Monday, July 24, 2017

Orphan Black. Season Five, Episode Seven: Gag or Throttle

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Orphan Black is winding down as a series which means that secrets are coming out, history is being reflected upon and sides are being chosen.  Will the sestras triumph after everything they've been through? To some degree the sestras are all having an episode which heavily focuses on them and this week, it seems that it's Rachel's turn, though I really don't see her as part of clone club. 


With the help of Ira, Cosima managed to get off the island with Charlotte. Cosima and Charlotte navigated with a map and compass and made it safely to shore before set the boat adrift, to be found by Neolution. Cosima makes her first appearance at the hideout and is reunited with Scott. It's been a minute since these two have seen each other and the reunion is short but touching.  Cosima's first task is to have a video chat with Sarah and Allison about Dyad's plans to harvest Kira's eggs. Because Kira has just had the hormone injections that means that they have a little bit of time before the procedure is performed.  What clone club needs is something they can leverage to assure Kira's safety.  This is when Cosima reveals that truth about Westmoreland and promises to work with Scott to find out who he really is. After doing some research, Scott and Cosima discover that Westmoreland's real name is John Patrick Mathieson and that he was presumed dead in 1967.  Scott and Cosima quickly send this information to Sarah, although it isn't immediately clear to me how knowing Westmoreland's real identity is a huge bargaining chip, given all of the resources available to him.


We really haven't seen nearly enough of Helena this season. Yes, Helena who "kills Gods creatures" is easily one of my favourite clones. At any rate, Helena has been hiding out in a convent waiting to give birth to her twins.  Helena gets a visit from Gracie.  Yeah, Gracie, Mark's wife.  Grace of course is there at Mark's request. 

Mark is brought to the island wearing a cloth bag over his head and handcuffed. He's described as Virginia's guest. With Ira now dead, Mark is the last Castor clone left. It's not really a friendly reunion because Virginia wants a semen sample from Mark and is quick to remind him that he is a traitor and only alive because he's useful. The semen sample freaks me out because it makes me wonder if they are planning on using Mark's semen to fertilize Kira's eggs. Mark tries to forestall Virginia's demands by saying he has information to trade: Helena's location.  Perhaps Mark hasn't heard what happens to snitches. 


Sarah has learned that she's got to do things differently and this becomes evident when Sarah stops S from a full on frontal assault on Dyad to free Kira. At this point, Sarah is convinced that they need to be smart and come up with a plan. When Sarah is finally able to talk to Rachel, she reveals that she knows exactly who Westmoreland is but it doesn't seem to have a big impact on Rachel who nonchalantly comments that it's nice to know P.T.'s real name. 

When Sarah talks to Kira, Kira shows her the book she has been working on. All that time Sarah spent inducting Kira into clone club pays off because with coded messages, Kira is able to tell Sarah exactly what is going on at Dyad and about Westmoreland's plans to have her moved to the island. 


Of all of the clones, Rachel is my least favourite. She's cold and will step over anyone to get and maintain power.  Rachel actually killed another clone who was homeless in order to get more information on the disease that attacks project Leda.  It's a measure of just how soulless Rachel is that even Leekie, yes Leekie, thought that she had gone too far. 

Rachel is the only clone to be raised self aware and so much of her life has been dedicated to separating herself from the other Leda clones and assuring some kind of autonomy. Rachel wants to be thought of as super special and valuable, so valuable that she should be spared the experimentation that the other Leda clones are subject to. No matter what Rachel does however, no one sees her as anything but a science project. This is clearly meant to add some nuance to Rachel's character and engender some kind of sympathy for her. 

Rachel forges ahead with Kira's testing after being pushed to do so by Westmoreland. Just as young Rachel was introduced to the board, so is Kira. There are clearly parallels between Rachel's youth and Kira's. The board is then informed that Virginia is taking over as head scientist now that Susan is dead. 

Speaking of Susan, Rachel decides to pay her respects.  The rebellion has clearly been brought to an end and armed men roam around in front of Westmoreland's home. It's then that we see that fittingly, Ira has been buried next to Susan. Naturally, Westmoreland isn't about to waste an opportunity for further experimentation, so he takes Rachel to meet with Virginia for the first time. Virginia tells Rachel that she needs to check and see if Cosima's cure has worked. Rachel thought that when Westmoreland referred to her as a daughter and gave her paperwork effectively ending her time as property of Neolution that she would be free of anymore testing. Once again, Rachel has been let down by the organisation which raised her.

