While the central mystery of “Orphan Black” is somewhat easy to sum up — a group of late-twenties women who look exactly alike discover that they are the results of a cloning experiment and try to unravel the mysteries behind their origins — the intricacies of each episode are a bit harder to explain.
In preparation for the Season 2 premiere on Saturday (April 19), here is a brief (but not too brief) summation of the important takeaways from each episode: characters, philosophies, romances and more that will refresh you in advance of the excellent new episodes.
To refresh your memory further, revisit The Clones, The Other Key Players, and The Philosophies at work on the show before you catch up on the first half of the season below (and the second half of the season shortly after).
Episode 1: ‘Natural Selection’
Sarah Manning returns home after a year away and witnesses a suicide — of a woman who looks just like her. Since Sarah was adopted, she and her foster brother, Felix, decide the woman must have been her twin. Sarah, back in town to make some quick cash selling her ex-boyfriend’s drugs so she can take her daughter, Kira, who’s been staying with Sarah and Felix’s foster mother, Mrs. S., decides to check out the life of the woman who died. When she finds out the woman, Beth, had money, Sarah decides to fake her own death and take Beth’s place. There’s one problem: Beth was a cop embroiled in an internal affairs investigation.
Sarah decides to keep being Beth long enough to take money from her savings account and get out of town with Kira. Felix identifies Sarah’s body, and he and Sarah’s ex, Vic, hold a funeral for Sarah. Meanwhile, another lookalike approaches Sarah, thinking she’s Beth, and talks about a scientist before she’s shot in the head and dies.
Episode 2: ‘Instinct’
Sarah finally picks up Beth’s phone, and the voice on the other end asks about “the German.” Sarah says that the woman, Katja, is dead, and the voice tells Sarah to take hair and blood samples and get rid of the body. The voice also says that Katja was right — someone was killing them off.
The next day, Sarah discovers the money she took from Beth’s account is gone, in custody of Art, Beth’s cop partner. She must stay Beth long enough to get the money back, which means Beth’s boyfriend, Paul, is pretty suspicious. Much to Sarah’s relief, Paul decides to stay at a friend’s for a while.
That leaves Beth’s investigation — Sarah must get Beth cleared of accidentally shooting a woman named Maggie Chen while on duty and Art will give the money back. Then Sarah can leave town. In the meantime, she heads back to Katja’s hotel room to find her briefcase — which doesn’t have money inside, just identities and samples from other women who look just like Sarah.
Sarah decides to track down the woman she thinks is on the other end of the phone, Alison, who turns out to be a soccer-mom version of her. Sarah goes to Alison’s house later that night only to find yet another woman who looks like her, whom we’ll later learn is a dreadlocked biology doctoral student named Cosima.
Episode 3: ‘Variation Under Nature’
There’s a reason all the women look alike: They’re clones. Welcome to Clone Club, everybody! (Also, Felix knows too, because of course he tags along with Sarah to Alison’s house.)
Beth is reinstated, so she (a.k.a. Sarah) goes on a call with Art: It’s Katja’s body. Oops! Plus, someone calls in evidence to make it even easier for the cops to solve the crime. Sarah decides to train at the gun range so she can do Sarah’s job better, which helps when she and Art track down the killer to a small apartment, where the perp then escapes. Sarah tracks the perp down to find it’s another lookalike, who then stabs her before getting away.
Episode 4: ‘Effects of External Conditions’
After discussing things with the other clones, Sarah confesses that she had planned to run away with her daughter, and Alison points out that she’s the only clone who’s been able to conceive. Felix counts the number of lookalikes and realizes there are nine clones identified so far — the three main girls, Beth, the killer, and the four dead European clones.
Sarah goes with Art to a home the killer broke into on their quest to track her down. Later, she receives a call from the killer asking to meet up, but while Art and Sarah track down more clues, the killer, Helena, goes to the precinct disguised as Beth in an attempt to frame her for murder.
Sarah and Art find Helena’s lair, which is filled with religious paraphernalia, and work takes so long that Sarah will miss her pre-arranged meetup with Kira and Mrs. S. Sarah asks Alison to visit Kira in her place.
Later, when Sarah finally goes to meet Helena, she leaves a voice message on Beth’s phone confessing to her true identity for Art to find just in case something goes wrong. She doesn’t need to use it, but Art tracks her down — turns out the meeting is in Maggie Chen’s apartment. This causes a whole slew of new questions, and Sarah simply quits the force.
Episode 5: ‘Conditions of Existence’
After reconciling with Paul, Sarah dreams that she’s being examined by doctors. She wakes up in the morning and notices an injection mark on her arm and spits up a chip, and realizes it wasn’t a dream after all. Together, the clones realize Paul was probably observing Beth and gathering data on her — and Alison suspects her husband is observing her too.
Sarah visits Paul at work, where he notices that Sarah doesn’t have a scar Beth had — she’s a different person. Meanwhile, Alison suspects her husband, Donnie, might be spying on her after she discovers him rooting through her things. She places a hidden camera in their home to hopefully catch him in the act.
Back at the University of Minnesota, Cosima is examining the blood samples of the clones and notices a fellow student upset. They bond, and she and Delphine become friends.
Vic returns to Felix’s and sees Sarah, and Sarah tells him she faked her death and gives him the money for the drugs he stole so he’ll go away.
Sarah confronts Paul, who had followed her to Mrs. S.’s house and seen her with Kira, and finally confesses her real identity. In return, Paul tells Sarah that he doesn’t even know why he’s been monitoring Beth.