Monday, July 15, 2024

Thank You For the Nurture: Orphan Black 5×08 Review, “Guillotines Decide”

Share This Post

How’s everyone doing out there, Clone Club? Does everyone have a good pillow to cry into and some tea to drink? Let’s all pour out a cuppa for our most badass matriarch. Oh wait, brb still crying. Side note, “Guillotines Decide” was, like last week’s “Gag or Throttle,” written by first-time TV writer Aisha Porter Christie, who, like Renee St Cyr last week, knocked it way the hell out of the park.

Dancing!Cosima welcomes you to this review

The Devil Goes Down

Ok, let’s get into this week’s third-to-last episode ever of everyone’s favorite show. We open on a framed black and white photo of Sarah and Felix on Mrs. S’s mantle, and pan out to see Kira sleeping on the couch while Team S & Sarah (team double S!) keep watch for anyone who might be after them after springing Kira from DYAD. S is super calm, sitting on her throne chair with her gun in the quiet dark.

Meanwhile, Rachel drags her bloody self to the elevator and is picked up by none other than The Devil Himself Ferdinand, who has a henchman doctor that performs eye surgery on Rachel in a hotel room. (I don’t know if he gives her a new eye, it looked like he put some gross glob into her socket.) When she wakes up, she sees Ferdinand and looks, well, alarmed and relieved. Our brave Rachel has been through a lot, and I think she’s just a little overwhelmed by the relentlessly complicated feelings she must have.

Back at S’s house, Sarah helps Kira get ready to go into hiding at Art’s ex’s house along with Charlotte. They have a cute moment in which they play with Kira’s mouse. Kira says how strange it is that Charlotte is what her mom used to look like, and Charlotte responds, “Yeah, I never really think about that anymore.” They giggle and it’s adorable. This episode is peppered with a lot of uplifting smiley moments, which is kind of unusual for the show, but perfect to balance the devastation of one of the very biggest moments to happen in the series.

Sarah is extremely skittish, having almost lost her daughter for good and not understanding why it’s so quiet and why S isn’t more concerned that they’ll all be murdered any second. S says that Rachel is the target now after revealing PT’s real identity to the board, who are probably scrambling to protect themselves and in disarray. Art says that even Maddy Enger is AWOL. S wants Sarah to calm down, but Sarah is suspicious of both why ever-vigilant S is telling her to relax and why no one has come after them. She knows something’s up, and she’s scared.

Meanwhile, in Magical Lesbian Land, Cosima and Delphine are lounging in the Rabbit Hole, aka Cophine Palace. Cosima hands Delphine a mug and lays her head on Delphine’s lap, touching her face and hair while Delphine is focused on paperwork/Neo-tracing stuff. Cosima wants to get brunch and it’s the CUTEST GAYEST THING. I would watch so many hours of these two doing boring stuff and just being happy at home. They’ve been through some shit and now they are so close to freedom. It’s everything my little gay heart ever wanted.

The Lesbians™

Delphine tells Cosima that Neolution is bribing multiple governments for pending legislation that will require people to submit to DNA testing so they can gather data to further their twisted agenda. Also that they have a skype date with Sarah and S, so brunch has to wait. Delphine, you quiet beautiful French noblewoman.

As the Dream Team is Skyping, and Sarah is fixated on going after Neo slush-fund leader Hashem Al-Khatib, Felix and Adele come bursting in from Switzerland carrying mountains of cheese and other foods for Fe’s art opening that night. Neither Sarah nor Cosima think an art opening is a good idea, but S is adamant that they all support Felix and enjoy themselves. Felix is adamant that they take the night off from crazy.

Plus, he can’t have any sestra shenanigans because they met a gallery owner in Geneva who’s coming to this opening and it’s a big deal. Only Sarah is invited so as not to confuse the hell out of everyone with multiple look-alikes and up the potential for drama. But Sarah is still high-strung. S tells Sarah to seriously calm down already. “You’re a warrior and I’ve taught you everything I know,” she says. But right now she has to go get flowers, and Sarah needs to help Adele with snacks.

