About halfway into this week’s of Orphan Black, I found myself thinking that this was a pretty straightforward season finale. Then, just a few minutes later, I suddenly gasped and screamed, “Holy fuck!” at my screen. Let’s talk about this fresh madness, shall we?
I should have realized that this episode, “History Yet to be Written,” was going to have plenty of oomph when Rachel woke up in her pretty, stuffed finch-filled prison.
Rachel quickly realizes that something’s amiss, not just because no one is answering her commanding shouts, but because it turns out that she doesn’t have a perfectly matched prosthetic eye. Instead, she discovers that she has one white eye — much like Neolution’s Freaky Leekies.
But most of the episode is occupied by the latest Clone Club scheme. Everyone gets involved in the plan to get Kendall’s DNA to Dyad and eliminate the remaining Castor threat. Sarah and Delphine make a deal with Ferdinand, trading Kendall’s DNA for Ferdinand’s services as assassin.
Ferdinand is really the breakout character in this episode. (Although Donnie gets points for finding Jesse of Jesse’s Towing as a gift for Helena.) When he was first introduced, I thought he has just another version of Daniel, but his insight into Rachel and his naked ambition make him much more interesting. Rachel may think she’s a tough clone cookie, but Ferdinand has her number: She’s actually quite brittle, always on the verge of breaking.
Anyway, back to the scheme. We’ve got Cosima winning over the gruff Kendall with gratitude. Alison plays decoy on election day, luring Rudy to the Hendrixes’s garage. While Mark pretends to be Rudy in order to draw Dr. Coady into Ferdinand’s line of fire, Helena and Rudy play a live version of Mortal Combat.
Naturally, Helena wins. She’s a dirtier fighter and Rudy was already in the process of shorting out.
As he’s dying, Rudy reaches out for Helena, reaching out for some kind of human contact, some kind of human understanding. Helena, true to form, manages to have compassion for Rudy even as she matter-of-factly calls a rapist spade a rapist spade. Yes, she understands that they had similar upbringings, that they were both treated as human weapons. But Helena broke out of that mindset and made her own choices, while Rudy didn’t hesitate to abuse women at the behest of his Castor masters. She tenderly strokes his brow, but reminds Rudy exactly what he is as he slips into unconsciousness.
So Rudy’s dead. Cody’s dead. Topside is willing to accept Kendall’s DNA without taking Kendall herself into custody. Big win for Clone Club, right? Not quite.
After learning that the supposedly comatose Rachel is actually Krystal (thankfully with her left eye still intact), Delphine confronts Dr. Nealon. Nealon informs Delphine that Neolution isn’t just some body modification movement that gave Leekie and excuse to deliver self-important TED Talks; it’s real mad science.
This is where I started swearing at my computer:
Delphine knows too much now, and she quickly accepts that she’s done for. But she’s as cool-headed as ever, telling Sarah that Neoloution has been running the whole Leda-Castor show and that Ferdinand is simply a pawn. Ferdinand’s response is kind of hilarious; he bashes his Neolutionist assistant’s skull in with a baseball, railing against the whole philosophy with each smack. (The comedic musical score underneath is also brilliant.) He then dismisses the Malone-Sadler-Manning clan, telling them he’ll be in touch.
Speaking of Kendall and Siobhan, it’s nice to know that Siobhan adopting Sarah wasn’t a coincidence, and I’m glad we’ve finally filled in the blanks on Siobhan’s dark past. If we’re opening up a new can of mystery worms, it’s good to have the old worms settled.
Now it’s time for Delphine to settle her business and say her goodbyes. So...I guess Shay isn’t a spy? She’s just some random Internet date? I’m weirdly disappointed. But Delphine’s final kiss with Cosima was a tender one. I never expected that Delphine would be the first of the pair to die.
But die she does. She’s headed to her car when she realizes someone is behind her and turns around with resignation. It’s someone she knows, but we don’t see who. We just see the bullet wound appear on her chest and watch her sink to the ground. Adieu, puppy.
Meanwhile, Helena gets a version of the family meal she envisioned in the season premiere, but with a much bigger family than she anticipated. She had to supply her own babka bread, though. And after the family dinner, Sarah reunites with Kira in Iceland, with Siobhan and Kendall in tow. It’s a happy moment, in stark contrast to the other family reunion.
Someone finally comes to visit Rachel, and it’s Charlotte, the young Leda clone whom Marion Bowles adopted. Charlotte tells Rachel that “she” said Rachel would be her new mother. Hardly does Rachel ask who “she” is when the culprit appears: Susan Duncan, alive and well.
To be honest, I don’t know what to make of all these new developments. The appears of male clones in last season’s finale felt like a natural progression, but this? This is an, ahem, evolutionary leap. New science means new rules, and it’s hard to picture where the show will go from here. And I do worry that this bigger, weirder science will overwhelm the comparatively simple idea of human clones and the show’s themes of identity and family. But I do like the possibilities this opens up for existing plot line and characters: Was the Castor bioweapon made deliberately? Has Marion been grooming Charlotte for Neolution this entire time?
And you can bet that I’ll be tuning in next season to find out how this latest insanity plays out.