Monday, June 9, 2014

RECAP: Orphan Black 2x07 - Alison Would Do Well in Prison

I'm not going to lie (I rarely do lie on here, because that would be silly - I don't have to tell you anything so lying would be just weird), the reason this recap is a week late is that I just plain didn't want to watch this episode. Not because I was worried it was going to suck or anything. It's Orphan Black. I'm never worried about that. It's just that last week's episode made me sad. It had Helena and Sarah finally getting a chance to be sisters, only for Sarah's obsession with discovering the truth and Helena's deepseated abandonment issues to come between them.

I don't want that to come between them! I want them to be happy and sisters and fight evil together!

Basically what I'm saying is that I was too emotionally fragile to keep watching. And I'm not exactly saying that I'm any better now, but, you know, I have to do it sometime (I do not actually have to do it, but I will anyway), and now is as good a time as any. So, with that ringing enthusiasm, what happens this episode?

The episode starts off with Alison and her new bff, Vic, doing arts and crafts at the rehab center. Vic, as you may recall, is Sarah's ex-boyfriend, a former drug dealer who is now allegedly reformed, and who happens to be spying on Alison and cozying up to her for the cop, Angie, who is looking into this whole weirdness with Sarah and her lookalikes. Just so we're all caught up.

Alison is confiding in Vic, something she's been longing to do with anyone, about how annoying Aynesley could be. She was so judgmental and snooty. It kind of served her right. What served her right, Vic asks? Oh just that Alison slept with her husband. And then kind of murdered her a little. Or at least allowed her to die brutally and did nothing to stop it. 

Vic was...he was not expecting that. He's pretty deeply horrified and scared and uncomfortable right now and it is hilarious. But Alison assures him that he was right, it does feel better to say it out loud! Meanwhile, Vic is trying to figure out how he's going to get out of this mess alive now that it appears sweet soccer-mom Alison is actually a psychotic murderer. Also, she made him some gloves. You can tell they're for him because they're missing a pinky finger from that time drug lords cut off his pinky finger because Sarah stole his cocaine. Ah, memories.

Over at Duncan's terrifyingly gross hoarder mess, Sarah and Mrs. S are helping Duncan pack while they discuss what to do next. Sarah is sympathetic with Rachel, while Mrs. S is still a bit suspicious. Still, Sarah has a good point - Rachel clearly doesn't know what happened to her parents and that it was Leekie's fault, and she probably would care about that a great deal. She deserves to know.

Alison is cleaning up in the craft room when she sees that Vic forgot his lovingly crafted gloves. So she picks them up and goes to return them to him. Vic's on the phone, and Alison is polite, so she waits outside his door. And hears him talking to Angie - Detective Deangelis - about how he has a big scoop to give her about Alison Hendrix. Alison is not pleased. Alison is sick of being spied on. Alison made special gloves for this jerk. Alison is more than a little crazy. Vic is going down.

Out in the camper of uncomfortable father-daughter bonding and crime, Cal is hacking into the DYAD Institute's online system, and Kira is having a nightmare. Just as a sidenote, did anyone else notice that Kira is kind of psychic? I think Kira's psychic. I don't think it's a thing yet, but I think it's going to be.

Just saying.

Anyway, Cal gets up to comfort Kira, and when he sits back down at his computer, he notices something weird. His webcam light is on. And then it blinks off. Well, balls. (For those of you who aren't all paranoid and computer-y, it is possible to remote access someone's webcam, and yes, that makes it very easy to spy on them all the time. Comforting, right?) We can only assume that this was the DYAD Group making sure no one steals their info. I hope.

Sarah's at Duncan's still looking for that one box he refuses to leave without, when she finds a dead mouse, and then accidentally discovers the box Duncan was looking for. It's full of junk, of course. Cal calls and informs Sarah that he's sure his computer has been hacked, and that they have his location. He's going to have to throw them off the trail. He'll call her with a meetup spot.

Mrs. S wants to know who Sarah has watching Kira, and Sarah is sure as hell not telling her. They argue. It's the same argument as usual.

