Orphan Black: S3 E10 History Yet to Be Written

“History Yet to Be Written” is absolute perfection as a season 3 finale for Orphan Black. It takes us back in time to tie up questions, while opening up new directions for season 4. There are some losses and some happy moments. I’m going to start with the technical achievement of the season: the four clone dinner party.

Alison (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) wins the school trustee election by 56 votes. She gathers everyone in the bubble gum world of Bubbles for a family dinner. They toast each other, even clink glasses. This season it’s Donnie (Kristian Bruun) who moves around the scene, filling wine glasses. They are all safe and happy and have hope for the future science to come.  This scene is bound to be a favorite topic because of the difficulty of filming it.

Okay, how did episode 10 get us to this happy family moment? I’m going to summarize out of order, but the big reveal is that the Neolutionists from season 1 have been in charge of both Dyad and Topside all along.

Kendall Malone, the original

Kendall Malone is under scrutiny by Felix, Sarah and Scott

Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) brings Sarah and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) into a big warehouse where Scott (Josh Vokey) is constructing a clean room of sorts out of plastic sheets. When they are sure everything is ready, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) brings her mother into the room. Kendall (Alison Steadman) complains all the way about her treatment, and because Mrs. S is herding her along with a baseball bat in her hand.

Cosima meets Kendall, and tells her that Kendall is actually the older sister of the clones. Cosima disarms Kendall with charm and takes blood samples from her.

Mrs. S burns with rage at her mother. It seems Kendall had something to do with John Sadler’s death. Mrs. S unveils a tub and several bottles of sulfuric acid, which she tells her mother she plans to use on her.

Mrs. S tells Kendall that Kira (Skyler Wexler) is Kendall’s niece. She asks Kendall to explain who she is. Kendall said Duncan had come to her 5 or 6 years after he’d harvested her. Duncan was in fear for his life from something called Neolution. He said they’d poisoned the science and corrupted his wife, Susan. He’d hidden Kendall from everyone.

Duncan told her there was one child outside it all, lost in the foster system. Kendall sent him to her daughter, the rebel. Siobhan had the connections to hide the child and Kendall sent the child to her. So Kendall put Sarah and Mrs. S together, who have been blood relatives all along. Mrs. S reacts to this news by forgiving her mother. Maria Doyle Kennedy performed this emotional moment of release with perfection.

Siobhan Sadler is actually a blood relation of all the clones. Isn’t that an interesting new fact?

Sarah

Sarah and Felix find Mark (Ari Millen, an army). They bring him to the warehouse where he pretends to be Rudy and calls Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper) with the address about where they are. When she arrives with armed men, Ferdinand kills her driver and takes her captive.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand (James Frain) comes to the warehouse for the blood he was promised by Sarah. At that moment, Delphine calls with the news that the blood will go to Neolution. Delphine tells Sarah not to let him have any blood and to tell him Rachel is still alive. Ferdinand is quite interested in this bit of news about Rachel and in the announcement that they are all just pawns of Neolution.

Ferdinand calls Neolutionists “genetically obsessed zealots” and says he hates them.

Ferdinand kills his helper with Siobhan’s baseball bat. It’s the acid bath for the poor fellow. Ferdinand tells them to hide Kendall away, he doesn’t want to know where. He says he’ll be in touch. I guess Ferdinand is going to be one of the good guys now.

Sarah and Mrs. S take Kendall to Iceland.

Kira and Sarah in the snow

The episode began with Rachel’s dream of ice and love, and it ends with the joyous reunion of Sarah and Kira (Skyler Wexler) on a vast plane of snow.

Helena

Helena spends a lot of time in the Hendrix garage in this episode. First she’s reunited with Jesse (Patrick J. Adams). Jesse seems as happy to see her as she is to see him.

Helena and Jesse kiss

In his tow truck, which is half-in, half-out of the Hendrix garage, Helena climbs on Jesse’s lap and tells him “I have science babies inside me, but you are my first.” Helena’s lust is pure animal instinct, just like the rest of her personality. Before they can actually get it on, she gets summoned to help the sestras. Both of them promise to return to the moment.

Rudy is following Alison around during the election proceedings. Alison lures him to her house and he is met in the garage by Helena in assassin mode. She’s duct taped weapons to her hands and is ready to fight to the death.

Rudy dying with Helena

Rudy dies, partly from a wound from Helena but mostly because he was dying anyway like the other Castor clones. They have a tender moment discussing their childhoods before he dies. Helena can go from assassin to empathetic listener in 1/10 of a second.

Delphine

Ferdinand, Sarah and Delphine at Dyad

Ferdinand  shows up thinking he’s going to take over from Delphine (Evelyne Brochu). Sarah offers him a deal to get some of the genetic material from the original, but only if the perverted Castor military experiment goes away.

