‘Orphan Black’ Season 5 Episodes 8-9: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

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As we head into the final act of “Orphan Black,” things are getting very real, indeed, with various cast regulars dropping left and right- at least one of which really stung to longtime viewers. Needless to say, spoilers from here on out. This being the final season and all, I suppose such things are to be expected, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it sucked to lose some of these vital characters, even with only one episode to go. Let’s backtrack a bit to see how we got there.

In “Guillotines Decide,” the stage seemed set for one last “fun” episode before the blades started to drop, but “Orphan Black” wasn’t going to let us down that easily. With the return of Felix (Jordan Gavaris), and the promise of a more light-hearted party to blow off some steam, what with Neolution exposed and well on their way to being defeated, one could be forgiven for thinking that it was time to celebrate for once, in what has been a fairly intense season, save maybe for that Alison-centric episode.

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Felix decided to throw a party to show off his art, with open bids on all of his clone-inspired works- and a novel approach to selling it, via guest appearances by his sources of inspiration, the clones themselves. Of course, the world at large doesn’t really know about them, and Felix wasn’t about to expose them like that, so instead he took the amusing approach of introducing them one by one, ostensibly with the same “actress” playing each of the “personalities” he’d come up with in his art.

So, in other words, as he highlighted each painting, the clone that inspired it would come in and take center stage for a bit, then they would be switched out for another, until he’d made his way through most of them. (Obviously, Beth was no longer with us, for instance, but there was certainly a nod to her in one of the paintings, so she got her air time as well.) It was an amusing, meta conceit, and it was fun seeing Tatiana Maslany make her way through each of the personalities, showing how they might react differently to being center stage at such an event.

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In the end, Felix simply introduced his sister Sarah, as well as Foster mom Siobhan (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and newly-found stepsister Adele (Lauren Hammersley) as his family, and his biggest inspirations. As someone raised by a single mom, with a gaggle of sisters of my own, you better believe this hit home for me, personally, but I can’t imagine it not resonating with any fan of the show, period, after all that’s gone down over the years.

Of course, it was also the relative calm before the storm, which I think we all knew. There was no way that the show was going out without some casualties, and if it seemed like it wouldn’t be until the next episode, well, you thought wrong. Sarah, of course, knew better, and while she was able to let loose for a brief, shining moment, there was still no doubt to her that things were far from over.

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There was one notable absence, naturally, in Helena, who was dealing with more pressing matters, as she realized, all too late, that Gracie’s appearance was no fluke. Of course, we know that Gracie (Zoé de Grand ‘Maison) had a change of heart and instead of giving up Helena to Mark (Ari Millen) and the rest, she lied to attempt to protect her. Helena knows better, though, and as soon as she realized what was going on, she knew it was time to get the heaven out of that convent, her condition be damned.

Alas, it was too late for all that, as the nefarious Detective Enger (Elyse Levesque) burst in to kidnap Helena and bring her back to the even worse PT Westmorland (Stephen McHattie) and Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper) so that they can do whatever with Helena’s babies. Before she left, though, she didn’t hesitate to take out Gracie along the way, making for the episode’s first, but hardly only casualty.

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Meanwhile, Mrs. S. continued to sneak around behind Sarah’s back, albeit with good reason- she and Rachel were working to bring down Neolution and Westmorland for good, even if it meant getting help from the wily Ferdinand (James Frain). This led to a double cross, when Rachel faked out Ferdinand, giving him nothing to present to the board of directors at Neolution, when he thought he was there to blackmail them on Rachel’s behalf.

Instead, realizing the jig was up, Ferdinand had to shoot his way out of there, as Rachel ended up giving the real intel to Siobhan instead. To be fair- not that she deserves it, really- she did try and talk Ferdinand into simply being done with it and running away together, but naturally, he wanted to stick it to Neolution to the extreme, getting millions in the process, and it was greed that ultimately led to his downfall.

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Unfortunately, it also led to Siobhan’s as well, when, after paying a visit to Sarah to express his displeasure and nearly kill her, he opted to let her go and go after the gang instead. Fortunately for them, near everyone was at Felix’s shindig, and thus, out of harm’s way- that is, save Mrs. S. who got home to find Ferdinand waiting for her. After several attempts to outfox him, she resigned herself to her fate, as Ferdinand shot her point blank in the chest.

However, this is Mrs. S. we’re talking about, who apparently has more guns stashed away in more places than she does money for a rainy day. Though one has to wonder how safe that is with children about, it certainly did her one last solid, as she was able to distract Ferdinand one last time and grab one of them from within the side of the chair into which she collapsed and shoot him in the neck, with both of them bleeding out and dying on the spot.

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It was a sad but fitting end to Mrs. S., who at least went down swinging, as it were, taking one of the show’s worst Big Bads with her. But, naturally, there’s more where that came from, or we wouldn’t still have two episodes to go. The show wasn’t done dropping bodies by any means, though.

In “One Fettered Slave,” the main focus was on Helena, as we got some snapshots into her grim upbringing, which ran the gamut from her getting punished not for her actual “crime” at the convent- sneaking chocolates from the Head nun’s office drawers (always with the food, our Helena)- but for catching the naughty nun indulging in some self-pleasuring of her own, resulting in her being locked up in solitary confinement to “repent” for “her” sins, as well as doused in bleach, which accounts not only for her blonde hair, but her scorched-earth red, puffy eyes.

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As if that weren’t enough, at one point she is taken away by the dastardly Tomas (Daniel Kash), he of the radical Prolethean religious sect that taught and trained Helena to be a ruthless assassin, taking out her own kind. That scene with him watching over young Helena as she played with Barbie dolls like some nascent version of one of the villains on “Pretty Little Liars” was creepier than anything that show managed in its entire run. (For those unfamiliar, the show had a Big Bad that also liked to play with dolls, to put it mildly.)

