This Orphan Black review contains spoilers.
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 3
To balance out last week’s Sarah-centric episode with heavy dashes of Helena and Cosima, this week was all about Alison. And a little bit about Donnie and his highland dancing.
Kira and Rachel’s Creepy Science Class
After Sarah and her crew moved heaven and earth in the last episode to get Kira out of Rachel’s clutches, MK’s death triggered a desire to figure out who and what she is, and Kira believes Rachel is the only one who knows how to do that. It’s unclear how playing with interesting mice and testing emotional boundaries is going to do that, but recent events have definitely taken a toll on Sarah and Kira’s relationship.
I hope next week holds more narrative space for these sessions with Kira and Rachel, so we can learn more about Rachel’s aims and Kira’s plans. She’s a preternaturally smart girl, so I doubt Rachel will be pulling one over on her any time soon. Helena and her babies, too, seem to hold a crucial part of the puzzle. Helena appears to be back in the convent where she grew up, before Tomas and the Proletheans turned her into a zealot and a killing machine to do their bidding, and I’d love to learn more about that time in her life.
All the murder chickens come home to roost
It turns out the Hendrixes (with an assist from Helena) have actually been pretty brutal over the years, and that garage is getting awfully crowded. Of course, their kills are largely accidental and circumstantial, but I’m glad they’re being forced to reckon with them nonetheless. Leekie, in particular, is a great one to bring back now that the Neolutions are fully back in play.
Poor Art is also struggling to find any sort of moral compass, although it’s not like his colleagues on the force are setting a good ethical example these days, either. I’m glad he didn’t end up shooting his partner, but it would be nice if the sisters would loop him in on their plans instead of taking him and his loyalty for granted, like Sarah and Beth before her.
Ultimately the Beth-era flashbacks, the delightful Ain’t No Mountain High Enough duet, and the cops circling were a lot more interesting than some of the other Fall Fair business, even if that bouncy castle looked like fun. I don’t really care how her old dealer is doing, and it’s hard to know if we’re meant to see Alison using again as her backsliding or giving the finger to this prissy small town and the small life everyone assumes she lives. Alison’s one-time suspected monitor is such old news that we really needed the “previously on” and the newly filmed flashbacks to care about her grizzled husband, and even then I was more invested in the idea that perhaps Alison really has atoned and received some sort of cosmic forgiveness from her former friend.
Alison Knows Her Value
I love how this entire episode was predicated on the concept of Alison’s value: to the Neos, to her family, to her neighborhood, and to her sisters. This being Orphan Black, there’s a nice parallel to the real world value that stay at home moms and infertile women bring to their world, and Alison has always served as a model for a loving family involving adoption, although her kids have been safely away with her mean-spirited mother for the better part of a season and a half now.
Mr. Frontenac clearly outlines how Alison holds even less value than the just-brutally-murdered MK, who gets a lovely memorial service that Alison and Donnie can only attend via video conference. But only Alison can take all the pressure that the competing priorities of her world throw at her and turn them around so they become a strength.
I loved watching Alison wrestle with her various demons, the biggest of which is her desire to scheme, and in the end choose to (mostly) do the right thing, stand up for Donnie, and stick it to Rachel. In the end, Alison realized that her desire to scheme is also what she brings to the table, and she outplayed Rachel in what is perhaps the boldest move involving both a severed head and a pink handbag.
We were Cosima-free this week, so we’re due for more from her and PT Westmoreland. On the other side of the island, what are Art and Susan up to? I’m also hoping we see more comic book store hijinks with Scott sometime soon, and I’m not so eager to trust Felix’s sister, who seems to be making an appearance next week. After all, how long can someone last in his life if he can’t trust them enough to let them into Clone Club?