Orphan Black – Gag or Throttle
By: Michelle Lopez
We open on a flashback of Leekie (Matt Frewer) introducing young Rachel (Cynthia Grant) to the secret cabal behind Neolution. One of the many things they’re studying in the Leda clones is the effect that environment plays on development and Rachel is their star example as the only self-aware clone. Rachel recites a little speech and explains the purpose of ID tags in clone DNA while nervously picking at her nails behind her back.
In present day, we see the same scene playing out with Rachel (Tatiana Maslany) as Leekie and Kira (Skyler Wexler) as Rachel. Westmorland (Stephen McHattie) provides an introduction using his “longevity” as the selling point then tosses the ball to Rachel who introduces Kira as their new Eve. They’re planning on not only harvesting Kira’s eggs, but also taking biopsies of a whole bunch of her organs because they’re the worst.
Later on Rachel’s reviews Kira’s file while Kira creates a storybook. Kira asks why she can’t go home and Rachel claims it’s to monitor the sleep Kira’s not getting because of all the needles they’ve been stabbing her with. Rachel looks like she wants to comfort Kira, but instead tells her they’re almost done with the needles. Frontenac (Andrew Moodie) hops off the elevator to collect Kira, but before she’s separated from Rachel she gives Rachel a friendship bracelet because Kira’s dedicated to the hustle. Rachel reminisces on giving a bracelet to a childhood friend, but they are no longer friends. Kira relates herself to Rachel by commenting that Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) moved them around so often she’s never been able to make friends. She asks to call her mom, but Rachel tells her she can call tomorrow because it’s bedtime. With Kira gone, Frontenac updates Rachel on their failed hunt for Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Sarah’s nonstop calls. She tells him to keep searching and to give Sarah the same answer she gave Kira.
At home, Sarah receives a text from Frontenac telling her to try again tomorrow which doesn’t sit well with her or Siobhan (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Siobhan is ready to storm the gates and rescue Kira by force, but Sarah stops her. She’s learned from that it’s best to stop and think in situations like these.
At the comic shop, Hell Wizard (Calywn Shurgold) leads Scott (Josh Vokey) into the basement where Cosima and Charlotte (Cynthia Grant) are hiding out. They fill him on their daring escape then give Sarah a call to let her know what Rachel’s planning on doing with Kira. Sarah and Siobhan are outraged at the violation of Kira and the fact that they’re planning on repeating what they did to Leda with a whole new generation. Sarah hasn’t been fighting this long to let them win so she asks Cosima for some leverage. Cosima’s got a massive smoking gun, Westmorland is a fraud, but they need some concrete evidence to prove it. Cosima and company are going to figure out who Westmorland really is while Sarah and Siobhan work through Neolutions money trail (courtesy of Adele and Felix). Also, Cosima drops the news of Coady (Kyra Harper) showing up on the island and Susan’s demise before Alison (Tatiana Maslany) pops into the video call from California to welcome Cosima home and get up to date on Kira’s situation.
After the riots broke out in Revival, things have taken a turn toward a militant state. Armed guards escort Rachel onto Westmorland’s estate and direct her to Susan’s grave. There she flashes back to the day she met Westmorland. He got Rachel to drink the Kool-Aid by playing to her desperate need for acceptance, he called her his daughter and offered her the position as head of Neolution. In the present day, Westmorland shows up to comfort Rachel and escort her to Coady for her examination. Rachel’s confused because when she joined up with Westmorland she signed a document that legally emancipated her from Leda. She’s supposed to be free, but for the first of many times in this episode we see that there is no such thing as freedom as long as people like Westmorland are in charge. She notices her file (serial number included) up on Coady’s computer. Whatever document she signed didn’t change a damn thing except trick her into joining their team.
While Coady takes a biopsy of Rachel’s internal ladyparts, Rachel flashes back to Leekie doing the exact same procedure on her. She asked him for information on the Leda disease while nervously picking at her nails. He doesn’t have any news on the disease because not enough clones have fallen ill yet. Rachel gets pissed when Leekie tells her he can’t share her test results with her. In one of the most ironic moments of this show, she gets pissed when Leekie refuses to share her test results because it’s her body and she has a right to know. Coady finishes the exam and leaves Rachel to clean herself up.
Siobhan and Sarah follow the Neolution money trail and manage to discover a guy who manages Neolutions slush fund that they surmise must be a member of the Neoluation cabal. Meanwhile, Cosima, Scott and Hell Wizard search for guys who died around the time Westmorland reappeared.
At the Hendrix house, Donnie (Kristian Bruun) rushes around the house cleaning in preparation for Alison’s return. When she walks in he’s baffled by her new short purple hair style. She went to California met a Jungian, decided to live her life in the present and get a commemorative tattoo that says “live(r) deep.”
