United in not really knowing what's going on. / Ken Woroner, BBC America

Are there two people in the world more excited about spying, but more terrible at it, than Donnie and Krystal? Both of them are convinced that they’re masters of disguise, and neither of them has any ability to play it cool. It’s easy to imagine Krystal sitting at home and planning out every aspect of her identity. And Donnie is more concerned about whether Cosima will be part of his fake baby’s life than what Brightborn is actually doing. Naturally, the two of them end up trying to outsmart each other, which ends with Krystal getting seized by Brightborn and Donnie getting beat up. Cosima literally manages to learn her own name and is a better spy than both of them.

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For once, clone shenanigans didn’t exactly work out in Clone Club’s favor. To be fair, Evie Cho was pretty screwed, as well. Shenanigans only work when everyone is in on the plan, and are notably less successful when one of the parties is convinced she’s hunting down eyelid teeth. The rest of the clones are now faced with a difficult prospect: Do they bring Krystal in? She’s clearly a loose cannon, and for all that everyone else in Clone Club has very different plans, some of which are occasionally competing, they’re all at least united in their care for each other. And not to put too fine a point on it, but they’re all pretty smart. Krystal’s clearly not a total idiot—she’s savvy enough to figure out something is awry in her life—but she’s also possibly not the sharpest clone out there. She tells almost anyone who’ll even half listen about her investigation. On the other hand, in a world of tails and cheek bots, mouth eyes is not exactly the biggest stretch. We’re laughing at her, but should we be? The moment where she rambles “You know, you can be a victim, or you can totally get to the bottom of it” is pure Krystal-speak, but it’s also the exact same guiding principle the rest of the Leda clones have.

But it’s Krystal’s incompetence that makes Evie Cho suspect something is up in the first place. She’s so goofy that she has to be a spy. So far, Evie’s not exactly the best villain the show has offered. She gets fooled immediately about what’s happening, has her minions grab the wrong clone, and then gets shooed from her own office by the increasingly psychotic Susan Duncan.

Susan is finally starting to show her true colors, colors that are, in the critical parlance, extremely yucky. Did the Oedipal subtext of her relationship with Ira need to be made explicit? As a rule, making people’s sexual proclivities part of their villainy is a clunky way to define them. There’s something a little prurient about it. “This person is SO BAD they do sex gross. Not like a good, noble person, who does sex in a not gross way.” We already know Susan’s bad news. Her treatment of Rachel, the fact that she’s some kind of Neolution bigwig—all of these things are enough. This is stacking the deck in a way that makes her irredeemable, and very few of Orphan Black’s bad guys have been irredeemably evil. It’s a lack of nuance that this show doesn’t usually demonstrate.

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On the other side of the “appropriate family relationship” spectrum, we have Sarah’s ongoing distrust of Adele. By the end of one of the world’s worst family dinners, it becomes clear that her paranoia is more than just a learned fear of strangers. She can’t handle the concept that Felix might have a sister who isn’t her. Clearly, this is a deeply unfair stance to take. Felix has adjusted to her having clones, as well as her being related to Mrs. S. It makes sense, though. In a season all about Sarah’s desperation about her situation, losing this connection to Felix is losing something that’s a very deep part of who she is, and the show has done a very good job of not defending her behavior while also making it clear why she’s doing it.

Cosima also gets more of a showcase this episode than she has all season (though still no progress with the whole Shay/Delphine mess). For all her love of freaky science, she’s a deeply humane character. Learning the secrets of Brightborn horrifies her, not just because they’re, well, horrifying, but because it goes against everything she believes. Unfortunately, it also leaves her in the place of having to convince the other clones that Neolution isn’t so bad, which is…just what she did a few seasons ago, with Delphine. For all that the semi-retro vibe of this season has been fun, there’s a sense that a few of these plots are on repeat. Other than Krystal. Can Clone Club handle a new member like her?

Stray observations

  • Highlights of the Kristian Bruun comedy show tonight: Donnie’s panicky “I have to go…shit,” and him mansplaining how gay to be to Cosima, who responds, “I’m just going to let that one slide.” Also, when she asks him something about Evie’s presentation, his response is “I have no idea. I’m very lost.” And the shoes. Good work, costume department.
  • “What were you going to do in there, exactly?” “I don’t know, Sarah things? Skulk around, look miserable, con people?” Alison knows how to spy.
  • From the minute we saw Krystal practicing self-defense with that impressively incurious trainer, it was clear she was going to use it on someone, and naturally, it’s Donnie. As my viewing buddy put it, it’s Chekhov’s judo chop.
  • OK, I give up. What kind of mice did Cosima reference in her big talk with Susan? I tried Googling a few variations of what it sounded like she said, but couldn’t figure it out.
  • Calling B.S. on Alison not telling Sarah Helena ran off. Why wouldn’t she tell her immediately? Although it never gets old to watch Tatiana Maslany call herself a bitch.

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