Delphine prepares Cosima for a medical procedure. They're inserting something (stem cells?) into Cosima's uterus (I think) in order to grow it or something. It's science. I don't really science. Whatever it is, it's related to Cosima's cure, and Delphine is hopeful. Cosima not so much.

Felix wakes up in the middle of the night to a phone call from Alison (aka, adoptive sister number two, after Sarah). Alison's snuck over to use the office phone in her rehab, and she's telling him that Vic is there, reporting to Angie, and that she really doesn't want to go to jail. "I don't have the temperament. In the shower, if they touch me, I will cut them." Which, to be fair, sounds totally like something that would happen.

Actually, I think Alison would do alarmingly well in prison. She's terrifying, ruthless, and likes rules. Alison would be awesome at prison. Like she'd get made fun of once, and then when that person has to walk around with a perfectly decorative pattern of bruises on their face, everyone else would just know to steer clear of the crazy bitch in Cell Block A. Just saying.

Out in one of Toronto's many (presumably) deserted boatyards, Sarah and Cal make a clandestine rendezvous. Cal apologizes for DYAD finding him, and then they banter and are cute. Sarah might make bad choices with men, but at least she makes them with cute men! 

Back at the DYAD Institute, Paul is reporting in. Sarah and Helena were separated, etc. He followed Sarah, but then here Paul starts lying and says that Sarah didn't find anything. Because she did. She found Duncan, and Paul knows it, so I think we can take this as confirmation that Paul decided to accept Mrs. S' offer of a new friendship. Dr. Leekie is disappointed. Also, he's in the process of developing artificial amniotic fluid for his artificial womb creating hobby. Which is...weird.

Actually, it's telling. Dr. Leekie is one of the chief players at the DYAD Institute, a group that has made its mark by infringing on the bodily autonomy and reproductive rights of women. It seems only fitting then that his hobby involves finding a way to remove women from the reproductive process altogether. They figured out how to clone egg cells, well now they don't even need a woman to incubate them in. 


Leekie wants to know what Rachel knows, and Paul assures him he came to Leekie first. But Leekie says to tell Rachel the truth too, especially since nothing turned up about Rachel's dad. Then Paul leaves and Leekie makes a really suspicious phone call, saying he needs to meet up with "Marion Bolton". Hmmm... Is this Rachel's mother, who is also not dead? Just a guess.

Mrs. S and Duncan are still in the process of leaving his terrifying animal hoarder house. Mrs. S reminds him to grab the box of mementos that he made her and Sarah scavenge for, and then he grabs it, knocks it upside down, and it looks like Mrs. S is about to slap the man silly when he grabs a bunch of ancient floppy disks. When she asks what they are, he says, "Everything." So, you know, probably clone stuff.

Sarah wakes up in the camper at the boatyard, and she wakes Kira up too. Kira gets to wake up to her mommy cuddling her for once. And we all said, awwwwwwww in unison. And then we realize that this means something horrific is probably coming, isn't it?

Scott and Delphine are arguing loudly (stupidly) in the hall about not telling Cosima the truth of where the stem cells came from. Cosima obviously walks up and overhears them because obviously, and while she doesn't get the whole context, she gets enough to figure it out. She confronts Delphine - she got Kira's stem cells?

Yeah, but Delphine is pretty sure Leekie set them up. Cosima is furious, not just that they used Kira, but also that Delphine lied about it. Delphine insists she only knew when the tests started working. And Cosima rages that this is her decision, her body, and that Delphine didn't have the right. Which is true.

Anyway, it seems that Kira lost a tooth in the accident (a while ago), and Leekie got it from the hospital because he is a creepy dude. But also because it's a finite source, they don't have enough to cure Cosima. And Cosima absolutely refuses to let them bring Kira in, even if it will save her. She kicks Delphine out of the lab and it's super sad.

"This is my lab. My body. I'm the science! Get out!"

Once more the show emphasizes individual bodily autonomy: Cosima's body is her decision, and Delphine has no right to make medical and ethical choices on her behalf, as much as Delphine is doing it because she loves Cosima. I love this show. It doesn't pull any punches.

