'Orphan Black' recap: Season 2, Episode 4: 'Governed as it were by chance'

Sarah and Cal stop to consult on "Orphan Black." Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA Just a quick radio picnic for Sarah and Cal.
Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA


Sarah is groggily coming to after last week’s big car crash. Looks like Cal was the one who hit them. He helps her out of the car, but she’s careful not to leave her beloved Project Leda photo behind. She makes a sort of half-assed attempt to touch the passed out, bloody Cylon Daniel, but decides to assume he’s dead. Surely that won’t come back to haunt her! Cal wants to call the cops, but Sarah shoots him down. There’s a tense moment when a police car approaches them, sirens wailing, and Sarah seems ready to fight them, but then they drive by, and she and Cal put some branches over Daniel’s crashed car to hide it.


Cal wants Sarah to tell him what he’s going on, but she refuses, in the interest of protecting him.


Back on the farm, Helena is coming off the sedative they gave her last episode, and the pastor and his family try to convince her that nothing crazy happened while she was out of it, and she’s part of the family now. She doesn’t seem too into this plan. Can’t really blame her.


Let’s check in with our new little star! Alison wakes up in a strange room and rushes to puke in the toilet. Good to see you, too, Alison. Oddly, her arm is in a sling, but she’s still wearing the clothes and makeup from the play. Why didn’t they put her in new clothes? A lady comes into her room and Alison tries to say they can’t keep her there and demands to speak to Dr. Leekie. The lady asks if that’s Alison’s dealer, and then gives her a world-weary, “Girl, you in rehab.” Ruh roh. Guess you’re not at the Dyad.

Cal has taken Sarah out to a random barn in a field (“Orphan Black” Season 2: The Old Barn Season), where Kira has been hiding. She runs out to Sarah when they arrive. Just to sum up: Cal left a small child alone in a field while he went out to ram her other parent’s car with his own car. What was his plan if he got injured? Kira, please find new parents.

Turns out Cal has a camper for them to run off in. That's awfully convenient. And it's not even registered under his name. He is a man of hidden talents.

Escape from Prolethia

Hey, it’s Art, going on a nature walk! Specifically, he is interested in the nature next to the Prolethian farm. The Prolethians may be creepy, but they are not idiots, and they’ve noticed him. The pastor’s wife, or at least a middle-aged lady who the pastor condescends to, expresses some anxiety about Helena being there, but he tells her he’ll do the worrying. Dude, you have Helena on your farm. You don’t know the half of what you should be worried about.

Sarah begrudgingly admits to Cal that a corporation is after her, and then uses Cylon Daniel’s cellphone to trick Rachel into thinking he’s still transporting her.

Gracie gets sent in to check on Helena with some new bedding. Being a crafty sort of crazy person, she then uses said bedding to smother Helena. Helena struggles and then goes still, and Gracie, who is clearly new to murder, takes the pillow away and leaves. Girl, Helena isn’t going to go down that easily. There’s a creak in the floorboards and before Gracie can turn around, Helena has her arms around Gracie’s neck, and her screechy action music is playing. Tough luck, Gracie. Don’t go up against the Michael Jordan of violent death, who also appears to be unkillable.

Helena makes a run for it (still in her “Little House on the Prairie” wedding dress) and finds herself shoving her way through some plastic sheeting. She comes out in a none-too-hygienic looking medical exam room, which inspires some flashbacks about the pastor and Marcus doing something with a probe to her. She looks plenty freaked out by the memory, and grabs a scalpel and runs.

“Orphan Black” has been building on its themes about women’s bodies, and what the world (and often, men) expects it can do to/with them, and it’s interesting to see them make that most overt with Helena, who is the least human of the clones. Never before has it been more clear that the clones are just female bodies in motion to the people in power on this show.

Gracie’s mom finds her and calls for the pastor. Helena is busy fleeing across the fields, right towards Art! He maybe knows she’s the murderous clone? Unclear how much, exactly, Sarah brought him in to the fold. He’s too thrown to do much more than say “Hey!” as Helena bolts past him, but at least she doesn’t stab him with the scalpel? Art does his best to slow down the Prolethians who are chasing after her with dogs, but he can’t do much more than convince them to leave the largest of their weaponry behind.

Clone Club Consultation

Cosima is still binge-watching videos of the sick clone that Delphine told her about last week, when the unmistakeable sound of a Skype call comes through. It’s Sarah, calling from the family RV. Kira and Cal are hanging out at a picnic table by the RV, and Kira tells Cal that her mother is talking to her aunt Cosima. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain she hasn’t met that clone yet. Maybe Sarah had a nice chat with her about all the ladies who look like Mommy?

Sarah shares her Project Leda photo with Cosima, who wheezily explains the legend of Leda and says the name is “total military-speak.” Sarah now wants to come back to the city and find Mrs. S. and interrogate her. Cosima points out that this is a terrible idea, but that hasn’t stopped any of the clones before.

Sarah goes out to chat with Cal, who has tuned in an old radio and learned that there’s a BOLO on his truck. So, that’s a term I’ve heard in every cop show ever, but when Sarah said it meant, “Be on the look out,” I realized I’d never actually heard it defined before. Thanks, Tatiana Maslany!

