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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 5 “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations”

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

Last episode, the Castor clones got their hands on some of their original DNA—and they got their hands on Sarah, too. This episode opens not long after that: we’re in the Castor compound, with Helena cuffed and beaten in her cell. They clearly didn’t like what she did to Parsons. Helena gets a little talking-to from her scorpion friend, and she finds a pin on the ground. She uses it to self-harm by scratching into her back, as she used to do. It’s sad seeing her like that again. Helena’s little scorpion friend goes for a walk—it wanders out of Helena’s cell, down the hall, and slips into the cell next door. And there’s Sarah, passed out on a bed. Oh no!

Credits.

Dr. Cody, Rudy, and a team of doctors open up the dead baby coffin from the previous episode. Blech. The doctors get to work examining the creepy little thing while Dr. Cody tells Rudy that he’ll need to go away for forty-eight hours—she doesn’t want him in the way while she debriefs Mark.

Meanwhile, Sarah wakes up in her cell. She freaks out and immediately begins yelling, banging on her cell door, and looking for a way out. I do love how she wastes no time and tries to get things done! Helena, just next door, hears her and begins speaking to her. There’s a vent between their two cells that they can see each other through. Sarah is thrilled to see that Helena is alive, but Helena isn’t happy—she still thinks Sarah put her there. No matter what Sarah says to try and convince her otherwise, Helena isn’t having it.

Art is at home, trying to call Sarah—he hasn’t seen her since she went on the search for Mark and is worried about her. He leaves a message for her and there’s a knock on the door. It’s Gracie. She tells him that she met Sarah and Sarah said to come to Art if she got into any trouble. Art, being the lovely man we all know he is, lets her in. Gracie explains what happened with her mother, and doesn’t want to talk about Mark. Art asks her if she has any family—he wants her to have someone safe to stay with. She tells him she has no one. He suggests sending her to a shelter for expectant mothers, but she tells him that she lost the baby. He thinks for a moment, and then says he knows someone who can help.

Credit BBC America

Felix is at Mrs. S’s, and they’re having a cup of tea. She’s worried about Sarah, but Felix tries to reassure her: Sarah will call if she has any news. Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Cosima, who’s sitting in a bar and nervous for her online date. Felix does his best to reassure her and calm her down. Cosima’s internet date arrives—she’s a pretty blonde in a floppy hat, and her name is Shay. Shay is into things like Eastern medicine. The two of them get to know one another: they joke, they talk about Internet dating, and they talk about themselves and their histories. They look like they’re having fun! However, the camera pulls back and we can see that someone is taking photographs of the two of them. That’s awfully shifty, and it immediately makes me dislike Shay—she’s going to turn out to be a bad guy, isn’t she? Cosima totally has a bad habit of dating bad guys. Cosima, unaware that anyone’s taking their picture, asks Shay if she wants to go someplace else together. Shay agrees.

Sarah is still trying to convince Helena that she didn’t sell her out to Castor. She tells her that it was Mrs. S’s decision, and Sarah didn’t know anything about it—she tells her that she’s ben trying to protect Kira most of all. She tells her that they can’t fight Castor without her. Helena is maybe weakening a little, but before any reconciliation can be made, Miller and another guard arrive. They leave food for Helena and open Sarah’s cell door. Miller presses her up against the wall and cuffs her. Sarah is taken away, and she shouts back to Helena that the Castor clones are their brothers. That one gets a bit of a reaction out of Helena—we know that family means a lot to her, so it’s no surprise that interests her. Once Sarah is led away, Helena starts fiddling with the bars on her cell door. One of them appears to be a little loose! If anyone can escape from a freaking prison, Helena can.

Sarah is taken to Dr. Cody. She struggles and mouths off to her—she wants to know what they’ve done to Helena. Sarah takes no one’s crap, that’s for sure. She’s held down and doctors jab a needle into her arm and force her to give them some of her blood. They want her stem cells to help with their research. She’s thrown back into her cell, and she and Helena sit back down at the grate and talk again. Helena doesn’t believe that Castor are their brothers. She also hints that she may have found a way out.

