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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 9 ‘Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow’

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 week on Orphan Black, we were introduced to a new Leda clone, Helena moved in with Donnie and Alison to help with their business, and Rachel decoded some of Professor Duncan’s notes about the original genome. This week, more drama and chaos. We’re racing towards the season’s ending now, folks, so hold on tight!

Just as last episode promised, Season 3 Episode 9 of Orphan Black opens in London! Mrs S, Sarah, and Felix are visiting, trying to track down the Castor original. They enter a pub in Mrs S’s old neighborhood and meet Terry, one of her old contacts. She’s planning to use his help to track down the Castor original—and, once she finds him, to kill him. They also show Terry the bit of code that Rachel deciphered, and he tells them that the Castor original’s number referenced in the notes references a prison number system. Uh oh—prison sounds pretty dangerous to me. God, this show is good at keeping things complicated.

There’s also a brief scene with Dr Coady, burned and bruised, using the Castor logic test on Rudy. He’s having trouble answering the questions and gets frustrated. He wants to know how long he has. Dr Coady ignores his question, instead mentioning that they’re after the original, too. Plus they have the Doctor Moreau book now. None of that is promising for our Leda clones.

We get a little scene with Helena watching Alison’s daughter practice her karate. It’s cute until Helena tries to teach her to use her small size to her advantage against an opponent! Alison sees them and stops them, telling Helena that she doesn’t do things like that anymore. I have a funny feeling that’ll come back to bite Alison, given how this show works. Alison also has a chat with Gracie, where Gracie tells her she has a doctor’s appointment that day. Alison gives her the day off, then starts wondering where Donnie is. He is, of course, all roughed up from his fight with Jason Kellerman, hiding elsewhere. He and Alison speak on the phone and he fibs, giving her excuses about where he’s been and why he didn’t come to bed the night before. He really does look rough—Jason did a number on him, that’s for sure.

While Shay is in the shower, Cosima decides to look through the file that Delphine gave her. It’s a lot of info on Shay, and also includes a military photo of her. Cosima decides this means she’s the Castor spy, and when she gets out of the shower, Cosima makes a weak excuse and bails. She’s seriously a terrible liar. She goes to Scott’s and runs all her suspicions by him—he’s skeptical, at first, but comes around when all the evidence is presented to him. Shay has to be the spy, right?

Donnie, meanwhile, has headed to Bubbles to check on things there. There’s a knock on the door, and in comes one of Pouchy’s heavies. Turns out that Jason isn’t willing to vouch for the Hendrixes anymore, so Pouchy wants the pills he sold them back. Donnie says they aren’t at Bubbles. The thug finds Helena’s canister of embryos and, not knowing what it is, decides to keep it as collateral until Donnie can give them back their supply.

Credit BBC America

Back in London, Mrs S sits around the pub with Felix and Sarah, telling them a bit about her life. Some friends of Mrs S show up, and it turns out they’re her old band—they ask her to sing with them again. Honestly, I really hate when shows have actors who are also musicians and try and shoehorn in a performance out of nowhere. It pulls me right out of the story, no matter how talented the musicians are—and Maria Doyle Kennedy certainly is talented. But this is one of the more annoying things Orphan Black has ever done, in my opinion. Anyway, she performs and we’re treated to a montage of our new friend Terry—he’s in an apartment, being beat up for what he knows by Ferdinand! You remember Ferdinand—he was the sketchy guy from Topside in the season premiere. He certainly doesn’t seem to have gotten any better. After Mrs S finishes her song (ugh), she sees that they’ve missed a call from Terry. She suggests they go see him.

We are treated to an absolutely adorable moment of Helena dancing and singing as she makes soap for the Hendrixes. I just love seeing her enjoy herself! She’s had it so rough. Gracie comes in and tells Helena that she’s off to a doctor’s appointment, and hugs her to say goodbye. Yeah… this no longer feels like a real doctor’s appointment. This is Gracie saying her goodbyes. Where is she going? What has she decided to do?!

After Gracie leaves, Helena spots Donnie sneaking into his own house. She follows him and asks about the injuries on his face. He lies, but Helena isn’t stupid. She knows what fight injuries look like. She promises to treat his injuries if he’s honest with her. She puts some sort of medical paste on his wounds as he fills her in on his fight with Jason and the threats from Pouchy. He mentions that Pouchy’s heavy took the embryo tank, and that does not sit well with Helena! She tells him what was in that tank and decides she’s going to go after Pouchy. Donnie, however, steps up and says that he’ll do it because he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her. Aw. Donnie likes Helena now, too!

Mrs S, Sarah, and Felix go to see Terry. They find him tied to a chair, beaten and barely conscious. Man, a lot of people are getting beaten up this season! He promises them he didn’t reveal anything. Mrs S goes in close to him, and he tells her that he found something. Of course, then he whispers something inaudible to the audience and dies. Aw, man. Bye, Terry! We hardly knew thee, but you seemed like a good egg. Whatever information Terry gave her makes Mrs S decide that they are going home right now. Sarah isn’t having it, so Mrs S asks Felix to take her outside. He does so, though she manages to swipe Terry’s phone in the process.

