“Orphan Black”, Season 5, Episode 7, “Gag or Throttle”

[Image via BBCA]

The final handful of Orphan Black episodes are upon us, and things are not only starting to speed up, but we’re beginning to learn things we never knew before:


All Leda clones played by Tatiana Maslany.


This is a Rachel-centric with a few things thrown in to keep it all interesting. So let’s get those small things out of the way first before we get into the meat of the story.


Digging Deep Through the Dirt:

Scott (Josh Vokey) is reunited with Cosima, who’s back to the Rabbit Hole. She sets up a computer connection with Sarah to tell her what she knows about Westemoreland (Stephen McHattie) and how he’s basically scamming everyone about his age. So, with Scott’s and Hell Wizard’s (Calwyn Shurgold) help, she’s going to find out who Westemoreland really is so they’ll have some kind of leverage to use against Dyad in an attempt to get Kira (Skyler Wexler) back.

Oh, and while this happens, Allison breaks in to welcome Cosima back. More on her later.

Cosima knows about the time Westemoreland is supposed to have disappeared from his old life, so they start looking through bios of college-educated students with the sort of background Westemoreland has who died around the time specified. And though it takes a while, they find him: a former student from Cambridge. They now have the leverage they need to blackmail Dyad.


Welcome Home, Honey:

Allison returns! But this isn’t the Allison who left for California—oh, no. This Allison has purple streaks in her hair and a tattoo on her bikini line. Donnie (Kristian Bruun) is unsure about the change that’s come over his wife; he’s even more unsure about it when Allison cleans out her craft room, destashing everything, and pulls out at Korg professional arranger keyboard so she can begin exploring her creative potential in music.

You know, her changes so radical that it almost makes me think we could be looking at a different clone…


Another Kind of Homecoming:

Back on the island Dr. Cody (Kyra Harper) has a visitor who was brought to her with a black bag over his head. It’s Mark (Ari Millen), the last of the Castor clones who ran from the Promethean’s so he could marry Grace (Zoé de Grand’Maison). Cody explains what’s happened to his brothers and tells Mark the same thing she told Ira: she’s very close to a cure for him. However, she’s going to need some help from Mark—and, it turns out, from grace as well…

And it’s around that time we see Grace enter the convent room where Helena is staying—


The Golden Child:

We get to see Rachel’s first moments being paraded before people at Dyad by Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer). As a self-aware clone she was the subject of much study in general amazement, but even then we see she she was just a child who picked at her cuticles when she was nervous. Even though she was raised by Susan and her husband, it’s generally hinted that Leekie was really her main father figure—

Although “Daddy” isn’t very happy when Rachel takes the step of killing one of the sick Leda clones so she can perform an autopsy and figure out what’s wrong with her. Even so, Leekie decides to grant Rachel her freedom, so that she is not the property of Dyad as is the case with the rest of her clone sisters.


The Weight of Leadership:

In the modern day, Susan arrives on the island to speak with Westemoreland. Before meeting him, she goes up to an area near the house where Ira and her mother are buried side-by-side. After laying flowers on her mother’s grave she returns the house to converse with Westemoreland, who wants to know what’s holding up the egg harvest from Kira. As Susan points out, care is not feeling well and they want to wait until she is fully recovered to begin the harvest. Westemoreland is not happy to hear this, and it shows. But, however, he’s willing to put all that aside so he can take Rachel downstairs to Dr. Cody’s new lab, where she’s going to perform a pelvic examination on her so she can make certain the treatment is taking. It is during this time when Susan discovers that her medical files still retain her copyright ID, which was supposed to have been removed when she was given her freedom.


I Spy with My Little Eye:

Before returning to Dyad, Rachel discovers that Cosima’s boat was found without anyone aboard and, oh yeah, Westemoreland wants Kira brought to the island for the harvesting. While it’s fine and dandy to do it back at Dyad, Dr. Cody is more than eager to do the harvesting herself.

Before Rachel leaves, however, she goes in westemoreland’s office to check on the contents of a mysterious tablet that she saw him put away as soon as she entered his office. When she activates it she doesn’t see information: she sees a tunnel view of her looking into the monitor. That’s when it hits her: her artificial lie is also a camera, and Westemoreland is using it to monitor everything she sees. After all, if you want to know what’s happening at the very top of your biggest corporation, putting the one person with a spy device in her head in charge of it is the best thing.

