Title: “Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 3: Beneath Her Heart
Genre: Science fiction, Biopunk, Drama, Thriller
Platform: TV – BBC America
Director: David Wellington
Writer: Alex Levine
Rating: TV-PG
Release: June 24, 2017
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Garvaris
Feature image: Source

[SPOILERS]

Flashback to more innocent times

Aynsley and Chad Norris (Natalie Lisinska and Eric Johnson) are at dinner with Alison and Donnie Hendrix (Tatiana Maslany and Kristian Bruun). Beth Childs (TA) is calling Alison, but she doesn’t want to talk to Beth. Alison: “We look alike, that’s it. This other C-word business, I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s hokum.” Cosima Niehaus (TA) is outside, Beth thinks that if Alison meets Cosima it will make the concept of clones real for her. Aynsley and Chad want to try something, Alison and Donnie think they are talking about wife swapping, but no, they have a bag of shrooms. To forget about clone stuff, Alison is ready to chow down.

Why do I have this face? I could’ve been born with many faces. I could’ve been a cop or I could’ve been a scientist. But I wound up microwaving mini-pizzas and chauffeuring kids to circus camp. Why this life?” Alison Hendrix  —Orphan Black

Alison, Aynsley, and Chad are tripping out. Donnie didn’t partake in the shrooms because the last time he tried any, they gave him the runs. He is trying to give everyone some water to drink. Beth sends Alison a text to tell her Cosima is outside. She looks at Cosima and tries to touch her nose ring. As Cosima talks Alison’s intoxicated mind exaggerates Cosima’s movements and speech. Cosima realizes her clone is high. Alison can’t take any more of this and runs back inside the house. Back in the house, Alison looks in the mirror and asks Donnie and herself: “Why do I have this face? I could’ve been born with many faces. I could’ve been a cop or I could’ve been a scientist. But I wound up microwaving mini-pizzas and chauffeuring kids to circus camp. Why this life?” Donnie: “Because we’re happy?” Later in the evening, Alison and Aynsley are laying on the ground staring at the stars. Alison: “Do you think this is all there is for us, Bailey Downs?” Aynsley thinks their lives in Bailey Downs is good, but if Alison feels like she has a higher purpose, she should trust herself.

Back to the present day

“As you go back today to your vapid existence, I want you to consider your worth, because even M.K. had more value than you.” Mr. Frontenac —Orphan Black

Mr. Frontenac (Andrew Moodie) asks Alison and Donnie where is Helena (TA). Donnie tells Mr. Frontenac that Helena abandoned him in the woods and he doesn’t know where she is. Alison: “Abandoned you, did she? Like you abandoned me in the woods?” Mr. Frontenac is getting tired of Alison and shows his contempt for her. He asks what her value is. Alison tells him she is a homemaker. He points out that Cosima is a scientist and Sarah and Helena are fertile. Mr. Frontenac: “As you go back today to your vapid existence, I want you to consider your worth, because even M.K. had more value than you.”

Sarah Manning (TM), Siobhan Sadler (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Felix Dawkins (Jordan Gavaris), and Kira Manning (Skyler Wexler) are holding a memorial for poor M.K. Alison and Donnie take part in the ceremony through video chat. Both she and Sarah blame themselves for not doing more to protect her. Siobhan suggest they all lay low and regroup. Kira gives Sarah the cold shoulder. Alison wants to skip the church’s Fall Fun Fest, but Donnie reminds her they are the entertainment; he’ll be doing a Scottish folk dance and later they will sing a duet. Alison agrees to go and accidently finds some hidden pills in her craft room.  She takes them with her to give herself the courage to face her fellow parishioners.

Alison arrives at the Fall Fun Fest and tries to take it over. Nona Walker (Jayne Eastwood), the person in charge of the Fest, goes over to Alison. In a faux friendly voice, she tells Alison that everyone told her that she would try to take over the Fest. She suggests that Alison prove them all wrong by leaving. Alison feels ashamed and leaves. She grabs her bag and takes a few pills, and pours the rest of them in a bottle of ice tea. Alison goes back to Nona, apologizes, and offers her the tea. Reverend Mike (Ryan Blakely), the church pastor comes over and commends Alison on her good attitude. Alison thinks better of her attempt to drug Nona and tells her this bottle of ice tea has been in her car awhile, and Alison tells her she will bring her another bottle of tea.

