Sunday, June 23, 2024

ORPHAN BLACK 4×06 Review ‘The Scandal of Altruism’

Share This Post

Spoilers ahead through Orphan Black Season 4, Episode 6.


Wow, Orphan Black, my heart. I am a thousand versions of “not okay” after The Scandal of Altruism. Someone hold me so we can get through this together.

‘The Scandal of Altruism’

Back in the first couple of episodes, Art and Sarah saw footage of Beth leaving her apartment wearing a blond wig and carrying a gun. She returned some hours later with blood on her hands, but up until this point we had no idea where she had gone or what had happened, and if she had killed anyone before she killed herself. In this episode, the final piece of the Beth Childs puzzle falls into place.

A blonde-disguised Beth exits an elevator into a prestigious party, where she finds Susan Duncan and Evie Cho. She knocks into a waiter so he spills his drink tray, forcing Susan to retreat into the kitchen to clean up. Beth follows her and draws the gun.

Beth: “Susan Duncan? I know you. I know everything.”

We smash cut to the title sequence before reopening on Susan and Ira in their hotel room, where they discuss meeting the original.

Meanwhile Cosima and Sarah are working out the deal they will strike with Susan. Cosima wants to hand over Kendall’s genome so that she can get a cure, and in return Sarah will get the bot removed from her face. Sarah agrees but doesn’t want to tell Siobhan. Because of the way that Kendall’s cells are reacting to her cancer, Cosima has found a way to isolate the cells that belong only to Leda, in order to hand over only the Leda genome to Susan and not Castor. But as the previous scene revealed, Ira is expecting to get a cure alongside the Leda clones.

Over at the police department, Krystal has showed up to report what she knows about Brightborn. Art walks by and sees her, and quickly distracts Duko so he doesn’t spot another Beth lookalike. Art takes Krystal to talk.

Art: “Does ‘Leda’ mean anything to you?”
Krystal: “Yeah, I love their eyeliner.”

Sarah arrives at Brightborn and meets Evie, Susan and Ira, to discuss the bargain. Evie explains that the device in Sarah’s face does different things to different subjects — Dr Leekie’s was combating his Alzheimer’s, while Sarah’s is actually searching out the genes that will activate the illness that she appears to be immune to, so that Susan and Evie can find a cure. But with Kendall’s genome in their hands, Sarah’s bot will no longer be necessary. Susan accepts the terms to only receive Leda, but she also wants Cosima’s research and wants to be there when Kendall’s cells are retrieved. She gives Sarah a Brightborn hard drive to take to Cosima and Scott.

Returning to the flashback, Susan pleads for her life by trying to convince Beth that she loves her and the other clones, and that killing Susan won’t stop the testing or the monitors, because someone else at Neolution will take her place. Beth leaves, unable to finish the job she came to do.

In the lab with Scott, Cosima readies her hard drive of research.

Cosima: “Here it is. One terabyte of data. Three months of blood, sweat and fluid samples.
Two relationships. One missing soulmate.”

The characters all split for their respective ends of the deal — Susan goes to Felix’s place where Scott is performing Kendall’s cell isolation, with Siobhan and Benjamin keeping an eye on things. Cosima accompanies Sarah to Brightborn and assists Evie in removing the bot. Meanwhile Felix has been recruited to help Art deal with explaining things to Krystal.

Everything starts off perfectly fine — the cells are getting isolated, Sarah is getting the worm out, Felix arrives at Art’s place — but in typical Orphan Black fashion, it all quickly goes to shit. The bot nearly leaks toxic deadly fluid into Sarah’s bloodstream, but Cosima manages to save the day. Kendall goes outside to take a smoke break, and gets ambushed by some armed figures with a van.

Leaving Cosima at Brightborn until Susan has her cells, Sarah returns to Felix’s just in time to discover that Kendall has been kidnapped. Sarah pours bleach over the genomes Scott just finished retrieving in order to get Susan to confess to the kidnapping, but she denies it. Nevertheless, Siobhan and Benjamin take Susan and hold her hostage in the safe house.

Oh, and Felix totally forgot that he stole Krystal’s wallet so he cops a face-full mace. Not a good day for anyone. And the day isn’t over.

Felix and Art decide it’s best to keep Krystal in the dark for her own safety, and confirm her stem cell theory about Brightborn. But during their conversation, Krystal mentions Dyad and name-drops Delphine. Felix and Art quickly beg her for more information and Krystal admits to seeing Delphine Cormier get shot.

Benjamin and Siobhan hold Susan hostage in the safe house. Cosima is still at Brightborn, so this isn’t over. Susan hands over her hotel keycard in order to allow Sarah and Benjamin to track down Ira, whom they suspect is the possible kidnapper. But arriving at the hotel, Sarah discovers that Ira has overdosed in the bathtub — she and Benjamin manage to save his life, but they’re no closer to saving Kendall.

The Brightborn hard drive infiltrates Cosima’s date, wiping every single piece of work from the computers in Scott and Cosima’s lab.

Van doors open on a tied and gagged Kendall, revealing Detective Duko as her kidnapper. He’s working with Evie Cho, who brings Cosima to the site to witness Kendall’s killing.

All of the pieces are falling together — Evie it The Engineer of Neolution, the one who set Beth onto Susan and tried to have Susan killed, the one who is now ensuring that every one of Kendall’s genomes is destroyed.

