Still not over Paul’s death? (It’s okay, neither am I.) Well, fortunately, it’s like the Orphan Black writers knew Clone Club would need a break and a chance to take a deep breath and regroup after that, and gave us “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” for just that reason.
It’s that time in the season, when everything collides and nearly crashes and burns for Alison, if not for help from Felix and one of her sisters. In season 1, it was the potluck at her house, and in season 2, it was family day at rehab. Here, in season 3, it’s the mixer for school trustee. Hey, at least this time, Vic isn’t around to be a problem, right? Yes, but Pouchy is back, and it’s Donnie who’s facing possibly losing a body part. And to make it worse, Alison’s mother is right in the middle of it. Meeting her makes everything we know about Alison to make complete sense.
Even though Alison is the focus of this episode, she still remains detached from her sisters and what’s going on with them. Her attention is on her campaign and her drug business with Donnie. Other than her self-monitoring, asking Cosima how she is and taking a moment to acknowledge that Mrs. S. is bringing Sarah home, she is living a life that is very separate from pretty much everything clone-related.
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Cosima ends up having to help Alison with her campaign when all she wants is her help with something Dyad-related. Plus, Scott spends some one-on-one time with Rachel, and Mrs. S. and Helena come to an understanding in their own way.
The Calm Before the Chaos
It’s a normal morning for the Hendrixes. Donnie’s taking care of Alison’s self-monitoring since she’s busily focused on practicing her speech. “Let’s just keep Dyad on our side,” he reminds her. She cares more about what needs to be done for her campaign and making sure her mother signs over Bubbles than that at the moment.
As Alison expected she would, Connie notices her hair needs a trim and then surprises her by telling her she’s going to read over the papers before signing them and retiring to Florida. And the icing on the bad news cake? Connie has a poster supporting Marci for school trustee hanging in her store.
Donnie makes a point of kissing his wife goodbye when Jason picks him up and the two meet with Pouchy to buy more pills. However, they run into trouble when Donnie’s envelope contains Alison’s forms and signatures for her campaign, not cash. Pouchy keeps Donnie with him and sends Jason to fix the mistake.
Things aren’t going any better for Alison either at her mixer, as moments after she joins Felix at her booth, Marci comments on her choice of campaign manager and her very conservative mother supporting her, not her own daughter. “We’re going to dismantle that bitch,” Felix declares, and I can’t agree more. Then Connie calls, claiming her heart is exploding. When Felix tells Alison that her mother is having a heart attack, she asks if it’s “a real one?” Her suspicion is proven valid when she arrives at Bubbles and sees that her mother is fine and then Connie tells her she can’t sell the store to Alison.
From Bad to Worse
Here’s Connie’s reasoning: She started her store from scratch when she left Alison’s father, she doesn’t understand why her daughter suddenly cares about it since it was always just a convenient part-time job for her and she hates her son-in-law. (Well, that last one is left unsaid but very, very obvious to everyone.) She lost respect for one Donald Francis Chubbs when he took Alison’s last name, even though she insisted. That’s when Alison has enough and stands up to her mother. “Nobody is good enough, not Dad and certainly not me, dramatic Alison who doesn’t choose her husband correctly. She’ll never be on the stage. I’m certainly never going to be school trustee, am I? You know what? I’m going to win this election. And I’m recycling this.” And with that, she leaves, taking Marci’s poster with her to, as she says, recycle.
When Cosima arrives at the school, expecting to just spend a couple of minutes with Alison, Felix forces her to pose as her sister for the photo ops. All she has to do is lose the glasses, hide the dreads under a hat and add bangs that say “unhappy, sexless marriage,” according to Felix (oh, if he only knew). As Alison watches her in the photo ops, Jason runs in and tells her about the mix-up with the envelopes and then Connie walks into the school.
Alison tries to leave her mother in an empty classroom, but Connie decides this is a good time to admit that she had the IVF clinic provide an “upgrade” since she didn’t deem her husband good enough. “My point is, if I seem disappointed in your life choices, it’s only because I tried to give you every opportunity from day one,” she offers as an explanation. Oh, Connie. The more she talks, the more I want Alison to just go off on her and tell her she has a clone for a daughter. And maybe to even tell her about her and Donnie’s new business (after the papers for Bubbles are signed, of course).
Alison leaves Jason to distract her mother and finds Felix and tells him how she and Donnie have gone Breaking Bad and are in trouble with Pouchy. “Pouchy, as in the crime lord that cut off Vic’s finger?” Felix asks, letting Alison know just how much danger her husband is in. Well, there is a tiny sliver of good news for Donnie: Pouchy isn’t in the business of cutting off fingers anymore. He’s moved on to noses.
Jason and Connie take a trip down memory lane to high school, when he and Alison dated, and he uses it as an opportunity to talk her into signing over Bubbles. He understands her reluctance with Donnie involved, but he sells Alison — the beautiful, ambitious, classy Alison, he says, and I can just see the wheels turning in Connie’s head — as the one who will wear the pants.
Alison switches the envelopes just in time to meet Pouchy’s niece in the parking lot…just as it’s time for the candidates to give their speeches. Oh, and there are two other candidates besides Alison and Marci: Stacey and Bob. Really, they exist. Here’s proof:
A Nice Recovery
Though Alison would like nothing more than to just drop the cash off and run inside to give her speech, Pouchy’s niece makes her sit there while she counts it. Fortunately for Team Hendrix, it’s all there and Donnie gets to walk away with his nose still attached to his face.
