The Hive Recap: Conditions of Existence

Cosima has bad news for Sarah...

"If my blind subject were to become suddenly self-aware... I'd terminate." - Cosima Niehaus

How well do you really know the people you've let into your life? Or, the people who came with the life you hijacked to use for your own ends. The fake life, with the great sex and the nice house and the tolerable free wardrobe. The one with the freaking mobile medical team that shows up when you’re asleep... who take blood samples, and any illusions about your peace of mind, safety or security... without your permission. Just when you think it’s safe to shed your fake identity, you sneak one last stolen shag... and wake up puking electrodes.  No free rides in this world.  Kick poor Alison’s paranoia up a notch.  Push Cosima’s curiosity about their creators into overdrive.  Scam the scammer, and set Sarah’s quest to do right by her daughter and the clones land us squarely in their own bedrooms. And Paul's suspiciously muscular arms. Who is Paul?! Who is Donnie?! Who is that stunning French scientist crying in the wet lab? Out of the corner of her eye, Sarah has glimpsed something the clones were never meant to see. Something bigger.  Something that came for Beth but got this pissed off punk impostor up on her hind legs, instead. The idea that they are being actively monitored, tested, changes everything. Most of us would not be as optimistic as Cosima is about what this truly means. [caption id="attachment_1017" align="aligncenter" width="540"]What is Donnie hiding? What is Donnie hiding?[/caption] If Helena is the face of the enemies of human cloning, who else clearly knows they exist? Who else shares the clones' awareness of what they are, where they are, who they’ve all become? If their watching, performing human rights & dignity-violating tests on you in your sleep, you can set aside the idea that your creators are benign or even benevolent. This illegal experiment is on-going. It's sophisticated and expensive and carefully managed: it is successful thanks to a lot of people you should never have trusted. Who would willfully poison so many innocent lives this way, and why?  Murderous Helena may be down for the count, but whoever her rescuer really is will have to wait.  There is a new branch of impostor in play. And they are not clones, they are spies.  Alison, Cosima and Sarah have been exposed, surveilled and bodily and morally compromised.  They need to fight back. [caption id="attachment_1018" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Helena's alive... barely. Helena's alive... barely.[/caption] Writers (and scientists) do fall in love with their subjects. This is the mid-way point in our first collection of adventures, and we debated long and hard on where we would send our brilliant young women, upon revealing the idea of Monitors. The best part was deciding what each individual clone would do about the threat - whether or not it was real.

The worst was knowing how devastating each of these individuals’ decisions would turn out for them all...

