Orphan Black Review: “Human Raw Material”

“I don’t know. Sarah things. Skulk around. Look miserable. Con people.”

This week, Cosima, Krystal, and Donnie engage in “Sarah Things” with hilarious results, while Sarah addresses family matters and serious issues and ethical questions arise.

The show ends with a kiss, but it won’t comfort most viewers.

Title: “Human Raw Material”

Cast and Crew
Director: David Wellington
Writer: Kate Melville

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Alison Hendrix /Krystal Goderich
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
Rosemary Dunsmore as Susan Duncan
Josh Vokey as Scott
Jessalyn Wanlim as Evie Cho
Ari Millen as Ira
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Gord Rand as Detective Marty Duko
Lauren Hammersley as Adele
Dmitry Chepovetsky as Dr. Henry Bosch
Miranda Edwards as Roxie
Aurora Browne as Margot
Zoe Doyle as Melissa
Bridget Wareham as Nicola
Saad Siddiqui as Doctor Moffat
Casey Hudecki as Denelle
Taylor Trowbridge as Tabitha
Janet Pinnick as Nurse
Charlene Wood as Nurse
Nora Sheehan as Charge Nurse
Lamont James as Trainer
Emilie Paquet as Surrogate Mother


Krystal engages in her own misguided investigation, turning up at Brightborn the same time as Donnie and Cosima. Cosima receives an invitation. The police know about the Hendrixes drug dealing; Felix’s divided loyalties may mean trouble.

High Points

Krystal Goderich makes a decisively clueless PI, but she’s not without personal resources. I don’t know if she’ll continue to move, unaware, through the series, or turn out to be a valuable asset. The comic turns contrast with our increasing awareness of the research of which the clones are a part, and the very serious issues raised.

Although I find it unlikely Cosima would try to go undercover into Brightborn, she proves an excellent investigator, far more competent than her unaware sister or her other sister’s husband. The character brings a competence and nuance to an episode where most of the sisters are adrift in confused plans and character flaws.

Low Points

While Felix’s dubious decision is entirely in character, Cosima’s seems like a risk she wouldn’t take. The reason Donnie and Felix pretended to be a couple last week is because they knew that someone at the facility would recognize a Leda clone. Cosima goes to advance the plot.

On another point, that’s some fast gene-testing on Scott’s part, but we can handwave that. The show regularly features technology in advance of what we have in the real world.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The episode bring us some new developments—and the time-honored comedy of confusion and mistaken identities. The shtick is older than Plautus.

Effects: 5/6 We had one real effect this week, and it was memorably disturbing, enhanced by the bit-part-players.

Story: 5/6 This episode moves the story alone nicely, even if the writers had to force a few encounters.

Acting: 6/6 Maslany continues to amaze.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Human Raw Material” receives 34/42

2 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “Human Raw Material””

  1. The show ends with a kiss, but it won’t comfort most viewers.

    Puts a whole new spin on last week’s “Flowers in the Attic” comment…

    As for Scott’s rapid gene testing, they did say that they’d “liberated” a lot of stuff from Dyad to equip the Clone Cave, so we can probably assume that went a bit further than the mug Scott was waving around and some stationary. Sending a clone (any clone) into Brightborn though is either dumb, desperate, or both.

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