Back at rehab, Alison goes up to Vic and very politely asks to speak to him for a second. Vic is understandably wary. She takes him back to her room, where Felix is waiting to castigate him. Felix yells at him, and Vic rationalizes and insists that he has to meet Angie and give her the info. And then Felix plays his trump card - Sarah wouldn't like this. Which means that Sarah's nearby. And Vic is obsessed with Sarah. Well played, Felix, well played.

Dr. Leekie gets his meeting with Marion Bolton, whoever that is. He tells her that Ethan Duncan is alive and that Sarah tracked him down. They wonder how Rachel is going to react to this news (which is a good question). Leekie thinks that Rachel has gotten too emotional and involved in what's going on. Bolton reminds Leekie that if that's the case, they'll just have to fix that, won't they? 

And then Bolton leaves, but not before pointing out that Leekie is doing a terrible job at containing Sarah, and subtly hinting that he might get the axe (probably a very literal one) if something isn't done about that.

I like her.

Sarah and Cal continue to be cute while buying hot dogs from a food truck at the boatyard. Has no one noticed the camper parked over there? I don't know of many boatyards that would let a camper just chill there, especially one that isn't really parked particularly well, but whatever. Cal tells Sarah that he's been thinking about Iceland. As in, he has contacts there, could get them new papers and identities, and they could run away and be safe. Obviously this will never happen, which is good, but it's a really cute offer. I don't want the show to do that, but I do want to read fanfic about this happening, if you know what I mean.

Cal is annoyed by Sarah's vague warnings that they can't leave and how there are "other people involved". And then Cal guesses her big secret. She's a...pisces! Hahaha, cue a big sigh of relief from Sarah, and an eyeroll from the audience. Then Sarah gets a call from Felix (and Alison). Alison demands that Sarah come right now to "clean up your doo-doo", because Alison is hilariously incapable of swearing. If Sarah meets with Vic, then he might not tell Angie what Alison did.

Did we mention that it's Family Day at the rehab clinic? Because it is. Fitting, huh?

Felix lets Sarah in through the back door to the rehab center, while Alison gets ready for Donnie to bring the kids to see her and Vic primps himself for Sarah's arrival. Vic is weird. Vic and Sarah sit across from each other at Alison's craft table, and Vic pulls out a list of things he needs to atone for, because that's one of the steps of recovery. She tries to forgive him and move on, but he wants Sarah to apologize to him. Or he's going to tell on Alison.

Donnie and the kids arrive, and Alison greets the children with relish, because she really does love them. She doesn't greet Donnie at all, except to be passive aggressive in his general direction. Ah, Alison. Never change. I mean, if you were a person, I would hate being around you because you are horrible, but as a character on this show and pretty much the only funny person here, please never change.

Meanwhile, back in the room, Sarah and Vic are having a very loud, complex argument. Sarah apologizes to Vic, finally, and then he says that he wants her back. Clearly that's not going to happen, and then there's more arguing, before Vic finally stops, to say his piece, and promptly passes out, face first onto Alison's craft table. He falls in a heap with a broken nose and covered in glitter and feathers.

Apparently Felix spiked his tea. Go Felix.

Um, so now Mrs. S is at the DYAD Institute talking to Dr. Leekie, and I am confused and terrified. Apparently, though, she's not really in cahoots with them, because he knows of her but doesn't know her. He's surprised she's there. Not sure why this is comforting, but it is. Anyway, Mrs. S is there because she has all of the Duncan's research available to her. All of their missing science, on disk, and she wants to know: What is it worth to Dr. Leekie?

But Leekie's not an idiot. He'd need to authenticate the information, with Duncan himself. Mrs. S offers Leekie a deal: She'll give him Duncan, and in return, they'll leave Kira alone, once and for all, and she and S will escape off into the wind. Because Sarah insists on fending for herself, but Kira? She deserves better.

Sarah and Felix are trying to maneuver Vic's insensate body onto the bed when Mrs. S calls. Apparently that was all an act. She was gathering information. Stuff like whether or not Rachel knows her father is alive, or that Leekie wants all the science to himself, etc. I guess this was part of their plan - divide and conquer. Mrs. S is going to take down DYAD, either through Leekie or Rachel.