NEXT: Hive observations, unexpected results, and mind-benders

The Hive's Own Observations and Unexpected Results

Conditions of Existence: Mind-Bender

Is it true that Sarah was not originally the character meant to wake up mid-medical testing? True.  The earliest drafts of this episode, Alison woke up mid-medical exam.  It’s probably a tribute to our evolving understanding of developmental factors on character that this significant change to the original plot was made.  For Alison, as an individual, would take such a personal travesty to very different ends than Sarah would, at this time.  Both characters’ tendencies and traits determined that Sarah was the ideal character to not only experience this now, but also infuse the story with bad things happening later.  For the medical team have of course inadvertently taken samples from a clone who has been out of the monitoring system since infancy.  Ramifications abound. [caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="540"]Lab rat in an illegal experiment? Lab rat in an illegal experiment?[/caption] If Sarah (as Beth) has quit being a detective, what’s going to happen with Art and DeAngelis? Don’t worry, the detectives aren’t done with ‘Beth’ yet.   We left Art & DeAngelis sifting through the rubble of four as yet unsolved mysteries:  identifying the sniper/killer, identifying her victim in the gravel quarry, understanding why ‘Beth’ really quit, and what really happened between Beth and the allegedly innocent civilian she shot, Margaret (Maggie) Chen.  Oh yes, ...they’ll be back. Why is Cosima based at the University of Minnesota? The University of Minnesota has one of the most advanced genetics departments in North America.  As a clone who is also a Ph.D. student of Evolutionary Development Biology (aka Evo Devo), Cosima would see this acclaimed institution as mecca for her pursuit of the science behind the clones, as well as pursuing other contemporary insiders’ understandings of the vast possibilities and implications of an on-going experiment in human cloning (see her friend and colleague, ‘Scott’).  UMinn is also currently home to our Canadian Science Consultant, - the real-life Cosima - Cosima Herter. Standing in for the University of Minnesota in the show?  The University of Toronto. Why is what Delphine studying of particular interest to Cosima & all cloning buffs? Delphine studies immunology and particularly, the ‘host-parasite relationship.' While Cosima’s scientific research is concerned with the theory and ethics of bioscience, Delphine is focused on its potential and pragmatic application. Together, their knowledge and insight can offer our clones a fulsome picture of the pros and cons of human cloning:  what it could achieve for advanced medical health and welfare, what it could destroy for personal freedom and self-determination. Their mutual attraction, therefore, seems quite natural....  Whether it’s genuine or not, remains to be seen. [caption id="attachment_1020" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Cosima takes a peek at Delphine's grades. Cosima takes a peek at Delphine's grades.[/caption] Did the writers plant any clues, before this episode, that there was more to Paul than met the eye? Yes. Actions always speak louder than words in our world. Casting a glance back at the first four hours of the story, you’ll find that Paul is the first to say, “Something’s different” when he first meets Sarah posing as Beth.  He begins examining everything about ‘Beth’ very closely as a result.  He is excessively attentive, often preoccupied with “Beth’s” comings and goings, and general state of being.  He rarely sheds much light on himself or his own absences.  He’s constantly checking in, - even when the relationship has clearly been either arrested or on very thin ice since before Sarah assumed Beth’s identity.  When Helena pretends to be ‘Beth in distress’ in #104 -- Paul comes running, even though he’s moved out for a while.  Now granted these are all the indicators too of a caring partner.  And Paul is developing unexpected feelings for Beth, so his questions are coming from someone with an escalating curiosity about what is happening between them (really, between Paul and Sarah).  In many ways, both Donnie and Paul were designed to seem just like many partners.  As any good mole would be.  Whether Donnie deserves Alison’s paranoid assumptions remains to be seen.  But from the beginning, Paul was a bad ass. [caption id="attachment_1015" align="aligncenter" width="540"]What's Paul's motive? What's Paul's motive?[/caption] We meet or spend more time with a whole bunch of new or returning characters in this episode:  should we regard them all with suspicion? Here we get to know Donnie through Alison, Paul through Sarah, Vic returns to haunt Sarah, and we introduce the alarming Olivier and the compelling French scientist, Delphine.  In this story, it is wise to always regard anyone on the clones’ path with suspicion. Where have I seen Donnie before? Alison’s husband is played by the incredibly funny and talented Canadian-Finlander Kristian Bruun, who has graced stages and screens all over.  You may have caught him most recently in his recurring role on Murdoch Mysteries, where he plays Constable Slugger Jackson. Why do I recognize Delphine, the immunology student that Cosima meets in this episode? Montreal’s Evelyn Brochu’s brilliance is no mystery to fans of French-language cinema around the world.  Hailing from Quebec, our bilingual francophone star can be seen in Inch’Allah, and you may recognize her as the star of previous international festival hits such as Jean-Marc Vallee’s Café de Flore and Denis Villeneuve’s Polytechnique. We are truly honored to have this opportunity to feature such a mega-star of modern independent French cinema in Orphan Black. [caption id="attachment_1008" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Can Delphine be trusted? Can Delphine be trusted?[/caption] Why does Olivier look familiar? Actor David Richmond-Pec has appeared in over 80 titles; most recently are Bomb Girls, Flashpoint, Lost Girl, Beauty and The Beast, Rookie Blue, The Firm and Endgame.

NEXT: Visit the Hive wet lab and library

The Hive: Wet Lab & Library

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

“Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.”

Michael Ondaatje

“EXTINCTATHON, Monitored by MaddAddam. Adam named the living animals, MaddAddam names the dead ones. Do you want to play?”

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions!”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Marie Curie

More On… “Evo Devo” (Evolutionary Development Biology) More On… British Society for Immunology The Journal of Immunology More On… Genetic Disorders from the Human Genome Project (illustrated by the University of Utah)