh this girl knows how to protect herself! Barely evading death (again), Sarah and Dizzy get inside and begin searching. Sarah finds her laptop, uncovering the picture of MK and Nikki. Not only that, but they find information about “Helsinki.” Could this all be leading back to a common thread?

MK continues her wizard ways when she spoofs a text as Sarah to Mrs. S telling Ferdinand to meet her at Beth’s. Of course, Siobhan obliges as it is Sarah after all. Ferdinand arrives at Beth’s, the apartment dark and deserted except for a singular laptop sitting on the table. As he enters, MK speaks. The sheep mask appears again, instructing Ferdinand to sit. With a click of the seat below him, we know the MK has rigged another bomb this time right below him. He moves, he dies.

With Ferdinand not able to move, MK appears – in the flesh – for a reunion I for one did not see coming. As she removes her mask, there is familiarity that flashes across Ferdinand’s face. He recognizes her! Her real name is Vera and she was a victim of a car crash in Helsinki that left her with a scar across her cheek. This little bit of information explains how MK has been wearing her hair and, again, we have to stand up and applaud the creative geniuses in the costume department as well as the phenomenal work of Tatiana is sculpting such diverse representations. As the devastating confrontation continues, Tatiana as MK breaks my heart – we learn that Nikki and her entire family were murdered, gassed to death. If there is one thing we’ve learnt about MK so far is that she is loyal, possibly to a fault, but also vengeful. Nikki was her only friend and this is her way of avenging her death.

Luckily, Sarah’s timing is perfect as she bursts through the door to interrupt this crushing reunion. And for what I believe is the first time, MK and Sarah meet in the flesh. Exchanging a dialogue so laced with pain and undeniable connectedness Sarah convinces MK that this isn’t the way. After taking all his money and abandoning the scene, MK leaves Sarah high and dry once again. The work Tatiana and the creators have done to develop MK is next level and the relationship we already seen forming between these two sisters is complex and layered. My breath hitches every time MK and Sarah talk; two sisters, fighting the same fight, different ways, but for the greater good.


Other key notes:

  • Bright Born is another faction of Neolution and could be where clones are being developed
  • Rachel decides not to give Charlotte therapy for her condition
  • Susan Duncan catches Rachel out
  • Now that they know the bots are used for gene therapy, could this be the answer to curing Cosima?


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