Synopsis for 4×01: Ghosts of Orphan Black past haunt the season premiere as audiences are given a closer look into Beth Childs’ life.
I didn’t realize how badly I needed a Beth episode until I got a Beth episode in the season four premiere of Orphan Black. Of course, she was where it all started and her echo has been felt over the first three seasons of the show, but to see what led up to the pilot was incredibly fascinating (Big Dick Paul, miss you already!) and made me want to re-watch the entire series again to try to pick up on even more places Beth cast a shadow that I may have missed. Well played, Orphan Black, well played.
The opening scene introduces audiences to a new clone, known as MK or Mika to Beth. She’s wearing a lamb mask and watching two people bury a body in the woods before marking it with a sticker and tipping off Beth… who’s in bed with Big Dick Paul. The relationship tension that Sarah learned all about in the first season is uncomfortably apparent, as is Beth’s drug problem as she snorts a line off the bathroom counter.
She explains away knowing about the scene by telling Art that a ‘source’ called her and when they get there, they find the body of a man with his cheek missing. He has one white eye and a surgically bifurcated penis because of course he does. Beth takes a picture of his face and they let the rest of the officers go over the scene after discovering two sets of footprints. Watching how Beth and Art interact on the job and over lunch added that knife twist to what audiences have already seen in the fallout of Beth’s suicide.
When she gets in her car to leave the scene, Beth gets a call from Cosima – newly single and homeless – who begs Beth to get Alison on board with transferring her money for her schooling, as she’s moving to be closer to the rest of the Clone Club. It’s fascinating to see how Beth dealt with the Clone Club and what role Sarah unwittingly bumbled into in the first season.
With a brief stop at the station, and almost crossing paths with an arrested Felix, Beth asks Raj for surveillance equipment to spy on Paul, who she assumes is cheating on her. She then goes to visit MK’s trailer, only to find her on a TV monitor and deeply paranoid about her surroundings. With Project LEDA and Project CASTOR pushing stakes higher and higher, it is refreshing to step back and take another look at the Neolutionists with a wider lens, as MK is quick to blame them for the killing.
Beth ends up at the Neolutionists club, where she meets a pregnant woman who talks to her about alterations and implants, showing her what tiny magnets in her fingers can do and it’s actually kind of neat. It’s an individual evolutionary choice apparently. But when she begins to ask about the dead man, the woman and her boyfriend clam up.
In her car after leaving the club, Beth is on the phone with Alison, confirming that she got a gun for her safety. As she plays with it and asks about loading it, Beth gets a flower delivery to her car. There’s a card from Alison, but also pills and a bottle of pee. The call ends after Alison tells Beth she wants her to take over the finances for Clone Club.
This flashback episode includes a living Aldous Leekie, who meets a very confrontational Beth. She also meets Evie Cho, who is seemingly random, but knows about LEDA clones and is amazed to meet one in person after Beth storms off.
Unfortunately, before she can make any more headway on the case, Beth is removed and forced to take a monitored pee test at work. This is where the pee from Alison’s daughter comes into play, to make sure that she’ll pass the test. Her day gets even crappier as she goes home to wire up her apartment to spy on Paul. They have a terrible, trainwreck of a dinner where she tries to throw herself at him and then tells him that he should be the one to end the relationship.
Fighting culminates in her slightly drunkenly storming out of the apartment to Art’s home, where he’s hanging out with his daughter. Beth just wants to hang out with them and watch TV, but Art puts his daughter to bed and proceeds to have sex with Beth. Afterwards, Beth gets a call in the night from Trina, the woman from the Neolustionist club, that has her dashing off after the woman’s boyfriend, who has an implant in his cheek just like the dead man from the case.
On the scene in Chinatown, Beth sneaks up a fire escape to spy on the two suspects in her case. They’re putting Trina’s boyfriend under and cutting a worm out of his cheek. There’s a man that Beth recognizes from the police station who is the mole inside the unit, feeding information to the Neolutionists. When she stumbles in shock and is heard, Beth is forced to run from the scene in fear for her life.
She ends up running and the audience sees her startle at the sound of someone coming down the alleyway she’s hiding in. It’s Margaret Chan, the woman that Sarah learns about when she’s pretending to be Beth, and Beth has no choice but to call Art and inform him that she messed up bad. Art shows up and helps her concoct a story about thinking she saw a gun on the woman. The same story Sarah has to try to tell later.
Beth goes back to MK’s trailer, where the clone is in person this time, and tells MK that she was right, finally finding herself able to sympathize with MK’s paranoid living. They talk briefly about Neolutionists, the thing that was in the man’s face, her shooting of Margaret, and through it all MK makes her iced tea and sits with her.
Finally in the present, Orphan Black ends with Art calling Sarah where she’s been blissfully hiding out. Somehow, he’s found MK, who tells her that she needs to run, right now, because Neolutionists know where she is and thus, the main arc for the season is introduced.