Film & TV Reviews

Orphan Black Season 4: Episode 3 The Stigmata of Progress Review

by on May 2, 2016

This week’s episode brings us the thrill of Sarah trying to get the cheek worm removed from her face, the drama of Rachel’s past and captivity situation, and more evidence to support Kira is not just an ordinary child.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.16.47 PMStarting with Kira, at the start of the season the writers made it sound like Kira may be pushed to the side again as a secondary character. But this episode used a few scenes focused around Kira to hint at her being more important than her mom or family realize. In the past we’ve seen Kira heal at miraculous speeds (after being hit by a car), we know she can tell the clones apart and now it’s hinted she has futuristic visions based on the spaced out glares and attitude changes. We know Kira is not pleased with how her mom has kept her in the dark with Cal and the Neolutionists, this was seen when she was playing Descent with Scott’s friend and she throws the board game onto the floor. Although Kira is being kept out the loop by her family, I think this will lead up to a turning point where Sarah and the rest of the her family will realize how important she will be to their survival. The scene with Kira ‘dreaming’ until Cosima interrupts her and the vision about setting Sarah on fire is both spine chilling and alarming. Are they foreshadowing? Only time will tell!

Jumping from one child to another, we see Rachel has been spending her time in captivity with Charlotte Bowles (the young LEDA clone), Ira (a castor clone) and on the rare occasion with her mother Susan Duncan. Rachel is being used as a lab rat to test her new cybernetic eye. Ira has been regularly checking her eye progress and giving it pigment treatments. He has also been helping through physiotherapy to nurse her back to help. The relationship between Rachel and her mom is not a typical mother daughter relationship. The tension between them is summed up with the fact Rachel has been and will always be her science experiment. Susan chose to abandon her daughter for science, but she hopes Rachel will one day understand and be ready to continue what her mother has started. This episode also had Susan reveal the end goal of Neolutionists (in general terms) “To control human evolution….to create a more perfect human being.” Lastly we see Rachel has at least one friend in her captivity and it’s Charlotte. From this episode we gathered Charlotte is growing up in a similarly isolated environment to Rachel. She spends most of her day taking online courses and spending the rest of her day with Rachel. Susan mentioned Charlotte was a clone from Rachel’s DNA, but we aren’t too sure of the implications yet, although Charlotte does have a deformed leg and it comes to light she has a similar disease to Cosima as she coughs up blood in one of the scenes. Lastly Charlotte and Rachel’s relationship is important because we see Rachel is able to communicate to the outside world through Charlotte. It appears Rachel is still working towards her own agenda, but we’ll see if Susan is able to convince her otherwise. So far this storyline has been building characters and their relationships, but it still has a long way to go before it reaches any importance compared to the other storylines on the show.

Looking into my favorite storyline thus far, in order to help get more info on the cheek implants Alison and Donnie dig up Dr.Leekie fromScreen Shot 2016-05-02 at 7.50.37 PM their garage in hopes he had a cheek implant that they could extract to analyze. The body looked extremely disgusting from its decay, but the performance of Alison and Donny gagging once they dug up the body really sold the idea they we’re digging up an old corpse. Their digging session was interrupted by Detective’s looking into a triple homicide (which we know was Helena last season). The Detectives wanted to question Alison due to her campaign info being found at the Garage. Luckily Helena was mistaken for Alison when she answered the door and she was clever enough to cover her tracks, by answering the Detective’s questions and reciting off Alison’s campaign team (despite not being a part of it). Helena’s portrayal of Alison is always entertaining, whether it has Helena acting as a host to guests, or getting ultrasounds it’s always entertaining and hilarious. One the detective’s are gone Alison and Donnie resume digging up Dr. Leekie and they do in fact find a cheek implant. They contact Cosima about having access to a cheek worm, which is followed by Donnie finally revealing to Cosima he was kind of, sort of responsible for Dr. Leekie’s death. The web call they shared was priceless and well done from both a writing and acting perspective.

We also got a little more insight into Felix’s situation this episode, Sarah walks in to Felix’s aoartment early in the episode, only to find Adele Felix’s apparent biological sister. Adele and Sarah get off to a rocky start when Adele confuses Sarah for a drug dealer that Felix and her were expecting. Unfortunately for Sarah, Felix was set on spending the day with Adele and he blows her off, causing her to keep the cheek worm a secret from him. Sarah is also skeptical that Adele may be  neolutionist plant, but that just seemed to drive Felix further away. Later in the episode we catch up with Felix and Adele sharing an urban picnic. Where we get a backstory to Felix and Adele’s parents. The story sounds pretty simple, which is why I wasn’t drawn into it, but just like Rachel’s story we’ll have to wait to see what’s in store next.

Lastly we’ll take a look at Sarah’s story where her goal is to get her cheek implant out as soon as possible. Early into the episode we see Cosima and Scott do an ultrasound on her cheek, which didn’t reveal much about the worm. Next she tracks down Dizzy (M.K’s contact for more info) she returns his phone and convinces him to let her in once she reveals she has the cheek implant. He shares his theory on the worm and unfortunately “Proximity to the brain” is the scariest and most supported answer. Dizzy also gives the name Alonso Martinez who was the surgeon from the video on his phone. Next we see Sarah share the information about the worm with Art, who agrees she needs to get the worm removed as soon as possible, so he agrees to try and dig up info on Alonso Martinez. After the scene with Art we see Sarah and Helena finally talking and Helena reveals to Sarah that she’s having twins and she wants them to grow Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.44.00 PMup differently than how she was raised. Art digs up that Alonso moved to Bagota, but flew back to Canada for a one day trip which placed him at a dental office that specializes in implants. Sarah follows up by making a trip to the dental office. She sneaks into the back to snoop around, where a surgeon named Leslie recognizes Sarah, but as Beth Childs. Leslie does everything she can to get rid of Sarah especially after Sarah was pushing for info and mentioning Alonso Martinez, but once Leslie found out about the cheek worm, she agreed to help Sarah remove the worm. Once prepped for surgery Leslie revealed if the work is improperly punctured the worm will release a deadly poison into Sarah’s brain and that she had to call her superiors in to authorize the removal, leaving Sarah stuck in a very vulnerable position. That was until Ferdinand showed up and slit Leslie’s throat. Ferdinand had been tracking Sarah and her sisters and luckily for Sarah he most likely saved her life. Ferdinand also revealed he was Rachel’s outside contact and told Sarah that Susan Duncan was still alive. The storyline moved along quickly for the most part, but in the end Sarah is back to square one while having the worm still inside her cheek.




- Another week where Allison, Donnie and Helena have a funny yet progressive storyline

- Ferdinand is back and out for blood

- The season is progressing at a good pace


- Felix's storyline doesn't carry much interest yet, and Adele's character doesn't seem very likeable

- Didn't get to see a lot of Scott and Cosima

- Still a relatively uncertain agenda for the Neolutionists for the rest of the season

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Bottom Line

The episode is entertaining from start to finish, despite certain storylines feeling duller than others. The show's special effects and cast continue to shine making the story feel real. The story has been relatively simple to follow and we've seen a lot of character growth so far this season. The show is still going strong in its fourth season.

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