Orphan Black‘s fourth season begins as prequel. Save for the final scene, the episode depicts the events leading up to the pilot: Beth Childs, the Neolutionists, and the original Clone Club.

And, of course, a woman in a creepy sheep mask. Hello, Dolly.

Title: “The Collapse of Nature”

Cast and Crew
Director: John Fawcett
Writer: Graeme Manson

Tatiana Maslany as Beth Childs / Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Alison Hendrix / M.K.
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Matt Frewer as Dr. Aldous Leekie
Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierdan
Marc Andrew Smith as Edward Capra
Jessalyn Wanlim as Evie Cho
Ian Matthews as Frank

Premise

An increasingly drug-dependent Beth Childs investigates a crime connected to the Neolutionists while coming to terms with her existence as a clone. Maggie Chen arrives at the wrong place and time.

In the present, Sarah and Kira realize their months of safety in Iceland have come to an end.

High Points

Orphan Black has returned.

By the third season, the complexity and number of mysteries started to weigh down the show. The season ended with some serious housecleaning. This season appears to be returning to the original puzzles and villains, and I think that will make for a cleaner season.

Of course, we also have one new mystery (the dead body) and an older, unsolved one (the larval implants). One can never predict anything about this show with certainty.

Low Point

Since the series is returning, in a fashion, to its roots, I’m going to begin Season Four by returning to my historic nitpick, before, once again, moving on. England is England in this show. The U.S. is the U.S. And this season, Iceland is Iceland, albeit briefly. Why, why, why did they decide to make Obviously-Toronto some kind of generic-verse North American city? It’s not just unnecessary and kind of insulting; the not-quite-anywhere stylization of geography is odds with what we see when the characters go anywhere else.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 Writing the season four premiere as a prequel, before the very brief return to the present? Few shows would have gone there, and the Orphan makes it work.

Effects: 5/6 The show had fewer clone and clone encounters that many episodes, but those they had continue to be seamless.

The tail was passable, and they elected not to show us the bifurcated penis.

Story: 6/6

Acting: 6/6 Tatiana Maslany continues to rock her multiple roles, and Jordan Gavaris’s brief appearance shows Felix in fine form.

Emotional Response: 6/6 The episode presents new mysteries while clarifying some older ones, and the show appears to be returning to the Neolutionists as the source of Sarah’s troubles. Felix is M.I.A., save for a too-cute cameo in the past, where he narrowly misses encountering his sister’s clone.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6

In total, “The Collapse of Nature” receives 39/42