Orphan Black: Triumph to Tragedy

Title: “Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 8: Guillotines Decide
Genre: Science fiction, Biopunk, Drama, Thriller
Platform: TV – BBC America
Director: Aaron Morton
Writers: Aisha Porter-Christie and Graeme Manson
Rating: TV-PG
Release: July 29, 2017
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Garvaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Feature image: Source

“Do you want to spend the morning safeguarding the genetic future of humankind, or do you… want to have brunch?” Cosima Niehaus – Orphan Black

Siobhan Sadler (Maria Doyle Kennedy) is keeping watch at home. Rachel Duncan (Tatiana Maslany) is on the floor at Dyad covered in blood. An anonymous figure picks her up. A back alley doctor fixes her up. Rachel wakes up in a hotel room with Ferdinand Chevalier (James Frain) sitting by her side. Sarah (TM): “It’s too quiet…I don’t like it.” Siobhan making tea, “What’s not to like. Our friends are coming.” That’s true because Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) soon arrives with a little visitor, Charlotte (Cynthia Galant). Kira (Skyler Wexler) comes down the stairs and is stunned to see her new ‘aunt’. Kira: “You’re what my mum looked like!” Charlotte: “Yeah, I never really think about that anymore.” The two get along fine. Art is going to take the girls to his ex-wife’s home for safekeeping, there; they can play with his daughter. This is the kids’ only appearance in the episode.

Cosima Niehaus (TM) and Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) are looking over the information they have accumulated. They are able to relax for once. Cosima: “Do you want to spend the morning safeguarding the genetic future of humankind, or do you… want to have brunch?” Felix Dawkins (Jordan Gavaris) and his biological sister Adele (Lauren Hammersley) are back from Geneva. Everyone (including the audience) is glad he is back. He reminds Siobhan and Sarah about his art opening. Sarah doesn’t know if the timing is right with Neolution falling apart, but Siobhan thinks everyone should stand down. The rest of the sestras agree; everyone is ready for a break, except Sarah of course.

Meanwhile, back at the convent, Helena (TM) and Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) are talking. Helena is suspicious and asks her some questions about Mark’s ‘death’. She then asks how Gracie found her. Gracie says she can understand Helena being hostile to her after what her father did to her. She came because she doesn’t have any family now. Gracie is afraid Helena is going to hurt her as she slowly moves towards her, but instead she places her hand on her stomach and tells Gracie, “These are miracle babies.” Gracie still has family.

“No, I’m not going to micromanage you Donnie. Is that what you’re going to wear?”  Alison Hendrix – Orphan Black

Alison (TM) and Donnie Hendrix (Kristian Bruun) are at Felix’s loft helping set up the art showing. Felix’s paintings of the different clones cover the loft. Donnie is not comfortable with Alison not telling him how to hang the paintings. Alison: “No, I’m not going to micromanage you Donnie. Is that what you’re going to wear?” Sarah is still on alert and she feels like Siobhan is keeping something from her. She doesn’t want to go to the art opening. Siobhan: “Chicken, you’re a warrior and I taught you everything I know. And you’re right we can’t stand down yet, that’s why I need you at the opening.” She asks Sarah to keep an eye on it.

Scott (Josh Vokey) and Cosima discuss how to inoculate all the Ledas, especially since they don’t know how many there are. Delphine is not going to Felix’s art show with them. She has somewhere else to go first. Cosima is cool with this because as she explains to Scott, they have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with each other. Delphine meets up with Siobhan outside a hotel room. Delphine is nervous. Ferdinand opens the door and says, “I so love being in the middle of all of this.” Rachel is in the room waiting for them.

Delphine says it is just the four of them. Siobhan: “And our interest are very firmly aligned, as you now have a very big fat target on your back too.” Delphine is still not comfortable working with the man who killed M.K. They want Rachel to look at the evidence they have against Neolution. “Westmoreland wants unprecedented access to human genetics,” Siobhan tells Rachel. “Neolution wants to sell curated, commercialized evolution to the 1% who can afford it…the rest of us, Coady’s department, targeted for sterilization.” She wants to talk to Rachel alone. Once they are alone Siobhan says, “I’m willing to take a gamble on nature over nurture.” She continues, “You’re a smart woman Rachel, like any good CEO, you kept a shadow file. A record of where the bodies are buried.” They need to find out about the bribes Dyad made to government officials around the world. Siobhan gives Rachel a reason to hand over this information, “Give yourself a chance to be truly free.”

