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Janna is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. Born and raised in a small Ontario town, she made her move to Toronto for university and immediately fell in love with the excitement and pace of the big city. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University, specializing in editing and screenwriting. She currently works as an assistant editor for a television production company. Janna loves stories told in all mediums, especially film, and takes herself to the movies as much as she possibly can. She can generally be found taking a Zumba class, exploring some of Toronto’s lesser-known gems, or relaxing with her fluffy feline roommate.

Black is Back: “Orphan Black” – Episode 3 – “Formalized, Complex & Costly”

Orphan Black is a critically acclaimed sci-fi series from BBC America featuring human clones. Its first two seasons garnered rave reviews, and its third season airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on BBC America and SPACE. Our writer, Janna Jeffrey, recaps every episode of the third season here on The Hudsucker. Orphan Black is back!

Beware: As this is a recap column, there are spoilers ahead. Read on if you dare!

Credit BBC America

In the previous episode of Orphan Black, we saw Kira being sent away to keep her safe, one Castor clone killing another, Helena being treated invasively, and a nice heap of double clone sexual assault. This show doesn’t hold back, that’s for sure.

We open Episode 3 with Sarah and Felix unceremoniously dragging Mustachio/Seth’s dead body into Felix’s bathtub. Felix’s apartment is nicely covered in fresh blood, and he and Sarah debate how best to dispose of a body while downing a shot or two to help calm their nerves. They’re in the middle of their speculation when there’s a knock at Felix’s door: it’s Detective Art Bell, and he wants to speak to Sarah.

It’s no good for a cop to walk in on a murder scene, so Sarah and Felix flail about for a bit, stalling and trying to clean the place up. They’re no match for Art’s keen detective skills, though—he knows something’s up, and finds Seth’s body in about six seconds. They beg him to look the other way on the whole “dead body in the bathtub” thing, because they weren’t the killers. I’d probably be asking Art the same thing in their position, so I can’t say I blame them. They’re interrupted by a sweet moment where Cosima calls in on Skype and is introduced to Art—she tells him that they all really miss Beth, and she’s endeared to him instantly. Beth is brought up a few times in this episode, and it’s honestly a really great one for Art’s character. I liked his little storyline a lot! Anyway, Sarah shows Cosima the dead body, and Cosima tells them that she believes the Castor clones have a neurological genetic flaw, similar to what the Leda clones have—but she needs to examine the brain to be sure. It really is handy to have a scientist in the group.

We move on from Felix’s loft and arrive at the motel where Mark and Gracie are staying. Mark’s been keeping watch, but has dozed off; when he wakes and discovers that Gracie is gone, he panics. Of course, she arrives back at that moment with breakfast. It’s clear that these two are still hesitant around each other and that Mark isn’t opening up to her—Gracie just wants to know him better. Instead of telling her much about himself, he kisses her, and by the way her fingers start undoing his shirt, I’m pretty sure they lost their virginities to each other after this scene faded to black. Aw. These unsettling Proletheans really are kind of sweet.

Credit BBC America

Next up is Alison and Donnie, who are walking the streets of their neighborhood, campaigning. We get to see them be basically the best drug dealers of all time as they convince a woman who is doubting Alison’s abilities to vote for her, simply by flashing around a little of Ramon’s goods. There’s something just so wonderful about Alison and Donnie, suburban power couple. I absolutely adore them.

Yeah, Gracie and Mark definitely did the deed. Good for them! I wonder if Proletheans use birth control. Then again, Gracie is pregnant with the embryo of Helena and her own father (forgot about that one, huh?), so birth control likely isn’t on the top of their list. Lying naked together and obviously feeling emotionally closer to her, Mark tells her that he isn’t who she thinks he is. Granted, he twists the truth around a bit—he tells her he’s still in the military and that he was assigned to her family in order to recover valuable scientific material that her father, Henrik Johansson, stole. He has to find this scientific material, and then he can leave the military for good. So, not totally honest, but it’s a step in the right direction! Gracie feels pretty used and betrayed by this, and I can’t say I blame her. I’m all for being honest, Mark, but maybe you should do that before you and your new wife make love for the first time. I’m just saying.

