So that happened. We’ve only known about Orphan Black’s Castor line of clones for just a few episodes, but we’re already getting some hints as to how they are linked to our familiar Leda clone crew. But of course, there’s a lot of science and betrayal on the way to the latest discovery.
Family is always a major theme of Orphan Black, but this episode, “Formalized, Complex, and Costly,” hits that theme hard, for obvious reasons. But first, there’s the dead Castor clone in Felix’s bathtub to deal with. Felix suggests calling the shadiest person they know — good old Mrs. — for help, but Sarah nixes that idea.
Art shows up before they can figure out a plan (once again, hazards of everyone always hanging out in Felix’s apartment), and he’s naturally freaked out to discover a Mark-faced corpse in the place. He only backs off when Cosima steps in and says she needs to autopsy the body.
Although the actual autopsy causes Lieutenant Commander Scotty to loose his Dyad-approved lunch.
We learn a bit more about Art this episode and why he’s gone to such great lengths for Clone Club. He was in love with Beth (no big surprise there since he planted evidence for her), and feels guilty that he didn’t pay attention when she tried to explain what was going on, writing it off as part of her drug-addled state.
Art sees a lot of Beth in Sarah, and when he tells her that she’s Beth’s sister, through and through, he doesn’t just mean that they look alike. It’s Sarah’s attitude, her drive to help her sisters that makes her family in Art’s eyes.
Meanwhile, Mark and Gracie have formed a little family of their own, a family of choice. Gracie is initially treats everything outside the Prolethean compound with eyes of wonder. Buying pastries from a Sikh fellow is clearly a major life event.
Things get slightly more complicated, however, after Mark and Gracie consummate their marriage. He doesn’t tell his bride that he’s a clone — an abomination in her eyes — but he does confess that he didn’t actually go AWOL from the military. Instead he was sent as a spy to recover some scientific information that Henrik stole. It makes sense; if Henrik had intel on Leda, chances are he had something on Castor as well.
Gracie’s not exactly thrilled that Mark deceived her, but she’s also kind of stuck. Mark was the only person (besides Helena) who stood up for her after her father implanted his own embryo in her womb. So she agrees to see an associate of her father’s, Willard Finch, whom Mark believes may hold the original Castor samples.
Gracie’s biological family doesn’t put much stock in her (except as breeding stock). By the end of the episode, her own mother will call her stupid. But in actuality, Gracie isn’t stupid. She knows just how scary her father is, and when Willard Finch tries to extort money from her in exchange for (what he claims is) a box that belonged to her father, Gracie uses that Prolethean intimidation to great effect.
Then there’s another family of choice: Team Hendrix.
The Murder Hendrixes are now the Drug-Dealing Hendrixes, and they couldn’t be happier. I was sure that Alison would come up with a brilliant way to package Ramon’s illicit pharmaceuticals, and she didn’t let me down. The pair have opened up an artisanal soap business as a cover. The Hendrixes are financially and socially on top again.
I do wonder, though, what happens when they run out of Ramon’s inventory? Is this pills and soap business just a temporary gig until Alison gets elected school board trustee? Or will they try to turn this into a long-term career?
We also see a bit more of the Castor family. Last week, it seemed like Rudy was being slightly ironic when he referred to Dr. Coady as “Mother.” But now it’s clear that that’s exactly how he views her. He craves her approval and her comfort — amidst a very scary time for the Castor clones. Paul may respect the Castor guys as fellow soldiers and have authority over them, but Dr. Coady has the power that comes with motherhood.
Helena may have been temporarily separated from her family, but the only Leda clone without any familial ties at the moment is Rachel. Leekie and Ethan are both dead, and the only people she’s interacting with are Dr. Nealon, who is treating her aphasia, and Delphine, who stole a play from Rachel’s book and claimed the pro-clone died in a plane crash.
Nealon also seems to be testing Rachel to see what, if anything, she knows about Castor. Of course, Topside has good reason to suspect her at this point.
In the course of their investigation, Art and Sarah learn that Henrik impregnated by Helena and Gracie with Henrik-Helena babies, and they also find their way to Willard Finch’s property. While Mark, sure that Finch is holding back something of Henrik’s, goes to torture the guy, Sarah finds Gracie alone in a diner. And Sarah reveals the one thing Mark has been holding back from his bride: that he’s a clone.
Gracie is willing to accept a lot of things. She’s willing to accept her conflicted feelings about Helena and carrying Helena’s baby. She’s willing to accept that Mark lied to her and to her family. But she can’t accept that she married a clone. She’s decided that Mark can’t be her family any more and goes back, reluctantly, into the Prolethean fold.
Just moments before Sarah catches up with Mark, she receives a revelation of her own. Cosima and Scott ran Seth’s DNA and discovered that the Castor clones are the genetic brothers of the Leda clones. The Leda and Castor originals were siblings.
By the way, anyone weirdly annoyed by the mythological asymmetry of naming the projects “Leda” and “Castor.” Leda, after all, had two divine children, Pollux and Helen, and two mortal children, Castor and Clytemnestra. No one else? Just me?
Anyway, Sarah confronts Mark with this information, but he doesn’t have much time to process it. Gracie’s momma, Bonnie Johanssen, appears on the scene with a shotgun. You thought pissing off Mrs. S was bad? Bonnie hunts Mark down and kills him for betraying her family and (in her mind) defiling her daughter.
Bye, Mark. Now the question is, with all this talk of family, will Castor and Leda be able to form a family themselves? Or will their similarities remain at the genetic level?