Outside, Sarah tells Felix they aren’t going home yet. Poor Felix, always patient as ever, isn’t happy about that. Sarah decides to call Terry’s people—one of them gave him the information he discovered about the Castor original, so hopefully they’ll give it to her, too. A man picks up the phone and is gruff with her, but when she lies and says she’s Mrs S, he agrees to meet her after dark. Yeah, that isn’t sketchy at all.

Credit BBC America

Donnie and Helena arrive at Pouchy’s garage with the tubs of pills that he sold them. Donnie insists that Helena stays in the car and then heads inside. He tries to be real cheery, speaking his best Portuguese just like last time. Man, I love Donnie in the drug world. He’s hilarious. He asks to trade the bins for the embryo tank, explaining that it’s his wife’s embryos in there. He also asks them to reimburse him for the pills, which Pouchy and his crew find to be a hilarious request. Just then, the door buzzer goes off. It’s—oh man, this is awesome—Helena with a fur hat on her head, pretending to be Alison! She comes inside and says she was worried. It’s so fascinating to watch Helena try and impersonate Alison. There are little hints of Alison’s mannerisms in there, in both her physicality and her speech, but she also still has her accent and her own way of moving, too. God, Tatiana Maslany really is incredible. Of course Helena wouldn’t be as good at impersonating her sisters as the others are! They give Helena the embryo tank, and then Donnie asks again about reimbursement. They aren’t having it, and they start to threaten him. But it’s when they touch upon Oscar and Gemma that Helena stiffens. She’s so protective! God, I love it. She basically pushes Donnie out the door, locks it, and turns to Pouchy and says, “You should not threaten babies.” Oh, yeah. Here we go, Helena!

It’s nighttime in London, and Felix and Sarah are waiting for their mystery rendez-vous. A taxi pulls up, and the man inside urges them to get in. He drives them to another location and then pulls Felix out of the car, threatening him and demanding to know who they are and why Sarah is impersonating Mrs S. Sarah tells him that she’s Sarah Manning, and she and Felix belong to Mrs S. (Aw!) The man stops—he knows them! He helped move Sarah around the black market as a baby. He’s now willing to help them. Sarah asks about the prisoner whose number appeared in the Doctor Moreau book. He shows them paperwork—the prisoner, Kendall Malone, was incarcerated in the 1980s. Cool, an older Castor clone! The man agrees to take Sarah to Kendall’s place.

Delphine arrives at Shay’s with several DYAD bodyguards. Shay is, understandably, not happy to see her. Delphine accuses her of being the Castor spy, but Shay insists that she doesn’t even know what “Castor” means. Delphine absolutely doesn’t believe her, and tries another tactic—running bathwater, pulling out a razor blade, and talking about a girl at her boarding school that tried to commit suicide. Damn, Delphine! You’ve gone incredibly hardcore this season!

Outside Pouchy’s garage, Donnie is on the phone with Alison, trying to hide the concern in his voice and keep up his ruse that everything is fine. After they hang up, the door to the garage opens and Helena emerges. (Complete with the Helena theme music, which I love. We haven’t heard that in awhile!) She’s carrying a knife (or an axe?) and is bloody from head to toe. Oh, man! She tells Donnie that she got their refund. Wow—Helena just straight up murdered everyone inside. Damn. She really is someone you want as your friend instead of your enemy, isn’t she?

Credit BBC America

Cosima gets a phone call from Gracie, who is apparently doing a round of goodbyes. Honestly, what’s going on here? Is she planning to kill herself, or something? But then she asks Cosima to tell everyone that she’s really sorry. She says, “They told me I could help save Mark.” Oh, man. Oh, man! Gracie was the one who gave up the information and the Doctor Moreau book to Castor! Wow—Orphan Black completely fooled me. I was so focused on it being Shay that I didn’t even think of Gracie! But it makes complete sense—of course she’d follow her heart and try to save him. Of course she would! A car pulls up, and Mark steps out. He runs to her and the two of them embrace. Agh, I feel so conflicted! On the one hand, she betrayed our girls—how could she, after how good they’ve been to her?! But on the other hand… man, she and Mark are so sweet. I really want those two crazy kids to make it. Thanks, Orphan Black, for the conflicting moral dilemma!

Cosima, being an intelligent person, realizes exactly what’s happened. She knows she made a mistake. She calls Delphine, who’s still threatening Shay with bathwater, and tells her that the spy isn’t Shay. Well, damn, Delphine. Look at the gun you jumped. Now how are you going to explain this one away?

