Dr. Leekies experiment
The origins of the clones are revealed as part of gigantic experiment by neolution expert Dr. Richard Leekie. His scientific dabbles began three decades earlier at the Dyad Institute whose central motto of self-directed evolution led to the creation of a group of identical females.
In order to continue harvesting data from his test subjects, Leekie housed the girls across the planet and kept an eye on their development. Each was assigned a guardian of sorts (referred to in the show as monitors) to keep an eye on their progress, report back with information, and allow for Leekies science guys to conduct illegal experiments on them while they slept. Whatta guy!
While Leekies illegal shenanigans were a hideous invasion of privacy, his antics were nothing compared to the activities of the Proletheans. This sect of religious extremists holds a firm view on science. Quite simply, they dont approve of its applications. When they capture Helena - the loose cannon - they brainwash her into believing she is the original and the rest are mere copies, abominations of nature, who must be destroyed. Not exactly what you'd call progressive.
This is roughly when the show starts. Sarah has possession of Beths identity (it's amazing to watch Maslany playing Sarah being Beth) and is hounded by phone calls asking if she got the briefcase. As it transpires, those callers are Cosima and Alison, who had been working in cahoots with the deceased detective to track down their killer.
As the trio unite, its revealed that Beth was contacted six months earlier by a German clone named Katja Obinger who alerted her to the fact that their genetic identicals were being hunted all over Europe. Beth made use of facial recognition technology at the station to track down Cosima and Alison and so began their preliminary search for their hunter.
After Beth took out a prolethean named Maggie Chen, who was also on a similar mission to kill the clones, the guilt became too much and she took her own life.
With Sarah now impersonating Beth, the remaining clones had a fighting chance of tracing their origins. Hows that? The contents of the briefcase in Sarahs possession contained blood samples from the murdered Euro-clones.
We have a connection
During a crime scene investigation, Sarah stumbles upon the perp and embarks on a chase. After tussling with the mysterious figure, she yanks off its motorcycle helmet to reveal: another clone.
She arranges a rendezvous with the unknown clone and sets off to Maggie Chens apartment for the meeting, where its revealed that this clone is the Ukrainian-born, Prolethean-raised Helena. Their tense conversation sheds light on Helenas fragile mental state, and her desire to be part of a family. She might be a killer; but there are glimmers of hope in their exchange.
Shortly after, Sarahs biological birth mother Amelia shows up at Mrs. Ss house to pass on an important message to Sarah. She and Helena are not just clones, theyre actually identical twins. She gave birth to them both.
That sentiment means nothing to Helena, who then kidnaps Amelia, takes her to an abandoned warehouse and stabs her to death before getting shot by Sarah. Bloody family reunions. Literally.
Turns out theres more to Mrs. S than her exceptional tea-making skills. One item Amelia leaves behind (well, Mrs. S. steals it from her coat while shes in the basement with Helena) is a photo of two scientists, complete with a caption on the reverse which reads Project LEDA.
Whats Project LEDA? Where was the photo taken? What was Amelia going to tell Sarah before Helena killed her? So many unanswered questions. But thats not the most mind-boggling thing. One of the figures decked out in a lab coat is Mrs. S. herself.
As if his interference in their lives hasnt brought about enough strife, Dr. Leekie attempts to placate the clone sisters by offering them freedom. If they each agree to come in a few times a year for medical checkups, their monitors will be removed, they regain their independence and theres a hefty financial settlement for them.
It might be referred to as a peace treaty but its aftereffects are anything but...
A new clone!
Meanwhile, one of Leekies co-workers is revealed as another one of the sisterhood, Rachel Duncan. Described as a pro-clone shes an upper-crust, power-hungry A-type who doesnt seem to possess any human traits whatsoever. She is though.
Along with her new-found romantic interest Delphine - who is revealed to be Cosimas monitor - Cosima uncovers a hidden part of Leekies fiendish plan. Trawling through the endless mass of data generated from each of the girls genetic ID tags, they stumble upon the jackpot.
Each of the clones is marked with a tag thats actually a patent; Leekie effectively owns them AND Kira.