Orphan Black recap: Newer Elements of Our Defense | EW.com

TV Recaps | Orphan Black

'Newer Elements of Our Defense'

Sarah plays mother hen while Helena does some mercy killing.

(Steve Wilkie/BBC America)

Orphan Black

Season 3, Ep. 4 | Aired May 09

So Mark isn’t dead and Sarah really takes this family thing to heart, helping him and risking her life in the process. The death wish aspect of her character is kind of grating. The rebellious Sarah from the first season is now so racked with responsibility, it’s kind of a drag. But I digress…

Let’s get moving on this episode, “New Elements of our Defense,” which once again comes from President Eisenhower’s farewell address.

In it Eisenhower warns that the temptation to find some miraculous solution to solve our nation’s crisis, including “newer elements of our defense,” may not be the best answer. As we watch these Castor clones try to fix their genetic abnormalities, along with some experimental science being conducted by Dr. Cody, all in the name of military defense, it’s clear that’s his sentiments ring true. What isn’t yet clear is what’s the meaning of all of this? And with the exception of learning that Prolethean patriarch Henrik Johannson was Professor Duncan’s lab assistant during the early days of this experimentation, we aren’t much closer to understanding the military connection.

Even though that nutso puritanical-looking matriarch who carried those clone embryos only to have them die and then punishes Gracie for the same offense, kicked that sad redhead out of her coven, it’s unlikely we are getting rid of them. Plotwise, they seem to be as committed to the progress of these clones yet my guess is it’s for entirely different reasons, which aren’t entirely clear either. Yet now that poor Gracie has been cast out, maybe Sarah—who has become the ultimate caretaker of anyone who could possibly be her family—will take her in and she can replace Felix as the cell phone distributor, requisite shoulder, freeing up our favorite eyeliner-loving artist to get back to his art and hopefully wooing researcher Scott.

Plot gripes aside, this episode was filled with some really great crazy moments that should be celebrated. Primarily Helena’s mercy killing of Parsons, the startling image of Gracie miscarrying, and Allison’s reunion with her high-school boyfriend/drug lord Jason Kellerman. Let’s put our clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron and rate them on their ability to surprise.

1. Helena

So does that really work? You can prolong a sedative from entering your bloodstream by tying off your arm, like a garden hose with a kink in it? Genius! And to watch Helena slink around the army base “quiet as a church mouse” with a numbed arm was great fun. Too bad that fun was ruined by patient Parsons in his Clockwork Orange getup. Each male clone is more disturbing then the next and this guy with his brain completely exposed just put it over the edge. But there’s Helena to the rescue. It’s discouraging that she’s believing that her sestras have abandoned her, but that doesn’t seem to lessen her drive to escape. And the moment before she drives the scalpel into Parson’s brains uttering, “We were both abandoned by our families, left to suffer…” was rather poignant for the clone who believes her only friend is a talking scorpion.

2. Allison

Only Allison Hendrix’s ex-boyfriend would be the local drug kingpin. There’s Donny, standing in the glare of the headlights, packing heat, “sweatier than usual” while Allison flirts away with her old flame, the one her mother “always liked.” Sidenote: We’ve heard some great tales about Allison’s mother. I think this season is the time to meet her, right? Anyway, back to the drug dealer at hand. I’m getting more and more on board with this story line every week, but I think the writers have to dial down on the suburban parenting tropes being carried into their drug-dealing life. I laughed at the Breaking Bad reference and Donny’s sciatica flaring up while he lugs the giant storage bins that have been P-touched with fancy labels: Purple Drank, etc. But I’m not sure they can sustain it, without it becoming really kitschy. Though you have to admire the writers’ ability to toggle between the super serious, high-stakes main plotline of the show with the lighter character moments that give the audience the relief it so desperately needs.

3. Sarah

Sarah is reminding me of that silly Geico commercial where the group of teens run away from the running car and into the barn to hide from the serial killer. I mean come on! First she saves Mark from the Proletheans, then she burrows her finger into his gun wound to remove the bullet and then she decides to dig up a small casket from a grave on an abandoned property. Haven’t we shown enough familial loyalty? Who else thought Mark was going to turn on her and bury her alive? Apparently though I underestimated him and he left his dirty work to his deranged brother Rudy, who in my mind seems just about ready for a serious glitch. I need more from—and for—Sarah. She’s got no love with both Cal and Kira gone. She’s not talking to Mrs. S., she’s just driving along that plot, getting deeper involved with the Castors. And now she’s trapped, so it’s unlikely she’ll be granted that respite anytime soon.

4. Cosima

So she’s still pining for Delpine, which I guess is understandable since they seemed to be so smitten with each other. But I’m with Felix, it’s time for her to get out of there, shed the Yeti-like sweater and, as Felix says, find “a scratching post, something to rub up against.” Cosima is as bogged down with plot as Sarah and the two need some kind of dance party or something to let all this angst out. Since Sarah is now locked up as the previews suggest, that isn’t happening anytime soon. My guess is Cosima’s going to have to get into the saving business since Sarah is rather preoccupied.

And that’s all for this week Clone Club. Are you enjoying the season thus far? Intrigued with the Castor plot? Bored? Let me know. And until next time, be free of ex-boyfriend drug lords, exposed craniums, and puritanical gun-wielding matriarchs.