Alison takes center stage (but fortunately, not in the way her husband does) in this Orphan Black episode. She may not be a cop like Beth or a scientist like Cosima and may not be able to swap places with one of her sisters as easily as Sarah can, but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t earned her place in the sestrahood — and she proves just that when Rachel has Maddie execute a search warrant of the Hendrixes’ house.
“Beneath Her Heart” features multiple moments I needed (but didn’t necessarily realize I did or would get) before the series’ end. We get to see the moment Alison meets Cosima. Donnie’s past as a monitor comes up. Thanks to flashbacks, we get Alison hating the “C word” as she puts it and standing up for the sisterhood in the same episode. And throughout the episode, we see Alison wondering who she is, as an individual and as part of Clone Club.
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But it’s not all about Bailey Downs. Before Rachel and her Neo lapdog Maddie become a problem, Clone Club takes a moment to say goodbye to and remember M.K. And since that happens after Mr. Frontenac tells Alison that even M.K. had more value than she did, it’s no surprise that she wonders if she could’ve done something to help, like been a decoy.
Alison’s Trippy Night
Let’s go back to before the beginning. Before we met Sarah. Before Beth killed herself. Back to when Alison hated the word “clones.” (“We look alike, that’s it,” she tells Beth when the cop calls her.) Aynsley was still alive, and Donnie was a monitor.
After awkwardly misinterpreting Aynsley and Chad’s invitation to “shake things up a bit” after dinner, Alison and Donnie initially turn down their offer of magic mushrooms — until the clone decides that it’s the perfect way to forget about the “c-word business.” While the other three partake, Donnie brings them water and has Poison Control on speed dial.
But with Alison in denial, Beth thinks that she needs to see another face, so she sends Cosima to meet her and, in the scientist’s words, “drop a bomb in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting.” And when better for that to happen than when Alison’s high? (It doesn’t go as Beth had hoped.)
Instead, once back inside, Alison stares at herself in a mirror and wonders, “Why do I have this face? I could’ve been born with many faces.” She could’ve been a cop or a scientist, but she microwaves mini pizzas and drives the kids to camp. “Why this life?” And to her, Donnie’s just “so normal,” though, she tells him, “sometimes you look at me so strangely, it’s like our entire life is a lie.” (Remember, this is back when he was her monitor. You know, before he quit and accidentally killed Dr. Leekie.)
A Church Fair in Bailey Downs, What Could Go Wrong? (Everything.)
In the present, the Hendrixes are back together (though things are tense since Donnie abandoned Alison — her word choice, not his). Mr. Frontenac wants to know where Helena is, and when he gets nothing from them, he takes the opportunity to point out the other clones’ usefulness (Cosima’s a valuable scientist, Sarah and Helena are fertile and therefore biologically priceless) while there’s Alison, with her “vapid existence.” He suggests she consider her worth. And that’s what drives Alison for the rest of the episode.
“Why do I love my sisters so much when they’ve ruined my life?” Alison wonders to Donnie, but he argues that her life isn’t ruined and is just waiting for her to come back to “sparkle it up.” With that in mind, she heads to the Church Fall Fair (with some pills she found in her craft room), even though Nona’s in charge this year.
After Nona brushes off her input, Alison pops a pill before adding the rest to a bottle in her bag and offers the drink to the other woman with an apology. But after Reverend Mike commends her for working things out and comments that God sees good and small deeds, she grabs the drink from Nona before she can take a sip, claiming it had been in her car too long and offering to get her a new one.
Alison doesn’t get a break. She then runs into Chad at a memorial for Aynsley. “Could it have been our fault?” he asks. If not for their affair, he might have been home to save her. “We can’t change the past,” Alison says in response.
Since Helena’s baby’s recovery was miraculous, Rachel wants to know where she is more than ever, and so Maddie, Art and a few officers show up at the Hendrixes’ to execute a search warrant regarding the dead Portuguese gangsters and a “seriously bloody” paper cutter to put the pressure on them. Donnie’s already dressed for his highland dance at the fair, and Maddie tells him he can go on his way. But before he does, he makes sure Art knows to keep everyone out of the garage.
When Alison sees Ramone at the Fair, she confronts him about ripping them off, but he insists that Kellerman’s the one who scammed her, which only adds to her feelings of failure. At this point, it’s no surprise that she says “eff it” and takes Ramone up on his offer to take the edge off.
When Donnie finds her, she’s high, so it takes him a moment to inform her about the Neo police searching their house with the bodies in the garage. It’s the perfect time for the couple to get some of their frustrations out:
Donnie: “What do you think happens when Rachel discovers that I killed Leekie?”
