Orphan Black: S3 E9 Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow

“Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” is the title of this episode of Orphan Black. Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude), Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) head for London in search of the original Castor clone. Bodies fall like ninepins and surprise twists hit every plot line.

In London Town

Mrs. S, Sarah and Felix enter a bar where Mrs S has a friend named Terry (Daniel Fathers). They learn from him that the number Rachel transcribed out of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” is a number from the English prison system.

They talk about the old days a bit. Terry reveals that Mrs S was in a band. Her old band mates show up – she calls them geriatric wankers.

Jordan Gavaris as Felix and Tatiana Maslany as Sarah

Sarah and Felix are delighted to discover things about Mrs. S’s past, including where she used to go to shag Carlton.

Maria Doyle Kennedy singing in Orphan Black

Mrs. S gets up and sings a song with the old band. While she’s singing, Terry goes back to his apartment, where he gets beaten to almost dying by Ferdinand (James Frain). When Mrs. S finds him there, he whispers the information about the Castor original in her ear and dies. Mrs. S tells Sarah and Felix that it’s over, they’re going home. She sends Sarah and Felix out.

As Sarah leaves she picks up a phone. She calls a number from the phone as Ferdinand observes them. Sarah and Felix get picked up in a cab. They guy driving knows Mrs. S. He  delivers them to the house of someone named Kendall Malone. The house looks dark. Sarah goes inside looking to “kill an innocent old man.”

The cab drives off. Ferdinand jumps in and kills the driver. Then he calls Delphine and tells her he’s been chasing Sarah Manning around London when she was supposed to be locked up at Dyad. Delphine asks Ferdinand to come to Dyad for a meeting.

In the house, Sarah finds a photo of a younger Mrs. S holding a baby. A woman (Alison Steadman) appears and says she is Kendall Malone. Sarah was expecting a man.

Hello mother

In walks Mrs. S and says, “Hello, mother.” Mrs. S obviously hates her mother, but she asks what Professor Duncan had to do with her. Kendall says Duncan came through testing inmates when she was in prison. He was looking for a donor and he found one in Kendall. She was both the male and the female original because she had absorbed a male twin while in the womb. She laughs, “I got two cell lines, me.”

Mrs. S wants to burn down the house with her mother in it, but Sarah points out that Leda needs the original cell line.

Cosima & Her Girlfriends

Cosima reads the file Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) gave her about Shay (Ksenia Solo). She immediately concludes that Shay is not trustworthy when she sees a photo of Shay in an Army uniform.

Ksenia Solo as Shay

Cosima rejects Shay’s attempts to talk about dinner and blows out of Shay’s apartment like her pants are on fire. Shay is puzzled by her behavior.

Cosima talks it over with Scott (Josh Vokey), who points out that nothing in the file really proves that Shay is the spy. Cosima feels that she’s put everyone in danger by being fooled once again by her attraction to someone.

Evelyne Brochu as Delphine

Cosima goes to Dyad to “eat shit” in front of Delphine. She admits that Sarah is in London looking for the Castor original.

Ksenia Solo as Shay

Delphine goes straight to Shay’s. Shay seems innocent. She claims not to know what Castor is. Delphine threatens to put her in the bathtub and slit her wrists and the arteries in her ankles if she doesn’t talk. Delphine fills the tub and brandishes a razor blade.

The Hendrix Family Business

Zoe De Grand Maison

Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) begs off work to Alison, claiming an appointment.

Tatiana Maslany as Helena

Gracie stops by the garage where Helena is gleefully dancing and making soap. She hugs Helena in a lingering goodbye.

Kristian Bruun as Donnie

Donnie (Kristian Bruun) was beaten to raw hamburger. Now the drug dealer Pouchy (Tony Cianchino) want all the pills back because Jason no longer vouches for the Hendrixes. A thug comes to get the pills. He takes Helena’s canister of frozen embryos with him because he can’t find the pills.

Donnie goes home to get the pills and Helena makes some gunk to put on his face to stop the pain. He tells her that the bad guys took the tank. “My babies?” Helena asks. She wants to know where the drug dealers are.

Donnie deals with the gangsters

Donnie takes the pills to Pouchy. They give him the nitrogen tank, but don’t return his money. Helena, who was supposed to wait in the car, comes in. Pouchy refuses the refund and threatens Donnie’s kids. Helena pushes Donnie and the tank out the door.

Bloody Helena

When Helena comes out, she’s carrying a bloody machete, a very large bag of cash, and a pound or two of extra blood. She tells Donnie, “We should go now.”

Gracie and Mark hug

At the same time that Delphine is threatening Shay, Gracie calls Cosima and apologizes for being the rat. She was trying to save Mark (Ari Millen). Gracie runs away with Mark.

