A Look at Orphan Black- Season 4, Episode 6: “The Scandal of Altruism”

Some huge happenings on this episode of Orphan Black, as the chase for the original continues while we dig more into Beth’s story before her tragic end.  But by episode’s end, she won’t be the only clone going through a tragedy.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth spots Susan Duncan talking with Evie Cho

The episode begins in the past with Beth and her stupid wig entering a fancy looking nightclub.  She’s still popping pills.  In the distance, she spots Susan Duncan and Evie Cho talking.  As Beth approaches, she bumps into a waiter, causing the drink to spill onto Susan.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth confronts Susan Duncan

As Susan washes up, Beth approaches and points her gun at Susan, saying she knows everything.

The Scandal of Altruism- Ira thinks that Susan is testing him

In the present, as Ira and Susan reminisce, Ira realizes that Susan is testing him for glitching.  It’s been a few months since his cognitive exam, so Ira wants to be tested, but Susan is confident that he’ll never have to be tested again if Sarah Manning listens to reason.

The Scandal of Altruism- Cosima and Sarah discuss potentially handing over Kendall to Neolution

Cosima tells Sarah about potentially handing over Kendall for research in exchange for the bot being removed from Sarah’s mouth.  Plus, the two sides can collaborate on a cure since Scott and Cosima’s research hasn’t isn’t going well.  Sarah knows that S will say no, so they’ll have to set it up first.  After all, this is their decision.

However, Sarah doesn’t want to help kill Castor.  If Neolution gets Kendall’s genome, then they’ll have the sterilizing pathogen again.  Cosima may have a workaround for that.

The Scandal of Altruism- Art speaks with Krystal

At the police station, Art spots Krystal asking for protective custody.  He distracts Detective Duko from noticing her and thanks him for the information about Alison’s drug dealing.  Once Duko leaves, Art speaks with Krystal.

She tells him about her adventures in Brightborn and how she feels that she’s being targeted because she’s a beauty professional.  Okay, sure.  Art asks Krystal if Leda means anything- Krystal just likes their eyeliner.

The Scandal of Altruism- Sarah makes a deal with Susan and Evie

So Sarah shows up at Brightborn and tells Evie that she’s got an army outside waiting in case something goes wrong.  Sarah is brought before Susan Duncan and Ira, who assures Sarah that he’s not a Castor clone, but a Libra.  Susan tells Sarah that she’s safe here.  Before talking, Sarah wants to know about the device.  Evie says that they differ, depending on the subject.  Sarah’s is making her sick.  Sarah is immune to the disease.

By activating specific genes, Susan hopes to isolate the illness.  It hasn’t flicked off the right switch yet because Sarah is still alive.  The bot can removed and work can begin on a cure, but only if Sarah shares Kendall.  Only her unique biology makes cloning possible.  But Sarah knows that the cells could give Sarah the Castor pathogen.  Sarah says that Kendall, though, has cancer.

The Scandal of Altruism- S learns that Kendall has cancer

At the same time, Kendall shares this news with S, who wants to get help, but Kendall says that it’s too late.  Plus, it’s not up to S.  Cosima then shares that Kendall’s cancer might save them.  Half her cells are Castor, the other half Leda.

No way to differentiate until now.  One of her white blood cells multiply like crazy, and all of those are clones of the original.  The first one is the Leda genome.  If those leukemia cells are isolated, Brightborn only gets Leda, not Castor.

Ira figures this out at the same time, but Susan still appears to be open to this.  She agrees to the terms, but wants to be present during the transfer and wants Cosima’s disease research to be transferred to her hard drive.  Ira tells Sarah that she’s not the first Leda to make it this far.  Beth made it this far, Susan says, but she was wrong about her potential enemy

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth still pointing her gun at Susan

The episode then flashes back to Beth still pointing her gun at Susan, who says that she is her creator and investor.  Susan brings up Beth’s family history and how much her mother wanted a baby.  Susan guided the clones, not manipulated them.

Beth forces Susan to her knees.  If she kills her, it’s over.  But if Susan dies, she can’t protect the clones from her own mistakes.  Whatever Beth thinks she knows, she must believe that Susan has devoted her life to sustaining hers.  Beth orders Susan to close her eyes.  After a moment, nothing happens.  Susan turns to see that Beth has fled.