Gracie and Helena discuss Helena’s memoirs. She is writing them to let her kids know the good and bad of her life so that they can have a brighter future. Sister Irina (Eileen Sword) is going out. She and Gracie need to clean the bathrooms. After Helena leaves the room, Gracie calls Mark (Ari Millen). He asks her if she has found Helena yet, she hesitates and lies saying she hasn’t yet. Mark reminds her they need Helena so Coady will give him the cure. She tells him she’ll check out a convent tomorrow. After they hang up, Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper) asks if Gracie was lying.

“Identity is a social construct boys.” Felix Dawkins – Orphan Black

The festivities are about to begin. Felix didn’t want anyone but Sarah there because he didn’t want to explain why there were so many women who look like Sarah there. He sees the art dealer from Geneva he and Adele met; he needs something aside from the paintings to make the event pop. Alison: “Maybe you can use us, make it part of the show.” He decides to swap out the clones. He introduces Alison as Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home. After Alison talks to them about herself, and Donnie serves them champagne, Alison leaves and Cosima takes her place. Felix introduces her as Metis, goddess of wisdom and of deep thought. Cosima dances with Scott and several other people. The Geneva art dealer is impressed by the show; he and his assistant think it is the same person showing different personalities like Felix’s exhibit. Felix: “Identity is a social construct boys.”

Sarah and Adele are back at home making side dishes for the art opening. Adele is upset that Sarah isn’t showing more interest in the event. Sarah tells her that she is suspicious about what Siobhan and Delphine are doing. Adele tells her how hard they all worked in Switzerland, with Delphine only doing what Siobhan instructed her to do, and that she was talking to someone name Fred something. Sarah says Ferdinand, and Adele thinks that is it. Adele asks is that a problem, Sarah informs her he killed her sister. Adele wasn’t expecting that.

Rachel and Ferdinand plan to double cross Siobhan and use the information she showed them along with the additional information Rachel has to blackmail the Neolution board. Rachel: “I gave Sarah her daughter back, I don’t owe them anything.” Rachel makes another proposal; she has some money put away, enough for them to lead a comfortable life. They can release the information to the public and bring Neolution down. Ferdinand rejects this; he wants to make a ton of money. He is willing to let Neolution continue doing what they are doing, as long as they get a cut out of it.  Rachel looks a little sad and hands Ferdinand a flash drive to use to blackmail the board. He leaves to meet with them.

The art opening is raging. Delphine and Cosima are happy; they can start thinking about their future. Sarah arrives angry, but Felix doesn’t care, she is part of the show. He introduces her as Athena, goddess of war. Sarah walks on the stage awkwardly.  Siobhan is at home wrapping some flowers, loading some weapons, and crying while she writes a letter. (My usual Saturday night.) The painting Felix made for Beth moves Art and Sarah comforts him. Delphine gets a message and quickly leaves.

“Clean floor, dirty heart.” Helena – Orphan Black

Helena found Gracie’s phone and plays the message left by Mark to her as she scrubs the bathroom floor. Helena: “Clean floor, dirty heart.” Gracie quickly explains that Mark is dying and they need the cure. She tells Helena she didn’t tell them where she is. Helena asks is this the phone she used. Gracie confirms it is. Helena throws it in the toilet and tells her they have to leave now, they would be able to trace the call. Before they can get away, Detective Enger and some Neo goons stop them. She tells Helena she isn’t going to hurt the ‘precious cargo’. Gracie is on her knees crying and asking Helena for forgiveness. Enger tells her she is forgiven and she shoots her in the head.

Ferdinand goes to the board meeting. The table is half-full, some of the members committed suicide after they found out the information about Westmorland. They ask how much Ferdinand wants. He tells them about the areas he and Rachel want a cut of and slips the flash drive in a computer. The flash drive is empty. The board sends some Neo goons to apprehend him; Ferdinand is able to fight his way out of the room.

