We’re exactly halfway through the final season of Orphan Black, and never has an episode had a more appropriate title.
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 5 “Ease for Idle Millionaires” reveals Neolution’s plot and finally ties together the island and Kira’s anomaly — and I am very unsettled by these revelations.
Through a combination of stealth science and straight-up questioning Susan Duncan, Cosima finally understands what P.T. Westmoreland and Neolution want. They have been chasing one gene that they found in a Latvian orphan named Yanis. The science led them to experiment on him and create the mutant that Yanis has become. (Thank you, Virginia Coady!)
Project Leda was an attempt to get the gene to appear and function like it was in Yanis, but instead it presented in Kira, a.k.a. the unexpected second generation. To see if this trait is heritable, Rachel and P.T. Westmoreland plan to restart human cloning with 1,300 surrogates who will all be impregnated with Kira Manning’s eggs.
Let all of that information sink in for a second, and then take a deep breath.
If this sounds unethical, it’s because it is. The only way to get Kira’s eggs is to remove her ovaries or inject Kira with fertility treatments. Does any of this sound like a good thing to do to a healthy little girl?
Sticking with the Orphan Black universe, let’s remember that Kira is a child. While we see her want to know about all the grown-up stuff going on, she really isn’t able to comprehend how this procedure is going to affect her life down the road. We can argue that Kira has never been normal, but until this whole clone thing was revealed, she was a normal little girl.
Fortunately, she has strong advocates in her mom and Mrs. S who I am sure are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure Kira isn’t harmed. After all, keep in mind how Season 2 began with Mrs. S. tossing her own house and leaving with Kira because she knew that the Neolutionists were coming.
Overall, despite how unsettling Neolution’s plans are, I am not worried for Kira’s safety if she starts talking to Sarah and Mrs. S. I am confident that Leda will circle the wagons around her if needed. Genetic brand in the Leda genome be damned!
The thing that really got me was that, while this idea sounds like it’s coming straight out of science fiction, it really isn’t that far off.
Egg extraction has appeared in the news before in many instances, such as when a 17-year-old girl was hit by a car and died, or performing a mitochondrial transfer with an infant’s eggs to allow a three-person embryo in England. Just google “woman wants to use dead daughter’s eggs” or “ethics of pre-pubescent egg extraction,” and you’ll see that scenarios such as this aren’t that far from reality.
But the basis of the science isn’t the point of the episode — it’s the ethics behind it. First and foremost, the Leda clones are sisters. Yes, it was a rough start, but they’ve formed a bond. And since Kira is genetically related to all of them, they all care for her on some level.
Cosima has a shining moment in this episode when she fights with P.T. Westmoreland and Susan regarding the science as it relates to Kira. Susan wants Cosima to help “mitigate the damage” and Cosima trots out the “She’s a child, you’re a woman” line, because that is supposed to make lifelong Neolutionists see the light?
Really? You think “You’re older, you should know better” is the little gemstone that is going to solve all of your problems?
It’s pretty clear that age isn’t a factor here. Nor is gender! Those in charge see Kira as an experiment. They want her for the science, and the advancements she can provide, and they don’t care what damage they’ll inflict.
Susan wants to mitigate the damage, but she’s as complicit as P.T. Westmoreland and Rachel if she goes along with this.
Cosima also stands up to P.T. Westmoreland when it comes to Yanis, but once again appealing to ethics doesn’t seem to work with Neolutionists. Even after Cosima gives an impassioned speech, P.T. Westmoreland still kills Yanis.
This scene makes one thing clear: if they’re going to beat Neolution, I don’t think it’s going to be with words. Sure, Cosima’s speech is nice. But considering P.T.’s blind ambition, it isn’t going to end well.
As upsetting as this revelation is, there is also the return of Delphine to consider.
Yes, I am super happy for a Cophine reunion. These two have been apart for too long, and you can’t have an endgame without Delphine. The episode does a good job of making us second guess Delphine’s intentions throughout the episode, but it still looks like she’s on the side of Project Leda, and I’m inclined to believe her.
To those who may doubt Delphine, I am going to say this: Remember in Season 3 when she was running Dyad and then got shot?
Yeah? Well, have you seen any evidence that she isn’t doing that now?
Sometimes, the most close-vested people are the ones you need to help you get the job done, and if Delphine is achieving results from within, then I think we can say that she’s playing the long game.
Let’s look at it this way.
In Season 5 Episode 2 “Clutch of Greed,” when she first appears at Mrs. S’s doorstep with information that she didn’t want Sarah to know, it’s pretty clear that Delphine is monitored, but not monitored closely enough that she can’t slip away and get messages to people.
To me, having this long of a leash signals trust. If Neolution trusts her, she can be a very valuable aspect as the plot moves forward and Rachel’s plan for Kira progresses.
Starting to see why they may need to call the man in the black van back to spirit away Sarah and Kira.
- I loved Cosima’s little rebellion by wearing the tux! Screw P.T. Westmoreland’s gender roles! She was rocking that suit.
- Speaking of Cosima, are we just now hearing about how her parents live on a houseboat and have absolutely no fricken’ idea what is going on? How do none of the sisters, or Delphine for that matter, know this? Also, was I the only one screaming, “HE’LL USE IT AGAINST YOU! YOU’LL END UP TAKING YANIS’ PLACE IN THE CAGE!”
- Why is Rachel being injected in her arm, when Cosima had to lay on a table and have her treatment injected into her uterus? Has anyone explained that?
- Why heal the Leda clones if their intent is to restart cloning with Kira’s cells? Are they hoping that if they cure the Leda clones they will start having children that will express the gene and therefore lead to more samples? Is that the endgame here? Because it seems like “clones are obsolete” one day, and then next they’re absolutely essential.
- Ira’s glitching! Am I wrong in thinking this may be a good thing if they need to bust out of P.T.’s house? I don’t want to see him go, but if he’s going the way of his brothers, maybe at least he can make one conscious choice in the end.
- I am inclined to believe the theory that P.T. Westmoreland isn’t the real P.T. Westmoreland. Given that we don’t have any information about how P.T. has managed to stay alive other than “his genetics” and “the science,” plus the fact that we saw him hooked up to a dialysis machine.
- S is better than any security system!
What did you think of this episode of Orphan Black? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10/9c on BBC America.
Want more from Tell-Tale TV? Subscribe to our newsletter here!