The Scandal of Altruism- S upset that Sarah bartered behind her back

Back in the present, S is livid that Sarah made a deal behind her back, even if Kendall agreed.  After all, S just reunited with her mother.  S will do her part, but still feels that Sarah is putting everyone at risk.

The Scandal of Altruism- Scott and Cosima ready to hand over their work

Scott and Cosima gather their data, but Cosima is unsure whether giving up the information is a win or surrender.  Scott is confident that the two would have found a solution with more time.

The Scandal of Altruism- Susan promises to find a way for Ira

Ira knows that Susan needs the clones to build a better human, but he’s apparently expendable.  He wants to be with Susan, so she promises to find a way for him as well.

The Scandal of Altruism- Art tells Sarah that Krystal is still investigating

Sarah talks with Art about the footage.  They’re uncertain why Beth had blood on her hands if she didn’t kill Susan.  After Art mentions Krystal, Sarah offers to bring in Felix for help.  Art warns Sarah to watch her back.

The Scandal of Altruism- Felix tells S that Adele went home

To my surprise, Felix is willing to help out, even though he’s still miffed about Sarah prying into his bonding with Adele, who has gone home.  S wants to make things right by having Adele return with the rest of the family and be there for Kendall.

The Scandal of Altruism- Scott works on Kendall

It’s time for the transfer to begin.  Susan is brought in and meets Kendall, who Susan calls a true anomaly and the most valuable person in the world right now.

The Scandal of Altruism- Evie and Cosima work on Sarah's mouth

At the same time, Sarah and Cosima meet with Evie for the bot extraction.  Cosima is supervising just because, while Evie talks about the implant’s features.  However, Evie soon finds herself unable to extract without potentially releasing the toxin.  With a careful touch, Cosima and Evie manage to pull out the bot.

Scott aspirates the cancer cells.  Sarah updates S while Susan thanks Kendall for giving everyone a better future.  Kendall is whisked out, but soon, someone approaches with a knife.

The Scandal of Altruism- Felix Holmes helps Art with Krystal

Art is still playing babysitter to Krystal, but he soon gets backup from Inspector Felix Holmes.  Krystal instantly recognizes him as the man who stole her wallet, which is true.  Felix reminds her that she’s not alone, but she still maces him anyway.  Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have mace.

The Scandal of Altruism- Sarah and S believe that Susan took Kendall

Sarah returns, but she spots the pack of cigarettes and a trail of blood.  She rushes upstairs and bleaches everything, believing Susan to be the culprit.  But Susan maintains that she played no part in whatever happened to Kendall.

The Scandal of Altruism- Cosima asks Evie about Delphine

Cosima, still at Brightborn, is in the middle of listening to Evie talk about the bot.  Cosima is about to hand over her research, but first, she wants to know what happened to Delphine.  Since that’s Dyad, Evie isn’t all that familiar outside of Delphine’s dedication to Cosima.  Cosima hands over the hard drive, but also swipes the bot.  And then she gets a call just as Evie learns that Susan has gone dark.

The Scandal of Altruism- Art works on Felix's eyes

Back to Art and Felix, who tells Krystal that there is indeed a big war waged against stem cell technology.  Such a war is being orchestrated by the cosmetic companies.  While the case is open, Krystal needs to live her life.  Krystal then mentions smacking a French doctor at the Dyad institute.  Felix identifies the doctor as Dr. Cormier.  As for what she can say, Krystal saw Delphine get shot.

The Scandal of Altruism- Sarah asks Susan if Ira would betray her to save himself

S demands to know where Susan is, though Sarah realizes that Ira would have a reason to betray Susan to save himself.  Susan surrenders her key card, so Sarah and Benjamin head off to find him.

The Scandal of Altruism- Sarah finds Ira overdosed in a tub

In no time at all, they arrive at a hotel room and find Ira glitching and overdosing in the tub.

The Scandal of Altruism- Detective Duko with Kendall

As for Kendall, she’s brought to a remote location by none other than Detective Duko, who is at least kind enough to offer her a cigarette.  Duko’s explanation is that he’s in over his head.  Kendall offers to hide him since her daughter is good at hiding people, but look where that got her now.

