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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Orphan Black takes some time to process the consequences

Kristian Bruun
Just ask this guy any time you need a ghost story. / Ken Woroner, BBC America
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After all the whirlwind developments of the last episode, it’s nice to see Orphan Black slow the pace down a bit. It’s easy, on a plot-heavy show like this, to move past the various tragedies and letdowns that the characters face in order to jump onto the next thing, but “The Antisocialism of Sex” focuses in on what the loss of Kendall means for everyone.

It’s not just Clone Club, either—Rachel, Susan Duncan, and Ira have to come to terms with their own irrelevance within the Neolution movement, and Evie Cho orchestrates the awkward conference call to prove it. It’s a real comedown for Rachel, whose clone status once helped her, but now dooms her.

But for all that this is an episode of consequences for all (including Cosima and Alison), the focus is mainly on Sarah. The show has often suggested that she’s both the best and worst candidate to lead Clone Club. Her impulsiveness and survival instinct help her stay one step ahead, but nothing about her life up until the point where she meets Beth suggests that she has either the emotional wherewithal or the maturity to keep all of this running. And on top of that, she’d have to have some pretty astounding coping mechanisms to not be completely drained after everything she’s gone through. That she needs to get away for a while and that she feels haunted by Beth are both pretty natural reactions.

The whole season has been building on the idea that what happened to Beth is hovering over Sarah. Even ignoring the parallel roles they play for their sisters, this has to be the most time Sarah has ever had to spend with one of her cons. As this season has gone on, it’s seemed more and more unfair that the two of them never got to meet. The version of Beth in Sarah’s mind is just an invention. The sense of humor she gives her is one she’s imagining. As tactics go, an imaginary ghost friend is a bit heavy-handed. Sarah is nothing if not a pragmatist, and something as out there as a hallucinated ghost doesn’t totally read true for her. And Felix showing up to save the day has a hint of deus ex machina to it, given that these two haven’t been emotionally connected all season.

It’s not the only Felix moment that rings a little false. How is it possible that he didn’t immediately tell Cosima that Delphine might be alive? That was a huge revelation. And while Cosima certainly should have to face the consequences of pushing Sarah to make the decision about Kendall, linking that to her despair over Delphine when someone “forgot” to tell her what happens reeks of plot contrivance. For the most part, this has not been the sort of show that has characters make bewildering decisions in order to drive the plot, and seeing Felix do it here was a little jarring. It’s a shame, too, because aside from that, a lot of what was going on with Cosima worked, particularly Scott finally voicing some frustration with her treating him poorly. Scott has been heroically loyal, and he’s the only one trying to pick up the pieces here, and calling Cosima out felt like a significant moment for him. Next step: figuring out what happened to his cat.

At the seventh episode, this season is starting to feel a bit like a slog. The characters are exhausted, and they seem to lose more than they win. The remaining pair of not-totally-crushed characters, Alison and Donnie, are now facing a huge problem. Everyone else is struggling with the hopelessness of continuing to fight on. So let’s hope that MK got back in touch because she has good news this time.


Also, who made that magic eye for Rachel? They seem to have slipped in some unexpected programming.

Stray Observations

  • In terms of terrible things to say to people, is “You came to me an orphan. That’s all you’ll ever be” better or worse than “Yes, it’s fortunate you found such an ineffective means of suicide, Ira”?
  • Be honest: Did you remember who Ed Capra was when Dizzy mentioned him without having to look it up? He was the fellow from earlier in the season with the bifurcated penis, in case you didn’t have a chance to look it up. And apparently, a friend of Dizzy’s? This is a late point in the review to mention Dizzy, but it’s really unclear what they’re doing with him.
  • Duko’s quick recovery from Art beating him up almost seemed like a continuity error. He didn’t even have any visible bruises when he showed up at Alison’s house, despite getting hit in the face repeatedly.
  • Let’s all agree to use Percival Westmoreland if we ever need to provide fake names.
  • Peaches was randomly in this episode. Seemed like I should acknowledge that. Hi, Peaches!