Thursday 5 May 2016

Orphan Black - I don’t want them to grow up like me.

Orphan Black: 4x03 The Stigmata of Progress.
“Like the stigmata of gender and race, which signify asymmetrical, regularly reproduced processes that give some human beings rights in other human beings that they do not have in themselves, the copyright, patent and trademark are specific, asymmetrical, congealed processes – which must be constantly revivified in law and commerce as well as in science.”
Donna Haraway
Helena is pregnant with twins and excited that they will always have each other, like she and Sarah, but worried that they will grow up like her. Sarah is failing to notice the changes in Kira, who is angry or frustrated that she is always left out when important things happen while, at the same time, knowing more than anyone else does through her precognition ability (which, in this episode, take the shape of a daydream). Felix, still suffering from the feeling of having lost the family he has always relied on, reaches out to his biological sister, who gives him a new story about himself (one that Sarah, completely involved in her own issues, isn’t willing to hear). Rachel is still trapped in her mother’s terrarium, with only Ira, a remaining Castor clone raised away from the homogenous group, and Charlotte keeping her company. If this season is shaping up to be about motherhood and family more than any season before, the way this drama plays out between Rachel and her mother creator Susan Duncan is the most horrifying: Duncan is clearly a die-hard neolutionist, someone so obsessed with the ideology that she considered her child an experiment first and foremost and someone worthy of love and protection second. Rachel, to her, is the bearer of her name and of her great expectations, and especially because of that, the greatest disappointment. 
The two main storylines in this episode are about Sarah and Rachel – the former is trying to find a way to get rid of the maggot-bot, while Cosima and Scott try to figure out what the bot is doing in her jaw in the first place, and blinded by that one sole mission, she fails to see anything else that is going on around her, like the changes in Kira or Felix’ need to be taken seriously and heard by her. The sheer body horror panic of the parasites presence in her body drives her to make irrational decisions, like trusting a dental nurse she has just met, who confuses her for Beth – which almost lands her in deep trouble, if it wasn’t for Ferdinand riding in and causing havoc in her favour. 
This is where Sarah’s story ties in with Rachel, even though Rachel is still prisoned off in an unknown part of the world. Through Charlotte, with whom she has built an odd relationship of trust, as they are both prisoners of Susan Duncan, she has managed to get a message out to Ferdinand – telling him that Susan Duncan is well alive. It is sad that Rachel’s only hope is the man who obsessively and sickly loves her, since nobody else is looking for her, but Ferdinand will rely on his newly forged alliance to get his beloved away from the Neolutionists he hates so much. 
The other part of Rachel’s story is sheer sadness: confronting the fact that the person she considered her mother abandoned her for the sake of science, and is now treating her like an experiment rather than a human being (she apologises for it late in the episode, but also justifies it with their “greater cause”), Rachel also finds out that Charlotte was cloned from her DNA. Her mother does not in the least realise what this means for Rachel, who hates Sarah so much mostly because Sarah is able to have children of her own – Rachel wanted children, and her mother has twisted this wish into another experiment, one that went wrong 400 times and has now resulted in a little girl that is just as trapped and just as much at Susan Duncan’s mercy as Rachel is, with a normal life far out of either of their reach (Ira injecting her bionic eye with pigment to make it look more normal is a beautiful metaphor for it – the way all of her normality is dress-up and artificial, as much as she yearns for those nostalgic memories of being just a normal child and going on a stroll with her parents). Like she tells Charlotte – you don’t get to choose what bothers you – and this bothers Rachel a lot, as much as she would like to remain the distant and cold figure that she was in the past. Hearing from her mother that she is the product of a weird ideology (an ideology that she must feel is ethically discredited simply because of the horrific scenes is produces, like the worm-implants and extractions, like the mass murder of clones in Helsinki), that she is an experiment first, makes her cry  - but she is already working on her own way out. 

Random notes: 

Kira has a dream of the other “aunties” setting Sarah on fire because she is turning, which would confirm the theory (shared by the hacker) that the maggot-bot is used for brain control). 

There are theories out there about why Helena knows so many details about Alison’s election campaign – Alison thinks it’s just a symptom of her having been a professional killer, but perhaps it is some kind of mind-sharing that is happening – or else Helena loves and admires Alison enough to be obsessive about details like that. We’ll see. 

Charlotte is suffering from the same illness that Cosima has. 

Elsewhere (I am starting to get a bit sad that Donnie and Alison are solely used for comic relief these days), the two Hendrixes realise they likely have a specimen of the maggot-bot buried under their garage floor, and finally buy that jackhammer. 

Felix, to prove to Sarah he is biologically related to Adele: 
Felix: You ever had sex for material gain?
Adele: Who hasn’t. 
Art sees the union guy on Beth’s video surveillance and approaches him at work about his home visits – except raising flags with those kind of people is probably not the best idea in the world. Also, putting the pieces of the episode together, it seems like the guy forced Beth to get an implant at the place that Sarah visits (and this is another confirmation that the Neolutionists are unaware that Beth Manning is dead). 

Donnie and Alison, confessing their accidental manslaughter to Cosima: 

“Anyway one thing led to another and I did shoot Dr Leekie and buried him in our garage. “

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