Becky is Better [Episode #070]
“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”—John William Gardner 10/8/1912 – 2/16/2002
After Cain killed his brother Abel, God declared to Cain, “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:11-12). In response, Cain lamented, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me” (Genesis 4:13-14). God responded, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him” (Genesis 4:15-16).
The nature of the mark on Cain has been the subject of much debate and speculation. The Hebrew word translated “mark” is ‘owth and refers to a “mark, sign, or token.” Elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, ‘owth is used 79 times and is most frequently translated as “sign.” So, the Hebrew word does not identify the exact nature of the mark God put on Cain. Whatever it was, it was a sign/indicator that Cain was not to be killed. Some propose that the mark was a scar, or some kind of tattoo. Whatever the case, the precise nature of the mark is not the focus of the passage. The focus is that God would not allow people to exact vengeance against Cain. Whatever the mark on Cain was, it served this purpose.
In German (biblical or figuratively): Kainszeichen, the mark/brand of Cain.
A listless Margaret Teele stares at the Orphan Black. Her expression is blank. Her eyes are empty. Margaret is waiting patiently for instruction. She is not alone. All of the people she wears as clothing and keeps locked up in the closet when not being worn are likewise positioned mindlessly in the bedroom, waiting for instructions.
The OB sets atop an Anwar table. Its altar from which it begins to pontificate. Margaret turns around to face the others. Her mouth moves mechanically. Her voice. Its mind. She’s being channeled by the OB.
As the Orphan Black speaks through her, glyphs tickertape across the surface of the artifact. For the duration of its oratory, identical glyphs script themselves across the foreheads of the clothes that are people. This includes Margaret since she too is clothes.
These symbols are different than its passcode. Distinct, far more arcane, and much older, these were the markings that distinguished its original owner—the markings are a curse from that man’s god placed upon him. He was the first immortal human, and for his grievous sin he was punished to wander the Earth unmolested as a pariah.
Since that first doomed owner, it has passed through many hands, ruining the countless lives of those who have possessed it in that long passage of time. Few owners have escaped its associated misfortune. Of special note in that latter category of those who escaped completely unscathed was the pawn broker who sold it to Margaret.
Through Margaret, this OB is an artifact that is a vindictive person who is a thing wearing people who are not things. Margaret had been warned by the OB’s previous owner about just how potentially dangerous this thing could be, but her arrogance got the better of her. Pride goeth before the fall.
She thought that she could easily handle it. After all, she’d mastered one of the Chinese puzzle boxes (circa 1880) made for Dragons by Malcolm Gilvary. How more devious and controlling could this thing be than a Gilvary’s? She was wrong. One slipup: using the OB when she was tired late one evening and … Pow!
It exploited her carelessness, her underestimation of its power and influence over living things, and it took possession of her: mind, body, and soul. It has owned her ever since that fateful day.
Unlike the others, Margaret is herself when she’s not being worn by the OB. Her conscious mind has some vague awareness of the true nature of their relationship. Her Id knows the exact details, though, for all the good that does her.
When Margaret wears the others she assumes their motivations, for kicks. Their motives are so violent and destructive. Deliciously anti-social in nature. She likes to see the world burn. So, it should come as no surprise that Margaret took much delight in seeing to it that the two brothers [Jacob and Ted] successfully completed their mission to kill Count Orlok.
Birds of a feather flock together. Margaret’s Orphan Black also shares her tastes in clothes. It too likes to see the world burn.