Delphine goes to check on Rachel (or what she thinks is Rachel). She realizes it’s Krystal when she sees the good manicure on Rachel’s hand. Krystal wakes up, scared and confused.

Now that she knows about the Krystal deception and that Rachel is in Austria someplace, Delphine has Dr. Nealon (Tom McCamus) put in custody. She questions him and discovers that Neolution has been orchestrating everything from the first moment. He calls Castor and Leda Neolution’s Adam and Eve. He says there’s a place for her at Neolution. She turns down the job.

Dr. Nealon and the worm over Delphine

Nealon squiggles his jaw, leaps up and pins Delphine to a table. He tries to insert a worm from his mouth into Delphine. Luckily she’s packing and she shoots him and takes the worm as a specimen.

Delphine with tears in her eyes

Delphine was invited to the family dinner but didn’t go. She texted Cosima to meet her outside. Cosima says, “I understand why you did what you did. I’m sorry to make you have to make so many hard decisions.” Delphine asks her to keep the blood safe and to make sure Kendall is safe.

Delphine tears up and looks at Cosima with a great deal of love. Delphine gives Cosima what looks like a heartfelt and passionate goodbye kiss, and leaves, saying, “My love to all the sisters.”

Delphine parks in a parking garage. She realizes someone is following her and turns. She says, “What will happen to her?” and is shot. We don’t know who shot her and we don’t know if she dies. Whoever shot her walked loudly, perhaps from wearing high heels?

Rachel

Rachel with a bionic eye

The opening scene is Rachel waking from a dream about playing in the snow with her parents. She gets up and discovers she has a bionic eye and a museum-like display of finches in her room. She has no idea where she is or who is holding her.

Charlotte (Cynthia Galant) enters the room and says Rachel is going to be her new mom. Then Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore) enters and says, “Hello, dear Rachel. Welcome home.” Rachel answers, “Mother.”

Shay

Ksenia Solo as Shay

Cosima attempts an apology to Shay (Ksenia Solo), who is understandably upset by the death threat from Delphine. Cosima still can’t tell Shay anything about who she really is and Shay angrily sends her away.

Later Delphine shows up at Shay’s apartment. She tells Shay that she’s sorry, that she knows Cosima really cares for Shay, and that Cosima and Shay are a good fit.

card with 324B21 written on it

Delphine says she won’t be around any more. She tells Shay to tell Cosima that she should tell everything to Shay if she wants. She gives Shay a card to show Cosima as proof that she means it.

Some Thoughts

We know how Kendall, Mrs. S and Sarah connect. What about Felix? A bit of history yet to write in season 4?

The count of male clones is down to only Mark. And he’s helping the sestras. All the murder-machine male clones are dead.

We can’t tell from the episode, but I think Delphine is actually dead. Based on this interview with John Fawcett, and this tweet, it seems she won’t be back.

A big bisou to you, Evelyne. Love you.

I’m sure there will be mourning for Delphine and talk about the dead lesbian trope, but I actually feel all right about Delphine. It works with the story better than the dead lesbian story usually does. However, if Delphine really is dead, what’s going to happen with the worm Nealon apparently carried around in his mouth on the regular?

Shay, on the other hand, may be around for season 4. Based on this tweet it looks like she’s here for a while. Maybe she’ll be let in on the secrets like Felix, and become another important member of Clone Club.

It looks like Krystal will be around for season 4, which makes me very happy. I liked her a lot. Who knows, at the end of season 4 we might have a FIVE clone scene as a grand finale!

Ferdinand and Rachel definitely have a thing, but he hates Neolutionists and Rachel’s mother is apparently a Neolutionist. Where will that go in season 4?

What do the Proletheans have to do with all this? If Helena carries her child to birth, or if they do something with the frozen embryos they have, will that be a corruption of the clone genome or a correction? More fodder for season 4.

I love this show! Three cheers for season 3 and much anticipation for season 4.

The Title Quotation

Winding up a season of foresight from Dwight David Eisenhower, we close with this thought.

“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

Several Peeks at Orphan Black Season 3

The latest preview for Orphan Black season 3 indicates that a theme of the new season will be what happens when the male clones and the female clones interact. Based on this clip of a meeting between Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and Rudy (Ari Millen), things might be a bit fraught in the extended family.

Sarah doesn’t like that the probably insane clone we saw a glimpse of at the end of season 2 knows all about her family, including Kira (Skyler Wexler), Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Sarah knows nothing about this guy, not even his name, and he knows everything about her.

Oh dear, does that glimpse of Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) mean she’s running things regarding all the clones, not just Cosima? Very mysterious.

The, “Count your sisters,” line is ominously suggestive as well. Are there more clones? Another of the previews below suggests that there might be more female clones as well.

