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Orphan Black: One Fettered Slave

John: "The future is female. Haven't you heard?"

In the round of clone-centric episodes, it's time for Helena to get the spotlight and an origin story.

The flashbacks to Helena's childhood and youth were terrific. At first I though it was weird that they had another actress play young Helena, but she was sooo good in the role I forgot it was not the same girl after three seconds.

Helena's life was a succession of people abusing her. The nun punishing Helena for catching her masturbating herself, the same nun giving her up to Tomas, who would then deprive her of a healthy childhood and brainwash her into becoming a clone assassin. It surprised me that Tomas didn't tell Helena that the women she was going to kill looked just like her, instead, he let her discover it as she killed her first victim. It makes sense that he'd do it that way, though. By demonizing the clones, he made Helena see them as perversions, and by letting her discover during her first kill that she was just another "dirty copy," he led her to perceive herself as a perversion. He came to the rescue when he lied to her that she was the original, but the damage was done, the notion that she was an abomination already inserted in her mind, even if Tomas' lie placated some of the inevitable self-hate. If he had told her from the get-go that she was the original, there would have been no such damage. He calculated the steps to do things in a way that would keep Helena with a quota of self-loathing and, therefore, under his control.

I wonder what motivated Helena to start cutting herself. Was it one cut for each clone she killed? Was it a form of punishment for looking just like a dirty copy? Was it to mark herself as the original? Maybe it was a complicated combination of those and other motivations.


Coady's interaction with Helena in this episode was very complex. There were moments of true tenderness, almost as if she cared about Helena. Then she switched and was downright awful, putting an already fragile Helena down. That upset me, but I gather that Coady was also talking about herself when she described Helena as a monster and asked what kind of mother she could possibly be. The parallels between the two of them were abundant. These are two tough women who don't shy away from brutal actions. However, Coady chose that path for herself, she chose to follow John's rule and kill her final Castor son. Helena, on the other hand, was forced to become a murderer and when she decides to kill herself and her two unborn babies with her, it's because she sees no way out. It was a tragic moment and very difficult to watch.

It was beautifully poetic, then, that Sarah, inadvertently, was just in place to save Helena's life, and not only with the blood transfusion but also to put her twin's mind back in place and give her a final boost of love to fight back. It has always been the family that she found in Sarah, and later in her other sestras, that brought out the best in Helena, that showed how pure her heart actually is. It made me really happy that the episode didn't end with dead Helena and dead babies, instead, it ended with a very alive Helena about to give birth to her children.

The final moments of this episode were really cool as tension built up and there was a sense that the ultimate showdown was about to happen. The moment Sarah said they were giving up Rachel to the Neos, I knew she meant she would go in as Rachel and we would get a final clone swap. She didn't perform as well as she used to, but having her and Art go into Dyad for the final confrontation made me really excited. At the same time, when this episode ended I scratched my head in confusion and wondered what would happen in the series finale, because there simply wasn't that much story left for an entire episode. Maybe one act or two, definitely not four. Oh well, bring on the finale.

Keeping Up With the Clone Club

Not much happening outside of the Helena show. Rachel helped the Clone Club for the third time in a roll. Does that mean that she is part of the club now?

Neolutionist Bits and Proleathean Pieces

- S's letter literally anticipated her death... Since when did she have prophetic abilities?

- Art said that S's sacrifice was also for him and his family. Awn.

- I feel robbed we didn't see Sarah finding S's body. I mean, Tatiana would have knocked a scene like that out of the park. Then again, on rewatch, that choice makes sense.

- With Mark gone, now all Castor clones are indeed dead. The Ledas have had hard lives, but the fate of the male clones is even more tragic: designed to be weapons, disposed as obsolete experiments.

- Felix had zero patience with Rachel until she turned and showed him her face. Then he softened a little, as if he was reminded that, in the end, she is also a victim.

- Mr. Frontenac was killed by Art. I liked him. He had this calm menace that made him a very effective minion villain.

- John, in the other hand, sigh... Here is the thing: he lost, Clone Club won. However, he is that type of egomaniac who simply won't accept defeat. He will desperately grasp at straws, whine like an idiot and feel entitled to act as king of everything, and unfortunately people like him exist, but – I've said this before – interesting fictional villains they do not make. I'm over him. So while I feel this season has been well done overall and given the protagonists their due, I just don't care about the final Big Bad, especially now that he has already been defeated.

- Helena's attack on Coady was brutal. I actually looked away.

Quotes

Alison: "[Sarah] always has to be strong, it's not right. It's not right."

Alison (re: Gracie): "Helena wouldn't have kept in contact with that bible-thumping little traitor."

Helena (to Coady): "You are a shit mother."

Helena: "Oh, baby is coming."


Great penultimate episode. Really well done, but at the same time it didn't knock my socks off, mostly because I don't care about John. Three out of four dolls.
--
Lamounier

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