Orphan Black: Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate
May 30, 2015 4:00 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Alison must secure a storefront to take her business to the next level; Cosima faces health issues.
posted by Pendragon (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The envelope mix-up was very clichéd. The show can do better. Why even go there? There was no tension as it was pretty obvious Donnie wouldn't get hurt. The back-and-forth with Cosima and Allison felt like something from the Disney Channel or a network show for tweens. In fact, I think it was called Sister Sister. The only thing missing was an annoying laugh track.

I'm going to ignore that two women just happened to be wearing the same purple pants, that female bartenders can now magically tell when someone is pregnant, and that a complete make-up table also magically appears whenever Felix is around.

Did they make Cosima vaguely ethnically ambiguous just so they could have that one scene with Allison's mum? I assumed the show would address Cosima's look at some point but if this is the extent, then the character is wearing make-up in a manner that seems questionable.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:38 PM on May 30, 2015

After 3 seasons, I think we're pretty much not going to address Cosima's look. It's one of her points of difference with the other Clone Club siblings. The comment by Allison's mother shows her intolerance and stuffiness - dreadlocks = blackness = 'not one of us' - which was apposite given the broader theme of acceptance in the episode. I don't think Cosima is any more ethnically ambiguous than any of the other clones - vaguely Mediterranean maybe? But that's mainly because the friends or acquaintances she reminds me of with that kind of style or look have been of that kind of heritage.

The candidate mixer mixup (and envelope and clone switching) was pretty clichéd, but I think what we tend to forget a bit is that this show thrives on them. What other show is going to combine a girls-own-adventure prison escape with noble and bloody sacrifice with a suburban race for school district coordinator, a mystery-disease drama and an honest-to-god steamy, stalky lesbian romance? (I know it's not 'coordinator' but my brain fails me right now). There's a lot of pleasure in the genre mashup that goes on in OB, I think.

Dead on with the underuse of Felix, though. The whole 'Fabulous Fairy Felix' who knows everything about makeup and hair and photo-shoots is a far cry from the vulnerable and lonely young man we saw, earlier this season even. The character is at his best when he's subverting all those 'gay best friend' tropes - or going somewhere else entirely (like his vicious encounter with Rachel... that was a very different kind of fierce, Fee...)

Big love for Nerd Scott though, conquering Rachel with German board games. It's interesting, though, that I feel sympathetic towards wounded and vulnerable Rachel as the Clone Club gang treat her so harshly. Is it justified, given her past? Should our heroes be above that?
posted by prismatic7 at 4:38 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Justified, maybe, but who likes justice without mercy?

It occurs to me to wonder, if the Leda/Castor clones' condition is transmissible, why aren't the Leda clones infectious as well? And how is it the host mothers of both types aren't affected? Science-y fan bloggers assemble...
posted by Coaticass at 4:47 AM on May 31, 2015

...Which they have, at The Mary Sue apparently. Current episode not up yet but the tag list is here, last week's includes some discussion of prion diseases.
posted by Coaticass at 5:24 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm sure this is just me, but, I couldn't get over how much Alison's mother looked like an older, gray-haired Delphine. It was also kind of interesting that, in the bathroom conversation/reveal, Alison's mom seemed to be somewhat conversant about clones. She is right, isn't she? True clones wouldn't have differences like hair and skin tones, right?

That bathroom reveal was kind of odd, and I'm still trying to decide if it will have implications down the line.

I agree about Felix. Great character being utterly mis-used/under-used. If we're going to continue with clichés, what would happen next is Felix defects over to the opposing side and betrays Sarah and the clone club. I can't quite see him going that far, though.

Helena playing dominoes with the locals to win some food/drink money was fun. But, what did she use for her stake in the game?

Three more episodes to go. There's a hell of a lot of stuff still in the air. Alison's drug dealer/school board story better not end up being simply a macguffin.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:55 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

The show has played around with clichés all along so while the envelope switch was pretty weak it didn't bother me much.

Speaking of clichés, Cosima drives an old VW Bug!
posted by plastic_animals at 8:10 AM on May 31, 2015

How long does liquid nitrogen stay cold in an insulated container, and how long has it been since Helena was kidnapped?

