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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 6 “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”

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

All right, Clone Club, I’m just going to lay this out for you right now: this episode was awesome. I am hyped! I’m practically buzzing just typing this recap out. We know where we left off last episode, with Helena’s escape from the Castor camp and with Gracie developing some sort of disease that made her eyes red. So let’s jump right in, because this is going to be a long one!

Episode 6 of Season 3 opens with what we quickly discover is a dream sequence. Sarah, still in captivity, wakes up in her cell at the Castor camp and discovers her door has been opened. She wanders out into the camp, which is eerily empty, and sees a child run by. It’s Kira, who is laughing and calling out to her mother. Sarah follows Kira into a courtyard and through a tent, which is when she finds something a bit more sinister: a medical lab with two bodies lying inside. One of them is Sarah: she has a tube connected to the side of her neck with blood filtering through it. Attached to the other end of the tube is Rudy. He sits up and grins, taking Sarah’s hand and licking it in a manner that is decidedly gross and unsettling—which is essentially Rudy’s M.O. Gross and unsettling.

Sarah wakes with a start, still in her prison cell, and promptly sits up to vomit. She then reaches up and feels a piece of gauze taped to her neck. Uh oh.

Credits!

Paul is sitting on a bench in the city, meeting up with some official-looking man who is given no name, but is played by Tom Barnett. Paul gives the Bench Man a package. Inside is one of the Castor log books, which looks just as sketchy as it did in the last episode. Paul explains to the Bench Man that the book contains unsanctioned research, and the two talk about Paul getting more information on Castor before they can act. Okay, Paul is clearly still being a double agent, here. PAUL IS SO CONFUSING! I never know what side he is on! Paul, why must you make my life and my comprehension of your role on Orphan Black so difficult?!

There’s a brief little scene with Mrs S and Felix which warrants a mention, but not a whole paragraph. They Skype with Kira, and it’s clear that they’re worried about Sarah being missing. There, that’s the mention. There’s also a little scene with Cosima waking up in the apartment of her new girlfriend Shay (Ksenia Solo), and I guess this scene is important to see that Cosima is happy, but… I’m honestly not that invested in Cosima’s love life. I want her happy, of course, but this romantic plotline is dull. We’re moving on.

Moving on to one of the best scenes that has ever been filmed for television, that is! Our next scene is Alison and Donnie DANCING IN THEIR UNDERWEAR IN THEIR BEDROOM WHILE THROWING MONEY AROUND. They’re grinding, they’re laughing, they’re reenacting Indecent Proposal… it is literally INCREDIBLE. There are sequins glued on Donnie’s naked torso! I cannot express the loudness of my cackle of glee when I watched this scene. Even if the rest of the episode wasn’t awesome, I’d love this episode for this scene alone. Anyway, they eventually get interrupted by their daughter, who is all sorts of confused. They hurry her away and get dressed, going back to discussing mom and dad-esque things. Alison mentions that she’s meeting Jason that day to discuss taking the business to the next level. Then they get all sexy again in their own weird way, and God, do I ever love this couple. They’re the best.

Cosima finally arrives at DYAD—she’s clearly been rolling in late recently—and Scott’s right there immediately, upset at her tardiness. They step into the lab, and there she is: Delphine. We haven’t seen her in awhile! She still looks awesome with straight hair. Delphine explains she came back to the city (she was away working for Topside) as soon as she heard that Sarah was missing. Cosima is decidedly frosty towards her, as one often is when dealing with an ex. Delphine asks Cosima where they got a Castor brain to test on and why they’re studying Gracie. She keeps up with business, clearly! Delphine also points out something that Cosima missed in her tests: that the same disordered protein was found in both Castor and Gracie’s samples.

Credit BBC America

Paul returns to the Castor camp (which is apparently in Mexico and much further away from home than I thought) and finds Sarah in the medical ward. She’s shivering and sweating, and is clearly not doing so well. Paul offers her water, and Sarah begs him to get her out. He swears he’s trying. Dr Coady arrives, and Paul immediately yells at her, accusing her of harming Sarah. Dr Coady insists she’s been helping her. Both Paul and Sarah have some choice words for Dr Coady, and Sarah wants to know if Helena escaped successfully. Dr Coady promises her that if the desert doesn’t harm Helena, Rudy will.