And then there's a knock on the door, and Alison's rehab lady is at the door wanting to know why "Alison" isn't there. I mean, she volunteered for this, after all! And Sarah puts a hand on her head to hide her not-bangs, and wonders what the hell she's gotten herself into. She grabs a headband and marches off to play Alison just as Alison goes back into her room and finds Felix wrestling with the still unconscious Vic. But there's another problem. Alison's family is going to be in her room after the assembly, which means that they have to find somewhere else to put Vic's body while he sleeps off the massive dose Felix gave him.

Oh great, now Angie's showing up for her meeting with Vic, but he's not there, so she decides to go inside the rehab center. Because this isn't comical enough already.

Actually, to be honest (again, when am I ever not?), I really do enjoy plots like this, with doubles and mistaken identities and secrets and borderline sitcom plotlines. It's why I love Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing so much. Anyway.

Sarah (as Alison) goes into the main assembly because she has to, and Donnie and the kids are of course sitting way up front, waving at her, and then she grabs a seat at the back, where she finds the other Sarah - the one from community theater - is also there and this just keeps getting better. Guess who's giving some opening remarks!

They're not the most Alison-y remarks, but they suffice. And then Sarah has to cover for Alison during the roleplay demonstration. With Donnie. Acting out the issues in their marriage, as their partner. So, now Sarah has to pretend to be Alison pretending to be Donnie. While Alison and Felix sneak Vic out of her room in the background. Fortunately for all of us, Sarah's slouching and confusing do a very good resemblance of a Donnie impression, and everyone is convinced. Even Donnie.

Sarah brings up the whole monitor thing, and the roleplay goes pretty quickly downhill, mostly because Sarah has no idea what she's supposed to be doing, and Donnie is incompetent. Also, Sarah keeps falling into her British accent. So she says she has to "tinkle."

Alison, Felix, and Vic's body are coming through the hall when they see Angie coming inside, and then Vic's phone rings. Angie hears it ringing. She follows the ring down a hallway, then get's a text that he's outside. Which he isn't. But she goes outside anyway.

Back at the room, Alison yells at Sarah for standing in for her, and then Donnie comes in, looking for his wife. He was not expecting this. At all. Alison tells him that he can run off and tell Dr. Leekie if he wants, because Sarah Manning is there! But it's very clear from Donnie's expression that he has no idea what the frickety frick is going on.

Angie comes back inside, because no Vic outside, and she is piiiiiiissed. She sees a crowd surrounding the reception desk, and sees that it's Vic, covered in glitter and feathers, waking up on the floor behind the desk. So, there goes that source, huh?

Way on the other side of town and the emotional spectrum, Mrs. S opens her front door to admit Paul and Rachel. She makes it very clear that if anyone moves against her house, or if Rachel disobeys a single house rule, S will kill Duncan. Rachel is amenable to these terms, because holy crap does she want to see her father again. It's touching.

Finally, finally, Donnie and Alison have the conversation they've been needing to have. About what Donnie was doing, spying on Alison, who he thought he was reporting to (he thought it was a sociology study), and why he did it. And Alison tears him a new one for destroying their marriage. Which is kind of fair. I mean, he did spy on his wife and give the information to someone unknown, and also drove her to substance abuse. So...not great, Donnie. Not great.

Back at DYAD, Rachel is waiting and lurking for Dr. Leekie. She is not pleased with him. Not pleased at all. Leekie explains why he did what he did (he did it for the science), and tells Rachel that she needs to just accept it and not fight. But Rachel tells him that it's already over, and then she calls up the mysterious Marion Bolton. Marion agrees with Rachel that it's time for Leekie to go. He screwed it all up with Sarah Manning, and it's time for some new leadership at DYAD - some Rachel shaped leadership it seems.

She tells Leekie to go. "Don't get in your car, don't go home, and you might survive." He goes. She knows she shouldn't spare him, but as she puts it, "Nurture prevails." He did raise her, after all. He goes out of the building, crying, and doesn't seem to notice that a car is following him.