It’s taught me that we are all mysterious works of chance. Of choice. Of nature vs. nurture. So to my galaxy of women. Thank you for the nurture.” Felix Dawkins – Orphan Black

Siobhan finally arrives. Sarah is about to start an argument about Siobhan working with Ferdinand. Siobhan explains she needed him to get to Rachel, and she kept it from Sarah because she knew she’d be upset. She gives her daughter the good news; Rachel gave them the evidence of the bribes, the illegal cloning and Coady’s sterilization plan. Sarah quickly forgives her, and then the momentous news finally hits Felix, Art and Sarah. Cosima has joined Delphine and they are ready to send the information to the committees all over the world who handle this and to some friends of Siobhan who work for the Guardian newspaper. After they press the button and send the information to the world, Cosima is overwhelmed and starts crying. Delphine comforts her. Felix begins to make a speech to those gathered at his art opening. He introduces his muse for his paintings and brings her up with him. Felix: “My sister and I are orphans you see, we could have ended up anywhere, we could have ended up in any family, and if we had, we could have been entirely different people. But my mum Siobhan, this woman, come on, [and he brings her up with him and Sarah] this woman, she chose us as her own. We are who we are because she carried two little London urchins on her wings to Canada. Watching her raise my sister, watching my sister raise her own daughter, finding my biological sister, it’s quite mad. It’s taught me that we are all mysterious works of chance. Of choice. Of nature vs. nurture. So to my galaxy of women. Thank you for the nurture.”

Ferdinand storms into Rachel’s hotel room. Rachel is calm but she knows she is in danger. Ferdinand wants to know why she gave him an empty flash drive. Rachel: “I told you what I wanted — you chose not to listen.” Ferdinand becomes more furious when he finds out Rachel gave the information to Siobhan. Rachel tells him he can’t hurt her, but Ferdinand decides to prove her wrong by strangling her. Rachel tells him he’s her daddy, this stops him. He storms out of the room. Rachel calls Siobhan to warn her that he is alive and looking to cause damage. Siobhan waves goodbye to Sarah and heads home. Siobhan enters her house with her gun out and Ferdinand welcomes her with his gun drawn. They put their guns down to talk. He blames her about Rachel. Siobhan flippantly answers, “She’s just not that into you.” Ferdinand doesn’t find it funny and tells her he’s found her spare gun and shoots her near her heart. She stumbles into her chair and asks him to hand her a framed picture of Felix and Sarah. When he does that, Siobhan pulls out another gun he didn’t find and shoots him in the throat. “Do you know as a woman I’m 14% more likely to survive a gunshot wound than you?” she says. “Maybe not this one, but…okay it’s been a good run.” Ferdinand draws his last breath. Siobhan looks at her kids and says, “Oh, chickens.” Siobhan Sadler quietly slips away.

“Oh, chickens.”. Siobhan Sadler – Orphan Black


From the first scene, I felt like something was going to happen to Siobhan. As the episode went on I became surer, it felt inevitable. I thought of Moses; Moses wasn’t allowed to go to the promise land with the children of Israel, and Siobhan won’t be able to go with her kids to their promise land. She did everything possible to assure that they have a future of being free, but she won’t be able to enjoy their victory, which is sad. Siobhan was the matriarch of the sestrahood, the major question now is how will the sestras react without their leader? My guess is that Sarah will step up and take over that role. Siobhan has given Sarah the tools to lead her sisters. We have seen how much Sarah is like Siobhan. That is something they have emphasized this season. In “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil”, we saw Sarah and Siobhan go on a mission alone, and how in synch they were together. Their mark, Dr. Perkins tells Siobhan, “Your daughter is struggling on the threshold of what it means to become you.” Sarah has been on the threshold of becoming her mum, and with her death, Sarah will take over the matriarch position.

They gave Maria Doyle Kennedy a great showcase in her final episode. She gave a great performance, you could feel the weight and happiness of her final day. Siobhan was a badass to the very end. Felix’s speech at his art show was a fitting eulogy for her. I can accept Ms. Kennedy leaving the show since there are only two episodes left, but it still sucks that Siobhan died.

Siobhan wasn’t the only death, fortunately she killed that rat Ferdinand. He killed her but he wasn’t able to enjoy it, she did outlive him, even though her extra time could be counted in seconds. Sadly Gracie was shot by Enger. I didn’t care that Gracie died, but the way she died bothered me. Seeing her on her knees telling Helena how sorry she was, and Enger coldly killing her was a pure picture of banal evil. When the sestras wipe out Westmorland and Coady, I hope Enger ends up in the same shallow grave with them. I’m willing to bet that Helena will take care of Det. Enger herself.

Clone MVP: Hestia, Metis, and Athena

No one really stood out above the others. So I’ll just give it to Hestia, Metis, and Athena. They symbolize the different personalities of the sestras.



Grade: A-



Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
Latest posts by Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief (see all)