I have watched this week’s Orphan Black episode, “Certain Agony Of The Battlefield,” written by Aubrey Nealon and I am still not ready. I do not think I ever will be. Since this is still fresh in my mind and in the minds of all the Clone Club members, I want to first mention (MAJOR SPOILER HERE) how much I am going to miss Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierden.
As I wepped leading up to, through and after his final scenes, I immediately went to look at the first episode of Orphan Black again as if it wasn’t real. I spent all day Sunday re-watching old episodes. As if I and 11 million Clone Club members did not just watch him perish, but man I have to be honest. I think the writers did Dylan and Paul justice with his exit. What a way to go…the music, his declaration to Sarah and the calm understanding and determination on his face as he set out to make things right. Oh, boy…I’m re-living it.
It is time to move on with this week’s review, more sappy-saps later. However, this week’s review will be Paul centric because it did revolve around his exit as well as note several predictions I have for the remainder of the season.
In this week’s episode we saw Sarah get visits by three aspirations, almost like manifestations of the three ghost from a Christmas Carol as a result of being injected with one of her, more than less psychotic, Castor-Clone-brother, Rudy’s blood upon Dr. Coady’s orders. In addition to the hallucinations, Sarah’s health uncontrollably takes a turn for the worst.
After meeting with Benchman to discuss the ‘intimacy’ journal he found with Parsons’ belongings, Paul is advised to collect more information about the journals and Dr. Coady’s unsanctioned experiments and returns to the camp to find Sarah in the medical tent.
Despite her insistence that Dr. Coady has done something to make her sick, Paul remains distant and focused on figuring out what Dr. Coady has been up to since he left and went undercover at Dyad. Paul’s quests lead him to discover that Dr. Coady has been keeping all of her secret research in her room. So, Paul approaches Mark to assistant him with discovering what exactly it is that Dr. Coady has been hiding.
Back On The Home Front with Felix and Ms. S, the two are still at a loss as to where Sarah is being held. Determined to get some answers on the whereabouts of his sister, Felix decides to pressure Scott to take him to see Rachel after he drops Gracie off at the Dyad Institute for further test on her mysterious condition.
With the return of Delphine, Cosima has a hard time adjusting to her ex’s sudden reappearance and an even harder time learning that Delphine noticed a striking connection between Seth’s brain and Gracie’s aliment.
Paul and Mark shockingly discover from Dr. Coady’s research that the Castor clones defect is sexually transmitted to the women they sleep with and realize that Dr. Coady is using Sarah as a guinea pig to see how she handles the disease.
Convinced that he has gathered all of the proof he needs to have Dr. Coady and her people arrested and put an end to her “sterilization” experiments, Paul calls it in to Benchman. Unaware that Benchman knows about the defect being contagious when Dr. Coady points out that the LEDA and CASTOR clones each carry the same aliment, or defect, only it attacks the “boys’ brains and the girls’ epithelial tissues.” And some how it was engineered into their DNA.
Once a call to Arlington confirms that Paul is being set up, in true protector form, his first move is making sure Sarah is out of harms way before Rudy’s undoubtedly stealth attack on him and those loyal to Paul in the camp.
Unfortunately, a near fatal run in with Miller forces Paul’s hand and he sends Sarah off on her own to get away. Though I have a feeling Paul knew before Miller wounded him that he wasn’t going to leave the camp with Sarah; there was a nano second on the phone with Benchman, where Paul falls silent.
In that brief second, I believe it was here Paul knew what he was going to do. Once Miller is down and Paul gets Sarah to safety, he heads back to the room where the original Castor samples are along with all of Dr. Coady’s research and waits for her and Rudy to arrive. In a final attempt to show leniency, Paul gives Dr. Coady an ultimatum to stick to curing her boys and stopping her ‘sterilization’ experiment.
Unwilling to give up her research, Dr. Coady opens fire on Paul. Prepared for his death and Dr. Coady’s refusal to comply to his demands, Paul uses his last bit of strength to remove a bandage from his stab wound, dropping an unpinned grenade to the ground destroying the research, the Castor samples, and the camp.
Highlights In This Week’s Episode:
Beth & Sarah:
Visited by her last and final aspiration/ghost, Sarah has a heart-to-heart with her late sister-clone Beth whom we have not been able to see much from since the beginning of the series aside from the rare glimpses in a few old videos.
It was not only refreshing to see the real Beth on screen next to Sarah, but I thought it was cathartic not only for Sarah who has never been this far down the rabbit hole of the clone world, but also for us the viewers. In Beth, I noticed bits of Sarah, Alison and Cosima–and not in a they are all played by the same person sort of way. Sarah admits to her fear of constant failure and her inability to properly fill Beth’s shoes.