Meanwhile, Art and Sarah are on a stakeout in his car, discussing the Proletheans. They’re trying to track down Mark—Sarah believes that he knows where the original Castor samples are, and that she can use them to trade for Helena. Suddenly, the woman they’re waiting for appears: it’s the Prolethean midwife, Alexis (played by Kathryn Alexandre, who is Tatiana Maslany’s amazing acting partner for her clone scenes!). They corner her and ask her about Mark; she tells them that he fled with Gracie. She also tells them that, thanks to everything that happened with Helena, she was ex-communicated. She’s pretty bitter about it. Uh oh. Hope that one doesn’t come back to bite us.

Mark’s ready to go take on a man named Willard Finch (Nicholas Campbell), who he believes is storing the stolen scientific material for Henrik. Gracie is worried about Mark going in guns a-blazing, and convinces him to let her try her approach first. She shows up at Willard’s, acting all sweet and friendly, and after a bit of mildly creepy chitchat she asks him about the box he was storing for her father. He tries to get her to give him one thousand dollars in exchange, but sweet little Gracie toughens up and threatens him! It works, too: he hands over the box and off she goes, unscathed. Atta girl, Gracie!

Credit BBC America

Back to Art and Sarah. They’re driving around, speculating as to why Mark took Gracie with him when he ran away from the Proletheans. Sarah is also worried about Art’s job; now that he’s been reinstated to the police force, she doesn’t want him to get into more trouble for helping her. Art tells her that he’s helping because he feels compelled to: she was Beth’s sister. He tells her that, on the night of Beth’s suicide, she’d called him first—and he’d blown her off, because he’d thought her addictions were flaring up again. It’s really nice to learn more about Art’s backstory and his reasons for why he does what he does. I like Art, so keep the Art moments coming, Orphan Black.

We get a few scenes in the Castor clone compound: Rudy returns after killing Seth and is punished for it by Dr. Cody. Paul defends him, and he and Dr. Cody discuss what needs to be done to help cure the Castor clones of their neurological disorders: namely, they need time so they can figure out the science behind it. That’s why they want Helena around: to help them understand why her cloning process worked but theirs didn’t. Helena and Rudy also have a moment in the compound—she’s being kept in a jail cell, and Rudy taunts her through the bars. She reciprocates and calls him, “The ugliest Mark yet”, which is pretty amazing. She also taunts Paul when he tells her he’s sorry it’s all come to this, and tells him that one day, she’ll kill them all. It’s amazing how this show has made me do a complete 180 on Helena’s murderous tendencies. I was afraid of her in Season 1, and now here I am, cheering her on!

There are two brief moments in this episode worth mentioning, but not dwelling on: Cosima and Scott recover Seth’s brain to study, and Rachel is put through physical therapy with Dr. Neilan, who says she’s improving. She’s still struggling with both her memory and her speech, though. I’m looking forward to seeing where the Rachel storyline goes, especially given that they have told Topside that Rachel Duncan was killed in a plane crash. Lots of people related to DYAD seem to fake die in plane crashes, don’t they?

Credit BBC America

Alison and Donnie sell more of their illegal wares, disguising it all as a soap-making business. They’re in their garage restocking when Marci Coates, rival school board trustee, waltzes in unannounced. Donnie scrambles and is a little flustered, but Alison keeps her cool. At this point, should we expect anything less from her? Alison and Marci verbally spar for a bit, and it’s entertaining, but I’m starting to miss Alison’s interactions with the other clones and their storylines. Alison has been pretty isolated this past couple of episodes, and while I love the way her relationship with Donnie has grown, I don’t feel like she’s part of the main plot anymore. I miss that. Hopefully the show will bring her back into the fold soon.

Mark and Gracie are back in their motel room, opening the box that Gracie got from Willard. Guess what? It’s all documents and notebooks. Mark is visibly upset—clearly he was hoping for tissue samples and genetic material. It’s nice, however, that though he’s upset he doesn’t take it out on Gracie. He doesn’t blame her for bringing back something else, which I appreciate seeing. He simply tells her that it isn’t her fault, and that he’ll have to go back himself and find what he’s really looking for. Gracie urges him to be careful.

Remember that resentful midwife we met earlier in the episode? She shows up at the Proletheans’ new residence and tells Gracie’s mother (Kristin Booth) that she knows where Mark may have taken Gracie. Lesson of the day: beware a midwife scorned!