Alison: “Well, I didn’t shoot him in the face, did I?”
Donnie: “No, you only let Aynsley strangle to death.”
Alison: “I thought she was my monitor, and that turned out to be you!”
Back at the Hendrixes’, Art finds Maddie planting evidence in the garage; with clone blood present on clothes with blood from the crime scene, they can tie Alison to the crime and then have Donnie spill Helena’s location to help her. But then Maddie spots something even better: what clearly looks like a grave. Time to get the jackhammer out.
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It’s Time for Someone to Step up
When Chad finds Alison again, she tries to talk about what happened to Aynsley and tells him she was responsible, but he cuts her off. Yes, they had their problems, but Aynsley loved her, he assures her and then echoes her “we can’t change the past.” If they want to honor Aynsley, they have to move forward.
Donnie calls Sarah and Felix to update them on the latest suburban madness. They’re on their way, but they should hurry because Donnie then downs Alison’s drink, unaware of the Lorazepam in it, before taking the stage. And once Alison realizes what Donnie did, she can only watch as the drugs hit him and first, he falls flat on his back, legs spread (and the parents in the audience cover their children’s eyes), then tries to keep dancing and falls flat on his face.
Felix arrives in time to witness this and joins Alison on stage to help Donnie, but when Nona comments that it looks like they’re both alcoholics, Alison comes to her husband’s defense, calling out everyone for being hypocrites since half of them bought pills from her.
“I’ve given my heart to this community, and I can’t help but feel a little bit hurt that you’re pushing me to the side, but you know, I’ve atoned for my sins,” she says. “And I have a life that is so much bigger than Bailey Downs. I am part of a sisterhood that you couldn’t even begin to understand.” It’s a much-needed moment for Alison, who at the start of the series hated the word “clones” (as we were reminded of with the flashbacks), but fortunately, Felix cuts her off with “And thank god, you never will” before she can say too much.
Meanwhile, Sarah finds Art as the Hendrixes’ as he’s digging in the garage, and he excuses himself to join her in the house. “I’m not just looking out for you anymore,” he points out to Sarah. She knows, but they really can’t let Rachel find out who’s in the garage. (No, it’s not Duko; S. took care of his body.)
If Rachel finds out Donnie killed Leekie, she’ll come after all of them, but they can’t give up Helena’s location either. (She’s in a convent, as the end of the episode reveals.) Instead, Alison decides to make herself “useful for once” and leaves to make sure Rachel knows it’s their doing.
With that, she goes to see Rachel at Dyad. “I know you look down on me. You probably wonder why on Earth my sisters even bother with me,” she tells the pro-clone before making it clear, “But I’ve been in this fight since the beginning, with Beth. Even before Sarah. And I’m in it for the long haul.”
Then she gives Rachel the bag with Leekie’s head in it as Maddie uncovers the rest of his body in the garage. “It was an accident,” Alison explains. “Dr. Leekie pushed Donnie over the edge, and he didn’t have basic firearm safety.” Rachel can file murder charges against them, sure, but would Rachel’s new boss like all the attention that would end up bringing to Neolution?
Rachel really has only one option: tell Maddie to stand down. And as she makes that call, Art stands behind Enger, with his gun out. Once he hears Maddie’s new orders, he re-holsters his weapon. But would he have pulled the trigger?!
As for what Rachel’s going to do to Alison, “I should like to put my hands around your neck and squeeze.”
“Then we’re not so different, you and I,” Alison tells her before leaving.
All of this has made Alison realize she needs to get away for a while and “see who [she is] outside of all of this.” Before she leaves Donnie, though, they duet “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” while he plays the lute.
Remember, She’s Not Auntie Rachel
It might be time to start worrying about Kira. Yes, she has every right to find out why she’s so special, even if it means a few non-invasive tests. But she’s not telling her family the nature of her visits with Rachel.
And sure, it’s nice for Rachel to give her a present — a spiny mouse, which has the remarkable ability to grow back its own skin and fur, so it can escape when a predator grasps it — but was anyone else worried when Kira brought it home with her and then took out a pocket knife?
Then there’s the lack of an answer from Kira when she tells Rachel everyone told her she can’t trust her and the pro-clone asks if she does. (#ProtectKirafromRachelsInfluence)
Did you enjoy this deep dive into Alison? Do you think Art would have pulled the trigger? Are you worried about Kira’s visits with Rachel?
Orphan Black season 5 airs Saturdays at 10/9c on BBC America. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Images courtesy of BBC America)