Last we saw good ol' Helena, she was a newly married sister-wife on the Fundie Prolethean compound, drugged up to her crazy red-rimmed eyeballs, and being carried toward some violation or another. But you can't count my girl out! Waking up back in that bed, still in her freaky wedding dress, she's somewhat nonplussed to find herself being smothered to death by her literal red-headed stepchild—who makes no bones about siding with dead Tomas on the subject of Helena's abomination status—so of course she does the Helena thing Gracie was least expecting. Girl of course the first thing Helena does is choke that bitch out and grab a huge knife, then go running around the countryside in a blood-covered wedding gown. Have you not...met her before? That was probably already on the agenda.
Art is paparazzing the compound from the property line, which Helena's new husband thinks is fine regardless of whatever his adorable lieutenant is worried about, so you get one of the all-time great moments of the season when, wedding gown covered in blood and still carting the giant knife around, Helena speeds by him without so much as a "hey, what's up." He hassles the scouting party that follows, slowing them down long enough for her to reenter the narrative proper, which...
Can I just say that in the season premiere, when we saw Helena's boots in that hospital hallway and heard her distinctive skree-skronk musical cue, that I burst into actual tears? I'd spent months mourning her, and somehow remained unspoiled about her mirror-twin twist recovery, so it was a very real, if bizarre, reaction. I don't know why I love Helena so much, beyond some obvious over-identification stuff—maybe it's just that she approaches my favorite fictional character, Caprica Six from Battlestar Galactica, as a limit—but imagine if Robb Stark just showed up like, "What's going on?" out of nowhere: I lost my shit.
Anyway, the second we see Cal origami a goldenrod butterfly for Kira as a sign of their blossoming relationship, and Kira calls it an "angel" and hands it off to watch over Sara in this week's mayhem, you instantly know that—somehow, some marvelous miraculous how—Helena's gonna show up and save Sara's bacon once again, and more than likely freak her brain out in the process. (Yes, and yes.) Kira doesn't say a lot, but everything she says is 100 percent true, so when she says a golden angel is going to save Sara, you know she's foretelling some Helena action even if it doesn't make sense at the time. (That is, if you are obsessed with Helena. Otherwise, sometimes an origami butterfly is just a butterfly.)
Sara was last seen getting kidnapped, speaking of Battlestar, by Rachel's pet Canadian Daniel, who takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. They are t-boned instantly by Cal, who watches Sara prepare to gun down an entire cop car at this point before realizing how much of her shit has hit the fan, and hustles her away. They think Daniel is dead (of course he is not), so they hit the road in a questionably owned RV and keep up a ruse of texting Rachel as Daniel while also checking with Cosima and Felix about what else is going on on the show.
Cosima is able to identify the scientists in the Project Leda photo—and helpfully explain the myth of Leda and the swan, tying their whole clone provenance to a probable government plot in the process—as Rachel Duncan's adoptive parents. This part was poignant, because she describes one very Cosima scenario for Rachel's upbringing, in which a cold and clinical childhood resulted in a cold and clinical Rachel, who would obviously think of herself as the "real" version of them all.
Home videos Sara finds—after hilariously bluffing her way into Rachel's (cold, clinical) condo—prove that Cosima's wrong about Rachel, but what was so touching about that (besides seeing Rachel as a joyful child, enjoying intimacy and benefits few of the other clones ever did) was how close Cosima has come to divining Helena's history. While she posits that, being the pro-clone from birth, Rachel would develop an intense narcissism, there's something elegant and frightful about the way Helena's upbringing, in the Ukraine, was so like and so different from this imaginary idea.
Where Cosima's Rachel was raised as a science experiment, Helena was raised as a spiritual one; where Cosima's Rachel was denied intimacy, Helena was visited with the ugliest kinds. And so where Cosima's Rachel comes to see herself as the only real clone—and possibly only real person—Helena has gone the opposite way: She has no self, no center, and only her missing pieces that she thinks Sara contains in order to give her any sense of reality at all. When Rachel looks in the mirror, she sees only herself, but when Helena looks in the mirror, she sees nothing at all... And when she looks at Sara, the mirror comes alive. You could already feel your way to an intuitive understanding of Helena's obsession with Sara (and Kira), but once again we have Cosima translating these nonverbal truths into Ravenclaw realness, revealing new dimensions to the story and everyone involved.
