Orphan Black Review: “From Instinct to Rational Control”

We learn the purpose of the Neolutionists and the implants as Felix and the Hendrixes infiltrate a Neolutionist-connected clinic, Sarah and Dizzy track down MK, Rachel and Charlotte are exposed, and Ferdinand finds himself on the hot seat.

Two clones exit the show, for the present.

Title: “From Instinct to Rational Control”

Cast and Crew
Director: Peter Stebbings
Writer: Alex Levine
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Rachel Duncan / Cosima Niehaus / Alison Hendrix / M.K./Helena
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
James Frain as Ferdinand
Joel Thomas Hynes as Dizzy
Rosemary Dunsmore as Professor Duncan
Cynthia Galant as Charlotte
Josh Vokey as Scott
Jessalyn Wanlim as Evie Cho
Ari Millen as Castor Clone
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Allie MacDonald as Trina
Terra Hazelton as Sarah Stubbs
Julian Richings as Benjamin Kertland
Dmitry Chepovetsky as Dr. Bosch
Lindsey Connell as Portia Grossman


Dizzy steps up as an ally, two clones make exits, a discovery casts suspicion on Felix’s sister, and we learn the purpose of the implants and the likely endgame for the Neolutionists.

High Points

The episode features strong direction, including the effective cross-cutting as two different groups of characters learn MK’s back-story and motives, and the transition from the hilarious “Funiculì, Funiculà” scene to the gruesome implant extraction.

Low Point

Dizzy’s uncovering of the password—belonging to someone who is both a computer expert and paranoic—can be hand-waved, but it reeks of Hollywood Magic Hacking.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 Even the most conventional episodes of Orphan Black feature innovation, but this stands as one of the most conventional episodes thus far.

Effects: 6/6 The squickiness continues. I don’t specifically know how they’ve created the implant prop (presumably an artificial construction), but it looks entirely believable.

Story: 5/6

Acting: 6/6 This episode really hinges—or unhinges—on the fact that the clones, however individuated, all have above-average intellect and varying degrees of personality disorders. MK’s plotting recalls Lisbeth Salander.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6 This episode features some excellent use of limited light sources and shadows; Stebbings has framed many scenes very well.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “From Instinct to Rational Control” receives 35/42

5 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “From Instinct to Rational Control””

  1. This episode really drives home how terrifying Alison is when she turns her mind to spycraft. That was seriously spooky.

      • Alison is way beyond flirting with crazy. She’s pretty much broken into crazy’s house and cooked its kid’s rabbit.

        • Interesting challenge for interesting characters: rank the clones based on degrees of stability. Sarah’s actually doing reasonably well, given the circumstances, as is Cosima. Rachel, Helena, and Alison, less so. MK’s certainly successful, but not “well” (again, she faces circumstances that would unbalance a lot of people), and it is fair to say that Beth went over a very particular metaphoric ledge before going over the literal one.

          I wonder how Charlotte turns out.

          • The thing about Alison is she was likely a bit nuts before she even knew about the other clones, and has been working way too hard to appear normal all her life. Falling into this insane situation just worked for her.

            Oh god that’s probably why I think she’s so hot.

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