Orphan Black - Beneath Her Heart
Orphan Black took a step back and slowed things down for us in their latest entry, "Beneath Her Heart."
No grand followup to last week's stunning appearance of Delphine at the close. Nor was there a deepening of the war and how it has been decidedly going against the Clone Cub.
Instead, we got a by and large closeup study of Alison. (With the attendant look at Tatiana Maslany's brilliance.)
Was this unwelcome?
Of course not!
Sure, I love the whole "Neo" mythology and the battle between the forces of Rachel and Sarah. But an in-depth look at Alison, mixed in with the cool flashbacks that OB is so good at, is always welcomed.
God, Maslany is so amazing.
She treated us with a look at the early pre-Beth Ali along with the current day rudderless version and a sneak peek at the future lioness. All nuanced with the ticks we've grown to love from Alison but spiced with the flavors each stage of her evolving personality brought with it.
Early Alison was pretty much what we expected her to be. Timid soccer mom slightly spooked by her own shadow and a conformist laced with apathy. He world became tilted when Beth contacts her and Cosima arrives on her doorstep.
Enter the Mushroom king.
Ali instantly dives into the world of denial and the escapism of substance abuse. Her fears overtake her and she retreats into the soft fuzzy womb of psychedelics.
Perhaps oddly, (perhaps) her new life is also a series of frustrations and chronic ennui. She's become acclimated to danger but finds herself consigned to the periphery where it's safer but a lot more boring.
She's frustrated by the lack of inaction that also colored her previous life. A constant and bitter theme.
Once again she falls prey to the allure of substance abuse. Her fears overtake her and the fuzzy womb of inebriation envelops her.
It doesn't help that Ali is being swallowed by the maelstrom of guilt over Aynsley Norris' death. Alison had watched as Aynsley was choked to death by a kitchen appliance and had done nothing.
Apathy and fear are a deadly mixture
The aggrieved Chad (of Aynsley and Chad) makes a reappearance and his haggard look only reinforces Ali's depression.
She is in danger of disappearing.
It takes a near disaster with Donnie to confront her demons.
Donnie has been constantly propping her up but he accidentally imbibes the concoction she had prepared for her church rival, Nona.
He collapses on stage and takes a header much like Ali did in times past. (Another comic gem by Kristian Brunn as his face both sticks and bounces as he is dragged off stage.)
Couple this with the fact that Art and his new and nasty Neo partner, Maddy Enger, are on the verge of discovering the Hendrix's deepest and darkest secret.
Confronted with this calamity, Alison finds new brio and "heads" out to confront Rachel.
Enter the lioness.
Alison's gambit actually works. I was dubious over its reasoning, "everything leads back to Rachel". But Rachel buys it and Alison walks away free and the goons are told to back off.
Here is another master class from Tatiana. The above look is classic Rachel. That knowing sideways leer. It makes me think Rachel didn't actually buy into Alison's argument but realizes what she has in Ali and is saving it for later.
Always the conniver. Beware the Lioness though!
I wanted to make special mention of the relationship between Ali and Donnie. It's so very believable. Kristian Brunn and Maslany are so sweet together and you feel the affection as husband and wife is real.
Your heartstrings are pulled when they agree to part but share one last song together. It was so genuine and bittersweet.
I had the painful feeling we won't be seeing Alison anytime soon. The parting seemed so real. Perhaps each character will be getting a swansong of sorts. This is upsetting because Ali is so quirky and fun. Let's hope Rachel really does have a plan for Alison.
Here's hoping we see the return of the Lioness very soon.
Odds and Ends
It was touching they had a send off for MK but that's it?
No war cry or plans for revenge? At least Siobhan could have mentioned, "Oh yeah, and Delphine stopped by the other night. Did I forget to mention that?"
(Yeah, yeah I get it. Prolong the suspense. They have a dramatic bomb they want to drop on us.)
Special mention should go out to writer Alex Levine. No doubt he provided the soul behind this heartfelt story. Case in point the "Sparkle" line as delivered by Donnie.
Art had an interesting turn this past episode. This is the face he made when Donnie told him to keep them out of the garage.
Then, he really was going to, "go there."
Despite expending considerable energy distancing himself from the perils of the Clone Club he just couldn't bear to see them go down.
Art actually drew his service weapon and was seconds away from putting an end to the scourge known as Maddy Enger. Ironically, she was saved by Rachel's intervention.
I sat mouth agape. I had visions of Art putting a bullet in her and then just replacing the dirt. "Nothing to see here!" How he was going to explain that away I have no idea. (See Alison for advice I suppose.)
One last thing...
There she is.
Orphan Black couldn't completely let go of the mythology. We find Helena back at the Nunnery with Sister Irina no doubt praying for her soul.
Note the family pictures hanging on the wall. Hand drawn just like the days of her little hovel.
Helena seems to be making a journal of sorts. In Cyrillic no less. We have someone here where I work that is from Russia and could probably translate it. Where is he right now? On vacation! Not helpful.
Why write things down unless she has fears of something happening to her? It could be an extended letter for her future "bebbies" but I doubt it. Eh, maybe not. Actually it does make sense.
So now I'm officially worried for Helena.
I don't have a crackpot theory, I have a crackpot feeling of dread. Now, I don't think Helena is going to make it. Give birth to the "bebbies" yes. Survive the series, no.
Argh, shoot me Art.