Rachel gets into the stirrups for the exam and is clearly in a vulnerable position when Virginia reveals that she's the reason that Susan is dead. This causes Rachel to have a flashback to Leekie.  Dyad had begun researching the disease effecting Leda clones but Leekie didn't want to share information freely with Rachel about her own test results. Leekie reminded Rachel that though she's aware of what is going on, she's not exempt from certain limitations. It's clear that despite her supposed emancipation that Rachel is still working with a set of limitations. Once the exam is complete, Rachel has to ask Virginia for some privacy to clean herself.  Imagine having to ask for privacy to wipe between your legs after a medical exam you didn't want.  Yeah, they had me feeling for Rachel.

Upstairs, Westmoreland hits Rachel with a double wammy. It seems that he's determined that harvesting Kira's eggs can begin in 24 hours and then they will move on to study Kira's healing ability which will include studying deeper tissues.  Rachel assures Westmoreland that though she's come to care for Kira that her loyalty is with Dyad.  The only time Rachel raises an objection is when Westmoreland declares that he wants Kira brought to the island. When Westmoreland leaves, Rachel picks up his tablet and this is when she sees her hand holding the tablet. This means that this whole time, Westmoreland has been watching her through her synthetic eye. So much for freedom.

When Rachel returns to Dyad she starts drinking and is clearly very upset to learn that she is being watched without consent.  Rachel starts to watch old videos of herself. Westmoreland calls to confirm that Rachel is upset because of course, he's seeing what she sees.  Rachel is quick to assure Westmoreland that she's doing just fine.  Kira is then brought in to say goodnight but she senses Rachel's pain and asks who hurt her. Rachel replies, "all of them".

Clearly, Westmoreland has finally crossed a line with Rachel because she calls Frontenac and sends him to Siobahn and Sarah's house claiming that they are trying to sabotage the project. Rachel then sends a text to Art, to get Sarah and Siobahn out of the house and over to Dyad immediately. Rachel pulls out the eye patch to keep Westmoreland from seeing what she is doing.  Rachel then wheels a sedated Kira to the elevator doors. Inside the elevator are Art, Sarah and Siobahn.  Rachel hands Kira over and before the door closes, S thanks Rachel for this.  Rather than reply to Siobahn, Rachel simply nods her head.

Rachel isn't done defying Westmoreland because her next task is to send the board proof that Westmoreland is a fraud. Westmoreland tries to reach out to Rachel but she starts sipping on a martini all out of fucks to give. P.T. isn't about to give up, so he makes Rachel's eye start to glitch. Proving that she' stone cold, Rachel, breaks her martini glass and gouges out her fake eye.  It's gruesome as fuck.


Allison is back from her little clone free sabbatical and she's much changed. I gotta say I cracked up watching Donny run around and try to de mancave the house. Allison has changed a lot and this comes with a new haircut with purple streaks.  The wig is bloody awful which makes me wonder if they blew the budget having Rachel gouge out her own eye and had nothing left for a decent new look for Allison. In keeping with her new free spirit ways, Allison even got a tattoo which says, "live deep", which reads to Donny as, "liver deep".

Donnie doesn't know what to do with the new Allison, particularly when she heads to the craft room and starts getting rid of her craft supplies. Am I the only one who thought that they'd never see this day? Allison replaces her crafting supplies with a keyboard, prompting Donnie to ask if he should get a bass?  Allison is pretty much non committal and when Donnie questions this, she tells Donnie to get what he wants because she's done bossing him around. I predict Allison's vow to stop bossing Donny around is going to last a New York minute. In the meantime, I'm kinda looking forward to a Hendrix jam session combined with a clone club dance off.

I'm not sure that I feel all that sympathetic towards Rachel despite all the work of the writers to point out all the ways in which Rachel was wronged.  Clearly, all Rachel has wanted all her life is for someone to care about her.  It's why Rachel talks about asking to call Leekie dad when she was a child.  Showing Rachel killing a clone however really backfired in the whole make Rachel palatable effort. Rachel killed a homeless clone who clearly had a hard life.

I am very curious to know what is going to happen to Dyad/Neolution now that the truth about Westmoreland has been revealed and Rachel is all out of fucks.  it will be interesting to see if she's able to get rid of Westmoreland and if so, how she will change Dyad's approach to dealing with clones.  Clearly, Rachel is done seeing herself as an object and her act of freeing Kira makes me wonder if her feelings extend to the other sestras.