This week on Orphan Black, Helena is perfect, Rachel is the opposite of perfect, and people who aren’t the clones actually have the worst week. Enjoy that temporary reprieve, ladies, because there’s no way that’s going to last.

Orphan Black Season 2: Can Cal Be Trusted? >>>

In Desperate Need of Therapy

This episode is “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”, which Google tells me means “knowledge itself is power.” We open with Rachel and Paul returning from their trip to Taiwan and finding Daniel’s body in her hotel room. She is distraught, and because she is unable to express her emotions in a normal and healthy way, decides to start hurting people. Leekie has been developing a stem cell treatment that might help Cosima, and Rachel orders the tests stopped until she has Sarah, Helena, and Kira.

Because she is now down a monitor and booty call, she offers the job to Paul. Paul is still being ambiguously blackmailed so he has no choice but to say yes. Rachel also gives a little insight into the workings of Dyad. She says that she now outranks Leekie and does not share his sentimentality about his “subjects”, even though she’s the one that shares DNA with them. Long story short, Rachel is an emotionally repressed mess who could probably benefit from some trust falls. 

“Don’t Kill My Rubber Ducky”

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, we have Sarah and Helena. They’re holed up at Felix’s, where Sarah tries to teach Helena which people are not okay to kill. It seems that Sarah is over her freakout from last week and is willing to overlook the fact that Helena murdered their mom. They all trade nicknames, Felix being dubbed “brother-sestra” and Helena “meathead”. It’s surprisingly adorable, considering the fact that one of the three has murdered someone in the past 24 hours. 

Felix drops Helena off with Art, because he has a date and Sarah has to go hang out at a bar. Art is ready for this, cuffing Helena the second she’s in the door, removing all the sharp objects from his apartment, and stocking up on gas station food. Once the two of them are alone, he uses food to unlock Helena’s mess of a psyche and question her about Maggie Chen. Initially what he gets is childhood trauma and murder stories, but he soon finds out that Maggie Chen had some kind of locker. He can’t get anything more specific because Helena gets distracted by donuts. We’ve all been there, girl. 

A Shift of Allegiance

Never one to let a little thing like the entire foundation of his life collapsing get him down, Felix has a hot date with Colin the mortician. This is really less of a date and more of an ’80s music video, but the important thing is that it’s interrupted mid-chorus by the police. They arrest Colin for no apparent reason except that they need him out of the apartment so Paul can come in and frame Felix for murder. On Rachel’s orders, he puts Felix’s fingerprints on the gun Daniel used to kill Tom the cop a few episodes ago.

He calls Sarah to let her know that Rachel is poised to take yet another thing she loves away from her if she doesn’t surrender herself, Kira and Helena. What the hell does Dyad have on Paul? They had Sarah’s daughter (or so she thought) and she still wouldn’t do what they said, so Paul must in something really deep. I don’t really care about Paul, so it’s hard for me to summon emotion or opinion on this matter, but luckily it isn’t mentioned in the episode so we can focus on more important things.

Back at the Ranch

Things that are more important than Paul: the psycho cult that currently has Helena’s zygote. When we last left the Prolethians, Gracie had tried to kill Helena and inadvertently allowed her to escape. Turns out her family isn’t too pleased about this. Instead of taking away her laptop and sending her to her room like normal parents would, Gracie’s parents respond to her disobedience by sewing her mouth shut and locking her in a stall.  I repeat, they SEWED HER MOUTH SHUT. Have I put enough emphasis on the fact that they sewed her mouth shut? Because that’s what they did.

They are also not remotely sorry about doing so. Henrik still has his fake-nice paternal thing going, gently coaxing Gracie into admitting attempted murder, but her mom is having none of that soft love. If they don’t get Helena back, she says that Gracie will have to carry the child herself. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mark comes in and plants a pedo kiss on her, which she seems to be kind of into. I know she tried to kill Helena and all, but she’s also about 14 and has been raised by psychopaths, so she has my sympathy. She should take a page from Helena’s book and run for the hills.

Parenting 101: Buy Them Stuff

Other things that are more important than Paul: Cal and his sketchiness. We don’t get a lot of him and Kira in this episode, though we do see that he’s still being an awesome dad. Kira is pretty much done with Sarah’s flakiness at this point and seems content to just hang out with her new parent for a while. Sarah notices this, but there’s not much she can do about it over Skype.

In addition to the ability to buy his child’s love, we find out that Cal has at least one fake ID and a gun. The police stop by the camper and he gives them a very official-looking ID for Andrew Cooper, the name he owns the camper under. Kira’s cuteness prevents the police from investigating further, but a few more seeds of distrust for Cal are sewn.

