‘Orphan Black’ Recap: Of Gods and Monsters

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Tatiana Maslany as Rachel Duncan and Stephen McHattie as P.T. Westmorland in BBC America’s ‘Orphan Black.’ (Photo Credit: Ken Woroner/BBC America)

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “Ease of Idle Millionaires” episode of Orphan Black.

Alas, poor Januz! We knew you, albeit briefly. The ancestor of the Leda and Castor clones was once an innocent Latvian orphan, who was found by Neolution’s founder, P.T. Westmoreland, and transformed into the feral man-beast that’s been haunting the woods on Neolution Island. That is, until his dying creator puts a bullet in his brain, a sudden (perhaps too sudden) end for a character we’d only just met. But as Delphine herself reminded us through Cosima, we’re rapidly working toward Orphan Black‘s endgame, so side players like Januz and poor M.K. (RIP) are inevitably going to be the first on the chopping block. Let’s not forget, though, that Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster — an obvious model for Januz — cheated death and returned to bedevil his maker in Bride of Frankenstein. It would be all too appropriate for Dr. Westmoreland to be confronted by his “son” one more time before the series finale.

The spirit of those classic Universal monster movies is felt elsewhere in “Ease of Idle Millionaires,” most notably in the episode’s centerpiece sequence: an extended dinner party for which Cosima shows up rocking a tuxedo. No, this isn’t another fancy clone feast; save for Cosima, the guest list is strictly Neolution only, which means she’s breaking bread with P.T., Susan Duncan, Rachel, Ira, and Delphine, whose status as Mrs. S’s informant is still unknown to her employers. The ’30s-era décor and fashions add to the feeling that we’ve somehow stepped into a colorized version of James Whale’s Frankenstein. As appetizers give way to the main course, and the secret history of Neolution is laid bare, Cosima comes to realize that the true monsters aren’t out there in the woods — they’re sitting with her at the table.

Certainly, the knowledge of what P.T. and Susan knowingly did to Januz makes it all the more imperative that the clone sisters get Kira out of Neolution’s clutches pronto. Rachel’s kind words to the contrary, they only want Sarah’s daughter for the healing factor that was supposed to be in the supposedly infertile Leda line, but instead skipped a generation. And if Westmoreland and his disciples are able to rationalize transforming an adorable Latvian orphan into a hulking creature in pursuit of a genetic fountain of youth, they won’t have any compunction about setting a curly-haired Canadian moppet on a path to a similar fate.

Maslany as Sarah Manning and Skyler Wexler as Kira in ‘Orphan Black.’ (Photo Credit: Ken Woroner/BBC America)

Speaking of Kira, how great was it to see Sarah playing with her daughter instead of yelling at her? Clearly, last week’s road trip/con game with her own mom reminded her that the best way to connect with a kid is to do something you mutually enjoy. In Kira’s case, that means hauling out the stuffed animals, cranking up some tunes, and inventing fun codenames for her aunties as they plot out how the Clone Club is going to bring down Rachel. “Kira wants to be in on the action,” Sarah explains to Siobhan. “I’m going to be a hustler, too!” the girl then proclaims proudly. We smell serious spin-off potential — Kira Manning: Queen of the Con.

Onto the clone power rankings for another clone-lite episode! Never fear, though: based on the trailers for next week, Krystal is finally coming back, and you can bet that she’ll be bringing her personal brand of crazy with her.

1. Rachel
It’s not everyday that you reunite with the adopted mother you recently tried to kill, but Rachel doesn’t blanch during her meeting with Susan. She also doesn’t give the scientist an inch, making it resolutely clear she’s not about to surrender the power she’s amassed at Neolution. Susan’s content to play along for now, but don’t think she’s not mentally filing away maternal grievances.

2. Sarah
Mending fences with Kira continues Sarah’s steps back toward mental and physical health after last season’s emotional breakdown, followed by a brutal beat-down at Rachel’s hands. Rather than acting out, she’s wisely conserving her energy for the inevitable rematch. It may not be an easy move for her, but it’s the smart one.

Maslany as Cosima and Jenessa Grant as Mud in ‘Orphan Black.’ (Photo Credit: Ken Woroner/BBC America)

3. Cosima
Cosima’s science-sleuthing skills are second to none, which is probably why she’s Westmoreland’s favorite “daughter.” (Shhhh… don’t tell Rachel.) Unfortunately, that affection doesn’t prevent him from locking her in Januz’s cage after she witnesses the poor man-creature’s murder. Think of it as Papa P.T.’s extreme version of grounding.

Non-Clone MVP: Januz
Andrew Musselman didn’t get a lot of screentime as Januz, but he made the most of what amounts to his showcase episode, revealing the frightened little boy inside of the supposed monster. While we’d like to think he’ll be Westmoreland’s last victim, that doesn’t seem likely.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

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