Back on the road, all of this intrigues Sara enough that she decides to return to the city and track down Siobhan again, because while we knew she was lying about parts of her history, the whole paramilitary gunmanship plus this latest info on the Duncans means whatever she's hiding is also useful. So they turn the RV around, stringing Rachel along all the way, and try to track her down. While Cal and Kira are amazing together, there's a little bit of a nervewracker when Sara mentions the Dyad Institute and Cal shivers/swallows in a way he simply would not if he didn't know something about who they are and what they're up to. File that one away.
While Sara never meets up with Mrs. S., we do touch base with her: She's all set to return to London and find Carlton—her former revolutionary partner, whom we've seen in pictures and who gave the show its name by telling Mrs. S. to keep Sara in the black—but she learns he's already made it through to America. They meet up, they team up, they fuck in a bar hallway, and every bit of it is amazing.
I know that Mrs. S. is a figure of some consternation for most fans, but I have always trusted her and I'll continue to do so. Plus, she is a good kisser and Carlton is quite a match in the chemistry department. Their deal is, she wants to work her way up the human-trafficking chain to beat Sara to the truth about all of this, because she still thinks she can protect Sara from her own bloody-mindedness despite thirty years of evidence to the contrary.
After a little reconciliation time with Felix, Sara decides to call an audible and change direction, leaving Kira with Cal even longer than expected and heading into Rachel's house for a sneak mission and possible showdown. She's met instead by Daniel, who it turns out is Rachel's lover and monitor, and they have some more fisticuffs before he ties her up in Rachel's shower and starts cutting her in less-visible places, like behind her ears, because he is creepy as hell.
It's tough seeing Sara without agency, because her heroism lies in using whatever circumstances she's got to solve problems, but then, that's the point: Putting her in a position where her hands are literally tied, and seeing what she does then. (What she does then is beg, but not without dignity, and use some hostage negotiation skills on him, to no avail.)
Cue the Angry Angel, who arrives offscreen having followed Sara all the way from Mrs. S's house, and beats Daniel the fuck to death. Sara, still tied up, loses her mind when she sees this shadow self is still alive—in a bloody wedding dress, still toting a butcher knife—and is not reassured when Helena admits that "something" (a miraculous ovum, which we see later fertilized) was taken out of her last night and then melds her body around the still-bound Sara, desperate for comfort.
From Sara's perspective you can see how terrifying all of this is—it's a characteristically fantastic performance, all horse-panic and rolling eyes—but if you are a Helena person, it just makes sense: Homegirl needs a full-body hug, and Sara will not be letting her do that if she unties her, so please just stop screaming and let me do this for like one second, because you are my missing piece that makes me an alive real person and not just a mouth with fists, and then we will go see Kira. Cool? (Haha! Girl, no.)
And finally in Allison news, she wakes up in what she assumes is a Leekie facility but is in fact rehab, to which she agreed while still rattled from falling off the stage and—Lana Turner we love you get up-style—onto her face. Assuming this is preemptive Donnie monitor-control, she babbles at her counselor for a bit—after some of that Maszlany barfing she does so well—and settles down. Making her way to the lobby to visit with Felix, her eloquent meep sound as she sees a lady shaving her pits tells you everything you need to know.
Felix manages to convince Allison that staying in rehab is a good idea—both for Clone Club/monitor reasons and also "your ass is five inches from turning into Beth and you don't even see it" reasons—and then, just as she's coming to accept this as a "spa weekend," fuckin' Donnie shows up all concern-trolling about her problems and wide-eyed innocence about his agenda, only to come down hard—boom!—with a sudden threat to divorce and take their kids. You and I know, and Allison knows, that this is an empty threat since he's her monitor and pointless without the relationship, but it's enough to make your skin crawl. So now, at least, she has a reason to fake therapeutic progress... Which is, funnily enough, almost always a decent percentage of making therapeutic progress.
Is that everybody? Yeah, Cosima is still going through the whole process of dealing with Jennifer the dead lady as both a living person we never got to meet and also her future self. Rachel gives her Sara's sequenced genome to figure out what the difference is, and hints that she is also interested in having a child, which just goes to show you Rachel is poised to be just as interesting as the rest of them eventually, not that the show would do anything other than that. I'm just glad I don't have to obsess on her as some kind of Helena methadone, which was my plan, and can happily sit back and watch her get awesome on her own.
Next Week: Lily's back writing about the show—thanks for letting me go on and on, I do simply love it and this was a good week in the Helena department—and I guess we'll see what the fallout is with that situation. I expect more Cosima since this week was light on her, ditto Paul hopefully; and probably Allison and Felix will have hijinks of one kind or another, now that he's firmly settled into her story for a bit.
[Image via BBCA]
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