Except S isn’t only getting flowers. She’s meeting Delphine, who “has a whole don’t ask don’t tell thing going on” with Cosima but doesn’t think it’s a good idea that they haven’t told anyone where they are. Which is outside Rachel’s hotel room, because they need to deal with Ferdinand one last time. S insists that if Sarah knew who her other deep throat was—the one who led her to Coady, the one who S called in to rescue Rachel—she would lose her shit. So S and Delphine go into that room to make one last deal with the devil.

S shows Rachel the proof of bribes they have against DYAD and shares her theory that PT wants to sterilize the common people while selling immortality to the 1%. But apparently records of bribes are not enough? S is betting on Rachel having kept a “shadow file” of “where all the bodies are buried.” I don’t exactly know what this means except that Rachel has hard proof of the Neo agenda and the bribes are just supporting evidence. And she’s right, Rachel has said shadow file on a chip in her necklace.

When S and Delphine leave, Rachel tells Ferdinand that she has a sizable nest egg. They could expose DYAD and then disappear off to an island and live quietly together. Ferdinand, unsurprisingly, doesn’t think this is enough. He wants to extort the board by blackmailing them and getting paid to keep quiet, thus amassing obscene amounts of wealth from them while also not actually bringing Neolution down at all.

And Brave Rachel, who only wanted to find some peace with a man she believes was the only one to ever love her, who offered him an out to do what they always said they would do and got rejected in favor of power and money, wipes everything from the USB that she sends with Ferdinand to show to the board. (Which is significantly smaller due to a string of suicides after Rachel’s email exposing PT’s fraud.) This was the plan all along, the collusion with S and Delphine: to send Ferdinand to the board with no evidence so he would get killed by Van Leer and the higher-ups. If Ferdinand had taken Rachel’s offer to send all the incriminating evidence out to the world and run away, he could’ve saved himself, which is what Rachel wanted.

But alas, Ferdinand is the Devil, so she had to go through with the plan to eliminate him instead.

Gallerie Rimbaud

The most joyous part of this episode is Felix’s art show. His loft has been transformed, with the help of Alison and Donnie, into a white-walled gallery with his impossibly beautiful, color-drenched portraits of the sestras plus S, Kira, and a special appearance by Tony. Guess who shows up at the opening? It’s Cutie Colin the Mortician, and honestly praise goddess because Felix deserves a good romance. He brings wine and they banter and it is v. heartwarming.


As the opening gets underway, Felix tells Alison he’s super nervous because this famous Swiss gallery guy is there, and he’s worried he doesn’t find it impressive. Alison says, “So make it more interesting! Why don’t you use us?” This inspires Felix and we get treated to multi-clone goodness.

First he shows off Alison, who he dubs Hestia, goddess of hearth and home.

She swaps out for Cosima, aka Metis, goddess of wisdom and deep thought, and Cosima dances in her uninhibited free-flowing Cosima way and it is glorious.

Honestly same.

Last is Sarah, who btw managed to get out of a not-clued-in Adele that S was working with Ferdinand and is not at all happy about it. But she loves her brother, and plays along in that way Sarah does where she isn’t so much enthusiastic as she is not blowing up for a second. Felix’s moniker for Sarah: Athena, goddess of war. Also Beth is there in spirit and it just contributes to the feels tsunami going on.

S stops in one last time on Rachel, getting all the files she told Ferdinand she was sending with him to DYAD and sending them to Delphine, who will leak them. She tells Rachel that she’s doing the right thing. While Rachel is compliant, she’s also defeated. S tells her that everyone does what they can in their own way, for each other, chipping at the devil til he’s done. S!!! Don’t leave us! Then she heads off to the opening, flowers in hand.

Felix totally kills it with Gallery Guy, talking about how identity is a social construct, and when S shows up, Felix makes the most perfect speech for one of the last episodes of this show. He talks about nature and nurture and thanks his Galaxy of Women for the nurture, while giving Sarah, S, and Adele hugs and muse credit. The art show and the speech are an excellent summary of the show’s narrative arc: exploration of identity, family, individuality, and inescapable shared traits, humanity, and of course, the absolute power of women.

A Galaxy of Women

Oh and P.S. Delphine buys the painting of Cosima after they talk about how they’re almost free and kiss; she tells Felix he’s done something very wonderful and my heart melts right the heck out of my chest.

