Orphan Black S4 E6 The Scandal of Altruism

Tatiana Maslany as both Cosima and Sarah in Orphan Black

Orphan Black’s sixth episode, “The Scandal of Altruism” is an earthquake, a monumental change in direction, a shocking turn of events. Where we go from here is a complete unknown. Spoilers ahead.

So many momentous changes take place in this episode, I’m just going to give you the major plot points.

Tatiana Maslany and Jessalyn Wanlim in Orphan Black
Sarah and Evie Cho meet

Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, the ubiquitous one) and Cosima make a deal with Evie Cho (Jessalyn Wanlim) and Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore). They will give them access to Kendall Malone’s (Alison Steadman) DNA and all of Cosima, Scott (Josh Vokey) and Delphine Cormier’s (Evelyne Brochu) research and data. In exchange, the bot will be removed from Sarah and a cure will be found for Cosima.

Maria Doyle Kennedy and Alison Steadman in Orphan Black
Siobhan and Kendall discuss her decision

Kendall agrees to do this. Siobhan (Maria Doyle Kennedy) thinks it’s a bad idea. Isn’t this a gorgeous shot? The framing, the light: gorgeous.

Tatiana Maslany and Jessalyn Wanlim in Orphan Black
Forceps please

Evie and Cosima do the surgery on Sarah’s bot. It’s a remarkable technical scene in a series filled with them. Evie seems to be in contact with both Cosima and Sarah at once. I think that awkward hand off of the forceps and Cosima’s lean to the right are the way they managed it.

While this is happening, Scott takes some of Kendall’s blood and gives it to Susan. Things seem to be going as agreed. Sarah leaves, bot free. Cosima hands over the hard drive with all the data copied onto it.

Tatiana Maslany and Gord Rand in Orphan Black
Everything is lost

Kendall is kidnapped by Det. Duko (Gord Rand). He is Evie’s man. Under Evie’s command, and with Cosima dragged along as witness, Duko shoots Kendall and then burns her to nothing.

Evie tells Cosima that the clones are obsolete technology and Susan Duncan’s decades protecting them were wasted effort. Evie doesn’t need anything from Leda. If they all die it doesn’t matter to her. She has the modern technology to do what she wants.

Cosima falls to her knees in the dirt because of Kendall being killed right behind her. Then Evie tells Cosima that Dr. Cormier is dead. Cosima really falls apart then. Oddly, the fact that Evie is the one saying this gives me a bit of hope for Delphine. Evie may simply be saying it to hurt Cosima.

Evie leaves Cosima there with the burning van and a phone, which Cosima uses to call Sarah with the bad news. There were a lot of tears in this episode – Sarah, Cosima, Siobhan, Kendall.

Scott discovers that all their data is being destroyed on the system they have under the comic book store – probably a worm planted when Cosima copied their data onto the hard drive for Susan and Evie.

Everything is gone. Kendall, their research. The situation looks hopeless.

Beth Flashbacks

Rosemary Dunsmore and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black
Beth threatens Susan Duncan

We learn more about Beth’s journey. She knew about Susan Duncan and planned to kill her. Susan convinced her that she loved the Leda clones and had protected them all these years. She didn’t go through with killing her.

Jessalyn Wanlim and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black
Why does everyone believe Evie Cho?

Beth confronts Evie Cho, who convinces her that her sisters will die for what she knows. In a rage, Beth pistol whips Evie, which explains the scar on Evie’s face. It also explains the blood on Beth’s hands when she got back to her apartment and told MK to drop it all and go into hiding.

Why do people believe Evie Cho? Sarah and Cosima trusted her. Beth believed her when she said the only solution was to kill herself.

Evie used that trust to pull off a coup. She consolidated power, got revenge on the Leda clones, destroyed all the competing technology, and is everyone’s new arch enemy.


Ari Millen and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black
Nobody loves me anymore

Ira (Ari Millen) is not a Castor clone. He’s a whole other breed known as Libra. When he realizes Susan Duncan, his creator and lover, is willing to make a deal that will save the Leda clones but not him, he tries to commit suicide. Sarah finds him in her search for the kidnapped Kendall.

The Krystal Gong Show

Kevin Hanchard, Gord Rand and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black
They are after me!

Krystal shows up at the police station, wanting protection from Dyad and Brightborn. Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) sees her and hurries her away.

Jordan Gavaris and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black
Det. Dawkins from Scotland Yard gets maced

Because they think Felix (Jordan Gavaris) has a way with Krystal, he is brought in to talk to her. She remembers that he stole her wallet right before she got kidnapped by Dyad. She’s not happy with Felix.

Felix and Art feed Krystal a crazy mixture of truth and lies to try to get her to forget all the things she thinks she knows and go home. She tells them she saw Dr. Cormier get shot in the parking garage at Dyad.

It’s so much fun watching Tatiana Maslany create entirely different people. Krystal is all upright posture, push-up bras, a certain Valley Girl tone of voice, and a slight downward turn of the left side of her lower lip. She’s unique, like all the clones.

Some Thoughts

Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, Orphan Black’s creators, do like to shake things up midseason. This episode was a real doozy. Everything is back in play – Cosima’s health is urgent, there’s a new enemy in town, Siobhan’s mother is killed just as they got back together. The sestras will have to regroup completely.

I mentioned having some hope for Delphine to be alive. But realistically, Evelyne Brochu has filmed 18 episodes of X Company and worked on 3 movies since she left Orphan Black. She has no time to run by the set of Orphan Black to reunite with Cosima.

I’ve decided I can identify Tatiana Maslany’s acting double Kathryn Alexandre from the back of her head, by the shape of her hands, by her height next to Tatiana. So I often think I understand how they put the multi-clone scenes together with Kathryn doubling on one of the parts.

Even so, there have been a couple of scenes in season 4 that have been amazing technically. The bot removal scene in this episode was one, and the bot ultrasound exam with Cosima and Sarah a couple of episodes back was another. If they have a multi-clone scene at the end of season 4, it should be really good.

Evie Cho is a great evil villain. She’s this tiny little woman, stunningly beautiful, and yet so deeply menacing. The way she smiled when she realized she’d gotten revenge for what Beth did to her face was truly scary. She’s destroyed everything that could mean a cure for Cosima and the other afflicted clones. She’s going to be a formidable foe for the last half of season 4.

Will Rachel emerge from hiding and lend her manipulative machinations to helping all the sestras? Will Helena return from her self-imposed exile to eliminate bad guys? Will MK come back and help?

Where do you see things going from here?

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