‘Orphan Black’ recap: Season 2, Episode 5, ‘Ipsa Scientia Potestas’

Tatiana Maslany as Helena in "Orphan Black." Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
Don’t eat the goldfish, Helena.
Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Ah, welcome to “Orphan Black,” where we lead with the murder scene cleanup. I hope they offer good benefits to the poor dudes in suits who are cleaning up the mess Helena left behind when she murdered Cylon Daniel last episode. Rachel wants to investigate the whole crime scene, but seems most upset that Sarah watched her VHS collection of fond parental memories. Also, in response to Leekie saying dead Cylon Daniel was a “loyal man,” she says, “Loyal to you.” Even Rachel doesn’t like her monitor.

Why is Felix amazing with all the clones? This is probably a testament to the onscreen chemistry between Jordan Gavaris and Tatiana Maslany, but he’s just so funny with all of them. Sarah has, of course, brought Helena to his apartment, which he’s not thrilled with. Really, the whole scene is gold, from Helena hissing at Felix to freak him out to Sarah’s laborious explanation that Felix is a brother seestra and should be treated as such.

Cal and Kira are bonding, which is when we learn that Cal has a weird shelf full of fake IDs and cash and a gun. I’ve never had an RV, so I will just accept that that’s the kind of stuff people keep in there.

Oh, look. A meeting of Team Villain. Agenda: Evildoing. Outcomes: Paul will be Rachel’s new monitor, Leekie will halt promising research that would help Cosima in order to get back at Sarah. Meeting adjourned.

Hey, look, it’s Cosima’s nerdy grad student buddy! He’s still doing some research for her about patents. He wants to come work for her, but Delphine isn’t having it. She found the aforementioned promising research, and Leekie or not, she wants to do something about it. I see this week we will want to trust Delphine. Can’t wait for next week, when she starts being shady again.

Sarah checks in with Kira via Skype. This show is like one long ad for Skype. Anyway, Cal has successfully bought her love with some new clothes, and now she is bored with Sarah and calling him “Daddy.”

Helena and Art become the best of friends

Time for Helena to make another new friend. Felix has brought her to hang out with Art, who takes away a pen she stole from Felix and handcuffs her. Maybe Sarah should have categorized Art as a coworker seestra just to be on the safe side. Also, hilariously, when Felix expresses surprise about the secretly stolen pen, her response is “I wanted to write letter.” Good at excuses, that one.

Wondering what happened to poor Gracie after Helena nearly killed her? Well, her beloved family locked her in a cell and literally stitched her mouth shut until she explains what happened. That is a real contender for creepiest thing this show has ever done. Also, it really drives the point home that she and Helena have quite a bit in common: both were raised in isolation, and both were abused by religious authority figures.

Team Villain again. Rachel says some catty things about Leekie (who isn’t attending this meeting) and then tries to taunt Paul with the information that Sarah has gone back to the father of her child. Paul continues to be expressionless. Status quo for that guy. At least we know for sure that Rachel outranks Leekie now. Who is in charge of this whole shebang? Also, if Leekie heads the Dyad, what is the group Rachel works for? Is it called something else? Project Bad Wig. Maybe it’s Fight Club, since she never talks about it.

Art is bluntly interrogating Helena about her time on the farm and her old friend Maggie Chen, the Prolethean Beth shot in Season 1. Art should be more sensitive to the concept that he is talking to a severely traumatized person, which he could have picked up when she freaked out when he touched her earlier. I know she’s like a Murdersaurus, Art, but maybe be a little nicer to her. He’s giving her flashbacks of the medical procedure the farm Proletheans put her through. Just the sight of them pushing her legs apart in flashback is incredibly disturbing and upsetting. Also, her excitement about food makes me wonder if the people who raised her used to penalize her by taking it away.

Speaking of the farm, creepy Mark tries to bribe Gracie into talking by feeding her milk through a straw and flirting with her. So. Much. Wrong.

The food is really effective at getting Helena to talk to Art, as she tells a charming story about a nun who threw her in a dark cellar as a child for having devils inside her, who she then blinded more permanently in return with her thumbs. Yeesh. She then offers the tantalizing detail of a “Swan Man,” who she says played God. For Tatiana Maslany’s sake, I hope they didn’t have to film that scene too many times, since she spends the entire time eating a series of gross things, like a donut, sardines with mustard and hard boiled eggs. Art’s apartment surely smelled great after that.