Credit BBC America

A car pulls up at Mrs. S’s house—it’s Art and Gracie. He reassures her that Mrs. S is a good person, and they’ll help her. Inside, Gracie sits meekly on the couch while Felix, Mrs. S, and Art discuss matters. Felix thinks taking Gracie in is a bad idea—he doesn’t trust her. Mrs. S, however, believes in second chances and wants to help. She sends Felix and Gracie upstairs to get her settled in while she and Art talk alone. Mrs. S tells him that she’s worried about Sarah, and Art agrees. He reassures her that he has every police resource at his disposal, and he’ll be using them to try and find her. If there’s a trail out there, he says, he’ll find it. Art, you’re the best. If I ever get abducted, I want Art Bell hunting down my captors.

Our favorite clone-turned-Prolethean Mark awakes in the Castor hospital ward. Dr. Cody is there with him, and she runs though a list of his injuries. She asks him about Gracie, and then reminds him that no matter what he experienced, none of his time on assignment was real. Gracie isn’t one of them. She gives Mark a log book and asks him to write down the contacts he made while on assignment.

Upstairs in Mrs. S’s home, Felix is begrudgingly finding some clothes for Gracie. Gracie tells Felix that she knows he doesn’t trust her, and that she doesn’t blame him. Felix snits at her a bit about how he sleeps with men and she likely disapproves. She tells him that she isn’t a Prolethean anymore. She talks about how she was influenced by them from birth, and how she now wants to experience so many other things. It’s sweet, really, and I wish Felix wasn’t being so cold to her. A little later, Mrs. S stops by the room and offers Gracie some food. She sits with her, and Gracie asks why Mrs. S is being so kind to her. Mrs. S talks about her past—she was married young, she had a husband who died—and it’s pretty clear she sees something of herself in Gracie. Felix, of course, overhears the entire thing from the hallway. It’s pretty clear that his stony exterior is being chipped away.

Back at the Castor base, Paul rolls up in a big old military vehicle. He heads right to Sarah’s cell and tells her that he’s disappointed to see her—why couldn’t she have just stayed away? They argue a bit, with Sarah calling Paul a snake and Paul defending what he’s doing with Castor. It’s all punctuated by Helena’s side commentary through the grate. I really would love to see Helena set loose on Paul. I feel like he deserves it. She does threaten to kill him in this scene, though. That’s always fun.

Credit BBC America

Cosima has taken Shay to Felix’s loft, which has apparently permanently become the lesbian hideaway. Shay gives Cosima a massage and asks if she wants to talk about her breakup. Cosima is hesitant and flustered, and Shay can tell that she’s hit a nerve. She decides it’s best if she leaves, but before she can, Cosima starts talking about Delphine. She explains that she fell fast, that she was hurt, and that now she’s surprised that she met someone like Shay so quickly. Shay responds by kissing her. I’m fairly certain Shay is going to turn out to be a bad guy, but I kind of hope I’m wrong. It’d be nice for Cosima to have someone really good for her.

Back in the Castor compound, Sarah is still trying to convince Helena to forgive her and to share her escape plan. Helena taunts Sarah and calls her weak. Sarah talks to Helena about Kira again—seriously, family is Helena’s sweet spot!—and explains all the regrets she has about the way she raised Kira so far. Helena, worn down, comes around and asks Sarah for her help in escaping.

Mrs. S and Felix are down in the kitchen, talking, when Gracie appears behind them. She’s all dressed up in one of Sarah’s scandalous outfits, and she tells them that she wants to go out and start living her life. Her plan, vague as it is, is to go to a club—she wants one that serves Mai Thais. Felix, sensing that this is all a terrible idea, convinces Gracie to stay in and discuss a plan for her future over cocktails. She agrees, and soon she’s drinking gin and juice with Felix and Mrs. S while they dance to classic rock. She’s shy but ecstatic to be trying something new, and it’s so sweet to finally see people looking out for Gracie. I’m so happy that Art brought her to them!

