Orphan Black's "Human Raw Material" tests science & emotional bonds

Contributed by
May 12, 2016

Spoilers to follow for Orphan Black Season 4, Episode 5 "Human Raw Material"

Did you miss last week's recap? Catch up here! 


YUSSSSS. Krystal is back and working out HARD. She tells her trainer about being kidnapped by twins who also killed her boyfriend Hector and he's seemingly unfazed. "You can be a victim or you can totally like get to the bottom of it," she says. And that's what she's doing. Checking out Dyad and how Hector and the twins are all connected. She is so stoked, and so am I, to be honest.


Sarah and Kira are having a much-needed mommy-daughter day as they paint a cute castle mural. Helena texts to not worry about her even though I'm not sure anyone knows she's gone yet. Fun day! Mrs. S asks if Sarah looked at the research that Alison sent, we've got an Alison-fied Topside family tree in which the Brightborn Group feeds into Geneconnexion, Trimorez, Brightborn. Turns out Geneconnexion is the company Felix used to find Adele. S warns her not to make anything of it but Kira and Sarah are going to pay a surprise visit to Felix anyway. Kira is admiring the new art on the walls, points at the phallus and says, "Is that a rocket ship?" "You can call it that," replies Felix. Sarah attempts to impart her new wisdom that Geneconnexion is connected to Neolution, but Felix is absolutely done with her. Adele casually strolls in with coke on her nose. Awkward. 

Cosima can't find data on Brightborn treatment anywhere and tells Alison they must not be sharing with the scientific community. However, it just so happens they're having an orientation today. Alison was planning to go as Sarah and do "Sarah things -- skulk around, look miserable, con people." You know, the use. "I know science, I'll go," says Cosima. Donnie will go with her as Douglas Andrews: venture capitalist. Cosima  immediately tells him he's overdressed and she knows the type he's meant to be playing better than him. "You can't just come in and change my character," he says and then makes another offensive gay comment. "I'm just gonna let that one slide," says Cosima. Douglas and Ava head into Brightborn as a "Conception Team." They're asked to sign NDAs and the receptionist looks at her funny when she asks for copies. Also, turns out Evie Cho is there in person today, which is bad for them, since she knows what LEDA clones look like. 


Sarah, ever paranoid (with good reason, let's be honest), asks Scott to run a sibling DNA test but at first won't tell him why. And he can't lie about where Cosima is, so they spill to each other. At Felix's, while Adele shows Kira ballet positions, Sarah steals a hairbrush and a glass for DNA. When Kira mentions Iceland she cuts the visit short.


Cosima and Donnie are concerned about blending and Brightborn and need to act casual when Evie shows. "Nature can be cruel," she says as she describes her childhood as ... a girl in a plastic bubble. Her immune system was compromised by SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), but her parents wouldn't give up. Back in 1994 she entered an experimental gene therapy trial, and by the time she graduated from bioengineering she was in full remission. Of course she doesn't give any details on how that actually happened. So, why is a Brightborn baby different and so expensive? The money funds research and exclusive technology which identifies and enhances the most viable embryos. Uh-oh. Krystal shows up at Brightborn, also undercover. This is going to get messy. And probably really confusing for everyone involved.


Cosima slips away from the group to snoop and find the lab, but as Evie is leaving she spots Krystal. She runs off to tell ... Susan and Ira, who are now in town and very concerned about the incident at the dental clinic. Evie, assuming the clone she saw was Sarah, tells Susan, who wants a chance to speak with her. As Donnie gets a chance to hold a Brightborn baby, Krystal sticks her face right in! Ummm. "I have to go sh-t," says Donnie, for lack of a better excuse to exit. Meanwhile, Cosima is taking a few pictures and almost gets into an elevator but is stopped by an employee and ushered back to the tour.


We check back in with Art at the precinct who gets into another conversation with Duko. He shoves a copy of Alison's school trustee flyer  in his face and Art pretends he doesn't see the resemblance to Beth. "Don't stick your neck out for the Hendrixes," warns Duko, who fills him in on the case Detectives Lindstein and Collier are working on including the fact that they were using the soap shop as a front to sell drugs. Art, ever playing it cool says, "What goes on in the suburbs never ceases to surprise." Duko suggests Art focus on his "real" family and let Beth go. Duko, you obviously don't know the meaning of family.


At the Rabbit Hole, Kira is using actions figures to play "Sarah and Cosima fight bad guys," and it's the cutest. Sarah asks if this was like the dream she had. Kira doesn't want to get into any of the drama, she just wants to play with her momma! A pissed off Art calls to give a heads up on the Hendrix case and Sarah insists she didn't know about the drugs. This is when Art realizes he might have had dinner (last season) in a drug front. Oops. Sarah puts in a frustrated call to Alison who casually drops the news taht Helena ran off any no one knows where she is. They're both annoyed and call each other "bitch" after they hang up.