When S and Sarah get a chance to talk, S finally manages to ease Sarah’s worries by convincing her that all of their ducks are lined up. The truth is about to spill out everywhere and Neolution is going down. Oh and Ferdinand is probably on his way to being dead. The love between Sarah, S, and Felix, our core family where it all started, is so palpable and the three of them having such a good time is not only wonderful, but makes what comes next about 1.6 million times more devastating.

Back at Cophine’s Palace, after Delphine gets the go-ahead from S, Cosima and Delphine leak all of Rachel’s files while holding each other’s hands and pressing both of their fingers on the “send” button. They start to laugh and then Cosima starts to cry and my heart’s already a broken mess, so this is just but one more step on the way to Total Heart Annihilation.

Meanwhile, in the convent, Helena is eating bread and butter and telling Gracie that the miracle babies remember her, and that they are family. Gracie lied to Helena, telling her Mark was dead, and Helena, who has become so much more trusting and family-oriented, welcomes Gracie. When Gracie calls Mark to update him on her Helena quest, she lies and tells him she hasn’t found her. Just like that another one of our brave women pulls through.

Mark can tell she’s lying, though, and tells Devil No. 2 Virginia Coady as much. When Helena discovers Gracie’s phone and confronts her about lying about Mark being dead, Gracie tells her that she lied to protect Helena. Helena believes this and throws the phone in the toilet, saying they will trace it and they need to get out of there. Unfortunately, Maddy Enger was tipped off, presumably by Coady, and straight-up executes Gracie in front of Helena, who is then dragged off somewhere. WHY do you do this to us, show?

We make a family, yes?

The End

The DYAD/Neo board tries to kill Ferdinand after realizing he has no evidence against them, but he gets away. He goes back to Rachel and almost chokes her to death, and I kept shouting very loudly for him to STOP because of MK flashbacks. (Also is there any character more disgusting than Ferdinand ever?) But he stops short of killing her and instead heads to S’s house. Rachel calls S to warn her that Ferdinand got out, and she’s not surprised. She sneaks out of the party presumably to finish him off herself.

When she gets home, the two confront each other with weapons drawn, and after making a show of lowering them, Ferdinand pulls out another one and shoots S in the chest. She staggers to her throne chair and asks Ferdinand to hand her the picture of Sarah and Felix that the episode opened on. He taunts her and she pulls out another gun from the seat cushion and shoots that f*cker in the throat. She makes sure he dies first. Then she clutches that photo, says, “Chickens,” and we are reminded of every time she used that word, guarding her brood.

Be it Kira, Felix, Sarah, Cosima, and the ever-expanding world of sestras; S always put her family first, sacrificing everything, including ultimately her own life. She went through a world of shit, including being reunited with and losing her own mother, her old lovers, friends in London, and Sarah when she was drifting in and out of the family’s life. She used all of her resources and took on more children than she even knew about as an act of love and defiance in everything she did. Mrs. S, Siobhan Sadler, matriarch and figurehead and great protector. The devil may have gotten her, but she got him first. Chipped away until he was finally, finally done.

She died looking at her first two children, into whom she poured everything and built up as pillars of strength and love. Her legacy is potent and powerful.

Welp, who knows what on the good green earth is in store for the final episodes of this powerhouse show? I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified. See you next week, when no one better die because that’s quite enough of that.

Images Courtesy of BBC America

Latest Posts

‘Fresh Kills’ Uses the Mob to Explore Women’s Rage

The best movies about the mob are rarely merely...

Faeforge Academy: Episode 169 – Rebirth

The Void Mother speaks. And Rain must choose... The Faeforge...

The Dissonance: Reflections on a Conversation with Shaun Hamill

We’re doing things a little differently, this time. Shaun...

The Acolyte Delivers The Rest Of The Story, But Still Feels Incomplete

In my review last week, I mentioned that now...

From the Vault: ‘Cotton Comes to Harlem’

"Keep it Black until I get back." The names Melvin...

The Last Alchemist is Rewardingly Challenging

The Last Alchemist challenges players to create the right alchemical properties to cure a man's illness and save the day too.