Orphan Black S04E02 “Transgressive Border Crossing” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Netflix, New epsiodes every Fridays
Writer: Russ Cochrane
Director: John Fawcett
Essential Plot Points:
- Sarah, Kira, Mrs S and Kendall leave the house in Iceland in a hurry, as Neolution are approaching. Mrs S burns the place down.
- They arrive back home and go to see Cosima, who has set up a lab in the basement of a comic shop. She isn’t doing too well, but is happy to see them – and Kendall, whose blood she needs for her research.
- Scott discovers that Kendall has leukaemia, but promises to keep it secret.
- Helena and Donnie go for a baby scan and discover she’s having twins.
- Sarah goes on a quest to find out what Beth was working on before she died, hoping it will lead her to MK. Watching surveillance footage from Beth’s house, she spots the girlfriend of the body-mod guy from last week talking to Beth, and she realises she might find the girl at Club Neolution.
- Felix goes with her to the club, although he’s prickly. Turns out he’s feeling left out – legitimately, really, given that Sarah is related to everybody and he isn’t – and is searching for his birth family.
- Sarah is mistaken for MK by a guy who shows her video footage of a maggot-bot, but he realises it’s not the right woman. Sarah steals his phone and goes to meet MK based on a text message.
- Success! MK calls Sarah, telling her she feels bad for getting Beth killed. MK is twitchy and won’t meet her face to face, though. And wisely so, as Sarah is suddenly cornered by the two paramedics who were digging maggot-bots out of victims’ faces last week!
- The EMS guy holds Sarah down, inspects her cheek…. and then lets her go, saying she’s the wrong girl. They were after MK, not her.
- Horrified, Sarah realises she must have been implanted with a maggot-bot when she was held at Dryad. She rushes home and asks Mrs S to check – and yup, there’s a worm in her cheek, alright. Ewwwwww.
“Mummy, they’re coming,” says Kira at the start of this episode, and it’s creepy as all hell because (a) little kids saying portentous things in TV and films are always creepy; and (b) she knows before she sees them. Well, that’s something we’ll wonder about later, along with those other odd things Kira’s done over the years. Instead, we have to say that after last week’s cliffhanger – with Sarah getting the phone call about Neolution being about to raid her Iceland home – there’s a bit of a let-down this week when the raid just ends up with everybody putting on a coat, grabbing a bag and then setting a fire. No fight? No showdown? Not very threatening in the end, despite Kira’s moody pronouncement. Pah.
Once Sarah has returned home and has reconnected with her seestras and friends, however, we get a solid, interesting episode with plenty of amusing one-liners (“Is that a penis?” “In art it’s called a phallus, darling”) and some truly riveting twists and turns. After last week’s full-length flashback episode, here we’re on far more familiar ground, although we’re still given one or two glimpses into Beth’s final hours. It’s nice to see her getting her chance to shine after more than three seasons – we’ve often wanted exactly what the final straw was that drove her to kill herself. From this, it really does look as though either she’s killed someone, or was at least close enough to get blood all over her… intriguing. Will we see more, or is that it for now? Either way, Sarah’s doing a damn fine job of following up the case of the body modified corpse which had Beth so tormented.
As always, Helena’s a demented joy, and it’s really rather lovely watching her face soften as she realises she’s having twins. Cosima isn’t doing too well, but faithful Scott is by her side, as always, and their new underground lair is a scream – entered through a comic shop named “The Rabbit Hole” hosted by someone named “Hellwizard”. “Secret lab under a comic-book shop,” grins Cosima. “What more could a girl want, huh?” (A cure to her illness would be good, of course.)
We still don’t know much about MK, except that she seems scared and vulnerable as she begs Beth not to leave her, and of course now she blames herself for her death. Terrified and twitchy, she’s very much like the sheep she wears as a mask, and it’ll be interesting to see how far Sarah and the others can draw her out. It also seems her accent is Scandinavian – those EMSs certainly spoke something that sounded Nordic (anyone reading this know what it was? Sadly our knowledge is limited to the odd “Takk”, Sarah Lund-style). Incidentally, it seems an odd choice to make MK a dark-haired Scandinavian hacker, given the popularity of the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Are we supposed to be thinking about Lisbeth Salander…?
And then there’s that final reveal. Sarah has one of the maggot-bots implanted in her cheek – and she discovers this just hours after watching a video of what happens when someone tries to remove the worm by force (it doesn’t go well for the host). The shot of her cheek lit up from inside with the worm wiggling is truly stunning: bravo.
Next question: does Kira have one? And is that why she’s so spooky? Stay tuned…
- There’s some marvellous swearing contrasts this week. Kendall breaks out a “Christ on a cross!” and “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” while Alison, never one to say bad words, sees Felix’s bare bottom and blurts, “Shii…take mushrooms!”
- We also have to acknowledge that painting in the nuddy is a wise idea – it saves on clothes. So kudos to Felix for that one.
- Sometimes, with all the chaos surrounding the clones, it’s easy to forget that Sarah and Felix were brought up as siblings. When she greets him in the shower there’s a lovely reminder of this when he says, “Can you hand me the towels, please, so this gets a little less Flowers In The Attic?” This feeds in nicely to his later revelation about him looking for his birth family.
- For those who didn’t get the reference last week (we didn’t), MK’s mask is inspired by the world’s first clone, Dolly the sheep. “For the record, I do not find that even remotely amusing,” grumps Alison.
- “This looks like mush,” observes Helena as she stares at her baby on the monitor. And yes, this is exactly what everybody thinks when looking at a sonogram. Mush.
- Sudz & Tumble. What a glorious name for a laundromat!
- It seems to be a thing in Club Neolution to tattoo people next to the dance floor. That has to be hugely unhygienic, not to mention very distracting for the tattooist. A song they love comes on, they start jigging along without thinking and then oops! You suddenly have your partner’s name misspelled. Shouldn’t be allowed.
- We’re being ridiculously pedantic here (sorry), but Beth cuts up a plastic key card and flushes it down the loo… but it’s plastic. The bits would have just floated. That’s a really dumb way to rid yourself of something!
- We’re not sure whether to admire or be terrified by Alison’s anal pen placement on her desk. Just look at how neatly they’re lined up! No wonder she freaks out later when Helena starts doing some crafts herself…
- Best Quote: Nurse: “How are you feeling?”
Helena: “A little tired and many farts.”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson