‘Orphan Black' season 4, episode 6: The engineer
Orphan Black is a show about power play. As each door opens, more strings are simultaneously being pulled. Everyone has a story to spin, a reason why their game is the right one. This season has especially made it clear that the end goal is to perfect humans from the start. Speeding up evolution is a dangerous process, and its deadly cost ultimately doesn't matter.
And, phew. What an episode.
It really felt like a season-ender. A reset button. Because where do we go now?
So let's recap "The Scandal of Altruism":
Sarah is still determined to get that bot out of her face. So #CloneClub's plan is to trade Kendall for the removal. Brightborn wants those original cells and Cosima's research. So the two sides agree that Brightborn only gets Leda cells (thanks to Kendall's leukemia, they are able to separate the Castor and Leda cells), and they work together to find a cure for the Ledas, and help Brightborn's future work on fertility and human genome perfection.
It's a risky deal for Sarah, but the pros outweigh the cons. Susan Duncan accepts the arrangement, knowing full well that this doesn't bode well for Ira, you know, that Castor clone "son" she's sleeping with. An early scene showed the two of them in bed as she tests his cognitive skills. We know he claims to be different from his brothers, and it seems that Susan has given him some sort of cure. But whatever it is, he needs more of it, and this new deal doesn't include Castor cells.
"You're a walking biological weapon, mate. We are not saving Castor," sneers Sarah.
Susan put Ledas before Castors, and Ira, the saddest clone of them all, tries to kill himself. I'd blame Castor's mental instability, but it seems like the appropriate response to the situation.
So Susan and a henchman walk into the rabbit hole with some super villain music behind them. She's face-to-face with The Original once again. The most valuable person in the world. A person, remember.
Let's take a moment to think about Susan and Kendall. Each woman holds a certain power. Susan, a privileged woman; Kendall a hardened woman. The moment the two made eye contact, they despised each other. Susan, with her severe God complex, is a master manipulator. Her words cut deep (that English accent helps). Kendall is sick of being used; by men, by medicine. It's really a shame these two actresses didn't have more time together.
Meanwhile, Evie, the calmest surgeon ever, removes the bot from Sarah's face. There was a small gag-inducing hiccup there, but Sarah is safe, and bot-less.
Speaking of those bots, we learn that they are customizable! Leekie's was for Alzheimer's and Sarah's was for the Leda disease. Scott and Cosima now have two of them to research further.
Kendall is escorted out to go back to safehouse, but is quickly kidnapped. Sarah rushes in soon after and destroys all the samples Scott is about to give Susan. Meanwhile, Cosima and Evie discuss their part of the bargain. Is it just me, or is there some chemistry here? Both plans are not going according to plan.
And yep, the sneaky Neolution/police guy is part of all this. (Nice earmuffs!)
Throughout the episode, we get more glimpses of Beth on her final night. At first I was confused how Beth made it all the way to Susan to hold her up at gunpoint. Susan pleads for her life by saying that if Beth kills her, only someone else will take her place.
And now we learn our newest puppet master this season: Evie Cho. The woman standing next to Dr. Aldus Leekie with DYAD in the premiere episode this season infiltrated Brightborn to become Susan Duncan's second in command. On top of all the fertility research and corresponding casualties, she's also behind the bots (which also came with a body count).
Beth figured out Evie's plot, and in order to save her sisters, killed herself. Thank goodness we got to watch Beth punch Evie in her perfect face.
Evie, as stoically polished as ever, brings Cosima to Kendall. This is all a warning for #CloneClub to stop digging. To stop searching for cures and answers. Evie has what she needs. So she has Kendall killed and burned with all known samples of her DNA. And proving she's one of the most cold-hearted leaders, she tells Cosima of Delphine's untimely fate.
Hold on while I sob. Still holding out hope that because we never saw her body that she's making a comeback soon.
Meanwhile, we still have to deal with Krystal. She's truly a delight, but the stakes are so high this episode, I barely paid attention to it. What a waste of a good B story. Anyway, Art and Felix team up to feed her lies to keep her satisfied and out of #CloneClub. For her safety, she doesn't really need to know anything, but just as Felix and Art think their job is done, Krystal says she was there the night Delphine was shot in the DYAD parking lot.
Welp, I guess Krystal is joining us for the ride, afterall.
Also, shoutout to Felix's Sherlock Holmes On Broadway outfit. A+.
Not a lot of humor this episode, aside from Krystal, that is. But the only chuckle from me came from Kendall: "I'd spit. But she'd probably bottle it," said to Siobhan about Susan.
We're gonna miss you, Alison Steadman.