Just trying to figure out the time line here (which may be a fool's errand). The season began just a day or two after the kidnapping, and last week Felix said it had been five days since they heard from Sarah. Helena must have been at the base for a while before Sarah arrived and it presumably took at least a couple of days for Mrs. S to meet the twins in Mexico after their escape. That's a minimum of roughly two weeks, but Helena was probably at the Castor base for a couple of weeks for her to resort to talking to her scorpion friend. So, maybe a month? Would the liquid nitrogen last that long in a flask that size?
posted by plastic_animals at 9:00 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure entertainment-grade LN2 has an indefinite lifespan, independent of size of container or how often the container is opened..
posted by Thorzdad at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2015 [6 favorites]

That episode was pretty bad. Rachel's part was the only thing I found interesting, an the rest felt mostly like cliched filler.
posted by homunculus at 9:57 AM on May 31, 2015

...all the rest. Except for Helena and S, that was good.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on May 31, 2015

This episode felt really off after the emotional punch last week. I understand the desire for a tone shift and for lightening things up a little bit, but some things just didn't seem like they right. I can sort of rationalize it by thinking "hey, maybe she's tired of fighting," but I thought Helena and S was kind of forced. Sarah and S relating like that seemed unearned too, though I suppose you could rationalize it in the same way (she's exhausted after being imprisoned, losing Paul like that, etc.) It basically felt like them moving a bunch of pieces into place for this season's final act.

I hope this is the last time there's a Cosima health crisis, because the yo-yoing back and forth has gotten a little tired.
posted by Kosh at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2015

I was also disappointed in this episode, I felt it was predictable from the beginning to the end. Envelope switch? Yawn. Donny in trouble? Not even a stretch. The whole school mix-up? Rerun of last season's rehab fiasco, sans glitter covered Vic.

By the way, whatever happened to Vic? Did they toss him under a bus? With all the drugs being passed around and the reemergence of the guy who cut off his finger, I'da thought he'd be around more.

Anyway, even the scenes with Helena (maybe) forgiving Mrs. S and Sarah forgiving Mrs. S were completely predictable. Because these women forgive each other at the drop of a hat. Not that I hold that against them, but... okay, I do, but hey, it's kinda their thing, so... predictable. Of course they're gonna forgive her. It's what they do. She's family. Rachel will be welcomed into the fold too now that she's not Queen Bitch of Dyad. I'll betcha money.
posted by patheral at 11:57 AM on May 31, 2015

I liked this episode, even though it was predictable and obvious. At least it was fun. I will always enjoy clones having to impersonate each other.

I hope this season goes somewhere, though. The overall plot has felt kind of all over the place and I miss the stronger storytelling of the first two seasons.
posted by darksong at 12:00 PM on May 31, 2015

By the way, whatever happened to Vic?

The actor who plays Vic is now a regular on Better Call Saul (playing basically the person Vic desperately wishes he were), so I'm guessing this is the out-of-story reason we haven't seen him; I hope he gets to drop in at some point, though.

This episode felt very sitcom-y to me, but that isn't really bad. I thought Alison's mom was amazingly insufferable in a very realistic way, and I'd like to see more of her budding partnership with Alison's old boyfriend. Mostly, I was struck by how comprehensible the episode was. I liked that. Maybe I'm old-fashioned.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:40 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I felt like Alison's mother's reaction to Cosima was completely in character -- Connie is totally in her own POV, and her mind creates alternate stories when she's presented with something she doesn't like. Cosima is a half-sister! Sure! (I find this very believable because I had a family member who was a lot like that, and I saw her spin much weirder stories to protect her version of the truth than "IVF clinic cheated and gave you a half-sister.")

I think this is the first time Cosima has had to impersonate another clone.

I assumed that S had given the bartender a crib sheet on the situation when she set up the meet -- S knew Helena was pregnant, right? I feel like Sarah knew, at least, and she would have told S.

Agreed that Felix is criminally underused. Also, I missed Gracie this episode. But hey, no Castor at all.
posted by pie ninja at 5:56 PM on May 31, 2015

True clones wouldn't have differences like hair and skin tones, right?

Right. If one of them looked like Tatiana Maslany, they'd ALL look like Tatiana Maslany. However, hair and skin tones can be varied individually by both natural (e.g., exposure to sun) and artificial means (dye, make-up, etc). Ali's mom, in not recognizing the superficiality of the differences between Ali and Cosima, is being... superficial.

The Marx brothers are a case in point. You don't notice how much they look alike until they trade wigs and false mustaches in the mirror scene in Duck Soup, but then they're identical — and they weren't even triplets, let alone clones.

