Orphan Black Review: “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow”

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

Here’s my review of Orphan Black season three episode “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

“Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” is the penultimate episode of the season but it didn’t exactly feel like it. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad episode. In fact, I really enjoyed it. The episode oozed with tension and the informational reveals were never too fast to follow, like they were in the beginning of the season when we were getting acclimated to the new characters. This episode was basically a set-up for the next one, and it worked out well.

When we started off this episode, there were two important questions to answer: who was the Castor mole? And who is the Castor original? I think it was a good decision to give the audience the answers in this episode instead of dragging it out any longer. This way, we can deal with the fallout in the season finale instead of creating some kind of cliffhanger for next season.

So let’s discuss the Castor mole first. Did any of you guess that it was Gracie? I didn’t. I’m not sure it was even possible to guess it was Gracie because they didn’t give us any foreshadowing to point to her. There were no hints of her being in contact with the Castor people and no hints of wanting to get back in contact with Mark. I like when writers occasionally use this tactic because it creates a moment of genuine surprise. While it’s fun to pick up clues and foreshadowing to figure out upcoming plot twists, it’s nice for the audience to experience shocking reveals sometimes too.

The weak part of this storyline, however, comes from the misdirect to Cosima’s girlfriend Shay. The plot is so cliched that you just know that it can’t actually be Shay. It’s classic misdirection and since Cosima has had trust issues all season, she easily second-guesses herself and falls for it. She’s so suspicious, she just can’t be the mole. And that turns out to be true. The good thing that came out of this though is that it exposes Delphine’s true character, the character that we’ve only had a chance to see when she was threatening Rachel in previous episodes. Last season, Delphine felt like a nice Clone Club ally, but that exterior has crumbled bit by bit this season. And her threats against Shay solidify how dangerous she can be. While it’s clear that the only thing she truly cares about is Cosima, the Clone Club should ask themselves if Delphine’s methods are in their best interests?

While the Delphine/Cosima/Shay drama was going on back home, Sarah and Felix and Mrs S were tackling the other big question: who is the Castor original? It’s obviously important to find the person so they can uncover some much needed answers, but I still don’t quite understand why they wanted to kill the original Castor. Doesn’t that seem excessive for someone who may actually be an unwitting test subject just like all the other clones have been? Sure, the Castor project headed up by Dr. Coady is doing some horrible things, but what makes Sarah and the rest think the original had anything to do with it as well? This question bothered me while I was watching. If their motivations had been better explained, it would have been more effective.

Despite that confusing point, the dramatic tension in their storyline was perfectly on point. I especially enjoyed how they set up the bar singing scene intercut with Terry’s torture scene. The contrast between Mrs S’s hauntingly beautiful singing and Terry dripping with blood on the floor was excellent and also heartbreaking because they had no idea what was going on with their friend. That’s the kind of scene that gets your emotions moving. So that was effective. The tension worked during the scene where Sarah goes to see the original Castor, Kendall Malone, as well. She leaves Felix as the lookout, and the camera shots are positioned so that you know something bad is going to happen to Felix. We were kept on our toes just waiting for it. (On a side note, Felix is a terrible look-out because he apparently never saw Mrs S go into the apartment after Sarah.) And on top of Felix being stalked by evil Topside agent Ferdinand (from the season opener), we finally find out that the original is both Castor and Leda, is a murdered paroled from prison, and also Mrs S’s mother. A very fascinating twist to explore next episode that changes things drastically. The last episode of the season is going to be crazy.

Classified Research Notes

  • As always, the Hendrix family plot is fun and fascinating but COMPLETELY UNRELATED. I’ve given up hope here that they’ll connect this season. But I suppose I don’t mind because watching Helena and Donnie bond has been great. And getting to see Helena pretend to be Alison was even better. On top of that, I’d like to see how Helena deals with being apparently unable to stop murdering people. But I doubt they’ll devote screen time to exploring that.
  • Even though Gracie did a bad thing, I’m glad she got to reunite with Mark. I don’t know why, but I really just like the idea of them together. Hopefully Mark doesn’t start glitching like Rudy is now.
  • Can Mrs S sing in every episode? Maria Doyle Kennedy was amazing *_*
  • Where has the actor for Alison’s son Oscar been all season? They keep mentioning him at least, but he never shows up. Strange because I heard that the kid actors are siblings in real life. Why have one without the other?
  • How badly do you think Alison is gonna freak out when she sees all the blood Helena probably left behind in the car?

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Just want to fly to London and sing with Mrs S now? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, especially if you have predictions for next week’s season finale!

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