Black Orphan Recap: Call Me Hell Wizard
Transgressive cross-border crossing
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Joel Thomas Hynes as Dizzy.
Photo: Orphan Black IV Productions Limited
It would have been difficult for this episode to match the magic of banger last week from a premiere. The season four kickoff had an element of surprise, but the oddly titled “Transgressive Border Crossing” had an act that was extremely difficult to follow, let alone the burden of catching us up on the rest of the crew these days. leaving little room for the sparks to fly. Nonetheless, we have a great moment or two, most of which remind us that Tatiana Maslany’s virtuoso performances are not the only exceptional elements of Black orphan. The others involve robot maggots. You have been warned.
The first moment belongs to Siobhan, who, let’s not forget, is one of the most badass guerrilla goddesses to ever live in a fictional way. (Remember the Pussy Riot shirt she wore last season?) As she realizes Sarah isn’t paranoid and the neo-revolutionaries are indeed coming to get them, she pulls out a tank of gasoline and burn the cabin without batting an eyelid. Kira’s sock monkey is left in the fire – haunting symbolism if there ever was one, given that her mother calls her a “monkey.”
Somehow, S, Kira, Kendall, and Sarah are all smuggled back to Toronto from Iceland to a refuge with Siobhan’s rebel friends. (Did they pull over onto a freighter? Seems terribly cold to a little girl.) S and Sarah meet Cosima and Scott in the basement of a comic book store, where they have moved their post-DYAD lab. But what’s with that smarmy comment from the comic book store guy: “Something tells me you’re not here for the last issue of Rotten Ruin?” To forget for a moment that it could have just meant that Sarah looks exactly like the person hiding in her basement is a pretty lame thing to say to two women, mate. Fortunately, Cosima balances out the nonsense: “A secret lab under a comic book store – what more could a girl want?” (Speaking of geekery, I feel rather… sheepish… not to have noticed last week that MK’s mask is a nod to the first mammal cloned.)
Cosima’s Kendall-activated gene therapy does not appear to be working. She smokes a lot of weed in a dull ache, both physical and emotional; it is not yet known whether Delphine is dead or not. (I love this suspense, especially if she’s still alive, because it means someone should have helped her.) Kendall tells Scott she has leukemia – which isn’t exactly surprising, consider given the way she said Duncan had originally come to her. prison under the guise of doing cancer research – but makes her promise not to tell anyone because she’s a tough old bird.
Elsewhere, Alison and Donnie deal with Helena’s pregnancy with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Alison’s magnanimity is really put to the test, since Helena not only takes advantage of her identity (and details her sex farts to a doctor who believes she is Alison), she now also wears twins, which means that she is twice as blessed as her sterile sestras. Is Alison hiding Sarah’s return to Helena out of spite? Maybe a little bit.
Sarah meets Art at the same restaurant where he used to go with Beth to catch up with her on her late partner’s Neolution investigation. Together, they search the former home of Beth and Paul, which has been locked up following their respective deaths. Sarah finds Beth’s drugs and Art finds her surveillance camera, the footage of which reveals a few things: she made the girl look pregnant goth; Neolution’s mole-slash union representative threatened her in her own house; and the day she died she put on a really bad wig and left the house with a gun and a hotel key card in her purse. (Another note: I love Sarah citing Cosima’s contemptuous reference to the “science of sound clips” – a subtle reminder to always stay awake, Clone Club.)
Felix, meanwhile, has been busy with his favorite hobby: listening to opera while painting cock rockets (ahem, “in art, it’s called a phallus, honey”) on bare walls. And then Sarah comes back into her life. Frankly, Felix has every reason to be as resentful as his sister’s shit. Why is each protagonist’s best friend (or in this case, the foster brother) always so selfless? These high-stakes stories, especially on TV, go on for months, if not years, but these characters willingly keep their lives on hold to help the hero. At first the sacrifice seems logical – I mean, what is it you what if you found out that your sister was a science project stalked by two cults and one society? – but after a while the fact that it never seems to cost them anything to do so begins to smell fishy. I’m glad Felix is finally defending himself, not just because he deserves better than being manipulated into helping Sarah get into Club Neolution, being tried for wanting to reunite with her birth parents, and just being abandoned. minutes after Sarah insists she’s the only family she should care about – but also because “Transgressive Border Crossing” can inspire other showrunners to reconsider the autonomy of their own supporting characters.
But Sarah is getting her money’s worth. At the club, another apparently aggrieved Neolutioner takes her for Beth and brings her back to show her a video on her phone, in which a guy is killed by the robot maggot in his cheek when his friends try to destroy him. Guess that’s why they had to cut Capra’s entire cheek. She manages to run away with her phone once he realizes she’s not Beth, which is lucky, as MK texts her seconds later to “meet” her at an empty laundromat. . When she sees Sarah arriving instead, she chooses to call remotely, warning her sestra that knowing more about these maggots “will kill you like it killed Beth”. She tells Sarah that she had met Beth at her home after she returned with her wig and gun covered in someone else’s blood (Detective Neolution, maybe?). Visibly shaken, she’d been avoiding all clone contact for days, and when pressed for more details, she’ll only say she messed it up and they should all stop digging – like that will protect them, LOL .
When MK begged her not to abandon him, Beth just gave her a hug, told her to protect the others, and walked out, presumably to the train station to deal with her disappearance. Then two things happen: Sarah realizes that MK is sitting outside in her car, and the EMS Ghoul Squad shows up, locking the door behind them. They seem ready to kill or kidnap her, but after some deliberation (in German, because of course, it’s German) and a quick finger swipe from her right inner cheek, they realize that she doesn’t is not MK, as assumed previously, and just… let her go? This scares off Sarah’s living bejesus, who returns to the shelter for a self-examination. The final seconds feature the most horror-struck face I’ve seen on a screen since It follows, as Sarah realizes, using a flashlight, that she has a wiggling maggot in her own cheek.
Some modest concerns about the cliffhanger:
- How did Sarah not feel that thing moving in there ?!
- How could the ghoul squad identify it just by rubbing a finger on that spot ?!
- Was it a foreshadowing when Siobhan stopped Sarah from checking out Kira? Besides, was the monkey burning and was Kira mad at Sarah for not letting her see Aunt Alison foreshadowing too?
This nightmarish hell landscape finally gave up all pretexts and went straight to maximum body horror, so I’m going to need these questions answered afterwards in a hurry. Thank you all for being here with me during this dark time.