Orphan Black stepped up the Castor clone narrative in Season 3, Episode 3 (“Formalized, Complex, and Costly”), but at what seems to be the cost of Mark’s life. For those keeping track at home, this is the second subsequent episode that a Castor clone was killed. Not cool, Orphan Black. Not cool….

orphan black season 3 episode 3 review

“Please, I love her.” “Not like her mother.”

OK, Mark better be alive! I mean, it wouldn’t be the end of the TV universe or anything if he died, but I am still on the fence about the inclusion of the Castor clones on this series and Mark’s character goes a long way to quelling those fears. Are the Castor clones an unnecessary distraction from the characters and storylines we really care about? Or, conversely, are the clones’ inclusion an exciting, compelling expansion of this fictional world that will pay narrative dividends in the long run? For me, Mark goes a long way towards bridging those two possibilities. He is the Castor clone we have known the longest and arguably the most sympathetic of the lot — at least so far. It is telling that, when Helena meets the other Castor clones, she (awesomely) calls them the “Mark-faced boys.” At first, this is how I saw them, too. Mark is the Sarah of the Castor clones, our way in as a viewer. Sure, he has his flaws (like, a lot of them that sometimes involve torturing farmers to death accidentally), but we still have some kind of connection to him.

I also kind of found myself rooting for the messed up love story between Mark and Gracie just a little bit.

orphan black season 3 episode 3 review       gracie2

At the very least, Mark seems a better option for Gracie’s confidante than her mother. Gracie’s mom is the worst, right? We got to know her last season as the mother who had no problem sewing Gracie’s mouth shut as punishment. This week, she admits to having had reservations about her husband using his own daughter as a surrogate for his baby with another woman (i.e. Helena), but she did nothing to stop it. After last week’s review diatribe about the diverse portrayal of motherhood on this show, I am very OK with Gracie’s mom being terrible. Because there are some IRL terrible moms out there (because moms, too, are people and people are sometimes selfish and horrible). A mother’s relationships with her kids can be destructive and unhealthy, and it’s cool to see Orphan Black include that in its complex spectrum of motherhood.

Anyway, back to Mark. We didn’t actually see him die, so I am still holding out hope that he pops up out of that cornfield in the next episode, joins forces with the Leda clones, and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Then, when he probably eventually dies, at least it will be after his character has had more of a chance to develop and after we’ve made a (fingers crossed) successful transition into this Castor clone-included world. Sure, it will hurt more, but my disappointment over the potential death of this character in this episode was partially informed by the slight affection I have for him, but mostly informed by my belief that his character is a relative linchpin within the context of this narrative.

“The last thing we need is another violent mess.”

However, if I had to choose between keeping Mark or Gracie around, I would choose Gracie. She has a been surprising, strong-willed character ever since we first met her in Season 2. It will be interesting to see if her perspective on the abominations has changed since Helena helped her escape in Season 2, she became impregnating with a clone child, and she inadvertently married a Castor clone. Gracie showed some badass moves in this episode, taking charge and finding a way to retrieve the information from her father’s old friend. If only her independence had lasted through her interaction with her mother. It’s understandable that Gracie would fess up to her mom, especially given the clone bombshell Sarah just dropped on her. But, again, I really don’t want Mark to be dead. I was also intrigued by Sarah’s mention of Gracie as family.

gracie3      orphan black season 3 episode 3 review

Sure, I think it was mainly a manipulation on Sarah’s part to get Gracie to tell her what she wanted to know, but Sarah doesn’t throw the “f” word around without weight. Could Gracie end up joining The Clone Club? Because that would be awesome. It’s little scenes and unexpected interactions like this one that make Orphan Black stand out.

Head over to our pals at Head Over Feels to read the rest of the review!


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Written by Kayti

Kayti Burt is a TV blogger who contributes to MTV News and Den of Geek. She loves character-driven genre shows, which makes her an unabashed defender of The CW, fandom, and all things starring Lucy Lawless.

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