Speaking of: Helena is out running through the desert, with Rudy and another fellow out on patrol looking for her. Helena is exhausted and collapses in the sand. She has a chat with her scorpion friend, who has clearly become a physical manifestation of Helena’s negative self-talk. The scorpion insults Helena and encourages her to keep going; Helena retaliates by eating the scorpion. It’s gross, but it’s also awesome. Go, Helena!

Paul and Dr Silva (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio) sit and have a chat about Sarah. Dr Silva insists that he doesn’t know what Dr Coady has done to her. He says that awhile ago, Rudy brought a girl to camp with bloodshot eyes, and the science that was being done got very secretive after that. He thinks Dr Coady is getting samples for some sort of “before and after”. He tells Paul that if he wants answers, the material and information are in Dr Coady’s quarters. I bet getting that information is going to go real well.

Felix brings Gracie in to DYAD to see Cosima for testing. Cosima is super kind to her, and it still just warms my heart to see people being good to Gracie. As Cosima goes off with Gracie, Felix secretly asks Scott to help him find Sarah. To do that, he needs Scott to give him access to Rachel.

There’s an interesting little scene with Mark and Paul here, which I love for exactly one reason: they use it to address one of their glaring plot holes from Season 2! As you’ll recall, in Season 2, Mark and Paul encountered each other in a bar. The scene was written as if they didn’t know one another; now that Paul works for Castor, that scene in Season 2 makes little to no sense. But they address that here! It’s explained that Mark didn’t know Paul, as he was already with the Proletheans when Paul was promoted, and as Paul knew both he and Mark were undercover, he didn’t want to blow that for either of them. Is it a flimsy retcon for that scene? Perhaps. But I just love that the writers clearly pay attention to the continuity of their show and took the time to address the mistake they’d created by putting Paul in with the Castors. A lot of shows would simply pretend that scene in Season 2 never happened. So, way to go, Orphan Black! Yet another example of how awesome you are. Anyway, Paul asks Mark about Gracie, and Mark says that he’d fallen in love with her. It’s clear that both Paul and Mark aren’t on board with this whole Castor thing, so Paul asks Mark to do him an unofficial favor.

Back to the Hendrixes! Alison is meeting Jason, her ex-boyfriend turned drug dealer. She gives him a gift, they’re chatty, and he asks her why she hasn’t walked away from the business yet. She tells him that she and Donnie want to take things to the next level. It’s at that moment that a car comes screeching into the parking lot, heading straight for them. Alison and Jason both panic a little, but there’s no need: it’s just Donnie! He jumps out of the car, wildly pleased with himself and his new purchase. Alison isn’t so thrilled, though—she says that the first thing that’ll get flagged as possible illegal activity is conspicuous spending. Jason agrees and says that they need a real front for their business… and Alison, true to form, says she already has a plan. When does Alison not have a plan?!

Credit BBC America

Mark brings Paul a set of keys—clearly, they’re Dr Coady’s. He tells Paul that he has five minutes. Paul lets himself into Dr Coady’s chambers, and then we get some wonderful intercutting between two scenes: Paul and Mark examining Dr Coady’s files, and Cosima explaining the disease to Gracie at DYAD. Essentially, the protein is some sort of dangerous sexually transmitted disease that the Castor clones carry and pass on to their sexual partners. Both Mark and Gracie appear confused, and we see a lovely shot of the words “ovaries atrophied” on one of Dr Coady’s papers, which are two words I’d be happy to never see side by side again. Ick. Mark finds a file on Gracie, and the reality of what he’s done to her hits him. He’s devastated.

Back in the medical ward, Sarah is undergoing more testing. She’s clearly fading in and out of it. Paul bursts into the ward with a gun and tells Dr Coady that she’s under arrest for sterilizing women. He’s taking over. Paul disarms Miller, who was standing guard, and Dr Coady admits that she did give Sarah two units of Rudy’s blood to transfer the protein to her body. Paul cuffs Dr Coady and leads her out of the room. I like this take-charge, on-the-side-of-good Paul!

Sarah, still in the medical ward, isn’t doing so well. As she fades in and out of consciousness, she sees a few things: Charlotte, the younger Leda clone; her time impersonating Beth; Mrs S’s house. The hallucination of Mrs S’s house stays, and Sarah walks into the kitchen to see someone standing at the sink. It’s Beth! From here, we’re treated to an absolutely beautiful scene between Sarah and Beth. Beth talks a bit about her relationship with Paul, and then lets out some of her anger: with Sarah for impersonating her, with Paul for tricking her, with herself for giving up and jumping in front of the train. Beth and Sarah talk honestly with each other, unloading their own fears and frustrations. It’s a truly beautiful and moving scene, and Tatiana Maslany absolutely nails it. It’s wonderful to see Beth be given a bit of a voice.

