Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 Review: Let the Children and Childbearers Toil

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I didn't know how badly I needed almost an entire hour of Sarah and Mrs. S undercover sleuthing until Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 gave it to us.

"Let the Children and Childbearers Toil" was an immensely satisfying installment of the series' final season on multiple levels. Bringing back another major villain from the past allowed the show to delve into yet another disturbing layer of the Neolution plot.

A Terrible Discovery - Orphan Black

As if the entire Westmoreland situation could possibly get any more depraved, we have now found out that the extremely old ("fossilized," if you ask pissed-off Ira) man has had a penchant for human experimentation for a while.

Having seen American Horror Story Season 2, I had pretty much called the fact that the secret something in the woods was a mutated human. But the story was so much worse than I could have imagined.

According to Virginia Coady, she, Susan Duncan, and Westmoreland had long ago performed experiments on a young child. These obviously unethical experiments were their first attempts at controlling evolution and shaping the future of the human series.

We shared the same goal once — To control human genetics and modify the species. Needless to say, we didn't always get it right. We knew from the start we'd have to break a few eggs. But she never really had the guts for the wet work.


Honestly, these people are a bunch of serious megalomaniacs.

Of course, things went deeply and horribly wrong, leading to the creature in the woods that that little kid is today.

According to Virginia, the boy was chosen for his unique genome – what that was, we don't yet know. We also didn't find out what the trio was attempting to do via their gone-wrong experiments.

At least, the show implicitly implies that he is the same child. No one ever comes out and explicitly connects the two, but the writing is pretty clearly on the wall, thanks to the juxtaposition of Virginia's voiceover explanation and shots of Cosima following Mud and spotting the mysterious man in the woods.

Susan at least had a bit of a heart and was horrified at what they'd done. But crazy Virginia could clearly have cared less about the massive human rights violation the trio had accomplished in the course of their experimentation.

I expected nothing less of the woman who deployed the Castor clones to sexually transmit their disease to innocent women for testing purposes. She's gross and fully deserves to rot away in that psychiatric center.

Unfortunately, since she managed to steal a key card from Sarah after faking a freak-out before S and Sarah could sneak her out, I imagine she won't be in the psych facility too much longer.

Best bet? She's heading straight for Susan. Ideally, the two will destroy each other before the season is through.

Speaking of Susan: She spent this hour recovering from her stabbing (courtesy of Rachel) and chatting with Ira about her long-untold past with Westmoreland. In more general terms, she basically reiterated what Virginia had told Sarah and S. 

Regardless of Susan's unpleasant feelings about the human experimentation incident gone horrifically wrong, she was easily willing to team up with Westmoreland once again.

Westmorland — Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4

Realizing that Westmoreland must have had some kind of scientific breakthrough, Susan managed to land a prime position with exclusive access to Rachel's testing of Kira. Rachel is still in charge, but Susan and her murder-happy daughter will now be working together.

Won't that be fun?

Another mother and daughter pair emotionally farther apart than ever – Kira and Sarah.

I still find Kira to be quite grating, but I do feel badly for her. Disturbingly, she's turned to self-mutilation in an attempt to figure out the extent of her healing abilities. 

Stubbornly, no matter what Felix or Sarah say to the little girl, she refuses to believe that Rachel is as bad as they've made her out to be. If she's so in denial about that, I say it's high time Sarah fills her daughter in about all of the crap Rachel has put their family through.

Kira and Sarah - Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4

Other highlights of this hour included Sarah's pit-stop to visit Helena and the entirety of Step 1 in Sarah and Mrs. S's mission.

As usual, Tatiana Maslany was flawless during Sarah's scene with Helena. She played the distinct emotions between the two twins perfectly.

Sarah's breakdown when describing how Kira had "flowed through her" when she was near death on the island was absolutely perfect.

The Sarah/S mission was the perfect blend of drama and humor.

I appreciated that S's time with Perkins while Sarah was filching the ID from her wallet also doubled as a therapy session. Though Sarah's tantrum and drink-throwing was all a ruse to get the ID, there's no denying that S and Sarah have long had a complicated, often contentious relationship.

Relating that to S's own relationship with Kendall was something that needed to be said.

Stray thoughts:

  • Ira being bitchy and jealous about Westmoreland is hilarious. I can't quite explain why I find it so funny, but I think it has a lot to do with his perpetually pursed lips.
  • Adele is back, and I'm so glad! I loved Adele when she was introduced in Orphan Black Season 4. She had so much potential to be an integral part of #TeamClone, and I'm thrilled that she now gets to be, thanks to Mrs. S.
  • Speaking of last season's characters: I'm gonna need clone Krystal back ASAP. Thanks in advance, show!
  • Mud is helping Westmorland out with mysterious treatments that appear to be some sort of blood transfusion. I imagine this is how he's managing to stay alive, but what exactly is this process?
  • No Hendrixes in this hour. Also no Art. Too bad, especially re: Art. I've all but given up hope for him getting an actual storyline this season.

What did you think of "Let the Children and Childbearers Toil"? Share your thoughts by commenting below, and don't forget that you can watch Orphan Black online here at TV Fanatic anytime!

Let the Children and Childbearers Toil Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 Quotes

Westmorland: Remember your greenhouse?
Susan: Oddly, you let everything die.
Westmorland: Well, you were the one with the green thumb.
Susan: And your hands never get dirty.
Westmorland: No. Only my beautiful, filthy mind.
Susan: Still got that, do you?

You turned my daughter against me.

Susan Duncan [to PT Westmorland]