Orphan Black Season 4: Episode 1 The Collapse of Nature ReviewApril 25, 2016
Before we begin our review of Season 4, let’s do a quick recap of where we left off in Season 3. But where to even begin…from the very last scene Cal and Kira were being reunited with Sarah and Mrs S, who also brought Kendall Malone. Kendall, as we know is Mrs S mother and was the original genome to the LEDA and CASTOR clones, also making her Kira’s grandmother. As it appears they seem safe for now, along with Allison, Cosima and Helena who were all last seen at the clone family dinner. On the other hand Krystal Goderitch, (a new clone revealed from Season 3) was taken by Dr. Nealon a neolutionist who infiltrated Dyad, and swapped her for Rachel who has been taken by the Neolutionists to a secret compound. It was also revealed that Rachel’s mother (Mrs Duncan) is a neolutionist at that facility and is still alive.
Now if that all seemed like a lot to take in, well it was. So when it came to thinking about the scope of Season 4 many viewers may have been scared off. According to US Viewership the show had dropped marginally from Season 3’s premier of 0.535 million viewers down to 0.229 million viewers. But despite the low numbers, let me state season 4 is off to a phenomenal start.
Season 4 begins by going back to the root of the show that once made it great. It begins with a look at the life of Detective Beth Childs before she jumps in front of the train in the very first scene of season 1. Finally after three seasons the creators have listened to the fans and done a flashback episode! We get to see a little bit of the relationship between Beth and Paul (portrayed by Dylan Bruce) and how their relationship fell apart. At this point of her life Beth is aware Paul is a monitor, because she was told by a source. This source is M.K a new clone to the series.
M.K is another self-aware clone that appears to have a wealth of knowledge for what is going on. We get a first glimpse of her wearing a sheep mask in a forest spying on two people in EMS jackets burying a body. M.K then calls Beth to tip her off about the situation. M.K, is portrayed as a very secretive and sneaky clone, but it appears she’ll be a crucial part of the clone club in the upcoming season as she finally reaches out to Sarah Manning in the very last scene of the episode warning her to run.
When Beth and Art finally come across the body, a victim with a removed cheek on his face and a single grey eye tell us and Beth neolution is behind this body. It is clear Beth is still keeping Art in the dark and it is taking a toll on her. When Angie walks in on Art and Beth in the restaurant she even mentions “She’s shaky” but Art sticks by Beth’s side saying “She’s fine.”
In the next scene Beth has a meeting over webcam with M.K who gives Beth intel to look into Club Neolution. This led to a welcomed cameo by Olivier (portrayed by: David Richmond-Peck) and Beth gathering intel from Olivier and others at the club. Later in the episode we get a cameo by Allison who procured a gun, but is waiting for Beth to teach her to use it. We then get more tension between Beth and Paul that causes her to leave her apartment and flee to Art’s apartment. At the apartment we get a surprising look into the two’s personal relationship where they get into some pretty intimate activities (compared to what some may have previously thought).
Next we see Beth getting a call while she was sleeping next to Art. It was one of the people she talked to at Club Neolution who had new intel, because her was scared for her boyfriend who left with some “Hardcore Neo’s.” This leads Beth to investigate alone. We see Beth come to an apartment where she can peer in through a broken window. Inside the window she’s able to see Detective Duko (portrayed by Gord Rand) from the police station and the two paramedics from earlier removing the boyfriend’s cheek. After the cheek is removed the paramedics pull a worm-like creature from the cheek. A smaller but very similar one to the one that crawled out of Dr. Nealon’s mouth right before he died in Season 3. Gross!
This was enough to spook Beth who stumbles backwards into some garbage cans alerting everyone inside the window. She runs out of there as quickly as she can, but gets spooked by someone who was down in the alley she was escaping through. She ends up drawing her gun and shooting the victim. This victim ended up being Maggie Chen who we knew from Season 1. Beth proceeds to call Art who helps bail her out of the situation, but that’s all we get for the episode.
The cast as usual was incredible! The reality of Tatiana Maslany’s skill portraying so many different characters never ceases to amaze me. It’s hard to believe she can convincingly play so many characters and the visual effects do such an incredible job at making it appear she is interacting with herself yet she is interacting with a clone. Kudos to the visual effects team for the gruesomeness of the victims and Olivier’s tail making his appearance extra creepy. It was great to see so many other cameo appearances from characters killed off in the past as well.
The writing broadened the scope of the show while answering a lot of questions from the past that were never answered over the last 3 seasons. It’s great to see the focus shift back to the neolutionists as the antagonists as they are unique in appearance and generally creepy as sh*t. It was also great to see more of Beth’s character. By avoiding Dyad, Topside, Castor and everything else this episode was singularly focused which help viewers be reminded of the original idea of the show and keep interested without being overburdened.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.