Orphan Black knows how to pack a lot into a gut-wrenching hour without overloading you with too much. That’s the case with “The Scandal of Altruism.” A deal with Susan Duncan has to have its consequences, especially once Sarah gets that bot out of her — and it does. Devastating ones.
Meanwhile, for those eager to find out why Beth returned home with blood on her hands, this episode answers not only that, but also reveals what exactly put her on that train platform.
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The Gun’s in Beth’s Hand, But Whose Finger is on the Trigger?
The flashbacks begin with Beth in the blonde wig using the Brightborn keycard to gain entry to an event. All it takes is a bump into a waiter to send Susan to the bathroom to clean up a spilled drink. There, she pulls out the gun. “I know you,” she tells Susan. “I know everything.”
“If I kill you, it’s over. The monitors, the testing, the lies,” Beth says. “You control Neolution.” Susan disagrees; someone will just take her place, but whoever does won’t protect her like she has been doing. She’s her creator. She’s invested in her. “I have devoted my life to sustaining yours,” Susan insists. “Without me, your sisters will wither on the vine and I cannot bear that. I love you all. I love you.”
Beth then leaves Susan. So where did the blood come from? Moments after Evie tells Detective Duko over the phone that Beth didn’t do it, the clone gets in the car with her and accuses her of setting her up and wanting to take Susan’s place. However, Evie then argues that Beth knows too much and suggests that if she wants to save the people she loves, she should use the gun on herself. “Do you think I’m afraid to die? You think I’m scared of anything right now?” Beth asks.
The blood on her hands is from hitting Evie in the face until Detective Duko shows up. “Is it true?” She asks him. “Will my sisters die for what I know?”
“They’ve done it before,” he informs her. And so, she goes home, remembering Evie telling her to turn the gun on herself and Duko’s comment about keeping those he cares about safe and goes to the train station. That is just heartbreaking.
This Is for the Best for Krystal
The poor girl may be taking self-defense classes, but I still think it’s best for her to be kept out of clone business. After her experience at Brightborn, she goes to the police, and it’s only some quick thinking on Art’s part that keeps her off Detective Duko’s radar. He then takes over her case. She wants protective custody because Dyad or Brightborn will get her — not because she’s a clone, but because they’re cosmetic companies using stem cells and testing on humans. Does Leda mean anything to her? She likes their eyeliner.
I sort of feel bad for Art but I feel worse for Felix, whom the detective introduces as Inspector Dawkins, from the Yard. “What yard?” Krystal asks. Scotland Yard. He’s a cop from London. “But he said, ‘Scotland,'” she says. Oh, Krystal. It’s conversations like this one that make it so easy to see why no one is worried about her “delusions,” as Susan put it in episode 5. However, she’s become paranoid and poor Felix gets mace to the face.
She’s right about everything, they tell her. All the big cosmetic companies are involved. (And when they mention Neolution, she just accepts when they say “they’re Swedish” because she’s Krystal.) The best thing she can do is live her life as normally as possible while the case is open, Felix says, giving her a phone with their numbers in case of emergencies. But then she mentions smacking the French doctor at Dyad, and after they tell her Delphine’s a friend, she tells them that she’s sorry. “I saw her get shot. I saw everything.”
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Dealing with the — Oh, Wait, She’s Not the Devil Right Now
It’s been two months since Ira’s last cognitive exam, and he knows that Susan’s “reminiscing” is really her testing him. Well, hopefully Sarah will listen to reason and they’ll never have to test him again.
With the bot in Sarah and Cosima running out of time to come up with a cure to save herself, Sarah has no choice but to agree to share Kendall’s genetic material, which will allow Susan to restart human cloning, in exchange for her help. Knowing that Siobhan won’t agree, Sarah decides to set the wheels in motion first. “It’s not her life, is it?” She points out to her sister. “It’s our decision.”
However, they’re not going to let Susan cure Castor as well, not when the male clones are walking biological weapons. Here’s the only good news to come from Kendall’s cancer. It has allowed them to isolate her cells so they only hand over Leda.
When Sarah meets with Susan, the first order of business is the bot in her face. The bots do different things for different people, Evie explains. Sarah’s is making her sick. She’s immune to the disease, and they hoped to isolate it. They know it hasn’t flicked off the right switch because she’s still alive.