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Cosima is forced once again to be Alison and to give her speech, a very bad idea because, as she points out to Felix, she can’t even read Alison’s notes without her glasses. Improvising is an even worse idea when she mentions she’s a lesbian, quickly adding “supporter,” but fortunately, that’s when Alison arrives backstage and Cosima excuses herself under the pretense of getting water. Cosima doesn’t make it to the bathroom to hide, however, before Jason sees her, thinks she’s Alison and kisses her.
Alison goes out on stage, continuing the needing water charade with, “something Marci Coates said just got stuck in my throat.” (And as for the hairstyle change in a matter of moments backstage? No big deal. But then again, I guess no one would even consider that she has a clone who posed as her while she was busy dealing with her drug dealing on the side and her mother.) Alison wows the audience with her speech once she ignores her index cards:
“Family. That’s my agenda. Sometimes, family is more than just the people under your roof. They’re people who jump in, head first, who aren’t afraid to make fools of themselves to help you, who don’t hide their faces in shame if you fall down. If your family is suddenly bigger than you expected and your house gets too crowded, do you tell your family that they need to find a different place to live? You make room. You adapt. You find creative solutions to keep people together. Our schools are our family. And as school trustee, I will not divide us. Bailey Downs stays in the Glendale School district. I stand for inclusion, not exclusion. I will be your mother hen, and I will keep our chicks together.”
Connie Can’t Handle the Truth
Once Alison joins Cosima in the bathroom, Cosima asks if she’s having an affair because of the kiss, and while Alison denies it, she does ask if Jason’s lips are still really soft. (Uh, Alison? You should not be asking that.)
When Connie walks in, Cosima hides in a stall. After Alison’s mother tells her she’ll sign over Bubbles to her, even with Donnie involved, Connie starts talking about how one day, she’ll make a change just like she did, and maybe Jason will still be waiting. So Alison decides to try to turn her mother’s world upside down by introducing her to Cosima, her clone, and revealing that she was the one fooled at the IVF clinic.
Cosima gets out of there ASAP, and I can’t blame her, but once she does, Connie asks if she really thinks that girl is her clone. She even comes up with what she deems a reasonable explanation: “I was duped at IVF. That donor was supposed to be exclusive, but clearly, that girl’s mother was given some too. That would make you her half-sister. A clone is something else entirely.” Like most of what Connie has to say, I don’t know what to say to that. All Alison can say is, “That must be it.”
Cosima Can’t Put Off the Inevitable For Much Longer
Cosima and Shay’s happy morning in bed is cut short when Delphine shows up at Shay’s door looking for Cosima. Shay realizes who she is and lets them talk, but when she goes into the bathroom and turns on the shower, she leaves the door open so she can hear them. While Cosima knows her ex is checking out Shay, Delphine tells her she’s been testing Leda subjects for the protein they share with the Castors, and her numbers are worrying, so they need to do another urinalysis.
That’s why Cosima goes to Alison for help, for the sample, claiming she doesn’t trust Delphine and Dyad, but in the end, Alison refuses because, as she argues, they need Dyad when it comes to their health.
And Alison is right to refuse because Cosima does need to do these tests herself. She’s getting worse, as becomes evident when, while telling Shay she has a very serious, rare health issue, Shay notices blood — too much blood — between her legs in the bathtub.
Helena’s Plan: Eat, Then Slit Mrs. S.’ Throat
To Sarah and Helena’s surprise, it’s Mrs. S., not Benjamin, who shows up to help them get home. Sarah tries to intervene, especially since Helena is determined to kill Mrs. S. for betraying her (but after she eats, of course), but the waitress in the cantina tells Sarah to leave them alone to work things out while she washes up.
Mrs. S. tries to apologize for betraying her, but Helena is only interested in fighting (and then finding Jesse to raise the baby together). Mrs. S. refuses to fight her and instead tells her, “You can’t have Sarah without the rest of her family,” inviting her to join them instead, but Helena just hits her. When Mrs. S. does hit back, she immediately apologizes and hugs her until Helena stops struggling. “You’re with family now,” she assures her. And that is how they negotiate and Mrs. S. becomes the grandmother to Helena’s baby. That seems right for these two.
Sarah then gets a moment to begin to catch up with Mrs. S., touching upon Paul’s death, her dreams about Beth and Gracie living with them. They have a lot to discuss on the way home. Their conversation, short as it is, is one of my favorite parts of the episode because it shows just how far they’ve come.
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Gaming Lessons and Secret Codes
When Delphine brings Rachel to Scott for testing, the clone sees her painting on his desk and he discreetly shows her Duncan’s book. Rachel says she wants him to teach her to play Agricola because she’s bored, and once Delphine leaves them alone, she’s surprised to see him actually begin setting up the game and explaining the rules. If anyone walks in, they have to actually look like they’re farm building, he explains when she feels the need to make it clear she wasn’t serious about learning the game.
With everything else going on, there’s not much time to spend with them, which is unfortunate because I like the fact that, despite Scott admitting to Cosima earlier that Rachel scares him, he manages to maintain control here, until she gets to work on a photocopied page from the book and says she’ll only tell Sarah what it says.
Orphan Black season 3 airs Saturdays at 9pm on BBC America.
(Image courtesy of BBC America)