Sarah returns to the shipyard, but before she can go inside and see Cal and Kira, she gets a call from Cosima. It's not a call Cosima is happy to make, but we can kind of guess what it's going to be about. Cosima hates herself for it, but she really does need more genetic material from Kira in order to fix whatever is wrong with the clones. Because if she doesn't they're all going to die. (Except probably Sarah and Helena, because it is becoming increasingly probable that they are the originals.)

Cal is not enthused about the idea of taking their daughter in to the people that Sarah's been so determinedly running from, and that makes sense. But Sarah loves Cosima. They're family. And she can't let her sister die. Kira, being the probably psychic child she is, overhears them yelling and proceeds to pull her own tooth out to give to Sarah for Auntie Cosima. Nice kid.

It's decided then. Sarah and Kira are going in, because they have to save Cosima. And Cal has clearly developed fatherly feelings for Kira, but he lets them go. 

Leekie wanders the streets of Toronto, trying to hail a cab and failing, when the car that's been following him finally makes itself known and pulls over. It's Donnie. He's pissed. And when Leekie laughs and tries to brush him off, Donnie pulls a gun on him.

Donnie tells Leekie in no uncertain terms how angry he is, how violated he feels, that they ruined his marriage, and Leekie is all, "I don't care even a little bit." Then Donnie declares that he won't participate anymore, and he slams his hands on the steering wheel for emphasis. 

Hands that are holding a gun. That fires. Into Leekie's head. Is it wrong that I busted out laughing? Now he and Alison are even!

End of episode.

Well, I for one am now very excited to see what happens next. Not that I wasn't before. You know what I mean.

I feel like this episode was about identity: Who are you? I mean, not only was there the deep and meaningful thing of Rachel encountering her father for the first time in twenty years and then having to reconsider how Dr. Leekie shaped and manipulated her childhood, but Cosima was in the same boat. She had to figure out if she really is the kind of person who asks a child for help in order to save herself.

And Sarah and Alison dealt with those questions of identity in a really obvious and comical way, but also in very personal ways as well. Alison finally told the truth about her marriage and even though it hurt, I think she really really needed that. Sarah had the chance at a new and different life, one that was safe and free, and she had to think about whether or not that's really her. It isn't, and she knows that, but it was nice to dream, wasn't it?

Treasure the cute, guys. It's probably downhill from here.


  1. Well, I caved. :) I know I'll enjoy watching it just as much when I get to do so, and I like talking to you about it too much.

    I don't want that to come between them! I want them to be happy and sisters and fight evil together!

    Helena wants to be someone who can be loved, Sarah wants to be someone who can be trusted, and on some level both of them are desperately afraid it's too late. They're such a perfect salvation for each other that any setback is heartrending. (And that's a relationship framing that's almost always romantic, or between fathers and sons, so it's awesome to see it between sisters).

    (Except probably Sarah and Helena, because it is becoming increasingly probable that they are the originals.)

    I don't think that's true, or at least the "circumstantial science" makes me think it isn't. Getting genetic material out of a foetus in utero is a pain in the ass, and offers no advantage over waiting until it's born, so if there's an original she'd be older than the others, even if only by a year or so - but Sarah, Beth, Katya, and Alison were born within a month of each other.
    I think what's different about Sarah and Helena is down to them being twins - the disease is autoimmune, and since every clone that's sick gets the same sort of sick, I'd guess autoimmune in the sense of the body attacking itself - and so when Sarah and Helena's embryo divided, the tissue each one's immune system would attack ended up in the other. It's what I'm hoping for.

    Once more the show emphasizes individual bodily autonomy: Cosima's body is her decision, and Delphine has no right to make medical and ethical choices on her behalf, as much as Delphine is doing it because she loves Cosima.

    And once more it emphasises sisterhood. Delphine wants to be on Cosima's side, but Cosima won't accept as on her side anything less than looking out for the whole clone club. Only then Cosima makes that call (does she actually ask Sarah to bring Kira to DYAD, or just for more stem cells?) - which may not be very sisterly, except in that the choice will be made by and between the sisters.

    (I rather suspect that stem cells from a healthy clone will actually prove to be a more effective treatment than those from Kira, which would make Cosima feel even worse).

