Orphan Black has been a fast-paced, sometimes nerve-wracking journey, right to the end of its exciting first season finale, which I’m pretty sure will keep the audience’s adrenaline pumping until the show’s return next spring.
Amelia, revealed to have given birth to twins Sarah and Helena, meets a restrained Helena in Sarah’s basement. It’s meant to be a delicate reveal for Helena’s sake, but that all goes to hell when the police storm the house, arresting Sarah. Felix and Mrs. S. are brought in as well, for aiding and abetting in Sarah’s crimes.
Art goes at Sarah aggressively when she won’t talk, until he hears the message she had recorded for him the first time she was going to face Helena, in case she didn’t make it out (saying who she was and that Art was the only person she trusted to figure things out). Though she’s sure Art won’t believe her, Sarah is about to tell him everything in exchange for hers and Kira’s safety when a lawyer shows up and gets all of them released.
The lawyer is a cohort of Leekie’s, and brings Sarah to meet Rachel Duncan, the mysterious woman seen at the end of the previous episode. Did you guess she was a clone? Because you’d be right. She’s the “proclone,” raised under Neolution, and she has a contract drawn up for Sarah, ensuring hers and Kira’s safety, and guaranteeing them a normal life. In return, she must be available for non-invasive, routine medical tests. Good ol’ rebellious Sarah tells her to shove it, and Rachel gives her 24 hours to think it over.
Leekie has been approaching the other clones with tickets out tailored to their needs as well. Alison is offered a contract similar to Sarah’s, essentially giving her her privacy back in exchange for routine medical check-ins. Cosima is offered a position at the Dyad Institute studying hers and her clones’ biology, which we already know she’s really good at. As an extra incentive, Leekie gives Cosima her own genetic code to examine.
Alison is the only one leaning towards taking the deal, as she desperately wants a normal life with her family. That need becomes greater when she confronts her supposed monitor Aynesley, who is moving out. This fits with Leekie’s promise that Alison’s monitor has been removed, but Aynesley still won’t own up to it and just blames Alison for ruining her marriage. In a fit of rage, Aynesley stuff the Christmas angel Alison made for her in the garbage disposal and her scarf gets caught. And in one of the scariest moments of the episode, Alison doesn’t help her. She watches her choke then leaves. Granted, she looks scared the whole time, but now I’m not so sure how comfortable I am with Alison.
It’s interesting, because when Leekie had come to Alison, he mentioned how they were wary of Katja’s respiratory condition and Helena’s mental illness, which pissed me off, because Helena is the way she is because of her mind-warping upbringing. But what if there is a nature part in the clones that if nurtured by extreme circumstances manifests in a mental health issue that might lead to killing? Alison’s been pushed to the brink, and we know she’s capable of snapping, since she held Donnie captive. This is the loose end that leaves me the most uneasy. Especially because it’s revealed at the end, after Alison’s signed her contract, that Donnie is in fact her monitor. Not Aynesley.
So meanwhile, Sarah has a bag packed for Kira in case they need to run, and she heads off to meet back up with Amelia. Amelia arrives at Paul and Beth’s home to meet Sarah, and this is where Tatiana Maslany brings something beyond her A game. For some viewers, myself included, when Sarah greets Amelia, something was immediately wrong. The red around her eyes gave her away as Helena in a wig, but Maslany played Helena-playing-Sarah with such finesse, it really didn’t matter at what point you figured it out, it was a heart-stopping scene from beginning to end – the end being Helena stabbing Amelia in the gut.
Sarah finds the wig and blood at Paul and Beth’s place, and Helena calls her to meet somewhere else. Sarah finds Amelia bleeding out, and with her last breath, she tries to warn her not to trust Mrs. S. (which she managed to reveal to Helena before being stabbed). Helena arrives and gives Sarah a good beating, but this time, Sarah’s not letting Helena go, twin sister or not. With Helena (presumably) dead, Sarah calls Rachel and says she’ll take the deal. She can’t have Kira living this dangerous life on the run.
But Cosima, with the help of Delphine (who followed her to meet with Sarah and Alison and insists she is on her side now) has been working on breaking their genetic code. Delphine knows Cosima’s sequence – 324B21 – and with that, Cosima cracks the rest and discovers that their very genetic material has been patented, so contract or not, they’ll never be free. She calls Sarah just as she’s taking the elevator up to meet Rachel with Paul. Paul’s just disclosed that the Afghanistan incident that they have over him was friendly fire in which he’d killed six Marines. They’d covered it up in exchange for his service. With Cosima’s discovery, they leave, and Sarah emails an up-yours message to proclone Rachel.
But when Sarah goes back to get Kira, she finds the house trashed and no sign of Kira or Mrs. S. Did Mrs. S. take her and stage a struggle? Did Mrs. S. try to fight Rachel’s people off when they intervened? It’s going to be a long wait to find out where Mrs. S.’s loyalties lie, and whether Kira’s okay. Maybe Sarah will turn to Art, who has the potential to be an ally. And is Cosima okay? She began to cough up blood like Katja, and only revealed that she was sick to Delphine after they’d cracked the genetic code. Maybe knowing the code will help save Cosima?
It’s been a wild ride folks. Let’s do it all again next spring, and until then, keep your fingers crossed that Tatiana Maslany and the rest of this stellar cast get all the awards and recognition for this show that they deserve!