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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Orphan Black: Manacled Slim Wrists

I can't believe we're officially over halfway through the final season. I feel I should be more emotional about it, but though this season has certainly improved its suspense and stakes, I'm still not as engrossed as I used to be.

If anything, this season has the slight air of a checklist, with each major (and minor) character being brought on stage, given closure, and shuffled off again. We've had the demise of MK, the return of Adele, an appearance from Krystal, and – oh look! – Gracie is turning up next week. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact you would expect it for a final season, but there is a deliberate "let's wrap up this loose end" quality to the story that's not entirely organic.
And we've now gone two weeks without Felix!
But it was great to see Krystal again, still staunch in her crusade to expose the corruption of cosmetic companies. That she has a YouTube channel made me realize for the first time that the clones could have accidentally found each other on social media long before this (or have had mutual on-line friends that noticed the uncanny resemblance between supposed strangers) but that possibility clearly never arose.
It was a little hard to grasp the nuances of Krystal's plotline, but I gather she's been investigating cosmetic companies and managed to get a "source" in the form of a bearded douchebro named Len. For some reason Dyad (yeah Dyad – I thought we were done with them) have been buying out cosmetic companies, and Krystal is convinced it has something to do with her friend's hair falling out.
Despite the original plan being that Sarah would go undercover and gets some answers from Len, I'm glad Krystal got assertive and insisted on doing it herself. Her arc isn't particularly profound (she feels inadequate because people treat her like she's stupid) but it's brought to a satisfying conclusion – especially when she smears Len's faulty product all over his face. Bye bye beard.
I'm gonna miss this show.
In fact, this whole scene was gold. With Sarah and Art giving Krystal directions through an earpiece, she proceeds to do the exact opposite of everything they tell her. Don't kiss Len. She kisses him. Introduce the topic of Dyad gently. She immediately asks him about it. And most of the time she forgets Len is in the room with her and just directly addresses Art/Sarah. Among all the rest of her talents, it's easy to forget Tatiana Maslany also has great comic timing.
In the end I'm not entirely sure what this little subplot revealed. Dyad is buying up cosmetic companies because ... uh ... seriously, is it that important? The whole thing was designed to showcase Krystal, which it did beautifully. I'm not entirely sure if we'll see her again (she still seems oblivious to the fact Sarah is her splitting image) but if this was her swansong then it was a worthy one.
Over on the Island of Doctor Moreau, Susan and Virginia come face-to-face for the first time since the former put the latter in a mental infirmary – and it's obviously not a warm reunion. In fact, a lot of drama goes down in this episode, and it's Mud who turns out to be the lynchpin.
Having pegged Virginia as a psychopath, Susan decides to end P.T. Westmoreland's life (after confirming to the audience that he is indeed a fraud – she calls him "John" and states that the myth he built around himself is what made their endeavours successful). But to do that she needs Mud, the only one who has access to his parabiosis equipment.
Mud is brought on-board by the pleas from both Cosima and Ira (and the death of little Aiysha) but after a kind word from Westmoreland, her brainwashing reasserts itself and she gives the game away. In this she made for an interesting parallel to Gracie way back in season two: like Gracie she's humiliated by her community (Mud is forced to wear a cowbell, Gracie had her lips sewn shut) only to betray one of the clones for the sake of a man she loves (albeit platonically in this case).
Outside, the deaths of Aiysha and Yannis's last victim are enough for the residents of Revival to mutiny against their dear leader – and I have to say they caught on a lot quicker than I thought they would. I'll admit I was pretty tense when one of their number confronted Cosima, but she gets the angry mob on her side by being on their side. With proof courtesy of Susan that Westmoreland is a fraud, she and Charlotte make for the boathouse.
So Westmoreland narrowly escapes death, the community of Revival is on fire, Mud is confronted with the proof that her mentor is a phoney, and Ira – blood dripping from his nose – discovers Susan dead in her chair. It's a surprisingly touching moment when he crouches at her side, though at this stage I'm not whether it's a Together in Death scene or not.
Last of all there's a stay of execution when it comes to Neolution harvesting Kira's eggs, since she cleverly fakes an illness – complete with puking on her driver's shoes. But with Revival destroyed and at least one of his acolytes dead, Westmoreland makes a stern phone call to Rachel, and Kira is whisked away into the night.
Miscellaneous Observations:
One of the sad things about this being the final season is that certain dynamics and relationships certainly won't be explored in any greater detail. I was quite interested in Ira going to see Virginia – who is, after all, his creator – but that's sure to be the last we see of them interacting.
Likewise, any power plays between Susan and Virginia are over before they even begin, and – as with the realization that Rachel and Alison had never met before – I was intrigued by Virginia introducing herself to Cosima for the first (and last?) time. I don't think we'll get to see Mud and Gracie interact either, despite their similarities.
Virginia really is a piece of work, calling Cosima "Susan's baseline" to her face, and still trying to get her on board with the imminent research, working under the logic that since the clones are all going to be exploited anyway, she might as well give them the chance to work with her. Yet for all of that, I liked they gave her a slight humanizing moment with the little boy in the medical caravan (even if she was taking his blood for Westmoreland).
I'm glad Cosima didn't forget about Charlotte when it came to escaping the island, since I totally did.
So Delphine is not Mrs S's only source in Neolution. Is she talking about Ira? Or is Ferdinand up to his old tricks?
Happy for Scott that he's finally getting some female attention (and not just from his lesbian lab partner).
Siobhan confronting Rachel was a lot of fun. Looking forward to that showdown!
And so it appears we must bid adieu to Susan Duncan for the last time – and perhaps Ira as well. It seems a little strange to have brought her back from the brink of death at the start of this season only to kill her off properly six episodes in (and I also have problems with the lack of culpability she shouldered when it came to how Rachel turned out) but it feels like the right time for this character to go. She staked the last scraps of her soul on a wild gamble... and lost. Now the last bit of protection between Westmoreland and the Clone Club is no more.


  1. A good episode, but I'm still finding I'm not rushing to watch it - even though its been fast-tracked to Australia

    From what I could make out with the deal between the cosmetics companies is Percy/John said to Cosima they were trialling Derm Delivery Systems or something? I figured that Rachel was going to use cosmetics and creams to deliver some sort of drug into the system or blood stream. Not sure what exactly because it all seems to hinge on harvesting Kira's eggs. (I'm guessing something to do with the Fountain of Youth and not some new type of superhuman like Ira was supposed to be)
    Which is all kind of gross, because not only will she be a "mother" to hundreds of babies, but they're going to give her hormone treatment, which is I guess going to accelerate puberty for her?
    - and none of this could wait (by the way, I loved S just went for the good ol' Ipecac!)
    poor Kira
    So next week Alison returns and we get Gracie, we really need to get to Felix and Adele's adventures soon too

    1. Yeah, I'm missing Felix and Adele! Though I've read a future synopsis and it looks like we might get a Felix-centric episode soon.

      And yeah, what they plan to do to Kira is horrible.