Warning: Major spoilers ahead for those who has not seen episode 2.07 “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”
I screened tonight’s episode earlier today, and to be honest, I’m still numb. I just sat there staring in space, utterly amazed at what I just watched, for it seems like forever before I even had the energy to begin writing this review. That is how monumental this episode was, one that was designed to completely shake up the Clone Club universe and whose effects will be felt for a long time to come. So, fandom, let’s pick up the little pieces of our hearts and discuss tonight’s mid-season shocker.
If we could pinpoint one central theme in tonight’s episode, it would be loyalty — or actually a test of loyalty. So many characters on this show have been all over the map in terms of whom they are loyal to. Helena — one minute she loves her sister, Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), and the next she’s kicking dirt in Sarah’s face as she escapes and leaves her sister behind. Mark (Ari Millen) — the one Castor clone who seems to have a conscience but at the same time would die for his brothers. And, then there’s Paul (Dylan Bruce) — well, that guy’s been flipping back and forth since day 1. There is one more character whose loyalty was tested and who failed horribly, but I will leave that one for last because I’m still trying to process it myself.
PAUL REVEALS COATY’S MASTER PLAN — BUT WITH A HUGE PRICE
As soon as Paul hand-delivered the “sexual encounter” journal of one of the Castor clones to his superior officer at the beginning of the episode, I knew this was probably going to end badly. This bureaucrat in the fancy suit, he just seemed “off” to me. Paul assumes that his boss is moral and wouldn’t condone experiments being done on civilians, but as we find out in the final scenes, the guy is actually in cahoots with Dr. Coaty and the whole group of Castor freaks. He’s only stringing Paul along to determine just how much information he has uncovered about the true nature of their operation.
And, what Paul is able to find out about the “true nature” of their mission is truly shocking and appalling. After Paul returns to base, he learns that Sarah is very sick. She’s got a high fever, is delusional, and she keeps mumbling about Dr. Coaty doing something to her, which included injecting her with some of Rudy’s blood. Paul really doesn’t know who to trust, but he does decide to talk to one person who seems to be on the outside these days — the original doctor on the base before Dr. Coaty showed up and took over.
What Paul discovers is alarming. About a month after Paul had left to work state-side, Rudy came back with a girl, and she was very sick. Bloodshot eyes, the works — very similar to the disease that Gracie is suffering from. After that and from that point on, “the science took a turn,” and things got super-secretive. It was then that all of the Castor clones were told to record their sexual encounters and to obtain hair samples. The doctor goes on to say that all of the information collected on the women is kept in Dr. Coaty’s quarters, and Paul definitely needs to get in there.
It is here that Paul makes a very unlikely ally — Mark. He knows that Mark isn’t like Rudy and the rest of the bunch, and he also knows that Mark can get him into Dr. Coaty’s room. What he learns is that the Castor defect is actually contagious. It’s a kind of disease in the sense that it can be transmitted sexually. Basically, Dr. Coaty is trying to learn more about the disease by having the Castor clones intentionally infect unsuspecting woman, thus rendering them sterile in the process. And, why would she do this? To better understand the pathogen, figure out ways to make it into different forms, and ultimately, design it into a weapon.
It is here that Paul makes a very big and very fatal mistake. He places Dr. Coaty under arrest, locks down the rest of the base, and contacts his superior to let him know what he’s done. He is told that an extract team is on their way but begins to suspect otherwise when Rudy’s convoy returns from looking for Helena but without Rudy. Rudy’s team had likely been tipped off about what was going down on base, and Rudy was probably already inside the base about to launch a counterattack.
What happens next is utterly heart-breaking. There’s a very touching scene at the beginning of the episode where Sarah has a delusion that included both Beth and Paul. Part of the delusion is that same homemade video of Paul and Beth that we saw all the way back in season 1, with it being interjected with comments from Beth about how she was a fool for Paul and that he never really reciprocated her feelings. I didn’t understand the purpose of that scene until the very end of the episode when Paul realizes that his boss has betrayed him and that he needs to get Sarah out immediately.
