Orphan Black - A Black Swan Event?

The "black swan theory" refers only to unexpected events of large
magnitude and consequence and their dominant role in history. Such
events, considered extreme outliers, collectively play vastly larger
roles than regular occurrences.

So, Sarah and Helena are off to find the "Swan Man" that was revealed to
be Ethan Duncan, father to Rachel Duncan and by all accounts the
progenitor of Project Leda.

As we have learned, Ethan Duncan along with his wife Susan, were thought
to have died in a lab explosion and fire that led to the destruction of
all the original materials connected to the clone project.

Ethan Duncan is not dead and I have a feeling when Sarah and Helena
catch up with him, Orphan Black will have a "Black Swan Event" the
magnitude of which may well change the narrative of this series.

As I noted above, a Black Swan Event is one of a serious and game
changing consequence.  The initial temblor of which is the fact that
Ethan Duncan is alive at all!

Why is this so significant?  Well for one it would have a serious
outcome for Rachel Duncan.  Her life was shaped by Aldous Leekie who
took her in after the Duncan's "died".  Rachel is a cold manipulative
and controlling person.  But as her childhood videos reveal, she was
once happy and loving child.  Did Leekie turn her into the clone we know

More importantly, the fact that Ethan is still alive means all the
original materials were not lost, as Leekie proclaimed, because they
live on in the mind of Duncan.

Is there a greater significance to these revelations?  There is and it
has to to with where Duncan is hiding out.

The "Place of Screams."

As the episode concluded, Sarah and Helena were preparing to go on their
road trip in pursuit of Duncan.  Sarah pressed Helena as to where they
could find him and Helena came up with her "Screams" location.

Remember earlier in the episode when Art had Helena handcuffed and she
was going down memory lane to a place where the Nuns kept her in
"darkness"?  Helena confessed to Art that she basically "popped" the Nun
that treated her so harshly and now she is in the "dark."

Doesn't that door where the elder Duncan is pictured look a lot like a door that
would belong to a Convent?  How else would Helena recognize it unless
she was there?

Why would she call it the place of screams?

Self flagellation has a place in Christianity and more specifically in
the Catholic church.  It is known as "Mortification of the Flesh" and it
is meant to rid one's self of your sins and lead to sanctity through
penance.  A penance of pain meant to mimic Christ's suffering before the

It is important to remember that, Tomas, Helena's handler was a
practitioner of self flagellation and Helena's back is crisscrossed with
scars that no doubt came from flagellation either by her hand or the hand of
Tomas and the Convent.

No wonder Helena remembers that place as the "place of screams."

Here is where the "Black Swan Event" comes into play as a sea change for
Orphan Black.

What if the place where Helena knew so much pain, the place where Tomas
found his "religion" and the place where Duncan now resides is the
birthplace of of both the Dyad Institute and the Proletheans?

Yes, I'm saying the Proletheans with their wacky take on religion and their bizarre
spinoff (that now resides on Henrik's farm) may have originally come from
the repentant Ethan Duncan!

Here's my theory.

Grief stricken at the loss of his wife Susan, Ethan takes to the Convent
where Helena was raised and he starts a whole new movement out of the
guilt of creating the clones.   A movement presided over by Duncan and
carried out by Tomas and Helena to rid the world of his abomination!

The man that gave birth to the Dyad Institute (directly or indirectly) now runs an effort to rid
the world of his creation.  All wrapped in one neat location for Sarah
and Helena to discover.  Does he have anything to do with Henrik's
efforts and his "War for Creation?"

Maybe, or maybe not.  Henrik may have hijacked Ethan's work.  So Ethan
still may have fathered a new movement that he is partially responsible
for.  Something that is even more perverted than even Ethan intended.

Now do you see what I mean for a "Black Swan Event" for Orphan Black?  The man that gave "birth" to the clone evolution may well be the one that initiated the movement to counteract it.

Odds and Ends

"Fish Cult Freaks" 

Earlier, Felix had referred to the Proletheans as "Fish Cult Freaks."  Orphan Black has a way subtlety repeating it's thematic tropes.  Last time it was Helena being bound to Henrik in matrimony only to be followed later by Daniel binding Sarah in a similar fashion. 

After Felix and his "Fish/Freaks" comment we have Helena staring into a fish tank later to be followed by Helena gorging herself on some sardines.

Think Helena will have a run in with the Proletheans some day soon?

