At its core, Orphan Black is about clones and their relationships with other clones as they fight for autonomy from various groups that are looking to control them. That’s why it does best when the clones are interacting with one another, especially when it means that they’re allying against bigger forces who are trying to hurt them. “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings” is most explicit in this by throwing Sarah and Helena together on a road trip to find the Swan Man.
Sarah and Helena’s interactions are easily a high point of the episode,coming as close to sestra fanfiction as Orphan Black will ever get as Sarah and Helena hole up in a tent for the night. For these few minutes it’s as if Sarah and Helena really are sisters (both biologically and emotionally) as they first share a tender moment of Helena questioning her own ability to have children (while still dodging Sarah’s questions about Helena’s encounter with the Proletheans) and praising Sarah’s skills as a mother before it devolves into full-on awkward comedy territory as Helena makes shadow puppets on the tent wall and farts in Sarah’s face.
Helena and Sarah’s relationship is fun because it’s so complicated and constantly evolving. Even as Helena’s truly enjoying her time with Sarah, annoying and amusing her with her bad singing, she’s also aware that Sarah will ditch her as soon as Helena’s no longer useful. So when Helena gets arrested after a bar fight, Sarah continues on her way to Swan Man.
Though Sarah’s mostly business, Helena takes advantage of her “vacation” to do some daydrinking where she meets Patrick J. Adams and manufactures an identity based on the backstories of all the clones and also does some arm wrestling before engaging in some slow dancing and some making out. These are strangely nice moments for Helena mainly because she’s the clone who was denied the kind of life that would allow her to have this sort of experience, and seeing her have these weird and cheesy romantic moments with a guest star we’ll probably never see again makes her decision to go back with the Proletheans that much more sad. With Gracie offering her the chance to come back and be with her babies, and Sarah in the wind, Helena goes willingly. And unfortunately that means we’ll probably be back at the farm next week.
Meanwhile Sarah’s hunt leads her to Duncan and Mrs. S, who apparently used to chill with Duncan back in the day after he…I actually can’t remember how they know each other, but Mrs. S didn’t know about Project Leda really, she just got sucked in like Sarah did. Mrs. S is one of the few non-clones who’s managed to escape Orphan Black‘s non-clone character issues, her mysterious past and motives working so much better than their attempts with Paul. Perhaps the show picked up on this and decided to try to make Paul more interesting by putting him and Mrs. S in a car together and having Mrs. S make reference to Paul’s murky past in Afghanistan before suggesting that she and Paul be friends. It doesn’t do much for Paul, but it does a lot for Mrs. S who gets cooler and cooler with every episode, and if we’ll have more of Mrs. S to spice up Paul’s blind scenes in the future, I’d be happy with that.
While Mrs. S made secret deals with Paul, Sarah got some answers from Duncan about Project Leda, and the answers aren’t all that exciting really. It’s more thrilling to watch Sarah advocate on behalf of her clone sisters, particularly the ailing Cosima. Though Cosima’s story has been disappointing, mainly due the lacking supporting characters she’s stuck with, her and Sarah’s conversation was surprisingly sweet as Sarah lamented the possibility of losing Cosima to her disease. In a season that seemed to drop the ball on the clones’ and their relationships to one another in early episodes, bringing them to the forefront through Sarah’s desperate demands for Duncan to help was a good move. And Sarah’s clear admiration of both Cosima and Alison is a throwback to the simpler times when Sarah only had two clone sisters to contend with, in whom she sees a lot of good qualities.
And Sarah and Cosima’s promise to get Alison out of rehab is a nice one as well, despite it seeming as a bit of a throwaway in the middle of the rest of the episode. Though Alison probably (definitely) needs to be in rehab, her isolation is the most profound of the clones. With Felix still recovering from the events of last episode, Alison’s only visitor this week was the always-awful Donnie so her latching onto Vic the Dick was inevitable. Certainly Vic is pretty okay now that he’s sober and cleanshaven, and he and Alison actually had something of a nice alliance going on before it was revealed that Vic is spying on Alison on Angie’s behalf. And it’s more upsetting that learning this particular truth is sure to send Alison spiraling again even as Vic is actually prodding her into taking her sobriety seriously.
And who would have thought that we’d come back around to Aldous Leekie being the Big Bad? I mean it doesn’t seem to matter much either way really. It’s not like Leekie was on his way to being an honorary member of the Clone Club, but it’s notable that Duncan’s information on Leekie makes him a threat to all the clones. Even Rachel, who’s been the most antagonistic presence this season (alongside the Proletheans), is a victim of Leekie’s, who tried to murder her parents. Cosima says they’re stronger together, which is true not only of Sarah, Alison and Cosima but of all the clones. It’s when Helena’s separated from Sarah that the Proletheans pull her back in, Alison has no one looking out for in rehab which makes her easy pickings for Vic’s manipulation, Delphine and Scott are now keeping information from Cosima, and Rachel has no one inside the Dyad and has been a victim of Leekie’s since childhood. The only people the clones can trust is each other, and in the case of Rachel and Helena that trust only goes so far, but the clones have common enemies that need to be stopped, and they need to be together to do it.
- Helena: “Don’t be baby. I only sprain.”
- Guest star with accent and cap: “You know what? You have real pretty eyes.”
Helena: “You have a nice hat and very nice red face.”
- Helena also got her lips sewn shut once. In case you needed a reminder that the Proletheans are on some other shit.
- Scott’s another lame addition to Cosima’s story though I suppose he was there all along albeit via videochat, but he did uncover something interesting: the stem cell donor is related to the clones though she’s not a clone herself.
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