Cosima gets lucky, as does Gracie, while Sarah and Helena have to try and work together. That should be easy, right? Let’s jump into “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations.”
The episode begins with Helena’s favorite scorpion chiding her for killing Parsons. Soon, she’ll be suffering the same way Parsons did. Helena finds a tack in the sand and the scorpion crawls to another cell.
And it’s the very cell where Sarah is being kept right now.
Miller, Dr. Coady, and a doctor we’ll identify in a second, look at the body of the baby in the coffin. Its DNA sequence doesn’t have the synthetic sequences that made the Castor clones viable. Viable, but defective. But by comparing the genomes, they can potentially isolate the defect and maybe even develop a gene therapy. The problem? The major is returning and he won’t be happy about the new guest. So Dr. Coady tells Miller that he’ll be leaving. Coady will debrief Mark.
Sarah awakens and realizes that her cell is opposite Helena’s. Sarah needs her help, but Helena is still feeling burned about being put there. She blames Sarah for her confinement and making a deal with Coady, though neither of them has all of the details. Helena, though, vows to keep her mouth shut for now.
Elsewhere, Art checks in on Sarah, but gets no response. He receives a surprise visit from Gracie, as Sarah told her that she could come to him if she had any trouble. That conversation was two days ago. Gracie tells Art about the fight she had and her exile due to losing the baby, but doesn’t want to go into details about Mark. Luckily, Art may know someone who can help.
And while Felix and Mrs. S are also concerned on Sarah’s whereabouts, Felix has to pass on some words of encouragement to Cosima, who is nervous as hell for her Sapphire date. Soon enough, she meets the woman in question: Shay, played by Ksenia Solo. When Cosima keeps babbling, Shay takes over and talks about her past relationship: the woman wore spider-web make-up and insisted on high-fives every time she thought the two had a connection. Who does that?
Sarah tries to explain to Helena that Mrs. S did what she did to help get Sarah and Kira out of DYAD. More than that, Sarah reveals that she had to send Kira away again, but she had to find Helena because she couldn’t take on the Castor company alone. When Sarah gets no response, she wishes that Helena had just been left there to rot. Luckily, Helena spent four months in a broom closet. She doesn’t rot.
Miller and some guards enter Sarah’s cell. They cuff and take her away, but not before Sarah can yell to Helena that the Castor clones are brothers. Helena heads to her cell door and notices that one of the bars on the window is a bit loose…
Sarah is brought before the mother herself. Dr. Coady isn’t worried about Helena’s condition, as she’s convinced that a secure environment gives her comfort. Sarah is then introduced to Dr. Silva, played by Carlos Gonzalez-Vio, who will be extracting some blood from Sarah. Why? Even though they have the genome, they can’t ignore Sarah’s biology, so they’re going to take some stem cells by filtering her blood by means of apheresis.
Art takes Gracie to Felix and Mrs. S. Felix isn’t on board with watching her since there’s no real reason why Gracie can’t just stay with Art. It’s a valid point, but after everything she’s been through, Art feels that Gracie needs a friend now instead of a cop. S is still worried about Sarah’s disappearance, but Art assures her that he’s going to find Sarah’s trail.
Speaking of, Sarah is returned to her cell. Helena doesn’t believe Sarah’s words about the Castor clones being related, though Sarah doesn’t care since she thinks that Helena is institutionalized.
Back to the Sapphire date. So what does Shay do for a living? She focuses on nutrition, body work, and spiritual counseling. You’re either in balance, and if you’re not, then she’ll help you get there. Plus, and check this out, she can see inside your soul. Cosima decides that the two should take this elsewhere. Oh, and someone’s taking photos of them. Who? We don’t know yet.
Mark awakens to see Dr. Coady tending to him. He explains that he burned off his tattoo to prove his loyalty to the pastor as a part of his cover. He did what he had to so he could complete the mission. As for the pastor’s daughter, Gracie, Mark also did consummate the marriage, but Dr. Coady reminds him that it wasn’t real. She hands him his first logbook. Any intimate details go in there.
