‘Orphan Black’ 2.04 Recap: “It’s a Miracle”

One of the great things about ‘Orphan Black’ is that the show never spends too much time on a single plot thread. If a character gets into trouble at the end of one episode, he or she will usually find a way out of it in the next entry, only to get into an even worse predicament. Such is the case for Sarah in Episode 4, entitled ‘Governed As It Were by Chance’.

At the conclusion of Episode 3, Sarah had been kidnapped by Daniel and raced away in a car when they were suddenly hit out of nowhere by a speeding truck. It turns out that Sarah’s ex-boyfriend (and father to her daughter, Kira) Cal was the driver of that truck – and it was the only way he could think of to rescue her. Sheesh, no wonder they broke up! Anyway, Sarah is shaken but okay, while Daniel appears to be dead. The two get in Cal’s truck and head towards a cabin that Cal claims no one else knows about. Kira waits for her mother there. (Once again, someone leaves this kid all by herself… not the best parenting in this series.)

Knowing that it won’t be long before someone finds Daniel’s body (even though they’ve covered up the car with branches… yeah, like no one’s going to notice that), they get in an RV that just happens to be conveniently located at the hidden cabin and hit the road. (As you can already tell, this episode has a number of silly plot contrivances.) Along the way, Sarah fires up her laptop to Skype with Cosima, who gives Sarah a mythology lesson about “Leda and the Swan,” suggesting that might be where Project LEDA got its name from. Sarah decides to leave Kira behind with Cal (again, great parenting, huh?) so she can get back and figure out why Daniel was so interested in that Project LEDA photograph. Before going, Cal asks Sarah to tell him the name of the corporation she’s so concerned about. When Sarah tells him that it’s Dyad, Cal seems to have a look of recognition on his face that leads me to believe he might be hiding something.

After taking a header off the stage during her musical last week, Alison awakens to find herself in a strange room with a sling on her right arm. She’s pretty hung-over still, and makes her way into the bathroom for a good purging. When someone finally comes into her room to see how she’s doing, Alison insists that Dr. Leekie has no right to hold her there. Alison thinks she’s been taken to the Dyad Institute, but soon learns she’s actually been taken to rehab! She visits with both Felix and Donnie during this episode, but learns she’ll have to stay there (and stay clean and sober) for at least ten days before being released.

Meanwhile, Art has located the Prolethian farm where Helena is being kept, and takes photos of it from afar. Henrick is well aware that Art has been staking out the place, but since everything happens behind closed doors, he’s not very concerned. Inside the compound, Helena is still kept heavily sedated following her “wedding” ceremony with Hendrick. However, Hendrick’s young daughter, Gracie, has had enough of her and tries to suffocate her with a pillow. When it looks like she’s succeeded, the girl turns to leave the room, only to be grabbed and choked by Helena to at least the point of unconsciousness. Helena makes a break for it, while Gracie’s fate remains unknown. (Her mother will find her towards the end of the episode, but viewers aren’t told if she’s dead or alive.)

Helena gets outside and runs right past where Art has been taking photos. When Henrick’s men come in pursuit, Art is able to detain them for a few minutes – probably just the amount of time Helena needs to avoid getting caught.

This show always has at least one plot thread (honestly, usually several) that I have trouble following. This week it involves Siobhan (“Mrs. S” to you, me and Sarah) and an old friend/contact she meets up with at a bar. His name is Carlton (Roger R. Cross) and apparently he was the man responsible for bringing Sarah to Mrs. S when she was just a little kid. It looks like they have a lot of catching up to do. They aren’t together for five minutes before (with Mrs. S’s encouragement) Carlton has her skirt hiked up and makes out with her right in the bar. Get a room, you two! There’s also some talk afterwards about something (possibly related to Project LEDA) going on, but again, I either wasn’t able to follow it or the writers are being intentionally vague at this point.

Although I always thought it was a young Mrs. S in the Project LEDA photograph that Sarah has, we actually learn that the female and male in the photo are fellow clone Rachel Duncan’s parents, Susan and Ethan. This leads Sarah to sneak into Rachel’s apartment, where she hopes to gather more information. She finds a videotape and plays it (seriously, someone still owns and uses a VCR?) and sees Rachel as a young girl enjoying time with her parents. Cosima (on the phone with Sarah) has suggested that Rachel was raised “self-aware” of the fact that she was a clone and probably had a very unloved childhood, but the videotape shows otherwise.

Suddenly, Sarah hears a noise and realizes that someone is coming into the apartment. However, it’s not Rachel, but Daniel – who is alive and well and soon has Sarah at gunpoint. Sarah claims that he’s not allowed to kill her, and he seems to acknowledge that. Instead, he ties her to a bar on the side of bathtub/shower in the bathroom and sharpens a straight razor. He comes over and begins to cut behind Sarah’s left ear – but then hears the noise of someone else entering the apartment. Daniel goes to see who it is, and we see Daniel from Sarah’s point of view, falling to the ground dead with a knife wound to the neck.

The mysterious killer comes into view. It’s Helena, blood-soaked and still in her white wedding dress. Sarah, tied up, screams in horror. Helena explains that she believes Henrick took something from her and then embraces her sister. Back at the Prolethian farmhouse, Henrick watches cells divide through a microscope. Did he remove a fertilized embryo from Helena?

Despite some silly plot devices to further along the storyline, this was a pretty good episode, enhanced by the horrific and downright creepy bathroom encounter between Helena and Sarah. There hasn’t been a ton of clone interaction in the past couple of episodes, but seeing Helena and Sarah in the same room again not only reminds us of how versatile an actress Tatiana Maslany is, but how seamless the visual effects on this show are. (When Helena hugs Sarah, you can’t tell that it’s an F/X shot at all.)

Next week’s episode will mark the halfway point in this excellent season. I can’t wait to see what happens.

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