Orphan Black S4 E9 The Mitigation of Competition

Tatiana Maslany as Helena in Orphan Black

Orphan Black’s “The Migration of Competition” is episode 9 of season 4. Some momentous things happen in this episode, which makes me very curious to see what the big season 4 cliffhanger at the end of the next episode will be. There are spoilers ahead.

Tatiana Maslany as Rachel in Orphan Black
Rachel and Sarah are like dogs crouched to leap on each other with tooth and fang

The first big thing in an episode full of them is that Rachel (Tatiana Maslany, the clone queen) and Sarah agree to work together to bring down Evie Cho (Jassalyn Wanlim).

The toppling of Evie Cho runs in two threads.

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah and Kevin Hanchard in Orphan Black
Look at this video!

The first thread involves Sarah and Art (Kevin Hanchard) chasing down two of the mothers (carriers) who’ve run away from Brightborn. One of them took a video of Evie Cho euthanizing a newborn with defects.

They find the first mother dead, still pregnant.

Lisa Dodrington in Orphan Black
We took the video and ran

The second carrier, Kendra (Lisa Dodrington) managed to flee with her blind baby. Sarah and Art want her to come forward with the video. They are distracted by Evie Cho’s minions, who followed them there. While Art and Sarah are dealing with them, Rachel sends Ira (Ari Millen) to pick up Kendra and her baby. Kendra agrees to go with Ira because Rachel threatens her other child.

Tatiana Maslany as Rachel and Jessalyn Wanlim in Orphan Black
Look into the camera, darling. You know, the one around my neck that looks like a necklace

The second thread involves Rachel going to a Brightborn press conference in which Evie Cho planned to announce herself as the savior of the world. Before the press conference starts, Rachel gets Evie to admit to killing deformed infants. Ira’s recording the conversation. Ira releases the video of the conversation during the press conference, along with the video Kendra had of one of the actual events. Evie is ruined.

Sarah, watching Rachel in action with Evie, is reluctantly impressed.

Rachel is seeing more and more scenes with her biotech eye. They play like a movie embedded in the eye. She sees a camp in the woods (on the island?), a swan getting its head chopped off, the bearded man who beckons to her. There are tents and roughly constructed buildings. Presumably all will be revealed about this story line with her eye in the final episode of the season.

Helena Returns

Tatiana Maslany as Helena in Orphan Black
Jeramiah Johnson returns

Helena’s been living in the woods in a yurt-like structure she built herself and covered with blankets and skins. She’s dressed in skins and shooting deer with a bow and arrow. She liked the peacefulness of being there.

She arrives at Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) first. Hugely pregnant, dressed in skins, she’s quite a sight. Adele (Lauren Hammersley) is there. Seeing a third clone strains her credibility about what Felix has been telling her.

Felix tells Helena that the Donnie was in jail. She says, “About Pouchy?” Another bomb in Adele’s ability to accept what’s going on.

Felix reluctantly chooses the sestras over Adele – at least for the moment – and asks Adele to leave to keep her out of the mess he’s involved with. She comments, “Genetics doesn’t really make a family, does it.”

Jordan Gavaris in Orphan Black
Darling, you have to sober up and go home. I’m sad about it, but there it is.

The King of the Cellblock

Donnie (Kristian Bruun) gets out of jail with a big hard on because he thinks he’s king of the cellblock. Donnie and Alison go home and have sex. The minute Donnie is finished, Alison wants to pray.

Tatiana Maslany as Alison in Orphan Black.
I’ll wear my cross. But will I believe?

She’s still in the throes of a crisis of faith (and she’s singing in Jesus Christ Superstar, which makes it even more existential a crisis.) Everyone knows they are criminals. They decide to hide in Niagara Falls, but before they can Evie Cho’s muscle shows up and ties them up.

Kristian Bruun in Orphan Black
Donnie’s the weak one, isn’t he?

Evie’s strongman Frank (Ian Matthews) thinks Alison is the tough one in the Hendrix clan. He’s ready to insert a maggotbot in Alison’s cheek when Helena comes in and shoots him through the neck with an arrow. He deserved it just for his man bun.

Doing the Science

Tatiana Maslany as Cosima and Rosemary Dunsmore in Orphan Black
Inserting sperm now

Cosima and Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) are doing the science, growing a zygote from Ira and Sarah’s DNA offerings.

Cosima grows weaker and weaker. While they wait for viable stem cells to multiply, Cosima and Charlotte (Cynthis Galant) bond over hairdos and the book Susan is so proud of by the original neolutionist. The book contains a map of the island.

Celebration Time

Evelyne Brochu in Orphan Black
We missed you so!

The last shot of the episode is huge! We see an alive and well Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) in a rustic cabin. She’s at a computer with her back turned. Someone we can’t see touches her shoulder and she turns. There she is! #DelphineLives.

Great One-Liners

  • Ira: “You really don’t like each other, do you?
    Rachel: “She put a pencil in my brain.”
  • Felix: “You did just mix mood stabilizers and gin, darling.”
    Adele: “That’s brunch.”
  • Helena, to a trussed-up Donnie: “You look like roast pig.”
  • Donnie, on his release from jail: “Daddy needs his conjugal, baby.”
    Allison: “Donnie, our lives are imploding and all you can think about is your [whispers] stiffy?”

Some Thoughts

My opinion that Evelyne Brochu was so busy with other work that she couldn’t possibly show up back on the set of Orphan Black was so much mistaken thinking. Do you think Delphine and Cosima will see each other again in episode 10? I hope so. What a great way to end the season! With Cosima so weak and frail now, it may be their last chance.

Is Delphine on the same island as Cosima? The woods Rachel sees in her built-in video player look like the island. The rustic building Delphine is in looks like the buildings Rachel sees. Could Delphine be that close to Cosima right now?

Cheers and high fives to series creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson for not letting another lesbian fall victim to the “kill your gays” trope. Nice work, gentlemen!

That makes about 397 people Helena has killed to protect the Hendrix clan. She’s building up a lot of karma with them. Jackhammer time.

What did you think of this episode? And what is going to happen in episode 10?

Some images ©Ken Woroner/BBC America

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