Welcome, Sestras and Brother Sestras! Today I begin my Snarking Dead stint recapping one of my favorite shows, science fiction or otherwise, Orphan Black. Yes, I’m starting on Season 4, but I have a whole summer to get to the other seasons, so just you wait! Anyway, here we go with Episode 1, and it’s great!
There’s fog in the forest and a person in a sheep mask walking in the woods. We know this is M.K., our newest clone, and she’s out walking in her Dolly mask. She’s watching people, a couple of EMTs, dump a body in a fresh grave. A white guy and black woman kiss before they they start the process of burying said body. M.K. makes a sound and is heard. The blond dude checks but finds nothing. M.K. marks the tree and runs off into the night.
CF: I will point out right here that Rachel told me her daughter thinks the sheep mask is creepy, right up there with clowns. So if I ever get down to Australia I’m gonna bring one just because.
RT: I discovered the print out one on the Orphan Black website, so I just might beat you to it 😉
CF: They put that up for the fan art reveal back on 29/3. There were lots of people in Times Square wearing those. This shot came from a videoboard in Mexico:
Phone ringing in the middle of the night. Someone picks up the phone: it’s Sarah. No, wait: it’s Beth! We’re in the past, in the days back before Sarah showed up and watched Beth take a walk on the track side. So welcome to Orphan Black, Season 0. Anyway, it’s M.K.: she wants to talk. Paul’s in bed with Beth, so she gets up, takes a shower, and gets ready to head out. In the bathroom, before she gets into the shower she gets out her stash. She’s got her fixings and could cook. There’s some kind of powder: Coke? Heroin? Hard to say. She snorts up the shit and she’s ready to go. Paul catches her before she heads out. They’re not being nice together.
CF: Based upon what I know about drugs—all from “friends”, mind you—I think Beth is doing a combo of heroin and coke, the old Speedball Special.
M.K. sees Beth coming. Off comes the mask. She’s another Leda clone. Beth finds the mark on the tree—
Dawn arrives and the place is a crime scene. There’s Art and they’ve dug up a body. Dude has lots of ink and is missing like most of his right cheek. The M.E. does a little looking and discovers the dude has a bifurcated penis. The dude was murdered for sure. Beth gets a picture of his good side, the one where the guy isn’t missing most of his cheek.
CF: What other show does one need to make notes on “bifurcated penis”? None, that’s where.
RT: I am pretty sure people are keeping a watchful eye on me after having to google this term. The joys of being a writer.
CF: I knew what it was, but I looked it up to get the spelling right. We writers are an unusual lot.
Art finds shoe prints: a big person and a small person. They get in their separate cars, and as they do Beth gets a call. It’s Cosima! She needs money from Alison, the latter of whom wants an expense report because it’s Alison. Cosima left her girlfriend and now she’s homeless. Cosima knows Beth is withholding info. Beth looks all strung out, wasted, not good at all.
RT: It was really nice seeing everyone interact before Sarah arrived on the scene. There is definitely a different vibe between the clones.
CF: In the comic Cosima’s girlfriend was also her monitor, and the actress they got to play her was very close to how she looked in the comic. Nice touch there. And you could see a huge different in Cosima in just those few minutes.
At a Chinese restaurant Art is chatting with Beth. He knows about the pills and the other shit, and he wants to know if Paul is the problem. She tells Art these problems are not his to take on. Another cop shows up: Angie Deangelis. Yeah, I remember this bitch. She talks to Art as his partner walks away, and she mentions that Beth looks pretty fucking shaky.
Back at the office Beth is walking there—there’s Phee! He’s getting booked for hooking. You bad boy! Beth stops Raj and asks for a camera and some hardcases. Art and Beth talk to their boss about what they’re gonna do. The boss wants to know if Beth is making her meetings, which are probably her AA or NA meetings.
RT: This was another awesome moment. I was hanging for Felix to see Beth and to have a WTF moment.
CF: I so wanted that, but I didn’t remember him mentioning anything about seeing Sarah at the police station when Sarah finally arrived.
RT: I was almost sad when I remembered Felix would have brought up a meeting like this and realised an accidental meet this early in the game just wasn’t going to happen.
Out and about, Beth stops at a junk yard. M.K’s place is a trailer in the middle of this wonderland. Beth heads in and finds a lot of computer monitors. M.K., aka Mika, is on video wearing her mask with a strange background so she can’t be located: she refuses to speak to Beth in person. It’s like, three minutes, talk. Beth gets her to take off her mask. Beth wants to know about the body. She shows M.K. the picture from her phone. Mika makes her: he’s one of the Neolution people.
CF: Mika has the cutest accent! It could be she’s been raised in Russia. I just wanna hug her and cuddle all the time.
RT: I love that the clones are from all over the place. And, seriously, Maslany? She nails it each and every time!
CF: Again, why this woman doesn’t have all the awards I don’t know. I instantly connected to M.K. and felt she was another person.
