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Orphan Black: Newer Elements of Our Defense

“I know you don’t trust me. I’m all you’ve got.”

Now this is what I'm talking about. After a set-up heavy episode last week, “Newer Elements of Our Defense” ramped up the pace of the season back to what is, at this point, normal for Orphan Black. The focus this week was very clearly on Sarah, Helena, and their respective interactions with their brothers.

Sarah and Mark had a fun first brother/sister playdate full of DIY surgery, unconsciousness, and baby grave robbing. Merely going out for ice cream would have been so dull. The show is setting up Mark to be the Castor version of Sarah. He’s the rebel, the one who wants out. The more we learn about the Castors, the more fascinating I find them. Raised to be weapons, it’s almost a wonder they were given names. Mark is my favorite and not coincidentally the one least likely to make me want to double check my doors are locked. Which is sort of amazing, given how creepy I found him last season. But, everything is relative. Now that we have Rudy for comparison, Mark is basically a Disney prince.

We got an explanation of exactly what he was up to last week and why. It all probably should’ve come last week, but at this point I’m really not going to complain about answers of any sort. Henrik worked as Duncan’s lab assistant and stole the original’s samples. Mark wanted to trade the samples for his freedom. Hurray for answers! Of course, now Rudy has shown up and possibly/probably spoiled Mark’s plan. Also he wants to kill Sarah. Good luck with that, Rudy.

The Johannsens' association with Duncan and Project Leda makes sense. My question is when they became involved with the Prolethean movement. Was Henrik a mole within the experiment from the get-go or did he convert to Proletheanism later? If so, was it before or after he impregnated his wife with a clone baby? And just why would he do that, anyway? They weren’t infertile (unless Gracie isn’t their biological daughter…) so what is the point of stealing the samples and using them the way he did? Time to add some more to my giant list of unanswered Orphan Black questions.

Gracie had a miscarriage, which would probably be devastating if she hadn’t been involuntarily impregnated with her father’s children. I’m still not over how gross that is. The miscarriage seems a bit of a convenient end to an undeniably messy situation and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Does this mean that Helena will miscarry as well or was the point of this to make Helena’s pregnancy unique? Of course, there’s always the possibility they were lying to Gracie and she didn’t miscarry (although why they might do that is anyone’s guess).

Bonnie told Gracie that her miscarriage was a punishment from God and blames her for “ruining this family.” If she truly believes that, it explains a lot about her character, considering her first child died in infancy. Enough self loathing could definitely turn someone that cruel and cold. Not that it excuses her crazy, of course.

Speaking of crazy, Helena makes a fun (read: horrific) discovery in the Castor base. I loved the way she tricked Dr. Coady and Miller (who now has a name!) into moving her to a less secure area so she could case the area and prepare her escape. All of the Leda clones are smart. Cosima’s scientific genius and Alison’s suburban Machiavellianism contrast beautifully with Sarah and Helena’s street smarts.

Helena willingly sets her escape plan back to kill Parsons, a Castor clone being experimented on by Dr. Coady. Just as Mark is the Castor shadow of Sarah, Parsons is the mirror image of Helena. Being tortured by a parental figure for a purpose is something Helena can relate to. And yes, Dr. Coady is making Parsons suffer in order to find a cure for his brothers’ disease whereas Tomas was making Helena suffer to kill her sisters, but it’s hard not to be moved by someone whispering “kill me.” It makes me wonder how often Helena prayed for death while she was being held by the Proletheans. And now I’ve made myself sad.

Keeping Up with Clone Club

Alison’s high school boyfriend being her new drug boss is a very strange coincidence that, again, feels totally separate from the rest of the story. Still, it opens up the possibility of another ‘Alison’s life goes completely insane’ episode and those are always terrifically fun. I do have a question (surprise, surprise) about what she told him about Donnie. She said she met him in college, but in “Variations Under Domestication” she told Sarah she’s known him since high school. Did the writers slip up or was Alison lying? Also, have we heard the name ‘Jason Kellerman' before? It sounds familiar, but a brief googling proved fruitless. Anyone with a better memory than me care to weigh in on the issue?

Cosima looking for love felt wrong. Not because I am very attached to Delphine and feel her absence every episode (although that’s also true). The timing just makes it seem ridiculous. Last week, she was digging a brain out of a dead body in her bathtub and now she’s making a profile on the OB-verse equivalent of eharmony? At least Alison running for school board trustee is time sensitive. Cosima’s reentry into the dating pool feels much more like Alison’s foray into the world of musical theater last season. Sarah is running around, digging bullets out of long lost brothers while Cosima (and Alison) move on with their comparatively normal lives. I understand them not being as eager as Sarah to find Helena (she is, let’s remember, the murderer of four of their sisters) but it feels like they should be doing something helpful or, at the very least, somehow related to the story. At least Cosima’s investigation into Duncan’s book is mentioned, although no progress is being made.

Bits and Pieces

What happened to Seth? Did Mrs. S end up taking care of it, as Felix suggested?

I’ve refrained form commenting on it thus far, but something is seriously off with the wigs this season. Sarah’s looks wrong somehow and Alison’s bangs are really off.

The hymn the Proletheans sing at the beginning of my episode is “Nearer, my God, to Thee,” which was reputedly played as the Titanic sank. A piano version of the tune played as Helena killed Parsons.

Alison is stronger than Donnie. Of course she is.

Alison used a label maker to accurately label her illegal drug merchandise. Of course she did.

Cosima tells Felix she’s about 5’2”, but Tatiana Maslany is 5’4”.

Clone Quotes

Donnie: “A storage locker! Like on Breaking Bad!”

Mark: “Stick it in fast, it’ll hurt less.”
Sarah: “God, you must be one hell of a first date.”

Felix: “Expensive perfume, pretentious French cigarettes, and oh yes, Eskimo Pie.”

Alison: “Do you remember what happened the last time you had a gun in a car?”

Helena: “You say you love boys, but you lie. You’re a shit mother!”

three and a half out of four storage lockers like on Breaking Bad

sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany


  1. That's funny. Tatiana looks so petite I thought five-two might even be an exaggeration.

  2. sunbunny - re your question about the discrepancy of Alison saying she met Donnie in high school earlier in the show and then in college in this episode: yes, she lied. If she had told Kellerman the truth he might have thought she dumped him for Donnie and could possibly want to harm Donnie out of jealousy or spite. She hadn't seen Jason for years and had no idea how he would react, so she was being safe to protect Donnie. Alison is every bit as think fast on her feet street smart as Sarah and Helena. And maybe she's attracted to Jason! Works for you?


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