Felix shows Gracie a box of Sarah’s old clothes. Gracie is wise to this arrangement, though, and knows that Felix doesn’t want her there. Gracie just wants to be free now. She’s not embracing the Prolethean lifestyle anymore and, despite being 18 years old, has never smoked, had a drink, been to a rock concert, or been skinny dipping- all presumably rites of passage to embark upon when you turn 18.
Meanwhile, back in the cells, Sarah gets a surprise visit from Paul, who reminds Sarah that all she had to do was stay away. He’s a major now and knows that Sarah is short on friends. Paul intended to keep Sarah out of this, but he doesn’t back Helena learns that he played a part in her capture. What he’s doing for the Castor clones is just what Sarah would do for her sisters. Plus, Helena is a killer, so she’s not really all that innocent. Plus, her mercy killing of Parsons has destroyed months of data that could have helped the clones.
Gracie looks through some photos of a happy Sarah. She’d always been taught that the clones were abominations- less than human. The only reason that Helena had brought in is because she was fertile, as if she’d been blessed by God. Whether fertile or infertile, Mrs. S. says that they’re all just people, though the Castor clones aren’t any friends of theirs.
Naturally, Gracie wants to know why Mrs. S. is being so nice to her. S had been married young. Eloped, rather, much to her mother’s disappointment. Her husband, John, was killed. After that, S had been adrift and angry. Her Aunt Joan took her in to keep her from self-destructing. Gracie is a guest, not penance.
Paul confronts Dr. Coady, as he didn’t expect to find Sarah at the compound. Though they have the original Castor DNA, the doctors still need to extract a viable sample from the bones. The time Paul bought will help save lives. Coady promises that no harm will come to Sarah.
Shay gets to work on Cosima’s tight back. After some dancing around the subject, she spills all about Delphine before also admitting that Shay is much more than she expected. They eventually kiss, which is quite fast for a first encounter.
Back at base, Sarah presses Helena for a plan, but Helena has no such plan. However, Helena does offer Sarah the chance to be Helena’s sandwich. In Siberia, when planning an escape, you took the weak person with you. They’re called sandwiches because you eat them. How sweet. That’s a new one.
Sarah begins to tell Helena about why she left Kira with Mrs. S: she was too young and felt tied down, so she would leave her daughter with S for days on end. Soon enough, S stopped allowing Sarah to see Kira because she was high or recovering from a hangover. That kind of shit. Sarah then left town with Vic to prove S had made a mistake, but that meant Sarah missed out on a year of being with Kira and being a proper mother. Helena eventually decides to help, but Sarah has to help her as well.
Speaking of Mrs. S, we cut back to her as Felix reveals that he never knew how John Sadler died. John had a habit of rubbing people the wrong way. One day, that led to a drunken fight that ended with John getting a pair of garden shears stuck in his throat. S doesn’t share this story because it took her awhile to let go and she wasn’t in a rush to relive that pain.
Gracie then comes downstairs in some skimpy clothes. She’s tired of being cooped up and wants to go out to a club. Felix and Mrs. S, though, have another idea.
Guards arrive to collect the meal trays. When Sarah refuses to hand hers over, the guards enter. Though Sarah puts up a decent fight, she’s outnumbered and outmatched.
The following scene cuts back and forth from the compound, so I’ll just detail it all at once: Gracie is given a mix of gin and juice and it puts her in a giddy mood. She, Mrs. S and Felix start dancing and though I expected Gracie to get sick, the next worse thing happens: she falls to the ground and collapses in pain.
When medics arrive, Gracie is still writhing in agony, but her eyes are also bloodshot red.
At the same time, Art is riding along with Patty, played by Natalie Krill- the same woman who had been with Rudy- and her eyes are also bloodshot red.
When Sarah is brought back to her cell, she reveals to Helena that she managed to snag a pair of tweezers from the medical wing. She passes it to Helena through the bars and Helena puts her plan into motion: she literally butters herself up with, well, butter, and begins bashing against the weak bars with a piece of the wall. She manages to destroy one of the bars and slip out under the surveillance camera’s detection. That and the guard watching the footage wasn’t paying attention at the time.
