selenak: (Rachel by Naginis)
[personal profile] selenak
In which there's pay off for severa storylines, hooray! And flashbacks.

And not just the flashbacks I was waiting for since the season opener, i.e. the ones explaining just what Not!Westmoreland said to Rachel to convert her not just into an ally of necessity but a fan. As suspected, it was parental approval when all her other parent figures disowned her (including Leekie, as another flahsback shows), but more than that, it was also her apparant freedom from the Clone program. Which inevitably turned out to be a lie, and yet I did buy that Rachel, who is anything but naive and a cynic in almost all other things, bought it. Because she always wanted to believe that she was special, not just an experimental subject like the other Ledas.

Another unexpected twist was that by the time Rachel is given the information that Westmoreland is a fraud, it doesn't really matter to her anymore because she's come across far more significant (to her) information before that, and we finally get a pay off to the flashes and visions of a swan plagueing her last season. Turns out her bionic eye is also Not!Westmoreland's way of monitoring her (and everything she sees) all the time, and when she has her eye closed, he has ways of sending hurtful flashes that make her want to open it. This is a great and logical explanation, and the imagery when Rachel discovers the truth - the endlessly repeating Escher-esque surveillance device - was suitable nightmarish. When I saw it, I knew we'd end with Rachel pulling her own eye out, because she's hardcore like that, but what I didn't know was what she would do in between. Would she go for revenge or would this (together with Kira having done her best to befriend Rachel) sway her to save Kira? While revenge is undoubtedly still on the menu (some of which already enacted, at least I thought that's what she did with Sarah's email re: Westmoreland's true identity - i.e. forward it to the other board members), thus time she chooses Kira.

The flashbacks in between, using the young actress playing Charlotte for Rachel as a child (as was done already for the home movie with her parents which we see again in this episode) and then later Tatiana Maslany playing a younger Rachel, with that mixture between ruthlessness and yearning for approval not yet gelled into her usual icy mask when we meet her, do a neat job of keeping the balance between sympathy for Rachel but also showing the disregard for any other life she's capable of. And, as mentioned: Leekie gets a "omog, what a monster are you, but of course I'm not to blame, it was the cooperation, not me" scene just like both Duncans had with Rachel. In contrast to Not!Westmoreland's "you are my daughter and the specialest" scene, so no wonder she wanted to believe it was real.

Another Rachel trait true through the show is that when she doesn't let herself carried away by rage, she's a truly great planner, especially when backed into a corner. (See also: her way of escaping from Delphine, then later defeating Evie and dethroning Susan in one swoop.) That she keeps drinking through her return to Dyad and goes to watch that homemovie with Susan, Ethan and her child self is another case in point. Westmoreland sees it as the result of Susan's death and possibly her unease re: plans for Kira, and it's that, because you lie best with the truth, but it's also Rachel preparing for the horrendous pain of the eye operation at the end in a way that won't give the game away to Westmoreland. And then she even finds a way to explain the temporary blackout of her eye by going through the meditation routine we've seen through the season. Rachel: really not a good person, but when she's on, a brilliant one. Also, it's fitting that the episode where she finally gives up on parental approval is also the one where she acts to protect the next generation. I think we call that growing up.

Meanwhile, in other loose ends getting tied up: the return of Mark and Gracie to the show. I'm glad they're back, if somewhat irked Ira died off screen, unless we're to assume he died the moment he knelt by Susan's corpse. No more Houe of Atreus/Duncan, though I presume Not!Westmoreland and Dr. Coady have just become Clytaemnestra and Aigisthos to Rachel's Elektra without realising it. Re: Mark, I'm torn as to how sincere he is. On the one hand, since he wants to live and doesn't know yet Cosima has taken the cure off island, it's believable he'd come back if he thinks Coady is his only chance to live. Otoh, bearing in mind his actions through season 3, it's also entirely possible he's playing her and secretely in league with some of our heroes (say, Felix). And of course the Gracie-Helena reunion brings things full circle there as well.

Alison's new hair style: will need some getting used to. :) I'm glad she's back, though.
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