Head over heels with Felix

Did Felix have his moment in the sun or what?!!!  (Okay, he had two.)  To the accompaniment of Tears for Fears, Felix and Colin frolicked about the loft in an amazing sequence.  So fun! So hilarious!  Only Felix.

As wonderful as the previous moment was the next was horrifying.  Paul and the cops burst into the apartment and frame Felix for the murders of Daniel and Tom.

Poor Felix!

The Red Angel

Helena decided to leave a little artwork for Rachel and the others to peruse.  First was a self portrait replete with Helena's wild hair as the group entered.

Next was a family portrait that included Helena and what seems to be Sarah and Kira.  Very nice.

But, uh-oh, when Art and Sarah find Helena and Maggie Chen's secret lair we get a portrait of Helena and another child.  Is it Kira?  Did Helena once have designs on Kira?  Does she still?  Or are we to get another Black Swan Event for Helena?

This leads to the question, did Helena once have a child of her own?  Is that child now dead?  Have the repercussions from that event added to the trauma induced by the torture at the Convent lead to the Helena we know today?  Spooky.  This definitely deserves more scrutiny.

Speaking of spooky

Wow, the old fashioned ways sure can be tough on a girl.  Gracie had her lips sewn thanks to her little act of revenge on Helena and the secrets she is keeping.  You can add the threat to "carry" the child to term as told by Henrik's wife.  (I had theorized this in an email to the "C Word" Orphan Black podcast.)

I had also theorized that Mark and Gracie would make a lovely couple and possibly bring the child to term as the parents.  They are a cute together.

What did you say Leekie?

Did you catch the look on Delphine's face when Leekie told Cosima he was going to go around Rachel and restart the work for a cure?  Was Delphine excited for Cosima or she thrilled for herself?  I have a theory where Delphine is also a clone and is the last of her kind.  Does she suffer from the same affliction and will a cure benefit her also?

I get the distinct impression not everyone is going to walk off into the sunset, or should I say moonlight, together in this series.

What do all you monkeys, meatheads and leopards think?


  1. Great theory about Duncan... could be. This whole project was surely a military one, and has already been mentioned I think... It makes the most sense in some ways, as this show seems to take current issues, and the use of science for wargames is definitely an issue. I'm betting we will find out a bit more about Duncan before this season is (already) over.

    Strangely, for me the creepiest scene in this entire episode was the scene you mention with Gracie. How horribly awful!! And right away it brought that book by Doug Dorst and J J Abrams to mind - "S". In it, on the ship that sails through the story, people repeatedly have their mouths sewn shut, and ingest food through straws, as did Gracie. But to see Mark give her that kiss. I didn't know whether to shudder or be happy for Gracie. Sometimes I get confused!

    Speaking of confusion. Rachel is way crazier than Helena... Holy hot dogs on a clothesline, Rachel is nuts. For her to be controlling to the degree she is, is really something, I wonder what happened to her to make her like that. Paul cannot possibly be out to team up with her.

    My opinion on the Rachel/Sarah/Paul/Cal groupie thing: Even though both Sarah and Paul have declared they don't care about each other any more, they of course do. Cal is bad to the bone, so to speak. He works for one of those collectives, though I don't know which. Or maybe a new one. Kira has a connection to her dad and likes to be with him, and Cal loves her but has been bought or bribed. I'm betting he DID love her (and maybe still does) but he is no knight in shining armor now, even though it might take until next season to find that out.

    Has to be. Nothing is simple on this show. Everything is convoluted.

    If Helena really is getting with the crowd, I hope they don't civilize her too fast because that just wouldn't be realistic. For a season and a half she has like a lonely and depressed Flipper in a room full of mirrors, so for her to become sane all of a sudden just wouldn't work.

    Which reminds me. As a semi-interesting interesting side note, I watched this episode live (and taped it), and then watched again the day after when it was rebroadcast (not the taped version). The rebrodasct episode had slight "adjustments" to it - certain scenes were clipped. Rachel's glacial date night was not so explicit, and Gracie's scene was clipped too. Oh and Felix's steamy date night.... I will be sure to always tape the live show.

    Delphine. Like Cal, I think she is walking a line, and I wonder if even Leekie knows.

    Oh I could go on for another hour but that's enough. Can't wait for Saturday because the other dude is back... I knew he'd show up again! And I bet he is "reformed". Hmmm. Or... bought? Will he be Donny's replacement?

    Poor Felix. Poor guy can't cut a break. I can't wait to find out about his past, it is surely tied in with the clones.