While walking past Westmorland’s office, Rachel overhears him on a call with Frontenac who is definitely Rachel’s monitor. He reports on Kira’s status and on the attachment Rachel’s formed with her. Westmorland is concerned it might become a hindrance to their plans, but Frontenac thinks Rachel can keep things professional. When the call ends Rachel enters asking about the call. Westmorland plays it off as nothing while shoving a tablet into a desk drawer. He asks for an update on Kira despite having just received one from Frontenac. She gives a professional enough update, but Westmorland notices her attachment. He instructs Rachel to bring Kira to the island after they harvest her eggs because he’s been itching for a new subject since he killed Yanis. Rachel doesn’t want to bring Kira to the island, but is quickly shot down by captain patriarchy.
The last Castor clone, Mark (Ari Millen), is led into Coady’s lab in handcuffs and with a bag over his head. He’s agreed to help Coady find Helena (Tatiana Maslany) in an exchange for a cure because he can’t stand Gracie (Zoe De Grand Maison) waiting for him to glitch. She asks him for a semen sample, which doesn’t bode well for the 1300 surrogates waiting on Kira’s eggs. He tells her that he has a lead on Helena and we cut to Gracie visiting Helena in the church she’s hiding out in.
Before leaving the island, Rachel makes her way back into Westmorland’s office and pulls out his fancy tablet, which is a live feed from her robot eyeball. She’s freaked, but manages to hide the tablet before Westmorland returns. She claims to be there wanting to say goodbye, but her deer in the headlights demeanor alerts Westmorland to her being off.
In the elevator of the Dyad Institute, Rachel stares into a reflection of her robot eyeball and flashes back to the time she killed one of the sick clones to provide Leekie with more data on the disease. Leekie is horrified by what Rachel’s become and says as much to her face. Rachel snaps back to reality when the elevator opens and she’s greeted by Kira working on her storybook. Rachel’s having a moment so she sends Kira away so she can pour herself a fancy glass of straight up vodka. She tells Frontenac to let Kira video chat with Sarah under close supervision.
In Alison’s former craft room, Alison is tossing everything out because she’s not about crafting anymore, she’s all about the embracing her inner chaos. She busts out a keyboard she purchased and begins to set it up while Donnie asks about what instrument he should buy. He expects Alison to tell him but she’s done being a control freak, he’s free to buy whatever instrument he wants.
Over the video call, Kira gives Sarah an update on what’s going on at Dyad. The storybook she’s been working on is the story of what’s happening using the code names they created for everyone. The last page is Kira letting Sarah know they plan on taking her to the island which causes them both to breakdown.
Finding out about the robot eyeball has thrown Rachel into a vodka fueled spiral. She brings her bottle to the video room and watches the videos of her and her parents. Westmorland gives her a call because he’s watching her spiral and is concerned. She assures him everything is fine and thanks him for checking in. Frontenac brings Kira in for a call with Westmorland and Kira instantly senses that something’s wrong. She asks who hurt Rachel and in her drunken state all she has is the truth, “all of them.”
In the comic shop, the team looks through the nine candidates they’ve found who could be the Westmorland imposter. The fourth one they look at is him so Cosima calls Sarah to give her the good news.
In her office Rachel’s drugging a glass of OJ with a sedative when Westmorland’s real identity pops up on her screen. She gives Sarah a call and let’s Sarah fill her in on Westmorland. Sarah tries to get Rachel to put her in front of the secret Neolution cabal, but Rachel knows they won’t listen to her. Sarah tries to appeal to Rachel’s humanity and the fact that she was ripped away from her family as part of Leekie’s twisted experiment. It hits Rachel right in the heart, but she knows Westmorland’s watching through her robot eye so she tells Sarah it’s out of her hands and hangs up.
Rachel takes the drugged OJ to Kira’s room and Kira takes this opportunity to once again try and appeal to Rachel’s former trauma. She asks if Rachel hated being experimented on as a kid, which Rachel pretends to not remember but does tell Kira that she’ll get used to it. Then, the vodka and a ton of childhood trauma hit causing Rachel to see herself as a child instead of Kira. She asks why she doesn’t run and young Rachel/Kira’s answer is simple, where would they go? Rachel begins to pick at her nails again, but Kira stops her because it’s a bad habit Sarah used to have. With the mention of Sarah, Rachel forces Kira to drink the OJ.
Back in her office, Rachel tells Frontenac that Sarah faked the documents about Westmorland’s real identity and sends him to go “take care” of her and Siobhan. When Frontenac leaves she plays with her necklace while texting Art (Kevin Hanchard) about going to Dyad to pick up Kira. Rachel heads to her meditation room and closes her eyes as if she’s meditating, but in reality she slips on an eyepatch and makes her way to Kira’s room while Frontenac’s hit squad bust into Sarah’s empty house. Rachel rolls Kira’s bed to the elevator where Art, Sara and Siobhan grab Kira and go. Westmorland thinks his tablet isn’t working so he taps it which triggers Rachel’s eye to malfunction and show Westmorland. Rachel’s decided it’s time she takes back some agency so she drinks some more vodka, emails the board Westmorland’s true identity AND CUTS THE ROBOT EYEBALL OUT OF HER HEAD USING BROKEN STEMWARE.