Orphan Black Recap: First I Eat, Then We Fight

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Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and Helena (Tatiana Maslany). Photo: BBC America
Orphan Black
Episode Title
Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate
Season
3
Episode
7
Editor’s Rating
4/5

Beyond sharing identical DNA, there’s not a whole lot the sestras (and brothers) of Orphan Black really have in common, at least on paper. That’s by design, of course, considering the reason for their intensely planned existence. Nevertheless, there will always be one thing you can’t nurture out of an adopted clone: parental baggage.

This week it seems nearly everyone’s messed-up mommy and daddy issues came to the surface in uncomfortable ways. From Rachel’s realization that her relationship with dead daddy Duncan was not as unbreakable as she’d hoped to Sarah and Helena’s humbling reunion with Siobhan and Alison’s festering wound of a relationship with her mom, there’s some serious therapy stuff going on here. Even Donnie must have some crap to deal with with his own dad, given what we now know his “maiden” (bachelor?) name is. (He took Alison’s last name! Granted, it was because her mother made him, but hey, that’s still pretty cool of him. Turns out the Hendrixes were the secret badasses on the block long before Project Leda blew.)

Since things are relatively self-contained from location to location this week, let’s catch up in an organized fashion. But first …

Here are some things that don’t happen in this week’s episode:

  1. We do not find out whether anyone survived Paul’s grenade besides Sarah and Helena.
  2. Donnie’s nose does not get chopped off.
  3. Helena does not kill Siobhan, despite her best efforts.
  4. Jason does not make out with Alison, despite his best efforts. You better believe this is going to get worse, though. If this and Nancy Botwin are anything to go by, a woman in the drug business might as well be a human grenade for all the damage dudes will do in order to claim her as “territory” to be “pissed on.”

What went down in Mexico?
So the military compound was indeed in Mexico, as confirmed by the Mexican bar where we find Helena and Sarah at the start of this week’s episode. Helena is shrieking with glee, as it turns out she is very good at dominoes (!) and she’s just won them a bunch of on-the-run money from some local barflies. Sarah is still shaken by Paul’s death, which, of course, was made a million times worse by the revelation that he was actually in love with her, after all of that, and he died to prove it.

Helena still very much wants to kill Siobhan for giving her up to Coady & Co., so when S. rolls up instead of one of her people, as was expected, she immediately challenges her (after she’s eaten, of course): “Now we fight.” Later, she hits S. a few times to instigate said fight, but she’s basically Siobhan’s estranged surrogate child, so S. adamantly takes the pacifist route and does nothing. After the third hit, though, she wallops her in the face a single time, then immediately regrets it and hugs Helena into submission, the way one must when one is dealing with Helena. Voilà, mommy issues sorted!

Later, S. and Sarah reconcile as well, S. telling Sarah about Gracie and Sarah recounting the trauma of Paul and the compound. Another win for Siobhan, I would say — not to mention one more step in Sarah’s long road toward redemption.

What went down in the 'burbs?
The Hendrixes’ Weeds plotline picks up considerable steam this week, with the chaotic addition of the source of all of Alison’s many neuroses: her mother. After much fretting at home (where Donnie continues his monitor role taking her vitals for Dyad), she and Donnie go to see Mrs. Hendrix (see above Donnie revelation) to officially make the offer on Bubbles, the Bath & Body Works knockoff they plan to use to launder all their drug money. Mom is, somewhat disappointingly, a cliché of a withholding, judgmental, passive-aggressive, holier-than-thou domestic tyrant whose approval — or lack thereof — has held Alison (and her dad, from the sound of it) hostage her entire life.

When the pair show up to her store, where she’s decided to hang one of Marcie’s campaign posters because she voted for her last year?, she walks right past Donnie and immediately questions her split ends. They leave the paperwork with her; later, she will feign a heart attack to get Alison to come back to the store (in the middle of her campaign speech event, of course), not only to tell her that she can't sell her the store but that she also hates all of her life choices. Alison finally snaps and tells her she’s the worst and that no one is ever good enough for her, not even her father (who I’m pretty sure is dead?).