    1. (I'm selfishly glad you caved - our discussions always make me think more deeply about these episodes!)

      I think you're spot on about the reasons why Helena and Sarah both crave each others company and suck at delivering on the relationship. I wish we got more representations of this in fiction, because it's one of the truest sister relationships I've seen in a long time. Heartbreaking, but so true.

      I don't really know much about the science (or any science, for that matter), so my guess about them being the originals is mostly based in the idea that so far they seem to be the only ones who can reproduce. But I heard a spoiler that there's another explanation for that, so who knows. I do, however, also wonder what Mrs. S' real involvement in this is. Is she a biological mother of the girls? She looks like she could be. Again, no idea how this science would work, so I'm mostly coming at it from a storytelling angle.

      What you said sounds right, though!

      I think Cosima is a compelling character because she cares so fiercely for her sisters, but it doesn't occur to her that they might care deeply for her as well. She's very self-denying in that way. Might be a result of her childhood - do we know much about her parents? All I can really think of is that they've been mysteriously silent, as have Alison's. I mean, their daughters are clearly going through some serious crap. Where are the parents?

      I also love how the show emphasizes inter-generational female relationships. Helena refers to Mrs. S as "Mother" even though she barely knows her. Kira thinks of all of the clones as her aunts. Felix has adopted these women as his sisters.

      It makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

    2. What you said sounds right, though!

      Thanks. If I am right, I also suspect an ultimately effective treatment might need stem cells from Helena/Helena's offspring as well as Sarah/Sarah's offspring. Which means getting her and her eggs away from Proletheans.

      Something I can get behind on general principles of course, but could be massively devastating for Helena - her sestra and co only coming to help her when they need her (or worse, her eggs) for something. Or saving her remaining clone-sisters could be a huge catharsis. Or both and everything in between.

    3. Oh that would be so painful. Deliciously painful. Kind of want it to happen now.

    4. I wish we got more representations of this in fiction, because it's one of the truest sister relationships I've seen in a long time.

      I said a while back that I loved having a show that took sisterhood as a proper lens to look at sci-fi and conspiracy. One reason is that by doing so, you get to do it the other way round too: the lens of the science fiction and conspiracy lets you talk about sisterhood in a way you couldn't elsewhere, because the fires in which it's being forged and the forces against which it's being tested are rooted those genres; and because it gets the job of being the part of the story that grounds the outre elements.

      (Sort of like how Fringe has one of my very favourite stories of reconciliation between a parent and child).

    5. Good call! I read an article a while ago (couldn't find it now if I tried) about how speculative fiction allows such a variety of stories to take place, and the freedom of concept creates such vast and resounding commentaries on social and personal relationships. The gist of the article was basically, "Screw not reading fantasy and science fiction, why would you ready anything else?!" Which is a bit reductivist, but an interesting point.

      Speculative fiction allows us to explore relationships and people in a way not allowed in "realistic" fiction, and I think that we are all the better for it.

  2. ands that are holding a gun. That fires. Into Leekie's head. Is it wrong that I busted out laughing?

    I'd sooner have seen one of the clones take him out, but failing that, something so ignominious is a good runner up. I wonder where that leaves the Neolutionists as opposed to DYAD at large - was Leekie the head of that side of things, or just the poster boy?

    About what Donnie was doing, spying on Alison, who he thought he was reporting to (he thought it was a sociology study)

    Hm. Donnie's kind of crap, but he's not so crap as to think letting sinister medical teams examine Alison in her sleep is consistent with a sociology study. Which would imply they didn't do that to Alison (the kids would make it pretty risky too). Which is a relief on Alison's behalf - but it means we no longer know exactly what's been done to each clone, which on the rest of their behalfs makes it a little creepier.

    1. I'm very curious to see how this turns out. I think what I liked most about this plot twist, though, was how it flies in the face of everything that had been building, and how sometimes life takes a very different turn. I find that very satisfying when stories represent life like that.

      It's still unclear whether or not the medical teams still examined Alison but just drugged the family to do it - which is something they're clearly capable of. But yeah, we definitely need more information on this, especially as it's becoming clear that the monitor situations vary wildly case by case.