Helena is a proper cowgirl now, winning cash at a table game in a Mexican cantina so she can buy drinks for her sestra. That would be Sarah. How they got there is neither here nor there. Especially so when Siobhan shows up, who Helena has just confessed the urge to kill, following the “betrayal.” Ennio Morricone scoring that moment would have been too over-the-top, even for Orphan Black, right? This town might be too small for the three of them. In true western style, Helena just wants to go outside and fight, but Siobhan is far more interested in making peace and reasoning with Helena. They have a squabble, and some fists are thrown, before Mrs. S attempts an apologetic embrace.
Menstrual flow and nerves about meeting up with her mother, Connie, are Alison’s current concerns. For the record, her and Donnie are intending to buy her mother’s shop, Bubbles, as part of their recent narcotics enterprise. If you can call it that. Connie is both hesitant, and critical of Donnie, of course, and has a poster of the school trustee opposition on her wall. There is an election candidate meet-and-greet – “Would you like some soap? Vote for Alison!” Indeed. Alison gets two phone calls: one asking for her to pee for Cosima (I’ll come to that), and then Connie again, claiming her heart is exploding. Alison’s calm, eye-roll reaction suggests her mother has faked this kind of episode before.
Meanwhile, Donnie and Jason (again, the high school boyfriend of Alison whom they are “working” with) head off to a drug deal meeting. Just when you wonder how this is relevant to cloning (again), Donnie has only gone and brought the wrong envelope. Who attempts to buy drugs with campaign paraphernalia? Jason heads back to get the right envelope (you know, the one with thirty thousand dollars in it) while Donnie stays as collateral. “Don’t mix business with marriage,” says Jason at one point to Alison. I would add, have clearly separate envelopes for campaigning and drug deals. I would have thought someone as on-the-ball as Alison would have done that.
Delphine shows up while Cosima and Shay are canoodling. The French heart-breaker wants another urine sample, claiming her and Scott are worried about her “numbers”. Following the footsteps of not doing the straight forward thing and walking into trouble, Cosima shows up at the campaigning meet to have Alison pee for her, only to be mistaken for the school trustee candidate. Time to play dress-up again. One genuinely laugh out loud moment is when Felix drags Cosima-as-Alison to the photo session and to legitimize the persona prompts her that the woman passing them is Sarah Stubbs: “Hello Sarah Stubbs.” blurts out Cosima rather too formally. You had to be there. And then actual Alison shows up and gets a glimpse of the shenanigans: “Oh fudge” is her filtered response.
I have to wonder how many Emmy voters are watching Tatiana Maslany, and seriously considering the chameleon actress. She is generally excellent throughout, and has not been anything short of that in the three seasons so far, but there is nobody else out there juggling layered character work like this (true, clone stories are few and far between). Maslany’s ability to perform imitation (in character) while leaving us enough body language / mannerism clues to know exactly who is under the guise is extraordinary. Even in the third season, momentarily forgetting these prominent characters are all one actress is testament to that excellence.
Certainly more satire than drama this week, but intrigue and questions still posed. Some perhaps more plot-driven than anything else – like why exactly Cosima is having to request Alison’s pee. And Felix, a kind of sparkly glue binding the calamity with the reality. Where would these sisters be without him? There is little of Sarah and Helena, which is fine as the more light-hearted discourse of this episode needs not necessarily to be diluted by hard-edged grit and tension. Though we long for that to return in full force next week. And the inter-cutting of Scott with Rachel, and Shay discovering blood in Cosima’s bath brings us right back.
What requires a certain chunk of applause too (as well as Alison’s emotive, uplifting “mother hen” speech) is Orphan Black‘s proven ability to blend the high-end suspense and dark subject matter, with sparks of humor, and touches of genuine human moments. I am not the only fan of the show who at times feels a little at sea here, but that is part of the show’s appeal. For now let’s see where this rocky boat takes us next.