Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 9 Review: The Mitigation of Competition

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Rachel and Sarah (but mostly Rachel) successfully took on Evie Cho – but is Rachel still the bigger threat?

Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 9 saw the downfall of the ruthless Neolutionist and the triumphant return of Helena, animal skin in tow. Oh, and another surprise reveal in the closing moments, albeit one that many of us saw coming.

Sarah's New Situation - Orphan Black

With only the finale left this season and the main action apparently all wrapped up, what can possibly unfold on Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 10?

After killing Duko in cold blood to avenge her mother on Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 8, Mrs. S remained absent from the action this time around. The show swapped out Kira and Mrs. S for a heavier and broader focus on the main clone action.

Though she didn't appear, the spectre of Siobhan's impulsive killing of Duko haunted this installment, clearly rattling Evie and tipping off the other corrupt cops that Art somehow had a hand in his disappearance. Allison accidentally mentioning Duko's absence to Adele almost led to Adele's discovery of the big clone secret as well.

Speaking of Allison – I'm not quite sure what to make of her "crisis of faith" subplot. It seems rather out of left field, after eveything she's dealt with. Sure, the dramatic moment of her near-miss with the defective bot implant was heightened when she began to pray rather than to give in and tell the Brightborn lackey what he wanted to know. But in the end, it was Avenging Angel Helena who saved Allison and Donnie – not Allison's prayers.

Though, in all likelihood, it's totally possible that Allison will equate Helena's timely appearance (bow and arrow in hand!!!) to an act of god, thereby restoring her faith. Yep, that sounds like something Allison would do.

Donnie Hendrick… you look like roast pig.

Helena

On the other hand, I think I'd really enjoy some kind of parallel line being drawn between Helena's faith and Allison's. In general, I love seeing them interacting, and this faith subplot would seem like a natural way to explore the currently very superficial bond between those two clones.

In addition to being (temporarily) held captive, the Hendrixes also had to deal with the charges against Donnie for drug trafficking. Though a very randy Donnie was released on bail following Duko's not-so-mysterious "disappearance," the charges still stood.

Adele has truly grown on me during her short tenure on the series. I'd honestly be heartbroken if it was somehow revealed down the road that she is actually a Neolution plant of some kind. I don't think she is, given everything we've seen so far, but this show has been known to pull a fast one, time and again (see also: the undead Delphine Cormier).

For that reason, the gradual realization that her new bio-bro Felix was keeping a big secret from her, and that his loyalty to Sarah and the sestras trumps his newfound loyalty to her, was actually heartbreaking.

Lauren Hammersley has been doing a wonderful job in this role and in this installment, she did a particularly impressive job. She veered from forceful and effective, laying out Donnie's legal strategy even while tipsy, to funny and brash in the hilarious confrontation with Helena, to wounded and emotional in her final goodbye with Felix.

And poor Felix! Any steps he'd taken to establishing his own life, separate from clone drama, were completely torpedoed in keeping Adele in the dark (ostensibly for her own good) and sending her away. It would be one thing if Felix looked at peace with his original foster family, but he looked totally broken after sending Adele off.

I really hope Adele makes her way back soon enough, if only to cheer Felix up and keep on entertaining us with her Helena face-offs and gems like this.

Felix: Adele, you’re making it sound like we’re the mob.
Adele: What, so I’m reading this wrong?
Felix: Well, you did just mix mood stabilizers with gin, darling.
Adele: That’s brunch.

The main clone action this week took place between Rachel and Sarah (and by extension, Ira and Art). The two reluctantly teamed up to take down Evie. Despite Sarah's misgivings about Rachel's motives and methods, Rachel pulled it together in the end.

Rachel is ruthless. We already knew that. But she's not stupid. It would have made absolutely no sense for Rachel to allow Evie to retain control and to kill the other clones (particularly Cosima, who is the best shot at a cure for the clones, including Rachel herself).

As soon as Rachel commandeered the Kendra recovery operation, cutting through all the touchy-feel BS (Rachel's viewpoint, not mine) to straight-up blackmailing Kendra in order to get her to cooperate, I had a feeling we'd see some kind of twist.

