Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4

Orphan Black Review: Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil (Season 5 Episode 4)

Orphan Black, Reviews

The story of Neolution is slowly unfurling like a flower, and old skeletons are coming out of the closet. Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil” starts to reveal the beginnings of Neolution, and like most things in Orphan Black, it’s twisted.

The biggest surprise of this episode is the return of Dr. Virginia Coady, who survived the attack on the Castor compound in Season 3. Susan Duncan later transported Coady to the Cedar Ridge Psychiatric Hospital under the name Alex Ripley.

As a character, I wasn’t incredibly attached to Dr. Coady. She was an interesting cog in the machine, and her methods were despicable, but there was never an attempt to humanize her. So, I was surprised when Mrs. S and Sarah walked into Cedar Ridge and found Dr. Coady, but what surprised me more was the story she told.

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 (Ken Woroner/BBC AMERICA)

Through the first two episodes of the season, I hungered for any morsel that would explain the rift that formed between P.T. Westmoreland and Susan Duncan. So far, all we’ve been given is a cryptic cheese mites story, and the result is a frustration that I can only equate with trying to draw blood from a stone!

Neolution has proven itself to be a beast of mammoth proportions. Every time one part of the story is revealed, five more questions pop up. Orphan Black needs to let a few of these details out the bag now in order for the story to continue its current pace, or we won’t have a satisfying end. Right now, those answers lie with P.T. Westmoreland and his endgame, moreso than any Leda clone.

So here’s what we can glean from this episode.

Apparently, P.T. Westmoreland has been playing referee between Susan and Virginia since their first Neolution experiment failed. Before Kendall Malone and human cloning, P.T. Westmoreland found a child with a “unique genome” that they were “trying to crack.”

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The experiments were crude, and Susan and Virginia disagreed on whether to proceed. Susan said no. Virginia said yes. And so began the conflict — with P.T. Westmoreland in the middle.

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 (Ken Woroner/BBC AMERICA)

As this revelation comes to light, I can’t help but wonder: is this whole thing the result of a decades-old love triangle? And if it is, can we please pay a brief visit to a young Susan Duncan, P.T. Westmoreland, and Virginia Coady via flashbacks?

The trio’s first experiment comes to light in the same episode where we see Susan Duncan recovering nicely from her wounds. When Susan finally speaks with Ira, she talks about having to keep Coady away from P.T. at all costs. If Susan Duncan is worried, I think it’s a good barometer indicating that we should all be a little concerned.

Susan has a pretty good poker face, but when she talks to Ira about the early days of Neolution, she sounds genuinely scared.

This episode doesn’t get into the bulk of what happened with that first experiment, but we d0 know it must have been bad. Cosima’s snooping reveals that the “monster in the woods” outside of Revival is the child they were experimenting on.

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 (Ken Woroner/BBC AMERICA)

So, we have point A and point B, but we need to draw all the connecting dots to see how we got there.

This whole plot sounds like a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — except there are two doctors, and a man with some grand plans for the concept of life and directing humanity’s evolution. It’s part of the reason I am hoping for flashbacks. Talking about the early days is fine, but I want to see the pull of this threesome’s relationship during these experiments.

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I also feel like by revisiting these early days, we might actually get a clue as to what P.T. Westmoreland’s endgame is. Think about it: he had to give these women some sort of a sales pitch in order to get them to sign on initially.

At the same time, while this episode piques my interest regarding Neolution’s origin, it does nothing to satisfy where the science is supposed to go from here. That’s what frustrates me the most. This is all going somewhere, but all the pieces of this puzzle are making absolutely no sense.

Stray Thoughts:

  • It’s nice to see Adele again, but why do she and Felix have to go to Switzerland? I get that there’s financial Neolution stuff going on in Switzerland, but we just saw Alison depart on her own version of a walkabout. Do we really need to lose another character so soon? Even if they are back in time for the finale?
  • So, we all know that Mrs. S’s source is probably Delphine, right? So what is Delphine up to? Do we really believe she is actually in Sardinia?
  • It’s nice to see Sarah and Helena getting along. We haven’t seen nearly enough of that over the last five seasons. Their little conversation in the convent seems like it mended a few fences. Plus, Helena might be the one who can get through to Kira.
  • Is anyone else worried for Cosima’s safety while she’s in Revival? Because I am. You know she’s not going to let things lie. At the same time, I also think that she’s too valuable for P.T. Westmoreland to risk losing.
  • Speaking of P.T. — was he hooked up to a dialysis machine? Seriously, we need more answers about him. He’s an enigma with a giant question mark!
  • It isn’t lost on me that Mrs. S’s conversation with Elizabeth Perkins is about daughters becoming their mothers. Even though it isn’t touched upon often, Siobhan did raise Felix and Sarah.  Throughout these five seasons, secrets have come to light that show that Sarah and Siobhan seem to be on similar paths. I hope the writers see that thread through.
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What did you think of this episode of Orphan Black? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10/9c on BBC America.

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Lauren Busser is a senior writer at Tell-Tale TV. Her work has also appeared on Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. She has also been a dog sitter, worked front end at a bakery, and helped out in a kindergarten classroom. She learned to knit when she was five-years-old and thus, can now complete sweaters at a superhuman speed. She’s currently nursing a novel she’s been making slow progress on for the last six years.

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