When we last left our clones, Sarah was tied up in the bathroom of Rachel’s apartment and had just been re-introduced to her sister, Helena, whom she thought she had killed. As Episode 5 of ‘Orphan Black’ begins, we see the aftermath of last week’s events and begin to learn a little more about the mysterious Project LEDA.
Despite an Episode 4 cliffhanger with Sarah and Helena facing off, as this entry begins, the two are long gone from Rachel’s apartment. Dr. Leekie overlooks Daniel’s dead body as Rachel arrives home with Paul at her side. (Hey, he’s finally in an episode again!) As most fans already suspected, Daniel was Rachel’s monitor, and now she needs a new one. So, she asks Paul if he’s up to the task. She gives Paul the gun that Daniel used to kill a police officer a couple episodes back and tells him that he needs to do something for her.
Sarah brings Helena back to Felix’s place, but eventually takes her to Art’s for guarding. The detective isn’t very successful at getting any answers out of her. In fact, when he lets his guard down, Helena gets the jump on him and makes an escape. Meanwhile, back at Felix’s apartment, the cops arrive just when Felix is about to make out with Colin, whom you may remember as the mortician from Season 1. (Cue the Tears for Fears soundtrack!) Paul arrives with the police, and brings Daniel’s gun with him. He forces Felix down on the couch at gunpoint and then places Daniel’s gun in Felix’s hand, so his prints will be on it. Making a phone call to Sarah, Paul informs her that if she doesn’t give herself up in 12 hours, Felix will go to jail for murder.
When Helena escaped from the Prolethian compound last week, viewers were left in doubt over the fate of young Gracie. This week, we learn that she survived Helena’s attack, but has been locked up by her parents, Henrik and Bonnie, as punishment. What’s worse, she’s had her lips sewn shut! Mark comes in to give her something to drink (via a straw) at one point and tells her that he’s been tasked with finding Helena. He also seems to have a creepy attraction to Gracie and kisses her before he leaves. Later, Henrik and Bonnie remove the stitches from Gracie’s lips but inform her that if they can’t find Helena, she’ll be the one carrying Helena’s fertilized embryo to term.
Rachel tells Dr. Leekie that until Sarah turns herself in, she wants him to cut off all treatments that Cosima has been getting. However, when Leekie meets with Cosima and Delphine, he lets them know that he has no plans to stop treating her. Also during this conversation, we learn some important information about Project LEDA. It turns out that the original genome all the clones – including Cosima – were created from was destroyed in a fire in which Rachel’s parents (the Duncans, the two people in the Project LEDA photo we’ve seen on the series) were killed. He tells her that because they’ve lost the genetic map to their creation, the project became an “orphan.” Well, we finally know what the title of this series refers to… and it only took one and a half seasons!
Trying to find out where Helena disappeared to, Sarah and Art track her steps back to a warehouse locker owned by Maggie Chen (this is the woman Beth Childs shot and killed back in Season 1) where Helena apparently stayed for a while. There, they find (among other things) a photograph of an elderly man with the words “Swan Man” written on the back. Since Cosima has already told Sarah the connection between Project LEDA and the myth of “Leda and the Swan,” Sarah figures out that the Swan Man could only be Rachel’s father and that he must still be alive. The two also find an empty case for a sniper rifle. Sarah realizes that Helena must be planning to kill Rachel, and they race off to stop her.
For those (including myself) who thought the character of Rachel was prim and proper – oh boy, do we get a surprise in the final minutes of this episode. She dresses up in some sexy lingerie and then has Paul strip naked and sit in a chair so that she can straddle and make out with him. She has a dominant streak too – she’s the one giving the orders during the sequence. Unbeknownst to her, however, in a building across the way, Helena has her high-powered rifle targeted and is about to shoot. Sarah and Art arrive at the last minute and Sarah manages to talk her out of it, telling Helena that she spent the last few weeks believing she had killed her own sister and really felt guilty about it. Helena puts down her weapon.
Towards the end of the episode, Sarah meets with Leekie and relays the information about the Swan Man and the possibility that Rachel’s father is still alive. She wants to cut a deal with him so that if she’s able to track down the elder Mr. Duncan, Rachel and Paul won’t frame Felix. Leekie says that he can give Sarah three days but no more, and also mentions that he’ll continue to treat Cosima in the meantime. This is news to Sarah, who had no idea prior to this that Cosima was sick. Sarah leaves the bar, but it turns out that Paul was there watching the conversation the whole time.
Sarah asks Helena where she can find the Swan Man. As this week’s episode wraps up, Helena tells her that they need to go to the “Place of Screams.”
The biggest shocker this week? No Alison – who doesn’t have a single scene in this episode. Usually, that would be a mark against it, but there’s enough interesting stuff going on this week not to be distracted by that fact. Helena provides much of the comedy in this episode (don’t miss the odd combination of foods she scarfs down at Art’s place), and the once-prudish Rachel turns out to be a real wild child in the bedroom. Now halfway through Season 2, it doesn’t look like ‘Orphan Black’ is suffering from any sophomore slump as it turns in another thrilling chapter to the ongoing story.