Rachel Duncan (TM) and Mr. Frontenac look at a book Aldous Leekie wrote about Neolution. She found out from P.T. Westmorland that he wrote it and Leekie just ‘dumbed’ it down for the public. They are looking at pictures of Helena’s fetus twins. She knows they can heal themselves. She thinks the twins could be more important than Kira. Mr. Frontenac thinks that Donnie is holding back and that he knows where Helena is. Rachel tells him to send the detectives with a search warrant to look for the murder weapon Helena used to kill Pouchy and his crew.

The other parishioners don’t extend Alison a warm reception. She runs into Chad and his kids. They haven’t seen each other since Aynsley’s death. A picture to honor Aynsley is on a table. Chad feels guilty about his late wife’s death. If he hadn’t been thrown out of his house for banging Alison in his car, he would have been there to save Aynsley when she broke her neck. He doesn’t know that Alison feels worse, for a good reason. Back at her house, Detectives Art Bell and Maddy Enger (Kevin Hanchard and Elyse Levesque) arrive with a search warrant to search the house. Donnie is wearing a kilt, which greatly amuses Detective Enger. She tells him he can go to the Fest to dance. Donnie whispers to Art not to go in the garage.

Kira is at Dyad with Rachel. Rachel asks her some questions about her accident in season one. (A car hit her and Kira recovered quickly.) Mrs. S told Kira it was a miracle she survived, Rachel tells her it wasn’t a miracle, the miracle could be in her genes. She gives Kira a mouse that can regrow its tail and skin if cut off. Kira nonchalantly mentions that everyone tells her she can’t trust Rachel. Rachel asks does Kira trust her; Kira changes the subject. Sarah complains to Felix about Kira being with Rachel. He sits Sarah down so he can paint another portrait of her.

I am such a colossal failure at everything.” Alison Hendrix —Orphan Black

The Fall Fun Fest isn’t going well for Alison. She runs into Ramone (Alex Ozerov) and blames him for the bad drug deal with Pouchy. He tells her that the drug dealers saw she was a rookie and decided to take advantage of her. Alison: “I am such a colossal failure at everything.” Ramone offers her a drink to pick up her spirits. Alison says no at first, but soon she is in Ramone’s van having a drink. Ramone lights up a joint and asks, “A toke, Mrs. Hendrix?” Alison: “Eff it.” Now totally inebriated, she and Ramone are bouncing in the bouncing house.

Detective Enger heads to the garage before Art can stop her. She goes into the garage to plant evidence. She notices a spot on the garage floor that doesn’t match the rest of the garage floor. She thinks she might find something hidden underneath. (The bodies of Leekie and a castor clone are buried underneath.) Enger gets a jackhammer and starts hammering the floor.

I have a life that’s so much bigger than Bailey Downs,” she says. “I’m part of a sisterhood that you couldn’t even begin to understand.” Alison Hendrix —Orphan Black

Donnie arrives, tries to get Alison out of the bouncing house, and realizes she is intoxicated. He calls Sarah and tells her what is happening both there and at the house. She leaves for the Hendrix’s home while Felix goes to the Fall Fun Fest to help a relapsing Alison. After getting Alison out of the bouncing house, Donnie finds the drugged bottle of ice tea and downs it before his performance. Chad sits down with Alison. Alison tries to confess her part in Aynsley’s death, but Chad cuts her off before she can. She goes to see Donnie’s dance. He is doing fine at first, but the drugs kick in and Donnie stumbles around the stage and passes out. Felix and Alison rush to the stage to help him. In the crowd, Nona Walker snidely remarks that both Alison and Donnie are drunks. Alison hears her, stands up, and responds. Alison: “I know exactly what you all think of me. Well, I’m not just a boozer. I’m a pill-popper, too. That’s right. And half of you bought them from me.” The crowd grows silent, but Alison isn’t through. “I have a life that’s so much bigger than Bailey Downs,” she says. “I’m part of a sisterhood that you couldn’t even begin to understand.” “And thank God, you never will,” Felix says as he quickly closes the stage curtain.

