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ORPHAN BLACK 4×08 Review ‘The Redesign of Natural Objects’

EPISODE RECAP:
‘The Redesign of Natural Objects’

Orphan is the new Black in the opening of this episode, which introduces us to Donnie in prison. Attempting to play it cool he tries to pass himself off as a seasoned inmate, but realizes too late that he’s just admitted his identity to an inside man — and a bald, hulking, tattooed Neolutionist at that.

Ira assesses Rachel after her fall and she tries to explain the swan glitch. In the wake of Susan’s betrayal the two decide to support each other to find a cure without Susan, acknowledging for the first time their bond as brother and sister.

Rachel: “Age has dulled her ambition. You and I are still young, don’t you want to live?”

Ira: “I do now, yes.”

Meanwhile Cosima nurses Sarah through her two-day hangover. Sarah encourages Cosima that if Delphine is alive, they’ll find her. Kira’s game of Mindcraft gets interrupted when MK appears on her computer again. MK explains that she’s traced Susan Duncan’s whereabouts but that Evie Cho has forced Susan out of project Leda, and the clones are considered a threat. They agree to connect Cosima up for a chat with Susan to try and convince her to help them.

Alison and Felix go to visit Donnie in prison. Felix has invited Adele to represent the cast, as Alison’s accounts are frozen to a suspended lawyer is the best they can afford anyway. Adele shows up late, just as Alison realizes that Felix “forgot to mention” that Alison is “Sarah’s twin sister”. Awkward.

Rachel and Ira confront Susan and Charlotte. They’d like to know what the long term plan is now that there’s no cure. At that moment MK patches Sarah through to talk to Susan. Susan tries to deflect responsibility by saying she can’t do anything anymore without the original, but Sarah tells her that she just needs someone else capable to work with — cue Cosima on the laptop screen.

Susan: “Cosima. It’s good to see you again.”

Cosima: “Uh, yeah, I’m a bit conflicted about it. Considering who your roommate is. Yo, Rachel.”

Rachel: “Yo.”

Kira interrupts Sarah to tell her she just saw Siobhan leaving the safe house with a rifle. Sarah immediately suspects what Siobhan is up to and leaves the skype call to go after her.

Cosima, Scott, Susan, Rachel and Ira all try to work out their differences so they can partner up but that’s easier said than done, and results in Cosima forcing Rachel and Ira out of the picture.

Adele tries to explain some Prison 101 and the bail plan to Donnie while they visit but Donnie is distracted by the scary Neolutionist who is clearly keeping an eye on him from across the room. He asks for a moment alone with Alison to explain the situation to her.

Donnie: “He said he’s here to keep an eye on me.”

Alison: “Oh, god, Donnie. Oh lord. Sweet baby Jesus.”

Donnie: “I’m not gonna make it two more days in here, Alison.”

Sarah hits up Art to help track Siobhan. Meanwhile Siobhan has already scoped out Duko and follows him to a parking lot where she watches from a distance and gets ready to take him out. Just as she’s lining up her rifle sight, a second car pulls up beside Duko’s and out pops Alison, who gets in Duko’s passenger seat.

Down in the car Duko explains that Donnie won’t get hurt if Alison just helps hand over Sarah. Siobhan calls Sarah and says she thinks she knows how Duko is going to get to them.

Alison leaves and arrives at church to begin rehearsing for a new musical, but her mind is distracted with the conflicting thoughts over helping Donnie or protecting Sarah.

In a conversation with Susan, Cosima and Scott realize that if they combine Sarah’s embryos with Ira’s sperm, they can recreate a version of the original gene and use that as a basis for finding the cure.

Alone in her room, Rachel is once again plagued by images of the swan and this time, an image of her father.

Siobhan and Sarah send Felix to check in with Alison and subtly let on that they know what’s happening and that they can help her.

Felix: “Look, I know that you’re under a lot of pressure, but you need to keep strong, okay? Your sisters are there for you. Sarah’s there for you.”

Duko shows up at the church and puts Alison on the phone with Donnie. Alison is out of time — Donnie is about to get a shiv to the face if she doesn’t give Duko some info. So Alison obliges — Sarah will be at a comic book shop called The Rabbit Hole tonight.