    1. Hi Ingrid,

      So sorry to hear about your Habs. Oh wait, they won last night. Never mind!

      It's ok to shudder about Gracie, she does have murder in her heart. Some good parenting skills evident there. Then again if the least they do to you is lock you in solitary with your mouth sewn shut then what aren't we seeing?

      If what Rachel says is true about her upbringing then we can lay alot of the blame on Leekie. Did he experiment on her like Walter did to Peter?

      So you think Cal is bad? Everyone has a secret on this show but you'd think Kira would pick up on that. Maybe she is blinded by the Daddy thing. I think Cal is prepared for anything since his break with the Defense industry. Hence the Camper and the hidden gun. He must have left some enemies behind.

      Interesting observations about the second showing. For the last two weeks my DVR has been clipping the end of Continuum. Not happy with that! Thankfully I can find it on VOD and FF to the end. (Grr!)

      Don't get me started on Delphine! She's definitely hiding something.

      Yes, poor Felix, oh wait, a thought on Paul. Do you think he is playing a long game with Sarah? When she hit him on the face a few episodes ago he said, "Really, the face?" Maybe they have a secret agreement. That's be interesting.

      Thanks Ingrid!

    2. Oh...! Interesting point about Paul's comment. It felt off at the time, but then I thought, well, maybe it was a wink to the shippers or something. I like your idea better, indeed what if they are playing a long game. Oh that would suit BOTH their characters, they are both hustlers. Good one, Dave, I'll remember it - I'm more of a Sarah/Paul shipper than Sarah/Cal. Cal is cute but that's about it. Paul has character.

      As for Kira and Cal... I'm really wondering about Cal. The Defense industry has to do with the military, and it has already been put forward the possibility that the whole clone thing was started (or maybe supported) by the military. Ding.

      Oh and "meathead"... My parents used to watch Archie Bunker (I never got into that show), and Archie was forever calling his son-in-law "meathead". I'll have to remember that when my daughter gets married... lol...

      Tomorrow seems so far away.

    3. Forgot to finished my Kira thought... She can do many things but I don't know if she can tell good intentions from bad. Or if the person believes the intentions are good. Or something like that. :-)

  2. Hi Dave,

    Interesting theories, I can't wait to find out what Ethan Duncan has been up to all these years. Even if he doesn't cooperate with the clones, Cosima could probably get a sample of his DNA and learn a bit. Did I miss it or was the cut behind Sarah's ear not mentioned this episode? Perhaps it was a seed planted for later. Helena is growing on me, I guess that is the intent. Her interactions with Felix and Art were fun to watch. She and Felix really should bond over their painting. Nice pickup on her watching the fish and the sardines. Interesting how later in the episode she was watching Rachel and Paul through glass as though in a fishbowl. I also found Helena trimming the Rachel doll's hair amusing. She is oddly endearing.

    I had a face-palm moment earlier this week while listening to a Game of Thrones podcast which pointed out that Cal is also Daario. Cal's clearly hiding things, but I think if Kira intuitively trusts him then he is good at his core.

    Can't wait for the Sarah/Helena road trip! -Lynne

    1. You didn't miss it. No cut references. It will come into play when Sarah has to impersonate Helena.

      Yeah, Helena is growing on me too. I'm still stunned it's the same actress playing all these parts. Amazing.

      Yes! Rachel and boy toy Paul in a fish tank. Love it.

      Agree on Kira and Cal (see my comments to Ingrid above).

      Now that we've seen Daario's butt on GoT does mean we'll see him in chaps on OB soon?

      Went to the Sox game last Saturday. They were so bad we left in the 8th inning to see Godzilla down the street. The way the Sox are going these days maybe we can get big G to stomp on Fenway park.

      Thanks Lynne!

  3. Oh I love the idea that Paul and Sarah are pulling a long con. That would be super cool. In general I've wondered whether the clones were bread to be spies/assassins and it has manifested in different ways in each of them. They remind me of the multiple personas that Sydney Bristow would adopt in Alias. A few of them are adept at impersonation/acting/wearing a mask and how to go off grid. Helena is straight up an assassin, Alison watched Aynsley die, Beth killed Maggie, Sarah tried to kill Helena. Then again Cosima and the departed Jen seem fairly normal. I also wonder why the monitors all seem to also be sexual partners. It that also a sort of test or means of control? To be the person in the clone's life with which they are most intimate.

    I am going to ignore that last comment, lest we forget the curse, don't go getting spoiled.


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