Orphan Black Recap: “Gag or Throttle”


It seemed like Orphan Black was headed towards an inevitable showdown between Rachel and Sarah but completely changed course this week with “Gag or Throttle.”

To clarify, the shift is a welcome surprise, and one that many most likely saw coming, with Rachel choosing to forsake Dyad once she realizes how little she means to them. With Kira’s impending experiments, Rachel’s couldn’t choose a better time to finally realize how little Westmoreland cares for her.

On the heels of her birth mother’s death, Rachel seems to be off her game and unsure of how she’s supposed to feel. Over the course of the series, she has always forsaken her biological parents in favor of Leekie (who appears in flashbacks!) and Neolution as a whole. However, the nonchalant murder of Susan without even consulting Rachel sets her on a path where her expandability to Westmoreland is undeniably shoved in her face.

When she arrives at the island, she’s met by Dr. Coady who gives her a surprise gynecological exam without giving even Rachel a say. The scene after, with her cleaning herself up in the middle of an empty dirty lab is heartbreaking almost as much as when she notices on her files that she’s simply referred to by clone number than her name.

“Gag or Throttle” takes the viewer through the journey of Rachel’s tragic life, never choosing to pull punches. The only family she’s ever known is Dyad, which makes her crave their approval while they give her just enough to keep her on board with the whole program. But truthfully, everyone in Neolution sees her as just another clone like her sisters. Leekie states earlier on that she is not exempt from any testing or experiments that the other clones face while looking in on one of her exams. Westmoreland offers up praise and hugs as rewards for good behavior but still uses her relentlessly as a foot soldier.

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With the loss of her last remaining parent and on the heels of Kira handing her a friendship bracelet, Rachel doesn’t have it in her to expose another child to the amount of experimentation she grew up with. Her plan, however, doesn’t come into effect until the last six minutes of the episode. Considering how cold she’s been throughout the series, it wouldn’t have been shocking if a conflicted Rachel did hand over Kira to Westmoreland which is why it’s such an effective shock when it’s revealed she’s working with Sarah.

It’s a little disheartening to not see Rachel leave with her sister for safety, “Gag or Throttle” lets her go out swinging. With her prosthetic eye (that Westmoreland has been using to spy on her) it’s impossible or Rachel to escape without giving up the location of Kira. However, after one more martini/straight vodka, she takes the stem of the glass and shoves it into her eye to pry out the fake one. It’s a horrifying moment but a powerful probably exit for Rachel where she lays bloody and twitching in her chair at Dyad.

On a happier note, Allison and Cosima are finally back! Cosima immediately meets up with Josh where they are able to identify who Westmoreland really is and expose him (with Rachel’s help) to the other Neolutionists. Meanwhile, Allison is sporting a new do, specifically a short purple-streaked one, and a new relaxed attitude. Will she remain this calm for the remainder of Orphan Black? Definitely not, but for now she added some brief moments of comic relief to “Gag or Throttle” that was well-needed.

Next: What We Want To See Before Orphan Black Ends

If this is truly the end for Rachel, she will be missed but there was really no other ending for her where she didn’t end up dead. While Sarah may have saved Kira this week, she’ll need to rush to Helena’s side now that Mark has offered up the babies to Coady in exchange for her to heal his glitching. Hit the comments below with your thoughts on Rachel’s sacrifice and how infuriating Mark’s betrayal was!