Orphan Black sent a few of its characters abroad this week in search of answers — and boy, did they find a big, weird one. But the best storyline of the week happens at home, when one of our Leda clones makes a very deep — and violent — familial connection.
From the moment that we learned that Sarah Manning was a clone, we’ve been wondering: Who is she a clone of? Well, we get our answer in “Insolvent Phantom Of Tomorrow,” when Sarah, Felix, and Siobhan go to London in search of the Castor original, the person Rachel attached to a specific number.
In London, we get a peek into Siobhan’s past life, but at this point, there are no real surprises. Sure, Felix and Sarah are amused to learn that Siobhan was hooking up with Carlton, but we the TV viewing audience already knew that. This is basically the Siobhan we’ve been piecing together for three seasons: the political rebel with dangerous friends.
What we do learn is that she used to sing in a band. In fact, she belts out a number that is Sons of Anarchy-levels of on-the-nose while her pal is getting pummeled to death by awful Ferdinand’s lackey. Clearly, the Topside cleaner doesn’t want Siobhan getting to the Castor original.
But before the fellow dies, he reveals to Siobhan the owner of the Castor number, someone that Siobhan knows quite well: her own mother, Kendall, who murdered Siobhan’s husband.
It wouldn’t be Orphan Black if the revelation of the Castor original didn’t come with a strange biological twist, and this one is a doozy. It turns out that the Castor and the Leda clones have the same progenitor, and she just happens to be a genetic chimera. It’s weirdly perfect.
It also means that Sarah and Siobhan really are biologically related. I’ve idly wondered in the past if Siobhan was the original simply because she and Sarah look so much alike. But as the series continued, that didn’t seem to be one of Siobhan’s secrets. But this revelation explains it; Siobhan isn’t the original herself, but the original’s daughter. What a tangled family tree Orphan Black has sprouted.
So cool, one more mystery solved. But the really neat stuff is happening back in Ontario, where Helena has settled into life with the Hendrixes. This may actually be the happiest we’ve seen Helena, and it certainly comes closest to the fantasy she envisioned in the season’s first episode. For one thing, she adores Alison and Donnie’s kids, even if she doesn’t intuit what are appropriate activities for suburban children.
Gracie is, in theory, settling in, too, but she’s clearly preparing to flee. Everyone around her is too distracted to notice her flimsy lies about having a doctor’s appointment.
But the strongest, most surprising bond that Helena forms is with Donnie. Helena has an antagonistic history even with most of the men she trusts — Art, Felix, Mark — but she’s immediately comfortable with Donnie and his dad-ness. The occasional drug deal or corpse disposal aside, Donnie is basically a good guy who adores his wife and kids and wants nothing from Helena.
Much like Felix found his purpose in being a brother, Donnie has found his purpose in refocusing his efforts on his family. So when he realizes that Pouchy’s people have taken Helena’s embryos, he marches back into the scary drug dealer’s den — the place where he risked losing his nose just a few episodes back — to recover them. Because that’s what dads do.
It’s amazing that, as many family members as Helena collects throughout Orphan Black, it’s still incredibly satisfying to watch her form a new bond. My heart melted when Helena adopted Gracie as her sister, but I practically cheered at Helena’s wide-eyed smile when Donnie said she was part of his family now.
Of course, that bond comes with a little blood. Not Donnie’s blood or Helena’s blood — the drug cartel’s blood. Despite her insistence that she “walk[s] a different path” now that she’s pregnant, Helena hulks out when Pouchy’s niece threatens Donnie’s kids. Ah, threatening kids in Helena’s presence, not a mistake Pouchy and company will make twice. Because they’re dead. And Helena steals a freezer load of drug money once she’s done. That won’t further complicate the Hendrixes lives.
Then there’s our third and final story of the evening, the Cosima/Delphine/Shay mess. After Cosima reads the file Delphine has assembled on Shay, she realizes that Shay was in the military and further suspects that she’s the Castor mole responsible for informing on Scott. Delphine gets majorly scary here. If there was any question that life at the top of Dyad has changed her and twisted her love for Cosima, that has flown out the window. Delphine shows up at Shay’s (suspiciously nice) apartment with a small army and threatens to kill her while making her death look like a suicide.
A phone call from Gracie, who has defected to Castor so she can be with Mark for the rest of his potentially short life, grants Shay a reprieve, but she’s not exactly off the hook. After all, Gracie wasn’t in the lab when Cosima stuff The Island of Doctor Moreau into Scott’s backpack, and Shay’s very presence in Cosima’s life is still very suspicious. But I imagine we’ll learn the truth, or something close to it, in next week’s season finale.