We’ve enjoyed the virtuoso performance as a number of clones from Tatiana Maslany for two seasons. It looks like Ari Millen is prepared to do an equally outstanding job with his batch of characters. I suspect the number of male clones will be revealed slowly. That’s how it was done with the females, and it builds suspense through the season.

Much as I want to see where the addition of the male clones to the story takes us, I’m still interested in several things from season 2:

  • What about Sarah and Cal (Michiel Huisman)?
  • Does Cosima recover and what about her relationship with Delphine?
  • Where is Helena and what’s happening to her? Will she ever see Jesse (Patrick J. Adams) again?
  • Will Allison get her act together?
  • Will Tony be back?

I hope the male clones don’t steal too much story time from the characters we already know and love.

In an article from Spoiler Room, producer John Fawcett talked about Cosima and answered at least one of my questions about season 3.

…This season will really be focused—at least for Cosima—on the nature of science vs. faith. “The interesting thing about Cosima is she came very close to dying and that wasn’t something that we took lightly,” executive producer John Fawcett says. “That wasn’t something that we did to try and scare the audience, that really was the beginning of a new journey for Cosima in season 3. The fact that she has come that close to death, that she essentially had a near-death experience, changes her because she can’t explain what happened to her. It puts this character, who is so entrenched in the science, in this place where she’s now looking for answers beyond science.”

Here are some previews that were released earlier than the one above.

The “This is War” Preview

The “Calling All Clones” Preview

The First Official Trailer for Season 3

I already published this one, but it doesn’t hurt to see it again.

Orphan Black begins on BBC America on April 18. In case you are like me and don’t have BBC America, you can buy the season on iTunes or Amazon Prime. The episodes are usually available on those platforms the morning after they air live.

Orphan Black: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings

The “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings” episode of Orphan Black brings Sarah some answers, but everyone is still suspect and no one can be trusted.

Sarah and Helena (Tatiana Maslany squared) are in a pickup on their way to Cold River. Helena refuses to tell Sarah where it is, because she knows Sarah won’t need her if she does. The scenes between Sarah and Helena grow more and more charming as Helena is revealed in greater depth. They spend the night in a tent and Helena asks Sarah about Kira – she wonders if she could have children, too. She says, “I am very good with children.”

Sarah wants to know what the Prolethians took from Helena, but Helena claims she doesn’t know. When they turn out the lantern for the night, we see Paul (Dylan Bruce) lurking in the dark outside their camp.

There’s a hilarious scene of Sarah and Helena driving. “Sugar Sugar” comes on the radio. Helena sings along with enthusiasm. Sugar is her thing, indeed.

What Tatiana Maslany does with Helena in this episode is masterful. Her uninhibited off key singing, her playfulness in the tent, her vulnerability when she asks about babies, her growl of a laugh later in a bar scene, her unbridled sexuality when she’s attracted to a man, her brutality when threatened – Tatiana’s bringing Helena into personhood with so much affection and skill. That Tatiana Maslany can do that with Sarah, Allison and Cosima still floating in her head is just amazing.

Inga Cadranel
Allison is stuck in rehab.

Allison is still in rehab. She’s reluctant to participate in group. The door opens and into group walks Victor (Michael Mando). You remember Victor: Sarah’s former boyfriend who got his finger chopped off for a drug debt and who Allison maced in a parking lot. Yeah, that Victor. He’s all Zen now, full of the wisdom of recovery. When Allison threatens Donnie’s (Kristian Bruun) privates because he failed to bring the kids to visit her, Victor steps in to defuse the argument. Later we learn that Victor is actually in cahoots with Detective DeAngelis (Inga Cadranel). She promised he won’t go to jail for his crimes if he rats on Allison.

Allison, incidentally, can handle a basketball with one arm in a sling.

Take your medicine and don't ask where it came from.
Take your medicine and don’t ask where it came from.

Cosima gets injections from Delphine (Evelyne Brochu). The injections may or may not be helping her. Delphine hired Scott (Josh Vokey) to come to Dyad to do gene sequencing. I haven’t previously mentioned Josh Vokey, who is fabulous as a naive geek, because the character wasn’t central, but he takes a central role in this episode. He reveals that he knows the samples he’s been given are clones, but he doesn’t realize that Cosima is a clone. He figures out that the stem cell injections Cosima is getting came not from a clone but a female relative. Perhaps a daughter. Is that daughter spelled K-I-R-A? We don’t know. Dephine makes Scott swear not to tell Cosima this news.

