'Orphan Black': Fear It, My Dear Sestra

Orphan Black - Ruthless 1

[This is a review of Orphan Black season 3, episode 8. There may be SPOILERS.]

It's been too long since Orphan Black lead Tatiana Maslany was last given an opportunity to play a new member of the Leda family, so the introduction of the bright and cheery Krystal in 'Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method' is a great way to kick the spark back into what has thus far been a somewhat flagging third season. After all, one of the really interesting things about the show is experimenting with the idea of what would happen if people with identical DNA had completely different upbringings.

In Krystal's case, her path has led her to a comfortable job in a beauty parlor and a life in which she's blissfully unaware of the fact that she's a clone. Although Krystal seems like an air-headed stereotype and even says herself that she's not very smart, Felix discovers that this isn't entirely true when he sets out on a mission to steal her identity for Rachel, and realizes that Krystal has been doing some investigating of her own.

Why is Felix ready to screw over one of the nicer Leda clones in order to help the meanest one of them all? Once again, it all comes down to Ethan Duncan's coded book of poetry and Rachel's ability to translate it, which she agrees to do in this episode in exchange for Sarah and her allies organizing a Dyad jailbreak. With the threat of Cosima's illness looming once more, the need to find a cure is beginning to feel more urgent.

Terminal illness notwithstanding, this is a really fun episode - the kind of fun that blends in nicely with the serious drama elements. A definite highlight is seeing Maslany and Jordan Gavaris playing off one another, with Maslany showing off her chameleon acting talents as Krystal and Gavaris getting to play up con man Felix as he effortlessly slips into the role of a flirtatious, heterosexual American. Seeing Gavaris in action, it's hard not to wish that Felix might turn out to be a clone himself.

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Since Sarah, Siobhan and Felix are a little busy with Rachel, Alison and Donnie get the dubious pleasure of playing host to Helena and Gracie. Those two have their own issues to work out (including Helena's care package of "babies"), but Alison and Donnie are a little busy with trying to get their drug operation off the ground while averting the break-up of their marriage. This leads to a really delightful showdown between Donnie and Jason, in which Donnie proudly accepts the title of "Alison's bitch."

The biggest development in 'Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method' is the coded edition of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" transitioning from a Clone Club secret to something that practically everyone has a copy of. Rudy shows up in Scott's apartment and threatens Scott's cat (unforgivable), at which point Scott hands over the book (completely understandable), and later Dr. Nealon and Rachel make off with the back-up copy while Sarah keeps hold of Rachel's translation.

Essentially, everyone's in the loop except for Delphine, who is all too easy to pity even as she struggles to maintain her new Ice Queen persona. Poor Delphine has to deal with what must seem like Cosima's attempts at sabotaging her own chance for a cure, as well Cosima's new relationship with Shay. Amid all the twists and turns of Cosima and Delphine's interactions in this episode the two of them end up kissing, which probably only makes things even worse.

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Evelyne Brochu turns in a really great performance as Delphine in this episode, carefully balancing a whole array of character motivations that are very clear despite not being stated aloud. The relationship between Cosima and Delphine so complex at this point that it's hard to take sides: on the one hand it's understandable that the Clone Club doesn't want to trust the "new Rachel," but it's still quite tragic to see Delphine left out in the cold.

Despite the stakes involved, Rachel's actual escape from Dyad is a really enjoyable scene as Scott's board game buddies excitedly get involved in the operation. Unfortunately, it all ends with Krystal being forced to do an impersonation of a comatose Rachel. The identity might be fake, but the coma is real. Let's hope Sarah figures out that the switch has been made and manages to rescue Krystal before too long; the character is just too much fun to leave out of future episodes.

Orphan Black returns to BBC America next Saturday @9pm with “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow.” Watch a preview below.

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