Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 3 Review: The Stigmata of Progress

at .  Updated at .

Looks like that sketchy weirdo Ferdinand is back in action.

Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 3 saw the return of several characters – the afore-mentioned weirdo Ferdinand, as well as Rachel, Charlotte, and Susan Duncan.

I guess you can sort of count Ira as a return, too, in a way – we haven't seen that particular clone before, but he's the first Castor Clone we've seen so far in Orphan Black Season 4.

So far, it seems that Sarah is the only clone or clone-adjacent person (that we know of) with the Neolution implant in her cheek, a situation she's in likely thanks to her earlier deal with Dyad, when they held both her and Kira.

That's a good thing, because no one's focus was split – the entire team was solely set, throughout "The Stigmata of Progress," on helping Sarah get that "maggot bomb" (ugh, gag) out of her mouth.

Well, that's not quite accurate – not everyone was ready and willing to be Sarah's sidekick during this go-around. While Art, Mrs. S, Cosima, and even Alison and Donnie were pooling their resources to assist Sarah, Felix had basically had it with his adoptive sister's "selfish" tendencies.

She is so bloody cool. You are going to think she's amazing. She's a lawyer. Or she was, but there's some kind of, like, disbarment situation or something...

Felix [about Adele]

Felix found his biological sister sometime between the events of Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 2 and the most recent installment. So far, Adele seems rather innocuous, yet boring – if anything, she's sweet and a little dim.

Sarah, for her part, couldn't stand Adele right off the bat. Adele mistaking Sarah for a drug dealer certainly didn't help warm Sarah's feelings towards her, but in all likelihood, that was just a small piece of the problem. 

Sarah is obviously quite protective of her foster brother and, to some degree, wants him all to herself. Felix has been her best friend for essentially her entire life, so Sarah's reaction to the news that Felix has found his "real family" makes sense – she is concerned that she'll somehow lose Felix to this outsider.

That said, Sarah's behavior was definitely annoying, and Felix was completely justified in blowing her off when she randomly showed up at his apartment, demanding that he ditch his newly-found long-lost bio-sister to assist her with more clone drama.

Unfortunately for Felix, both of his biological parents are apparently dead, so it appears that Adele is the extent of the living family members he hoped to recover. Hopefully, she'll be enough for him.

Will Adele be sticking around? At this point, I assume so. It would be strange if she were introduced and then just ushered off into the shadows.

If she does hang around, I hope they actually delve deeper, making her a more well-rounded character and bringing her into the main action. Right now, she's not very intriguing – just giggly and goofy and a little bit stupid. Although, apparently, somehow a lawyer. Or an ex-lawyer. Or something.

Elsewhere, having gotten the news that Sarah has a random robot maggot in her cheek, Alison had the brilliant idea to dig up the corpse of Dr. Leekie from her garage, intending to see whether he (being a Neolutionist) also had a maggot implant in his jaw.

The idea here was that they could give the implant to Cosima, allowing her to work on it, figure out what it was doing, and hopefully figure out how to remove it from Sarah without killing her. Who knew that Donnie accidentally shooting Leekie would turn out to be a total boon for Clone Club?

Donnie: Alie, we are not going to exhume the dead guy in our garage. That is a haywire plan.
Alison: Donnie, my sister has a robot maggot in her face. You tell me what the solid plan is.

It's always heartwarming that these clone-sestras will stop at nothing to help one another. Even exhuming corpses from beneath layers of concrete isn't off the table.

While Donnie and Alison worked to uncover the fetid dead body of the head Neolutionist, Helena watched their kids. Was anyone else shocked and impressed that Helena and the Hendrixes have progressed to the point where Helena is allowed to be on babysitting duty?

While babysitting, Helena managed to finally get through a call to Sarah, to deliver the big twin news. Sarah was legitimately happy for her "meathead" twin (I kind of adore that she still calls Helena that).

Poor Helena was worried about her kids being raised the way she was, which seems like a huge bit of foreshadowing – Helena still has a ways to go in her pregnancy, but I'm almost positive that at least one of those babies is going to get kidnapped by some shady organization once they're born.

Their phone call was cut short when two police officers showed up to question "Alison" about the murders of the three Portuguese drug dealers at the car garage. What is it with this group and their garage murders?

Little did the cops know, they were talking to Helena, who was the right clone to be talking to anyway, seeing that she was the one who committed the murders.

