It’s (almost) all about bloody Rachel in this Orphan Black episode — in more ways than one. She’s been more than happy to do what P.T. wants, but one of her trips to the island leads to a discovery that forces her to be careful of her every move. As was true of the Alison-centric “Beneath Her Heart,” this Rachel-centric episode is the best we’ve seen this clone.

Also in “Gag or Throttle,” Cosima returns and helps find the leverage they need to get Kira back, while Alison surprises Donnie with a new outlook.

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She Was and Is So Naive, But Not Because She Wanted to Call Leekie “Dad”

It’s Rachel’s turn for flashbacks, to her life growing up at Dyad. Dr. Leekie proudly shows her off to the board. She reads the other clones’ files. She knows her own (779H41) and their ID tags (and their purpose). She knows the clones are getting sick and Dr. Leekie’s treatments aren’t working. But as he reminds her during one of her examinations, she’s not exempt from the experiment.

Rachel even takes initiative and kills a clone in hopes of fast-tracking Leekie’s attempt to find a cure, seeing it as just being objective as he raised her to be. That only leads him to question, “what are you?”

As she says at one point, she once asked Dr. Leekie if she could call him “dad,” and so it’s only fitting that the rest of her flashbacks are with Mr. Westmorland, who tells her as he asks her to join him at his side to lead Neolution forward that he considers her to be his daughter. And in doing so and signing a document, he says she’s legally emancipated and free. She’s no longer 779H41 or Neolution property. She’ll have no more monitors.

In the present, Rachel soon learns what the others already have: that P.T. can’t be trusted. During one of her trips to the island, he introduces her to Coady before she exams her to test the efficacy of the inoculation. P.T. may have claimed she was no longer her ID tag, but 779H41 is her patient number on her file. He may have said her days of monitors were behind her, but it sure sounds like Mr. Frontenac is her new one as he reports on her to Westmorland.

However, it’s not like Westmorland needs anyone to tell him what Rachel is up to, as she discovers that her Neolution eye is actually a camera. She returns to Dyad knowing that’s how P.T. sees and knows all.

Kira remains at Dyad as Neolution moves forward with their “modern-day Eve,” as she’s presented to the board. Sarah and Mrs. S have a small window to get to her before they start harvesting her eggs. It’s Sarah who stops Siobhan from storming the castle, reminding her that she taught her not to lose her head when things get tough. They need to think of another way to get Kira back.

Remember when Kira said she’d hustle Rachel if she had to? Well, that’s not hard to do considering that Rachel sees so much of herself in the young girl. Kira gives her a friendship bracelet, and Rachel recalls a friend made her one at camp. P.T. can tell she’s grown fond of Kira, but Rachel insists that she’s unwavering, even as she protests his order that Kira be brought to the island after her surgery.

Kira uses her story and their code words (Rachel is elephant and the island is Wonderland) to convey this development to Sarah during the video chat they’re finally allowed to have under Mr. Frontenac’s watchful eye: “Mouse cried and asked to return to the sand, but elephant said she belonged in Wonderland.”

Severing Corporate Ties

While Cosima works with Scott and Hell Wizard to sort through their research on P.T. and find what they need to expose him as a fraud (a.k.a. his obituary from the 1960s since he had to “kill” his real identity), Sarah and Mrs. S go over the information Adele has sent over. Van Lier is the director at Dyad, Blu-Zone and 11 biotech companies, which have been funneling funds into a Dyad shell that has made large payments to a consulting firm controlled by Hashem Al-Khatib. Their next step is to follow him. (As we learn at one of the board meetings, P.T. freed his daughter from a genetic heart defect.)

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Meanwhile, Rachel seems to be doing her best to remain distant from Kira following her discovery about her eye and P.T.’s remarks that she’s grown attached to her, but when the young girl asks her who hurt her, Rachel replies, “all of them.” The pro-clone has just added a sedative to a glass of orange juice for Kira when Sarah sends her John Patrick Mathieson’s obituary. That’s who “P.T.” really is.

Though Sarah threatens to expose him to the board, Rachel wonders why she thinks they’d believe her. Sarah tries changing tactics: Kira needs her family, just like Rachel needed hers when she was taken from them as an experiment.

With that in mind, Rachel goes to sedate Kira. Did she hate being studied when she was her age, Kira asks her. Rachel says she doesn’t remember. Did she get used to it? Yes. But when she sees her younger self in Kira’s place, she wonders why she doesn’t run. “Where would I go?” young Rachel asks. Kira notices Rachel picking at her nails and comments that her mother used to do that too. Rachel makes her drink the orange juice.

The pro-clone then sends Mr. Frontenac and his men to take care of Sarah and her people before keeping her Neolution eye trained on the necklace spinning in her hand while, out of view, sending a text: “I assure you this isn’t a joke.” When Art shows up at Mrs. S’ house, he tells them they won’t believe why he’s there. They’re gone by the time Frontenac gets there.

With P.T. still (always) watching, Rachel sits down to meditate, and after closing her eyes, blocks his view with her eyepatch. She brings the sedated Kira to the elevator, where Sarah, Mrs. S and Art are waiting. Kira’s safe (for now).

But that’s not all Rachel has to do without Westmorland seeing, and she sends an email to the board informing them that he’s not who he says he is, with Mathieson’s obituary attached. “His anomaly is his ability to deceive,” she writes.

And then, after pouring herself a drink, she sits down, breaks the martini glass and uses the broken stem to CUT THE ARTIFICIAL EYE OUT. There is so…much…blood. (Talk about making a statement. Let’s just say that was something I never need to see again.) 

An All-New Alison?

Alison returns, and it’s not just her hair (now short, with purple streaks, “artsy,” as Donnie calls it) that she’s changed. She wanted something creative and free, she explains, to match her new outlook. She met a Jungian who “lives in that place,” and now she’s much better at being “present.” She even got a tattoo, “live deep,” to commemorate her transformation. It’s a Thoreau quote, she says, “live deep and suck the marrow out of life.”

Her unconscious desires and the dark parts of herself have manifested in her behavior, like her drinking and her need to control everything. She’s not going to tell Donnie what to do anymore because she doesn’t have to. (Really? How long can this new Alison last once she’s back in the middle of clone business?)

Dealing with the Devil?

Coady still sees Mark as a traitor, but they have made a deal: she’ll cure him in exchange for information that will help her find Helena. But just because he knows Helena’s location — Gracie goes to visit her — does that mean he’s going to give it to Coady?

Oh, but first, Coady needs an ejaculate sample, brushing off his argument that it wasn’t part of the agreement with “you’ve got plenty to spare.” Cold. Also cold on Coady’s part? Admitting that she just drew straws at Ira’s grave to choose which one of them would leave.

What did you think of the Rachel flashbacks? Did you have a feeling Rachel would be cutting her eye out from the moment she realized it was a camera? Do you think this “new” Alison will last?

Orphan Black season 5 airs Saturdays at 10/9c on BBC America. Want more news? Like our Orphan Black Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of BBC America)