RT: Definitely agree on both counts. This girl needs to be bottled, or cloned, or something 😉
M.K. is trying to explain about how Neolution works. M.K. want to know if Beth is telling people about all this shit: the girl is paranoid as hell. She talks about Club Neolution. She puts on her mask. Your three minutes are up: time to go. M.K. out.
Art got a name on the victim. Beth may know the on-line handle. Right now she’s at Club Neolution, checking the joint out. A couple of minutes in Astrid braces her, and then we cut to Oliver Duval, the dude with the pig tail! He’s getting fitted for a tail ring: If I were you I wouldn’t get too attached to that ring, fucker. Astrid calls down and she seems to know the name Childs. Beth is getting a lot of hard stares; lots of people getting inked and implanted. Beth wants to know if anyone’s done a bifurcated dick. This girl at a table tells Beth about Neolution, about how it’s all about remaking yourself. Beth mentions the dead guy’s name, and this one dude freaks. She shows the picture and the dude seems to know him.
Beth is checking out Leekie’s book. She places a call to Alison, who has wine and a gun. There’s talk about money, about not leaving Cosima broke. There’s a knock on Beth’s car window—it’s Ramon, and he’s got flowers! He thinks Beth is Alison’s sister. In the middle of the arrangement there’s a little bottle with something in it. Beth gets Alison to promise not to gun up, and to get Cosima her money. Alison is like, “I got a gun, bitches! Pew pew!”
There’s Leekie! He’s on the phone talking to Olivier Duval, the Pig Tail Dude. He’s telling Leekie that Beth needs a new monitor. Beth shows up right there at Leekie’s joint and wants him to sign her book.
Leekie signs the book, and Beth asks about these people with the single white contact, people who are followers of Leekie. He goes heavy into the Neolution ethos, giving her to total lowdown. She tells him that is sounds like he wants people to play god: he says that everything was a scientific discovery, even finding god. Right then up pops Evie Cho. Remember this woman. She comments about Beth being a Lida clone, which only gets a glare from Leekie.
RT: Something I found on Twitter and will leave here. I haven’t gotten a chance to watch the episode again, so have no idea if it is Delphine or not.
CF: If that isn’t Évelyne Brochu playing Delphine, it’s someone who looks remarkably like her, at least in the hair game! I didn’t notice that–probably because of all the note taking. Good catch!
— kristal (@KRISTALchosen) April 15, 2016
Beth is back at the station; Art is in the boardroom. Their boss is there: he knows that Beth was contacted on a burner, that her story about her CI is bullshit, and pulls Beth off the case. She’s pissed—and has to take a piss test. Now we know what was in the blue bottle that Alison sent Beth: it’s Alison’s daughter’s piss, needed to allow Beth to have a clean drug test. Beth is totally cool about it. Outside the bathroom Raj stops here: he’s got her stuff. She takes it and heads home—
To wire up the joint because M.K. told her not to trust Paul. She’s drillin’ and filmin’. Time to make the videos.
Late night at Casa Beth and she’s dressed up for dinner in a slinky back number and snorting drugs at the table. Totally romantic dinner, you can tell. She showing a lot of leg when Paul walks in as well as drinking hard. He wants to go on vacay: she wants to lock the doors, drink and fuck for two months. Something gets said and she throws back that she knows she can’t have kids, and right there you see the pain. That shit is killing her. She gets up and tell Paul to look at her, to see her. She slips off the top of her dress and stand there in her bra. She’s coming on to him, rawly aggressive and sexual. She wants kisses; she wants affection. Paul is being a dick about it, like he can’t fuck her ‘cause she’s high and drunk, and she flips the bitch switch and gets nasty. Paul tells here she sounds paranoid: she fucking knows it, dude. She says he’s a hollow fucker with nothing inside and he get Man Moody and hunkers down on the on the sofa. Beth pulls a gun and aims it at the back of his head. He doesn’t know she’s ready to blow his ass away. He wants to know if she wants everything to end. If she wants it over, it’s over. She tells him that if he wants it over, he has to end the relationship. He just fizzles out. Coward.
RT: And this is probably the moment where I went, “Yeah, totally get why she killed herself.” She just had too much shit on her plate, poor clone. I think if Sarah had come onto the case earlier, Beth might have stood half a chance because Sarah is very good at keeping her head above water and dragging everyone else along with her.
CF: Beth is fifty shades of fucked up at this point and the drugs were dropping her to the basement fast. Sarah would have been able to pull her out because she’s been there and survived. Someone’s probably working on that fan fiction right now.
RT: *Googles it* Yeah, this would be the place to start: Beth Childs/Sarah Manning Fan Fic
Over at Art’s place he’s watching cartoons with his daughter when Beth shows. She’s high as shit. Maya, Art’s daughter, knows her dad’s partner and says hi. Beth just wants to watch TV: she needs a friend. Later she’s sleeping on his sofa, still in the gown she had on for dinner, and Art comes out to covers her up. In the close up to her face you can see the tracks of her tears. She comes awake and wants to be held; he wants to know what’s going on. She wants him to look at her, see her. Art sees her, as she is, fucked up issues and all. They kiss, all tender and sweet with just a touch of passion. He stops for a moment; Beth wants to go on. They do. Goddamn, but it’s so nice, and you know deep down this is probably the last good moment Beth will have during the rest of her life.
