Orphan Black: Beneath Her Heart

"Do you think this is all there is for us?"

This episode gets the awards of best episode of the season so far, best Alison-centric episode ever, and one of most beautiful the show has ever done. I loved it.

Back in season one, Alison's story began as a fascinating exploration of life in the suburbs. The following three seasons mixed that approach with "The Crazy Adventures of the Hendrixes." Not that that was bad, not at all, but I loved that this episode went right back to the roots, complete with touching flashbacks, some returning characters and amazing character development for Alison.

Frontenac's low blow on Alison – "even MK had more value than you" – had her question her self-worth and the worth of the life she led. Chad's appearance at the neighborhood's fair resurfaced the guilt she felt for the role she played in Aynsley's death. Thus an emotionally broken Alison fell into old habits and almost let suburban paranoia take a hold of her.

But in nearly losing herself, Alison finds a path to redemption. She is able to resist her urges to control people's perception of her and, similar to what she did in season one, comes clean and confronts her neighbors. And it's because she is usually so obsessed with others' opinion of her that she realizes what Neolution has to lose if she and Donnie are exposed. So she sticks up to Rachel in a glorious moment that ties in Alison's struggles with the subplot of Engers nearly finding out what the Hendrixes hide in their garage. It's an unexpected way to have a win against Neolution, and it is immensely satisfying because it's also a personal victory for Alison.

Later at her house, Alison, probably for the first time in the series with her hair not tied up (not counting when she had to impersonate another clone) and wearing a calmer voice than her usual high-pitched tone, tells Donnie that she needs a time to herself. To discover who she can be outside of a projected image, outside of a narrative that has been written for her.

Like I said before, this was a beautiful episode. There were so many poignant scenes: the flashback to Alison and Aynsley looking at the stars and wondering about their purpose in life, as Orphan Black's melancholic main score played; Alison finally moving on from Aynsley's death as Chad told her that they had to move forward; Alison and Donnie's beautiful singing moment.

There is something of a contradiction in that this episode tries to prove Alison is important, but then removes her from the story, thus showing that, plot-wise, she is not that important after all. Which is unfortunate, really, because Alison is essential to the mix of OB. I hope she returns as a surprise element later before the series finale. If she is gone for good until then, though, this was a terrific final hurrah for her.

Keeping Up With the Clone Club

Sarah is understandably nervous about Kira's appointments with Rachel. Rachel gives Kira a mouse that can grow back his skin and fur, and Kira seems about to put that ability to the test. Poor mouse. Helena is hidden away in a... convent?

Neolutionist Bits and Prolethean Pieces

- So, Alison is gone for now... I will be upset if that means Donnie won't be showing up anymore as a regular.

- Alison and Donnie initially thought Aynsley and Chad were proposing a swing. To be fair, so did I.

- When Cosima and Alison first met, Alison was high. Tatiana is so good in that scene, playing Cosima from Alison's perspective.

- Art was about to kill Engers when Rachel's orders for her to stand down came in.

Orphan Black Completion Project

I'm going to review the remaining episodes of Orphan Black. In that regard, a few things I'd like to say:

- I'm rewatching the episodes and I had forgotten how it felt to be amazed by Tatiana's performance.

- When I first watched these episodes (5.3 through 5.10) I wrote a few notes for most of them. The reviews will be a mix of these old notes with new, post-rewatch material.

- There will be no spoilers for following episodes.

- I hope I can fill sunbunny's shoes. Her reviews of Orphan Black are among my favorite of Doux Reviews.

Clone Quotes

Cosima: "You're basically asking me to, like, drop a bomb in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting."

Alison: "You have a nose ring."
Cosima: "Yeah, brilliant observation."

Alison: "Why do I love my sisters so much when they've ruined my life?"

Felix [re: Donnie]: "The weirdest people get one."


Four out of four mushrooms.
--
Lamounier

3 comments:

magritte said...

Yay! Glad to see you're resuming the Orphan Black reviews. Lamounier, we seem to watch a lot of the same shows, so I look forward to your take on the final season.

Lamounier said...

Glad to read that, magritte. :)

Antony Clark said...

Loved Orphan Black. Rewatched it myself not long ago, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time, if not more.