Orphan Black: Guillotines Decide

"We do what we can. Each of us in our own way. And we do it for each other. Chipping at the devil till he is done."

BBC hyped the hell out of this episode. It was supposed to be so [insert adjective] that they didn't even show any scenes in the promo. I'm not sure why BBC advertised it as if it were an explosive hour of TV when the episode itself never goes there. Instead, what it offers is a carefully constructed story that celebrates the show's history while delivering some of the most important turns of the series with calm and elegance.

The first turn is the ultimate defeat of Neolution. With all the intelligence that Adele, Felix and Delphine collected in Europe, the Clone Club is able to expose Neolution and bring it down once and for all... as long as Rachel backs them up with information from her end. Thus, S and Delphine join Rachel and Ferdinand, and the four of them make an unlikely group against the Neos. But in truth, they aren't a cohesive unit at all.

Ferdinand was Siobhan's secret source inside Dyad, which is why she wouldn't tell anyone about it: Sarah would never agree to an alliance with M.K.'s murderer. But Mrs. S is more strategy, less feelings, and Ferdinand wasn't exactly an ally, but a means to an end. So much so that, with Neolution at their hands, S and Delphine have an approach – to end Neos once and for all – and Ferdinand has another – to bribe Neos and live super rich happily ever after. The big question mark is Rachel. Which path would she follow?

It didn't surprise me that she chose to do what was right, and, like in the previous episode, it was a character progression that made sense. Why does she listen to Siobhan instead of listening to Ferdinand? Ferdinand offers her money and power, Siobhan offers her freedom. After all Rachel has been through, she knows no money in the world can give her the reigns to control her life. Ferdinand also doesn't understand that Rachel doesn't want to hurt or bribe Westmorland, she wants to bring him down.

I was pleased to see Rachel team up with Siobhan, and even more so that she was affected by what Siobhan had to say. Save for Ferdinand, Rachel doesn't have people that care for her, and their relationship isn't exactly the healthiest either: she sets him up to die, he nearly kills her for it. What S offers her is purer, the type of human connection that makes one sacrifice for another. Rachel sheds a tear, she never knew such love.

It is that kind of love that takes us to the other big turn of the episode: Siobhan's death. My first time watching this episode, I was distracted by how much they telegraphed it. Now I wonder if it was a deliberate decision, instead of making it a big twist, to put Siobhan front and center, and allow us to appreciate her final hurrah.

Typically, I would say that it was idiotic of Siobhan to go after Ferdinand all by herself, and that I hate when characters do something dumb for the sake of plot progression, but it is completely in character for Mrs. S to do things by herself. I'm not saying it is in character for her to be dumb, though. Siobhan is a badass and she knows how to get things done with no help or assistance whatsoever. I mean, remember what she alone did in 'Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion' to that mother and son who tried to trap her? Yes, maybe she could have asked Art for his help now, but I think Siobhan wanted to keep everyone out of danger and take care of the issue herself. And, well, she did just that, even if this time it cost her own life.

Now, I will say that the plot convenience that threw me off a bit was Sarah and S returning to their house right after the events of the previous episode. I just don't buy that, no matter how many guns S had in the house to protect them. It was the most targeted place they could have gone to, and the writers had them go there so that things could happen the way they do. Still, it's not a major flaw in an otherwise well-crafted story.

All in all, I really liked that Siobhan went out on her own terms. She controlled the narrative this season, coordinating the steps of the Clone Club as an experienced leader, she brought down Neolution and, by shooting Ferdinand and watching him bleed to death before she died herself, she assured that the world was a safer place for her chickens. Bravo. Rest in piece, S.

Keeping Up With the Clone Club

After being inert for most of the season, Sarah was extra worried this episode with what Siobhan was up to. It all ended well, even after she discovered that S had been working with Ferdinand: Sarah was completely in love with her mom once she told her everything she had done for all of them. Awn. Poor Sarah, S's death is going to wreck her.

Helena is too pure for this world. She was raped by Gracie's father, but she still validates Gracie as family to her babies. That is not something she needed to do at all. I was glad that Gracie was faithful to her and lied to Mark about her whereabouts. Of course, all that nice bonding meant Gracie was not long for this world, and, oh man, the look on Helena's face when Engers shot her. Helena might be kidnapped now, but Engers is the one who is doomed.

Of course, the other big event of the episode was Felix's art opening. The writers really took the opportunity to celebrate the characters, their galaxy of women, and there was even a little moment to appreciate the male characters as well. I loved the entire thing to pieces, from the emotion of it all to the attention to details: the clone swap – Alison's inspired idea that surely made for an exciting artistic experience for those who were there – the portrait of Rachel being placed on the floor and Cosima dancing on top of it, Art and Sarah taking a moment to appreciate the portrait of Beth. What a well done celebration of the series' history.

Neolutionist Bits and Proleathean Pieces

- Kira and Charlotte met. Too bad we don't have much time left to see these two interact. We usually perceive Charlotte from the older clones' perspectives (the younger sister who looks just like them when they were her age), but I realized that, from Charlotte's perspective, knowing her older sisters is knowing how she'll look like when she grows up, which must be a pretty interesting experience.

- Siobhan was the one who called Ferdinand to go save Rachel. Did the Powers That Be need to go so graphic on Rachel's eye socket, though?

- When Delphine was about to send the files to expose Neolution, Cosima asked her to take a second. Then, they clicked on "send" together and Cosima burst into tears. Such a powerful moment.

- I really like Adele, and I like how the series validates bonds formed by nature and bonds formed by nurture. They all have their worth.

Quotes

Mrs. S (to Rachel): "Neolution wants to sell curated commercialized evolution to the one percent who can afford it, so they can live forever, grow a bloody tail if they want to. The rest of us, Coady's department, target for sterilization. How's that sitting with you these days?"
Ouch.

Collin: "I've come early."
Felix: "And often. I remember."

Felix: "We are all mysterious works of chance, of choice, of nature versus nurture. So to my galaxy of women, thank you for the nurture."
That is my favorite line in the entire series. Growing up with four women as my family, that line really hit home for me.

Mrs. S: "Were you really gonna shoot me coming in my own door?"
Ferdinand: "In the leg."
Mrs. S: "So you do wanna talk."


A very well executed episode. Three and a half out four paintings.
--
Lamounier

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