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Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 3 recap: The one with an existential crisis

Alison and Felix talk to Sarah on the phone, while Donnie is sick

You know, even though I always love Alison episodes of Orphan Black, I found myself sort of… not dreading, but not looking forward to this one as much as I had with the other two. And it wasn’t really because of Alison, but because I was so into the action and suspense of the previous two episodes, that I felt like this week’s “Beneath Her Heart” would somehow break the pattern.

Well, I stand corrected. Not only was was last night’s Orphan Black amazing in the action and suspense front, but it was also hilarious – in true Alison Hendrix fashion.

When this show first started, stay-at-home-mom Alison was my favorite clone. Even though Sarah and Cosima kicked some serious ass, Alison seemed to be the most complex one, hidden away beneath layers and layers of fake smiles and a seemingly perfect, white picket fence life as a suburban wife. That and the fact that she is easily the funniest clone, in all her drug induced glory.

Somewhere along the way, though, it felt like she was sort of left behind. Sarah and Cosima had their own thing and Donnie – God bless Donnie – seemed to have even more to do than poor Alison. So she kind of fell into the backburner for me for a while – hence the lack of excitement about this week’s Orphan Black.

However, last night’s episode brought back everything I love about Alison Hendrix and delivered such a solid and entertaining hour, that not only was I super pumped for next week’s show, but it left me grinning like a fool at Alison and Donnie’s last scene together.

But let’s do a quick recap on “Beneath Her Heart”, shall we?

This episode was mostly focused on the Hendrixes and how Alison feels useless in their fight against Neolution. In a series of flashbacks, we discovered how she has felt like she could be doing more with her life for quite a while now, even before their clone struggle started. We also got to see how Alison and Cosima met – while Alison was super high on mushrooms with her neighbors Aynsley and Chad, which made for a hilarious first encounter.

But those flashbacks, while super funny, served to illustrate just how frustrated Alison has been with her life, especially after meeting her sister clones. When Rachel’s goon, Frontenac, tells her that each and every one of the other clones are more valuable than she is, Alison falls into an existential crisis. Not only has she been told that she is useless as a clone, but when she tries to go back to her suburban housewife life, she finds out that she has also been pushed aside by other people.

So she doesn’t have anything anymore; she feels like she can’t help her sisters in any way, and she can’t even be part of her community anymore. So she does the worst thing possible, and starts popping pills again. When she is turned away from organizing the Fall Festival, she takes a few pills, and also mixes a bunch more into an ice tea bottle.

She’s already a little high when she runs into Ramon – her teenage drug dealer – and he offers her a drink, just to take the edge off. Then he offers just a hit off his pot and that completely pushes her over the edge. While it was absolutely hilarious to see her jumping up and down at a kid’s bouncy castle, it was also sad to see that this was what her existence had come down to.

When Donnie finds her completely high, he is pissed off because, while she was getting high, he had been dealing with Art and Evil New Partner at their place with a search warrant. New Partner has been pressing him to give up Helena’s location, but Donnie never said anything, so they went digging around their place in order to find anything incriminating. He tells Art to keep New Partner out of their garage, but he knew it was only a matter of time until she found the bodies they buried there.

After he finds his wife high off her ass, he calls Sarah and Felix for help. They go there immediately – even though Mrs. S told them to stay put while she took care of Kyra – and split up. Felix goes after Alison and Donnie, while Sarah goes to their house to try and do something to stop New Partner from finding Dr. Leekie’s rotting corpse.

Donnie is about to go on stage to perform his Highlander dance, so he takes Alison’s ice tea, not knowing it was spiked with a ton of pills. So when he’s up there performing, it hits him all at once and he just collapses. While it was aboslutely hilarious, I also felt so, so bad for him. Poor dude can’t catch a break.

Alison and Donnie share a touching moment when she tells him she needs to go away for a while

But his fall seems to snap Alison out of her daze – especially when someone comments that Donnie is also an alcoholic, just like her – and she just looses it. She puts everyone in their places and it’s just glorious.

Meanwhile, Sarah manages to talk to Art and tells him it’s Dr. Leekie’s body that they’re hiding and that Donnie accidentally killed him, but he tells her there’s nothing he can do. New Partner is about to find the body and he can’t do anything to stop it. So when Sarah tells Alison, Felix and a vomiting Donnie that their hands are tied, Alison decides to take matters into her own hands.

So she stalks off to Dyad and demands to talk to Rachel. When she’s face to face with her evil clone, she opens her purse and shows Rachel Dr. Leekie’s head, telling her everything that happened. Then she proceeds to tell her how the fact that they’re going to find Leekie’s decapitated body in her backyard is going to blow up in her face when it hits the media, and that Neolution wouldn’t want that kind of negative attention on themselves.

So she basically orders Rachel to call off her search on her house and leave them the hell alone, or things are going to really get worse on her end.

Victorious, Alison goes back home to a now sober Donnie, and they have such a touching scene together when she tells him that she needs to go away for a while, so she can figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Tatiana Maslany and Kristian Brunn absolutely nailed this scene, because it was intimate and bittersweet and so absolutely beautiful, that it has easily become one of my favorite Alison scenes on the show thus far.

And then, before they let us go for the week, they gave us a shot of where Helena is, and she seems to be hiding in a convent, writing something in Russian in some kind of journal. I wonder if she’s back to the convent where she was raised? What do you guys think?

Orphan Black returns next Saturday, July 1, at 10/9C on BBC America.

Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Currently in love with DC and Marvel superheroes, Chicago's finest, clone conspiracies and dystopian futures. You can reach her at... read more

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