Orphan Black Review: “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil”

We’re a little late for this week’s Orphan Black, which broadcast on Canada Day.

Several characters return (along with the oddball, allusive title) as the clones probe more deeply into the mystery behind Neolution and P.T. Westmoreland.

Title: “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil”

Cast and Crew

Director: David Wellington
Writer: Greg Nelson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Helena / Rachel Duncan
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Stephen McHattie as P.T. Westmoreland
Rosemary Dunsmore as Susan Duncan
Josh Vokey as Scott
Kyra Harper as Dr. Virginia Coady
Jenessa Grant as Mud
Lauren Hammersley as Adele
Ari Milen as Ira
Cynthia Galant as Charlotte
Sirena Gulamgaus as Aisha Yasin
Sarah Orenstein as Elizabeth Perkins
Varun Saranga as Neal
Pip Dwyer as Cedar Ridge Nurse
Eileen Sword as Sister Irina

Premise

Clone Club encounters several faces they’ve not seen for awhile, as they investigate the mysteries behind Neolution. Research turns up the history of P.T. Westmoreland, “one of the original eugenicists,” up to the 1890s. Siobhan and Sarah run cons in order to locate a Neolutionist dissident, and they catch up with Helena along the way. Felix and Adele head to Switzerland to follow the money. Westmoreland reaches out—in his own way—to a scientist whose help he needs. Cosima creeps around the island like Velma in a very dark Scooby-doo episode and discovers a sinister secret.

Sarah and family grow concerned about the bond between Kira and Rachel.

The Hendrixes and the detectives get the week off.

High Point

Mother and daughter bond over a couple of clever, heavily-improvised con jobs.

Low Point

(sort of)

The series turns increasingly Gothic and, while this episode is intriguing and entertaining, these elements risk upsetting the delicate balance the show has struck between the everyday and just-around-the-corner SF elements.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The Gothic elements feel very familiar, but P.T. Westmoreland, for all this week’s exposition and revelation, remains enigmatic.

Effects: 5/6

Story: 5/6

Acting: 6/6 Tatiana Maslany impresses so consistently that I almost forget to notice it. Maria Doyle Kennedy gets a chance to shine, while Jenessa Grant receives more screen time as Mud.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6

In total, “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil” receives 36/42

Lingering Questions

So the talented Mrs. S. takes her own vehicle while pulling a dangerous con job? Necessity, sloppy writing, or a future plot point?

4 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil””

  1. zocalo says:

    Quick correction – it should be “Westmoreland”, rather than “Waterhouse”, in the first sentence.

    I guess that Susan’s talk with Ira kind of settles the question of Westmoreland’s claimed age bring real or fake. I can’t see any reason why she’d need to lie about how long they’ve known each other, with the implication that if Westmoreland was a fake then she’d know. I can only hope they are not going to over do the pseudo science or resort to a “fountain of youth” deus ex machina explanation when the time comes to say how he did it… Another lingering question for me is just how old is Mud? She’s clearly pretty close to Westmoreland and has been around long enough to “befriend” a certain character which seems to further support my theory from last week that she might be a *lot* older than she seems as well – possibly partaking in Westmoreland’s longevity treatment as well?

    Finally, it looks like they are setting the stage to tie up the stories for all of the major characters too, unless there is another surviving major player left that has not made an appearance so far this season I’m overlooking? With only six episodes left, and (presumably) multiple showdowns/resolutions to come, there’s a definite risk that things might come across as too rushed – hopefully they’ve got a good plan and will finish on a high.

    • Jethro says:

      Whoa, good call on the Mud thing… it didn’t even occur to me. It’d kinda fit with her name, too. My one nitpick, though, is she seems to have zero authority, to the point of being practically harassed by the security people.

      • zocalo says:

        Maybe her name is Mud both literally and by reputation? If she was somehow responsible for the liberty of the test subject, that could potentially explain the lack of respect and authority. I’m wondering if she might turn out to be another of Westmoreland/Neolution’s attempts to achieve their goals and, if she is indeed much older than she seems, then possibly one that predates the clones.

        However, like JD’s theory on the island society (which I also think is not as it seems), that’s more because it’s the best idea I’ve got that seems to fit events rather than being based on much actual evidence. The only other idea I had was that she might be Westmoreland’s daughter, but that was on shaky ground already with her lack of status, let alone this week’s harassment.

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      I’m still thinking that, while Waterhouse Westmoreland may be who he claims, the island society may not be as has been presented.

      However, my evidence is weak.

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