Friday, May 6, 2016

Orphan Black, Season Four Episode Four: The Instinct to Rational Control

Since her introduction, M.K. has been something of an enigma.  Because she is a clone, it was easy to assume  that she was always working in the best interests of her sisters but it seems that M.K. had an agenda all her own and for a very good reason.  While Sarah is busy searching her home, M.K. runs her own sting on none other than Ferdinand.  Pretending to be Sarah, M.K. sends Ferdinand a text asking him to meet Ferdinand at Beth's old flat.

Wearing a mask, M.K. invites Ferdinand to have a seat and he does so, unaware that the chair is rigged to explode if he stands up.  M.K., whose real name is Vera, wants revenge for Ferdinand trying to kill her and successfully murdering her best friend, (also another clone) that friend's family, as well as 5 other clones ,and 32 of their loved ones.  It seems that Ferdinand unsurprisingly has racked up one hell of a death count.  Fortunately for Ferdinand, a call between Sarah and Siobhan, gives Sarah a heads up about what is going on. Against Dizzy's better instincts, he lends Sarah his car so that she can intervene. Things are going to get a lot worse for Dizzy now that he is officially a member of club clone. I suspect that he's going to learn that the first rule of clone club: don't talk about clone club, may not be enough for him to survive. Also, is anyone else wondering exactly where Dizzy fits in?

Sarah begs M.K. repeatedly not to do this, saying that Ferdinand has vital information and can be useful.  Sarah's pleas fall on deaf ears and M.K. forces Ferdinand to transfer well over three million dollars out of his account, leaving him destitute, before apologising and walking out.  Sarah's not done saving Ferdinand yet and she calls in the big guns in the form of Siobhan, who knows a little something about bombs.  It's Siobhan who disarms the bomb, as Sarah makes it perfectly clear to Ferdinand that this makes them equal because she has now officially saved his life in return.  Clearly, Ferdinand doesn't feel lucky having lost all of his money to M.K. but he should.

It seems that there must be some sort of tragic back story prerequisite to being a clone. I thought Beth's story was heartbreaking but M.K.'s just took things to another level.  The friend that Ferdinand killed was the only friend M.K. had in the world.  Her face is also permanently scared. It's easy to see why M.K. chose revenge over helping Sarah.  It's clear that things aren't even remotely done between M.K and Ferdinand because he is going to want his money back and I highly doubt she will be satisfied as long as he is still alive.

Amidst all of the chaos that comes with life as a clone, Allison is still doing her suburban housewife thing and that includes singing  Superstar, from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, while discussing if they should attempt to perform it at the community theater.  This is a rather interesting choice for various reasons.  At any rate, Allison runs into Trina from club Neolution and Trina is pissed because she believes that Allison is Beth, and that she is being stalked.  An angry Trina says, "I told you I was a carrier in confidence." Huh?

While Allison is being the busy suburban theater geek, Helena is making collages of babies.  I get that Helena is nesting but can we please have her move away from the cut and paste cause that is Allison's territory and Helena is far too interesting of a character for this.  At any rate, in a heart to heart with Donnie, Helena learns that her pregnancy has been difficult on Allison because of Allison's infertility problems.  Donnie suggests that they all tip toe around Allison for awhile. Did he forget who he is talking to? Helena doesn't tip toe around anyone; she's a blunt instrument at best.

Allison's next step is to head to the fertility clinic with Felix and Donnie. Yes, after taking a stand last week, Felix is back in the mix of things having learned about Sarah's mouth maggot and Siobhan's suggestion that he should take things slowly with Adele.  Independent Felix lasted for all of three episodes and you can bet he will be back to taking full on orders shortly.  Since Beth has already been to the fertility clinic that means that Allison is forced to wait outside while Donnie and Felix head inside pretending to be a couple.  Poor, poor Felix, who has to endure Donnie's idea of what a gay man acts like; thankfully however, Felix does take the time to not only call him out but drop some wisdom on Donnie's disgusting homophobia.

It's time for a sperm sample and Donnie is lead to a room with only gay porn which obviously won't work for him as a straight man.  He sticks his head outside and happens to see Allison's pregnant friend Portia.  Donnie gives Allison the news and she then arranges to accidentally run into Portia. Allison explains that she loves her adopted children but her friends are getting pregnant and she isn't getting younger and she wants a baby of her own.  This isn't Allison playing a role to get information because her infertility is something which has bothered her for years.  You can see it in the jealous way that she interacts with Helena (more on her later).  Portia tells Allison to ask about Dr. Bosch and to specifically mention the Brightborn treatments.

