Orphan Black episode 4 “Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil” ties us back to some older story lines while Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) madly search for a way to free Kira (Skyler Wexler) from Rachel’s clutches. This is a recap. There will be spoilers.
“Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil” manages to move us forward while taking us back.
Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) is healing. P.T. Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie) has her in his mansion. They don’t like each other much. She’s not dead only because he needs her.
Charlotte (Cynthia Galant) and her friend Aisha (Sirena Gulamgaus) chase off into the woods looking for a missing pig. They find the pig near some food on the ground. There’s a human tooth. Charlotte picks up the tooth. She’ll give it to Cosima. Mud (Jenessa Grant) finds them in the woods and hurries them back into the village. They hear growling. Charlotte thinks it’s an ogre.
Kira is dressing for school when Sarah discovers a cut on her arm. Sarah blames Rachel for cutting up her daughter. Kira admits to Sarah and Mrs. S and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) that she did it herself to see how long it would take to heal.
Mrs. S issues orders. Felix will take Kira to school and pick her up. Then he will wait for someone to show up at his place. Mrs. S and Sarah are off on a mission that they only have 3 days to complete. Mrs. S has a lead.
Susan and P.T. snipe at each other, but she’s curious about any breakthroughs he has made. Ira (Ari Millen) is shown to Susan Duncan’s room. This makes her very happy.
Mrs. S and Sarah stop by the basement in the comic book store where Scott (Josh Vokey) gives them a quick history lesson about P.T. Westmoreland, eugenics, and primitive societies. Hell Wizard (Calwyn Shurgold) cracked someone’s email and tells Mrs. S some news.
Mrs. S takes Sarah to a bar. Sarah accuses her of casing the joint, but Mrs. S knows Sarah was too. Sarah picks out the mark immediately. A woman whose ID they need – Dr. Elizabeth Perkins (Sarah Orenstein). They both know what to do without talking about it. They create a scene, the woman gets up, Sarah grabs her wallet. Mrs. S chats up the woman until Sarah gets what they need and returns the wallet. Done and done.
Cosima confronts Mud about the bullshit story about the bear in the woods. Mud is evasive, but she does slip by saying, “It’s not his fault.”
After school Kira tells Felix that she wants her mom to be nicer to Rachel because Rachel is trying to find out why she’s special. Felix reminds her that they can’t trust Rachel, even if she’s acting nice. Yeah, Kira – what he said.
Trucking toward a psychiatric facility to pretend to be Dr. Perkins and her assistant so they can talk to an Alex Ripley, Sarah wants to know who’s feeding Mrs. S her info. (Methinks it’s Delphine, don’t you?) Sarah wants to stop at a convent on the way.
Susan and Ira talk about the history between Susan and P.T. About how their research split into two parts and another scientist took the part Susan wouldn’t do.
Guess who shows up at Felix’s door? His sister Adele (Lauren Hammersley). She’s on a mission engineered by Mrs. S. It involves following the Neolution money to Switzerland. Adele fesses up to the fact that she was disbarred for embezzlement and she’s really good at following the money.
The convent Sarah visits is where Helena is hiding. They talk about Kira, about family, about cutting and about peace. Sarah talked about how Kira feels all of them, about how Helena can do that too. Sarah says she felt Kira when she was on the island.
When Sarah finishes with Helena, she finds Mrs. S all fitted out to be Dr. Perkins. They go to the clinic, where they use a bit of flim flam (boy, they are good together) to get admitted.
When they get inside Mrs. S warns Sarah to stay calm when they see Alex Ripley. She is Dr. Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper), the head of Castor. She’s drugged, but they shoot her full of adrenaline to wake her up.
Cosima follows Mud into places where Cosima is definitely not supposed to go. She sees Mud giving P.T. some sort of treatment.
Mrs. S wants info about P.T. from Virginia. Virginia wants to get out of there before she’ll talk. Virginia admits an old friend put her in there. Years ago they shared the same vision. As Virginia describes how Neolution split because she was the only person who had the stomach for the wet work, Cosima is deep in the bowels of the Westmoreland mansion. She finds old photos of horrible genetic mistakes.
Virginia says before they found Kendall Malone, they found someone else – their very first human subject. He was P.T.’s original obsession, but too many mistakes were made.
Just as Virginia describes this, Cosima finds a room in the basement where someone was locked up. The bloody former home of the bear/ogre in the woods, no doubt.
Mud finds Cosima. She rushes her out.
Virginia tells Sarah that the original human subject was a child, a beautiful child. With a unique genome. Then came tumors, brain damage, physical deformities. They created a monster. Susan Duncan never forgave her and P.T. kept the two of them apart – one with Castor, one with Leda.
Mud is out in the woods taking blankets to Mr. Monster. Even she is scared of him. Cosima, still trailing Mud, sees him.
Virginia won’t tell any more unless they take her with them. But they are discovered. Before Mrs. S and Sarah can make their getaway, Virginia leaps up and pretends to attack Sarah. She grabs Sarah’s visitor pass. She’ll get out her own way.
Susan explains the Leda/Castor split to Ira. She says P.T. doesn’t know Virginia Coady is still around.
Susan and P.T. talk. Ira eavesdrops. P.T. promises her unlimited access to all Rachel’s data about Kira and she agrees to work with him again. Another one drinks the Kool Aid.
The episode ends with Mrs. S, Sarah, Felix and Adele all safely at home in Mrs. S’s living room. A peaceful moment and talk about the trip to Switzerland for Felix and Adele.
I’ve said it before about season 5, but the two-clone scenes are technically seamless these days. When Sarah put her hand on Helena’s baby bump it looked flawless. There are many shows where one person plays more than one part, but Orphan Black set the bar for the technical wizardry needed to make it perfect trickery for the eye.
There’s a lot to be gained by knowing in advance that you have 5 seasons, in knowing what your last season is. It offers a chance to bring the many threads of a plot into a beautifully seasoned mélange of storytelling. Especially in a series like Orphan Black. It’s a mix of real science and the willing suspension of disbelief all tumbled about in a cauldron of politics, the military, morality, self-determination, patriarchy, women’s rights, family, and love.
The writing in season 5 is a brilliant example of this. Last week I mentioned how it felt like the episode was preparing us to wrap up the Hendrix story. This week they are tying together loose ends about the mythological tie-ins to Leda and Castor begun in season 1.