Back at the Hendrixes, Helena is washing off the blood from her little massacre. Donnie realizes that the money Helena got for him was far more than they were actually owed. Also, as I watch him stack the money in the freezer atop the food, I remember there used to be a dead body in there. Man, the Hendrixes’ lives are amazing. Anyway, Helena thanks Donnie for saving her babies and goes to have a proper shower. Alison arrives only a minute later, finally seeing Donnie and seeing his bruised face for the first time. She’s worried about him, but Donnie tries to calm her down. He tells her they’ve come into a lot of money, and her face as she sees it all in the freezer is priceless. I love the two of them so much.

The man lets Felix and Sarah off outside Kendall Malone’s apartment. After he drives off, Sarah tells Felix to stay outside and keep watch while she goes in and kills the Castor original. Felix is pretty worried that someone followed them there—and if Felix is worried about something like that, you can pretty much guarantee that he’s right. But Sarah heads inside, and Felix waits.

Meanwhile, the man driving the taxi has pulled up to a light. The back door of the cab opens and a man gets in—it’s Ferdinand! Oh no! We cut to Delphine at DYAD, where she receives a phone call from Ferdinand himself. He wants to talk to her about Rachel, who he has by now figured out is not actually well and good. He wants information. Delphine convinces him to come speak with her at DYAD, and he agrees. He hangs up and steps out of the cab. Then, of course, the camera pans forward and reveals the man, his throat slit. Damn. Ferdinand dos not play around.

Credit BBC America

Inside Kendall Malone’s place, Sarah sneaks around. She looks at some mail, checks the bedroom—nothing seems awry. Then someone appears behind her with a knife, and she pulls her gun. It’s an old woman who accuses her of being a drug addict and yells at her to get out. Well, an old woman is certainly not what we expected to find in the house! Was Terry’s information bad? Sarah and the old woman are having a stand-off in the kitchen when a figure appears on the other side of the door. It’s Mrs S! She tells Sarah to put down the gun—this woman, Kendall Malone herself, is Mrs S’s mother. Woah! It turns out Kendall was in prison for murdering Mrs S’s ex-husband, John Sadler. Crazy! Sarah and Mrs S want to know why Kendall’s prisoner number was in the Doctor Moreau book.

Also, it should be noted that Felix is still outside, waiting. He’s nervous that someone is out there with him, and texts Sarah as such. He’s not wrong—we see a POV shot of someone watching him. No! Leave Felix alone!

Inside, Kendall tells Sarah and Mrs S that back in prison, Duncan worked with them. He ran tests on all the inmates, but she had a feeling that his tests weren’t what he claimed. He said he was looking for “a viable donor”. And then Kendall drops a real bomb: he used her DNA to create the Castor original. She had absorbed a male twin in the womb, and still had both male and female DNA inside her. This means that not only is she the Castor original, but the Leda original too—the Castor and Leda DNA profiles state that they’re siblings.

This is it! At long last, after three seasons, we finally got an answer to one of the series’ big questions: “Who is the original?” It’s Kendall Malone—Mrs S’s mother. Damn, Orphan Black!

This episode gave us a couple smaller story arc answers—namely, who was spying for Castor—but also laid that big answer right in our laps. I really love the way Orphan Black handles its storylines. Another show doing the big reveal of “the original clone genome came from the main character’s foster mother’s mother” would likely be completely ridiculous and the point where the show goes from crazy to completely implausible. And honestly, the convenience of the reveal—the original for both Castor and Leda being Mrs S’s mother—is a little hard to get past. But Orphan Black is good. The show always manages to pull unbelievable twists off, so I feel like this twist is going to wind up working. I have faith in you, Orphan Black—I’m sure you can pull this one off, too! If only you didn’t annoy me by having Maria Doyle Kennedy perform. (This is nothing at all against Maria Doyle Kennedy, of course, who is a massive talent. I just hate it when shows break the fourth wall like this!)

Credit BBC America

Also, please let Gracie and Mark live happily ever after, even though she betrayed them. I think I’m coming down on the “Gracie was wrong, but I understand why she did it and can’t blame her for it” side of that moral argument. I just want good things for her and for Mark so badly! I can’t help it.

And this episode also gave us the return of murderous Helena, as well as Helena-as-Alison. At this point, I kind of love both of those things.

Next week is the season finale, folks. It feels like they have so much to pack into it, and I can’t even fathom what cliffhangers, new hooks, and storylines they’re going to tease for us for next season. It’s going to be a wild one, and I can’t wait!

EPISODE RATING: B-

BEST LINE: Donnie, deciding to keep Helena safe and go get her embryo tank back himself: “It’s a Dad decision, for the family. And you’re a part of it now.” Aw! Donnie!

FAVORITE MOMENT: Helena impersonating Alison. It was quite amusing, and felt completely different from the other clones impersonating one another. Helena is so unique, so distinct, that it completely makes sense for her to not be very good at impersonating her sisters. And Tatiana Maslany handled the scene flawlessly. I am, as always, in awe of her talent!

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

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