Orphan Black – The Antisocialism of Sex
By: Alex Steele
It is safe to say that the fall-out from last week’s heart-wrenching episode was going to be excruciating and was it ever. I say it every week, but Tatiana Maslany (even after nearly four seasons of “Orphan Black”) continues to bring each of these characters to life is such alternate ways with each unique from the other, but all undoubtedly born with similar hearts. The episode The Antisocialism of Sex began with Rachel, who has progressed in her recovery so much so that when she notices the door to her room (prison) is unlocked. She makes her way up the daunting high-level staircase. As she successfully makes it to the top, the open plan of the room she arrives in reveals views of vast ocean and cliffs. It’s beautiful. Taken with the scenery, she doesn’t notice her mother lying on the couch until she simply states “it’s over.” Not really taking that comment on board, Rachel asks where they are and Susan responds “Welcome to the Island of Dr. Moreau.” Um, excuse me? Continuing on, and not letting Rachel come to terms with all this new information, Susan (Rosemary Dunsmore) reveals that Kendall Malone is dead, as is the cure. Uh-oh. If Rachel didn’t have any hope before, she certainly has none now.
As the credits finish, the next scene opens on a shattered Mrs. S (Maria Doyle-Kennedy) sitting alone in the safe house kitchen, eyes reddened from crying and her features fallen with heartbreak over the death of Kendall. Sarah is sitting by Kira (Skyler Wexler) before she exits to come face to face with her mother. Before she can speak more than two words, Siobhan lets rip saying that Sarah was the one that put Kendall (Alison Steadman) in the line of fire and she put Siobhan in the middle and there was nothing I could do. Sarah states that Kendall was family to her, too. This gets probably the most gut-wrenching response from Mrs. S. when she states, “You came to me an orphan. That’s all you’ll ever be.” Maria and Tatiana bring heartbreak to a whole new level in these scenes. The visceral nature is enough to make us feel as though we’re in the room. Sarah leaves and Kira, being so connected to all the sisters, feels the pain and reality of what this means. Meanwhile, Cosima is seen lying on her back in her marijuana house. Attempting to calm her mind, we find that she haunted and traumatized by what she has witnessed in cutting flashbacks to last week. It amazes me. Yes, still after all this time, the ability of Tatiana to play the same emotion so differently in each of the sisters amazes me. While Sarah is dark and gloomy and separated, Cosima is overcome, teetering on the edge, feeling every last facet of guilt. Scott (Josh Vokey) does his best to calm Cosima down, assuring her it was not her fault, but nothing is going to stop her from blaming herself.
Alison, who we haven’t seen for a while, is writing a condolence card to Siobhan when she falls to her knees with emotion. Alison breaking is a painful gut-punch just like her sisters. But for the sister whose known for keeping it together, seeing her break (if only for a second) demonstrates just how trying this situation has become. Donnie (Kristian Bruun) tries to persuade Alison to cancel Gemma’s birthday party, but Alison ensures her husband that everything is ok and that this is exactly what she needs. Back with Rachel, Susan is introducing her to the stories of Darwin and where Neolution all , but Rachel doesn’t really have time for all that because she’s more concerned that Susan seems to be giving up; that she doesn’t seem motivated anymore to find a cure. It’s a theme that trickles through the entire episode. Mrs S. informs Felix (Jordan Gavaris) that Sarah has left again, a fact that he is super surprised by. Stating that she doesn’t do that anymore, Felix is disappointed in Siobhan because she should have known better.
Sarah hasn’t wasted anytime. She’s planted herself securely on a barstool, taking shot after shot trying to drown her sorrows. It doesn’t help that her dead sister keeps popping up behind her wherever she goes. To say the sisters are haunted is an understatement. Elsewhere, Scott and Cosima are brainstorming ways in which to begin research again but Cosima, understandably, doesn’t see a way forward. With mention of her lab partner, Cosima bites back “she’s dead, too.” This is a comment she didn’t mean to offend Scott, but in fact does. I have to say Scott, Mrs. S, Felix and Donnie are the best support system this Clone Club could ask for. With the guilt of her remark too much, Cosima takes a moment and a breath. This seems to help as she makes her way to retrieve Sarah’s bot – maybe this could help? Back at the safe house, Art (Kevin Hanchard) has arrived to take Siobhan’s statement regarding Kendall’s death informing Art that Detective Duko (Gord Rand) was the one that killed her. Oh goodness, this battle is about to hit a whole new level.