Susan comes out to greet...Cosima. Sh*t. Cosima (as Ava) jumps right in (not knowing who she's talking to) and asks about the cryopreservation clause the company has. If parents don't notify them within a certain time frame, they'd own the embryos? "You can't own an embryo," Susan explains, "they're donated for research." On the sly, Cosmia steals Susan's access card. She also notes all the babies in the brochure have dimples. That's weird. Perhaps they're more likely to be photographed, says Susan. "Oh so it's my confirmation bias?" replies Cosima. Can I just stop for a second and say this is a great conversation I wish had happened sooner. My god, intellectual equals are exciting. Anyway, Cosima asks about the embryonic enhancements to which Susan replies that they are eliminating genetic risk factors. You mean like Germline editing - Cosima sounds alarmed. Altering DNA of an embryo is risky, any mistake and that mutation is passed on. "That's why it's illegal in most countries," says Susan. Uhhhh...


Sarah is pushing to find out more about Kira's dream but she's still not ready to talk. And anyway they're interrupted when Adele shows up at the safe house for the "family dinner" they had planned. Whoops. Didn't Felix agree to keep Adele away from all this?? As a cover, Felix told her they're hiding because of immigration issues but Mrs. S wants a word and quickly scolds him for bringing her in. "You're both paranoid," he says. "I guess we'll find out," says Sarah and tells him about the tests Scott is running as they speak.


Donnie catches up with Cosima and tells her he saw another clone, one with a "voice like a can opener." Lol. Cosima tasks him with finding out what Krystal's doing and get rid of her! Krystal is...stealing beauty products? Donnie quickly pretends to be an employee and they both fumble for a bit and wind up falling into a massage scenario. Oh my lord. And yup, he's actually going to give her a massage. Donnie, now "Ronnie," says he finds Brightborn creepy and that's just the opening Krystal needed. She tells him she's on a professional investigation, looking into Dyad doing human experiments, in particular stem cells in cosmetics. Whaaaa? Oh my god, she got caught up in weird tabloid conspiracy theories and not the actual conspiracy. But she tells Donnie she's being targeted as a whistleblower and mentions a French blonde doctor saving her!! Delphine! Donnie says "You mean Dr. Cormier?" Which sets of Krystal's alarms, and then again when he uses her real name. So. She kicks him in the balls and knocks him the fuck out.


Susan returns to Evie to let her know the clone she say isn't Sarah but Cosima (except it wasn't, oh god this is getting convoluted). Evie reminds her what happened the last time a self-aware clone came poking around and Susan agrees they should bring her in. Noooooooo. Cosima is then tailed by Roxie who loses her just as Krystal pops out another door. OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Poor Krystal tries her defense moves on Roxie but it doesn't work. Krystal is locked in a room, explains she stole but is left there alone as Susan, Ira, and Evie watch on the security camera. Susana is all "help me, I'm working with idiots," and they get someone to escort Krystal out of the building. That's when she spots Ira and screams. 


Adele feels like a zit which is a great way to describe this exact situation. Sarah just straight up asks about Geneconnexion and keeps pressing the issue, to Felix's annoyance. Adele thinks she heard of them from their commercial which Kira knows the jingle of. And then things get ugly. Felix says, "Are you an asshole or is it just that thing in your face?" And then he throws food at her and Mrs. S has to shout, "What age are you?" Sarah is saved by a Scott call. The verdict is in - Felix and Adele really are siblings. Sarah is visibly upset, like she's really lost something, and Kira asks if they may be excused. "Welcome to the family," says Mrs. S as she pours Adele some more wine. 


Cosmima has changed into scrubs now and witnesses a screaming pregnant woman on a stretcher. So far, not that weird. She finds her way into a room with a two-way mirror observing patients, someone mentions the study they're in and wanting to leave but a nurse tells her she can't, otherwise she'll be disqualified. Soon after Cosima gets carried away into a birthing room as one of the carriers is fully dilated and they need extra hands. The pregnant woman, Janelle, says they promised it would be a C-section and is clearly concerned, "My mom said this was wrong." Ok. Ok. Cosima witnesses the birth. Ok. Ok. Ok. This is a lot. The baby has a severe birth defect on its face. The doctor says it's positive for BP syndrome and they take the baby away. Just in time for Susan to find Cosima who finally realizes who she is. And no, Cosima is not happy to see her.


Cosima, "I finally meet my maker and this is what you're doing!?" Susan insists she stops thinking with her emotions and think like a scientist. Cosima says it's trial and error without consent but Evie's response is that the carriers are well compensated. Just as Cosima is sending her laser eyes, Susana asks Evie to leave them. Cosima tells her she's sick and that she certainly never gave permission for any of this. "No one gives permission to be born," Susan logically replies. She calls her work beautiful while the device in Sarah's face is brutish compared to LEDA. It's a showdown - "We're not giving you Kendall to make more lab rats," says Cosima, determined. "You don't have the resources to save yourself," says Susan.


And then...in a more calm setting, Kira reveals to her mom that she knows how Sarah's sisters feel sometimes. And she even has feelings from "Some I don't know." Oh boy. "I feel you too, mommy." I might have burst into tears.


But we're not quite done. Susan joins Ira in the swimming pool and tells him they're as close as they've ever been. "To a cure?" he asks. "Yes, my love," she says. They kiss. Annnnnnd scene. Looks like Susan isn't the only one with an emotional stake in all of this.

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