‘Orphan Black’ Recap: Delphine Is Gone Baby Gone

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
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Warning: This recap for the “The Scandal of Altruism” episode of Orphan Black contains spoilers.

Orphan Black killed two much-loved characters tonight, one on screen and the other off. And it’s the off-screen death in “The Scandal of Altruism” that will almost certainly gather the biggest response from fans as it answers a question they’ve been asking all season: Where’s Delphine? That would be Delphine Cormier, Dyad scientist by day and Cosima’s soulmate by night… and day. The latter position made Delphine (played by Évelyne Brochu) a fan favorite, and #Cophine Orphan Black’s most popular couple. That’s why fans were so upset when that once-solid relationship ruptured during Season 3, followed by Dr. Cormier’s apparent death in the season finale, when she’s shot in a parking lot by an as-yet-unrevealed assassin.

Now, television characters often have a miraculous way of bouncing back from seemingly fatal gunshots, going all the way back to J.R. Ewing in the Dallas days. And there was reason to expect (and hope) that Delphine’s death certificate wasn’t signed and dated as well. But the writers appear to have firmly closed the door on that character, with Bright Born evildoer, Evie Cho, telling a devastated Cosima point blank that “Delphine Cormier was shot dead at the Dyad Parkade.” That was a different story than the one she told earlier in the episode, where she denied all knowledge of what happened to Cosima’s one true love. “I knew of her, and her dedication to you,” Dr. Cho diplomatically remarked at that point, intending to save that particularly knife-twist revelation for when it could do the most emotional damage.

Related: Catch Up on ‘Orphan Black’ With Our Recaps

And she picked the exact right moment! Moments before Cosima receives the news about Delphine, she witnesses Evie’s enforcer, Detective Duko (or, as I’ve been calling him all season long, the Shady Beard Guy), put a bullet in O.G. Leda clone Kendall Malone’s body and then incinerate her. That was the final act in Evie’s secret plan to end the clone saga once and for all, killing the woman whose DNA held the secret to solving the degenerative disease afflicting the Leda and Castor lines and ending Susan Duncan’s career in the process.

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It’s a long con that dates back to the days when Beth was still alive, and able to be manipulated into almost pulling the trigger on her “mother.” In her ruthlessly efficient way — and Jessalyn Wanlim is doing a great job highlighting that aspect of the character’s personality — Evie believes she’s doing the right thing, ending an experiment that has outlived its usefulness and pivoting to more promising research. “The clones are obsolete — you’re Betamax,” she tells Cosima, before looking to the future. “In a hundred years, they’ll call me a pioneer.” That certainly has a nicer ring than “murderer.”

Evie’s betrayal upended Susan’s carefully-brokered plan with the Clone Club to finally access Kendall’s DNA, finding a potential cure in time to save both Cosima and her own personal Castor clone, Ira. And he, by the way, was no fan of his lover’s plan, especially since the Leda clones made it clear that they had no interest in saving the Castor line. That made Ira the prime suspect in Kendell’s abduction, until Evie stepped forward to claim responsibility. Now that both Castor and Leda are in the same cure-less boat, it’ll be interesting to see if the frosty relationships between Ira and his sisters begins to thaw or if it’ll only make them more competitive in their respective fight for survival.

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One last thought before we get to the Clone Power Rankings. In many ways, “The Scandal of Altruism” is the Empire Strikes Back of Orphan Black’s fourth season and the show’s run to date. Think about it: After three years of being on the defense from the Clone Club’s tactics, Evie delivers a devastating offensive blow on behalf of the Neolutionists, killing a key player in the clones’ resistance movement, decimating their carefully gathered research, and severely wounding one warrior (emotionally, rather than physically) hoping to sap their spirit for the battle ahead. So how will the Clone Club stage its own Return of the Jedi-style comeback from this defeat? Stay tuned…

1. Sarah
The worm is out and the gloves are off! Sarah’s cheek is now genetically modified maggot free, although extracting it almost resulted in her untimely demise. With that particular time bomb no longer ticking, and Kendall’s murder spurring her to action, look for Sarah to get rough and tumble to protect the family she has left.

2. Cosima
Cosima finally has an answer about Delphine’s fate, even if it’s not the answer she ever would have wanted. Dealing with that information, not to mention the trauma of hearing Kendall die, will take an enormous psychological toll. Here’s hoping she’s mentally ready for the fight ahead.

Related: Watch the ‘Orphan Black’ Cast in a Charades Showdown

3. Krystal
Don’t call her a dim bulb anymore. Krystal saw through Felix’s hipster Sherlock Holmes ruse right away, and is clearly cottoning to the fact that there’s something stranger going on in the world than genetically manipulated make-up. How long until she earns her Clone Club membership card?

4. Beth
More blanks were filled in during Beth’s final hours on Earth, as we saw her go directly from failing to kill Susan to her farewell conversation with M.K. (who, like Helena, remains off the grid for now). Her death is still a tragedy, but at least she resisted being made a pawn in Evie’s game.

Non-Clone MVP: Mrs. S
Sarah’s foster mom had a rocky relationship with her own mother, Kendall, one that was only recently starting to heal thanks to their shared exile in Iceland. To have that mother and child reunion cut short so brutally is a cruel blow — one of the cruelest the show has dealt its characters — and Maria Doyle Kennedy expertly depicted Mrs. S’s slide from anger to grief.

Orphan Black airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

(Photos: BBC America)