Orphan Black Review: “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”

Just don’t kill my rubber ducky.
–Felix, to Helena

Even at its most conventional, Orphan Black remains the most brilliantly deranged and executed show on television.

Title: “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”

Cast and Crew
Director: Helen Shaver
Writer: Tony Elliot

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Helena / Rachel Duncan
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Michiel Huisman as Cal Morrison
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierdan
Matt Frewer as Dr. Aldous Leekie
Evelyne Brochu as Delphine
Peter Outerbridge as Henrik Johanssen
Kristin Booth as Bonnie Johanssen
Zoé De Grand Maison as Grace Johanssen
Josh Vokey as Scott

Note: Kathryn Alexandre appears regularly as Tatiana Maslany’s double, to simplify some of the effects scenes.

Full cast and crew information may be found here.

Knowledge itself is power.


We learn one of the reasons the clones are so important—and discover that one of their creators remains among the living.

Sarah, Helena, Art collaborate as Rachel turns the screws and Felix faces rigged charges. Cal bonds with Kira, Leekie aids Cosmina, and the Johanssens attempt to stitch up loose ends.

Allison, presumably still in rehab, remains unseen this week (not even an appearance in downtown Bracebridge).

High Points

A lot of shows have been bizarre and brilliant: Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and Twin Peaks, for example. Then the audience realized the creators had no idea what they were doing or where they were going, and the oddities started to seem forced and meaningless. Thus far, Orphan Black appears self-aware. Its brilliant freakishness remains integral, and the mysteries appear to have viable solutions.

Low Point

Sorry to repeat a fairly minor complaint—but doesn’t Art have a job? He appears to have significant amounts of free time.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 We’re a little more in typical conspiracy thriller than usual, though we continue to explore psychologically rich characters whose actions cannot always be anticipated.

Effects: 6/6

Story: 6/6

Acting: 6/6 The episode explores the dynamic between the twins, while we see how notions of power play on Rachel’s psyche. Felix remains hilarious and sympathetic.

Emotional Response: 6/6 I love the complexity of the alliances here. Helena cannot be trusted, but Sarah needs her. Leekie comes to Cosmina’s aid, but it seems pretty clear his motives aren’t altruistic.

Production: 6/6 Helena’s lair makes for fun nightmare fodder. In addition to her doll fetish (or is that the other way around?), we have a charming momento of the sadistic nun of whom she says, “So I gave her darkness.”

Overall: 5/6 If you’re not watching Orphan Black, start watching Orphan Black. But go back to the beginning.

In total, “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” receives 39/42