Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4 Review: From Instinct To Rational Control

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Well, thanks to Cosima and Scott, we now (apparently) know what that squiggly little maggot bot does – changes DNA! Not horrifying at all.

Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4 revealed much to its audience, both about the mysterious MK's motives and backstory, and the larger "Big Bad" of Orphan Black Season 4. It also delved into Ferdinand's motives, following his surprise return at the end of Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 3.

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Alison's was definitely the most successful subplot of "From Instinct to Rational Control." Alison and Donnie are always hilarious together, but their mission at the fertility clinic (assisted by Felix) was on another level.

Alison: Is that your leaning tower? It's not leaning anymore.
Donnie: Oh, I've got two spicy meatballs for you, baby.
Alison: So spicy!
Donnie: Oh, it's so tight... in this airplane bathroom.
Alison: I'm arriving! I'm landing!

I dare say that their phone sex escapade will go down in Orphan Black history's best moments, right alongside the money dance of Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 6.

That entire sequence was just perfection, from the choice of "Funiculi Funicula" for the background music to Alison's over the top Italian flight attendant accent. And don't even get me started on those airplane innuendoes.

Kristian Bruun is a comedic goldmine, and he and Tatiana Maslany have wonderful, fun chemistry in every single one of her roles.

The reason for this wonderful scene (and for the mission as a whole) was that Alison (finally) became further embroiled in the Neolutionist implant plot.

She was mistaken for Beth by none other than Trina, the formerly pregnant Neolution girl whose boyfriend Aaron went missing after he attempted to have his implant removed. We first met Trina and Aaron back on Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 1.

Trina appeared to no longer be pregnant, indicating that she gave birth to whatever it was that she was carrying (fetus, Neolution implant thingamabob, whatever it was).

If it was indeed a child, where is that baby now? I'm betting we'll see that child again (if it was a child) before the season is over.

Sarah was harsh with Alison, telling her to pull her own weight and forcing her into this Lifespring Fertility Clinic mission, but in a way, she was right. Alison is typically far removed from most of the main clone action, meandering off on her silly (but enjoyable!) sideplots with Donnie (like the drug dealing of Orphan Black Season 3.

For that reason, I was glad to see Alison pulled into this plot, both to get her more involved with the main clone plot and because it gave us that fantastic phone sex scene.

Of course, this mission also successfully brought Felix back into the clone fold (for now, at least). Once Mrs. S and Sarah informed Felix of what exactly was going on with the implant, he was visibly upset and clearly felt guilty about abandoning Sarah in favor of Adele when Sarah came to seek his help.

Sarah, for her part, was still pretty icy towards Felix. It doesn't appear that she's willing to forgive Felix apparently "choosing" Adele over her.

Felix and Donnie pretending to be a gay couple was another wonderful comedic moment, with Donnie going way over the top, because he supposedly doesn't know any gay men (that he's aware of, anyway).

Felix: What the bloody hell are you doing?
Donnie: I'm playing the part, darling.
Felix: No, darling, you're mincing.

Thanks to the Lifespring mission, Donnie and Felix did manage to get important intel on the clinic and its mysterious "Brightborn treatment."

According to the promotional video watched by Felix and Cosima in the closing moments of this installment, the treatment appears to be a mainstream reproductive technology that has ties to Neolution.

And who's at the head of it? Shady lady (and former co-worker of Dr. Leekie) Evie Cho, of course.

While Alison, Donnie, and Felix dealt with the clinic, Sarah was busy tracking down MK, yet again, in an attempt to convince her to help locate Susan Duncan. The reasoning behind this (courtesy of Ferdinand) was that Susan would ostensibly know how to remove the bot from Sarah.

While I understand that Sarah desperately wants to get the bot out of her, she's been behaving incredibly irrationally lately.

First, she allowed that obviously sketchy dental clinic assistant to strap her in and poke around at the self-destructing bot. Now, she takes Ferdinand's word for it that finding Susan Duncan is a worthwhile use of her time.

On the bright side, despite how illogical Sarah's plan was, it did give us a lot of Ferdinand being weirdly hilarious.

Ah, the frittata. Go-to brunch for lazy lovers. Rachel's a foodie, too. And only a fluffy frittata will she abide.


