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Orphan Black #CloneClub Recap: “From Instinct To Rational Control”

Orphan Black Recap: “From Instinct To Rational Control”


This week’s Orphan Black kicked the action up a notch with several characters pushed into running away, and several discoveries being made about Helsinki, maggot bots, and a certain Topsider. Oh, and Donnie and Felix pretending to be a couple, which was pretty much the best. Welcome to Episode 4 of the season, “From Instinct to Rational Control.”


The Recap

Sarah has brought Ferdinand to the Project Leda Secret Hideout in the hopes that he’d be able to get the maggot bot out of her face. However, he insists that only Susan Duncan can help her. He asks Sarah to share her contact, because he knows it must be someone who can trace Susan Duncan’s whereabouts…but Sarah refuses, saying she’ll ask her contact for help with Susan Duncan, but that he can’t have access to her. Meanwhile, Ferdinand is totally in love with Rachel (eeew).

Sarah contacts M.K, asking her to trace Rachel’s location from her message and help them find Susan Duncan, which M.K. agrees to…but she seems to have her own agenda. In the beginning of the episode, we see her getting up to her hacker-y shenanigans as she talks to the photo another Project Leda clone named Niki. We see that she’s trying to figure out who all members the Topside Board of Directors are, all in the hopes of finding Ferdinand! So, once she discovers that Rachel’s messages came through Ferdinand, M.K. goes rogue, luring Ferdinand to Beth’s apartment by a fake text from Sarah, and threatens his life. Why? Helsinki. Topside, with Ferdinand at the head, was responsible for “purging” Leda clones and killing over 30 of their friends and family. M.K, whose real name is Vera, was Niki’s best friend, and since Ferdinand burned Niki alive, M.K. wants to return the favor.

However, since Ferdinand is the key to Rachel, who’s the key to Susan Duncan and getting the bot out of Sarah’s face, Sarah fights to keep him alive. She manages to convince M.K. not to blow him up, but ends up losing M.K. in the process. It seems Sarah was being used. M.K. forces Ferdinand to transfer over $3 Million to her before skedaddling and leaving her Leda sisters in the dust.

Meanwhile, thanks to the “sample” (aka Dr. Leakey’s head) Alison provided, Cosima is able to figure out what the bots do. They edit genes and can rewrite DNA. Also, Cosima was having way too much fun getting to do science on Leakey’s head. “Who’s the science now, bitch?!” Turnabout is fair play.

In the midst of Sarah’s bot drama, Mrs. S wisely calls a family meeting between Sarah and Felix so they can hash out their issues. Felix explains that had Sarah simply explained the emergency, rather than snapping her fingers and expecting him to jump at her beck and call, he totally would’ve been there for her. Sarah apologizes and wishes him well with his newfound family, and Mrs. S also expresses her support, but advises him to be wary and take things slowly with his new sister.


While out at lunch with a friend, Alison is accosted by Goth Neolution Girl, who thinks she’s Beth. She yells at “Beth” for not dropping it, and mentions the name of a fertility clinic.  Alison snaps a surreptitious photo of her with her phone, then sends it to Sarah to alert her. After Sarah reams her out for not “pulling her weight” (seriously, do the bots write “being an asshole” into one’s DNA?), Alison agrees to go to the fertility clinic to find out what she can about this girl, or anything else. Alison takes Felix and Donnie, and since Beth has been poking around this clinic, Alison can’t go in, so Donnie and Felix go in as a gay couple hoping to find a surrogate. It’s about as hilarious as you’d expect.

Even more hilarious: Donnie, who’s been put into a room to provide a sperm sample with gay porno mags, has to call Alison outside to enlist her help in, ahem, making his deposit. Let’s just say the two of them are really into planes, and are probably both members of the Mile High Club.

