‘Orphan Black’: The most confusing thing that happened this week (Season 2, Episode 4)

(Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA)
Sarah comforts Kira. (Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA)

Seriously, what’s the deal with Project LEDA? It’s a question posed in the Season 1 finale that the characters won’t stop talking about . (And in really dire ways, like Mrs. S saying Sarah must never find out the truth about Project LEDA.)It’s only annoying because we’re given small hints that never add up to anything useful.

What we do know: Thanks to some ace detective work/snooping by Sarah, Project LEDA seems like it was a medical research project in London started by Ethan and Susan Duncan. And as Felix points out, Duncan as in Rachel Duncan, the scariest clone around? (Just in terms of her icy demeanor and too-perfectly tailored suits — Helena wins the scariest clone prize when it comes to being “murder-y.”)

Anyway yes, it appears Ethan and Susan Duncan — the people in that mysterious photograph Sarah got from her birth mother, Amelia — were professors/scientists/geneticists who may have started the whole clone experiment. For what purpose, we’re still not sure. But either way, it appears they died in a suspicious lab explosion in 1976 that killed six scientists working on a top secret project, according to a newspaper article that Sarah finds in Mrs. S’s house. That project wouldn’t happen to be…cloning, would it?

Cosima does a little digging and finds out that Susan and Ethan were, in fact, Rachel’s adoptive parents. As a result, she gains some insight into Rachel: With her parents as the possible brains behind the cloning experiment, Rachel is the only clone who was self-aware from birth. It could have created “a profound sense of narcissism” as Rachel grew up thinking she’s an elite. While Cosima’s psychological analysis would explain why Rachel’s such a jerk, it doesn’t quite add up, especially when Sarah breaks into Rachel’s apartment finds videos of a young, adorable Rachel playing with her parents. She seems quite happy, and not like someone who would grow up to run the evil Dyad corporation.

Sarah doesn’t have much time to dwell on it, though. Remember how she got into a car accident while being held hostage by Daniel, Rachel’s henchman at Dyad? Well, although Sarah escaped and stashed Kira with Cal (Kira’s real father), Daniel somehow survived the accident and is on the loose. He tracks down Sarah to Rachel’s apartment, ties her up, and tortures her to find out what she knows about Project LEDA.

That is, until Helena (who staged a nifty jailbreak from Pastor Hank’s farmhouse of horrors) suddenly appears and stabs him to death. Sarah’s horrified that her twin sister that she shot in the chest is still alive, but Helena doesn’t seem to care that Sarah’s not thrilled about this reunion — she gives her a big hug while Sarah’s still tied up.

Poor Helena has been through an ordeal too. When she was captured in Hank’s farmhouse, Gracie, Hank’s daughter, tried to smother her with a pillow. Being Helena, she managed to turn the tables and strangle Gracie (though just enough to leave her unconscious, not kill her). As Helena escapes, she has visions of what happened after last week’s creepy family initiation ceremony — Hank performed some kind of surgery on her. At the end, it appears he took an egg, and is planning on working around the fact that clones can’t procreate.

Meanwhile, Mrs. S is still being mysterious — she has a steamy reunion with some guy named Carlton, an ex-con who spent 15 years in jail for human smuggling. Apparently he’s the guy that delivered Sarah to Mrs. S. when she was younger, and might have some insight on Project LEDA as well.

Over in the non-clone world, Art the police detective is getting a little too close to Pastor Hank’s farmhouse, as he even spots Helena making a run for it. While Art has the best intentions as he tries to figure out what the heck is going on, we can’t see this turning out well for him.

And finally, in Clone Land, Alison is in rehab after her boozing and pill-popping resulted in her falling off the stage of her musical. As Felix says, maybe it will help her regain her dignity — or, you know, cause way more problems down the line.

RELATED READING:

Recaps: The most confusing thing that happened on the ‘Orphan Black’: Season 2, Episode 1; Episode 2; Episode 3

Review: BBC America’s ‘Orphan Black’ returns, engineered to near-perfection

Preview: ‘Orphan Black’: Everything you forgot from Season 1 that you need to remember

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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