In the meantime, the Hendrixes arrange, with Jason, to meet with Pouchy — a.k.a. (as Felix reminds us) “the crime lord that cut off Vic’s finger” — for a $30,000 drug buy. Alison has to go to her candidates mixer, so it’s just Donnie and Jason, making for a fun car conversation in which the former tells the latter to back off his wife, and the latter seems to take the hint. (When they all meet in the high-school parking lot at first, Donnie mega-smooches Alison inches from Jason’s face — I don't know, I’m into Donnie this season, y’all.) Of course he has to ruin it mere moments later, when Pouchy and his scary translator niece discover Donnie has brought the wrong envelope — the one with Alison’s campaign signatures instead of the one with $30,000 cash in it, though, honestly, how could you not tell the difference between stacks of jewel cases and cash?

Jason is sent to retrieve the money from Alison at the high school while Donnie is kept behind and terrorized with a paper cutter up against his face. Jason shows up at the mixer at the same time as Alison’s mom, who has shown up to tell her she opted to use someone else’s sperm in the IVF that made Alison because she hated her dad that much (obviously she has no idea), and never told him about it. It’s a perfect storm: Hurricane Hendrix. I’m going to need to integrate “holy freakin’ Christmas cake” into my vocabulary. Alison handles it rather well, though, by getting Jason to charm and distract her mom, which he does scarily well, accidentally convincing her to sell the store to her after all. (Later, he’ll take his reward by planting a mega kiss on Alison ... who is actually Cosima disguised as Alison ... but more on that in a second.)

Cosima needs Alison’s pee. Delphine has been all up in her and Shay’s business, barging into Shay’s place demanding vitals since she thinks Cos’s “numbers” are getting worse. This is now a nightmare, but I kind of love that Delphine is becoming a monster — or rather, becoming Rachel, like she promised.

Anyway, to throw her off the scent, she comes to the high school to get Alison’s healthy pee. Thus begins a very Orphan Black comedy of errors in which Cosima — assisted by “campaign manager” Felix, whom Alison finally tells about the drug-dealing thing — must pose as Alison wearing one of her hideous pink campaign beanies, both for a photo-op while Alison is handing over the cash to Pouchy’s scary niece outside, and then later onstage, beginning her campaign speech for her (horribly) until she shows up and swaps out under the guise of a (legitimate, on Cosima’s part) coughing fit. What I find fascinating about this whole thing, honestly, is how many parents showed up to a campaign event at a suburban high school. I kind of doubt this many people would actually show up for a mayoral debate, let alone one for school trustee.

Once Alison has figured everything out, she finally makes it onstage to finish up her speech, which she ends up improvising and completely destroying with a riff on being a mother hen and “keeping our chicks together,” ethering Marcie in the process. She refuses to give Cosima her pee, though, since that would only hurt Cosima (true) ... and then when her mom barges into the bathroom to give her the store, her vote, and the suggestion to leave Donnie for Jason, she gets so mad she drops the clone bomb and drags Cosima out of the stall. Of course, mom is denial personified, so she just figures (after a casually racist comment about Cosima being “mulatto” because of her dreadlocks) they must just be double-dipped IVF babies.

Back at Shay’s and in the tub for some reason, Cosima fesses up to Shay — well, kind of. She tells her she’s sick, which Shay 100 percent accepts ... and then, to their horror, huge clouds of blood start pouring out of Cosima’s uterus into the bath water. Can nothing stay good for Cosima? I mean, not like the others are doing much better, but ... damn.

 What went down at the lab?
I’m so glad Über-dweeb Scott got his little sadistic moment this week, as he and an improved Rachel discuss her and Duncan’s “secret language” under the guise of playing some sort of farm-themed Dungeons & Dragons (which is actually a real game, by the way), in really forcing her to learn the game. While they play, she makes a sort of line game out of seemingly random letters on a photocopy from the Dr. Moreau paperback, boxing and crossing out and connecting them in constellation patterns ... but then when Scott asks her what it means, she drops the episode cliff-hanger: “I’ll only tell Sarah.”

Does she still think she’s gonna get a baby out of this … ?

A few more things …
Rudy, at least, has to be alive, right? That dude was a scary machine. I’d bet on him to survive a nuclear bomb, much less a measly grenade.

What the heck was with that cantina bartender? Kind of a confusing, disposable character whose only purpose seems to be helping the weird white ladies with her magical Mexican ways, divining that Helena is pregnant (“I know women”) and offering Sarah a shower and some bland comfort? Will we ever see her again … ?

The mom/Cosima scene actually has a few probably unintentional callbacks to early season-one episodes: Alison dragging Cosima out to drop the clone bomb on Sarah, Sarah openly telling that one bartender that she and Cosima are clones (and the bartender not batting an eye as he laughs and pours her a bourbon).