While sitting in the parking lot, Alison spots a friend of hers named Portia, who was supposedly not able to conceive, but now looks about five months pregnant. She “bumps into” Portia and allows her feelings about not being able to conceive to come to the surface in an amazing acting performance that gets Portia to reveal something called the Brightborn treatments, which apparently is the procedure she used. Alison then conveys this information to Felix and Donnie who ask about it and get an intro packet. Cosima and Scott watch the video that comes with the packet, and it seems like some creepy Gattaca shit where they’re trying to make everyone have genetically perfect babies.

Helena is super-excited to be giving birth to twins, but Donnie has a talk with her asking her to chill out about it around Alison, since she’s not able to conceive. Helena feels so bad about hurting Alison that she buries her unused “science babies” in the backyard (her fertilized eggs that had gone bad without proper care), packs up, and leaves the house. “Goodbye, Family Hendrick.”

And lastly, Rachel has been developing a bond with Charlotte during their sneaking messages back and forth and has become concerned that Charlotte is the youngest clone to be affected by the illness that faces all Leda clones. She suggests treatments, but her mother asks her to consider the fact that treatments wouldn’t last long, whereas if they let the disease progress, they can study it. Susan puts the decision of how to proceed with Charlotte in Rachel’s hands, and at the end of the episode, Rachel says that they should let Charlotte progress, because that’s what Susan “wants to hear.” Charlotte is now basically a living petri dish.


The Awesome

  • This episode was an amazing character piece for all involved. The plot wasn’t as complicated as an Orphan Black plot could easily be, which proved an advantage in this episode. It gave all the characters a chance to breathe. In particular, I loved how the episode dealt with M.K. and Helena. For a while, M.K. has seemed like a stereotypical mysterious hacker character. In this episode, we got to see all of her layers, and that not only has her fight been extremely personal, but it’s been completely divorced from the Project Leda clones we’ve come to know and love. In other words, it was all about her vengeance over the loss of her friend. She has zero interest in joining Clone Club, which I really respect. Not everyone would. Just because they’re clones doesn’t mean they have to fight together.
  • Helena was totally heartbreaking. She was only in two scenes, but Maslany’s face as Donnie tells Helena how Alison’s been feeling, and Helena says, “She is jealous…and angry because of me having babies and bringing police,” is just too much. Helena is probably my favorite clone, because she has so much stacked against her just to be a normal human being. So, to see her not only recognize pain in others, but to hate having caused it (especially considering everything she’s done) was breathtaking. Her funeral for her lost babies was equally breathtaking. Such a beautiful, sad, sweet moment. I know she won’t be gone long, but I was so sad that she felt the need to leave.
  • I love the small ways in which the show subverts stereotypes. When Alison is having lunch with her friend, the friend excuses herself because she’s late for her hot yoga class. This is not a slender, small, stereotypical “yoga mom.” This is a large woman with whom Alison would love to perform who nonchalantly excuses herself to go to a hot yoga class. That shouldn’t seem revolutionary, but it does. Orphan Black understands that hey, guess what, sometimes fat people love yoga, too. And then there was Donnie’s “mincing” when he first started playing gay. I love that Felix reminded him that being gay is about just being a damn person.

The Not-So-Awesome

  • I’m so over Ferdinand as a character. Don’t get me wrong, I love James Frain as much as the next person, but Ferdinand now seems like a middle man we don’t particularly need anymore.
  • Mrs. S also seems to be falling by the wayside a lot this season. In previous seasons, she was coming up with plans, shooting people, and generally being badass. Now, she just seems to exist toDo offer motherly advice. I mean, she can do that, too, but she shouldn’t be passive in every other aspect of her life.
  • I really could’ve done without Cosima pulling the bot out of Leakey’s tumor right after Donnie’s phone orgasm. Just…eeew.

That’s it for this week! Orphan Black airs Thursdays at 10PM EST on BBC America. You’ll always be able to FIND MY OB RECAPS HERE. And yes, we’ve got the Orphan Black Science Recaps, too!

See you next week, Clone Club!

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