Paul is on the phone with Bench Man, reporting his findings about the sterilization. Bench Man starts putting a plan in motion to extract Paul and Sarah from the Castor camp, and tells him that he needs to keep things calm for six hours until help arrives. He also says that the Castor clones won’t take to Paul’s leadership easily, and Paul tells him that Rudy is still out on patrol. Bench Man says to leave Rudy out there.

Back at DYAD, Rachel is in a wheelchair painting when Felix and Scott come in to see her. She recognizes Felix, but speech is still a struggle for her. Felix adopts an incredibly threatening persona, which I kind of really like—it’s nice to see Felix take charge and get things done! He’s been pretty quiet this season so far. Rachel tries to get Felix out, but Felix isn’t having it—he insists that she knows about the Castor clones and wants to know where they’re keeping Sarah. Rachel says she isn’t going to help him. Felix loses it a little—he yells, he gets up in her face, he gets rough with her. There’s a shift in Rachel, then, and her voice breaks. She asks him to get her out of here. Felix, clearly startled and affected by her sudden show of emotion, pushes her away and leaves the room. Scott picks up Rachel’s scattered paintings before he leaves, and notices she’s drawn symbols all over them. When Rachel is alone, she cries.

We get a few more short scenes: one with Alison, Donnie, and Jason checking out Alison’s mother’s store, Bubbles, which Jason says will make a perfect drug front; and one with Cosima reassuring Gracie that everything will be okay, even if she can no longer have children. They’re both nice scenes, but I’ve already used up a lot of words and the best is yet to come, so we’re moving on.

Out in the desert, Rudy gets a phone call. He knows that Paul has taken over the Castor camp. Uh oh.

Credit BBC America

Delphine sits at her desk, looking at photos and video of Cosima and Shay on their date. It was Delphine and DYAD spying on them! Stop that, Delphine, that’s creepy!

Cosima makes out with her new girlfriend some more, and then she gets a phone call from Scott. He’s been poring over Duncan’s Dr Moreau book again, and he thinks that Rachel knows Duncan’s code. A way to bring Rachel back into the main plot! I’m interested to see how Rachel really is now, after her injury.

All right, here we go: things are going to get intense!

After Sarah wakes up, Paul tells her what Dr Coady has been doing. He also tells her that she hasn’t been showing the same symptoms as the other infected women, and that she might be okay after all. Sarah, on the other hand, wants to know if Paul loved Beth. He avoids the question, instead answering that Beth’s death with always stay with him. Sarah and Paul go to confront Dr Coady. Dr Coady says that she knew Sarah would beat the Castor disease because Castor and Leda have the same genetic disorder: it affects the males’ brains and the females’ epithelial tissue. It turns out Dr Coady was field testing the disease in the hopes of being able to weaponize it. I love all the science and the focus on genetic disorders on Orphan Black—it’s not typically anything I think about, so the questions and dilemmas it poses are fascinating to me. Science!

Rudy is able to sneak back into the camp unnoticed, despite everything being on lockdown. He storms into the camp and STABS A GUARD SWIFTLY IN THE THROAT. Blood gushes everywhere and the guard drops dead instantly. Holy shit! God, Rudy is scary—he’s the scariest of the Castors, for sure. Completely unhinged. Rudy lets Miller out of the cell he’s been locked in and gives him a gun. They’re heading for Paul and Sarah next. This isn’t going to end well…

Mark stops Paul and Sarah as they leave Dr Coady’s chambers and warns them that Rudy might be back. Paul gets on the phone with Bench Man, who is jovial and tells him that the extraction team is on the way. Paul realizes that Bench Man had a call placed to Rudy, and that Bench Man isn’t really on their side after all. They aren’t safe! After hanging up, he sends Mark back to his quarters to keep him away from all of this. Mark tells Paul to make things right. Aw, Mark! I really like Mark. He’s grown on me a lot. I hope he stays safe.