Rachel and Susan share in a Skype conversation with Evie (Jessalyn Wanlim) and discover that Leda is being dismantled altogether. The unaware Leda clones will be left alone, but Sarah and the rest of her “self-aware” sisters won’t get humane treatment. Sarah isn’t really concerned with any of that right now; however, as we cut back to her at the bar now where she is accompanied by Dizzy (Joel Thomas Hynes). He seems to be giving Sarah some definite “I’m interested in you” vibes. She seems more taken though with a couple from across the bar as they dance and they drink with the sexual tension obvious. And when one thing leads to another, the three head to the back of the bar where Sarah officially reverts to old ways. The parallels between Beth and Sarah during this montage is uncanny with the drug use, the downward spiral, etc. Lines of cocaine and a threesome later, she returns to Dizzy at the bar and the two leave. Meanwhile, Alison and Donnie are having a great time with birthday party. Donnie is telling ghost-stories and Alison is doing all she can to avoid the Reverend and his sympathies when a knock at the door interrupts. And as soon as Alison opens it, the police storm the premises arresting Donnie. When none other than Detective Duko enters, looking well recovered after a brutal beating from Art on behalf of his beloved Clone Club. He hands Alison his card and says, “We’ll be keeping in contact.”
(Note: The use of “Happy Birthday” behind this montage is absolutely pure genius. I was smiling throughout it all. The creative team’s ability to pair such starkly contrasted facets is next to none).
There is no doubt that the emotions that were bubbling all episode were bound to overwhelm the Clone Club and by golly did they ever. After leaving Dizzy’s place in a fit of anger – he refused to stop talking about Neolution and eventually pushed her away – Sarah is seen walking and drinking and talking. As she makes her way across the bridge, she come to find a purse and shoes shockingly similar to that of Beth’s. That’s because they are. She’s seeing things. She’s seeing Beth. The cinematography of this confrontation is genius; at times she’s talking to thin air while at others it is Beth. The creative team nail it every time. Sarah has some attitude with Beth, remarking that it would have been better if we never crossed paths and luckily for Sarah tonight will be the last night. The similarities between these sisters’ stories is mind-numbing. Beth was driven to take her life and Sarah seems so close to that also, leaning over the bridge and losing strength. Beth assures Sarah there is more than biology between them, that she can feel it too as much as she’s trying to fight it.
Felix has been holding it together for everyone this episode after receiving a phone call from Mrs S. to say that Kira thinks Sarah is following Beth. So, he is now on a mission to find his sister. To add to that, he receives a frantic call from Scott asking for assistance as Cosima has locked herself in the basement and is attempting to perform risky surgery on herself. By risky I mean she’s going to implant the Neolution bot in her cheek. By herself. With no luck finding Sarah and in the safety of a cab, Felix tells Scott to tell Cosima to answer her phone. After ignoring the rings for as long as possible, Cosima gives in when Scott mentions Delphine. Felix goes on to fill Cosima in on all the information Krystal gave him regarding the night of the shooting: Krystal was on the trail of Delphine. She did get shot, but when she was taken away she was still alive. Yes #Cophine shippers, Delphine was still alive when Krystal last saw her. And in a scene I’m sure we won’t soon forget, the sheer overwhelming relief Cosima feels is viscerally portrayed by Tatiana Maslany. She breaks down. She gives in to the pain and anguish, but also the hope and the possibility. Unparalleled as Maslany is, it is reiterated when Felix finds Sarah leaning over the side of the bridge. Encouraging his sister to be stronger than she (Beth) was, Sarah hears Beth say one last thing – “Bring us together. We need you.” With that, Beth is gone and Sarah breaks. She relinquishes it all and realizes she can and has to do this – not only for her, but for her sisters, for Kira and for her family.
Arriving back at the safe house the morning after, hangover in tow, Mrs. S is making breakfast as Sarah sits at the table. There is no longer any tension, just silence. As a plate of food is placed in front of Sarah, the two women sit together and in an unspoken show of forgiveness, support and love they join hands. United against it all. Elsewhere, Rachel wakes to silence and takes a hard fall down the stairs. As she lifts her head, she sees a swan turning. It’s haunting and a little out of the ordinary, something Ira (Ari Millen) also feels when he finds Rachel laid upon the ground. It is no surprise he ignores Rachel’s remarks, as we as an audience are left to ponder what the swan really means.
Other key plot points:
- We learn that Evie has started getting shingles again. Interesting.
- Donnie was arrested, but Alison wasn’t.
- Art bashed Detective Duko.
- Kira’s power is one of the best things about this show, but also one of the most heartbreaking.