Sibling Bonding

Meanwhile, Sarah has returned to Art’s to get help with the Felix situation. But when she gets there she finds Art handcuffed and Helena gone. She managed to escape using the top of a can and the concentrated force of her psychosis, leaving a riddle behind. 

The riddle involves GPS coordinates that lead Sarah and Art to Maggie Chen’s locker. Helena had camped out there before, so it’s filled with dismembered dolls and pictures with the eyes poked out. They also find a picture of the “Swan Man”, which immediately makes Sarah think of LEDA because of the legend of Leda and the swan. When she compares the picture of the Swan Man with the picture of Ethan and Susan Duncan, Sarah realizes that Ethan and the Swan Man are the same person. He somehow survived the lab fire that was thought to have killed him, and only Helena knows where he is. If they want to find him, they’ll have to find her.

Another reason they have to find Helena is that she’s about to kill Rachel. Rachel is causing problems for her and her sestra, so she’s got to go. And given what Rachel’s up to, it’s hard to disagree. She’s unhinged from Daniel’s death and intent on having Paul replace him in every capacity, simply because she can. Rachel’s life is essentially one giant power trip, but this is a new level. He clearly doesn’t anything to do with her, but Rachel and her ambiguous blackmail force him to have sex. Naturally, they do this in view of Helena and her sniper rifle.

Sarah and Art find Helena just as she’s about to send a Barbie head and a bullet into Rachel’s apartment. Quickly realizing that they can’t take her out by force (this has a history of not working), Sarah begins to talk Helena down. She explains that killing Rachel will hurt her “brother-sestra” Felix. Helena wants to be part of Sarah’s family, but last time she tried that Sarah shot her, and she thinks Sarah’s just using her again. 

It seems plausible that Sarah is doing just that, until she confesses that she really does think of Helena as a sister. “I shot you, and I couldn’t tell anyone what I lost”, she says through tears. The emotion seems too genuine to be just a ploy to get Helena to put down her gun. They leave arm in arm, teasing each other as sisters do. It’s a moment that is completely unexpected given how the last episode ended, but a beautiful one nonetheless.


While Sarah and Helena are having twin time, Cosima is still dying. Luckily she’s got a genius girlfriend to help her. Delphine is mistakenly sent an email about Leekie’s stem cell testing, which he had not told them about despite his promise to keep them informed. It’s much more likely that Leekie made sure Delphine got the email in order to force the stem cell issue, but the effect remains the same. Delphine and Cosima break into Leekie’s office looking for the treatment, and he conveniently catches them.

Leekie comes clean about several things. First, he tells Cosima that the original genome she was cloned from was destroyed in the lab fire that killed the Duncans. This means they lost the map of the synthetic DNA created in the cloning process, and thus have very little way to find out what exactly is causing Cosima’s illness. He also admits to the secret stem cell tests he’s been running, and that Rachel instructed that they be discontinued to get back at Sarah. He’s having none of that, though, and decides to give Cosima an injection of the treatment anyway. Since we’re only halfway through the season there is almost no way that it will work, but for the moment Cosima has a bit of hope.

Because of Leekie’s honesty, Cosima and Sarah decide to inform him about the Swan Man. Sarah meets him in her favorite bar and says that she believes Ethan Duncan is alive. She makes an offer that, if she’s able to find him and get information from him, Dyad has to let Felix go. Leekie is willing to give her three days to accomplish this. He also informs her that Cosima is sick, something Cosima never mentioned. Sarah is visibly upset, since Cosima is really just as much her sister as Helena and has the added benefit of not being a serial killer. She and Helena set off to the “place of screams”, and Leekie undermines some of the trust he’s gained this episode by having Paul watch them.

Who Had the Worst Week?

Like I said before, none of the clones really had the worst week. Gracie should really get the honor, or even Paul. But the rules I made up say it must be a clone, so let’s summarize:

  • Sarah: brother is framed for murder, sister is a serial killer, daughter likes her dad better now.
  • Helena: reminds everyone that she was abused her entire life, doesn’t get to kill anyone in this episode.
  • Cosima: still dying, new treatment will probably make her arm fall off.
  • Rachel: boyfriend is dead, emotionally constipated, is a rapist.
  • Allison: does not appear in this episode, but is still married to Donnie.

Out of the clones, I’ll give this one to Rachel. Not only is she dealing with a lot of terribly crap, but she is terrible crap. You, madam, are the worst.

What did you think? Who had the worst week? Will Cosima’s health improve? Will Helena stab Sarah to get control of the radio on their roadtrip? Share your thoughts!

Orphan Black season 2 airs Saturdays at 9pm on BBC America.

(Image courtesy of BBC America)

Mary Kate Costigan

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV