Orphan Black, S4 Ep 4, From Instinct to Rational Control


For some reason, this season of Orphan Black has felt slower to me than the previous seasons – it feels like the stakes aren’t as high. Sure, Sarah’s got the robot maggot in her face, and Cosima is still sick, and they’re in hiding from the Neos… But the maggot doesn’t seem to be hurting Sarah at the moment (as far as we know, at least), they’ve barely touched on Cosima’s sickness recently, and other than the mentions that Susan is looking for Kendall, the Neolutionists don’t seem to be a direct current threat either. Lots of stuff is happening, and it is interesting, but it doesn’t have me on the edge of my seat yet like previous seasons.

Anyway, to get into the recap… Bad news: Ferdinand doesn’t know how to remove the robot maggot. Good news: Susan Duncan can help, and she’s alive. Bad news: They don’t know where Susan is. Ferdinand and Sarah come to an agreement that Sarah will have her source (MK) try to trace Rachel’s message. Sarah will get Susan, and Ferdinand can rescue Rachel.

M.K. and FerdinandSarah’s able to get in touch with MK through the guy she met at the Neo club, and passes along Rachel’s digital message for MK to trace. While MK does her research on Susan, she ends up finding out that Sarah is working with Ferdinand, and that’s a deal breaker for her. She calls Sarah to tell her she won’t work with Ferdinand, and she doesn’t trust Sarah anymore either. Then MK goes on to trick Ferdinand into meeting her at Beth’s old apartment, and traps him in place with the bomb placed under his chair.

MK – whose real name is actually Veera Suominen – wants revenge on Ferdinand for his role in the clone purge in Helsinki. MK was the only one to escape, and her best friend (and fellow clone) Nikki was among those who died. I haven’t been reading any of the comic books that were recently released focused on whatever went down in Helsinki, but now I really want to so I can understand even more where MK is coming from.

Sarah shows up and tries to get MK to stop – Ferdinand saved Sarah’s life, he’s an asset, he can help with the robot maggots… But MK refuses to be swayed. She has Ferdinand log into his banking account so she can transfer his $3.7 million, then heads for the door. Sarah makes a last, emotional attempt to stop MK – “Your friend Nikki died. Beth died. What about our sisters that are still alive?” – but with one last apology MK is gone.

Thankfully S. apparently knows how to diffuse bombs (was this something we knew about her?), so she comes over to free Ferdinand. And now Sarah and Ferdinand are even, having each saved the other’s life.

Felix and DonnieAlison gets dragged into the drama when she’s confronted at a coffee shop by Trina, who mistakes her for (of course) Beth. Trina’s angry that Beth didn’t drop her investigation when Trina told her to, and adds that she told Beth she was a carrier in confidence. Part of the investigation apparently included a clinic called Lifespring Fertility, so on Sarah’s orders Alison goes to investigate. Felix and Donnie are the ones who actually go inside, posing as a couple exploring their fertility options, and ultimately they’re tipped off by a friend to ask for the Brightborn treatments. When Cosima and Felix pop in the Brightborn DVD later, we once again see Evie Cho, who explains that Brightborn babies are born stronger and healthier.

This week was light on Helena, who decided to leave the Hendrixes after learning from Donnie that it was difficult for Alison to see Helena pregnant, due to her own infertility. But before leaving, she buried the tank of “little science babies” in the backyard. Given everything that Helena went through to protect that tank, I’m a little surprised that it’s just being dropped now – I was expecting it to be of use somehow. And now I’m wondering how Helena knew the eggs were no longer good? How did she find out they needed liquid nitrogen? A conversation with Cosima we didn’t see?

When we did see Cosima this week, she was working with Scott to examine the robot maggot from Leekie’s face. They deduce that it’s introducing new DNA into the host, as some sort of gene therapy. Which yeah, is definitely bad news for Sarah, but maybe it’s because we still don’t know specifically what it’s changing that I’m not feeling the stakes? At least they’re a step closer to figuring things out.

And lastly, Rachel is concerned about Charlotte, and talks to Ira and Susan about a possible course of treatment. But there’s a second option – allow the disease to advance, and use the information they learn to help the rest of them. Susan leaves the choice to Rachel, who goes with the second option: “Untreated her data has value. More value than her life.” Rachel knows that’s what Susan wanted, but at the same time it’s clear that Rachel has come to care for Charlotte, so I was surprised by her decision.

What did you all think of the episode? Agree or disagree that things feel a bit slow? And who else is super excited to see Krystal again in the next episode? Let us know in the comments!