Sarah and Helena arrive in front of a church. It’s the church in the photo of Ethan Duncan, the Swan Man. Sarah instructs Helena to wait in the truck while she goes inside to investigate. Sarah finds photos of a building. The church deacon (Jane Spidell) tells her it was the Cold River Institute. Cold River is closed and all the records are in the church basement. The deacon also identifies the photo of Ethan Duncan as “Mr. Peckham” and mentions that Maggie Chen was also digging about in the old records. Sarah finds lots of info about the clones, but nothing about Andrew Peckham in the records.

Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) emptied Helena’s locker and took all the contents to Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment for help digging through it. A phone call from Sarah gets them looking for someone named Peckham, and they give Sarah an address.

Helena, of course, did not wait obediently in the truck while Sarah was doing this. She goes into a bar, starts drinking, almost breaks the finger of an asshole who thinks he can have her just because he wants her, and takes a liking to Jesse (Patrick J. Adams) who is nice to her. Both Paul and the Prolethian errand boy Mark (Ari Millen) watch her every move in the bar.

Helena's boyfriend
Helena’s boyfriend

When Helena and Jesse start kissing, asshole breaks in and wants a turn. Helena beans Mr. Asshole with a pool ball, tosses him on the pool table and climbs on with the intention of poking out his eyes. Helena gets arrested for smashing heads in the bar. In the police station she asks for her boyfriend. She’s told she’s been released and can leave with her sister.

When Helena looks up to see her sister, it’s Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison), hiding her inflamed suture marks from the police with a hand over her mouth. Gracie and Mark tell Helena they have her babies and she agrees to go with them. Mark gives her Jesse’s baseball cap. I think he gives it to her to try to gain her trust, but it has the name of Jesse’s business on it, which may come in handy later.

Sarah leaves Helena to the cops and goes to Peckham’s house. Who opens the door but Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Good heavens, is there anything Mrs. S doesn’t know? She’s wearing a Pussy Riot shirt. Someone who wants to hurt Sarah wouldn’t wear a Pussy Riot shirt, would she?

Mrs. S knows all
Mrs. S knows all

Mrs. S is trying to get Andrew Peckham (Andrew Gillies)  out of his hoarder’s horror of a house, off to somewhere to do her mysterious bidding. When Peckham sees Sarah he looks her over with great interest, decides she isn’t Rachel, and asks to be taken to Rachel.

Is it Andrew or is it Ethan?
Is it Andrew or is it Ethan?

He cannot be taken to Rachel, however. He’s been hiding from Dyad for 20 years because Aldous Leekie killed his wife Susan and took over the LEDA project for Dyad.

What was LEDA doing?
What was LEDA about?

Sarah wants to know what Project LEDA was all about. Peckham/Duncan tells her it was a proof of concept experiment to see if they could actually clone a human and because they “wanted girl babies.”

While Sarah and Peckham/Duncan are talking, Siobhan goes outside and confronts Paul. Yes, she knows who Paul is. Everything Mrs. S does in this episode is so momentous, we have to go to commercial immediately after. Her every line of dialog is a bomb dropping. She tells Paul that the hoarder inside in his filthy kitchen talking to Sarah is the only hope that any of the clones have and that Paul better back off and let them go.

Kudos to Kathryn Alexandre and the Faces We Never See

Kathryn Alexandre
Kathryn Alexandre

Kathryn Alexandre is Tatiana Maslany’s acting double. She plays whatever clone is opposite Tatiana in a scene. When we see Helena and Sarah in a scene together in a truck or a tent, we have to remember that it was filmed twice. When we see Sarah in the driver’s seat of the truck, the actor beside her doing Helena is Kathryn Alexandre. They film it again with Tatiana in the passenger seat doing Helena while Kathryn Alexandre sits in the driver’s seat and plays Sarah. In the finished version, we never see Kathryn’s face.

It’s time to acknowledge how important Kathryn Alexandre is to Orphan Black. When we see chemistry, warmth, and closeness between Helena and Sarah, it’s actually something happening with Tatiana and Kathryn. Not just the warm fuzzy scenes, but the fight scenes, the dangerous scenes, the funny scenes. If they have to film it 2 times, 3 times, 4 times, to get all the clones in a scene together, Kathryn is there giving Tatiana a partner to act with and react to.

Much of what we see in Orphan Black is illusion, built from brilliant editing, brilliant makeup and brilliant acting. When we see it as a finished piece it is so perfectly executed it’s hard to remember how it was created. Let’s step back from the illusion and look behind the curtain to praise the hidden people who build the show. Here’s to Kathryn Alexandre and everyone else we don’t see in Orphan Black. You are all awesome!

The quote from Francis Bacon for this episode comes from the 1623 De Augmentis Scientiarum:

For you have but to hound nature in her wanderings, and you will be able when you like to lead and drive her afterwards to the same place again.

Some images from IMDB © Jan Thijs 2013. Some screen shots from BBC America.