When Donnie stumbled upon the interrogation and high-tailed it back to Alison to warn her to stop digging up Leekie, it led to one of the funniest moments: Alison wondering whether they were there about Leekie's murder. "No, the other murders!!"

Jeez, it's so hard to keep track with the Hendrixes and all their homicidal activities.

Another great moment in this sequence was when Helena surprised everyone by being able to spout off all the names of the people who worked on Alison's campaign. I love Helena, she's consistently the funniest clone.

Hello, husband Donald.


As far as subplots go, I can't say I'm very interested in this Helena/Donnie/murder investigation plot. The Hendrixes drug business was a funny storyline last season but sort of ran its course. I'm not really interested in seeing Helena relegated to such a lame subplot.

Meanwhile, Sarah ran about town trying to track down information and the name of someone who could potentially help her out with the maggot implant. She found Dizzy, MK's contact, who told her the dead Colombian's name – Alonso Martinez. Thanks to assistance from Art, Sarah found a dental clinic specializing in implants.

At that point, things got sketchy. A twitchy blonde dental office assistant mistook Sarah for Beth and all too easily agreed to remove the implant from "Beth." I get that Sarah was desperate, but this seemed insane to me.

Having seen what the implant would do to a person if messed with, why on earth would Sarah be willing to let this complete stranger poke around at it? She's smarter than that. Plus, she's been going around with these implant for weeks (if not months), and it hasn't harmed her yet so... despite being creeped out, it's really not that urgent.

Luckily (I think), creepy Ferdinand interrupted the procedure shortly after twitchy blonde assistant revealed she'd called in backup from her superiors to deal with "Beth," revealing herself to be a Neolutionist (these people are like cockroaches!). He cut her neck and freed Sarah, revealing that he'd heard from Rachel – who told him that Susan Duncan was alive.

Rachel, for her part, was sequestered in a secret facility by her mother, where she hung out with Charlotte and, occasionally, Ira, the Castor clone. Ira, Susan Duncan's adopted son (of sorts), was raised apart from the other, homogeneously-raised Castor clones, which makes him an interesting figure. 

Rachel, understandably, was mightily pissed off at her mother, for keeping her hidden away, abandoning her as a child, and failing to track down the Castor/Leda original (Kendall Malone) to save Rachel and the other clones afflicted with their genetic malady.

Honestly, Rachel is the worst, but it's hard to fault her for these grievances. She's in the right, here.

In a rather expected turn of events, Rachel has apparently grown to care about Charlotte as her own daughter. This care is only amplified by two reveals that take place in this installment: Charlotte was cloned from Rachel herself, and Charlotte is already suffering from the same ailment that systematically has killed the other clones.

Does Rachel want to be rescued from her own mother? It appears to be so, hence her decision to use Charlotte's online schooling to smuggle messages out to Ferdinand. Will Rachel and Sarah be forced to work together against Susan, now that Ferdinand is (apparently) helping Sarah?

Perhaps the biggest reveal of all came in the closing moments, when Susan Duncan clarified for Rachel their ultimate goal:

Susan Duncan: Everyone needs a purpose in life. Ours is all in service of the greater good.
Rachel: What is it, Mother? What is our greater good?
Susan Duncan: To control human evolution, darling. To create a more perfect human being.

Seems... lofty.

Other thoughts:

  • Rachel taunted Ira by saying that "at least [his clones] are men" – what does that mean? Was Ira castrated or something?
  • The visual of Helena lying amidst snacks strewn across the floor was hilarious. Such a Helena image.
  • Art has been getting himself more and more mixed up in this clone business. His conversation with Detective Zuko (the apparent Neolution plant in Art/Beth's department) was very ominous. Fingers crossed that no harm comes to Art.
  • I continue to love Rachel's icy British accent. It's so clipped and evil. I just adore it.
  • Kira continued to be the creepiest little kid of all time, periodically zoning out and having hellish daydream visions, potentially of the future. She reported a "dream" of the other clones burning Sarah "because she had changed." What's that all about? I'm certain it will come true later on down the line, in a sense, but perhaps the context will be different and less nefarious than it seems.

What did you think of "The Stigmata of Progress"? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below and catch up on any episodes you've missed by watching Orphan Black online right here at TV Fanatic!

The Stigmata of Progress Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (39 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: ,