With sperm collection complete, Donnie and Felix sit with Dr. Bosch, who assures them that since they are both healthy young men that conception shouldn't be a problem.  Donnie then asks about the Brightborn treatments and explains that he heard about it from a very satisfied customer.  Dr. Bosch gives them some pamphlets about it.

While Felix, Allison and Donnie are at the fertility to clinic, Helena decides that it's time to bury the canister containing her embryos because they are no longer viable.  Helena apologises to the cryo babies, explaining that she didn't know that she needed to refill the liquid nitrogen.  It's actually a sad and touching moment.  Helena even goes as far as to promise the cryo babies that she will tell the twins she is carrying all about them when they are older.  With the impromptu funeral out of the way, Helena grabs her things and leaves, choosing to spare Allison the pain of her pregnancy. It really was sad to watch Helena walk away and I hope that her character returns soon.  She really has been sidelined and forgotten about this season.

Well it's all about the science now and so of course, Cosima now has a role to play.  Let's rewind a bit to Cosima taunting Dr. Leekie's cranium before removing the mouth maggot cause that was all kinds of awesome. After looking mouth maggot under the microscope they don't learn much but when Scott starts flipping the lights off and on, he notices that the tumor which the mouth maggot was encased in glows in the dark.  I could say something really gross here but I'll leave it up to your imagination.  Cosima quickly surmises that the mouth maggot introduces foreign DNA to their host, thereby changing the hosts DNA. Yep, this spells some serious trouble for Sarah or in this case SNAFU.

Cosima then moves on to checking out a DVD all about Brightborn which unsurprisingly is about engineering babies. Speaking on the DVD, is the CEO Evie Cho. Yes, that Evie Cho, the same woman we saw with Leekie in The Collapse of Nature. My how the plot thickens.  A whole new race of super humans. I guess cloning wasn't enough.

Finally, onto Rachel, my least favourite clone.  Charlotte, who was cloned from Rachel, as we learned last week is sick.  Mommy dearest, AKA Susan Duncan, gives Rachel two options: allow Charlotte's condition to take it's natural course without intervention so that she can be studied or, intervene with immunosupressants.  I guess now we know where Rachel's cold as ice demeanor comes from.  Rachel quickly surmises that this is a test and after reviewing Charlotte's medical condition, determines that she should receive no treatment.  This may have been the decision that Susan was looking for but she is far from done with Rachel.  It seems that Susan has discovered a note which Rachel gave to Charlotte to pass onto Ferdinand.  Yes, Rachel's been caught red handed.  Susan informs her that as she wished, Charlotte won't get treatment and that she will be moving on.

This was a very heavy episode but that doesn't mean it didn't come with a little humor though I could have done without hearing about Donnie's spicy meatballs in the phone sex conversation he had with Allison.  Yes, sex between Donnie and Allison is just as awkward as I always believed that it was. And YUCK. I loved Cosima, taunting Leekie's head and asking, "who's the science now bitch." Even Scott complaining about Leekie never giving him a raise as a part of Leekie's sins had me giggling.

All of that humor was necessary to help defray some of the genuine pain we saw from Allison regarding her infertility and desperation to have a biological child.  While I understand where Allison was coming from, I couldn't help but be bothered.  Allison may not have biological children but she does have children.  It makes me wonder how much of a priority those kids really are, especially given how absent they have been? I think it's a sad commentary on adoption and how families love and care for each other. It all makes family's that come together through adoption seems like a choice of desperation and not love.  I cannot say for one moment that I am cool with Orphan Black's treatment of this at all.

I am going to end with Sarah.  Since the beginning of Orphan Black, Sarah's treatment of Felix has bothered me.  They are essentially siblings, having been raised together but Sarah treats Felix like a servant who she can just order around with no concern for his feelings, or ambitions.  This week, we learned that Sarah's fee fees were hurt because Felix didn't just drop everything on her command. Sarah even tries to make him feel guilty for prioritizing himself for a change.  It actually makes me like her character a lot less.  I wanted to scream at the television, who cares about your precious fee fees. It's like Sarah didn't hear a word Felix said about Sarah being connected to everything and everyone while he dangles on the outside.  It's all about Sarah because that's the way that Sarah wants it.  I want Felix to be a central part of the story but that doesn't mean he should immediately fall back into a servant role because Sarah is in peril.  There has to be some kind of balance which can be struck.