Orphan Black Review: “The Scandal of Altruism”

Conflicts were resolving, suggesting we would see a new era of cooperation between former enemies.

Some cooperation might still happen, but only because everything has collapsed for Clone Club and Susan Duncan, and some characters have not survived. What begins with hope ends with one of Orphan Black‘s bleakest installments.

Title: “The Scandal of Altruism”

Cast and Crew
Director: Grant Harvey
Writer: Chris Roberts

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus /Krystal Goderich / MK / Beth Childs
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Rosemary Dunsmore as Susan Duncan
Jessalyn Wanlim as Evie Cho
Josh Vokey as Scott
Alison Steadman as Kendall Malone
Ari Millen as Ira
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Gord Rand as Detective Marty Duko
Calwyn Shurgold as Hell-Wizard


Just as this season’s plot begins to resolve into an era of uneasy cooperation between former enemies, a new enemy, hiding in plain sight, ensures conflict will continue, and two deaths ensure no one is safe.

The Hendrixes and Helena both get the week off, but Crystal’s misguided investigation continues.

We finally learn the full story behind Beth’s suicide.

High Points

Beth’s backstory creates problems but, taken by itself, works very well. The bleakness of the revelation gets surpassed by the “coup” against the clones, and its cost.

Low Points

I know they wanted to lighten one of the least-comedic episodes of the show, but aspects of Crystal and Felix’s interaction seems forced, despite strong performances by the actors.

Bigger problems lie with this newest version of the show’s backstory. Back in Season One, when Sarah was pretending to be Beth, why weren’t Cho and Duko concerned? They didn’t know it was Beth yet. And why leave Cosima alive? The attempt to explain why Eva would leave her alone does not really fly. Improvising of a story arc is a dangerous thing, as credibility can get Lost in the details.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 Although heavily rooted in the show’s history, this episode looks and feels a little different than what they’ve done before—particularly the flashback sequences.

Effects: 5/6

Story: 4/6 In typical Orphan Black fashion, the story ties up many loose ends before pushing the show in a new and not entirely expected direction. Some problems remain, however, and have been addressed under “Low Points.””

Acting: 5/6 Maslaney and Gavaris continue to excel, and Alison Steadman gets some strong moments. Some of the other performances feel a bit rushed this week.

Emotional Response: 6/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “The Scandal of Altruism” receives 34/42

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