Orphan Black – Human Raw Material

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By:  Alex Steele


Tatiana Maslany is that good. So good, that when this week’s episode started and we were reintroduced to blonde beautician Krystal my mind just didn’t comprehend that again Tatiana Maslany is behind this character. Her continued fluidity to move within each character is next to none, with their uniqueness at times so shocking. Human Raw Material opened on a pumped up Krystal at what looks like a boxing gym. She’s participating in a one-on-one self defense session. She’s going on about her kidnapping and that her boyfriend was killed, but also states that tragedies as such build resilience. You can tell that Krystal is taking what happened to her and using it to strengthen her. We also learn that Krystal has been doing her own research into Dyad – cue the worry – and as she finishes her session we can’t help but draw particular parallels between her and Alison.

Elsewhere, Sarah is finally taking a well-deserved day off and is spending it painting with Kira (Skylar Wexler). During their hangout she receives a text from Helena ensuring Sarah of her safety, but little does Sarah know that her twin has disappeared from the Hendrixes, camping gear and all. Not being able to let it rest, Alison and Cosima have constructed a flow chart of all the interlocking components of this conspiracy – Neolution, Bright Born and Dyad. And as much as Sarah wants to forget about it she just can’t, especially when she notices “Gene Connection” – the name of the company Felix (Jordan Gavaris) used to find Adele (Lauren Hammersley). The paranoia is real. Luckily for her though, Cosima and Alison are the ones handling the latest undercover mission. The mission? Bright Born Orientation day. Alison is way too busy with all her suburban mom jobs so to relieve some of her stress, Cosima puts her hand up to go undercover. It seems like the best move, especially as she is the scientific one after all. Alison lets Donnie (Kristian Bruun) in on the plan, who has been busy trying to perfect his character. It is no secret that Tatiana and Kristian have an unbelievable comedy dynamic and the snarkiness they bring to the Hendrix’s always has us in stitches.

Sarah can’t help but drop the idea that Adele may be a Dyad plant and shows up at Felix’s home uninvited. With the tension still palpable and Adele still hanging around, the awkwardness just continues to grow. After some advice from Scott (Josh Vokey) regarding DNA testing, Sarah steals Adele’s brush and wine glass to have it tested. She wants to make sure that Felix isn’t being conned or used. That and I believe she is a little jealous and hurt that Felix has branched out and is no longer falling into line. Arriving to Bright Born, Cosima and Donnie (still trying to get his character sorted) are welcomed and instructed to sign non-disclosure agreements. Cosima already thinks this place is shady.

Back at Bright Born, Evie Cho (Jessalyn Wanlim) is actually present for today’s orientation and once the introduction is completed Cosima disappears to search out evidence. Evie Cho isn’t the only familiar face as, surprisingly, Krystal turns up as well. This reveal is absolutely hilarious, especially as it is Donnie who sees her first.

In the meantime, Sarah waits for the DNA test to be completed while also discovering that Helena has left. She’s disappeared and Alison doesn’t seem to really care. Tatiana fighting Tatiana as Alison and Sarah becomes unidentifiable! This was one of those scenes we forget it is one actress playing two characters.

At Bright Born, Cosima has made some progress in her search, but not before one Susan Duncan intercepts her. At this point in time both Krystal and Cosima are in the premises, but it is Cosima who Susan confronts. They discuss all things gene therapy and germ line editing (illegal in most countries) before Cosima swiftly swipes her access card. This move allows Cosima to the restricted levels of which a large number of pregnant women are being housed. Cosima is caught up in a delivery though as she is disguised as a nurse and witnesses first-hand what Bright Born is doing.

Over at the safe house, Sarah and Kira arrive home to find Felix with Adele. He’s taken her up on the dinner offer, but instead of coming alone he has invited Adele. Sarah isn’t happy because any new person is a possible threat and this point rubs Felix the wrong way. As dinner gets started, the animosity between Felix and Sarah comes to a head when she begins to question (interrogate) Adele about the DNA testing. Not giving up the line of questioning, Felix and Sarah come to blows. Luckily, the phone rings to stop anything else from escalating. It’s Scott and the results are in. What follows is the most moving display of emotion from Jordan and Tatiana – Adele is his sister. And the pain written across Sarah’s face is enough to leave a lump in your throat. In this moment, you can see the reality of the situation hit Sarah. Felix has a real sister, and in a way, he’s moving on, growing and somehow they aren’t in this together anymore. Bravo, Tatiana. Bravo, Jordan.

The end of the episode gives the audience some of the most emotional scenes to date when Krystal sees Ira as she is being escorted out of Bright Born and legitimately freaks out. Cosima and Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) have a very impassioned confrontation. Cosima is evidently shaken by what she just witnessed in the birth suite, so much so she is barely holding it together. Note the ever subtle lip quiver that we’ve come to associate with Cosima and her attempt to hide her pain. Tatiana is phenomenal at dialling into Cosima’s deeply hidden fear of her condition. We are so accustomed to seeing her about the science that when she breaks, only a little, the reality of what this means to her shines through. Stating she never gave permission for any of this, that what they are doing is tinkering with human beings…So sad sweet Cosima. However, where Rachel gets her manipulative ways appears when Susan plays on the fact that Cosima is dying. She knows what game she is playing and she sees a weakness with Cosima that could be capitalised on, a weakness maybe enough to have Cosima actually considering working with Susan Duncan. She can’t right? She couldn’t do that to her sisters? We’ll have to wait and see, but the possibility of finding a cure may just be too good to turn down.

After Kira sensed Sarah becoming overwhelmed with all things Felix and Adele, the two are seen lying on her bed, under the shelter of her newly painted mural. With Kira evolving, and her deep-seeded intuition (power) growing, she makes an admission to Sarah that she feels her sisters. All of them, even some of them they haven’t met. She feels Cosima’s sadness, Helena’s anger. She feels Sarah too. Sarah’s realisation (nuanced from Maslany) is shrouded in concern for her daughter; her dreams aren’t dreams. They are much more than that. This dynamic between Skylar and Tatiana is all encompassing and it is hard not to tear up with this exchange.

Kind of changing the mood however, the scene cuts to Ira (Ari Millen) swimming in the Bright Born pool. He is quickly joined by Susan, who lets him know the progress with Cosima. They are as close to Kendall Malone as ever. Then, they kiss. Yes, that’s right, they makeout. Am I the only one that didn’t see it coming? I was a little shocked.


Other key notes:

  • Detective Duko is onto Donnie and Alison and, unfortunately, Art may be in the crosshairs
  • This Sarah and Felix tension as absolutely soul-crushing, but Jordan and Tatiana are absolutely dominating
  • Is anyone else predicting a six clone scene by seasons end? Add MK and Krystal, talk about a party!
  • Also, are the subtle mentions of Delphine anything for us to hold on to? Hope maybe?

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