Art and Sarah are eating at the counter in a diner, going over a list of hotels to check for Mark and Gracie. Once again, Sarah urges Art to go home—she insists that she’ll be fine and that he should be back doing his real job. Art hesitates, and Sarah prods for more of an explanation; she thinks Art is keeping something from her. The reveal isn’t exactly out of left field, but it does come as a bit of a surprise: Art was in love with Beth. He says that he knew they were never going to be together because she was his partner, but it happened all the same. The secret love reveal has happened hundreds of times on hundreds of shows, but here it doesn’t feel false or cliché—it’s played very honestly and it isn’t dwelled upon. It doesn’t lessen Art and Sarah’s relationship at all, because it’s very clear that while Art was in love with Beth, he feels a different kind of loyalty and affection for Sarah. It’s an incredibly nice scene. At Sarah’s encouragement, Art finally warns her to be careful and heads back to the city.

Credit BBC America

Shortly after, Sarah gets up to leave as well—and there is Gracie, sitting at one of the diner tables and praying. Sarah slides into the booth with her, startling her, and asks if Gracie knows who she is. She does. Sarah tells Gracie that she’s looking for Helena, and says that Mark and his brothers have to know where she is. The fact that her husband has brothers is sure news to Gracie, and Sarah tells her everything. She even shows Gracie a photo of Seth and Rudy, for proof. Poor Gracie looks like her brain is about to explode. Again, Mark, this is why you’re honest with someone before you marry them and take their virginity!

We see Gracie back at the motel, packing—clearly, she is running away. Before she can get out the door, though, she’s met with her mother. Clearly that midwife had the right information! Gracie’s mother coaxes her to come back and join the Prolethean fold, telling her that Mark was a bad influence on her and that everything would be all right once she was home again. Gracie, on the verge of tears, agrees. Poor Gracie. Literally everyone she interacts with has their own agenda, and no one helps her make decisions that will actually benefit her first and foremost. I really hope someone helps her out soon.

Sarah arrives at Willard’s farm, looking for Mark. As she’s wandering around the seemingly empty barn, she gets a phone call from Cosima. Cosima and Scott have been running the DNA from Seth’s brain, and they’ve discovered something pretty big: that the Leda clones and the Castor clones have many genetic markers in common. Our male and female clones are biological siblings! Sarah’s in the midst of processing this information when she hears a noise and hangs up on Cosima, going to investigate. She finds Willard, tied up and tortured. He’s dead. Mark steps out from the shadows, threatening and moving close to Sarah. She tells him that she knows all about him: that he’s a clone, where he’s from, and that he ran away and married Gracie. As she talks, Mark gets angry—he shoves her up against the wall and pulls a gun on her, pressing it against her forehead. She tries to talk him down by telling him that they’re siblings; all the Leda clones are his sisters, but he doesn’t believe her. He doesn’t want to hear it. He freaks out and runs away, heading for his truck to go back to Gracie… when he’s shot in the leg. He panics, flailing about, and we see the person with the gun: Gracie’s mother. She moves towards him, berating him for all he’s done to her family, while he begs her for mercy. He tells her that he loves her daughter… and she shoots him again.

Credit BBC America

There are some things I really liked about this episode: namely, I loved Art and Sarah’s scenes, with the look into Art’s backstory and the examination of their relationship. Those bits were very well done. The reveal that the Castor and Leda clones are biological siblings is pretty intriguing, too, though I’m not sure where they’re going with that one yet. This episode did suffer a little, however, from some flat storylines. Our characters went to Willard’s farm a total of four times! The storylines in this episode felt a little like they were going in circles. Plus, I’m really missing Alison’s interactions with the other clones. I’d also love to see more from Felix—this season he hasn’t done much except for provide the voice of reason in a scene or two, and I’d really like to give him some more to do! I’m also disappointed that they seem to have killed off Mark already. He’s the most distinct of the Castor clones, and I’d have appreciated more of him in this season. This episode mostly just lacked the kick that the first two episodes this season felt like they had. I’m hopeful, though, that my complaints will get addressed and sorted out soon. Orphan Black is pretty damn good at reeling me back in, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this season is going.

EPISODE RATING: C+ 

BEST LINE: Sarah, after the midwife calls Helena an abomination for being a clone: “Trust me—if Helena’s an abomination, I’m much worse.”

FAVORITE MOMENT: The storyline between Art Bell and Sarah Manning this episode. It was great to see that delved into a little deeper and to get more backstory for Art himself. Captivating character moments like that are the heart of the show, and I’m always eager for more.

What did you think of this episode of Orphan Black? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

 

HEY, CLONE CLUB! There’s more Orphan Black coming your way this week. Check back in a few days for an exclusive interview with one of the actors from Orphan Black! Want to guess who it is? Don’t worry—we won’t arrest you if you’re wrong!

 

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