Saturday’s “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” was certainly an agonizing episode to watch. Alas, the lovely Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce)–Beth’s hunky boyfriend/monitor, Sarah’s sometime lover, a riddle wrapped up in an enigma–is no longer with us and we are all much, much poorer for it. A moment of silence, if you would, for our dearly departed hero.
“It was never Beth I loved.” — Paul
I feel as if we were just starting to get to know Paul, beginning to unravel the mystery of his origins. Was he an innocent monitor? A Topside double agent? The patron saint of the Castor clones? Will we ever know for sure?!
What we do know now is that Dr. Virginia Coady figured out how to weaponize the defect plaguing the Castor clones, and the defect with the Leda clones was one and the same. Actually, it’s technically an STI that attacked the boy clones’ brains (making them crazy) and the girl clones’ reproductive systems (making them sterile). But who was Dr. Coady creating the bioweapon for?
Meanwhile, Sarah was having some trippy dreams while her body was busy fighting off the Castor infection. She was seeing her daughter Kira and, explicably, the youngest Leda clone Charlotte Bowles. And finally, Sarah was led to a dream encounter with Beth Childs, the clone sister that started her down the path to self-discovery in the first place.
This scene really stood out for me. I know it took place in Sarah’s head, but I felt like it really was the spirit of Beth Childs having this beautiful conversation with the sister she never met in life. It was part chastisement and part affirmation, as if Beth was passing the torch to Sarah and reaffirming her in her role as protector of the Leda clones.
“Stop asking why. Start asking who.” — Beth
It felt like Sarah came full circle in that moment. When she first encountered Beth, she was just a stranger with her face. Sarah wasn’t invested in her clone family yet, wasn’t thinking about anything but Kira and her own wellbeing. The Sarah who stepped into Beth’s life without a twinge of guilt was a very different Sarah than the one we know today. The Sarah of Season 3 isn’t just more aware of her own origins, she’s more self aware too, and she has a definite purpose: protecting the ones she loves. As she tells Dream Beth, “I’m trying to finish what you started.” So watching Sarah relive Beth’s suicide was even more devastating even it was the first time, because now she better understands the person she lost.
Aside from infecting Sarah and random civilian women with a sterilizing virus, Dr. Coady’s intentions are clearly not pure when it comes to her Castor sons. Paul, on the other hand, really did seem to care what happened to his Castor comrades. With his dying breath he entreated Coady to focus on curing the clones and letting go of the rest of her science experiment. Her answer was to riddle him with bullets. I feel really bad for the Castors if they think Mommy Dearest is going to solve their medical issues anytime soon, because she obviously has other priorities.
You know who else I unexpectedly felt sorry for this episode? Rachel. Poor, broken, orphaned Rachel. It was so easy to hate her last season when she was wielding the full power of the Dyad Institute to get her claws into Sarah and her sisters, but now that all that is gone, she seems so lonely and pathetic. I think even Felix felt that, after he unsuccessfully tried to shake her down for information about Project Castor.
Remember when we used to hate Helena? Ok, so maybe we never really hated Helena, but we might have feared her a bit when she was busy offing other Leda clones. But after Sarah shot her, the Angry Angel began a slow journey to redemption. Perhaps the same will be possible for Rachel now that she’s been knocked down a peg and is minus an eye?
In other news…
Now that Seth, Parsons and Styles are dead, we’re down to just two Castors: Mark and Rudy. I hope we’re introduced to more Castors soon.
I know I haven’t said much about the Alison subplot in the last few episodes, but honourable mention this episode goes to an opening scene that saw the Hendrixes twerking and making it rain. Look out suburban drug trade, here they come!
So, it was Delphine spying on Cosima the whole time–how do we feel about this? If you had asked me a few episodes ago, I would have said I hoped she and Cosima got back together, but now I’m not so sure. Shay is awesome and just what Cosima needs right now, whereas Delphine seems to be letting her newfound power go to her head somewhat. One minute she’s breaking up with Cosima and now she acts like she wants her back? This lady is confused!
Sarah and Helena are reunited (again)! Hopefully this time they don’t stab each other in the back, figuratively speaking, at least not until they get out of the godforsaken desert.
Are you as sad as we are to see Paul go? Sound off with your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America and Space.
Hermione Wilson is a Junkie when it comes to all things Orphan Black, Game of Thrones and Supernatural, the show that introduced her to classic rock. She is a graduate of Humber College's journalism program, a current staff writer at Dovetail Communications, and an avid reader of sci-fi novels.