The penultimate episode of BBC America’s Clone Club drama involves multiple surgeries, a cheer-worthy death and a cringe-inducing abduction.
Let’s bitch it out…
There’s a lot of baby talk in ‘Things Which Have Never Yet Been’. Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) is desperate to protect her daughter, Kira (Skyler Wexler), even as she recognizes that the girl may be the only thing that can keep Cosima from dying. Helena has voluntarily returned to the Prolethean ranch because she wants a child (or two) of her own, but her refusal to pay attention to Henrik’s (Peter Outerbridge) plans prompts a pretty dramatic development. And then there’s Rachel, the proto-Clone who apparently wants a child so badly that she’s willing to go to great depths of subterfuge and deception – including manipulating Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) – to kidnap one.
The focus on children and reproduction makes sense given the concerns of the series, which has always made women’s bodies and the ownership of them its primary focus. Hell, Cosima’s entire storyline essentially boils down to her furious line last week about her science and her body. These Clones have been genetically engineered and the ability to procreate has literally been taken away from them – it makes sense that they not only want to reclaim possession of their bodies, but their futures, as well.
That’s partially why Rachel’s abduction of Kira is so upsetting and why Helena’s vulgar (implied) murder of Henrik is so celebratory. Let’s be clear: neither action is surprising (we know that both Clones are a tad unhinged). It turns out that Rachel’s office trashing reaction to the news of her intended infertility last week was just a warm-up for her actions tonight. In one of the most beautifully evocative scenes of the season, Rachel has a quiet meltdown while watching images of her childhood and pictures of Sarah and Kira on a giant wall screen. She’s so overwhelmed by her desire for a childhood and a child of her own that she is literally engulfed by images of them in several shots. This foreshadows the destructive behaviour to come. In an ingenious replay of the events of the premiere when Sarah posed as Cosima to get to Rachel, the proto-Clone uses Delphine’s suspicions and her own likeness of Sarah to gain access and abduct Kira from the pediatrics hospital. There’s a certain irony that Rachel has now imprisoned Kira in her old room without realizing how damaging a childhood under lock and key (and presumably microscope) is for a child.
Helena has no such plans for her future offspring. Initially she’s willing to overlook the oddities she experiences at the Prolethean farm because they’re tolerable if she gets what she wants (the exception is an intolerance for corporal punishment, which reminds Helena of her own abusive upbringing at the convent). It’s not until Helena finally understands that the children at the farm are all Henrik’s and that Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) is not pregnant with Mark’s (Ari Millen) baby, but rather her father’s. Like any reasonably sane person, that’s when Helena decides to make a break for it, bringing Gracie along for the ride. I’ll admit that I was uncertain whether the young girl could be trusted (De Grand Maison isn’t an overly emotive actress so she’s easy to misread. See also: her enthralled or disgusted reaction to Helena’s interactions with the little girl). Admittedly the fact that Gracie and Mark have run off with Helena’s future offspring gives me a bit of heebie-jeebies, but I imagine we’ll see more of them next season around due date time.
Still, there’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing Helena turn the tables on Henrik. Her storyline this season has been the most graphic and disturbing and the images of her sedated sexual violation by Henrik back in 2×04 ‘Governed As It Were By Chance’ are eerily recalled her as Henrik impregnates her and Gracie. The sight of this man with a turkey baster in his hands is genuinely gross and frightening, so it’s nice that Helena reappropriates the role by swapping positions with her torturer. I don’t know that I’d advocate anyone deserves the violation she administers to Henrik, but I absolutely adored her final empowering tableau as Helena ascends the hill above the Prolethean farm, turning in the darkness to witness the site of so much pain agulf in flames. She’s reclaimed her agency and vanquished her enemy like the scary avenging angel we know and love.
And with that, Helena appears to have single handedly put an end to the Prolethean storyline (at least this season). With only a single episode left in S2, the stage is set for the epic Rachel vs Sarah battle we’ve been waiting all season for. See you next week!
- Marian Bowles (Michelle Forbes) has taken a keen interest in Sarah in much the same way that Rachel has taken a keen interest in Kira. Bowles is impressed by Sarah’s scrappy tenacity and her praise for the underdog likely contributes to the feelings of adequacy that ultimately drove Rachel to drink, don a wig and grab a child that’s not hers.
- Speaking of wigs, I did enjoy that the costuming department used the The Vampire Diaries’ hair trick (straight vs curly) to give attentive viewers the tip-off that it is Rachel stalking the hospital corridors, not Sarah. As Rachel moves past Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and doffs her hood for Felix (Jordan Gavaris), I briefly wondered when Sarah had time to curl her hair. It’s then that the startling reveal comes out, Felix is drugged and Rachel disappears into the night.
- Once again stuck in their (thankfully more humourous) B-plot, Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) repair their tattered marriage by bonding over body disposal, banishing Vic (Michael Mando), and threatening Angela (Inga Cadranel). I’ve been hard on Alison’s stand-alone storyline this season, but the culmination of events offers us an empowered Donnie and some hilarious freezer sex so it’s hard to complain about how it all comes together in the end.
- Prolethean midwife (as Helena grips her hand during the medical procedure): “You’re doing very well and you’re strong.”
- Alison (to Donnie, when he suggests burying Leekie’s body in the lake): “Do we have a boat?!”
- Helena (when asked by the midwife how she feels): “I have gas.”
- Vic (after being threatened by Donnie): “God I hate this garage.”
- Donnie (bidding Angela and Vic goodbye in the van): “Have a shitty day.”
- Helena (after Gracie asks if she has been listening to Henrik): “Not really.”
- Helena (with a pipe in her mouth): “Do I look like I’m trying to be funny?”
Your turn: what did you think of the baby mama drama at the center of the episode? Is Rachel a hypocrite or is she completely off her rocker? (FYI that smile during movie time will undoubtedly haunt my dreams) Will Cosima be saved by the gallons and gallons of bone marrow that was taken out of poor little Kira? Are the Proletheans finished for the season? And where would you rather have “we got rid of the body” sex: the bedroom, the work bench or the freezer? Sound off below.
Orphan Black airs its season finale next Saturday at 9pm EST on BBC America.