EP 04X01: The Collapse of Nature
Writer’s note: I’m new to writing TV recaps, but I have always wanted to write about Orphan Black. It’s such a brilliant show. Most critics might write it off as just a show about clones, but its central message is more or less about what women’s bodily autonomy looks like at the hands of the government. I have enjoyed watching the past three seasons without fail, and Season Four will be no different.
The new season opens up with a girl walking at night in the woods with a sheep mask on. We soon found out that she is following two people–a Black woman and a White man, who were burying a body in a ditch. They proceeded to kiss each other. The couple sees the girl and tries to find her in the woods. As we learn her name is MK; she is another Leda clone. MK leaves a sticker on a tree to mark where she saw the couple hide the body and proceeds to run away as far as she can, determined not to be caught by the couple. Then we cut to another clone, Beth, whom we haven’t seen fully since Season 1.
At this point, this episode could already be identified as a flashback episode and we finally get to know more of Beth outside of her death, outside of her relationship with Paul, and of Sarah’s fever dream with her last season. Beth and MK had been communicating back and forth via text. In the bathroom scene, we discovered Beth had an addiction to prescription drugs, which it seem Paul had no knowledge about it. Beth proceeds to leave her apartment to meet with MK. We go back to where the sticker was placed in the woods. Beth investigated the area where the body was buried with Art and the rest of the police’s forensic team. They discovered the body in the bag was missing a piece of his jaw and his eyeball had been replaced with a lighter colored robotic lens, similar to Rachel’s new eye that we first saw last season. The forensic investigator also discovered that another part of his body had been modified as well; it’s a reproductive organ, if you need a hint. Beth received a call from our friendly and awesome scientist clone, Cosima, and she is calling for her and Alison to assist with her school finances at UC Berkeley. She admits that she changed schools to benefit her sestras more.
In the next scene, Art confronts Beth about her addiction at the diner and Beth is reluctant about receiving his help. Art is visibly concerned about Beth. Angie, another detective, shows up during this tender moment. (Sigh). Angie even knows something is up with Beth that she is not sharing. Beth and Art returned back to the precinct; while in the lobby, we see a younger Felix who had been arrested for solicitation and possession. It’s honestly weird that Felix, at that point, had never crossed paths with Beth because he is definitely the other clones’ honorary brother.
Back to Beth, she believed that Paul was cheating on her so she asked one of the tech guys if she could borrow some surveillance gear to install in her house. Beth’s supervisor asked her about her sources on the burial spot, but she doesn’t tell him that it was MK. In the next scene, Beth goes to this secret trailer where a lot of electronic equipment is stored to meet MK. But she is not there physically, but virtually. At this point, MK , by personality and accent, reminds me of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films. She’s careful, precise, shy, and very paranoid, but very trusting with Beth. Apparently, MK knew the deceased; his name was Base Pair 86, and he was a basic Neolutionist. She shared with Beth that Neolutionists placed tadpoles (or as I will loving prefer to as maggots) in people’s jaws to implant ideas to be carried out. She is concerned that Beth snitched on her to the police. But Beth assures MK that she didn’t tell her colleagues and that she doesn’t reveal sources. MK goes on to rant about how she surveils everyone that Beth is involved with, including Detective Art Bell. After leaving MK’s trailer, she heads out to a Neolutionist bar, where people are receiving body modifications, like the maggot and the eyeball lens. Beth proceeds to talk to a brunette- haired and pregnant girl who has her left eye modified, asking her about the tattoo artist’s services. Beth proceeds to pick up a copy of Dr. Leekie’s book on Neolution, and questions the girl who suggests that Neolution is about creating yourself. Meanwhile, a guy in the bar has been eyeballing (no pun intended) Beth since she arrived. Beth asks the guy about Based Pair 86 and then leaves.
Beth then calls and talks to my girl Alison, who had flowers delivered to Beth that had drugs hidden within them. We then see Leekie talking to the bar owner about Beth and how she needs a new monitor. Beth approaches Leekie with his book to sign as her cover to be at the Dyad Institute. But she boldly asks Leekie about the modified corpse and about Neolution itself. We also introduced to Dr. Evie Cho, who knows Beth is a clone. Beth returns to the precinct where she is kicked off the case and where her sobriety was tested. Beth gets the surveillance equipment and starts to place it around her loft. Then she cooks Paul dinner while high on the pills Alison gave her. Beth challenges Paul to be more present in their relationship, but sadly admits that she can’t have kids. She forces Paul into intimacy, which doesn’t go over well with him. Then she does something drastic–she pulls a gun on him while calling him hollow.
We next see Art with his daughter as Beth rings his doorbell. (By the way, has there been any mention of his daughter before now?) Beth stays over at Art’s place for the night. We have gotten to see Art and Beth’s romantic relationship from his viewpoint for the past few seasons, so it’s refreshing to see how Beth approached it. Beth wakes up from being in bed with Art to take a call from Trina, the pregnant girl she met earlier at the bar.
Trina tells her that her boyfriend was headed to see the interracial EMT couple from the opening scene. Trina directs Beth via phone to where to find her boyfriend. Beth see the EMTs’ ambulance parked in the alley and then goes searching for them. From a window, Beth sees Trina’s boyfriend laid on a surgical table surrounded by the EMTs and by someone else–a man with large rimmed glasses. They are attempting to take out the maggot implanted in Trina’s boyfriend’s cheek, which they did. Beth gets caught, and proceeds to run away. In fear, Beth shoots a innocent bystander by accident while running away in the alley. It’s fairly certain that Beth is inebriated while all of this is happening. She looks the woman in the eyes while she is dying and then vomits. She calls Art and tells him that she messed up. The death of the bystander, Margaret Chang, is now being investigated by Beth’s precinct.