Donnie won’t be entirely safe until Duko confirms that Sarah is actually there, so while Alison continues rehearsing Jesus Christ Super Star, Donnie is getting casually beaten up in his jail cell. Just as things are starting to look bad, Sarah arrives just like Alison said and Duko follows her right into the shop.

However Art, Siobhan and Sarah were one step ahead of him and Duko walks right into their trap. He calls off the Neolutionist and Donnie is safe. Over at the church Felix signals to Alison that everything when A-OK.

Unless, of course, you’re Detective Duko. He gets tied down to a chair and Siobhan is so ready to fuck him up that Art and Sarah agree to leave her to it.

Siobhan: “Show me a scenario where Evie Cho stops coming after my family.”

Duko explains that Evie Cho has a plan to put her bot into millions of people under the guise of gene therapy, and considers Sarah a threat. But that’s all that Duko can offer Siobhan, so she kills him.

When Sarah arrives at the lab the next morning, Cosima explains they breakthrough they’ve been waiting for that they have to make a Sarah and Ira baby in order to recreate Kendall’s biology. But to do it, Cosima has to go to Susan’s lab.

Rachel expresses that she wants to work with Susan and Sarah to restore Susan as the head of Neolution, but as she’s saying this the vision reappears — this time the dismembered head of the swan. The episode ends with Cosima taking a helicopter North to Susan’s lab.

Scott: “I just want you to find a cure.”

Cosima: “We will.”

EPISODE REVIEW

This episode was a vast improvement from last week. Emotional, well-paced and with an impressive blend of humour and heart-wrench. In the world of Orphan Black it’s really nice to see an episode that’s almost entirely uplifting, as lately we’ve been pretty downtrodden around here. But finally, as we approach the end of the season, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Sarah and Cosima made it through their dark moments, Delphine may well be alive, and there’s a still a chance to find a cure. Which is a very good thing because at this point in time Cosima is no longer the only clone who desperately needs it.

We’ve seen that Charlotte is sick already, and the always-cheery Rachel is just counting down the days until she too develops a cough, but this week we found out that MK is back in the picture and willing to help because she too is in need of the cure. After disappearing with 3.7 million dollars, which she claimed to Sarah is well-invested, it was a surprise to see her reach out again with such dedicated research to aid Sarah and Cosima in their investigations. However it’s hard to trust MK entirely, since we can see that her motivations aren’t entirely selfless. Here’s hoping she stays true to the sestras and doesn’t betray them again.

I mentioned last week that I was worried Donnie’s jail stint would overshadow Alison’s own development, but by golly was I wrong and I’m so happy about it. It’s clear that Donnie has become a creator favorite given how often the writers have been using him lately, so to see them pull back and bring Alison into the spotlight again was nothing short of glorious. I watched this episode with my mom and we both remarked how utterly impressive Tatiana Maslany’s Jesus Christ Superstar scene was, not because she’s Broadway worthy but because I forget EVERY FUCKING TIME that Alison and Sarah are played by the same person.

Not only that but the scene itself where we’re waiting for find out Donnie’s fate was effortlessly constructed. To take a suburban husband getting punched in a tiny prison cell and a ladies’ church group musical rehearsal and make me feel the emotional range of seeing Frodo and Sam make it out of Mordor was incredible. I just felt so relieved for Donnie and proud of Alison for sticking with her sestras and doing what was best for everyone. Sing your heart out, girl. Own that shit.

A nitpick — what’s up with Scott having to clean up the blood after Siobhan killed Duko?! In what universe does he deserve that job? Maybe he really is just a super nice and sacrificial dude who offered to do it, but nobody was helping him either despite there being multiple people around who could have assisted with that. Poor Scott. I always feel for that guy.

And a highlight — Kira was thankfully not an Annoying Mysterious Child in this episode and actually did some helpful things in a very straightforward way like announcing MK wanted to talk and telling Sarah IMMEDIATELY that Siobhan had gone off with a gun.

Two episodes left, y’all. Helena is back in Episode 9 so I’m sure we’ll get to talk about her adventures next week. Plus, Cosima and Rachel interacting once again is bound to be fun. But the most important question, in wake of the continuous lesbian deaths — in one of these final two episodes, are we going to get the Cosima and Delphine reunion we deserve?

 

All images courtesy of BBC America. 

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Erin Latimer is writer whose specialties include film analysis, television and gaming reviews, and re-examining movies from her childhood through a lens of feminist fan practices and queer theory.

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