At the next mealtime, Sarah and Helena are clearly ready for something. They’ve got a plan! Miller asks for Sarah’s old meal tray, and she tells him to come inside and get it. When he does, she attacks him. Of course, she isn’t successful, and she’s moved to the hospital ward. A doctor treats her and encourages her to cooperate—he says it will be easier on her that way. She’s brought back to her cell again, and once she’s left alone, she reveals her goal: a pair of tweezers, stolen from the hospital ward. She manages to swing the tweezers on a shoelace across to Helena, all the while being careful not to be caught by the rotating security camera near their cell doors. Helena uses the tweezers to unlock the shackles on her ankles, and then gets to work.

Gracie is drunk at this point, dancing and having a great time. Felix and Mrs. S look on like a pair of proud parents. That doesn’t last long, though—she suddenly moans and drops to the floor, clutching her stomach. Mrs. S runs to her, ordering Felix to call 911 immediately.

Credit BBC America

Helena opens that section of the wall again, revealing all the hidden… butter that she’s stashed. Butter? Sure. Okay. She rubs it over her skin, and then goes at the bar on her cell door—she kicks and slams against it until it breaks away. With Sarah as her lookout, Helena squeezes through the space in her cell door. She sneaks across the room and disables the security camera. The security guy, who has done a great job of not looking at the screen he’s supposed to be watching so far, notices that the camera has gone out and goes to fix it. When he does, Helena attacks him from behind, stabbing him in the temple. Damn. Sarah is thrilled that their plan worked, encouraging Helena to grab the man’s keys and let her out. Helena, however, has a different idea. Turns out she used Sarah to help make her escape possible, and is going to leave her there. Telling her that they’re now even, Helena walks away from Sarah. Sarah panics and yells, but it does no good. Helena is gone.

Art is parked outside a strange woman’s home. He watches the woman with a babysitter—at least, I think it’s a babysitter—and then the woman joins him in his car. They clearly know each other, and he asks her why she’s wearing sunglasses at nighttime. She says something about “them” doing something to her, and then takes off her glasses. Her eyes are red.

The paramedics, who have arrived for Gracie, ask her to open her eyes. Guess what—her eyes are red, too! Did the Proletheans do something to both of these womens’ eyes? What? I don’t understand!

Helena sneaks through the Castor compound, trying not to get caught. She does a good job of it, too: she’s fast and silent, and no one spots her. She even manages to steal a canteen of water on her way! She gets herself up and over the compound wall, and then hesitates. She’s considering going back for Sarah. But before she can, sirens go off and Miller walks nearby, yelling that Helena has escaped and that the whole compound needs to be searched. So Helena runs, leaving Sarah behind.

Credit BBC America

This episode was… honestly, it was just okay. It wasn’t that Orphan Black did anything wrong! It just felt rather average. It’s tough for a show that prides itself on big twists and reveals to do a quieter episode—everyone loves the big twists so much that anything less feels like a bit of a letdown. That being said, I did love Gracie being taken in by Mrs. S and Felix—I’m just so happy that she has people to look out for her now. Hopefully she’s okay! I also liked Helena escaping, even though I’m upset that she left Sarah behind. She’s been in captivity for literally the entire first half of this season, so she definitely deserves to be free. Hopefully Sarah will get her freedom again soon as well! This episode was pretty light on the Castor clones, and honestly, I missed them. I know not everyone watching Orphan Black this season likes the Castor clones, but I do. They’ve been an enjoyable addition to the show, and I’ve gotten used to having them around. I’d have liked more Mark in this episode—his return to Castor after being away for a year felt like it should’ve been more prominent. And Alison wasn’t in this episode at all! Shame. Hopefully the next episode kicks things back into gear and all our storylines start to come together. We’re halfway through Season 3!

EPISODE RATING: B-

BEST LINE: Helena, after Sarah obtains tweezers to help them escape: “Sarah, I think you were institutionalized too!”

FAVORITE MOMENT: Gracie, Felix, and Mrs. S dancing together to classic rock. I’ve really come to care about Gracie, and as I’ve said above, I’m just so happy to see other characters care for her and be on her side. Finally!

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 at the end of the week for an exclusive interview with one of the actors from Orphan Black! That’s right, more Orphan Black this week—no, you aren’t seeing double! Keep an eye on this spot.

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