Paul and Sarah sneak through the camp and come across Miller, who has his gun drawn and is searching the premises. They sneak up behind him, and Paul attacks him from behind. He disarms him, but not before GETTING STABBED IN THE STOMACH! Oh no!!! And you know what poor, stabbed Paul does? SNAPS MILLER’S NECK. Right then and there! Ah! Miller falls to the ground, dead, and Paul collapses as well. He’s still breathing, though, and Sarah runs to him, trying to put pressure on his wound. He insists that they have to get out. Supporting him, Sarah guides them both down the hallway to a grate in the wall. Paul opens it and ushers Sarah through… and then locks it behind her. She’s panicked, of course, but he tells her to run—he isn’t coming with her. He gives her a long look and tells her it was never Beth that he was in love with… and then he turns and walks away. Sarah stares after him, a little shell-shocked, and I can’t say I blame her. I would be, too! I am!

Credit BBC America

Rudy has freed Dr Coady, and the two of them patrol the camp, guns drawn. They enter the medical lab to find Paul, bloody and only half-conscious, waiting for them. His eyes open and close, and he’s clutching his stomach. Rudy points a gun at Paul’s head at once. Paul asks if Rudy knows what he’s done to all these women, and Rudy snaps back that he knows exactly what he’s done. Paul urges Dr Coady to cure whoever she can, but Dr Coady doesn’t like the sound of that. She says she’ll never turn her back on science. Then she raises her gun and fires several rounds right into Paul’s chest.

!!! PAUL, NO!

Sarah, on her way down the tunnel leading away from Castor, hears the shots. She starts to run.

Paul is bleeding, with holes in his chest, definitely ready to drop dead at any moment. But he doesn’t—not right away.

Not before revealing a grenade he had hidden in his hands and dropping it on the floor, that is.

A GRENADE! PAUL!!!!

The grenade explodes. It’s loud and blasts all the way to Sarah in the tunnel, who’s thrown to the ground. I can’t imagine that Dr Coady and Rudy, standing right there in front of Paul, fared too well. Paul went out with a noble bang, so to speak, and was determined to take as many bad people as he could with him.

In the tunnel, Sarah is coughing and moving slowly, stunned but not seriously harmed by the blast. And then, out of the rubble, comes Orphan Black’s own angel.

Helena!

She kneels down by Sarah and takes her arms, gently pulling her up. She came back for Sarah! Oh man, I’m so happy! It’s a wonderful moment, and now they’ll be able to get themselves home together. Fantastic.

The episode ends on Rachel, still painting symbols in her room at DYAD. She gazes down at a photograph of herself as a young girl with Duncan, and she cries once more.

Wow.

Credit BBC America

Remember how I said that the previous episode of Orphan Black felt a little dull? They absolutely and completely made up for that this week. I’m even glad that Episode 5 felt a little dull, because that made Episode 6 all the more explosive. It was so well done! Fantastic acting all around, and so may great scenes. Felix standing up to Rachel, Rachel’s emotional moments, Sarah’s scene with Beth, Mark discovering the disease he’d passed on to Gracie, Paul’s entire storyline… I’m overwhelmed by how good it all was. I especially love the way they handled Paul’s material in this episode. He’s always been a confusing character for me, but I think… I think this episode is the most I’ve ever liked Paul! I’m sorry you’re dead, Paul! You and your double-agenting self will be missed. I do kind of hope that Rudy survived the blast, though. He’s a fantastic antagonist, and we’ve wiped out all the other Castor clones save for Mark, at this point. Keep Rudy around at least for now, to bring the danger!

Everything in this episode was well done. I have to say, this is the best episode of Season 3 so far, and it’s likely right up there as one of the top episodes of the entire show. I feel like this is the start of Orphan Black kicking things into high gear and shuttling us towards the end of the season. They’re not going to let us rest easy, that’s for sure. At this point, I’m dying for more.

And if said “more” includes scenes of Alison and Donnie getting their freak on with dollar bills everywhere, all the better!

EPISODE RATING: A

BEST LINE: Helena, as she returns to help Sarah escape from the Castor camp: “Home, sestra. People miss us.”

FAVORITE MOMENT: Sarah’s hallucination scene with Beth in Mrs. S’s kitchen. It’s incredibly well acted, with two beautiful performances from Maslany. It’s moving, it’s intense, and it touches on a lot of the emotions that both Sarah and Beth are feeling—two characters whose innermost feelings don’t often come out. It was an absolutely wonderful scene, and may or may not have brought a couple tears to my eyes.

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

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