On an unrelated matter: Liquid Nitrogen, properly stored, can last for a LONG time. It would take more than three months for 25 liters of LN completely evaporate.
posted by ubiquity at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love the tangled-web episodes, but it's nice to have a more straightforward one every now and then. Allison is the go-to clone for dark comedy, and this was a good farcical follow-through to the drug-dealing plot. I think they're going to kill off Cosima (which will bring Rachel more to the fore), and I don't think the new clone we briefly saw footage of at the beginning of the season has been forgotten. But there's only so many clones we can follow at a time. I think the only way we can possibly get enough Fee is for him to get a spin-off show. Art gets himself fired and he and Felix set up a private detective agency, '90s-late-nite-syndication style.
posted by rikschell at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

I now think the point of Allison's seemingly disconnected storyline is that the other clones out there are still living their lives, with their secret monitors and everything. Even after all the craziness we've witnessed, Dyad and Topside are still around and still doing their thing. The drama we've been involved in is really just about Cosima trying to cure herself, Sarah protecting her daughter, Helena learning how to be a person, and Rachel keeping her job. I thought it was great how Allison's arch this season, how Allison is just living her same life as before (except made interesting, because it's TV), made me take a big step back and see all of that from above.
posted by bleep at 9:13 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Allison is the go-to clone for dark comedy...

Allison lives in Bailey Downs, the site of Fawcett's black suburban comedy Ginger Snaps and its successors (one of which featured Tatiana Maslany in a major role). I love the way he has worked the craziness of that show into this one, and I suspect Fawcett loves it too. Ali and her mom could have stepped right out of Ginger Snaps.
posted by ubiquity at 8:02 AM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sarah and S relating like that seemed unearned too, though I suppose you could rationalize it in the same way (she's exhausted after being imprisoned, losing Paul like that, etc.)

I don't know; Sarah's fury at S was mainly born out of fear and panic for Helena's well-being, and worry about how Helena would react to feeling betrayed by the only fragile family she had. I think that once Helena was safely back, not to mention reconciling with S, there wouldn't be much reason for Sarah to keep holding a grudge. The offense was really between Helena and S.

Also, yeah you're right, Sarah's completely drained at that stage and needs a mother--or anyone who could take the load off her a bit. S is pretty ideal for that.

I think this is the first time Cosima has had to impersonate another clone.

Yeah and I had one of those weird moments when the thought went through my head, "the Cosima actor is not as good at impersonating as the others are" before realizing they're all Tat. Not that the criticism really matters, because Cosima doesn't really have the personality to do that kind of spontaneous thing; she's so earnest.
posted by torticat at 11:54 PM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Interesting to see the wide range of reactions to this episode, here and elsewhere. I thought it did what it tntended to do - be a low stakes, comedic episode after last week's trauma and set up the rest of the season. With much of the focus on the Castor clones instead of finding a cure Cosima has been underused so far this season (and I'm not sure introducing another possibly shady love interest is a good move). That underuse hasn't allowed us to see how sick she has been. We were led to believe Cosima a wanted to substitute Alison's pee for her own to spite Delphine, but it was really to hide the extent of her illness.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:21 AM on June 3, 2015

We were led to believe Cosima a wanted to substitute Alison's pee for her own to spite Delphine, but it was really to hide the extent of her illness.

That was also pretty obvious once she started coughing again. But I'm one of the people who enjoyed the lighter tone of this episode. Particularly since I'm not sure we can save Cosima again--Kira is now abroad with her dad--and as we move toward the end of the season, things will get more intense.

I'm glad we got to see Cosima fail at being Alison and I'm glad we got to see Alison's mom, who in a world full of soap opera evil, just turns out to be a mundane sort of terror. And I loved the comic way the ex-BF talked her into selling the shop to Alison, which was hilariously awful. I really wasn't sure that part was going to be pulled off.
posted by immlass at 10:58 AM on June 3, 2015

I quit this episode at the envelope scene and I'm not sure if I'm going back. I really hate the whole Alison storyline; it's just so out of tune with the rest of the show and boring as Hell at that.
posted by octothorpe at 3:50 AM on June 11, 2015

I fast-forwarded through the envelope stuff. It doesn't last forever.
posted by bleep at 5:22 PM on June 11, 2015

Also, yeah you're right, Sarah's completely drained at that stage and needs a mother--or anyone who could take the load off her a bit. S is pretty ideal for that.

I may have misheard, but did Sarah call S "Mum" at the bar? If so is that the first time she's called her that?
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:28 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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