It was immensely gratifying to see Ira reassure a panicked Sarah and Art that Rachel's apparent betrayal was actually just her gathering recorded evidence against Evie to destroy her. Evie's downfall, mid-press conference, as the incriminating video spread like wildfire, was wonderful schadenfreude.

I continue to enjoy the fact that they're refusing to soften Rachel. They've complicated her character and given her enough depth to make her more sympathetic as of late, but they're refusing to go a full-redemption route, a la Helena. This is better, because this way we get an array of characters/clones all over the morality/good vs. evil scale.

Meanwhile, Cosima worked with Susan on the cure, fertilizing Sarah's Leda egg with Ira's Castor sperm in order to create a zygote that they could work with to find a cure (given the absence of any of Kendall's original genetic material, the Sarah/Ira combo would be the closest available substitute).

Cosima also sweetly bonded with little Charlotte, who I'm almost positive will not make it out of this season alive.

How do you brush your hair?

Charlotte [to Cosima]

Charlotte, like Kira, has a bit of that Creepy Little Kid thing going on, but for some reason it works a lot better with Charlotte. For one, she actually provides more direct useful intel, unlike most of Kira's eerie empath moments. For instance, she tipped Cosima off about the map of their island in the book on Neolution that Susan had given Cosima. Based on Cosima's reaction, that'll definitely come in handy before the season ends.

Finally, Rachel, amidst defeating Evie, continued to deal with her glitchy bionic eye. Instead of seeing flashes of the swan, she began seeing complete images – a group of people in the woods (on the island?), a man picking up an axe, the beheading of a swan. It's all still very disjointed and mysterious, but one thing has become clear – someone is purposefully sending Rachel these images. But who?

Cut to: Delphine, disheveled but alive in a rustic-looking cabin, listening to a radio and jotting down notes.

I know some commenters are unhappy with Orphan Black's repeated death fakeouts. I, for one, am totally okay with Delphine's resurrection, simply because her death seemed premature and unnecessary. Her reappearance was by no means a shock or a twist, though. First rule of drama: if you don't see someone fully die onscreen, they're probably not dead.

Was the cut from Rachel/Ira to Delphine meant to imply that a captive Delphine is the one who is, somehow, transmitting messages to Rachel through her eye? Perhaps in an attempt to get Rachel to seek her out? Who knows. But it definitely set up some exciting developments for Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 10, the season finale.

Other thoughts:

  • I get that Allison was spiralling, but did she honestly think that hiding out from Brightborn in a Niagara Falls resort was going to work? Seems a bit delusional, even for Allie.
  • I think we can all agree that Helena, with her expert hunting skills and bowmanship, is hands-down the best, am I right? In general, but particularly on "The Mitigation of Competition."
  • Just this exchange. So very Hendrixes.

Donnie: Well, she can wait! Daddy needs his conjugal, baby.
Allison: Donnie, our lives are imploding and all you can think about is your [whispers] stiffy?

  • I'm still waiting for the Hendrixes to somehow wind up with an infant this season. So many hints were dropped during the initial Brightborn mission. Initially, I thought they'd end up taking in an abandoned Brightborn infant, but now I have a weird feeling about Sarah's eggs, fertilized with Ira's Castor sperm.
  • The promo for the finale saw Rachel looking all kinds of dastardly, hence my opening suggestion that she could reemerge as the bigger threat following Evie's removal. At this point, I'm not sure if I find that potential development too duplicative of Orphan Black Season 3 or not.

What did you think of "The Mitigation of Competition"? Leave us a comment below and watch Orphan Black online here at TV Fanatic!

The Mitigation of Competition Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

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

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Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Donnie: Well, she can wait! Daddy needs his conjugal, baby.
Allison: Donnie, our lives are imploding and all you can think about is your [whispers] stiffy?

Felix: I’m sure we can all agree that this little diplomatic exchange is rock bottom. Susan gets the brilliant and delightful Cosima, forging ahead to save your lives, while we get you, Rachel, and your half-baked plan to take down Evie Cho.
Ira: I can assure you, it is not half-baked --
Felix: Ira, you fertilized my sister’s eggs for science, you don’t get to speak, too.