Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 5 Review: Human Raw Material

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Krystal's back and better than ever!

Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 5 reintroduced one of the very few remaining "naive" clones who are not aware of their clone status. Surprisingly, even after a near-encounter with fellow clone Cosima, Krystal wasn't brought in on the big secret.

A Sleuthing Mission - Orphan Black

Krystal is so amusing. Tatiana Maslany is just a pro at these accents and at adopting consistent, on-point mannerisms that distinguish these clones from one another flawlessly.

Though we haven't seen her in quite a while (her last appearance was during the Orphan Black Season 3 Finale), I immediately recognized Krystal in the opening scene, as we saw her aggressively training in self-defense maneuvers.

Apparently, her close call with Castor clones Rudy and Seth (in which they killed her boyfriend/monitor Hector) really traumatized her and prompted her to take up intense training, enabling her to fight her way out of bad situations.

Krystal may be a ditz but the aggressive way she took down her trainer, shocking him, was such a fantastic moment.

The fact that Krystal didn't allow the Castor encounter to make her fearful and weak, but rather inspired a desire to make herself powerful, was a really interesting character trait that I don't think I'd have expected of Krystal. Go girl!

Self-defense classes weren't the only thing that Krystal picked up as a result of her encounter with the Castor clones. On top of some kick-ass fight moves, she also continued her investigation into the Dyad/"twin" kidnappers connection – and came up with Brightborn as another link.

The rules of clone drama basically dictated that Krystal would decide to go undercover to investigate Brightborn at the exact same time that Cosima and Donnie did, and that's exactly what happened.

Poor Krystal has no idea what she's getting herself into. Because of said ditziness and having been kept out of the loop, she completely misread the situation and rationalized everything that happened to her in a completely off-track, ridiculous way.

Donnie: Listen to me! There's another clone here.
Cosima: What? Who?
Donnie: Big blonde hair, perfect nails, voice like a can opener.
Cosima: Krystal Goderitch?

When Cosima sent Donnie after Krystal, to try to figure out what she was doing there and whether she'd become self-aware (while Cosima herself investigated the Brightborn facilities), hilarity ensued.

Each season of Orphan Black seems to follow a pretty standard pattern. The earlier installments have a mix of serious and absurd/goofy moments, until the more serious overarching plot overtakes the silliness and dominates in the latter half, leading into the finale.

This time, Donnie and Krystal were the funny side plot. The two of them were absolutely terrible at going undercover (unlike Felix and Cosima, who were naturally very skilled at it), which led to the ridiculous massage scene.

Donnie posed as a Brightborn masseuse to figure out what Krystal was up to, and Krystal foolishly divulged her mission to him – she believed that Dyad and Brightborn were experimenting with humans by putting stem cells in cosmetics.

Her proof? An obvious tabloid National Enquirer-style article about a woman who underwent stem cell facial treatments and wound up with teeth growing out of her eyelids. And because Krystal is a "whistle blower," she's being targeted by the companies. Oh, Krystal.

Ironically, she's kind of, sort of on the right track. They are conducting human experiments, but it has nothing at all to do with cosmetics. Or eyelid teeth.

While Donnie was being taken out all-too-easily by an alarmed Krystal once he revealed that he knew the name of the doctor who treated her last season (Delphine) as well as Krystal's name, Cosima was off uncovering the truth about Brightborn's experiments.

Though it was actually meant to be ominous, there was something sort of amusing about the way Evie and Susan couldn't get ahold of the right clone for a while. All of the clone mistaken identity antics in this installment were a bit sitcom-ish.

Evie initially believed that Krystal, who she spotted being loud and abrasive at the reception desk, was Sarah Manning, Susan's rogue clone. Susan, apparently, can recognize all of her clones on sight, which makes some sense – she did create each of them, after all.

Cosima (again, a much better undercover agent than Donnie and Krystal combined) managed to get down to the off-limits Brightborn levels by sneakily swiping Susan's ID off of her. That was a bit of a strange moment – did Susan knowingly allow Cosima to take the ID?

It didn't seem as though she did, but Susan seems to be craftier than someone who'd fall for the old "drops papers and pickpockets you" act that Cosima pulled. Especially because she knew she was talking to Cosima, a self-aware clone!

Anyway, Cosima made several breakthroughs by sneaking around the hospital facilities while Krystal inadvertently distracted Evie Cho's security.

