The finale of Orphan Black Season 3 doesn’t deliver a jaw-dropping cliffhanger like the male clone conclusion in Season 2, but it does push the narrative forward in a very interesting direction by answering a bunch of burning questions instead of dishing out one, big shocking reveal.
“History Yet to Be Written” focuses on what Sarah, Felix and Mrs. S plan to do with the Castor and Leda original, Kendall Malone. After burning her London home to the ground, they bring her back to Canada so that Cosima and Scott can run the necessary tests, sequence her genome and secure the cure. However, it’s not as simple as setting up a top secret makeshift lab and taking a few samples. They’ve still got Castor and Topside coming after them. It’s only a matter of time before those two factions find them, so Sarah and co. opt to get the upper hand by making a big play first.
I wasn’t a fan of James Frain’s Ferdinand in episode 1 and didn’t really take much from his involvement in episode 9 either, but he actually winds up finishing out the season as a downright delightful and very promising character. Delphine and Sarah summon Ferdinand hoping to strike a deal with him. They won’t give him Kendall, but they are willing to give him samples under one condition – he eliminates Castor for them. He agrees, but he can’t do it alone. Team Leda also needs Mark. They manage to track him down and thanks to a little prodding from Gracie, he agrees to help them as well.
Part one of the plan? Mark pretends to be Rudy and lures Cody to the location where Ferdinand is waiting. Part two requires Mark to reveal Rudy’s plan, allowing Alison to draw him into her garage where Helena is waiting, eager to finish him off. As one might expect, she gets the job done and while it is a quality fight sequence, the most memorable moment is when they have a quiet conversation together while Rudy is taking his last breaths. Rudy had a solid run this season, but now he’s gone making Mark the only remaining Castor clone – that we know of.
At that point, Castor is done for and Leda has the original. Everyone can breathe easy, right? Nope. Remember that third faction Benchman teased in episode 8? In the season finale, we learn its identity – Neolution. In case you need a quick refresher, Neolution was Aldous Leekie’s thing. They support self directed evolution. Most brushed them off as “pop scientists” but it turns out, they’re the ones running the show.
When Krystal suddenly and unexpectedly wakes up, Delphine realizes that Dr. Nealon is a traitor and a Neolutionist. The two have a heated discussion during which Nealon explains, “We were there from the very beginning. Topside pursues its profits, the military pursues its weapons, we steer it all from within.” When Delphine refuses his offer to join their cause, he attacks her and nearly spits some sort of worm at her. It isn’t entirely clear what the worm is, but it certainly didn’t look natural. Nealon did tease, “Wherever you think the science is at, I guarantee you’re wrong,” so perhaps the worm is some sort of advanced technology the Neolutionists came up with. It also isn’t clear what Nealon was trying to do with it. Was he trying to transfer it to Delphine or was he just trying to kill her by choking her? Either way he failed, but his failure just meant Neolution would send someone else after her to ensure she’s dead by morning.
It’s a bit extreme that Delphine wouldn’t turn to anyone for help, but considering what the show did with her this season, it does seem in-character for her to sacrifice her own life in order to keep Cosima and her sisters safe. However, I’m not quite convinced that Delphine is dead anyway. Yes, she took a bullet to the gut, but it’s hard to believe that the shooter really did finish her off when we don’t get to see it.
Ferdinand, on the other hand, leaves us quite certain that his henchman is very dead. When Delphine calls Sarah to tell her about the Neolution threat, Sarah passes that information on to Ferdinand and he absolutely loses it in one of the most violent yet oddly comical scenes of the entire season. He instantly puts two and two together, pegs Bulldog (Earl Pastko) as a Neolutionist and bashes him in the head with a baseball bat while he’s drawing blood from Kendall. It’s a completely over-the-top theatrical moment that still feels honest, putting a good deal of Ferdinand’s behavior in previous episodes into perspective. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I hope we see more of him next season.
I still don’t know about Shay though. Again, it feels like too much of a coincidence that Cosima would hook up with someone from the military on a dating app, but what makes the scenario even more problematic is that if it really is a coincidence, it completely reduces Shay’s value on the show. Cosima’s got much bigger problems to deal with than her lack of a significant other, so unless Shay is going to play a pivotal part in the clone experiments, it’s hard to care about her involvement. However, it’s well worth noting that Delphine’s choice to give Shay the OK to hear the truth from Cosima doesn’t necessarily mean Shay definitely isn’t a threat. For all we know, Season 4 may get around to revealing a dubious agenda.
As for Sarah, Cosima and Alison, there isn’t all that much to discuss because most of their actions are directly tied to the mission to take out Castor and keep Kendall safe. When the episode wraps up, Sarah’s in Iceland with Kira, Cosima is probably busy trying to sequence Kendall’s genome with Scott, and Alison is the new school board trustee. Helena is reunited with Jesse (Patrick J. Adams), so perhaps she’s jumping into a full-blown relationship with him while living with the Hendrix family and making soap with Alison. After Krystal’s pretty traumatic experience waking up in Dyad and seeing Delphine, I’d hope Clone Club would finally bring her into the fold rather than send her back to the nail salon, but there’s certainly no indication that that will happen.
And then there’s poor Rachel. Sure, she’s got a new eye and can see clearly again, but someone’s holding her against her will – her mother Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunmore). Turns out she was the woman on the phone with Nealon while Rachel was getting her surgery. I did suspect Susan Duncan’s return was coming, so this isn’t a particularly exciting reveal, but I’m definitely curious to see what she’s up to. For some reason, Charlotte Bowles is also there and she’s calling Rachel her new mom. Why would Susan want Rachel to act as Charlotte’s mother? Where’s Marion Bowles (Michelle Forbes)? Will Rachel agree to join the Neolution cause?
The Season 3 finale didn’t conclude with an absolutely mind-blowing reveal like Season 2, but the episode does offer up a nice blend of answers and new questions. Strong characters have always been the glue holding Orphan Black together, but for the first time in a while, I finally feel like I have a clearer sense of the bigger picture, where everyone stands and what most of them are after. The Season 2 Castor reveal left me foaming at the mouth for Season 3. I’m very excited for Season 4, but “History Yet to Be Written” also left me eager to use the downtime to assess the new details and fully process everything before the show returns next year.
Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very Good
Sequencing and Analyzing:
- Who is “The Director?”
- “Howdy, Jesse towing.” – Helena
- “Why do weird things keep happening to me?” – Krystal
- “Yes, much moly.” – Helena
- “I have science baby inside me, but you are my first.” – Helena
- “I remember sleeping. My brothers breathing in unison. We’d sleepwalk out of bed and all pile in the corner – like puppies.” – Rudy “When I was 9, I was meant to shoot puppy.” – Helena
- “They’re like ticks! You never know when you’ve got one on you!” – Ferdinand
- Will we ever see Jason again?
- “I know that whatever comes next, we’ll face it together, as a family.” – Alison