Orphan Black: Ease for Idle Millionaires

"You're a human being. If you don't start there, there's nothing left to mitigate."

I have to start this review with the quote above, because, damn it, if it's not apt for the times that we live.

This episode started slow, but it became bigger as it went. It looks like the more focused on a character the episode is, the better. This was another season five winner, both a great outing for Cosima and one that gave this season's arc weight and relevance. Now I care.

Cosima was just amazing. I loved her deliberate inconvenience, how she faced P.T. in the basement, how she kept bringing her humanity as her guide. Her brief interaction with Yanis was beautiful and intense, similar to the powerful moments Helena shared with a Castor clone back in season three. They are all victims of this dehumanized science that P.T. leads. Great writing idea to introduce Yanis as a monster and humanize him. Last episode the "oh, twist" moment didn't really work for me, but the emotional stuff more than paid off now.

I'm not a Cophine shipper, but this episode delivered great relationship drama. Delphine and Cosima's decision to remain together no matter how complicated their relationship was strong TV, beautifully executed with intertwined scenes of present and past. I also like that Delphine is clearly helping the clones, there is no keeping a question mark on top of her head, season two already did that. And I laughed so much at the shot of Cosima and Delphine ready for dinner; Cosima found the perfect way to defy P.T.'s ridiculous request for them to dress vintage outfits.

So it appears Westmorland is a fraud. I'm guessing he is pretty old, say, a little over one hundred years old maybe, and hasn't aged so much on the last few decades, which is why Susan and Coady believed he was the real P.T. Or maybe they know he is a fraud. Thinking about it now, they would be terribly incompetent if they didn't know for so long, whereas Cosima figured it out within a couple of days. For a second I thought he was going to shoot Cosima and I was terrified, but the bastard knows she is valuable. Like I said, now I care.

Cosima confronting P.T.'s legacy was everything. I have to admit, the first time I watched this season, I was not crazy about P.T.'s motivation being his own health. Considering the types of egomaniacs that we've watched rise to power in the past decade, though, I think this story is more relevant than ever. Westmorland is as pathetic and inhumane as some world leaders we have right now. Granted, they don't necessarily good TV villains make, for they lack an interesting personality that you expect in a fictional character, good or bad, but at least they make villains you desperately want to see fall.

One aspect of P.T.'s rule that stood out to me during the dinner scene was this: everyone but Rachel feared him. Rachel looks up to him because she is enchanted. Also because she has been raised to be the type of person that would support a pile of garbage like Westmorland. That's the leader he is, the kind that enchants the fools and the ones who lack morality, and strikes fears in those with less power. Susan, Ira, Cosima and Delphine all dance around his table knowing the danger he represents. Susan sees no way out, she believes she has to play along. Ira does whatever Susan guides him to do. Delphine is playing the long game to help the Ledas. Cosima can't help herself and just lets it all out. They all dance around the table, but each one in their own rhythm and pace, never in sync with one another. It's only far away from P.T. that Cosima can objectively try to convince Susan to fall out of line. But she won't, she is too corrupt and bound by now.

Cosima herself can follow her own line. So can Delphine, Siobhan and everyone else in the Clone Club. "There is only one thing more powerful than evil, and that's us," said Buffy Summers one time.

So, four seasons and a half in and we finally know what the endgame is. It's been written on the wall, since Kira was hit by a car in season one, that she is a special girl and one that would drawn Neolution's attention. Now it was revealed what the science behind the Leda project is and what role Kira plays in it.

The original experiment with Yanis focused on manipulating the LIN28A gene. According to Wikipedia, "LIN28 is thought to regulate the self-renewal of stem cells." For science fiction purposes, it's the gene of rejuvenation. The attempts to manipulate the gene in Yanis ruined the boy's health, but P.T., Susan and Coady kept pushing and were able to isolate the gene and put it in the Leda genome, to see if accelerated healing would manifest in them. It didn't, but it did in Kira. Her healing ability is a self-regulating mutation of the gene, one that does not cause cancer, differently from Yanis. Now Rachel's team has isolated the mutation in Kira and the next phase of the project is to see if the trait is heritable, for which they are willing to harvest THIRTEEN THOUSAND of Kira's eggs. Cosima's frustration upon hearing the news says it all. You can't just mitigate the damage of a project like that one, you have to terminate the project.

Keeping Up with Clone Club

Sarah decided to share grownup stuff with Kira, which was the right call, considering how obsessed Kira has become with her own specialness. Delphine gave S all the intel she has on Neolution's plan for Kira and is now headed to Sweden to join Felix and Adele on their crusade to take down the Neos.

Proleathean Bits and Neolutionist Pieces

- Cosima's parents are named Sally and Gene, and she hasn't told them she has been ill. Had we heard of them before?

- How did P.T. know where Leekie's body was buried?

- Kira has animal aliases for the clones. Cosima is Sunfish, Helena is Shark and Rachel is Elephant. I don't know if we are supposed to read into that.

- Ira started to glitch. I actually felt bad for him. He is the last Castor clone standing.

- P.T.'s health is not well.

- I thought Siobhan's source was Delphine. If it's not her, then who is it? S suggested that she shouldn't have trusted them in the first place.

- Wikipedia also says: "Mice genetically altered to produce LIN28 during their lifespan showed improved hair growth and healthy tissue regeneration on added puncture wounds in later life stages." I thought the show had made that up, but it's real life science.

- For anyone coming late, this episode aired in 2017, but it was reviewed in 2020, just so you know who might be the world leaders I'm referring to. (:

Quotes

Rachel: "Corporate runs the science."

Westmorland (to Cosima): "What a delicate balance you have. The clinical and the humane."

Cosima: "This is what we do. I push too hard and you do things without my consent. That's our relationship."
Delphine: "Now, we can end it, or we can just accept it as it is."

Cosima (to Susan, re Yanis): "Chickens coming to roost."

Cosima: "You gave me life. I know you can take that away. You can't take away my humanity."


Context can change your perception of an art piece. I liked this episode a lot when I first watched it. This time around, I loved it. Four out of four vintage outfits.
--
Lamounier

1 comment:

magritte said...

I enjoyed this Cosima-centric episode as well, something we haven't had very often. Because she's the clone best equipped to understand what Neolution is doing, she sometimes gets relegated to being a bit of an expositional character. I've always had an affinity for Cosima, perhaps because I'm a scientist myself.