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Orphan Black #CloneClub Recap: “The Scandal Of Altruism”

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This week’s Orphan Black was not only intense and hugely sad, but also gave us the answers to some of the show’s biggest mysteries. What really makes Susan Duncan tick? Why did Beth go out on the train tracks that day? Who’s really responsible for the hell the Leda clones have been going through? Welcome to Episode 6 of the season, “The Scandal of Altruism.”

**THIS IS A RECAP—SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**

Art (KEVIN HANCHARD) and Krystal (TATIANA MASLANY)

The Recap

  • When the episode opens, we finally learn whom Beth put a wig on to go shoot. She’d discovered the identity of Susan Duncan, and went to kill her thinking she was killing the head of Neolution. What she discovers is that Susan created the Leda clones, and “loves them all.” She decides not to go through with it.
  • Krystal goes to the police seeking protective custody, because after her experience at BrightBorn, she’s convinced that Big Cosmetics is after her. Art sees her there and, after hiding her from Detective Duko (Creepy Bearded Conspirator Cop), attempts to hear her out and find out what she knows. When it’s clear that she’s completely naive about being a clone, he calls Sarah to ask what to do with her. Sarah sends Felix to them, since he and Krystal had a rapport the last time they met (even though he stole her wallet). Art and Felix pretend that Felix is from Scotland Yard (which is not in Scotland), that Krystal is totally right about what’s happening to her, and that she needs to lay low so as not to interfere with Felix’s “investigation.” After macing Felix as a reflex, she comes around and agrees to stop, but not before revealing that she saw Delphine get shot.
  • Cosima contacts Sarah to try and convince her that giving Susan Kendall’s genetic material is a good idea, and there’s a way to do it without turning Kendall over. It is through this that Mrs. S learns that her mother has leukemia. Cosima says that because the cancer only affects the Leda cells, they’ll be able to separate that out from the Castor cells, which are diseased. Kendall agrees to give up some genetic material one more time before going back into hiding, much to Mrs. S’s objection.
  • Cosima and Sarah go to BrightBorn, and Evie Cho removes the maggot bot from Sarah’s face. Apparently, every bot is in its host for a different purpose. Sarah’s was in there to make her sick so that her sickness could be studied, but “hadn’t found the right switch yet.” Yay?

Kendall Malone (ALISON STEADMAN)

  • But just when Susan has met up with Sarah, Mrs. S, and Kendall to have Scott extract her genetic material; just as Cosima, at BrightBorn, has delivered the years of research she and Scott (and Delphine) put their souls into to Evie in exchange; just as Kendall is about to be taken into hiding, Kendall is apprehended by a mysterious figure. Mrs. S assumes Susan has something to it. Sarah then brings up Ira as a suspect and asks Susan where she can find him.
  • Ira has become jealous of the Leda clones because Susan values them so much for her work, whereas the Castors are a problem to be solved. Susan insists that she will help figure out how to make Ira well again, too, but Ira is unsure. He tries to kill himself by overdosing on pills, but Sarah finds him and he gets taken to the hospital.
  • As it turns out, Kendall was apprehended by Detective Duko, on behalf of Evie Cho. Evie sees herself as the future of genetic repair and Susan and her Leda clones as obsolete. As she insists to Cosima, she can help people “right now,” unlike Susan, whose work with Leda would require decades more research. Evie has been wanting to destroy everything to do with Leda to take it off the scientific playing field. She is ultimately the reason why Beth killed herself. Evie told Beth that if she wants to protect her sisters and everyone else she cares about, she should kill herself and take everything she’s discovered about Evie with her. She does.
  • Meanwhile, the episode ends with Detective Duko killing and burning The Original as Cosima helplessly stands by. Evie then tells Cosima that Delphine is dead after having been shot. Devastated, Cosima calls Sarah and Mrs. S to relay all the sad news.

Evie Cho (JESSALYN WANLIM) and Cosima (TATIANA MASLANY)

The Awesome

  • Cosima didn’t die! I was worried there for a second, but the queer girl lived! Sure, she was made to feel ten different kinds of sad, but she’s alive to science another day! We don’t know for how much longer, though. Without The Original, or any of their research, there seems to be little hope for a cure for her.
  • I loved the love-hate, fear-begrudging respect, conflicted relationship between Evie and Cosima. They’re working at cross purposes and have entirely different codes of ethics…but they’re both really into science and find the strangest things really cool. I love how they were each given the opportunity to struggle with the opposite viewpoint. Cosima had to stop herself from getting too into the science surrounding the bot. Evie seemed to actually have remorse for a second after having Kendall killed and watching Cosima suffer.
  • Felix’s stylish, Sherlock Holmes-inspired “Scotland Yard” outfit.
  • I’m so glad they didn’t go the “evil clone” route with Ira. He was an understandable human being with a legitimate grievance. I was concerned when Sarah brought him up as a suspect, but it made so much more sense for him to turn his frustration and sadness inward rather than try to kidnap anyone.

Felix (JORDAN GAVARIS) and Krystal (TATIANA MASLANY)

The Not-So-Awesome

  • I really, really hope that Felix’s chat with Krystal doesn’t mean we’re not going to see her again! That would be a crying shame. I would LOVE for her cleverness to be validated. Plus, she’s just so much fun! Let her join Clone Club, Orphan Black!
  • There was really no point to the Detective Duko character at all that I can see. He pretty much only needed to exist, because Evie needed a dude as the muscle. Which is hilarious, because he’s like the twerpiest cop ever.

This episode was amazing. Fast-paced, tightly written, and emotionally affecting. The last twenty minutes were some of the most tear-inducing yet, and that’s due in no small part to Tatiana Maslany’s brilliance. I was especially impressed with her performance as Cosima this week. It was more lived-in and real than it’s ever been before. However, she wasn’t the only woman shining this week. Rosemary Dunsmore (Susan), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Mrs. S), and Jessalyn Wanlim (Evie) all gave wonderful, nuanced performances. In addition to their individual talents, that’s likely due to the quality of this script, as they had a lot to work with.

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed most of the episodes this season despite the ride being a bit uneven. However, all that unevenness is worth it for this episode!

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!

(images via BBC America)

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