Orphan Black, Season 3, Episode 8, “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method”
Written by Graeme Manson and Chris Roberts
Directed by Aaron Morton
Airs Saturdays at 9pm (ET) on BBC America
The events of the past few weeks, particularly Paul blowing up the Castor laboratory and Cosima relapsing, brought the focus of the Clone Club back to Project Leda and Dyad. There was an added ray of hope with Scott’s discovery that Rachel is familiar with the symbols in Duncan’s copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau. This week’s episode sees Sarah try to execute a risky maneuver to try and gain Rachel’s cooperation, while details of another clone are revealed, in a strong episode that introduces some new character dynamics.
It’s interesting to hear Sarah invoke Beth in her desire to get ahead of Castor and Leda. Sarah’s not wrong in her assertion that the Clone Club has been playing defensively for a long time, starting with trying to figure out the monitors, then figure out Dyad, and now getting a handle on Castor. At this point, it’s clear that the threats are not going to stop coming, and Sarah’s desire to try and get the upper hand speaks to both the strength of her character and how much her role has evolved among the clone sisters. It would have been easy for Sarah to take a step back after the torture she endured at Castor, as Cosima herself points out, but her insistence on getting back to the fight is a strong indicator of the character’s resilience, the kind of resilience that makes her an ideal successor to Beth as the unofficial leader of the Clone Club. Sarah’s maturity and growth into the role has also been fascinating to see over the course of the series. Her willingness to go to any lengths to help her clone sisters has been on clear display with the way she went after Helena this season, but given that Sarah got into this situation simply as a way to escape by assuming Beth’s identity, her embrace of the role she has to play, despite the threats it has brought about to the non-clone people in her life she loves, speaks to who Sarah is as a person. Her unflagging spirit and willingness to put the well-being of her clone sisters ahead of her own makes her a formidable opponent to Castor, especially in their weakened condition, and how things shape up in London will be interesting to see.
Rachel ending up in the clutches of Castor is also an intriguing development. The idea of Castor and Leda working together, as they must have to have transferred Rachel, is a fascinating idea on its own, particularly given Castor’s weakened state. The events of the episode raise several questions, and it will be exciting to see how the show resolves them. The chief question that comes from the interaction is what Dyad hopes to gain from working with Castor. In their diminished state, Castor is unlikely to be able to provide much in the way of compensation, especially given their lack of funds, which makes convincing Dyad members to spy or defect much more difficult. The one thing Castor will be able to provide Dyad is the cure to whatever’s ailing the Castor and Leda clones, which is something Dyad could have extracted themselves from Rachel once they learned of the existence of the book. Thus, the cooperation has to be for a deeper reason than what’s glimpsed this episode. The way events unfold also bring up the question of how much Delphine knows. If she’s truly unaware of the switch with Krystal and the subsequent handover of Rachel to Castor, then she may have been telling the truth all along about being the buffer between the clones and the more dangerous elements of Dyad. This, in turn, may mean that she can be brought onboard as an ally, and may prove to be a valuable one to Clone Club. The other option, of course, is that Delphine is well aware of this situation, and may have had a hand in it herself, a scenario that’s somewhat plausible, given her knowledge of the escape attempted by Scott, and her veiled threats to Rachel throughout the episode. If this is the case, then Delphine may be the most dangerous member of Dyad, and how Cosima reacts upon learning this information, if true, will be worth keeping an eye out for.
Overall, this is an episode that does a great job of snapping every character to focus. Krystal proves to be a fascinating addition to the clone team this week, both in her ability to see beyond what people may give her credit for, and her situation at the end of the episode. While Sarah argues against revealing Krystal’s true nature to her, Sarah’s primary argument revolves around not getting Krystal involved in the mess, a line of reasoning that’s rendered moot by the end of the episode. Hopefully Krystal doesn’t spend the rest of her life in the basement, and is given a chance to be a part of Clone Club, as there’s a strong chance she’ll become a strong part of the team. The addition of Helena and Grace to Alison’s team is also an exciting development. While Alison’s campaign and her turn towards drug-dealing has felt independent from the main storyline revolving around Castor, it has nonetheless been fun to watch, and Helena’s entrance is bound to shake things up. With Jason getting violent against Donnie this week, the Hendrix family appears to be in need of an enforcer, a role that Helena can fill quite well. Whether or not she does so, and what Alison’s stand is, will shape how events unfold in this storyline. Seeing Helena and Alison interact more is also likely to be a delight. Grace’s addition, in the meantime, not only gives Alison a subordinate who’s excellent at taking and executing orders, it also opens the door for further interactions between Helena and Grace, this time not influenced by the Proletheans. What shape these interactions take, as well as what Rachel’s translations of Duncan’s writing yields, will be worth tuning in for as the season moves to a conclusion.