Orphan Black / Screen

Orphan Black: “Newer Elements of Our Defense”

Because I can never have nice things, Mark isn’t dead after all. Sarah finds him bleeding in the cornfield and carries him to safety, where she digs a bullet out of his leg in exchange for information on Helena. I’m never averse to seeing Sarah in action-mode, and she’s on the move from beginning to end of “Newer Elements of Our Defense”, and it’s to her credit that she plunges so willfully into all of this despite often getting the feeling of being in way over her head. Sarah’s been admirable as a heroine because of how natural she feels as a character, not an action heroine fearlessly diving into danger but a relatively normal woman (albeit one who figured out how to survive early on), and her squeamishness while tending to an injured Mark is a nice reminder that Sarah isn’t as cool and calculating as her Castor brothers.

Mark fills Sarah in on what he hoped to find from Henrik: tissue samples stolen from the experiments that could lead them to a cure. For some reason Mark has no interest in any of the papers in the box Gracie retrieved for him, and it takes Sarah looking through it and actually reading (which doesn’t seem that it should have been too hard for Mark to do), Sarah figures out that Henrik and his wife used the tissue samples to make their own clone, who died in infancy. So Mark and Sarah go together (with Sarah held at gunpoint per usual) to dig up the baby, but are interrupted by Rudy.

The Castor clones are boring. Sorry to say. At least on their own. I’m not at all interested in their interactions with the Ledas, especially as this episdoe proves how one note they all are. Sarah’s once again held at gun point by one of them until the Castors back down, and this back and forth is becoming tiring to say the least. But the Castors are fascinating together. Rudy and Seth were our first glimpse at the familial dynamics between them, and Mark and Rudy have a much different thing going for them. As Rudy’s about to kill Sarah, Mark intervenes and pulls rank on his younger brother. What looks like it’s about to turn ugly then morphs into an embrace between the two, who decide they’re united against Sarah and don’t leave loose ends. Since Sarah isn’t about to die, we can assume (and promos prove) that she’s being taken to the Castor’s mobile base, which will finally put her in Helena’s orbit.

Speaking of Helena, she gets way more to do this time around. It’s a relief to see her actually doing something, as the show seems to forget at times that Helena’s actually pretty capable. She was an assassin picking off her sister clones at one point, so it’s not like Helena’s without a skillset. Talking scorpion on her shoulder or not, Helena knows what she’s doing when she ties off her arm to keep Coady’s sedatives from doing their job right away and pretends to be having a breakdown of sorts to be moved to the infirmary. It’s all a ruse so she can explore the compound and hopefully find a way out, using a chicken bone of all things.

Isolating Helena from the rest of the clones is a risky maneuver. Last season proved how well keeping the clones apart worked as a storytelling device, but it’s all well and good as long as we see some kind of progress fro the character. Helena’s arguably one of the most fascinating, and has certainly had one of the biggest turnarounds character wise. She abandons her plans of escape to mercy kill one of the Castors. Parsons is being operated on, his brain exposed to the world and begging Helena to kill him, and she does, despite knowing that doing so will alert everyone and get her dragged right back to her cell. So we don’t get Helena’s thrilling escape, but it’s not so bad when we see how Helena’s changed as a character, no longer the same woman who hacked off a man’s tail and danced around with it in season one.

Cosima and Alison don’t get nearly as much to do. Though Cosima is called when it comes to deciphering whatever science jargon Sarah has to muddle through, her big storyline this episode amounts to Felix downloading a dating app for her. And Alison, on her very own show somewhere else, continues her suburban drug trade. Just when it looks like her illegal ambitions may finally collide with the clone drama, with the arrival of Ramon’s secretive drug supplier, the drug supplier Ramon fled from is revealed to be Alison’s ex-boyfriend from high school (Justin Chatwin) which is….whatever. The season’s just chugging along, and there’s still not a lot to be said about what’s happening with these two.

Stray Observations

  • Helena: “You’re a shit mother!”
  • Rudy actually did a pretty solid impression of Kira.
  • Gracie’s return to the Proletheans is just as gross as imagined, as her miscarriage of the baby gets her turned out and abandoned once again. Promos indicate she’ll end up on Felix’s doorstep, which could be a nice turn for the character, who can do a lot more than simply wander around looking miserable.

One thought on “Orphan Black: “Newer Elements of Our Defense”

  1. I loved Helena’s scam with the sedative! She was really showing some smarts.

    That was brutal when Gracie’s mother kicked her out after she lost the baby – after physically dragging her back anyway. It should be interesting to watch what happens with Gracie next week.

    I’d love to see Mark get into cahoots with the Sestras and be on their side.


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