The Scandal of Altruism- Susan realizes that Evie has betrayed her

While Benjamin watches Ira at the hospital, S’s temper flares.  Scott, meanwhile, unplugs everything and cuts the power because all of the research, data, and all information has been wiped.  Sarah figures it’s a coup.  Whoever did this just wants Leda destroyed.  Susan guesses that it was the engineer and Sarah realizes that Evie gave Beth the gun to try and kill Susan.

Evie Cho soon arrives with Cosima at the secluded spot.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth confronts Evie

We flash back again with Evie telling Duko that Beth didn’t kill Susan.  Beth soon confronts Evie, saying that Evie only wants to take Susan’s place.  Evie tells Beth that she knows too much.  If she runs, she won’t be able to protect the people she loves, so she should use the gun on herself.  But Beth isn’t afraid of anything right now- even death.  So she pistol whips Evie.

The Scandal of Altruism- Evie gives Cosima a moment to say goodbye to Kendall

In the present, Evie tells Cosima that she doesn’t see what Susan saw in the clones. They’re obsolete, like Betamax.  The baseline isn’t needed.  Cosima counters that no one can know what perfection is, but Evie will do just that.  She’ll be a pioneer.  Cosima pleads for Evie not to do this, but Evie gives Cosima a chance to say goodbye.  Kendall wants Cosima to tell S that she’s always done right and she is proud to have been a part of this.

As Cosima turns around, Duko finishes off Kendall with a single bullet and torches the van.  Evie tells Cosima that Delphine was shot dead.  She leaves a phone and gives Cosima some instructions: tell Susan that the original is dead and tell Sarah that this is over.  Otherwise, Beth died for nothing.

Again, no one thinks to finish off Cosima.  But then, that would make sense, and you’ve got to leave someone alive to deliver the message, right?

The Scandal of Altruism- Duko finds Beth with Evie

As Evie remembers being pistol whipped by Beth, Duko confronts her.  She asks if her sisters will die because of what she knows.  When asked about her play, Beth doesn’t answer.  Instead, she slips out and flees.  She returns home, blood on her hands, and tells M.K. that they can’t fight this anymore.  As we get a replay of her telling M.K. to keep the others safe, in the present, Cosima calls Sarah and gives her the bad news.

The episode comes to a close with Beth heading for the train station.

Well, shit.  That was a game-changer if I ever saw one.  Another aptly named episode, “The Scandal of Altruism” had its fair share of backstabbing and surprise reveals for our clones.  All moments that lead them to what might be their lowest moment yet.  In the face of a cure, not only have they been tripped up by an unexpected source in Evie, they’ve lost that original altogether.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth asks Duko if her sisters will die because of what she knows

But we’ll get to that in a minute.  Let’s address Beth first, since I would wager this is the last time we’ll see her in flashbacks, based on how the episode ends.  Beth is embodying altruism in an extreme form here.  In addition to filling in the blanks on how she had blood on her hands, we see that she’s put herself at harm’s way by confronting both Susan and Evie.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Beth gives M.K. her gun

By having this take place before the scene we already saw of Beth bidding M.K. farewell, we see how she arrived at the point of doing what she felt was necessary to protect her sisters and all those close to her.  But it wasn’t enough.  Her increasing desperation and rage as she pistol whipped Evie showed that she had to be near her end.  It’s some nice, nonlinear storytelling that I appreciate.

All Beth wanted to do was uncover the truth and put this turmoil behind her, but like Krystal, she was in danger of getting too close.  In Beth’s case, she was at the point of no return.  She had to make the sacrificial play in the name of protecting her sisters.  She couldn’t eliminate Evie, but she could at least ensure her sisters’ safety.  Or so she hoped.

The Scandal of Altruism- Evie gives Cosima a message for Susan and Sarah

And this is my issue with the reveal of Evie being the supposed mastermind behind this.  So Evie had to remove Beth from the equation.  Okay, Mission Accomplished.  But if she’s been at both Leekie and Susan’s side this entire time, she had to know at least of Sarah’s existence.  More so when Sarah stepped into Beth’s shoes during the first season.  So why not follow up and get rid of the other clones?  Especially one as proactive as Sarah.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth and Evie

There were bound to be some issues when the show gave us a pre-Season One story with Beth, but this makes it seem like Evie just dropped everything after Beth.  Okay, maybe it took some time for Evie to come to the conclusion that the clones were obsolete.  And maybe Evie couldn’t locate Sarah or Kendall, if not for M.K. tracking her.

