REVIEW: Orphan Black, S5 Ep3 – Beneath Her Heart

Alison and Donnie

Alison is one of my favorites of the clones (I usually flip between her and Helena), and while I’m always excited for an Alison-centric episode, a complaint I’ve had in the past is that her storylines tend to feel very disconnected from her sisters. Alison’s actions throughout this episode of Orphan Black were strongly tied to the central clone drama, but the end still left me worried that she’ll be cut off again.

The episode opens with the Hendrixes hosting Aynsley and her husband Chad for dinner – the exact time frame is unknown, but it’s when Beth was still alive, and Alison hadn’t yet met Cosima. We see more of this night as the episode jumps back and forth between then and the present, and a common thread between the two is Alison’s feelings of inadequacy.

AlisonIn the past, Alison spiraled into an identity crisis after she met Cosima – and the fact that Alison was high on mushrooms certainly didn’t help. Next to Cosima the scientist, and Beth the cop, Alison feels like she falls short in comparison as a housewife. Aynsley drags Alison to join her outside, and as they look up at the stars, Alison wonders if there’s more out there than their life in suburbia. Aynsley defends their lives, but concedes, “if you really feel like there’s some other purpose for you, you should trust that.” Given that Alison was still in denial at this stage about the whole clone situation, I wondered if it was Aynsley’s line here that gave Alison the final push to embrace her new sisters. I was fully expecting one more flashback scene, showing Alison reaching back out to Beth and/or Cosima, and was surprised when it never happened.

In the present, Frontenac is still putting pressure on Alison and Donnie to give up Helena’s location – and brings up Alison’s old insecurities when he says that Alison isn’t worth as much as her other sisters (“even MK had more value than you”). Alison leaves her house to attend the Fall Fun Fair, intending to take back some control in her life, but backs down from her attempts to steal the reins from Nona Walker when Nona calls her out on it. After a less-than-welcome greeting from neighbors at the fair, and a depressing reunion with Aynsley’s husband and children, Alison runs into Ramone – and quickly relapses into drugs and alcohol. Meanwhile, back at her house Art and Maddie are searching for anything that ties the Hendrixes to Pouchy’s death – and Maddie discovers the grave in their garage.

Alison, Donnie, FelixSarah and Felix are called in for reinforcements, Donnie ends up accidentally ingesting half a bottle of Lorazepam and collapsing on stage, and ultimately Alison’s the one to save the day when she goes directly to Rachel to tell her herself who is buried in the garage. (Was anyone else surprised to realize that Rachel and Alison had never actually met before?). Alison presents Leekie’s head to Rachel in her purse, and then practically dares Rachel to file murder charges – also pointing out that PT probably wouldn’t be too thrilled with the investigation that would circle back around to Neolution. Alison gets her moment of triumph, and Rachel stands down. (And I have to mention – “Doctor Leakey pushed Donnie over the edge, and he didn’t have basic firearm safety,” wins best line of the episode for me).

But here’s where I get worried – back at home, Alison tells Donnie that she needs to go away for a little bit, and figure out who she is away from everything. Like I said, Alison’s storylines have often been pretty separate from her sisters, and I’m afraid this is the writers’ way of setting Alison aside, instead of figuring out how to integrate her into the rest of the clone drama. If this really is a brief break, just an episode or two, then fine. But especially with it being the last season, I don’t want Alison to disappear for too long. Despite my concerns about her leaving, Alison and Donnie singing “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” was still a surprisingly touching moment.

KiraKira is still giving Sarah the cold shoulder, and refusing to talk to anyone about what happens when she sees Rachel. I found it very interesting when Kira didn’t answer Rachel’s question of if she trusts her, and it made me wonder – when Kira is sensing the clones, what exactly is she feeling? Last season she told Sarah that she can basically sense their emotions, but could that stretch into their motivations? Is it possible that Kira’s “feeling” something from Rachel that is affecting her choices?

On a more alarming note, after talking to Rachel about her miraculous recovery from the car accident, and a mouse than can regrow its own skin and hair, we see Kira pull out a pocket knife while alone in her bedroom. Is she planning on testing her own regenerative powers?

Lastly, the final shot of the episode gives us a clue to Helena’s whereabouts, as she appears to be in a convent. She’s writing intensely in a notebook, and I hope someone can translate it later, because I’m very curious as to what it says!

Did you enjoy this Alison-centric episode? What did you think of the flashbacks? Leave a comment with your thoughts!