On the way out, he kills one of the Castor drones but is stabbed in the process, probably not mortally but definitely enough to slow them down. There he makes the decision to sacrifice himself for Sarah, and what he tells her before he leads her off the base is a quote that will stay with the Clone Club fandom forever.
It was never Beth that I loved — Paul to Sarah
This is in response to the question Sarah asked him earlier about whether he ever loved Beth. At this point, I’m already crying because I know in my heart Paul isn’t going to make it out of this alive, but how it actually goes down shows without a doubt the integrity of Paul Dierden and his unconditional love for Sarah.
He goes right back to headquarters and Dr. Coaty and Rudy find him immediately. Of course, Coaty executes him for his betrayal, but he doesn’t die right away and ends up having the last laugh. With tears running down Paul’s face (and I’m sure down all of the fans’ faces as well!), he reveals a huge grenade hidden in his hands, and within a matter of seconds, the entire base explodes, with Sarah barely escaping.
For those who are in complete shock now, it’s OK, You can cry, scream, throw things at the TV, or any other bat-shit thing you can think of because I’ve already done them all. Paul has annoyed me in more ways than I can count, but I did like him and he’s one of the few characters that’s been here since the very beginning. RIP Paul Dierden, you will be missed!
HELENA TO THE RESCUE
One of my favorite scenes in the episode is when Helena is making her way through the desert and her little scorpion friend, Pupok, just won’t shut up about Helena having 2nd thoughts about leaving her sister behind. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to piss Helena off because you never know what she will do next. Helena finally decides she’s had enough and does something completely unexpected — the hungry Helena actually puts Pupok to good use and has the creature for dinner. Pretty disgusting but pretty damn funny. It was also a clear sign that Helena is probably going to find a way to go back and get Sarah out too.
And, she does just that and barely in the nick of time. After the base explodes, Sarah is injured in the process, but no worries because Helena is to the rescue. Helena shows up at that critical moment and carries the half-conscious Sarah out. Something tells me that things are going to be very different for these 2 sisters going forward.
Come Sestra. People miss us — Helena to Sarah
HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A DELPHINE SCORNED
The final test of loyalty in tonight’s episode is that of Delphine, and this is the one that shocked me the most. When it was revealed last week that someone was spying on Cosima and taking pictures of her with her date, I was concerned but thought that perhaps her new girlfriend, Shay, was behind it for some unknown reason. Boy, was I ever wrong.
In a scene towards the end of the episode that literally made my neck hairs stand up on end, it is revealed that it is actually Delphine who had been spying on Cosima. Why in the world would she do that?! At first, I thought that she was doing it as part of her job at Dyad, but if that were the case, you would think Delphine would be spying on her more at work and not be focusing on Cosima’s personal life.
Then, it hit me — Delphine appears to have gone all “Fatal Attraction” and is now officially stalking Cosima. She knows about Shay, she knows they hooked up, and it seems apparent that she knows Cosima is lying to her. Most of us know how quickly stalking can turn into violence, and yes, I think we all should be very worried for both Cosima and Shay.
All in all, I thought this was a fantastic episode and definitely one of the best of the series thus far. The writing was superb, and everyone in the entire cast did a spectacular job making each character come alive and the raw emotion feel so real. And, a special kudos to Dylan Bruce in his final hooray as Paul, definitely one of the best performances by any actor in the entire series.
However, what made this episode even better and why I actually decided to give it a perfect score is the well-timed humor of Allison and Donnie Hendrix. Nothing like creating an episode full of heartbreak and death and then, dumping some hilarious Allison and Donnie shenanigans in the mix. Oh God, this couple is killing me, rocking out in their underwear and stringing cash all over the place. But, if the previews for next week’s episode is any indication, there may be trouble brewing in their drug-dealing paradise. Allison offered up her Mom’s store to Jason as a front for their drug business, but dear Momma doesn’t want to sell. And, that’s not making Jason and his bosses very happy at all.
Orphan Black airs on Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America.
CRITIC GRADE — A+
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com
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