Sunday, June 25, 2017

Orphan Black, Season Five, Episode Three: Beneath Her Heart

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For much of Orphan Black the Hendrixs have been the comic relief.  While dealing with Neolutionists, Allison has attempted to uphold the facade that she's just another suburban WASP. This means she's taken her kids to soccer games, participated in community theater, volunteered at her church and even run for local office.  Trapped in what many would think of as suburban hell, Allison has always sought to maintain her image and exert power wherever possible.  However, the truth of the matter is that despite everything that's going on, Allison's world is very very small.  At best, she's been a big fish in a tiny pond and in Beneath Her Heart, the realities of Allison's life and past are explored. 

Beneath Her Heart begins with a flashback to the Hendrixs hosting a dinner part with Aynsley and Chad (could there be two more WASP names?) as their guests. It's about as typical as you would expect, with Allison refusing to share her desert recipe while fielding calls from Beth.  It's an early sign of Allison trying to hold her life together, even as the clone world is trying to intervene. Allison is in complete denial and makes it clear that she won't even say the C word. Since we are talking about Allison, the C word of course means clone. 

With the desert finished and the dishes cleared away, the Aynsley and Chad suggest that they shake things up a bit.  This quickly weirds the Hendrixs out because they clearly assume that their friends mean sexually.  It turn out Aynsley and Chad have brought some mushrooms.  Allison is reluctant at first but she takes the plunge, leaving a sober Donnie to watch over his wife and friends.  Of course, as soon as Allison is higher than a kite, this is when Cosima shows up. It seems that Beth thought that meeting another Leda clone would bring Allison on side. This is the first meeting between Cosima and Allison. Because Cosima is just so naturally zen, she realises that Allison is high but doesn't make a big deal out of it. 

Aynsley and Allison end up at the front lawn looking at the stars wrapped in blankets. Allison starts to wonder if her life in suburbia is all there is for her. She actively thinks of all the things that she could have done instead of serving mini pizzas and playing chauffeur to the kids. It's a great reminder of exactly why Aynsley and Allison were friends and why letting Aynsley die continues to haunt her.

In the present, things haven't become any easier for Allison.  Donnie and Allison get a visit from Mr. Frontenac, demanding to know Helena's whereabouts. Frontenac makes it clear that of all the clones, he thinks that Allison is the most expendable.  Cosima is a scientist, Sarah and Helena are both fertile and Helena's unborn twins have shown remarkable abilities to heal themselves.  There's also Kira, who has special skills. Because Allison is supposedly just a housewife, she doesn't have much power or much to barter with as far as Frontenac is concerned. Frontenac makes it clear that Allison had better have a good long think about exactly how valuable she is.

It's time for M.K.'s memorial which Allison watches via skype.  Allison is upset that she was unable to do anything to save MK. The clones decide with everything going on to just take it easy for the day.  Sarah ends up spending time with Felix sulking when Kira makes it clear that she doesn't want her mother to come to Dyad with her. 

With no official clone business to take care of, Allison heads to the Church Fall fair which she is not running this year. It doesn't take long for Allison to have a little run in with Nona Walker, who has been selected to run it.  Naturally, Allison is not down with this at all and so she pours several lorazapam pills into a bottle of ice tea and gives the bottle to Nona, claiming that it's a reconciliation drink. Before Nona can down it however, the minister pops by and starts talking about moving forward. Allison's conscience kicks in and she grabs the bottle before Nona can drink it. 

Allison conscience is picked at again when she runs into Chad and his kids. It seems that Chad blames himself for his wife's death, saying that if Aynsley hadn't kicked him out for cheating, he would have been there to save her.  We all know that Aynsley died because Allison didn't stop the garbage disposal when Aynsley's scarf got stuck in it. Allison also only had an affair with Chad to get back at Aynsley because she thought that Aynsley was her monitor at the time. 

By the time Allison runs into Ramon, the guy who sold her drugs, it's fair to say that she feeling extremely down. Allison immediately demands the the thirty-five grand she believes that she and Donnie are owed, only to be told that they were played by Kellerman.  This is the final nail for Allison, who now believes that she cannot do anything right. When Ramon offers up some booze and a joint, Allison is all in, after all, what else does she have to lose? 