From this scene, Beth seemed like she was the eldest sister of the Clone Club and she carried a lot of weight on her shoulders for her sister clones. Her talk with Sarah made me realize that as much as we learned Beth knew, there was probably a whole lot more that we will never know that she knew or discovered. Moreover, the weight of that truth was too much for her to carry in the end.
Beth and Sarah’s scene also brought things full circle since the beginning of Orphan Black; the expansion of the show, the characters, and the storylines all started with Beth’s suicide. That led Sarah to step into her shoes where she met Paul, Cosima, Helena, and Alison.
For the writers to mirror that event in this scene, Beth takes off her shoes—they seem heavy as she places them onto the table one at a time. She walks away from Sarah, with that detached and distant look in her eyes. A light appears, growing brighter; mimicking the light of an approaching train, it signals that their time together is about to end. Then Beth walks forward and into the light of the approaching train.
It was a reminder, that she (Sarah) was not finished. The mirrored scene took us back to the beginning. The war and the battle is not over.
Donnie & Alison:
I decided to leave them out of the synopsis because, as I said I wanted to keep it as Paul centric as possible and also because I found their scenes to be the funniest and the most light-hearted as they generally (always) are on the show. I also saw their scenes to be the springboards for the up and coming episode on May 30th, this Saturday, in which we get to see our drug lords tackle the next big step in their operation, purchasing a bubble store? Haha, well after seeing this:
I cannot say that Alison and Donnie are the most predictable duo, regardless of how these two goofs may appear.
New Clone Club Members:
Mark & Gracie- Following Paul’s death, I think that Mark will ultimately converge over to the clone club due to his discovery of the defect affecting those they sleep with and the guilt I am sure he will carry for its effect on Gracie. Moreover, with Gracie being shunned by her own family but finding a new safe haven with Ms. S and the clone club I see her devotion and loyalty to them growing stronger.
Helena & Her Scorpion:
I cannot begin to express how gratifying it was to watch Helena part ways with her talking scorpion sidekick by taking the little mongrel by the tail and eating it. I found the scorpion to be a representation of Helena’s former life when she was on her own and didn’t have anyone who cared or worried about her. She found that in Sarah and when she downed the scorpion it was like a wake up call for her and that’s the reason she went back to the camp to get Sarah when she did.
Cosima & Shay OR Cosima & Delphine?
With the return of Delphine in this week’s episode, it appeared only Cosima was affected by their close proximity and sudden interaction after the break-up. Cosima and Shay have certainly taken things to the next level and she seems happy, but when Delphine admittedly told Cosima that she missed her, I began to falter a bit. It was even hard to watch Delphine look over surveillance photos and footage of Cosima and Shay together because you could tell how much it was hurting her to see Cosima with someone else.
I do think that Cosima is rushing things with Shay so that she can get over Delphine quicker, but I also feel like the two of them mesh well together. So, I am torn at the moment.
An Un-expected Ally?
Rachel– After her ordeal last season when Sarah jammed that pencil into her eye and this season with her confined rehabilitation, the short scenes we saw this week showed the most broken and an vulnerable we of Rachel that we have ever seen. From Felix’s harsh attempts at trying to get Rachel to give him some information about where the Castor camp was located, Rachel cracked almost immediately under his scrutiny. Felix and Scott leave, but not before Scott discovers one of Rachel’s watercolor paintings bared the same markings of those in Dr. Duncan’s coded book Cosima showed him.
Rachel was unaware that Scott took the painting because, the Queen B is coming to terms with the fact that she has fallen from her thrown and found herself alone; hidden away in a tiny room inside Dyad Institute where she has no power, no human interaction, no freedom and no family or friends. The life she made for herself as the golden-child of Dyad has suddenly become her living tomb.
The episode ended on the broken, porcelain doll as she worked on another watercolor painting, shedding tears over a photo of her and her adoptive father Dr. Duncan. This scene represented the sad, little girl inside of Rachel wanting some reminiscence of her former life back, but in a way it also represented the Clone Club’s current reactions to the prior scene with Paul’s death.
Saving the best for last, Paul’s confession to Sarah in the final sequence at the camp was heartbreaking. Members of Clone Club know that Paul has always cared for Sarah and to have him admit that despite his two-year relationship with Beth prior to Sarah’s arrival, it was never Beth he loved.
Would I have liked to have seen Paul and Sarah kiss one last time? Yes, but if they did I might be even more of a mess than I am now, so I am happy with the way they left it. Because in his final moments Paul proved he was always a good guy who only wanted to do the right thing and lived by a code of honor. He also proved that he was on LEDA’s, Sarah’s, and the entire Clone Club’s side. Dare I say–Paul was hero material.
Episode rating: 10/10, by far the best build up and climatic episode in this season. The writers gave us a lot of answers in this episode, left us with a few more questions and took a little bit of our hearts away with the loss of Paul, but it was a fantastic ride and I can not wait until the next episode.
Until the next episode,