Orphan Black, S3, Ep6, Certain Agony of the Battlefield

This episode of Orphan Black was promoted heavily as one you didn’t want to end up spoiled for – and it delivered, keeping the surprises coming throughout the hour.

On one hand, it’s good to know that Sarah will remember via dream when she’s been experimented on in her sleep. On the other hand, it sucks for Sarah that we only know this because it’s happened to her multiple times. Sarah has a dream that involves Rudy’s blood being pumped into her, only to wake up and find a bandage on her neck. Not a good sign.

Orphan Black S3 Ep 6, Paul woundedThen we move on to Paul in Arlington, where he is passing on the Castor log books he found to his contact, which he says document unsanctioned research on civilians. The man he’s meeting says he will pass them on to the Director – whoever that is – but they still can’t act until they get more evidence. Paul finds that evidence much sooner than he probably expected, as he returns to the base to find Sarah burning up and shivering, handcuffed to a cot. Sarah asks him to help her escape, but when all he can do is assure her that he’s trying, she doesn’t have much faith: “You’re the worst of them, you know that? Because I don’t even know where you stand!”

Paul continues digging around, and finds out the Castor clones started keeping their logs once Rudy brought a sick girl back to the base with him. With help from Mark, he looks through Dr. Coady’s files, finding documents on abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and atrophied ovaries; turns out the Castor defect is contagious, and sexually transmitted. With this knowledge, Paul confronts and arrests Dr. Coady, and informs his Arlington contact of the latest updates; he’s told an extraction team will be there in six hours.

Sarah, still suffering from the Castor pathogen she received from Rudy’s blood, slips into a dream/hallucination, where Charlotte leads her down a tunnel towards a bright light. After meeting Charlotte at the end of last season, I’ve been disappointed that we hadn’t seen her yet this year, so I appreciated her appearance here, brief as it was. But then we saw someone we haven’t seen in much, much longer: Beth!

Leaning more about Beth has never been one of my top needs when it comes to Orphan Black, like I know it is for some fans, but at the same time – as soon as I saw her, my thought process was something like oh wow this is big this is happening. I like how by doing it this way, we get to see Beth react to what’s current – rather than just seeing her in a flashback. And the whole setup – bright light at the end of a tunnel – leaves it up in the air whether this is really Beth that Sarah’s meeting in some strange afterlife dimension, or if it’s all just in Sarah’s head. The big takeaways from this conversation seem to both be lines from Beth: “We do terrible things for the people we love,” and “Stop asking why. Start asking who.”

Sarah wakes up and pulls through the fever, ultimately not showing any of the same signs as the other women who were infected. Through her conversation with Dr. Coady, we learn that the two Castor and Leda design flaws are actually one and the same, they just affect the two sexes differently. And Coady has moved beyond looking for a cure – she’s trying to isolate it, so it can be used as weapon.

Orphan Black S3 Ep 6, Sarah and PaulAnd then, once he’s realized that his contact in Arlington has turned against him and no help is on the way, the ever-enigmatic Paul shows his true colors. His parting words to Sarah are, “It was never Beth I loved,” before killing himself in a grenade explosion that also destroys much of Castor’s scientific research. Unlike Art’s confession earlier this season, this is one that makes sense, and I’m actually looking forward to rewatching the first two seasons and reanalyzing Paul’s actions with everything we now know.

Although Paul prevented Sarah from following him, she is still knocked down by the explosion from the grenade as she follows his instructions to escape. She’s not alone for long, though, as Helena suddenly drops into the tunnel. “Come sestra,” she tells Sarah, “People miss us.” Oh, and we can’t go without mentioning how earlier in the episode, Helena ate Pupok when she was out in the desert. As glad as I am that Helena stood up to Pupok, I’m gonna miss that little scorpion.

Cosima got a surprise this week when her fluffy morning with Shay was followed up by a surprise visit from Delphine at work. Delphine’s discovery that both the Castor brain and Gracie have the same misfolded protein lead to further tests on Gracie, and they reach the same conclusion as Paul about it being contagious. Delphine also tries to reach out to Cosima (the moment following Delphine’s “I miss you,” where Cosima’s expression says more in two seconds than words ever could broke my heart a little), but Cosima resists and goes back to Shay. Which might actually be the smart choice, seeing as Delphine was the one behind the creepy pictures on their first date. But at the same time, I’m not sure how much I buy Shay’s story that Cosima was saying Sarah’s name in her sleep. Something just feels off with her.

Orphan Black S3 Ep6, Felix interrogates RachelWhile Cosima was running the tests on Gracie, Felix paid Rachel a visit, believing she’s his best chance at learning more about Castor and where Sarah is. What followed was a difficult scene to watch, where Felix becomes more and more aggressive, breaking down in his grief and anger over his sister’s abduction. It’s still unclear how much Rachel actually knows about Castor, but Felix’s interrogation leaves her in tears, as she begs him “get me out of this place.” At least the visit’s not in vain, as Scott recognizes symbols in some of Rachel’s paintings as matching the symbols in Duncan’s book.

To end things on a lighter note: Alison and Donnie. I don’t know what to say, other than them twerking with the money is one of my new favorite things. (The gifs have been glorious!) Later Alison meets with Jason and pays him back all that they owed – in a gift bag with a card, of course. With the debt paid, Jason is ready to dissolve the partnership, but Alison wants to take things to the next level. When Jason tells her that her little soap business she’s running from her garage isn’t going to cut it as a front anymore, she assures him she has a bigger business plan in mind: Taking over Bubbles, her mother’s soap store, to use as a new front. As much as I’m enjoying these Hendrix hijinks, I still want to see Alison more involved with the rest of her sisters and what they’re up to.

Quotes of the week:

  • “Gracie, be strong my little urchin.”
  • “Now nut up, and lead me to the Cyclops.”
  • “Cars aren’t conspicuous, Alison, they’re like everywhere.”

What were you most surprised by this week? Seeing Beth? Paul’s death? Helena eating Pupok? (Seriously, that grossed me out.) Have other thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comments!