Cosima calls Delphine and says that Shay is not the one who stole the book or told Castor that she was sick – it was Gracie. Delphine looks at Shay like she wants to kill her anyway, but she leaves Shay in one piece.

Some Thoughts

You can buy albums of music by Maria Doyle Kennedy from her website. So glad we got to hear her sing a bit in this episode.

This episode changes a lot of things and we have one more episode before the season ends! What can they possibly have left to amaze us with?

Mrs. S’s mother is the original for both Leda and Castor clones. That’s an amazing plot twist, but in looking back on all three seasons, I’ll bet John Fawcett and Graeme Manson had that in mind from the very beginning. It’s so delicious. Even though Mrs. S didn’t know it herself, it explains so much.

Alison Steadman as Kendall Malone

Alison Steadman as Kendall Malone is an excellent casting choice. She looks believably like Tatiana Maslany might age to look, although it’s a stretch to see any of Ari Millen in her face.

Then there’s the plot twist with a whole shit ton of money in the Hendrix deep freeze while a litter of dead drug dealers mean their new business is kaput. Probably a good thing – Alison and Donnie are terrible criminals.

And Shay! Shay is apparently just a girl, standing in front of a beautiful lesbian, wanting to be loved. Hot diggity dog, maybe that means Ksenia Solo will be around in season 4!

The Title Quotation

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech to the Nation in 1961 pointed out everything we were going to get wrong in the future and advised us against it. We didn’t listen. Here’s the paragraph with this week’s title.

“Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

Orphan Black: S3 E6 Certain Agony of the Battlefield

Episode 6 of season 3 of Orphan Black is “Certain Agony of the Battlefield.” Lots of plot twists and huge developments mark this episode as a turning point in several ways.

Before I get into that, I want to give a multitude of kudos to the director, Helen Shaver, for creating this episode’s surreal, hallucinogenic, and magical world. Shaver also directed an episode in season 2, Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est. Can she be the permanent director for Orphan Black please?

The recap will be divided into doings at the Hendrix household, doings at Dyad, and doings at the Castor compound.

The Hendrix Drug Machine

Donnie and Alison dancing in their underwear

Alison (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude)  and Donnie (Kristian Bruun)  are dancing on the bed in their underwear, tossing money in the air, and having a very sexy time celebrating their filthy lucre. Who knew Donnie could twerk?

They pay off Jason (Justin Chatwin) the 30K or so they owe him, and Donnie still has enough to put $10,000 cash down on a fast car.

Alison in her mother's store

Alison has the idea that she can buy her mother out of her store, Bubbles. It will be perfect way to launder all their drug money. She takes Jason and Donnie there to talk about the possibility. Jason thinks it’s perfect.

At Dyad: Sex and Science

Cosima, on the other hand, has been screwing her brains out for 5 days with Shay (Ksenia Solo).

Shay and Cosima in Shay's apartment

Cosima is missing calls, missing work, showing up late. Scott (Josh Vokey) is mad at her. Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) returns and she’s none to happy with Cosima’s absences either. In fact, Delphine looks at Cosima like she’d like to slap her or spit nails at her or something equally angry.

Cosima looks at Delphine with distrust

Delphine talks about trying to protect Dyad and the sisters, but Cosima doesn’t trust her or welcome her return. Delphine knows they processed the samples from Seth’s brain and she shows them that the same faulty protein they found in Seth (Ari Millen, an army) is also in Gracie. She suggests they follow up.

Delphine and Cosima await Gracie's arrival

Felix brings Gracie into Dyad. As Delphine and Cosima wait for her outside the elevator doors, they look miles apart. Delphine told Cosima she missed her. Cosima didn’t respond.

Felix talks to Rachel

Felix sneaks off to have a chat with Rachel, who spends her time in a wheelchair painting with watercolors. He wants to know about Castor so he can find Sarah. Rachel wants out of there.

Rachel's painting and The Island of Dr. Moreau

Scott notices the symbols Rachel is putting in her paintings. He takes one and compares it with the symbols in “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Delphine and Cosima work together to examine Gracie. They tell her that whatever Mark infected her with affects different people differently. They tell her the defect is contagious.

After getting in so much trouble for not doing her job, Cosima goes to Shay’s with the intention of telling her they need to slow down. But when she sees Shay all she wants to do is “make out for 7 hours straight.” Shay encourages her to talk. Cosima just wants to make out. Their smooch-fest is interrupted by a call from Scott, who says he thinks Rachel knows Duncan’s key.

