ORPHAN BLACK Recap: “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow”

     June 13, 2015


With only one more episode to go in Season 3, it’s no surprise that things are really heating up on Orphan Black. However, one standout feature of episode 9 is how well it manages to balance a number of very important storylines, giving all of them loads of potential in the season finale.

The first and biggest of the bunch belongs to Sarah. After Rachel offered up a little preview of the code in The Island of Dr. Moreau, Sarah, Felix and Mrs. S head off to London to track down the Castor original. First stop? The Bayonet Public House to meet up with S’s old buddy, Terry (Daniel Fathers). He informs them that “H46239” is a prisoner number and agrees to find out who it belongs to. He manages to pull it off, but then he’s blindsided by someone we haven’t seen since episode 1, Ferdinand (James Frain).


Image via BBC America

He’s a Topside investigator who had a little something going on with Rachel. Even though Helsinki was aborted before Ferdinand and his thug could take out Alison, the evil duo is still after Leda and torture poor Terry to get information regarding Mrs S’s whereabouts. I still don’t give a damn about Ferdinand because it’s still unclear who he’s working for and what he’s trying to achieve, but at least his dealings this time around result in a fantastically disturbing intercutting sequence during which his associate gives Terry a brutal beating while Mrs. S belts out a tune with her old bandmates at the pub.

Mrs. S, Felix and Sarah find Terry breathing, but barely holding on. Sure enough, he passes away moments later and S insists that that’s the end of their mission. However, while S tends to Terry, Sarah decides to take matters into her own hands and find the Castor original herself. Her search leads her to a small, dark and seemingly empty home. While Felix keeps watch, she snoops around and soon discovers that the house belongs to Mrs. S’s mother, Kendall Malone (Alison Steadman). Not only is she the Castor original, but the Leda original as well.

We’ve spent all season, and a good deal of the series for that matter, trying to crack the code and find a cure. Not only is it immensely satisfying to finally see Sarah and co. acquire a pivotal piece to the puzzle, but it’s especially exciting because I didn’t see this detail coming whatsoever. There’s been a good deal of talk about Mrs. S’s past this season, especially her relationship with John Sadler, but I certainly never suspected that her mother would get involved. However, it does make a lot of sense. Of course Sarah would wind up in S’s care for a very good reason. I was never much of a science student so can’t speak to how sound the scenario is, but the idea that Castor and Leda have the same original because a woman absorbed her male twin is absolutely fascinating.    


Image via BBC America

Meanwhile, Cosima and Delphine are trying to figure out who told Castor about The Island of Dr. Moreau. After flipping through Shay’s file and talking to Scott, Cosima comes to the conclusion that Delphine must be right. Shay really could be the Castor mole. It makes sense that Cosima would be suspicious of Shay and that Delphine would need to try to get information out of her, but Delphine’s actions feel way too extreme and out of character. Ever since Delphine took over for Rachel, she’s had to toughen up in order to protect the Leda clones, but her whole suicide speech made her come across as a sadistic spy movie villain. Drastic times call for drastic measures, but you can’t just turn a character into a sinister lunatic out of nowhere. Delphine’s behavior is starting to make me wish Cosima gets to live happily ever after with Shay rather than rekindle their relationship.

However, there’s still a part of me that’s very suspicious of Shay. No, she isn’t the one who tipped Castor off about The Island of Dr. Moreau after all, but it’s just too big of a coincidence that Cosima would meet someone who was in the military on a dating app. As for the real mole, I was a bit surprised by the Gracie reveal. I want her to have a permanent place in Clone Club, but if she really does love Mark, of course she’d double cross them for him. But where does Mark stand in all of this? He clearly didn’t approve of Virginia’s plans at the Mexico base, so why is he with Benchman? Does he have a secret agenda of his own?


Image via BBC America

Lastly we’ve got the most entertaining storyline of the episode, Donnie and Helena. Donnie wasn’t thrilled about taking Helena in, but it’s a good thing he did. While tending to his wounds at Bubbles, Lionel (Gavin Fox) shows up, demands that Donnie return all the pills to Pouchy and Lionel also walks off with Helena’s canister. When Donnie tells Helena what happened, she isn’t happy about it, but agrees to let Donnie talk to Pouchy himself while she waits calmly in the car outside. But, of course, that doesn’t last long and Helena joins the meeting dressed as Alison. They almost wrap things up on a somewhat cordial note, but when Luisa (Jess Salgueiro) threatens Donnie’s kids, Helena absolutely loses it. We don’t get to see what she does, but it’s implied that she singlehandedly kills Luisa, Lionel and Pouchy. That definitely solves a lot of Donnie and Alison’s problems, but Jason is still out there and I’d like to bet he won’t be happy when he finds out that Helena took out his supplier.

So now Helena’s embryos have been recovered, Sarah has the Castor and Leda original and Virginia’s cryptographers are busy working on the code in The Island of Dr. Moreau. A good deal of progress is made all around, but I’m betting (and hoping) it won’t be possible to find a cure unless they all cooperate, just as Rachel teased in episode 8.

Episode Rating: ★★★★ Very Good

Sequencing and Analyzing:

  • “I am a mother now. I walk a different path.” – Helena
  • “We have to fix you. I will make the pain go away. And maybe you will tell me some truth.” – Helena
  • “Did you threaten babies?” – Helena
  • “I’m special, you see. Absorbed a male twin in the womb when I was formed. I got two cell lines.” – Kendall
  • Where has Art been?