Beth’s sleeping with Art when the phone rings. It’s her’s: she checks it. Trina is calling, the girl from the club. She’s worried about her boyfriend Aaron, who is out with these hardcore Neos, and they sound like the couple that buried the body M.K. saw. They put something put in his cheek a while back and it’s growing.
She heads to the shitty part of town looking for the joint and thinks she’s found the place. There’s the ambulance: EMT people for sure. Lot’s of spooky going on, and it doesn’t help that Beth isn’t exactly in the straightest of minds. She heads up a fire escape and hears people talking. It’s Aaron. He says he can’t do it, whatever the hell that is. Beth looks in and sees him asking two other people to remove what’s in his cheek. Aaron is going under as someone else comes in, and is this dude pissed. Aaron is getting the thing cut out. Most of his cheek is off, and . . . it’s one of those maggots things we saw at the end of Season 3. Beth makes a sound and the people inside hear. Mad run time with one of the Neos after her. Beth gets around a corner, gun out, adrenaline pumping through a drug semi-high. There’s a sound: wheel, point, BOOM! Two in the chest, down goes—it’s an Asian woman, the one we saw she shot back in Season 1. Beth is freaking right the fuck out. She knows what she did and there’s no walking it back. She pukes.
RT: I seriously thought Trina was sending Beth into a trap here. I was yelling at the TV hardcore!
CF: And not because of what we were watching two weeks ago. 😉
RT: I am still scarred from that show.
Art gets a call. It’s Beth. She messed up bad.
Police come and seal off the shooting. Beth’s sinking fast. Silent moments on the screen as she looks at Art, and in flashbacks we see him trying to fix shit by putting a mobile in the dead woman’s hand and telling Beth she saw a gun—you saw a fucking gun, okay? Beth’s boss is there, and lets her know: she’s getting interviewed by I.A.D. A cop shows up to help out Beth: it’s the Neo, Duko, who chased Beth.
RT: Of course, it is 😦
CF: Because these fuckers are everywhere.
At last Beth is back at M.K.’s. Mika opens the door to her trailer; Beth wants in ‘cause she’s got to talk. Finally they have their face-to-face. This Neo, Duko, is with the Police Union, and that means is totally Beth is screwed. She wants to know what was in the kid’s face, but Mika has no idea. Beth is freaking about losing her badge, about her life heading into the toilet. She’s the one who told Cosima and Alison about them all being clones, and she’s feeling guilty, messed up, let down. She can’t think, can’t get past the shit she’s in. Doesn’t matter: Mila says she will think for her. She offers a hand of comfort. Beth falls asleep—
Phone ringing, someone picks it up, and . . . it’s Sarah in Iceland—you can tell because Kira’s in bed next to her—and we’re back in the modern day. Art’s on the phone, and there’s someone who wants to talk to Sarah:
M.K. tells Sarah it’s time to run ‘cause the Neos are coming. She thought she was safe? She’s not—
And there you have it, the first episode of Season 4 of Orphan Black. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
RT: Okay, I don’t care what anyone says but this is a hell of a way to start a new season. Not only do they manage to fill in the backstory all in one hit rather than dragging it out for an entire season, they actually manage to move the story forward as well! Way to go Orphan Black 😀 And thank you Cassidy for all the insights into a show I have recently become addicted to.
CF: As writers we’re always told, “Show, don’t tell.” Orphan Black showed us the backstory and it told us everything. This was an excellent episode that filled in so much without having to take time dealing with exposition in later episodes. And if we want to harp on a season opener that shows how a back story was set up the clumsy way–we know where to look, don’t we?
As for the people who said they were confused by what was going on because BBCA didn’t tell them about this back story in the synopsis: that’s called “surprise!” David Gerrold once wrote that there are certain things you don’t need to explain in science fiction because you expect your audience to possess a certain level of intelligence that will allow them to figure it out on their own, so if you could’t figure out in like fifteen seconds after the reveal that because we were seeing Beth this was a flashback episode, then you were proving Mr. Gerrold wrong. Let’s do better, shall we?
RT: I am pretty sure Beth answered the phone using her name, and that was before Paul popped his head up. If that isn’t enough to guide you then perhaps you shouldn’t be watching sci-fi.
This week, on two different shows, we get an excellent season finale and a season premiere, and a certain show we both know and like should have their production staff watching those and making notes. Oh, and both the excellent shows I just mentioned are filmed in Canada. Are they doing something right up there?
Lastly, welcome to Clone Club, Sestra Rachel! We eat donuts now, yes? 🙂
Sarah, Alison, Helena, Cosima, Krystal, Rachel, Beth, M.K. — Tatiana Maslany
Felix “Fee” Dawkins — Jordan Gavaris
Kira Manning — Skyler Wexler
Arthur “Art” Bell — Kevin Hanchard
Aldus Leeki — Matt Frewer