Beth: “Do you think I’m afraid to die? Do you think I’m scared of anything right now?”

A flashback reveals Beth turning the gun on Evie instead, enraged that Evie turned her against Susan. Evie tells Beth that she knows too much now, and there’s no way to save anyone she loves. She should just kill herself. Beth punches Evie hard in the face and would have kept going if not for Duko intervening. She runs from him, where she returns home to find MK waiting for her as we saw in a previous flashback.

Evie explains to Cosima that she and Susan are at odds – Susan believes the genome will solve everything, so wants to stop the bot testing. But for Evie, the bots and the tests are working, and the clones and Kendall are obsolete. To stop Susan, she needs them gone. She leaves Cosima to say goodbye to Kendall.

Cosima: Kendall, what do we do?

Kendall: No tears, Cosima. These shites aren’t worth the salt. Tell Siobhan she’s done right … always. And tell your sisters … I’m proud to have been part of them all.

Duko shoots Kendall and sets the van alight. Cosima falls to her knees with her back to the flames. Evie approaches to deal one final blow: “Delphine Cormier was shot dead at the Dyad parkade.”Cosima breaks into harrowing sobs, but Evie continues. “Tell Susan, the original is dead. Tell Sarah it’s over, or Beth died for nothing.”

In tears, Cosima calls Sarah to tell her than Kendall and Delphine are dead.

Believing that in trying to save everyone she loves has put them in danger, Beth makes her way to the train station where her life ended and our story began.



Aw, man. Nothing here was really a surprise to me, but it was still so hard to watch.

Tatiana Maslany’s acting is too good; that shattered cry the moment she heard Delphine was dead gave me goosebumps. But I don’t believe Evie, not one bit. We haven’t seen Delphine actually dead, and the way they are dancing around revealing her death has got to mean she’s alive, or at the very least that there is something more to her story. Not to mention that just telling Cosima like that, as she watched Kendall die, was just about the lowest possible blow. My poor Cosima. I’m scared she won’t survive — her research has been destroyed, her cure is gone, and her soulmate is missing. Where do we go from here? Our only hope is Krystal — Krystal knows something about what happened to Delphine. I hope we get that information in the next episode. Either way, I still feel completely and utterly ripped off about how the writers have chosen to handle this “death” and how it’s all played out for Cosima. This was hardly the payoff I have been waiting for. There may be time to fix it yet, but I’m getting more and more sceptical the longer this goes on.

This episode was very different to anything we’ve seen so far this season. We saw no Alison, no Donnie, no Kira, and no Helena. Aside from the subplot with Art, Felix and Krystal — which was still vaguely related to the main plot — this episode had a very singular focus and a single plot arc to cover, which was making the genome/bot surgery trade.

Unfortunately no one got what they wanted out of that trade, except for Sarah getting her killer bot removed. The problem is now, that bot was actually their one last shot at a cure. But considering that Evie has her own way to fix things, and no interest whatsoever in saving the clones, any chance of getting that bot put back in Sarah’s face looks like zero to none. Judging by the sneak peek at next week’s episode, Sarah is having a heard time dealing with this. She likely blames herself for Kendall’s death and all of Cosima’s losses. I’m just hoping that Krystal has something useful up her sleeve that can help Cosima find Delphine.

We last saw Helena leaving the Hendrixes, and she was getting very close to having her babies. Could her babies possibly possess a cure? For the sake of Cosima and the others, we can only hope.

The writing in this episode was a little all over the shop for me, quality-wise — I LOVED the sister-bonding moments between Sarah and Cosima during the surgery scene, but the suspense during surgery, or lack thereof, was oddly jarring, it happened way too quickly and Evie’s emotionless delivery and failure to convey a sense of urgency didn’t play out right for me. Having said that, there were also some AMAZING lines in this episode — go back over my quotes and see for yourself. Kendall’s words to Cosima before she died were just beautiful, and Cosima’s “one missing soulmate” got me so bad.

That said, this episode had some absolutely beautiful bonding moments. Aside from Sarah and Cosima looking out for each other, we also saw a lovely mother-son moment between Siobhan and Felix. After Felix admits that Adele has left, Siobhan tells him to bring her back for when Kendall’s cancer gets worse — she wants to whole family to be there for her. Felix even calls her ‘mum’ in that scene, bless. But now I’m crying because Kendall is dead and if there’s any time for the family to rally around their dear Siobhan it won’t be the way she had hoped.

This episode impressively had the emotional drive of a season finale, but we can all be thankful this wasn’t as season finale because that was rough going. And next week’s episode looks to be a different kind of rough. I’m worried in the best way possible.


Images courtesy of BBC America.

Latest Posts

Modiphius Launches Five Parsecs from Home: Tactics Tabletop Game

New scenario-driven variation lets you bring big battles, tanks, and monsters to your solo/co-op miniatures game

The Mutant Revolution Takes New York In NYX #1 Preview

Check out all the covers for the debut issue of Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Francesco Mortarino’s NYX, on sale July 24.

Faeforge Academy: Episode 167 – Farm or Die

The Party is split! In one part of Riverheart,...

The Acolyte Jumps To Lightspeed, With Less Than Ideal Results

One thing I feel confident saying about the first...