Back at Dyad she has to contend with a bored Kira and a rather slimy acting Mr. Frontenac (Andrew Moodie), who doesn’t exactly seem to be happy with everything Rachel is putting forward. Kira is allowed to speak with Sarah and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy), and she shows Sarah the story she’s been working on. Using the codewords she developed before being taken to Dyad, Kira is able to tell her mother and grandmother that Rachel is going to take her to the island. Naturally this causes an enormous pants shitting moment in the Manning household and it’s actually Sarah who has to talk Mrs. S out of putting away the guns, because there’s no way in hell they’re going to storm Dyad and rescue Kira. They do, however, receive word of who Westemoreland really is, and they hope to use that as leverage.

Now knowing something of the truth about what’s happening with her life, Rachel gets out her martini glass and a bottle of gin and starts mixing the driest fucking martinis in the world, basically pouring straight gin into the glass while imagining wormwood being grown. She returns to the room where she watches video of herself as a child while she gets completely shit faced.

Once back in her office Westemoreland calls and wants to know what is holding up getting Kira to the island. Rachel says she’s handling the situation as they speak and that she’s going to sedate the child for transfer. She also gets a call from Sarah, who says they have the low down on who Westemoreland really is and unless Kira is handed over, they’re going to drop the dime. Rachel blows her off and goes down to give Kira a sleeping tablet. It’s while Kira is questioning her about whether Rachel enjoyed being tested and probed that the leader imagines herself on the gurney, wondering why she never left. Rachel finally manages to sedate Kira and then tells Mr. Frontenac about Sarah’s plan to blackmail Dyad. She orders him to “deal with the situation.”


The Last Tears of Regret:

Sitting at her desk Rachel plays with the old watch she uses as a necklace. It’s all misdirection: she gives Westemoreland something to watch while she writes a text on her phone with her right hand. After that she has another drink then goes to her meditation room.

Mr. Frontenac breaks into the Manning home but no one’s there. He reports his news not to Rachel, but to Westemoreland.

While pretending to meditate with her eyes closed Rachel slips an eyepatch over her fake eye. After that she heads to get Kira. Westemoreland suspects something is afoot and sends images to Rachel to shock her back into submission, but by this time Rachel’s too drunk to respond. She wheels Kira out of her room and takes her to a service elevator—where Sarah, Mrs. S, and Art (Kevin Hanchard) are waiting due to the text message Rachel sent Art. She tells Sarah that Kira is sleeping and then watches them leave.

Rachel returns to her office where Westemoreland continues calling her phone. Rachel finishes off the last of the gin and then breaks her martini glass. Making certain Westemoreland can see everything that’s happening, Rachel pauses for a moment before she jabs the broken glass into her face and pries the artificial eye Out Of HER FUCKING HEAD!

Drunk and bleeding, Rachel sits and waits for what’s to come next…


Personal Note: By the end of the episode you suspect that Rachel is likely to do something to return Kira to her family, but the last scene of this episode–oh my God! It took at least a minute for her to pry her eye out of her head and for the entire time I’m just sitting in my chair cringing and biting on my knuckles going, “Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch!” Orphan Black has done a few shocking things in past episodes, but this is probably the most blatant and shocking thing they’ve ever done throughout the series. It was both cringe inducing and impossible to stop watching at the same time.

One suspects the shit is going to hit the fan for Rachel, but I think there’s even more pain coming, because Orphan Black has refused to show any teasers for this Saturday’s upcoming episode. This is leading more than a few people to believe—myself included—that we are likely to see the death of one of the members of Clone Club. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen, but as we know, things don’t always turn out as we’d like


As always, let us know what you think in the comments before!


The DVD of Season 5 of Orphan Black will be available from September 12, 2017. Order your copy now!

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Sarah, Allison, Helena, Cosima, Rachel — Tatiana Maslany
Kira Manning — Skyler Wexler
Donnie Hendrix — Kristian Bruun
Arthur “Art” Bell — Kevin Hanchard
Siobhan Sadler “Mrs. S” — Maria Doyle Kennedy

P.T. Westmoreland — Stephen McHattie
Dr. Virginia Coady — Kyra Harper
Dr. Aldous Leekie — Matt Frewer
Simon Frontenac — Andrew Moodie
Mark — Ari Millen
Scott — Josh Vokey
Hell Wizard — Calwyn Shurgold
Grace — Zoé de Grand’Maison


One thought on ““Orphan Black”, Season 5, Episode 7, “Gag or Throttle”

  1. Pingback: “Orphan Black”, Season 5, Episode 7, “Gag or Throttle” | Wide Awake But Dreaming

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