We’re now over halfway through the final season of Orphan Black, and if the last episode was the tipping point, “Gag or Throttle” is that sudden rush down the hill of a rollercoaster. This episode finally gave me that heart-pounding “oh hell yeah” feelings I got from Orphan Black in the first season, which is fitting, because we’re doing a lot of going back to the past. Let’s get started.
The episode starts with a face that I for one never thought we’d see again: Aldous Leekie, the head of Neolution who we met way back in season 1. Alison and Donnie buried his body in their garage, but that doesn’t stop him from coming back in flashbacks. Specifically, Rachel’s flashbacks, which are a major part of the episode. This particular one takes us all the way back to when Rachel was still a child. Leekie introduces her to his co-workers, bragging that while she’s one of many clones, she’s of particular interest since she’s the only one aware that the other clones exist.
Cut to present Rachel Duncan, where she’s being lauded for her work with Kira, whom Westmoreland and the rest of the neolutionists will be using as their next subject. She says the next phase involves biopsies of Kira’s liver, lungs, and stomach, but before she can say more, Kira enters the room.
Later, Kira and Rachel are sitting together in Dyad when Kira asks why she can’t leave. Rachel says it’s because they’re still monitoring her sleep, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they have no plans to return Kira to Sarah. Despite this, Kira hands Rachel a friendship bracelet that she made. Rachel says the last time she made one of these was for a friend in summer camp — but they aren’t friends anymore. Kira can relate. She tells Rachel that she and Sarah moved around too much for Kira to have any friends, also. This is just the beginning of Rachel discovering how much she has in common with their new experiment, but it hasn’t changed her mind on going through with it — at least, it hasn’t yet.
Luckily, Cosima and Charlotte are just fine. They found Scott, but the happy reunion is interrupted by a call from Sarah. Charlotte tells her the truth: that Dyad wants to harvest Kira’s eggs, and they have one day before the operation starts. Dyad is doing everything all over again, to another generation of women — but they refuse to let it happen to Kira. The only leverage they have is that P.T. Westmoreland isn’t the age he says he is, so they each leave to follow their leads on his real history.
Rachel, who has traveled back to the island, has another flashback as she’s putting flowers on Susan’s grave. Back when P.T. Westmorland asked to partner with her, he said he considered her his daughter. Rachel snaps back when present-day Westmoreland approaches her and takes her to meet Coady, who wants to perform an examination. This rattles Rachel — she’s a leader, not a subject, and was officially emancipated from being neolution property a long time ago. Nevertheless, she obliges but notices something as she changes her clothes: Her file is on the computer screen in the examination room. She’s listed as Patient No. 779H41. That sounds a lot like neolution property to me.
Over with Donnie, Alison finally arrives back home from her trip to “find herself,” and she also found a new haircut along the way. Her short chop is dyed purple, and she even got a tattoo on her pelvis. She says she’s transformed her personality as well. She’s present, she no longer needs to control everyone, and, perhaps the most shocking, she no longer needs arts and crafts.
Rachel, in a meeting with Westmoreland, learns that they want to fly Kira to the island after her surgery — meaning she can’t go back home with Sarah. Rachel resists for a moment before relenting.
Downstairs, Coady meets with an old friend: Mark, another Castor clone. Although he’s a traitor, Coady has agreed to help cure him in exchange for information. He knows where Helena is.
But that’s all we get before we’re back with Rachel as she discovers something life-changing. After spotting Westmoreland constantly using a tablet, she goes into his office late at night to see what’s on it. When she looks, it’s like standing in-between two mirrors. It goes on and on and on before Rachel raises her hand in front of her face and realizes the truth: There’s a camera in her eye, and Westmoreland is watching her every move on this tablet.
Rachel flashes back to the moment the rift between her and Leekie began. Clones were dying, and to figure out a cure, Rachel killed one herself to study the autopsy report.
“What are you?” Leekie asks, horrified by her approach. He no longer saw her as human.
Back at Dyad, Rachel allows Kira to have a video call with Sarah. On the video call, Kira shows Sarah the story she’s been working on — which is actually all written in code words that explain what Rachel plans on doing with her. Mainly, she reveals that she’s being taken to “Wonderland,” which is their word for the island. The call ends, and Sarah and Mrs. S realize they need to get her out ASAP.
Rachel, now aware her every move is being watched, begins wandering around Dyad and drinking heavily. She watches old movies of herself and generally laments what her life has become until it’s time to take Kira to surgery.
“Who hurt you?” Kira asks.
“All of them,” Rachel replies.
Over with Scott and Cosima, rigorous searching turns up the real P.T. Westmorland, John Patrick Mathieson. They send the obituary he used to change his identity to Rachel and end up calling her, pleading for Kira to come home. Rachel says it’s out of her hands and hangs up. She gives Kira the sedative, but as she looks at her, Kira transforms into her past self — the child whose life was eaten away by neolutionists. She forces Kira to drink the sedative and leaves.
Cut to Art arriving at Sarah and Mrs. S’ house. He says they won’t believe what he’s about to tell them.
Before we hear more, we’re back at Dyad, where Rachel puts a patch over her eye and heads over to Kira, who is sedated on an operating table. At the same time, Westmoreland gets a call that Sarah and Mrs. S aren’t at the house. He immediately knows something is up.
But it’s too late! Rachel has wheeled Kira out of the operating room and hands her off to Sarah, Mrs. S, and Art, who are in the elevator. The release happens in mere seconds before Rachel returns to her office and ends the episode with a bang: sending Westmoreland’s real identity to everyone and, wait for it, cutting out her eye — the eye with the camera. Orphan Black just went full on Game Of Thrones, and I’m loving it.
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