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Orphan Black “The Weight of this Combination” 

Orphan Black “The Weight of this Combination”
Orphan Black_premiere4
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Welcome back, Clone Club! Orphan Black kicked off season three by dropping viewers right into the middle of the deep end. Sink or swim, newcomers, because there’s a lot going on and little time to catch up. For a (brief) review: Sarah Manning and her “sisters” are clones owned by the Dyad Institute. The project was, of course, top secret and labeled Project Leda. While seasons one and two answered some questions on the origins of the clone creation, the end of season two brought on a whole mess of new complications, including the reveal of a crop of (so-far) demented male clones under the title Project Castor and their ties to the military.

That’s the bare bones of the story, and like the premiere, I’m going to dive in where we left off at the end of season two:

  • Sarah learned the Dyad Institute is directed by a group called Topside. Topside has in captivity one of the Project Castor male clones.
  • Sarah put a pencil through sister clone Rachel’s eye and left her for dead. To be fair, Rachel is right cold clone who held Sarah’s family hostage.
  • Cosima, on the brink of death, was miraculously revived by Sarah’s daughter Kira. How? We don’t know yet.
  • Mrs. S bargained away Helena’s life for Sarah’s. Helena is now in the clutches of Hot Paul and the military somewhere…

Helena may be used to cages by now. The episode begins with her trapped in a wooden box in a bunker-type room with a lot of fans going. Her only company appears to be a sarcastic scorpion, who tells Helena she’s being tested. Helena seems to take solace in that. Let’s not forget this one was trained to be a sniper killer and carved her own wings into her back. A wooden box may be child’s play.

Sarah, in the meantime, is approached by slick, makeover Delphine, who has taken over Rachel’s role at the Dyad Institute. Rachel’s a little preoccupied getting a pencil removed from her eye and recovering from brain damage. (We hope it caused damage, at least.) Delphine, full of Dyad power, breaks it down: Several Castor clones have been hunting down Leda clones. They managed to capture a Castor clone but he’d only speak to Sarah. The little conversation with the Castor clone leaves Sarah with a warning: “Count your sisters.” His warning is apt because sure enough, Sarah learns that Helena was taken prisoner.

Sarah makes rescuing Sister Helena priority one, which is an interesting evolution in story. This time last season, Helena was the psychopath who massacred clones and kidnapped Kira briefly. Sarah actually shot Helena and believed her dead. When Helena returned, Sarah was terrified. Just goes to show what a little clone bonding mayhem can do over a few weeks. Helena’s fully in the fold with Alison and Cosima now, although neither are sure how much they can trust her. Sarah, the wild one who never used to trust anyone, has now made it pretty damn clear Helena means more to her than even Mrs. S.

Delphine has got a bigger problem on her hands than a missing Helena. With Rachel out of commission, she needs someone to keep up appearances while Topside sends out a cleaner to access risk from the self-aware Leda clones. Thank goodness Delphine just happens to have a Rachel clone in her pocket. In exchange for Delphine’s help rescuing Helena, Sarah agrees to pose as Rachel in front of the cleaner, Ferdinand (guest star James Frain of Intruders, Grimm.) We may have to call him the new HRG considering the yummy glasses and complete disregard for morality.

Here’s where we start to play guess-the-clone. Sarah poses as Rachel, Alison poses as a “captured” Sarah. Once again we are reminded why Tatiana Maslany is a badass as she masterfully pulls off playing a clone within a clone. While Sarah/Alison is being groped by Ferdinand, Maslany manages to make her indignant as Sarah but have Alison’s nervous energy. Ferdinand buys that things are under control but Delphine picks up on his sly mutterings to Rachel/Sarah. As he shows up for a little foreplay and asphyxiation over at Rachel’s apartment later, we get the real conspiracy. Rachel had been playing with Topside behind Dyad’s back and was making a move to wipe out all of the clones except herself. Sarah and Delphine manage to abort a kill command called “Helsinki” before Alison is taken out. And yet, that won’t be the end of it. What exactly is “Helsinki” and what happened previously when Topside sent over a cleaner to Dyad? Ferdinand mentioned six clones wiped out over 24 hours. Are those Leda clones or are we pulling on threads here that will lead to more clone lines?

Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

We can’t forget our Castor clones who have been running around kidnapping new Leda clones. (Who is Crystal??) One clone, who I will nickname Moustache Clone, attacks Mrs. S in an attempt to track down the now-deceased Professor Duncan’s clone research.  Naked Buddha Clone sits in a cell in Dyad, doing chin-ups and meditating in between maniacal stares into the surveillance cameras. Military Clone plays watchdog over Helena. Let’s not forget Prolethean Clone we met last season, who married teenage Grace. All of the Castor clones have a mission but we don’t know yet if they’re all on the same one. The fact that Moustache Clone is hunting up Professor Duncan’s lost research is telling….could the Castor clones be suffering from the same illness as Cosima? What are they trying to gain?

Orphan Black_premiere5
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Speaking of which, Cosima’s health is on the rise after a brush with Kira’s white light. Her heart, however, is a little worse for the wear. Delphine takes two minutes from her trumped up new job to shatter Cosima’s heart. Swearing she has to protect all of the clones and not be caught up with just Cosima, Delphine tearfully breaks up with Cosima in Felix’s hallway. Good thing Cosima hadn’t confided in her about Kira’s gift from Professor Duncan. Before arranging his own death at Dyad, Duncan had passed his hidden research to Kira in a tattered copy of “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Cosima shares it with fellow researcher Scott before hiding it on one of Felix’s bookshelves. But why share it with Scott and not your sisters, Cosima?

I just want to know one thing. Where is Hot Paul? Ok, I know he was a mole for the military and basically a double agent. But really, where is Hot Paul?

Some Moments of Goodness

Alison’s line to Donny about helping Sarah and Delphine out: “Sarah is up to her eyeballs!” *Snicker,snicker at the Rachel stab.*

Have to admit I enjoyed Ferdinand and all his leering. Looking forward to more shenanigans from Ferdinand if he pops by again.

Alison and Donny will be a formidable political power couple. The school campaign will be stupendous. An interesting tidbit about Alison’s adoptive mother was dropped this episode. How interesting will it be to meet the woman who raised Alison?

This last “goodness” could be a negative. Delphine wins the award for most changed character with this new role at Dyad. She’s sleek, calculating and seemingly concerned with the well-being of the Leda clones. So much to the point that she doesn’t even blink at torturing a sedated and scared Rachel to get some answers about Rachel’s master plan against them. What happened to the science-first researcher Delphine enamored with Cosima? Is her care for Cosima driving this new ambition to protect Dyad and all the clones? Delphine has always been one to use secrets when they suited her best. Will those secrets end up turning her against what the clones want vs what Dyad wants?

Orphan Black airs Saturday nights at 9/8 pm on BBC America.

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