Mrs. S. has tracked down the skinny guy who kidnapped Sarah to bring her to Kira in the premiere. She believes him when he says he wasn’t involved in the double cross and and says she wants papers to get to London to meet someone. He tells her she doesn’t need to go to London: Carlton is here. The one from “Fresh Prince?” Not sure how he can help, but OK.

Felix has gone to visit Alison in rehab. Alison wants him to bust her out, but he’s there with the surprising news that she must have committed herself, and he talks her into staying.

Sarah gives Kira a quick goodbye, and Kira hands her an origami angel and tells Sarah it will keep her safe. Well, nothing else has worked at this point, so why not.

Cal manages to convince Sarah to tell him which corporation is after her, and she tells him it’s the Dyad Group, which he’s obviously heard of. They make an undoubtedly foolproof plan to meet up again in six hours. Did Cal not have anything else going on in his life? He kinda threw it all away for a woman he hasn’t seen in eight years.

Meanwhile, in a poorly concealed wrecked car, Cylon Daniel wakes up. He’s probably just returning from the Cylon Base ship.

Mrs. S. is wandering around a bar of ill-repute when a strange man grabs her. There’s some brief knife threatening, but it seems to be the aforementioned Carlton. Just in case anyone is confused, it is NOT the one from “Fresh Prince.” Then they hook up right there in the hallway! Go Mrs. S.

Sarah has broken into S.’s old home to look for clues to her whereabouts, and finds Felix. He gives her the update on the other clones, which for Cosima is that she and Delphine are “locked in some kind of transgressive lesbian geek spiral bound to end in tears,” which is maybe my favorite line on this show ever. Thank you for saying that with a reasonably straight face, Jordan Gavaris.

Sarah is more interested in Alison being in rehab and Felix says it will help her regain some dignity, which is followed by a jump cut to Alison peeing in a cup in front of the nurse from earlier. The nurse explains the rules of rehab to her, which are basically that she can’t do drugs or hook up with other patients. Both of those things are very unlikely for Alison, until of course they aren’t. She’s shocked to find Donnie back in her room and tries to get him thrown out, but the nurse isn’t helpful. He’s unexpectedly threatening, and tells her that if she tries to leave rehab early, he’ll take the kids away. Anyone else starting to think she didn’t actually commit herself to this place?

Sarah and Felix are going through old newspaper clippings in the house, because Mrs. S. likes to keep a paper trail? They learn that six scientists were killed in a lab fire for a project sponsored by a Susan and Ethan Duncan, who appear to be the people in the Project Leda photo. Hey, isn’t that Rachel’s last name?

Mrs. S., meanwhile, is enjoying a drink with Carlton. She wants to get more information from him, but all he’ll provide her is the name of “The Ferryman.” It sounds like she worked out what the deal was with the clones over time, but Carlton, who brought Sarah to her in the first place, does not know about them. S. seems mighty concerned that Sarah is going to find out too much.

None of these missions ever go as planned

Sarah figures out from Cylon Daniel’s phone that Rachel has a glitzy apartment, and she decides to go check it out while Felix brings the news clippings to Cosima. As they leave the abandoned S. house, a door creaks open behind them. Looks like somebody was listening.

And here we have some clone shenanigans! Sarah impersonates Rachel over the phone to get a hotel clerk to let her into Rachel’s apartment. Felix and Cosima call in while she’s in there with the research they’ve found about the Duncans, who turn out to be British geneticists. Oddly, Rachel has a VCR with a tape labeled “Cambridge 1991,” which Sarah plays to find the geneticist Duncans playing cheerfully with Rachel as a child. Not very sinister.

Cosima predicts that Rachel must have had a very cold, controlled childhood as the only self-aware clone, but Sarah can see from the video that that’s not the case. So what’s Rachel’s deal then?

This little research trip is cut short when Cylon Daniel gets in the apartment. He calls Leekie, who is clearly encouraging him not to hurt Sarah, but Cylon Daniel is real pissed at this point, and he knocks her out with a gun.

Kira figures out that Sarah isn’t coming back to meet them, and Cal tries to reassure her that everything is going to be fine. Kira knows everything will be fine: Sarah has a guardian angel.

Which Cylon Daniel crumples up into a ball in front of Sarah, who he has tied to a shower rod. Sarah has figured out that Daniel is Rachel’s monitor, which she thinks will keep him from killing her. But he just wants to know how she knows about Project Leda. He’s interrupted from slicing her head open when some music starts playing. He goes to investigate, and Sarah hears some crashing noises before Cylon Daniel reappears to collapse on the floor back in front of her and the world’s goriest bride shows up, steak knife in tow. Oh, that guardian angel! Not the paper one.

Sarah is more freaked out to see Helena than she was to see Daniel. Turns out Helena was the one hiding at Mrs. S.’s house. She tells Sarah she was married, and that she thinks he took something from inside of her, and then goes in for a hug. Aw! At the very end of the hug, it looks almost like Sarah is leaning her head against Helena as well, although it’s hard to tell since she’s so completely traumatized by everything that’s happened in the last ten minutes.

Back at the farm, we learn that Gracie isn’t dead. Wow, that was shockingly merciful of Helena. And it turns out she was right about them taking something from her — the pastor is examining a group of multiplying cells. Looks like Kira is getting a cousin.

Grade: A- More meta commentary from Felix about what's happening on the show, please!

Check out last week's recap here. Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.