Episodes like “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method” are what make “Orphan Black” special. It checks all of the boxes – incredibly strong performances, new characters who are almost instantly interesting, answers to questions, new questions that are more pressing than the ones we just got answers to, and punches of humor. With only two episodes remaining this season, this is exactly the type of episode the show needed to get back on track after the frivolity of last week.
The episode begins with the introduction of another new Leda clone. This one is vaguely familiar, she was the one we saw on security camera footage with two Castor clones earlier in the season. Krystal Goderitch (Tatiana Maslany) goes from a caricature to being a well rounded character over the course of this single hour. Once she comes into the orbit of the main characters, she has one scene with Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and subverts everyone’s expectations.
Based on her attitude and the way she carries herself, no one seems to expect anything from her. But as she recounts her attempted assault by the Castor boys, it’s clear she’s smart enough to know something about her experience isn’t right. She’s also smart enough to know she isn’t able to put it all together because she’s missing a vital piece of information.
Characters like this are difficult to pull off for the writers and the performers. Tatiana Maslany has to play up some of the more stereotypical aspects of Krystal but there’s a layered sadness and drive for a better life present at all times and we end up rooting for her, all within about ten minutes of screen time.
The Hendrix family, once again, gets to provide the lighter side of the episode. Donnie (Kristian Bruun) found out his wife’s ex-boyfriend/current drug dealing partner, Jason (Justin Chatwin), kissed Alison last week. At least Jason thought he did, he actually kissed Cosima who was pretending to be Alison but this detail doesn’t matter to Donnie. Donnie and Jason fight and it ends up as a fight appropriate for two men trying to win Alison’s heart.
Everything about the set up is ridiculous and over the top. They meet in the stock room of Bubbles, a brightly pink soap store where Alison and Donnie launder their drug money. Donnie accuses Jason of kissing his wife even though he knows he didn’t really kiss her. Donnie then lashes out physically the only way he knows how, he slaps Jason, repeatedly. Donnie may be bumbling and ineffective — Jason knocks him out after all — but he’s tenacious and willing to protect what he loves. This quality could come in very handy for the clone club in the very near future.
The biggest and most important developments in this episode revolve around Rachel. The cipher hidden in “The Island of Dr. Moreau” needs to be cracked and Rachel is the only one who can do it. Rachel being Rachel, she wants something in return. She demands Sarah steal Krystal’s identity so she can escape Dyad and flee overseas. In a show of good faith, she does decode one page, “In Londontown we all fell down/and Castor woke from slumber.”
The mention of both Sarah’s birthplace and Castor are intriguing and definitely put the power in Rachel’s hands, everyone needs to know more. After Krystal’s identity is successfully taken, Rachel deciphers the next section. The poem continues but also includes a short serial number, H46239. Could this be the Castor original everyone is looking for? The rest of the season should hinge on H46239’s identity.
There’s a complication of course because someone also sold out the Leda clones and tipped off Castor to the existence of the book. Castor clone Rudy (Ari Millen) shows up at Scott’s (Josh Vokey) apartment and it isn’t long before Scott has to give Rudy the book. I question to internal logic of giving the book to the person most likely to crack under pressure but at least all factions are headed to the same place and set for an explosive showdown.
The final twist comes in the final thirty seconds. Rachel successfully switched places with Krystal and made it out of Dyad. Now that the biggest asset could become the biggest threat, what will happen to the Leda and Castor clones? With only two episodes left, I can’t wait to find out.
Will we find out who H46239 is before the end of the season? What will Cosima and Scott do without the resources of Dyad? Will Krystal be able to escape Nealon? Who told Castor about the book?