For one, she saw a group of pregnant women being surveyed through a one way mirror, "subjects" in a study Brightborn was conducting. For another, she was actually present when an extremely deformed baby was born (presumably to one of said subjects). The baby was quickly ushered off while the "carrier" was sedated.

So Brightborn is doing at least two things: conducting human genetic modification experiments on "carrier" subjects (with the goal, that Evie revealed to Cosima, of eradicating childhood illnesses with roots in genetic anomalies) and also providing mainstream reproductive services – for a fee, of course.

Presumably, the latter is being done simply to fund the "generous compensation" given to the "carriers," in exchange for the time they spend being poked and prodded, as they gestate genetically modified fetuses of strangers (women who pay for the reproductive services and leave behind their remaining embryos) implanted inside them.

Yeesh! What a mess. Of course, Cosima was horrified to discover that all of this incredibly unethical research was being done. After all, neither these fetuses nor their biological parents were given any chance to consent to these horrific, dangerous experiments. (Not that fetuses can actually consent, as Susan points out, but still.)

I created you as a beautiful baseline to unlock the mysteries of the human genome.

Susan [to Cosima]

On the other hand, Cosima was clearly intrigued by Susan's offer – to turn over Kendall, the original, in exchange for Susan's people working on a cure for all the clones. Including Cosima, who she knows is dying.

The remainder of Cosima and Susan's conversation took place off-screen but Susan's conversation with Ira (revealed to be her lover!!) in the Brightborn pool revealed that they were closer than ever to obtaining Kendall and a cure for the clones' genetic ailment.

Will Cosima agree? Will she convince Sarah that this is a worthwhile idea? And how much of Susan's interest is finding a cure vs. using Kendall's DNA to create more clones to experiment on? So many questions!

Two additional, smaller subplots rounded out the hour.

Sarah, still wary of Felix's new bio-sister Adele, carted Kira around town on their designated mommy-daughter day in order to surreptitiously steal DNA from the two maybe-siblings. 

Though she was incredibly rude to Adele at the dinner at Mrs. S' house, grilling her about her connection to Geneconnexion, the service (owned by the Brightborn Group) who revealed the genetic connection between Adele and Felix, Scott's DNA test proved that the two were actually related.

Sarah desperately wanted Adele to be a fake sibling, a Neolution plant, but that wasn't the case – apparently, anyway. She got very emotional about that reveal in an intense, emotional scene at the safe house.

Adele seems to be the real deal now, but I wouldn't rule anything out on this show. She could be a plant after all – despite her genetic connection to Felix.

Finally, Zuko (the apparent Neolution plant at Art's police station) revealed to Art the Hendrixes' drug connection and the murder investigation. Art was, understandably, irritated that he'd been implicated in a drug/murder debacle himself, thanks to his connection to the clones.

In turn, once Sarah got the news from Art, she angrily confronted Alison by phone, leading to a tense conversation between the two of them. The murder investigation is such a minor, rote thing compared to the larger plot, so here's hoping that it doesn't detract too much from the main Brightborn saga.

Other thoughts:

  • That Krystal wig was perfect. I loved that you can see the slightest bit of dark roots because, after all, each of the clones are natural brunettes.
  • Alison was largely absent from this installment, in favor of an increased focus on Krystal and Cosima. I love Alison, but I'm okay with this. I wanted Cosima to take a more prominent role in the clone action (outside of her lab), and this installment provided that. Plus, Alison was a big part of Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4.
  • I can't believe that this installment marks the halfway point of the season! Crazy how fast it's gone. So much has happened, too.
  • Donnie's flabbergasted, awkward "I have to go shit" when he spotted Krystal and basically flung the Brightborn baby back at its mother was hilarious. Gosh, I love Kristian Bruun.
  • In a surprise to no one, Kira is somehow psychically connected to all of the clones – even the ones she doesn't know. So now we know that Kira is some kind of empath and also potentially psychic, but the root cause of  her "abilities" remains a mystery.

What did you think of "Human Raw Material"? Chime in by leaving us a comment below and watch Orphan Black online right here at TV Fanatic anytime!

Human Raw Material Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (45 Votes)

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

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Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Alison: The plans have changed. Cosima is now carrying your child, Donnie.
Donnie: Oh. OK. So, wait, is she going to be co-parenting this child with Julian and I, or is she just going to be carrying the baby... ?
Alison: Donnie, the baby is fake. It doesn't matter.

Alison: Really? Are you feeling up to it?
Cosima: Put me in, coach. I'm ready.