The Scandal of Altruism- Evie not afraid to die

But she tells Beth that she’d find a way to take Susan’s place and that the clones were done.  She didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that Beth almost killed her because Neolution would have finished the job of eliminating everyone close to Beth.  Why didn’t Evie just take the chance and do that when she found out that Beth killed herself?  Alison and Cosima didn’t seem to know as much, so they wouldn’t have done any snooping.

Just seems like the clear thing to do would be eliminate the other clones.  It’s another of those instance, I feel, where the villain has a clear chance to eliminate the opposition, but prefers to wait.

The Scandal of Altruism- Cosima after Kendall is killed

This extends to letting Cosima live.  I thought Duko would have just offed her, and it would have made perfect sense: she’s a witness and can at least identify Evie being at Kendall’s execution.  At the very least, Evie could let Cosima deliver that final message, and then kill her.

The Scandal of Altruism- Cosima is given one last moment with Kendall

Look, I’m not saying that I want Cosima to die, but if Evie feels the clones are so outdated, why keep Cosima alive?  Plus, she’s the clone who came closest to a cure through her research.  You kill her and you’ve given the clones another major setback.

The Scandal of Altruism- Kendall's final moment with Cosima

But then, they’re already at a low point.  I gotta say, killing off Kendall was a ballsy move that I appreciate.  She hasn’t even been around for a full season or had much to do, so she’s savored her time with the family.  However, as the key to it all, she ended up being expendable to Evie, who wants to focus on the perfect human being.  Even in the fact of death, Kendall’s resolve never wavered, which I like.

The Scandal of Altruism- Kendall and S

She was already dying, so there’d be no reason for her to become weak-willed, even when giving up a sample to Susan.  And killing her off hurts the clones and S, who was getting used to having her mother around in her life.  Kendall’s death, I’m sure, will spur S and Sarah into doing something drastic.

The Scandal of Altruism- Susan learns that Evie has betrayed her

That could potentially mean teaming with Susan Duncan, as she was as unaware as they were of Evie’s true goal.  Plus, they both want the same thing in a cure for the clones.  She’s not interested in the perfect human being, as far as I can tell.  Though a conversation or two between her and Evie would have helped set up that Evie planned a power play to topple Susan.  More so when Sarah was ready to pin the blame on Ira.

The Scandal of Altruism- Beth holds a gun to Susan's head

From her conversation with Beth, Susan had the clones’ best interests at heart.  She knew that her successor wouldn’t care for them like she did, but she didn’t count on Evie wanting to eliminate them altogether.  If I wanted to stretch, I’d say that Susan has just been a pawn in Evie’s long term plan to rise in power.  So now, her chance at justice may come in working with the clones.

The Scandal of Altruism- Cosima is not sure about giving up the data

A bit on Cosima, as she plays a more important role this episode.  I have to wonder, first off, if she and Scott didn’t take extra measure to safeguard and back up their data.  But also, she learns about Delphine’s apparent death.

The Scandal of Altruism- Krystal asks if Delphine is involved

I say apparent for two reasons: one, Delphine is still being brought up.  Two, Krystal asks if Delphine is involved in all of this, not was.  She says that she saw Delphine get shot, but not shot and killed.  It’s possible that Krystal went to help her, or I could be wrong and Delphine is still, in fact, dead, but the show keeps dancing around Delphine like it’s leading up to something.

The Scandal of Altruism- Krystal, Felix, and Art

Sticking with Krystal for a second, I’m glad that the scenes with her, Art, and Felix are kept to a minimum.  For a pretty serious episode, you need some humor, yes, but too much of it can take away from what else is happening.

To my delight, we don’t spend a ton of time with Krystal, but I’m glad that Felix is again trying to keep her safe and away from Clone Club.  That way, she can live her own life, free of this drama.  That and we don’t have a pointless appearance by Donnie or Alison, as they weren’t really needed.

While I have some issues with Evie’s actions, or lack thereof, “The Scandal of Altruism” is a very strong episode that put the Clone Club at a low point with Kendall’s death and the loss of Cosima and Scott’s research.  Though Cosima has that bot, so I’m expecting that to play a part down the line.   Evie is now center stage as the main antagonist as she sets out to create the perfect human being, leaving the clones without Kendall or a cure.

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