Orphan Black S1 Ep4 – Effects of External Conditions

No time to be funny when you’re the middle of a conspiracy. Or maybe that is actually be the best time to be funny. Yeah, I might argue that one, but I am not. I am here on the behalf of the conspiracy. And, my dear readers, it is thick.

Orphan Black S1 Ep 4 Shh

When we last left off, crazy River Song Russian clone was bleeding and being a Marilyn Manson fan in the restroom. Where we pick up is more or less the same, save for now that she’s done sewing herself up and generally making a mess, we find out she’s not alone in the house. We actually find out this isn’t her house, and oh my God, what is she going to do with that little boy?

I’m really going to give it to the show for their closes and opens. I talked about it a bit last time, but seriously, this show is nailing it. Usually shows throw different variations of trope of the week at you, and reset to the status quo by the end. Not here on Orphan Black. Here it’s one long ride that engages you and leaves you wondering what the hell is going on.

Karen Walton brings her A-game with the writing on the fourth episode, because it took the twist of last week and just kept twisting it. The killer clone, we later learn that her name is Helena, starts to play a game of cat and mouse with Sarah/Beth. Now that she knows Sarah is not Beth, she is intrigued with her and has left her a message with the little boy via a paper fortune game. Inside the folds of the game are addresses, and Art and his team are fast to make her location. While everyone scrambles to the scene Helena has snuck into the Police Station posing as Sarah posing as Beth (yeah, it’s a wee bit confusing to who is playing who sometimes). While there Helena makes a mockery of their case room, and leaves a recording of herself posing as Beth confessing to the murder of Maggie Chen. The problem is that Helena looks like Beth and so does Sarah, who is living her life for the time being.

When Sarah gets back, she finds that Helena has messed with her life in more ways than just leaving the message.  She’s drug Beth’s boyfriend, Paul, back into the mess of things. Also, it would seem that Art and Paul have some beef with each other.

To appease Helena, Sarah agrees to meet up and talk. Alone. Problem with that is that Sarah is also supposed to see her daughter that night to start the processes of reestablishing custody. What do you do when you’re needed in two places at once? Either be in two places at once or have a twin. Failing a twin, use a clone. Allison is the perfect candidate, but she needs a lesson on being Sarah, so Felix does his best What Not To Wear and gives Allison a crash course on being Sarah. It works well enough to fool Mrs. S, but not enough on Sarah’s daughter, Kira, who knows Allison is not her mother.

Orphan Black S1 Ep 4 Auntie Daughter

That makes a kind of sense, because as a child you think strange thoughts like that there are doppelgängers out there of your parents who sometimes pretend to be your parents. Perfect kid logic. And this works to a degree in Allison’s favor, as she explains that her real mother is out there making things safe for them, but not to tell anyone. Also, we were right in that Kira is special, because Allison’s kids are adopted.

Sarah, on the other hand, is going further down the rabbit hole. She’s met up with Helena, in Maggie Chen’s apartment, to get more answers. But Helena has lost a lot of blood and she’s already not right in the head, so things aren’t making any sense. What we do learn is that Maggie, the woman Beth shot and killed, was in on the clone thing. Why Beth shot her is anyone’s guess.

Art, sensing that something is wrong with his partner, finds out the location of the meeting and goes after her. Sarah lets Helena escape, not because I think she feels a connection like Helena wants her to, but more because I don’t think Sarah is a killer. Also, she needs answers so she needs Helena alive. Unable to explain what is going on to Art — because impersonating an officer and a dead woman is a crime — she walks away from the police force entirely.

In a dirty alley way Helena collapses and is picked up by a mysterious person in a van. This person has a signet ring of a fish with wings, similar to the one on Helena’s knife, similar to the brand on the back of Maggie’s neck.


This episode was clever in its use of time by splitting answers with more questions. It confirmed some of the theories we had while taking what little we’ve already seen and twisting it to show us something a little different. We all deep down knew that Kira was special because none of the other clones had kids, so that was confirmed for us. But we didn’t understand how or if Maggie fit into this at all. Now we know that she does, and we’ve been told she might have been working with crazy Helena. It is genius how they keep us knowing just enough to still be able to surprise us. I feel like I’m watching the show for the first time each time.Orphan Black S1 Ep 4 Who

If anything about this show is going to get tiring, it will be the which-clone-is-pretending-to-be-the-other-clone shtick that I fear is going to play a bigger role later down the road. Just brace yourself for Sarah to die, only to find out that it wasn’t Sarah but Allison the whole time! Some form of that is going to happen, I can feel it.

The teaser reel for the next episode looks to throw Paul and Allison’s husband into the conspiracy, while Sarah goes to Mrs. S for answers. Answers that I desperately need! Oh, don’t think I didn’t make a chart of my theory of how everybody fit in while trying to explain this show to my wife.

Just remember: If you come across clones of yourself, it’s best to just walk the other way than to get involved. It’s not worth the trouble. But it makes great television.