'Orphan Black' recap: Is finding Swan Man the key to everything?
One of the elements I love about "Orphan Black" is the dry, dark humor that bubbles to the surface in almost every episode, but is most present when Helena and Alison are around. This was one of those weeks, and I have to think everyone who once loathed Helena has come around by now. Who would have guessed that underneath the crazy (and there's a lot of crazy) there could be a Muppet-haired softy who just wants love?
That's the only thing I can imagine could pulling Helena back to Henrik's place -- the lure of babies and motherhood -- though it's also entirely possible she simply wants to kill the guy. Maybe both. Watching her beat the hell out of a bunch of "bad goats" at a seedy bar just moments after slow dancing with Jesse, her new "boyfriend," reminded me of how wonderfully complicated and unpredictable Helena can be -- and how good she is at keeping her true intentions close to the vest. When she tells Sarah, "I'm very good with children," I wasn't sure whether to laugh or shudder.
I fully understand why Sarah didn't want to take her nutty twin along to poke around the Cold River institutional records, but leaving her unattended wasn't a great option, either. Still, I hope we get to dig a little deeper into the Cold River storyline. Though Sarah discovers that the Swan Man has stolen his new identity -- Andrew Peckham -- from the files, I have to believe this was a much bigger deal.
Peckham's interest in the early files (from 1910 to 1920) and the later poking around by Maggie Chen in records from a facility that practiced eugenic sterilization suggests we will be digging up another dark side of the Prolethean movement -- one a heck of a lot darker than cloning. While eugenics (a plank in the Nazis' platform back in the day) was about promoting the reproduction of humans considered "desirable," it was also about stopping the reproduction of those considered less-so. As the woman who guides Sarah to the files says, what she sees there will never leave her. We don't get a line like that and not go down the rabbit hole, I think.
It shouldn't have been a surprise (we know Angie's bulled Vic before, after all), but seeing Vic pop up in Alison's rehab center almost seemed like a bit of happy serendipity. Hey, maybe Vic's a decent guy now that he's cleaned up! Or... well, not exactly. He doesn't seem thrilled about ratting on his ex-girlfriend's clone, but he doesn't have much of a choice. Still, he may never give Angie his biggest discovery -- simply because he doesn't believe it. When Alison tells him she's a clone, he just dismisses it as deflection. Oh, Vic.
Another funny and yet chilling moment plays out between Mark and Paul, two henchmen on slightly different sides of the fence. Paul, of course, has been on Sarah's trail for as long as she's been on the run, it seems, and he slides up to Mark when he arrives in the bar. The best exchange of the episode had to be Paul asking Mark whether he learned his reconnaissance techniques in the Special Forces. "Boy Scouts," Mark calmly replies. Though there are some veiled warnings, they finally agree that Paul gets his "girl" and Mark will take his, and thus everyone's happy. Everyone except the clones, of course, but who care about their feelings?
While Sarah is able to track down Peckham's address thanks to Art (I realize cops get a certain amount of latitude, but doesn't Art and Angie's boss want them in the office filling out paperwork occasionally?), he doesn't answer the door -- Mrs. S does. Man, that Mrs. S is everywhere, isn't she? She reveals that "we" hid him in exchange for information about experiments on unborn children and a surrogate that ran away -- Amelia. Sarah has all sorts of animosity toward Mrs. S, but her foster mom asks an excellent question. Who does Sarah trust? Other than her fellow clones, Mrs. S seems like the most likely candidate.
Mrs. S gives Sarah a few minutes to talk to Peckham, as she knows Sarah has just blown his cover. He tells her about Project Leda -- how "we wanted babies, little girls!" and how Dyad hijacked the project after the military found it unethical. But Dyad isn't the problem -- the Neolutionists inside Dyad are. So, Leekie.
Peckham, who seems a little unfocused and won't stop talking about his "daughter" Rachel, says Leekie wouldn't let him and his wife Susan raise Rachel -- and that he killed her. "Who do you think I've been hiding from?" he asks Sarah. Just in case you thought Leekie was really a good egg when he told Cosima he'd let her continue her search for a cure, he's apparently the one mucking things up at the Dyad Institute.
Sarah doesn't shake Peckham by the shoulders, but her words do the same -- he needs to accept that he's lost Rachel, and realize his little girls are dying. It's up to him to find the cure that will save all of the clones, including Rachel.
And speaking of that cure? Scott, Cosima's co-worker, has wheedled his way into a gig at the Dyad Institute. While he has no idea Cosima is a clone (he tells her he wants to see one, not realizing he's looking right at one), he stumbles across a disturbing detail. The stem cells to be stuck in Cosima's uterus (taken from the exfoliated dental pulp of baby teeth) are coming from a source that could be "a niece or even a daughter" of Cosima's. Does that mean Kira? Or is there another child we don't know about? And how and when did the Dyad Institute get a hold of these baby teeth? I am picturing a big, bad Tooth Fairy, aren't you?
Last week I wondered if Paul was still on Team Sarah, or if he had come fully around to Team Rachel. This week, I think Mrs. S hit the nail on the head -- when torn between two masters, a man answers only to himself. Though Mrs. S slides into his car when he's camped outside Peckham's house (he only thinks he's spying unobserved) offering tea and biscuits, she also offers something far more interesting -- an alliance. After all, she won't let him take Sarah or Peckham without killing all of them, and "you don't want to do that, or Afghanistan will all be for naught." Rachel isn't the only one in on Paul's secret, and I can't wait to see how this new friendship plays out.
Do you think Helena wants to be a mommy or just wants to get even? Do you think Paul and Mrs. S will form an alliance? Do you think Peckham can help his "little girls"?