Welcome back, Clone Clubbers! I’m your new Orphan Black recapper and a card-carrying member of the Club whose favorite sestra changes by the episode, or also the minute (though it often lands on Helena).
This first entry to season 4 serves as both a prequel and a bottle episode of sorts, bringing back the very first clone Sarah Manning met before she knew anything about being a clone: Beth Childs. Beth never got to tell her own story — we knew what Sarah found out after assuming her identity, plus what Art and Paul and the sister clones have told us, but this was the first time we really got to spend time with her ourselves.
And, because there is no limit to the number of people Tatiana Maslany can play in a single show, we also got to meet another new clone. Mika, or M.K., is a character we’ve learned a little about already — she likes animal masks and was described as a “Deep Throat”-type character before the season premiere — but now her connection to the story is made much more clear.
The title of this episode is “The Collapse of Nature.” Past seasons, as I’m sure everyone is well aware, have each taken their episode titles from different works from a famous writer or public figure (season 1 used Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, season 2 came from the works of Sir Francis Bacon, and season 3 was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address). For Season 4, it appears they’ve chosen to use the works of Donna J. Haraway, a professor emeritus at the University of California Santa Cruz whose published works include titles like “When Species Meet” and “Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature.”
I am going to try to emulate my recapping forbearers’ format of putting our wonderful clones through the Orphan Black Clone Status Hyper-Sequence Generator Calcutron each week (a.k.a. ranking them), but for tonight I want to focus mainly on Beth. She’s the real star of this episode, and almost everything that happens is seen through her eyes.
Oh, Beth. Poor, poor Beth. Based on the circumstances in which we met her, it was obvious she was struggling. But now we’re seeing just how much. She’s addicted to painkillers, aware that Paul is more than just her boyfriend, and about to learn a lot more about the dangers of Neolution.
This glimpse into her final days begins with a late-night tip from M.K., who directs her to a body she witnessed being buried in the woods by a man and a woman wearing EMT uniforms. Art and a CSI team come to the scene, where they find the man buried is wearing a white contact lens, one of his cheeks has been cut away, and he has a “surgically bifurcated penis.” Because I’m a diligent journalist with access to Google, “bifurcated” means “divided into two branches or forks.” I’ll leave you here to think about what that looks like.
Art knows Beth is struggling, but she won’t tell him why. He knows about the pills, and that the department is keeping a close eye on her.
M.K. warns her that the murder is tied to Neolution — the dead guy (who we know is named Edward Capra, per Art’s detective work) was a “tadpole,” someone down low on the food chain. Neolution is everywhere, she tells her: She tracked one to Beth’s bed, there’s someone at the police station. Nowhere seems to be safe.
NEXT: The season 1 callbacks keep on coming