Kira is playing with the mouse Rachel gave her. Siobhan asks her how it went with Rachel, but Kira doesn’t answer. Siobhan gives her room and doesn’t pry. After she leaves, Kira reaches in her drawer and pulls out a knife.

Art is digging while Enger looks on. Sarah signals Art, so he pretends he is going to take a bathroom break. Sarah tells him that the bodies of Leekie and a Castor clone are buried there. She asks him to stall. He tells Sarah he can’t, they have already dug ‘halfway to China’. Donnie is throwing up and no one knows what to do about the garage situation. Donnie suggests he could give up Helena’s location. Alison, along with everyone else is against that. Alison knows what she has to do. She drives over to Dyad to confront Rachel.

I know you look down on me, Rachel. You probably wonder why my sisters even bother with me.” Alison Hendrix  —Orphan Black

Rachel is shocked when Alison drops Leekie’s head on her desk. I know you look down on me, Rachel,” Alison says. “You probably wonder why my sisters even bother with me. But I’ve been in this fight since the beginning, with Beth. Even before Sarah. And I’m in it for the long haul.” She won’t tell her where Helena is, she warns her to stop digging up the bodies in her garage, because it will lead back to Dyad; and her boss won’t like that. Rachel calls Detective Enger and tells her to dispose the bodies and put the garage back in order. Enger seems disappointed, but she shouldn’t be because Art was standing behind her, ready to shoot if she had proceeded. Rachel: “What would you have me do to you now?” Alison: “Do whatever you want with me. But leave Helena alone.” Rachel: “I should like to put my hands around your neck and squeeze.” Alison: “Then we’re not so different, you and I.” Alison leaves like the badass boss she is.

Donnie is proud Alison went toe to toe with Rachel. Alison tells Donnie she needs to go away for a while to see who she is. Donnie understands and supports her decision. She and Donnie sing the song they were going to sing at the Fall Fun Fest, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. It is a touching moment.

We end the episode with Helena; she is hiding out in a covenant.

_________________________________

At first glance, Alison doesn’t appear to fit in with her other sestras. Sarah is a streetwise hustler; Helena is a sweet, childlike psychopath; Cosima is a pot smoking, bohemian scientist, while Alison is a high-strung suburban homemaker. She appears to be the most normal of the group. What we find out is that there are many layers to Alison, and in many ways, she is the most unpredictable of the group. There was always more going on inside Alison than she wanted people to see, and we were able to see more of it in this episode.

In the flashbacks, Alison’s introduction to the concept of being a clone begins her questioning her life. Is Bailey Downs all there is for her? With all of the incidents she and her sestras have been involved in, she questions her worth to the endeavor. The bad guys, Rachel and Mr. Frontenac, question if she has any value at all. The community she cherished so much has now turned on her; she is an outcast. Alison gets to prove to herself and everyone else that she does have value. The drive she has applied in the past to the little civic things she did, she applies that drive, her will, to defending Clone Club. That strong will of hers helped her confront Rachel and best her. She is as fierce as the rest of her sestras and not someone you trifle with. She realizes that she is so much bigger than Bailey Downs is; others won’t define Alison any longer.

This episode was a deep character study on Alison, so there wasn’t as much action as the show usually produces. Where it was short in action, it made up for it in comedy. Starting with Alison high on shrooms to Donny showing his nether regions to the audience after he passed out on stage in his kilt, the laughs flowed easily. With all the comedy on display, the episode still had a lot of heart. Alison’s conversation with Aynsley on the grass was nice. During the first season, I never understood why Alison was friends with her, but this episode, you could see why they were. Alison’s confrontation with Rachel was a fist pumping triumph. It was watching Rocky Balboa defeat Drago. The most touching scene was Donnie and Alison sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. It displayed the great chemistry that Tatiana Maslany and Kristian Bruun have. It also showed how far in their relationship Alison and Donnie have come. You couldn’t have imagined this moment during the first season.

Clone MVP: Alison Hendrix

If I said anyone but Alison Hendrix, it would be the biggest upset since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson in Japan. The episode centered on Alison, and it was great. Vulture ranked the clones, and Alison came out on top. This episode showed why.

Grade: A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

A fan, enthusiast, and appreciator of sci-fi, comic books, and fantasy film and TV. kbeartv61@nayahscifi.com
Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Senior Contributor

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