Said guard comes to the area when he sees that the camera on that particular room is on the fritz. He’s quickly killed by Helena, who tells Sarah that they’re even before heading off on her own.
She watches out for others as she makes her way through the compound. She scales the walls and is free to leave, but is also torn about leaving Sarah behind. The episode comes to a close as Miller alerts everyone present on Helena’s escape.
“Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” dealt a lot with trust and the importance of bonds. It focused on how vital it is to stick together in desperate times when we have no one else to turn to. We want to believe that people have good intentions when they reach out to us for help, but it’s not always easy to trust others after you’ve been burned by them.
That’s why Helena wasn’t sold on helping Sarah, even if she didn’t have all of the details. Whether during her life as a killer or her present situation, Helena has, as the title says, been scarred by past frustrations. We see physical evidence of that with her self-harming and how she’s scarred her back. Self-harm is sometimes used as a way just to feel something and for Helena to not few friends on her side outside of the scorpion, self-harm is her one outlet that allows her to feel.
That said, like the previous episode, this week showed off just how methodical Helena can be when she puts her mind to something. For example, I had no idea she’d even been storing butter or, once revealed, why she would hold onto it, but between that, noticing the weak bars, and using the butter to make herself slippery enough to slip through shows that Helena had put serious thought into making her escape. This makes a bit more sense than her bone key.
The scenes between Helena and Sarah were among my favorites of the episode. Sarah needs Helena’s help and wants to learn more about their situation, but can’t deny that Helena feels burned by Mrs. S’s betrayal. I’m glad that Helena didn’t just instantly forgive Sarah, because that would have been too easy and Helena isn’t one to just get over a grudge. Plus, the time spent together allowed Sarah to open up about her own past.
We know Sarah isn’t the best of mothers, but rarely does she open up about how much time she spends on these adventures and how that takes away from her being a better mother. There’s real regret in Sarah’s voice when she talks about how she left the area with Vic just to prove Mrs. S wrong, but she ended up losing more and more time with Kira. And Maslany does a great job balancing the tender Sarah and more violent Helena all in one scene.
Speaking of Mrs. S, I appreciate that we got to dig into her past as well. We’ve already seen her express guilt over selling out Helena, so I’m glad we got to learn more about her former lover. It was a tender moment when she shared this with both Gracie and Felix.
As serious and brutal as this episode was at times, it had its lighter moments to balance out the darker parts. Well, sort of. Cosima looks like she may have a second chance at happiness, though I have to wonder how realistic it is to go on your first online date, instantly have a connection, and then take the conversation home. Now I’ve never dabbed into the online dating scene because it just seems a sad way to avoid human interaction to start, but that’s a bit too fast for my liking.
These moments between Cosima and Shay don’t add anything to the episode’s plot- with the possible exception of someone photographing them- but I think we could have just left with the two of them still talking at the bar and rejoin them in a later episode. To go from awkward first conversations to couch talk seems a bit rushed, in my opinion.
Gracie got a chance to lighten up, and I’m glad she did. She’s been wound up and repressed for so long that she deserves a bit of happiness. This happening as fast as it did is something I can understand because this is someone who has lived a very sheltered life and has a chance to be free for once. And at least she was smart enough to realize that Felix wasn’t up for keeping her around. But the reveal that she and Patty are carrying a disease is an interesting twist that I’m sure we’ll learn more about in upcoming episodes.
Paul finds himself in a tricky situation. He, again, wants to keep Sarah safe, but her capture puts Paul at odds with Coady, who is looking at the bigger picture. Between that and going through the logbook, he’s looks like he’s having serious doubts about his involvement.
If I had any issue with this episode, it’s that I wish the final moments didn’t cut back and forth as fast as they did. I’d much prefer they be kept separate and the moments just play out individually.
“Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” was great character building for Sarah and Helena, who found themselves together again, but on opposite sides throughout the entire episode. It showed how useful the two can be when they work together, and yet now Sarah remains captured while Helena has a chance to escape. This, in addition to the reveal of the infection plaguing Gracie and Patty, made for some good suspense towards the end of the episode. What will Helena do now? We’ll see.