Meanwhile, in the present, Helena is being transferred somewhere to give birth to her babies under the supervision of Dr. Coady, as Westmorland barks orders somewhere nearby. The question is, where? And to what end? Basically, with Neolution’s main intentions- to sell living forever at the expense of others to the uber-rich and sterilize the rest- fallen by the wayside in light of their exposure, Westmorland is all about the me, me, me.

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He wants Dr. Coady to harvest the fetal stem cells to at least let HIM live forever, everyone else be damned, including Helena herself. Dr. Coady warns him that to do so prematurely would be useless to him- it needs to happen after the babies are born, and the birth needs to be natural- but P.T. isn’t one of those suckers born every minute. He wants those babies out of Helena and he wants them NOW, so Dr. Coady attempts to induce their births prematurely.

As if that weren’t bad enough, he also orders Dr. Coady to take out the last of her own children, Mark. (“The future is female,” indeed.) She objects- mildly- but ultimately does what he says, only far more humanely than the way she had Gracie killed, which, by the way, she lied to Mark about, letting him continue to think she would be joining them to the bitter end.

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She injects Mark with the “cure” for his ailment, and then cruelly observes as he sinks into nothingness, as if she were a mother simply watching her child drift off to sleep for the night- which, in a sense, I suppose she is. On the plus side, the show has something way more brutal planned for her soon enough, and boy, is it a long time coming.

After making it clear that she feels Helena is unfit to be a mother, Dr. Coady unwisely leaves Helena alone in her operating room, where she manages to use her IV to rope in a nearby table with various medical instruments on it. After trying to get out of her restraints proves impossible, she instead turns the scissors she takes on herself, cutting into her wrist, with the intention of killing herself, and by extension, her babies, rather than see them become lab rats for the rest of their lives.

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Fortunately for her, as all this is going on, one of the other sisters- as in from the convent- alerts Sarah (at Siobhan’s funeral, no less) that Helena is missing, giving her Helena’s journal, which she would never intentionally leave behind. Art (Kevin Hanchard) drops by Rachel’s hideout to question her about where Helena might have been taken, but she nixes the island, pointing out that the people there have turned against P.T. and therefore, he would have fled some time ago.

Art then heads to Neolution headquarters, where he catches Mr. Frontenac (Andrew Moodie) about to take out one of the last remaining members of the board of directors at Neolution. (P.T. systematically had the rest killed one by one to cover up things as best as he could and keep people from cutting deals to save their own skins.) Art kills him and interrogates said member, Hashem Al-Khatib (Elie Gemael), who says he doesn’t know where Helena is, but that the person P.T. wants dead more than anyone else is Rachel, understandably.

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The gang comes up with a crazy plan- Khatib will deliver “Rachel”- actually Sarah disguised as Rachel- to P.T. in exchange for his life, in a car with a tracking device on it, which they will use to find out where P.T. is laying low and hopefully, where Helena is being held. Of course, Sarah will have to keep P.T. busy while the others get there and rescue Helena, at the risk of her own life.

She does a good job at first, but then slips and calls him “father,” which Rachel has never done and would never do, thus giving up her ruse in the process. P.T. is all too happy to take her out as a consolation prize and brings in Enger to do just that, but Sarah manages to slash his throat before Enger puts a gun to her head and prepares to fire it. Fortunately for her, by this point, Dr. Coady has discovered what Helena has done and stops them from killing Sarah, saying they need her blood for a transfusion, or all is lost.

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P.T. begrudgingly lets her go, and it’s looks as if his wound isn’t fatal, so he’s still with us for the moment- saving him for the finale, no doubt. Sarah gives Helena her blood, and sure enough, Helena pulls through. Unfortunately for Dr. Coady, her left arm is still free, which Helena uses to grab Dr. Coady and slam her head repeatedly into the side of the bed, killing her in a suitably vicious and deserving fashion.

Sarah undoes her other restraint and sets Helena completely free, only for her water to break at precisely that moment. You win some, you lose some, I guess. At the same time, the cavalry has arrived and Art is making his way to them, but first he has to get through the wily Engel. I don’t suspect that will be a problem, though Art may not make it out of there completely unscathed. In a way, though, that might be for the best, given the bodies he’s dropped as of late, which were decidedly not sanctioned by the police.

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I liked the touch of P.T. hiding out in the last place most would look- right next to Neolution HQ, which has been set upon by a swarm of reporters. Hiding out in a closed wing of the building, practically in plain sight- P.T. has balls, I’ll tell you that. I don’t see him making it out of there alive, though. And hasn’t he lived long enough at other people’s expense at this point? I think so.

These two episodes were excellent, and a great setting of the stage for the grand finale, in which, no doubt, more casualties will occur. As I said, Westmorland seems a given, and Engel, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if at least one of the good guys/girls go down as well. Art seems a high possibility, as does one of the clones, or maybe Delphine. Then again, she “died” already, so maybe not her. Adele, maybe? Caught in the crossfire somehow? Hard to say.

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At this point, it’s also hard to predict who will be in play and who won’t. It would seem that most of the clones are out of harm’s way at the moment, but who knows what last minute twists the show has in store for us? Then again, they might opt to kill off the bad guys and leave everyone else standing. After all, not only have they earned a happy ending, but they did already suffer a devastating loss in Mrs. S. If losing her didn’t hit you in the feels, I don’t know if you have any.

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Whatever the case, we shall see soon enough, as the finale looms this Saturday night. Join me for one last look at the show, along with a final recap ASAP, maybe even by Sunday afternoon, if I can manage it. Until then, thanks for reading, and make your own predictions down below in the comments section!