Orphan Black: From Instinct to Rational Control – Maggotbots, Pressure Bombs and Second Generation Clones, Oh, My!

Sarah (TATAIANA MASLANY)
Orphan Black – From Instinct to Rational Control. Sarah (TATAIANA MASLANY)

We’re not even halfway into season four of Orphan Black (BBC America, Thursday, 10/9C) and the revelations have come flooding from the minds of the show’s creators like a monsoon. We’ve learned there’s another clone, MK, who was working with Beth; we’ve learned there’s another Castor clone, Ira; we’ve learned that Charlotte was cloned from Rachel (so, a second-generation clone), and so much more.

In this week’s episode, the hits just keep on coming…

From Instinct to Rational Control opens with MK (Tatiana Maslany) brushing and flossing her teeth while simultaneously building a bomb. Hmmm… I wonder what that could be for?

Then we cut to Sarah and Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy) taking Ferdinand (James Frain, the busiest actor on TV) to a secluded location – a chef’s kitchen – where they ask him for his help removing the maggotbot (one many previous revelations) from Sarah’s cheek – but he can’t do anything personally except point them to the miraculously still alive Susan Duncan (Rosemary Dunsmore).

And speaking of Susan Duncan, she and Rachel have an interesting conversation about Charlotte (Cynthia Galant), whose health is not that good. Rachel has a decision to make – and Susan has a bit of news for her once she’s made it.

On the subject of connections, Scott (Josh Vokey) and Cosima receive Alison’s little present and set to work on figuring out what the maggotbot does – and you know that won’t be good news for Sarah. A plus, though, through Mrs. S’s calling of a family meeting, Felix is back in the fold – if still a bit grumpy – and the team of Alison and Fee is reunited, briefly (for an absolutely incredible reason). In related news, this may be Donny‘s (Kristian Bruun) best ep of the season!

Felix (JORDAN GAVARIS) and Donnie (KRISTIAN BRUUN)
Orpahn Black – From Instinct to Rational control. Felix (JORDAN GAVARIS) and Donnie (KRISTIAN BRUUN)

Probably the best arc of the episode is the one that connects MK and Ferdinand – an arc facilitated by Sarah’s need to find Susan Duncan – and another huge revelation.

The further the season progresses, the more noir things get – tough talk, Dutch angles, ominous score…

The way that all the characters are connected – even the ones that probably shouldn’t be (like the one that Sarah recruits to the cause) – makes for some very interesting interplay. In fact, there’s a growing sense of claustrophobia at the way everyone seems to be connected – like a noose tightening around someone’s neck.

One area in which the series continues to excel is in its unexpected bits of wit and humor. While the teams of Donny and Alison and Alison and Fee continue to provide comic relief is disturbingly delightful, Ferdinand gets a few shining moments in that department as well.

In terms of plotting, From Instinct to Rational Control is the most tightly plotted ep of the season so far and the one that features one of the show’s saddest moments (no, nobody dies) – one that feels like the band’s breaking up when it’s only just gotten back together.

Add to that the creepiness of a video that Fee and Cosima watch in the dying moments and there are lots of questions raised, and future revelations promised.

This is one heckuva good hour of TV.

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