Review: Orphan Black 105 “Conditions of Existence” – Everybody’s Suspicious

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Image courtesy BBC America

The wounded Helena, taken by the mysterious man wearing the fish symbol ring, is now being cared for by him in a dark room somewhere.  She’s only partially conscious as he cleans her wound and she mumbles the name “Thomas.”  I can only assume this is mystery man’s name.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaBack at Beth’s, Sarah gets surprised by Paul who shows up unexpectedly.   He tries to convince her to pack up everything and run away with him, but she dismisses his suggestion.  That night, Sarah has a dream that she’s surrounded by people doing medical tests on her.  When she wakes up the next morning to brush her teeth she coughs up what looks like an EEG electrode.  She also notices a needle mark on her arm.  That was no dream.

She confers with Alison and Cosima.  Cosima tells her it sounds like a diagnostic set of tests rather than anything invasive, but that Paul may be in on it.  Raj calls Sarah/Beth from the precinct telling her that he’ll need the surveillance equipment that she borrowed back before inventory.  Sounds like Beth was suspicious of Paul and was spying on him.  Alison gives Sarah $20,000 out of the money she returned to use for continuing their investigation into the growing conspiracy.

Back at Alison’s home, she walks in on her husband as he’s digging through her drawers and speaking with someone on the phone about her, “getting suspicious.”  If Alison wasn’t suspicious before, she certainly is now.  Digging around in her husband’s closet all she finds is a stash of porn.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaFelix and Sarah search Beth’s apartment and computer for evidence of the surveillance equipment.  Felix finds a business card with Paul’s name on it for a company called Trexcom Consulting.  The only other thing they find in the apartment is a box that belongs to Paul with pictures showing he was in the military, some letters from Beth which they don’t immediately read, and a gun which Sarah takes.  Finally, a search of the trunk of Beth’s car turns up the equipment.

Sarah takes a trip to Trexcom and finds the offices empty, but then a woman who apparently knew Beth comes out and says they down-sized.  She tells Sarah/Beth Paul’s in a meeting and let’s Sarah wait alone in Paul’s office.  Sarah takes the opportunity to set up an audio listening device under Paul’s desk.

Paul comes in and notices Sarah doesn’t have a scar on her neck that Beth had.  Paul is suspicious and after Sarah leaves he tells his secretary he needs to leave, assumedly to follow Sarah.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaAlison is still on the hunt for something suspicious at her house and she finds a padlocked case in the garage.  As she’s trying to saw the lock off her husband drives up, but he won’t open the case saying that he deserves at least some privacy.  They fight over the case then he takes it away unopened.

Thanks to Alison stepping in for her last week Sarah gets to pick up Kira from school.    As they walk home from school someone’s taking photographs of them, but we don’t see who.  Sarah asks Mrs. S to tell her everything she knows about her, but Mrs. S has nothing out of the ordinary to say.

And Vic’s back on the scene this week as he’s being punished by his dealer for being late on paying for the cocaine Sarah took.  He loses a finger to a paper cutter.  Ouch.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaAlison goes shopping for a “nanny cam” to keep tabs on her husband and it just so happens that Vic’s in a nearby pharmacy buying supplies to care for his missing digit.  They both exit at the same time and Vic spots her, thinking she’s Sarah.  When he confronts Alison she pepper sprays him, tasers him, then runs to her minivan to make an escape.

Sarah goes to Felix’s apartment to see if the surveillance equipment recorded anything useful.  They play back the audio recording of Paul meeting with someone named Olivier who refers to Paul as Beth’s “monitor.”  About that time Paul calls from his apartment and says they need to talk, but Sarah blows him off and hangs up.  He then texts her a picture of she and Kira walking home from school.  So now we know who the mysterious photographer was.  Paul’s job as “monitor” is to basically spy on Beth/Sarah.

No sooner do Sarah and Felix freak out over the picture than the door to Felix’s apartment slides open.  It’s Vic.  Ruh-roh!  Vic tells them about his lost finger and that he now owes $15,000 to pay his debt to the dealer.  Sarah gives him the entire $20,000 telling him the extra $5,000 is, “piss-off money.”  Vic makes it clear he’s in love with Sarah, but she point-blank tells him she isn’t in love with him and never has been.  She tells him to take the money and leave, which he does, but he says, “This isn’t over, Sarah,” as he’s walking out.

