REVIEW: Orphan Black S5 Ep7 – Gag or Throttle

Rachel

RachelRachel has always been my least favorite of the clones. Although she’s had her better moments, she’s always remained untrustworthy, and she’s so closed off it’s always hard to try to empathize with her. A Rachel-centric episode, complete with flashbacks, would never have made the list of things I wanted to see in this final season. But after watching the episode, I’m actually glad we got it, as it’s definitely given me a new understanding of her character.

Through the flashbacks, we see that Rachel has been self-aware of her status as a clone since she was six, and had access to the files of all the other clones. Yet despite her knowledge and position within Neolution, she was still treated as part of the experiment, and at times not given access to her own file. Her sense of entitlement led to her killing a sick Leda clone (seriously, Rachel?) in an effort to learn more about the disease and hopefully find a cure. It was interesting to see this younger Rachel – she felt softer, especially without her harsh bob, yet it was still easy to see how she became the Rachel we know today.

In present time, with Susan (and Ira) dead, PT has promised Rachel legal emancipation, in exchange for her help in leading Neolution forward. Basically, complete freedom, what Rachel’s always wanted. Despite his promises, it quickly becomes clear that PT still holds all the power. The final blow comes when Rachel sneaks into his office to look at his tablet, and discovers it’s a live video feed, connected to her prosthetic eye. Whatever she sees, PT sees. Creeeepy.

Rachel and KiraBack on the mainland, Cosima works with Scott and Hell Wizard to crack PT’s true identity, while Sarah and S sort through the financial information Felix and Adele sent over (I really miss Felix). Rachel returns to Dyad to harvest Kira’s eggs, but instead releases her back into Sarah’s custody, not wanting Kira to lead the same life of a lab rat that Rachel herself lived. The moments between Rachel and Kira really stood out to me – Kira asking if Rachel ever got used to being studied broke my heart a little bit – but really Rachel’s whole spiral down to the decision to let Kira go was emotional and well done. And then Rachel gouged out her own (prosthetic) eye, which really wasn’t surprising considering how highly she values her autonomy, but was still crazy intense to watch.

On a lighter note, Alison was back this week! I suspected something was up when we didn’t actually see her in the trailer last week, and turns out that was to keep the surprise of her new haircut, complete with purple streaks (“It’s artsy! And purple!”). She’s uncovering her shadow-self, whatever that means, and got a tattoo, and seems to have adopted a much more relaxed view of life. We’ll see if that lasts, but right now it’s just feeling random and out of place. If Alison’s really so concerned about Sarah and Kira, as she says she is, why is her focus instead on her new keyboard?

And we got a glimpse of Helena, when Gracie showed up to visit. On the island, Mark has agreed to help Coady – in exchange, Coady says she’ll cure him – and bringing in Helena somehow fits into their deal. I really hadn’t been expecting to see Gracie or Mark again, so that sure was a surprise.

Other than my continued complaints of not enough Alison/Helena/Felix, I was also slightly disappointed that we didn’t see Mud at all this week. Obviously the focus of the episode was where it needed to be, and the season should continue to focus on the characters that we’ve been following for five years now, but I became attached to Mud fast, and I’d like to see some sort of resolution for her.

What were your thoughts on this week’s episode? Have your opinions on Rachel changed at all, now that we’ve seen more of where she’s coming from? With only three episodes left, what do you want to see most? Let us know in the comments!