Orphan Black Season 4, Episode 2 Recap: Lair of the White Worm

The gang’s all here after last week’s Beth-bonanza, and our main characters are relaxing in their top-secret retreat in Iceland where NO ONE will… oh, what’s that? They’ve been found? Well, time for Sarah, Mrs. S, Kira, and super-duper-cheery Kendall to head back to Canada.

But home isn’t safe these days, and that’s one of the interesting dichotomies that Orphan Black has set up in Season 4’s second episode, “Transgressive Border Crossing.” Even though the Clone Club scored major victories against enemies big (the Proletheans) and small (Alison’s vengeful drug suppliers), they may now be less safe than ever. Sarah & Family are forced to go into hiding because they know too much and because every enemy wants a piece (literally) of Kendall, a.k.a., Leda Prime, the Charm School Dropout. (Oddly missing in the family dynamic is Cal, since that probably exceeded budget constraints for this episode. Filming in the frozen wasteland costs money, people!)

In the past, Sarah, Cosima, and Mrs. S were good at buying time by playing one bad guy against another. That’s not an option now. There’s one bad guy left – Season 1’s gene-splicing, body-modding Neolution – and it’s a much bigger conspiracy of Cronenbergian craziness than the clones (and we) ever realized. Fortunately, our new sestra, the sheep-mask-wearing MK, is a big-time paranoid and Chloe O’Brien-ish hacker, and she’s able to alert everyone.

Note: By “Cronenbergian,” I mean like David Cronenberg, the Canadian horror director whose bizarre films often blur the line between technology and the organic. Among his best known films are Videodrome (1983) and The Fly (1986), but Shivers (1975) may be more apropos to what’s going on here. Specifically…

Orphan Black has danced around with science fiction and espionage themes over the past three years. When the somewhat-sleazy Dizzy mistakes Sarah for MK and shows her the video of the “maggot bot” (!!!) being removed from a man’s check, the series dives full on into horror. Gone are concerns about people-as-property or corporate assassins. We’re talking about the terrifying unknown and an invasion of self that is far worse than anything the Proletheans did.

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It’s an effective and very disturbing sequence – on which they double down in the final scene! OHHHHH! This season seems poised to take us on a wild trip down the Rabbit Hole, which not coincidentally is the name of the comic book store that Cosima and Scott have turned into the Clone Club’s secret lair.

There were times during Season 3 where I frankly didn’t look forward to the next episode. That might not be the case this year.

The Great:

The continuing absence of Castor clones. Thank goodness that plot is done.

The interweaving of the Beth flashbacks with current events was masterfully handled.

Alison on spotting Felix’s, er, exposed flank: “Shiitake mushrooms, Felix!!”

Donnie taking Helena (posing as Alison) to get a sonogram. Not only has this duo turned out to be a) heartwarming and b) guaranteed comedy gold, it also requires an effort of will to remember that Helena is played by the same actress who plays Alison and Sarah and OHMYGOD WHY DOES SHE NOT HAVE AN EMMY YET?

The revelation last season that Sarah has a genetic connection to Mrs. S wasn’t satisfying. Felix’s reaction to that in this episode is.

“That’s different. Helena’s trained to kill people. We’re manslaughterers.”

The Not-So-Great:

No, Scott, don’t agree to keep secrets! Keeping secrets NEVER works out on Arrow!

Still not sold on the character of Kendall. It’s as though the writers hadn’t really planned on her surviving the third-season finale.

The WTF:

SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS THAT ENDING!

“What is it…?” “I don’t know!”

–Ken

One comment

  1. I agree why does she not have all the awards yet . I have just been over the past two days of dangerously inclement weather been binge watching the first three seasons and am loving the heck out of it .

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