'Orphan Black' Recap: Brother and Sisters
'Orphan Black' Recap: Brother and Sisters
M.K. Costigan
M.K. Costigan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
This week on Orphan Black, Rachel continues to deal with things poorly, Felix comes perilously close to incest, and Alison and Donnie's relationship is improved by murder. Onwards!


Orphan Black is available on Amazon Prime.


"Holy Tilda Swinton"

Here's something no one saw coming: we get another clone in "Variable and Full of Perturbation", and it's a dude. If you're like me you did not initially grasp that, and spent the first fifteen minutes of this episode trying to figure out if that was a beard or just hair in Tatiana Maslany's face. As it turns out it was a beard, because Tony (formerly Antoinette) is a post-op transsexual. Thus Orphan Black becomes one of the few shows to represent every stripe in the LGBT flag.

Aside from the shock factor of a male clone, Tony's gender is really not the most important thing about him. He's a criminal sent to Art from his friend Sammy, who died telling him to deliver a message to Beth Childs. Art figures out pretty quickly that Sammy was likely killed by Dyad, and that Tony will be the next target. They need to get the message out of Tony as fast as possible, but this is made difficult by the fact that Tony distrusts cops and is kind of a jackass. He's also the least alluring flirt ever, although that analysis may be colored by the fact that he's trying to get with Felix. They get in a couple of kisses, and for one horrifying moment I thought the show was going to go full incest, but thankfully even Felix isn't down for that.

While Felix tries to drown this trauma with alcohol, Tony finds the "Twisted Sister" painting collection and realizes that something is truly messed up here. But Sarah arrives just as he's leaving, and the clone situation is explained. Tony takes this all unbelievably well, proving to be the most well-adjusted person with a mullet on the planet. He gets a whole bunch of sisters and a Clone Phone, and gives Sammy's message: "Tell Beth to keep the faith. Paul's like me. He's on it. He's a ghost."

What this means, we don't know yet. Sammy was military like Paul and possibly Tony's monitor. Paul has also disappeared sometime between this episode and the last, so the message implies that he's not out of the picture. I still have a hard time generating interest in things pertaining to Paul, so let's move on.

Bargaining Chips

Now that her hot lumberjack road trip is over, Sarah is back with Mrs. S and Duncan. She sent Kira's tooth to Cosima, but has not brought Kira to Dyad. They all realize that Kira and Duncan are massive bargaining chips, though they want to avoid using Kira at all costs. Luckily Duncan is convinced that he can treat Cosima's illness using his synthetic gene sequences rather than Kira's stem cells. This is good news, since they would really need Kira's bone marrow to treat the disease effectively, and that's not something you can pull out with a string and a doorknob. 

Delphine ends up being the intermediary between Dyad and Sarah's group. This is because, as Leekie's second, she has to step up when she receives news of his death. Rachel informs her that Leekie had a heart attack, but Delphine immediately recognizes that as crap. It's upsetting for her, because she knew Leekie very well and he seemed the most genuinely interested in the clones' physical wellbeing, but she doesn't have a lot of options. She needs to find a cure for Cosima, and only Duncan or Kira can provide that.

Mrs. S and Sarah appear to be working towards one goal: keeping Kira safe and out of Dyad's hands. Since it's in everyone's best interests to find a cure, and since it will mean that Kira's involvement won't be vital, they decide to give Duncan to Dyad. If he is loyal to them, working on the inside won't change that. They'll have to take the risk and hope the whole killing his wife and stealing his daughter thing is still a sore spot in Duncan and Dyad's relationship. After reading an age-inappropriate book to Kira, Duncan heads off. This book shows up at the end of the episode and appears to have notes in it, so we'll have to see where that plot point leads later.

Duncan meets with Rachel, who immediately shuts down his paternal love. Rachel has clearly been struggling throughout this episode, what with the huge emotional revelations she's undergone and the fact that Paul's absence means she no longer has someone to sexually assault. To add to her already overflowing baggage, Duncan casually drops the drama bomb that Rachel and the other clones were intentionally made infertile. Sarah and Helena are the program's failures, not everyone else. Rachel has a breakdown when her father leaves, tearing her office apart in totally legitimate anger over what had been done to her body. 

Meet Your Maker

Cosima update: she's still dying. The new tooth from Kira is helpful, but ultimately it's just a treatment and not a cure. She and Scott continue doing science things without Delphine, since Cosima has locked her out of the lab in anger. They also have a late-night nerdfest in which they play a game that I didn't catch the name of and apparently don't have the geek-fu necessary to recognize on sight. In any case, Cosima dominates, the guys gawk at her like they've just seen Geek Aphrodite, and the party only breaks up so she and Delphine can get insanely high and confess their love for one another.  All in all, not a bad night.

Delphine often comes across as shady, and is kind of underdeveloped as a character, but I do like that her motivations seem to just be that she really loves Cosima. Everyone on this show has a thousand different ulterior motives, especially the love interests, so it's nice to see a relationship that is mainly just a relationship. Of course Cosima is also seen researching Delphine in this episode, so that could all go out the window, but for now I'll enjoy it. It's also nice to see how united the core clone group has become. Even with Sarah's serial abandonment, Cosima tells Delphine that she has to love them all, not just her. Will Sarah's inherent selfishness make Cosima regret those words? Possibly, but Cosima also seems to be Sarah's favorite "sister", so maybe she'll actually be there for someone for once in her life.

The next day, Cosima and Scott prepare to meet Duncan. Cosima admits that she's the clone they've been researching, and Scott handles it well. Delphine brings Duncan by and Cosima begins to work her charm on him, but suddenly starts coughing blood and goes into a grand mal seizure. I guess if there's ever a time for a clone to have a health emergency, it would be when her creator is there.

"This is Not Well Wrapped"

Off in suburbia, Alison is back from rehab! In true Hendrix fashion, this means finding Donnie drunk in his underwear and adding another helping of psychological trauma to her poor, poor kids. Alison is actually really nice to Donnie before she realizes that he's drinking on her first day back from rehab, so it seems the revelation that he didn't know he was a monitor has softened her attitude towards him. He's an idiot, but not a malicious idiot.

I joke a lot about how Alison always has it the worst because she's married to Donnie. He's been manipulative, stupid, and generally just gross. But it turns out that he and Alison are actually kind of made for each other. She's overbearing, but he's not smart enough to function as a human being without that, and she probably needs someone that she can control. The true testament to the fact that they are soul mates, though, is the fact that they have no issue bonding over killing people. They actually seem kind of relieved to both be murders. Of course this devolves into Alison (rightfully) criticizing Donnie's post-murder clean-up skills, but hey, they had a moment. There really is someone out there for everyone.

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Sarah: no longer with her hot boy toy, will probably have to give her kid to mad scientists, had to add another number to her phone bill.
  • Cosima: is about to die.
  • Alison: has to re-line her trunk, may be implicated in her idiot husband's crime, will have to pay a fortune in her kids' therapy someday.
  • Rachel: found out she was robbed of children on purpose, is no longer getting any, is somehow more unstable than Helena.
  • Helena: does not appear in this episode, but things are never really going well for her.
  • Tony: friend died in front of him, was dropped into a hot pot of crazy, has a mullet.

This is really no contest. Cosima had the worst week. Most of the clones actually had a better week than usual. Alison and Donnie are doing better in the most disturbing way possible, Sarah didn't abandon anyone, and Tony got to traumatize someone for life with incest by clone-proxy. There's only two more episodes in the season, so hopefully things will start looking up for Cosima soon. 

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm on BBC America.

(Image courtesy of BBC America)


News from our partners