This was simultaneously the funniest and the creepiest thing ever. Oh Ferdinand, ya little weirdo.

Unfortunately for Sarah, she'd underestimated MK's hacking abilities. After requesting that MK track down Susan Duncan (but refusing to tell her who it was that Rachel contacted), MK went ahead and figured out who Sarah's source was on her own – and once she discovered it was Ferdinand, all bets were off.

Discovering that MK was the sole surviving clone who escaped the formerly-mysterious Helsinki massacre orchestrated by Topside (and that her only friend and fellow clone, Nikki, was a victim of the massacre) put a lot of her behavior and actions into better context.

Poor MK! Her emotional reaction to Beth's abandonment (and later suicide) is so much more heart-breaking after knowing that her only other friend (before Beth) was horribly and unexpectedly killed. Her paranoia makes more sense as well. Her vendetta against Ferdinand (and the other members of Topside) is completely understandable, given all of this.

I was actually a bit shocked that Sarah so easily convinced MK to let Ferdinand go, once MK lured him out to Beth's apartment by pretending to be Sarah. For all of MK's rage and heartbreak, stealing Ferdinand's $3.7 million dollars seemed an insufficient revenge.

I mean, don't get me wrong, $3.7 million is nothing to sneeze at – but MK must be planning something else, right? She can't possibly be satisfied with simply stealing the money of the man who participated in the massacre of everyone she cared about?

Are we going to see MK again, or is she really going to disappear, as she'd suggested Sarah do as well? I hope so. I feel like she and Helena ought to bond over their traumatic experiences.

In other news, Sarah brought Dizzy in on the clone secret in exchange for his help locating the ever-elusive MK. Was this another ill-advised decision brought on by Sarah's desperation to be rid of the gene-altering Neolution device? Or will Dizzy actually prove to be a vital, dependable ally?

He did save Sarah from blowing up by stopping her stepping on MK's rigged entry mat, which seemed to indicate he was really on Team Clones. But who knows with this show, and its habit of introducing double and triple agents?

Finally, Rachel proved her true (evil) colors once again by choosing herself over young Charlotte, her literal mini-me, who she'd apparently grown to care for.

Immunosuppressive therapy likely won't save her. Untreated, her data has value. More value than her life. We shouldn't intervene. That's what you wanted to hear, isn't it?


Man, Rachel is seriously cutthroat. It's not very surprising that she would think this way, but she did really appear to be growing to care for Charlotte. As of now, it still appears that Rachel is the one, irredeemable clone. She won't be getting the Helena redemption treatment anytime soon, anyway.

Other thoughts:

  • Does anyone have any idea what Dizzy's accent is supposed to be? It sounds vaguely Irish, but I'm not really sure.
  • Poor Helena! She was barely in this installment at all, but what we did see of her was heart-breaking. After hearing from Donnie that Alison was jealous of her ability to conceive, she buried her apparently dead remaining embryos in the "Hendrick" backyard and bid farewell to the "Hendrick" family.
  • Is Helena off to find her boyfriend Jesse? Here's hoping! Always love to see Patrick J. Adams (a.k.a. Mike from Suits) over on this show.
  • Obviously what Cosima and Scott are working on – sciencing the hell out of that Neolution bot – is very important. That said, I do hope Cosima gets a chance to be a major player in the story and isn't solely relegated to scientist duty this season.
  • Alison was milking her newly-pregnant friend Portia for information, but she was also very visibly being real with her about her desire to have a biological child. Who wants to bet that Alison will dive headfirst into this shady "Brightborn treatment"?
  • According to Cosima's research, the bot "changes" one's DNA. Clearly, these "changes" are going to be linked to Kira's spooky premonitory dream about her mother "changing," from Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 3.

What did you think of "From Instinct to Rational Control"? Chime in by leaving your thoughts in a comment below and watch Orphan Black online

From Instinct To Rational Control Review

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

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Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4 Quotes

Sarah: And what is it you want?
Mrs. S: What he wants is to rescue Rachel.
Ferdinand: What can I say? She pierced this armored heart.

Look, Nikki. Another puzzle piece. See, Nikki, we're getting closer? Never forget.