Art tries to help Beth cover her tracks, but it doesn’t work. Beth finds out that the guy with the large rimmed glasses was Detective Tucco with the police union; she is very reluctant to trust him. MK is awaiting for Beth to come back, and Beth meets her at her trailer in the next scene. Beth admits that MK was right to be paranoid and that now she has no one to trust. Beth admits to MK that she shouldn’t have to look into Neolution or told the other clones about it, and MK attempts to comfort her.
Fast forward to the present, Sarah received a call from Art in the middle of the night. Sarah ended up talking to MK. She tells Sarah that the Neos know where she and her family was. This was a good flashback episode because we got to focus on Beth and her involvement in all that has happened. This season premiere set the tone of the season of how we will visit the expansive nature of Neolution. I’m eager to learn more about MK and Beth. I hope we get a glimpse of Katja as well, since we’re revisiting the deceased clones.
EP 04X02: Transgressive Border Crossing
We pick up where the last episode left off, with Sarah being told by MK that where she, Mr. S, Kira, and Ms. S’s mom were living had been found out by the Neolutionists. It can be assumed that Kira has the ability of premonitions. Upon the Neos’ arrival, she says to her mom that “they’re coming.” The Neos was approaching their home at the edge of the frozen tundra. Ms. S, being the savvy person she is, torches their home to leave no indication that any of them had lived there. Our little crew was off to a new home.
Next, we see Felix redecorating his loft and we cut to Alison being the perky exerciser she is. Then to Cosima, in her natural habitat — in the lab, presumably feeling sick and being in her feelings over Delphine’s disappearance. We see a delivery truck approach a comic shop, and off our little crew leaves the back of the truck. Kira continues to ask Sarah about her dad, but Kira doesn’t believe a word her mom says about her dad’s whereabouts. Kira drives off in the truck with Benjamin, a close confidante of Ms. S. Ms. S and Sarah go to a comic shop, which turns out to be a front for Cosima and Scott’s new laboratory. Cosima is visibly sicker than she was last season, but she is still curious, friendly, and funny as ever. Alison, Sarah, and Cosima are reunited via webcam in the next scene, discussing MK and Beth’s relationship. Meanwhile, Ms. S shares worries about Cosima’s health with Scott. Sarah figures out the best way to identity Neolutionists is to get to know MK and that the best way to get to MK is through meeting with Art. Art and Sarah went through Beth’s flat to find any evidence of Neolution and her paperwork; surprisingly, everything is till intact at her loft. Alison visit Felix while in all of his naked glory to scorn him about being missing from the sestras.
In another flashback, Beth had invited Detective Tucco back in the loft and he seems to know more about Beth than he let on. He tried to intimidate her because she knew too much about Neolution.
Then, we see Donnie taking our blonde killer marshmallow puff, Helena, to a doctor visit to check on her baby. Through her ultrasound session, she finds out she is having twins. (FYI: I almost cried at this part. I just want to see Helena happy.) Back at the comic shop, Cosima takes a sample of Ms. S’s mom’s blood again in hope to create a better gene therapy for Cosima. In their continued search in Beth’s loft, Sarah discovered her hidden stash of pills, which was tucked away under her sink. Sarah and Art goes through Beth’s surveillance footage and sees the Beth pulled a gun on Paul (the scene from last week).
Sarah then surprises Felix at his loft to see why he hasn’t returned her calls. Felix acts distant and irritated towards Sarah for some reason. Felix and Sarah goes back to the Neo club to find Trina. Only six months have went by since Beth visited Trina. Donnie tells Alison about Helena and her twins, but Alison felt envious about how Helena could conceive but she could not. Ms. S. talks intimately with Cosima, and Cos asks her about Delphine; she proceeded to cry in S’s arms about her. Trust, I miss Delphine too and how she made Cosima happy. Ms. S’s mother confides in Scott that she had been diagnosed with cancer before they went to Iceland. Back to the club, Sarah confronted Felix about his irritability. Felix tells her that he is looking for his birth family, but Sarah reassures him that she and the rest of the Leda clones are his family. Sarah was approached by a guy named Dizzy who thought she was MK. Dizzy shows Sarah a video of where the maggot was extract terribly and it killed its host. Sarah steals Dizzy’s phone and goes to visit MK for the first time hopefully in person.
We get another flashback to Beth, in a moment eerily similar to Sarah impersonating her in the very first episode of the series. In this scene, Beth, visibly high, puts on a blonde wig, grabs her gun, and repeats to herself “You can do this.” Art is watching Beth’s footage in a state of shock and confusion.
Sarah goes to a laundromat to meet MK, and again, MK is not there. MK puts Sarah through her antics to determine her trustworthiness and knowledge about Neolution. MK also informs Sarah about her relationship with Beth and how going after Neolution ultimately cost her life. In another flashback, MK showed up to Beth’s loft to plead with her and how she needed her help. Beth tells her bluntly to let go of what has happened. Here, we find out from Sarah that this is the night where Beth committed suicide. The infamous EMTs showed to the laundromat as they think Sara is MK. They inspect her and tried to extract the maggot from her cheek. Sarah returned to the shop frantically in search of a mirror to see if she had a implant placed in her cheek. Sarah had one in her cheek and checked to see if Kira had one too. This made me think if the other clones, both Leda and Castor, have the implant as well.
This episode conclude what happened to Beth prior to her untimely death, but generates the conversation on what she left behind for the rest of the clones to discover and analyze.
Jasmine E. Crenshaw has both a Bachelors degree in Psychology and here Masters in Public Health. Besides trying to improve the health of the nation, she loves to write, analyze, and obsess over TV, movies, and music. When she is not doing all of that, you can find her cooking, eating lots of Ben and Jerry’s at home, and crying at videos of baby animals. You can find her work at jecrenshaw.wix.com/home.