Orphan Black S05E09 “One Fettered Slave” REVIEW

Orphan Black S05E09 “One Fettered Slave” REVIEW

0 comments 📅06 August 2017, 17:45

Airing in the UK on Netflix, Sundays
Written by: Alex Levine
Director: David Frazee

Essential Plot Points:

  • Helena, drugged and in the clutches of Coady, has a flashback to her childhood: while stealing chocolates from one of her orphanage’s nuns, she sees the Sister having a sneaky fiddle with herself. Horrified at being discovered, the sister dips young Helena’s head into a bowl of bleach and locks her in a cupboard. Being Helena, once in there, rather than cowering she rebelliously eats a chocolate.

  • At Mrs S’s funeral, Felix reads out an emotional letter from his mum while Sarah and Kira hug beside him. “Just remember, my loves, death is nothing at all. I have only slipped into the next room…”
  • According to a news report, it’s clear that Neolution is done and dusted, but financier Hashem Al-Khatib is still at large.
  • Sister Irina turns up at the wake and everybody discovers that Helena is in trouble.
  • Still having flashbacks, Helena remembers Tomas (who first popped up in season one) coming to see her at the orphanage. He takes her away to a new life.
  • In the present: “Kira’s lost her grandma,” says Sarah, about finding Helena. “What am I supposed to do?”
  • In that case: Felix and Art to the rescue!
  • They go to see Rachel, who tells them that PT Westmorland wants the stem cells from the cords of Helena’s babies to stay alive. Ew.
  • Realising that his partner, Enger, might lead them to Helena, Art goes to the station – where he discovers that Neolution board members are dying, and Enger is stitching him up to Interpol.
  • Felix and Art corner Al-Khatib and Frontenac, only Frontenac draws his gun and Art has to shoot him dead. “Dammit!” swears Art, as now he can’t lead them to Helena.
  • Westmorland has ordered Mark’s death, as he no longer needs the Castor clones.
  • Following his command, Coady gives an unsuspecting Mark an injection, saying it’s his final dose of the cure. He dies.

  • Helena is having contractions and hallucinating. She sees the moment Tomas first gave her a weapon. “I will cleanse them from this Earth,” she says, and kills her first clone (in a church, no less; symbolic).
  • As Helena is distraught to see that she killed a copy of herself, Tomas tells her that she’s the original. Her crusade truly begins.
  • In the present, Helena begs Coady not to take her babies. Coady tells her she’d make a terrible mother, which deeply upsets her.
  • Al-Khatib calls Westmorland to offer him what he wants most (after Helena’s babies, of course): Rachel.
  • Sarah pretends to be Rachel and Enger takes her to Westmorland – and thus Helena’s location.
  • A desperate Helena is left alone for long enough to cut her wrists; she doesn’t want her kids to be an experiment, like she was.
  • Sarah faces Westmorland and tries to kill him, but Enger intervenes. Then Coady comes rushing in: they need Sarah’s blood to save Helena’s life!
  • Scott and Hell Wizard break into the building and open a door for Artie to come in.
  • After the transfusion, Helena wakes up. Strengthened not only by her seestra’s blood but by Sarah’s presence, she attacks Coady.
  • They’re free!
  • …but then Helena’s waters break. Now what?


It was obvious that we’d start with Mrs S’s funeral this week, and it was just as emotional as we’d suspected it would be – from her final letter to the moment poor Kira collapsed into tears. However, it did feel as though the episode could have shown the characters reeling a little more than they actually were; a few tears and it was done. In all fairness, though, that’s probably a tough call for a show’s penultimate episode, and we suspect Sarah will have a breakdown next week, when the show comes to an end and she realises it’s all finally, finally over.

Still, Sarah being too busy looking after a distraught Kira to save Helena (for a while, at least) did at least allow the boys to come to the fore, with some stellar work from Art, Felix, Scott and Hell Wizard (the latter two in particular really stretching their bravery).

Helena has been a little neglected this season – understandably, given her heavily pregnant condition and the fact so much was going on elsewhere – and so it’s a welcome treat to not only see her being utterly badass again, but to be able to peer into her childhood. From masturbating nuns dousing her with bleach to whackjobs training her to be an assassin, it’s a miracle Helena not only became one of the most down-to-earth seestras but also one of the most loveable (if you can forgive her all the murder business from a while back, obviously). It’s also a lovely reminder of how far she’s come – you’d be forgiven for forgetting after all these years that she ever was a bad guy.

And of course, only Helena could go from wanting to commit suicide to prevent her babies being experimented upon, to casually reaching up and banging Coady’s head almost to pieces – while still largely tied to a hospital bed and having contractions on top. We would’ve cheered her escape except, well, we were too busy wincing – talk about violent! However, the show had just taken pains to remind us what a horrible person Coady was by having her euthanize poor Mark. Never our favourite Castor clone, he still deserved a better demise than that, and it was hard not to feel sorry for him as he outlined his plans to become a teacher and live a long, happy life with Gracie (oops).

And now all we have is one more episode! How can Orphan Black be coming to an end? Will it be sad? Happy? Bonkers? Our money is on all three.

The Good:

  • At last, one episode from the end of Orphan Black‘s entire run, we understand why Helena has bleached hair! She wears it as a badge of pride for her defiance as a child. It always was a bit of a mystery – Helena never did seem the type to take pride in her appearance.
  • Speaking of hair, even though it was rather obvious that Westmorland was wearing a wig, watching him tear it off was still rather shocking.
  • Coady is a solid-gold cow but by god, we’ll miss her. The casting team on this show have always been magnificent – Kyra Harper has subtly out-acted almost everyone she’s been on screen with.
  • The same also goes for Elyse Levesque as the sadly underused Enger.
  • Seestra solidarity:
    Alison: “[Sarah] always has to be strong. It’s not right. It’s not right.”
    Cosima: “Well, we’ll pick her back up.”
  • Wow, young Helena really looks like her.

The Bad:

  • It seemed fairly obvious to us that Rachel was, in fact, Sarah wearing a wig, yet Westmorland didn’t figure it out at all.

  • How sad that Cosima and Alison couldn’t attend Mrs S’s funeral… but how fitting, given how messed up it is to be a clone. You can’t even wave off your friends when they die.

The Random:

  • The song so beautifully sung at Siobhan’s funeral is traditional Scottish ballad ‘The Parting Glass’, which has been covered by everybody from Sinéad O’Connor and Ed Sheeran to The Pogues. Here it’s sung by Lisa MacIsaac.

Best Quote:

  • Helena to Coady: “You are a shit mother.”

Reviewed by Jayne Nelson

Read all our Orphan Black reviews 


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