Effects of External Conditions is the fourth episode of the first season of Orphan Black.


Sarah realizes that the Orphans' survival is going to take more than police work. But tracking the killer threatens Sarah's long awaited reunion with her daughter, Kira. As Sarah gets closer to the killer, the killer gets closer to the truth—the ensuing showdown threatens to expose her ruse as a cop.


The killer clone is still cleaning her wound, repeating Sarah's words "I'm not Beth", when a young boy who lives in the house she has broken into wakes up. The young boy notices the bathroom light turned on, a trail of blood leading into the open bathroom, and peeks in. The killer clone sees him and lures him into the room with her, shushing him.

Meanwhile, Sarah visits Alison to tell her about the killer clone and return her money. Sarah then confesses that she had been planning on running off with the money, but didn't for her family, confessing that she has a daughter, Kira. Alison asks her if Kira is her biological daughter, which Sarah confirms, and Alison reveals that her children were adopted, telling Sarah that she should have told them about Kira before. The two snap at each other for a while, but eventually Sarah just asks Alison to "be available" in case she is needed while she deals with their killer clone.

At Felix's apartment, Sarah video chats with Cosima about the knife Sarah got from their killer clone. Cosima tends to babble at times, and Felix and Sarah point out that she is weird. Cosima tells them that the handle of the blade seems to symbolize something, and that they must find her as she may have answers for them. Beth decides that she needs to continue shadowing the cops as Beth to get info about their killer clone. When Cosima brings up the nature/nurture complications of their situation, Felix does a clone count: the psycho killer clone, who had killed four European clones, the suicidal Beth, the soccer mom Alison, the eccentric Cosima, and his crazy stepsister Sarah, who apparently seems sane compared to the others, adding up to nine clones so far. Art then texts Sarah, telling her about a lead they have on the killer.

To remain available the whole day, Alison sends her children to her parents, arousing the suspicions of her husband, Donnie. After they leave, Alison remains in her laundry room to wait for Sarah's call, her gun, car keys, and phone on the table.

Following Art's instructions, Sarah arrives at the house the killer clone had broken into. Art then thanks Sarah for saving him, saying even his family is grateful. Art then tells Beth the details: the killer made a pit stop at the house, leaving the stolen motorcycle and a witness.

Inside, Deangelis tells them that the killer wore gloves but did not bother cleaning up after herself. The mother of the boy, Trevor, then tells them that she slept through the whole thing while her son met the killer, and she woke to find him soaking wet with blood. Trevor, silent and seemingly traumatized, sat behind them, and had been calling the killer an "angry angel".

Art calmly questions Trevor, and when he asks him what the killer looked like, Trevor pointed at Sarah. Sarah then asks to speak with Trevor, the boy almost in tears. Trevor tells Sarah in private that the woman knew she would come and left behind a paper fortune teller for her. Before she could hide it, Art sees it and takes it as evidence.

Sarah calls Mrs. S to confirm her visit with Kira. Mrs. S reminds Sarah that if she disappoints her daughter, who had been anticipating her visit for a long time and is expecting her later that night, she will never let her see Kira again. Kira paints a picture of her mother in preparation.

At the precinct, the detectives study their current findings of their victim and killer. Their "Jane Doe" skull is still currently being reconstructed, but they now know that the cause of death is from a bullet of a long-range, high-powered weapon of a female sniper. They form a psych profile of the killer from their findings so far: isolated and abused as a child, a religious fanatic, calculated and loves playing games. These information are derived from the evidence they have found, such as the dolls she has left behind, the stick figures drawn on the walls of her rented room, the Bible verses she seems to obsess about, and the fortune tellers wherein all the choices lead to death. Aside from choices for death, the paper also contains mysterious numbers.

Sarah is taken away from the meeting when she receives a call from the killer. The killer tells her that she knows Beth is dead, and then insisted that she and Sarah have a connection, which was why she did not kill her just yet. Sarah then gets her name: Helena. Helena then tells Sarah to meet with her again to discuss their predicament with the police, and that she has already given Sarah the directions.

Sarah, initially confused, realizes that the directions Helena were referring to were the numbers in the fortune teller. The detectives realized that the numbers were addresses, leaving only one more address that they have not yet investigated. They go to the address, and Art insists on sticking with his partner this time.

As they leave, though, Helena, disguised poorly as Beth, goes into the precinct, arousing little suspicion and strange looks. She rearranges the pictures of the cops' findings on their pin board into the shape of a person, much to the chagrin of Art when he later discovers it. Helena then proceeds to sit on Beth's desk, going through her things. She notices a photo of Beth with Paul on the desk then, after scratching Paul's eyes out, covers the photo with that of Maggie Chen's. She then takes a call from Paul and, posing as Beth, tells him about being attacked and asks him to come get her. She then records a video of herself as Beth and confesses to intentionally murdering Maggie Chen.

At the address, they find the killer's hideout in an abandoned building. There, they find a statue of some entity, and more drawings of stick figures of women on the walls, much like in her room in the boarding house, with one bigger stick figure with a question mark as the head. They then tell Sarah that the investigation will take hours, and Sarah realizes that she will have to miss her dinner plans with Mrs. S and Kira and cannot afford leading the killer straight to them. Not wanting to lose her only chance with her daughter, she calls Felix to set up her plan for her.

