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Orphan Black reveals that its evil genius is not so impressive after all

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Tatiana Maslany, Janessa Grant / Ken Woroner, BBC America
Tatiana Maslany, Janessa Grant / Ken Woroner, BBC America
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Orphan Black

"Ease for Idle Millionaires"

Season 5 , Episode 5

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Is there a more apt depiction of the rot at the heart of Neolution than the man running the movement facing down one of his creations, who’s just proven herself to be kind and brilliant, and getting angry at her for not helping him live longer?

Cosima has long straddled a shifting line between her loyalties to her sisters and her often uncomfortable fascination with what the Neolutionists are capable of. She’s long been tempted by what they have to offer, whether it’s the unlimited resources or the ceaseless quest for knowledge. But as P.T. Westmoreland himself points out at the world’s most awkward dinner party, she’s a mix of the clinical and the humane, and it’s what’s going to keep her firmly on the side of the clones.

Westmoreland spends a bit more time in the spotlight in this episode, and what emerges is not exactly flattering. He’s petulant, unremorseful, and fixated on the pursuit of one scientific goal to the detriment of his movement. And he mixed up his Darwin facts, which is a pretty terrible crime in Cosima’s estimation. It’s all a bit unimpressive, frankly, and he knows it. He doesn’t even correct her when she says his age is smoke and mirrors.

He’s also not above using some childish pokes at Cosima’s personal life to try and score points, which, if somewhat inelegantly, finally solves one of the show’s most oddly neglected mysteries: No Seriously, What’s Going On with Cosima’s Parents? The answer, we learn, is that not far from what you might have guessed: Yes, they’re still around, no, they don’t know what’s going on, yes, they have a good relationship with her. It seems pointed, also, that one of the things Cosima mentions about them is that they’re in love, thus suggesting some of the inspiration behind her devotion to Delphine, who has not proven to be the easiest person to love.

But since we’re taking a tour through Cosima’s personal life, we also learn a bit more about that relationship, thanks to a flashback. These two have lied to each other for the entire duration of the show, and their connection has proven to be something that overturned both their lives, often for the worse. The flashback to Cosima’s initial discovery of her patented genes, and her admission of her illness to Dephine (who is the first person she tells) also provides a glimpse into why she’s stuck with this thing so long. The bond is tied up in a heady cocktail of sex and love and rebellion and the person who was there for her at what was probably the worst moment of her life. Who wouldn’t get hooked on that?

We may be due to spend a little more time with Rachel, though, whose ceaseless quest to prove she’s exceptional means she’s petty and vindictive even during her era of triumph, when she tortures Susan (who had the gall to suggest that the other clones were better than her last season) and snipes at Delphine. For all her power in the movement, it clearly still bothers her that Delphine has long held high standing due, in part, to her ability to charm Leekie and now Westmoreland. This is not meant to diminish her intelligence—both of those men underestimated Delphine and the possibility of her having goals at odds with the movement—but is rather a reflection of yet another thing Rachel wants but can’t have. When she has a moment in front of Westmoreland, she insults Delphine’s looks, not her brains.

The focus on the island, and Cosima’s various nightmarish encounters there, means that for once Sarah is having a non-terrifying quiet day at home with her loved ones. Being Sarah, she’s using it to teach her child how to scam Rachel, a plan that Mrs. S is not too thrilled with, but one they may have no choice but to pursue, considering how close the Neolutionists are to making a move on Kira’s genes.

The flawed morality of the science that makes the entire show possible has never been more apparent than in their new willingness to harvest eggs from a child, though it’s always been an undercurrent. We love the clones, but that doesn’t negate the fact that their existence is based on people treating them like they’re less than human. And, for instance, locking them in a cage when they get too rebellious.

Stray observations

  • Why did Westmoreland give Cosima free rein to run around doing science if he didn’t actually want her to figure anything out? What did he think would happen?
  • Speaking of Cosima’s research, is anyone ramping up production of her medication for the other clones? And how are they going to administer it to the ones who don’t suspect anything weird about their lives?
  • Evelyne Brochu is a little stuck in this episode passively reacting to things going crazy around her, but she does a lot with the moments she’s given. Like, for instance, her face during that dinner when Cosima says, “You have a lot of dead things in here.” Cosima has played nice in the past, unlike, say, Sarah, but the version of her that DGAF is pretty entertaining. More Cosima trolling, please.
  • I mean, obviously the suit is amazing. Does it need to be mentioned? Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the suit.
  • Wait, Delphine is not Mrs. S’s highly placed mole? She just happens to be an additional one who’s sort of freelancing? How many moles are there? Westmoreland does not run a tight ship.
  • Why were the people in the camp searching for the monster at night, in small groups, in the woods? Lock your doors and wait for daylight, people.
  • If only the Castors had had a Cosima to figure out their fatal flaw. Poor Ira.