This are about to get a lot worse for the Hendrixs.  Donnie is now dressed in full Highland regalia, ready to perform some highland dancing, when Engers and Art knock on the door.  Engers is under orders to find some incriminating evidence to push the Hendrixs into revealing where Helena is.  Engers is enjoying every moment of the search.  Donnie however has a performance to do and so he pulls Art aside to ask him to keep the cops out of the garage.  We all remember what's buried in the garage right?  Naturally, the garage is exactly where Engers heads to plant some evidence and while in there, she spots the garage floor and realises that something must be buried there. It's jackhammer time.

Donnie heads to the fair and finds that an intoxicated Allison has taken over the bouncy house with Ramon. Given the seriousness of what is going on and Allison clearly in no frame of mind to deal with it, Donnie calls Sarah and gives her the heads up.  Felix and Sarah quickly decide that the Hendrixs needs an intervention post haste. Felix heads to the fair and Sarah to the Hendrixs. When Donnie gets off the phone he spots and ice tea in Allison's bag. Oh dear.

Donnie gets on stage to do his dance and this is where Felix and Allison find him. It goes fine at first but Donnie quickly gets woozy and ends up flat on his back with his legs spread.  Given that Donnie is wearing a kilt, this could not have been a pleasant experience for the audience.  Donnie, ever the trooper, refuses to give up and he gets to his feet once again, only to fall face down. Allison and Felix rush to drag Donnie off stage. Nona takes the opportunity to call both Donnie and Allison alcoholics.  Allison isn't going to put up with the hypocrisy anymore.  Allison declares that she's a pill popper as well and that half of them bought pills from her. Allison announces that her life is so much more than Bailey Downs and that she's part of a sisterhood they wouldn't even begin to understand. That's enough for Felix to quickly call an end to this by closing the curtains. 

Engers and Art are digging up the grave in the garage when Sarah arrives. Art excuses himself when he catches sight of Sarah, claiming the need to use the bathroom. Sarah reveals that Leekie is buried there and that things won't be good if Rachel discovers that. At this point, there's not much that Art can do. They decide to call Allison at the church and given what they are facing, Donnie decides that he will reveal where Helena is.  Allison isn't about to give up Helena and comes up with a plan of her own. 

Allison heads to Dyad for her first ever meeting with Rachel and she presents Rachel with Leekie's head. Rachel is shocked by this but is still adamant about finding out where Helena is. Allison however turns the situation around and points out that if she goes down for murder, so will Rachel and Dyad because everything points back to the neolutionists. Rachel thinks for a moment and then calls Engers to tell her to dispose of the bodies and leave the Hendrixs alone. 

Back home, Allison tells Donnie that she needs to go away for awhile.  Allison has determined that she needs to figure out who she is outside of all of this. Donnie is saddened by this but Allison promises that she will come back to him. 

Allison's showdown with Rachel was a long time coming. Sure, it's been fun to laugh at the Hendrixs suburban adventures but Allison is so much more than a simple housewife.  Like everyone else, she's facing existential questions about who she is and her role in this world.  Allison has faced so many challenges and yet she's kept moving forward.  Allison's entire world in Bailey Downs has always been about optics and power and it's why she knew that blackmailing Rachel into standing down would work.  It's a tactic no other clone would have thought of and shows that while sometimes irritating, Allison does have skills and she can correctly read a situation, then twist it to her advantage. 

I really hope that Allison isn't out of commission for too long. Yes, I'm sometimes irritated by the Hendrixs but what is Donnie without her? Is he just going to be a part of clone club by himself? Yes, Allison has somethings to sort out but is now really the time to be leaving her sestras? I hope that it's a short vacation and Allison comes back ready to take on Rachel.

One of the things that this episode did was to remind us that even though things have been wild and hectic, all of the clones had lives and aspirations before being forced to fight for their lives.  Even when they defeat Neolution, it doesn't mean that everything is going to be easy for them.  Sarah is still going to have to deal with a daughter that resents her, Allison is still a part of a community that is more than happy to judge her and of course, Helena will be a new mom of twins. Life is messy, whether or not you're a clone and part of a large scientific conspiracy. I gotta say that I really loved getting to see Sarah and Felix just hanging out together for a change.

Finally, I think that Kira is working her own game. Yeah, I know that she's just a kid but her finding a knife is going to come into play.  It's also telling that she didn't tell Rachel that she trusted her, even if she has agreed to studied.  Kira is her mother's daughter and I'm pretty sure that she's got something up her sleeve at this point.  Allison proved that it would be wrong to underestimate anyone connected with clone club.