Felix then goes to Alison and tells her Beth's plan: she needs to impersonate Sarah for her visit with Kira. At first, Alison refuses, thinking that Sarah is not a good mother and Kira might be better off with Mrs. S. With Felix's persuasion, however, Alison eventually agrees, seeing it as an opportunity to display her acting skills.

Back at the precinct, Raj, after seeing Helena posing as her earlier, compliments Sarah on her change of look. Confused, Sarah soon realizes that someone had been there as her, particularly on her desk. The photo of Maggie Chen then leads Sarah into taking a closer look at her death. She then goes trough her file on Maggie Chen and sees a brand on the back of her neck and recognizes it as the fish with wings symbol on the handle of Helena's blade. Before she could further study it, Deangelis shows up to say that all her attacks on her victims seem personal as all her victims appear to be female. After Deangelis leaves, she takes a photo of it to later show Cosima.

Paul then comes for Sarah at the precinct after Helena's distressed plea. Paul insists on taking "Beth" with him, even lashing out at Art when he interferes. Sarah takes Paul outside and explains things to him, to get him to leave, but Paul tells her that he wants to figure things out between them. When he leaves, Sarah makes the call to Cosima and tells her about her latest findings. They deduce that Sarah might need to meet Helena alone, and that the whole issue with hunting the clones may be a personal crusade of a religious group hoping to get rid of the clones, whom they see as abominations.

Sarah comes back into the precinct and is confronted by Art, who was particularly pissed when Paul told them that Beth had been wanting to leave the force. Sarah insists that Paul did not know what he was saying, and that it was never going to happen again. Art tries to get more details from his partner, particularly if she realized that the killer was female during their first encounter, as if trying to catch her in a lie. Sarah notices this though and manages to lie through it again.

Helena, who had just covered her stab wound once again, gives Beth another call. During the call, Helena is seen cutting her own back, creating another scar. Helena then tells her that they should finally meet again, and sends her an address through an email. Attached to the email is the video Helena took in the precinct, posing as Beth and confessing to the murder of Maggie Chen. Sarah also learns through her that she and Maggie in fact knew each other, and Beth found this out and killed her to protect them.

After Felix helps Alison prepare to "be" Sarah for the night, he finally takes her to Mrs. S, even though Alison still overdoes her Sarah impression and needs a bit more practice. She gets past Mrs. S, but Kira is suspicious as soon as they see each other. When Felix takes Mrs. S away, Kira points out that she knows that she is not her mother.

With Sarah out of the precinct, Deangelis gets Art alone, and they discuss "Beth". Art expresses his suspicions, and he later goes through her desk. He sees the photo of Paul with his eyes scratched out that Sarah had hidden, and sees the pad of paper which Sarah had used to write down the address.  He is able to read the imprint left in the pad, and realizes that it Maggie Chen's address.

Sarah is actually on her way to Maggie Chen's apartment, which was the address given to her by Helena. Shaky the whole time, Sarah leaves a voice recording on her phone meant for Art, trusting him enough with the truth in case she dies during her encounter with Helena.

Sarah finally enters Maggie's apartment and sees Helena, looking up as if in prayer. Sarah punches Helena on her stab wound, and Helena tells Sarah that she thinks she is dying. Through her cryptic words about God and others with her, Sarah finds out that Maggie apparently helped create them but realized her mistake and joined the crusaders. She also learns that Helena strongly believes she is the original, and she wants to save Sarah and take her with her, insisting that they have a "connection".

Panicked when someone, Art, rings the doorbell to Maggie's apartment, she points her gun at Helena, considering shooting her. However, Sarah has second thoughts when she hears Art outside and calling to her, and she lets Helena go, possibly to hide her lookalike from Art. Helena exits through the window, just in time for Art to kick the door open. Art is furious at "Beth" for being in the apartment of the woman she had killed, thinking she is haunted by her.

Back with Kira and Alison, Kira is led to believe that Alison is Sarah's sister and Alison explains that Sarah was out doing something very brave so that she and Kira can be together. Later, Alison asks Kira to not tell Mrs. S, and Kira silently agrees. Alison thanks Mrs. S for taking care of Kira and says that "she" will walk her home from school the next day, and Siobhan agrees. Once outside, Felix compliments Alison for successfully impersonating Sarah, but Alison tells him that she may have fooled Mrs. S, but not Kira.

Art brings "Beth" back to the precinct and Sarah asks for a meeting with Lieutenant Gavin Hardcastle. Sarah lies to them about why she was at Maggie's apartment, and the two detectives ask her if there is a possible connection between Maggie Chen and their current case on Katja and Helena, which Sarah denies. Sarah had actually asked for the meeting so she can quit, telling them that she was not yet ready. The detectives watch her suspiciously as "Beth" walks away.

Elsewhere, Helena stumbles through an alley until she collapses into unconsciousness. A van seemingly waiting for her drives towards her, and a man bearing the same fish-with-wings mark on his ring picks her up and takes her with him.



Guest Starring




All songs for the episodes have been verified by TuneFind (A reliable source)[1]

  • "Mon ton ton" by Humans
  • "L'Amour est un oiseau rebelle" by Maria Callas
  • "Helena's Melody" by Trevor Yuile
  • "Sarah Quits" by Trevor Yuile
  • "Previously On" by Trevor Yuile



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