‘Orphan Black’ Season 2 Episode 5 Recap: “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”


How does Orphan Black top something like last week’s shocking and chilling episode? Well, it doesn’t. Not exactly. Yet it continues to keep up the hot streak that the show has been on since, well, day one. Orphan Black hasn’t had a total clunker yet — and this is especially impressive for a show that goes off the rails a lot — and with the plotting that’s been in place this season, I can’t imagine that it will go south anytime soon. “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” (translation: “knowledge itself is power” which appears in Francis Bacon’s Meditationes Sacrae) slows down the story just a bit but remains engaging throughout.

To start, Rachel has found out about the death of Daniel, her monitor and Sarah’s torturer, and now has to find a new monitor. She asks Paul, though it’s clear he doesn’t have much say in the matter, and frames it as a very handsome promotion. Rachel has also decided that until Sarah comes forward, she’s going to punish Cosima and make her suffer. Rachel’s nothing if not coldblooded.

Sarah’s not going to turn herself in that easily and she already has her hands full. After that emotional scene with Helena, the two of them are now on the same side and Helena is crashing at Felix’s — much to his dismay. Art is involved too and trying to get some information out of Helena but she isn’t exactly the oversharing type. No, Helena is the speak-in-confusing-circles, glare ominously, and murder everyone who threatens her or her sister type. She gets two of the three done this episode — and very nearly accomplishes the third as she sets her sights on Rachel.

But! Before that, let’s tackle the smaller plots in “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est.” Cal is doing father duty and continuing to take care of Kira while Sarah’s away. As I’ve said before, I’m really intrigued by everything related to Kira: her weird strength that let her survive that car accident, her very existence (Sarah is the only clone who is apparently able to have children), and the clairvoyance that she’s been exhibiting more and more in recent weeks. In the RV, Kira suddenly but calmly realizes that someone’s coming. A cop shows up at the door and Cal clumsily deals with him, only to be saved by Kira who dons a mask and gets the cop off their back.

Then there’s Felix. Despite being totally integrated in Sarah’s life, Felix has managed to remain mostly clean of this whole situation, providing help but never becoming a victim. It was only a matter of time before the institute realized that he’s one of the best ways to get to Sarah — second only to Kira — because he’s her brother and someone who will do anything for her and vice versa. Paul, whose motivations I think I will never be able to unpack, shows up at Felix’s door (interrupting Felix and Colin’s romantic tryst set to Tears for Fears). He pulls out a gun and pins Felix down but then just forces the gun into Felix’s hands, covering it in his fingerprints, and explaining that it’s a murder weapon. It’s not easy to frame a murder, but Paul seems to have it all figured out.

Paul is all over this episode and I’m not too into it, though it does provide for some great (and uncomfortable) scenes. As we learned last week, Rachel was sleeping with Daniel and now that Paul is her monitor, she sleeps with him too. It’s definitely weird — this is now the third clone (that we know of) that Paul has slept with, it’s unclear how much Paul is into having sex with Rachel or how much of it he just figures is part of his new “promotion” — but I do like how the scene ties into Rachel’s personality. We don’t know too much about her, only small details like how she’s been self-aware for a while and that she’s completely power hungry and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Here she totally dominates the sex, directing Paul on what to do and when. She slaps him, tells him to take off his pants, orders him to get a chair. She’s in full control of the situation — and shuts him down when he attempts to gain control — because she has to be in full control of every situation. And making this scene even better? Across the street is Helena (who picked the lock on her handcuffs and escaped from Art) with a sniper rifle trained on them, ready to kill.

Sarah and Art show up just in time and Sarah steps in front of the gun and talks Helena out of it. It’s a telling scene, one that expands on how far these two have come in a few short episodes, and how deep the family bond goes. Helena and Sarah can’t fight each other; there are bigger problems that trump everything else.