Queen Krystal has returned, and the world is a little brighter for it. “Manacled Slim Wrists” brought back the oblivious beauty maven into the Orphan Black investigation fold after her appearance in the Season 4 finale. We got sassy quips, iconic Krystal-isms, and Krystal once again unintentionally discovering a connection to Neolution in yet another genetic plot. As compared to the other clones, she doesn’t even need to try – she finds the answers by stumbling into them. But, what did she exactly find?
Orphan Black is a complex show. Sometimes it takes a few episodes to put the pieces of plot together to understand the story overall. That’s how I’m currently feeling with this Krystal discovery. She stumbled into a new Neolution lead after her friend Brie got sick from an experimental cream, but the purpose of this mini-story feels so pointless with everything else already going on.
Why does Neolution care about purchasing beauty companies and distribution channels? We’ve spent the last five episodes focusing on the company’s goal to harvest Kira’s genes, find Helena and her twins, and figure out the key to immortality/regenerative healing. Will they be using the companies to distribute their surrogates? Will they be selling the “youth cure” as a product? Is this all about money? This left a lot of questions up in the air. I would hate for this to be another unanswered question that didn’t connect to the main story.
Though, the plot gifted us with seeing Tatiana Maslany’s interactions with her real life boyfriend Tom Cullen. He played the horny businessman Krystal tried to work for information. You can tell they have serious chemistry, and watching her play as Krystal in this undercover investigation was everything. Krystal is hands-down one of my favorite characters – she’s hilarious. Hopefully this plot connects to the main story and we get to see more of Krystal, Tom Cullen, and Krystal’s friend Brie again. (I’m shipping a Brie and Scott connection.)
Kira’s storyline took a break for “Manacled Slim Wrists”. I think this was for the best; with exception of her creating the codenames on “Ease for Idle Millionaires”, a lot of her scenes lately have been filler. This entire sick day mini-plot seemed like simply a way to bide time until next week’s more dramatic episode. Those codenames will come in handy, and Sarah/Mrs. S will call in the team to help Kira now that she’s back at DYAD.
Was Susan’s death a tad anticlimactic? I had prepared myself for her demise back at the Season 4 finale when Rachel stabbed her multiple times. She had a send-off. Her death looked imminent; bringing her back now felt pointless in retrospect. Don’t get me wrong, I like Susan and there were many incredible scenes involving her this season, like the dinner scene with P.T. and Cosima. However, I detest the “delayed death gratification” trope. She would’ve had a thrilling send-off, instead of this morphine death surprise. (This does needs some clarification, though: Did P.T. and Coady force her to inject herself with the poison? Is Ira still alive?!)
I haven’t given up hope on Mud yet. Clone Club fandom may be against her, but for a while she was helping with the cause. I’m happy we learned more about her drug overdose backstory and why she was so dedicated to P.T.’s teachings. When she betrayed Susan/Cosima/Ira and saved P.T., I shook in disappointment – she knew about the experiments and did nothing. However, now that she’s discovered he’s a liar with the photo, I have a feeling she’ll have her redemption moment soon. Maybe she’ll kill P.T.? Or she’ll help the clones on the island when Kira is brought there?
The destruction of Revival has been long overdue. I loved the buildup during “Manacled Slim Wrists” as the followers became frustrated, angry and retaliated against their lying leader. Once the child died due to her sickness, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone lit the match. Kudos to the special effects and editing teams for this scene. Revival looked like a chaotic warzone with the fire, explosions and rioting. One of my Top 10 favorite shots from Orphan Black Season 5 is definitely going to be Mud looking heartbroken with the photo in her hand as Revival crumbles around her. This moment was perfect. And the fact that Cosima and Charlotte made their escape was the cherry on the scene.
“Manacled Slim Wrists” was, unfortunately, a filler episode. It had all the makings of a memorable story: Twists were revealed, characters died, Krystal returned, betrayals, escapes, and destruction. But, with only five hours of storytelling left in the series, was this really the collection of events that needed to be told together? I can see WHY these events were shown – it’s pushing the story forward to important moments later on down the season. And I did enjoy the plots with Susan/Cosima/Mud and Sarah/Krystal/Art. However, we have a limited time with Orphan Black left, we need to make every minute count.