The Final Trip: Orphan Black 5.04: “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil”

Welcome back to Orphan Black‘s Final Trip. After the Hendrix-centric episode in “Beneath Her Heart,” we got to find out what the rest of the clones have been up to in “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil.” Unlike the previous two episodes, at first glance there didn’t appear to be any major moments. Yet as I was sitting back and letting the episode percolate in my head, I realized we did get some big moments, they were just a bit subtle. But rather than belabor these points in the usual intro, let’s go ahead and skip to the meat of the episode, shall we?

As always, there will be spoilers for everything up until episode 5.04, “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil.”

  • So Kira wasn’t harming her little mouse after all. Thank goodness. Harming herself is no doubt alarming, and despite what she said, yes, it did hurt, otherwise Sarah’s hug wouldn’t have made her cry out. I find it more interesting, on a story-level, for Kira to be hurting herself than for her to be hurting animals. The former makes sense in terms of her arc, her own internal pain, and trying to learn more about who she is. The latter would just make her the start of a serial killer.

  • Kira’s self-harm also provides a wonderful springboard to a beautiful scene between Sarah and Helena, wherein Sarah really and truly connects with her twin sister. We’ve had moments in the past, but those have always been motivated by fear. Sarah has always tried to keep Helena at arm’s length. Here, Sarah admits what a terrible sister she’s been and why, and I love that Sarah confesses that she’s starting to feel the connection that Kira and Helena have always been talking about. There’s so much to love in that scene, particularly when Helena shares her own experience with self-harm, why she did it, and why she stopped, which gives Sarah a potential way to help her own daughter. This scene is the most at-peace we’ve ever seen Helena, but it worries me that she’s writing down her memoirs: I have this vision that one day, it’s going to be the Hendrix family, sans Helena, raising those twin miracle babies.

  • Can I just say how delighted I was over the bonding between Mrs. S and Sarah? I’ve come to recognize those two as peas in a pod. Sarah and Felix, they learned how to be resourceful from somewhere, and that really comes to play here. Moreso, I laughed out loud when a very real argument blended seamlessly into the con, with Sarah flicking her glass of bourbon into Mrs. S’s face and while Mrs. S stands there, stunned while Dr. Perkins tries to help her, Sarah clearly indicates she’s in on the plan and grabs the wallet and goes.
  • Oh, and riffling through the wallet in the bathroom? Nice callback to season one, episode one, when Sarah is going through Beth’s wallet. Elizabeth Childs vs Elizabeth Perkins!
  • I loved Mrs. S so much in this episode, and her interactions with Dr. Perkins were especially poignant. That parting line, when Mrs. S was about to leave, really hit to the heart of the conflict between the two of them, “Your daughter is struggling on the threshold of what it means to become you. Remember that.” For a con-job, this really resonated. Yes, I loved seeing Mrs. S dress up, and I loved seeing Sarah act as her perpetual-screw-up assistant (this show always gives me some good Alias vibes), but Dr. Perkins really hit the nail on the head when it came to the conflict between Mrs. S and Sarah.

  • Welcome back Virginia Coady! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, and I can’t remember when the last time I saw her was (other than sometime in season three), but she grabbed Sarah’s visitor badge, and I’m concerned. Susan Duncan and P.T. Westmorland (Percival!) clearly have decided on a way forward, and if the argument between her and Westmorland was the means (which was why Duncan had Coady locked away), then this could get critical indeed.

  • And speaking of the means, I’m a little concerned about the mad scientist vibe we’re getting from Westmorland, Susan, and Virginia’s history with the pre-Kendall Malone experiment, aka “the bear in the woods.” The little boy who was a unique genetic subject, then something went wrong, and Coady and Westmorland just kept going and going and created a monster. On this island of Doctor Moreau, what is this monster exactly, I wonder? Was he meant to be the first from which clones would be made, but the science wasn’t there yet? That’s what I took it to be. And why is this important, I wonder? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they didn’t tease out the “monster in the woods” any longer than necessary (after all, the season IS nearly halfway over), and it’s important to know there were failures before the discovery of Kendall Malone and the creation of Projects Leda and Castor (after all, the first try couldn’t have gone perfectly, could it?). So what does that tell us? That Westmorland, for all his holier-than-thou benevolence, believes in ruthless science, which explains why he is backing Rachel, which means our clones are right not to trust him, right not to trust Rachel. Which begs the question: now that Ira is on the island, and he’s overheard this conversation, where will he fall in the equation?

  • Welcome back Adele! Though I was suspicious of her appearance at first (I wish we’d seen Mrs. S call her but at least we got confirmation at the back end of the episode), I like that she’s coming back and in the know. I agree with Felix though: he should’ve gotten the choice to tell her: it’s HIS sister, and while I was surprised that Sarah backed up Mrs. S’s choice, I also wasn’t: we saw how badly Sarah reacted to Adele last season, and we also saw that Mrs. S and Sarah had an interesting bonding experience this episode, and let’s face it: Sarah’s trying to reach out and be more open to her relationships, which means being accepting to those her loved ones care about. But when Felix says he’s needed at home for Kira and an art show, I felt bad for him: he has a life, and it’s getting put on hold because of all of this. I really hope he survives this show, and I hope the finale has all our surviving characters gathered at that art show (full of paintings of the clones, and Kira, and the supporting characters themselves), celebrating each other and the awesomeness that Felix has done for them, while remembering those they lost. BOOM. Calling it now!

And that’s a wrap! What did you think of “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil?” Are you as afraid for Helena as I am? Is it totally obvious that Delphine is Mrs. S’s source into Neolution? Are you looking forward to what is surely going to be a Delphine/Cosima-centric episode tomorrow night on BBC America @ 10:00 pm EST? Watch and rewatch all this coming week, and join me next Friday for my reactions to Orphan Black episode 5.05, “Ease for Idle Millionaires.” We’re nearly halfway through the Final Trip, y’all. How’s it going to end? What answers are we still looking for? What do we want to see when the show wraps everything up? Tell me your theories in the comments!

All images courtesy of BBC America.

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