Not one to ever give up, Alison is still digging for dirt on her husband.  She goes back to the mysterious locked case in the garage, but this time the padlock isn’t locked.  When she opens the case all she finds is a porn stash, but it’s the exact same porn she found in her husband’s closet earlier.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaIn the woods, Alison’s husband is standing over a small fire speaking to someone on the phone and telling them everything’s fine.  He’s burning some kind of documentation that we can only assume was originally in the locked case.  At their home, Alison has set up the nanny cam in the bedroom to hopefully find out what her husband’s up to.

Sarah goes back to Beth’s apartment to confront Paul, but before she can get out of the car Cosima calls her and says this is a good chance to get information.  Paul is apparently falling for Beth/Sarah now that Sarah’s taken over her life.  Cosima says that Olivier is probably Paul’s handler and that Paul is likely in the dark about the true nature of his own surveillance.

Image courtesy BBC AmericaSarah enters the apartment and Paul is there waiting for her.  He notices the gun in her pocket and makes her put it down.  Paul has figured out that Sarah is not Beth.  The clues are pretty obvious when you add them up.  She had sex with him when Beth hadn’t done so in months, she was wearing a Clash t-shirt, she quit the police force after Beth said she would never do so, the scar on her neck has disappeared, and now he’s seen her with Kira.  He pulls a gun on her and demands to know Beth’s location.

Sarah tells Paul that Beth killed herself and does so in her natural accent.  She tells Paul that she knows he was Beth’s monitor, and Beth knew as well.  Beth killed herself because the man she loved had created an entire life that was nothing but a lie.  Once she figured that out she had no reason to live.

Paul thinks this is a test, but Sarah convinces him it’s not.  Sarah asks him why he did it and Paul says he didn’t have a choice and, “They don’t tell us why.”

By the end of this episode it’s clear that while Paul was actively spying on Beth he had no idea why and was just doing his duty.  He seems like a decent guy at his core who found himself in a situation he couldn’t get out of.  On the other hand, Alison’s husband looks like an active and willing participant in the conspiracy.  It’ll be interesting to find out exactly how much he really knows and how deeply he’s involved in it all.

Vic?  Well, Vic’s just the poor loser he’s always been portrayed as.  Nothing seems to indicate he’s anything more than he seems.  Mrs. S is still an unknown in all of this, but something tells me she knows more than she’s letting on.  Whether she took the kids to America for their safety or observation is yet to be revealed.

Cosima makes friends with a fellow grad student from France who works in the lab.  While not much was made of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if this French woman was also somehow involved in monitoring the clones.  We haven’t seen anyone actively observing Cosima yet, so this may be the person.

There are so many people with so many suspicions and questions at this point I’m wondering how it’s all going to move forward.  The important thing is Orphan Black is telling a story that makes the viewer long for more clues and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

At this point, the only negative thing I can say about the series is this season is only 10 episodes long.  That just won’t do!



Felix:  I don’t leave prints when I burgle.
Felix:  If fake Paul was observing Beth what makes you so certain no one was observing Sarah Manning?
Lab guy:  What’s in it for me?
Cosima:  Um, how about you get to have sex…with yourself?
Vic (as he gets a finger chopped off):  AAAAH!  AAAAH!  I’m good…
Sarah:  Who?  What did he look like?
Alison:  I don’t know.  He was…urban.
Sarah:  What the hell does that mean?
Alison:  Not white, okay?
Felix:  Colin is the first nice boy I’ve met in ages.
Sarah:  What, like six weeks?
Felix:  No.  At least eight.
Felix:  Is every man in your life a complete wanker except me?


Orphan Black airs on BBC America Saturday nights at 9/8c right after Doctor Who and just before The Nerdist.

I’m watching BBC America on Saturday nights.  Do you know what you’ll be watching?  More importantly, do you know who’s watching you?


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Tom Gardiner