At the Castor Compound

It’s been 5 days since Sarah disappeared into the Castor prison. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is frantic. Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) tries to keep him calm, but he’s breaking. Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) is still at Mrs. S’s house. They Skype with Kira (Skyler Wexler) in Iceland, who wants to know why Sarah isn’t talking to her.

Paul talks with Benchman

Paul (Dylan Bruce) is off in Arlington talking to a guy named Benchman (Tom Barnett). He gives him the log books showing sexual contacts that the Castor clones tracked. He whistleblows on Dr. Coady, who is doing unlawful experiments involving civilian females who have sex with the Castor boys. Benchman wants more evidence.

Kira appears in Sarah's dream

Sarah spins through fever induced hallucinations and strange dreams. Everything appears strange, surreal, part wishful thinking and part reality. She sees Kira and follows her around an empty Castor compound.

Sarah sees herself in a cot

Sarah climbs into Kira’s blanket fort and emerges in a room where she sees herself being pumped full of Rudy’s blood.

Charlotte appears in Sarah's dream

Sarah dreams she sees Charlotte (Cynthia Galant) who wants to lead her down a tunnel into the light. Sarah resists.

Beth is in her dream

In her fevered dream, she talks to Beth. Beth tells her to stop worrying about why and start finding out who.

Paul arrives and sees Sarah feeling very sick. Her temperature is 103. Dr. Coady says she’s treating her, but Sarah tells him differently.

Paul arrests Dr. Coady and takes over the compound. He puts a lot of people in the stockade. Among the few he trusts is Mark. Paul and Mark go to Coady’s office, where all the science information is stored. They find the evidence Paul needs. Sexual contact with the Castor clones causes sterility in women.

Sarah’s fever has broken. Dr. Coady gets very excited because Sarah didn’t die from Rudy’s blood. She tells Paul and Sarah that what she’s learning can end wars in a single generation.

Helena eats the scorpion

Helena runs through the desert. When she falls in exhaustion, Pupok the scorpion talks to her about Sarah. She eats poor Pupok. For Tatiana’s sake, I hope she’s really eating a big, black gummy bear, but the thing she put in her mouth was wriggling as she did it. But, really, how hard is it to eat an imaginary scorpion, I ask you?

Rudy, who has been off chasing Helena, comes back to the compound after a phone call from Arlington. He starts killing everyone in a search for Paul. It’s like a video game up in here with all these dead bodies laying around.

The Big Finish

Paul realizes he’s been played. He takes Sarah to a tunnel where she can escape. On the way he kills the clone Miller, but Miller stabs him while they struggle.

Paul goes to Dr. Coady’s office. She finds him there, surrounded by all her science, and shoots him 3 or 4 times in the chest. But, even with a stab wound to the gut and 4 bullets in his chest, the heroic Paul still has enough life in him to give Coady a dirty look and drop a hand grenade on the floor.

It must have been one hell of a hand grenade, because when it explodes it knocks Sarah down in the tunnel.

Helena finds Sarah in the tunnel

Helena finds Sarah in the tunnel. They leave together. Helena came back for her sestra!

Delphine looks at photos of Cosima and Shay

Delphine sits in front of a pile of photos of Cosima and Shay. She’s watching video of them on her computer as she downs booze as fast as she possibly can. She knew about them all along. As a result, she can’t get blotto fast enough.

Some Thoughts

Virginia Coady seems to be the mad military-industrial-scientific mind that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was so worried about. In the years just after America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, obliterating hundreds of thousands of people in a flash of radioactive energy, concern over this kind of thinking was fresh on the American conscience. Scientists/soldiers/corporations with power over life and death – who think the ends justify the means – has been a theme of Orphan Black from the beginning. We’re seeing it played out here in the form of Castor experiments on unsuspecting humans.

The scene between Beth and Sarah was beautifully shot, with characters jumping through time and space. We saw depression on Beth’s face, which is the only way Sarah remembers seeing her. And it was pivotal in setting a direction for Sarah in looking at the who of it all.

Mark is an okay guy. He tells Paul he brought Sarah to the Castor compound so Rudy wouldn’t kill her. He tells Paul he fell in love with Gracie. Speaking of love confessions, Paul told Sarah that he loved her, right before he went off to blow himself up in Coady’s office.

The soldier boy clone count is down to Mark and Rudy. (Maybe. Rudy was close to the grenade in the office.) Paul is dead. Farewell to Mr. Hunkalicious, Dylan Bruce.

Someone in Washington was aware of what Coady was doing and supported it. Who, indeed. Everything is uncertain and in flux.

The Title Quotation

From Dwight D. Eisenhower, this week’s quotation comes from the same paragraph as last week.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.