Though Ira isn’t pleased to hear that the plan involves letting Castor die out, Susan agrees and adds a couple more terms to the agreement herself: She wants to be there when the samples are taken from Kendall and wants Cosima’s research transferred to her hard drive. “You’re not the first Leda to make it this far,” Ira tips off Sarah. Yes, Beth, Susan confirms and hopes Sarah doesn’t make her mistakes.
“Look at her, another one thought she could do it all on her own,” Siobhan pointedly remarks as she and Sarah watch Beth’s videos. She had to make the deal, Sarah argues. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s Siobhan’s mother she bartered and that she thinks it’s the wrong play.
Then comes time for the trades. Susan leaves a despondent Ira in bed with the promise that she’ll find a way to save him and goes to Felix’s to watch Scott collect Kendall’s samples. Cosima, with the hard drive containing her data, and Sarah head to Brightborn. And now it’s just a matter of seeing where and when everything goes wrong because it has to.
Cosima insists on assisting in the procedure to remove the bot from Sarah, who is not letting Roxie come anywhere near her. (Who can blame her after her last run-in with her?). Though Evie has neutralized the receptors so Sarah doesn’t have to worry about the toxic failsafe, as she’s extracting the bot, she sees it’s leaking toxin. Cosima quickly plugs it — if any of the toxin hits her bloodstream, Sarah’s dead. The bot is removed safely. That’s a success.
“Ethan saw the best in people. I see the most, and right now, you are the most valuable person in the world,” Susan tells Kendall. Once Scott has her samples, Siobhan sends her mother off with her driver, but as he’s lighting her cigarette for her near the van, someone comes up to them. Kendall was right when she warned Siobhan it wasn’t over as she left the loft.
Upon discovering blood and the pack of cigarettes on the ground outside Felix’s, Sarah hurries inside, confirms with Scott that the samples are done and pours bleach over everything. Kendall’s driver isn’t answering his phone, she explains. What did Susan do? Where’s Kendall? It wasn’t her, Dr. Duncan insists, but they don’t believe her and take her to the safe house. That’s a failure.
Cosima is still at Brightborn at this point, but before she hands over her research, she asks Evie about Delphine. Dyad’s not her purview, Evie says, but she knew of her and her dedication to Cosima. They can finish the work they started together. As Cosima hands over the hard drive, she palms Sarah’s bot. But when Roxie comes in and reports that Susan went dark, Cosima is not going anywhere. That’s another failure.
As the others soon accept, it doesn’t make sense for Susan to be behind Kendall’s kidnapping and then let herself be taken hostage, so who is responsible? It could be Ira, since his life is on the line. “You got my ma into this, you better get her out,” Siobhan tells Sarah. But Ira is a dead end; Sarah and Benjamin find him overdosing in the bathtub in the hotel. (He’s going to be fine. Siobhan doesn’t care.)
Things just keep getting worse. Scott calls and reports that a Trojan has wiped their research. They’re done. Everything’s gone. Whoever did this doesn’t care about Kendall’s genome. They want Leda destroyed. So who is it? “The engineer,” Susan realizes.
Detective Duko is the one who has Kendall, and he takes the van to the middle of nowhere. Someone has the hooks in him, she knows. He’s just “in over [his] head,” he claims, like everybody else. So who’s the engineer?
Evie joins them and refuses to be swayed by Cosima’s pleas to not do this, to not kill and destroy every last bit of Kendall. Evie never understood what Susan saw in her face, she says. She spent decades watching their tedious lives while technology passed her by. Clones are now obsolete, like Betamax. “Because of the bots?” Cosima asks. They can fix people now without their baseline.
All Cosima can do is say goodbye to Kendall. “Tell Siobhan she’s done right always,” the original tells her. “And tell your sisters I’m proud to have been part of them all.” When it’s time, she has Cosima turn around before Duko shoots her in the head and burns her body. Siobhan may be Kendall’s daughter, but I am so happy that Cosima is the last one Kendall sees because the scientist was the one able to get through to her when the first needed samples.
That’s not all. Before leaving Cosima there with a phone and a message to “tell Susan the original’s dead” and “tell Sarah it’s over or Beth died for nothing,” Evie informs her that Delphine was shot dead.
Orphan Black season 4 airs Thursdays at 10pm on BBC America.
(Images courtesy of BBC America)