Orphan Black embraces the ickiness in Season 3, Episode 4 (“Newer Elements of Our Defense”). Seriously, I spent this entire episode flinching and/or hiding behind my hands. In itself, this is neither a compliment nor an insult — at least from me. I don’t seek out unsettling gore in TV, but I am also not turned off by it. For me, it’s all about how this viscerality is treated, i.e. how it’s being used to tell a larger story and, in that context,Orphan Black gets full marks.
“I know you don’t trust me, but I’m all you got.”
Yay, Mark is alive! And he and Sarah teamed up! And by “teamed up,” I mean Sarah and Mark bonded over DIY surgery — aka Sarah sticking her fingers into Mark’s bullet wound to try to feel the bullet. Though Sarah seems to have some kind of familial sympathy for Mark, she doesn’t do this for nothing either. She barters her steady hands for answers about Helena’s whereabouts. ( This is why Sarah is the most effective clone.)
This is the second week in a row where we’ve gotten Sarah leveraging some definition of family to get information out of someone. Last week, it was Gracie and the fact that she was carrying a Leda clone. This week, it’s Mark and the fact that their genetic donors were brother and sister. I mused that this reveal didn’t mean much to me; it largely only affected the narrative in how much it affected these individual Leda and Castor clones. After watching this episode, it seems to mean something to both Mark and Sarah. It kept Sarah from letting Mark die in that cornfield and it kept Mark from letting Rudy kill Sarah in the final moments of the episode. Sure, it looks like now Sarah will be the Castors’ prisoner, but that’s arguably better than being dead — especially at Rudy’s hands.
“Oh my god. Is everyone else’s life this chaotic?”
Last week, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how long I would enjoy Alison’s story because it was so disconnected from the larger clone plot. I take it back, Orphan Black. Can you ever forgive me for doubting you? Give me more of Alison and Donnie as drug dealers because it is great. This week, the two hit a potential snag when the local drug kingpin contacts them, confiscates their stash, and asks for a meeting. In the kind of genius hyperbolic suburbia twist that Orphan Black is so good at, it turns out that the kingpin is actually Alison’s high school boyfriend.
Jason Kellerman is very impressed with Alison’s marketing skills (soap? genius!). Also, if the long gazes they share are any indication, these two still have some serious chemistry. Also, Alison’s mother gets another mention. We’re ready to meet her now, show.