Felix’s hot date

Huh, Felix has a personal life outside Clone Club. He really does have a hot date. I thought he was joking earlier. It’s the morgue guy from Season 1! They get a cute extended hookup scene (so rare for a gay couple! Very progressive, “Orphan Black”), which is interrupted, unfortunately, when the police show up. They escort morgue guy off, his hands still covered in lube.

And then Paul shows up. He ominously applies a pair of gloves while Felix gives him a hard time. It seemed so unlikely that Paul would do something violent to Felix, and yet he does, and it’s probably the worst betrayal possible, aside from him hurting Kira. He rubs Felix’s hands all over Daniel’s murder weapon gun, and then when Sarah calls, tells her she has a day to turn herself and Kira and Helena in or they’ll turn Felix in for the murder of the cop Daniel killed.

Sarah calls Art for help with the situation, which distracts him just long enough for Helena to pick the lock on her handcuffs with the tab from a can of sardines and escape.

Blech, the Proletheans cut open the stitches holding Gracie’s mouth shut, and she admits to trying to kill Helena, which wins her the reward of either catching Helena or carrying the baby herself.

Delphine, intent on winning hearts this episode, helps Cosima break into Leekie’s office so they can steal the promising research. Cosima warns that Leekie could destroy Delphine’s career or ruin her reputation as a budding lesbian. The horror! Leekie immediately catches them. They should have recruited Sarah for this. She’s much better at this kind of thing. Luckily, Leekie wants to help them out. Apparently, Rachel threatening the life of a clone is one step too far for him. He also reveals that the fire that destroyed the Project Leda lab destroyed the original genome, and they’ve been desperate to recover it ever since, because now they’re running blind.

In Daddy/Daughter camping country, Kira reveals to Cal that she has aunts, but “they’re new.” Then she charms a series of police officers away who think Cal and his RV look suspicious. That one has a promising future.

Helena’s scavenger hunt

After Sarah discovers Art handcuffed inside his own apartment, they follow the directions Helena has left them to a creepy abandoned storage space. Sarah enters by saying, “Helena, don’t jump out and scare us with an axe or some shit.” Ah, sisters. A search of the storage space reveals that Helena’s “Swan Man” is Rachel Duncan’s father, suggesting he didn’t die in the Project Leda lab fire as everyone assumed. They also find an empty rifle case and a creepy doll made to look like Rachel. Looks like Helena made herself a little murder plan.

Rachel is busy seducing Paul while Helena sets up her sniper rifle spot. Paul remains impossible to read. Also, Rachel is, unsurprisingly, very bossy in the boudoir.

Sarah manages to get to Helena’s sniper spot before she kills anyone. Helena wants Sarah to see the depth of Paul’s betrayal, but Sarah has already seen what he’s capable of with Felix and doesn’t care that he’s hooking up with Rachel now. Sarah tearfully talks Helena down by telling her how upset she was when she thought Helena was dead, and how she couldn’t tell anyone what she lost. Helena admits Sarah makes her cry Then they walk out of the room together arm in arm. Quite a contrast from the shower hug in the last episode. Art, who has spent the last couple of minutes threatening Helena with his own gun, is clearly disturbed by this development.

Oh, did you think the next scene was a sex scene? It is actually Cosima getting her first bit of medication, but the whole thing is shot very, uh, sensually. Lots of hands on bare skin. OK, we get it, Delphine and Cosima are into weird science stuff together. It’s a bit of a mood killer when we see Leekie there too. But that just gives Cosima the opportunity to reveal that she’s ready to offer him a chance to meet Sarah, now that he’s come through with the medicine for her.

Leekie, of course, drinks red wine in dive bars, because he’s not really a beer guy. Sarah offers the information that Ethan Duncan (the Swan Man) is still alive in return for Felix’s safety, and when Leekie offers to keep Cosima on treatment as well, we learn that she hasn’t told Sarah she’s sick. Sarah departs to track down Ethan Duncan, promising to sic Helena on them all if she’s followed, which it looks like she will be, since it turns out Paul is at the bar too. He heads off to track her, and Leekie makes him promise to talk to him first rather than Rachel when he learns anything about Duncan. Curious, since Rachel just told him that he reports to her now. If Paul is smart, he will play these two off of each other, since they’re clearly in a bit of a power struggle.

And it looks like Helena and Sarah are off on a road trip together (in Mrs. S’s comfy truck, which provides “much legrooms,” per Helena) to a place Helena describes as “a place of screams.” Well, that sounds fun for the two of them. See you next week, Clone Club, on the wacky fun sister road trip. Did anyone catch Tatiana Maslany’s two second appearance in the digital short on ‘SNL’ last night?

Grade: A-

Catch up on last week’s recap here. Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.


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