Orphan Black / Screen

Orphan Black: “History Yet to Be Written”

My first thoughts after finishing “History Yet to Be Written” was why are we back with the Neolutionists? I thought we ditched them back in season one, but apparently not. Their return felt much like everything else Orphan Black has thrown at us, unnecessarily complicated. But after thinking about it for awhile, I don’t mind it so much. At least it’s something familiar to return to, after the show going in a myriad of directions that never felt very solid. The Neolutionists are at least part of a season one that was thrilling, and the return of the weird extra appendages (like Nealon’s extra long tongue) is actually pretty fun.

We don’t learn that the Neolutionists have been orchestrating things from the very beginning, hiding out in other organizations to accomplish their own goals. Nealon’s a spy inside Dyad, and his helping Rachel is just a ruse to get her into the Neolutionists’ hands. Instead of Krystal’s eye, she gets a fake one, and has an uncomfortable reunion with her thought-dead mother. Unlike the reveal of Kendall the last episode, Rachel’s mother being alive and “corrupted” by the Neolutionists packs more of an emotional punch. We’ve seen how Rachel’s distance from her parents has affected her later in life, and her reunion with her mother is both horrifying and resonant. We don’t know what Susan Duncan has in store for her daughter or if she even thinks of her as her child and not just a science project to be used and exploited at her will.

With Kendall with the Ledas, Coady and Rudy are more set on getting to her in order to keep Rudy from succumbing to his glitching.  You’d think they would both be more important in an episode that has things coming to a head, but both of them only arrive and go away fairly quickly. While Rudy’s tailing a campaigning Alison, the Ledas lure him into a confrontation with Helena. It’s disappointing to say the least, with the fight not amounting to much of anything with Rudy in such poor condition. The thrill of seeing the two come to blows fizzles before impact, as Rudy collapses. Helena lies down with him to reminisce about their respective terrible upbringings. Helena’s arc has been alternately unsatisfying and touching this season. At times at feels as though we only see her to see her suffer, or lately to see her do someone else a solid by killing someone for them. However ridiculous Jesse’s return is (how did Alison and Donnie even find him?), it’s nice to see Helena get something that’s just for herself after being put through the ringer since we’ve met her.

At this point I’ve given up finding anything satisfying when it comes to Cosima’s romantic prospects. After being terrorized by Delphine, Shay still allows Cosima into her apartment to attempt some sort of apology.  Thankfully she’s still not impressed by Cosima obviously lying to her. But SHay and Cosima are relatively unimportant in an episode that’s seemingly gearing up to kiss its favorite morally gray Frenchwoman goodbye. I suppose I should have sensed something amiss with Delphine worried enough to wear a gun on her person for her meeting with Ferdinand, but since that was so easily handled, Delphine being gunned down in a parking garage didn’t really entire into my thinking.

It’s no secret I am not a fan of Delphine, but even so Orphan Black has proven itself pretty adept at sending off people I don’t much care for in pretty spectacular ways. Paul’s death was the best thing that ever happened to him, and if this episode was supposed to be Delphine’s swan song I’m satisfied with it. This finale almost makes me care about Delphine, as she conspires with the Ledas to make a deal with Ferdinand, apologizes to Shay and gives her and Cosima her blessing.  There have been a lot of conflicting things happening with Delphine’s character, but it’s been only recently that these conflictions have seemed intentional on the part of the writers. Delphnie’s been more haunted than we’ve seen her since she took over Rachel’s post, and her discovery of Nealon’s motives and Krystal’s abduction are sharp beats that relay how in over her head she was all along, even as she takes on the hardened glamour that comes with being at the head of Dyad. There’s still not a whole lot to like about her and Cosima at this point, even with their romantic sendoff, but Delphine’s death (assuming it’s permanent)

“Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” didn’t have as many solid emotional beats as the finale which has Kendall announcing that she insisted on Sarah being given to Siobhan for protection and the clone club unitiing at Bubbles for a family dinner and to hear the election results. AnD Delphine’s last words are “What will happen to her?”, the her in question being perhaps anybody. Even Ferdinand allies himself with the Ledas in the name of rescuing a captive Rachel (though I doubt she’s going to appreciate the gesture the way he wants her to). Orphan Black doesn’t always have the steadiest hand when it comes to balancing its mythology with its characters, but it’s episodes like “History” that make me want to stick with it regardless.

Stray Observations

  • Felix: “Oh shit. It worked!”
  • So what happened to Michelle Forbes? Is the Charlotte with the Neolutionists the same Charlotte we met before or a clone?
  • Sorry to say I don’t care one about about Siobhan and Kendall’s rough relationship. Not even a little bit.
  • But definitely more Krystal next season right?

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