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Janna is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. Born and raised in a small Ontario town, she made her move to Toronto for university and immediately fell in love with the excitement and pace of the big city. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University, specializing in editing and screenwriting. She currently works as an assistant editor for a television production company. Janna loves stories told in all mediums, especially film, and takes herself to the movies as much as she possibly can. She can generally be found taking a Zumba class, exploring some of Toronto’s lesser-known gems, or relaxing with her fluffy feline roommate.

Black is Back: “Orphan Black” – Episode 7 “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate”

Orphan Black is a critically acclaimed sci-fi series from BBC America featuring human clones. Its first two seasons garnered rave reviews, and its third season airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on BBC America and SPACE. Our writer, Janna Jeffrey, recaps every episode of the third season here on The Hudsucker. Orphan Black is back!

Beware: As this is a recap column, there are spoilers ahead. Read on if you dare!

Credit BBC America

With last week’s episode of Orphan Black being a wildly intense ride, the creators of the show have mentioned their desire to put together a lighter episode for Episode 7 of this season. Well, Episode 7 may have contained more comedy than Episode 6, but it brought us new character dynamics and posed new questions for the storyline, which I always love. And also, it gave us a nice big dose of the Hendrixes. I’ll never say no to more Hendrix!

Season 3 Episode 7 of Orphan Black opens in a Mexican cantina, with some gruff looking men gambling. Some gruff looking men and one very familiar clone, that is! Helena immediately wins the men’s money while wearing a pretty cool cowboy hat, and gloats and as she brings her winnings to Sarah. They order food. Helena wants to talk about Paul, but Sarah isn’t having it. Sarah wants to talk about Mrs S, but Helena insists she’s planning to kill her. Just then, the cantina door opens and there is Mrs S herself, clad stylishly in Mexican traveler chic. Helena lunges at her, but Sarah holds her back.

Credits! Dylan Bruce’s name is now gone—aw. After last week’s episode, I’m sad to see it removed.

Mrs S and Helena sit together as Mrs S tries to explain her decision to give Helena up to Castor. Helena isn’t having it, and repeats again that she’s going to kill her—after she eats, of course. In the meantime, the woman running the cantina sees that Sarah’s not looking too well, and offers her a shower. This gets Sarah out of the episode for almost the entire thing, which is rather different. I don’t think we’ve had an episode that wasn’t fairly Sarah-centric up until this point. It’s neat to see the character dynamics without her in the mix!

In the Hendrix home, Alison rehearses her campaign speech for the Meet the Candidates event later that day. Donnie records her vitals to report back to DYAD—they still want to keep DYAD on their side for the benefit of Alison’s health. The two run over the plan to purchase Bubbles, Alison’s mother’s store. Donnie also asks Alison about her menstrual flow, which is hilarious. I love Donnie.

We meet Connie Hendrix (Sheila McCarthy), Alison’s mother, as our characters arrive at Bubbles. She’s falsely sweet and instantly critical, and it’s clear practically right away that she is the worst. No wonder Alison is the way she is! Connie spends a good amount of time insulting Donnie, calling him “Mr Chubbs”. (Spoiler alert: Chubbs was Donnie’s last name prior to marrying Alison. I’d have taken my new spouse’s name in that situation, too!) Connie is hesitant to sell Alison and Donnie her store, and insists that she needs more time to go over the paperwork for the sale. Also, Connie has a “Re-Elect Marci Coates” poster on her wall. Ugh. Orphan Black does a good job of making me despise a character just from one scene, let me tell you!

Credit BBC America

In the Lesbian Love Den known as Shay’s apartment, Shay and Cosima are nude and curled up in bed together. There’s a knock at the door, and Shay answers. It’s Delphine! And it’s super awkward for the two of them to be meeting. Cosima is not happy to see Delphine there and accuses her of spying. Shay goes into another room to give them some privacy, but definitely listens at the door anyway. Delphine tells Cosima that she’s worried about her health and needs new material to run tests—namely, a urine sample. Cosima begrudgingly says that she’ll give her one and pushes Delphine out of the apartment. Once she’s gone, she calls Scott and asks him to cover for hre while she’s not at work. He certainly isn’t thrilled—he wants to have her there so they can talk about Rachel potentially understanding Professor Duncan’s Doctor Moreau code. Cosima assures him she’ll deal with Rachel if he covers for her. Poor Scott. He just keeps trying to get his work done! He just wants to do science!

Alison and Donnie are at the high school, preparing Alison for the Meet the Candidates event. While Alison is doing that, Donnie will be going with Jason to buy drugs for their business. When Jason arrives, he’s a little too flirty for Donnie’s liking, so Donnie makes out with Alison hard and then gives Jason the smuggest look in the world. Then he actually saunters away. Have I mentioned how much I love Donnie? Kristian Bruun does damn good work.

Inside the school, Alison meets up with Felix—he’s her campaign manager. Yay! I love Alison and Felix’s interactions so much, and am so happy that we’re getting more this season. While they’re setting up, Alison gets a text from Cosima: she wants Alison’s urine. While Cosima’s on her way to obtain said urine and Alison is mingling, Felix takes a call from Alison’s mother, who claims she’s having a heart attack. When Felix relays this to Alison, she’s highly skeptical—clearly her mother is a manipulative shrew. Alison agrees to check on her, however, while Felix mans her booth. Felix isn’t so thrilled about that part.

Donnie and Jason arrive at an auto body shop, the place where they’ll be purchasing their drugs. Before they head inside, Donnie warns Jason not to come between him and his family. This ride or die attitude that Donnie has developed in terms of protecting his loved ones is fantastic. Donnie and Jason head inside and offer the money to the crime lords in exchange for drugs. However, the envelope isn’t full of money—it’s full of campaign material. Donnie accidentally grabbed the wrong envelope! That Donnie, constantly blundering about. He promises the crime bosses that his wife has the money. They send Jason off to get it and keep Donnie as collateral. This scene is great because we get to listen to Donnie genuinely working to speak Portuguese. Love it.

Back at the Mexican cantina, Helena and Mrs S are still chatting—Mrs S is still apologizing for betraying Helena, and Helena still isn’t having it. She wants to fight. She reaches out and punches Mrs S, yelling at her to fight back. But Mrs S won’t—she lets Helena get it out of her system. That is, until a particularly hard hit ignites Mrs S’s reflexes, and she hits Helena back. She instantly apologizes, reaching for Helena and holding her in her arms as she squirms. She apologizes again and comforts her, and eventually, Helena calms and leans on Mrs S. Aw. Helena is part of the family again!

Back at the school, Alison’s friend Sarah Stubbs (Terra Hazelton) announces that it’s time for the Meet the Candidates photo op. Alison, of course, isn’t back yet. Felix texts her to ask her to return immediately, but it’s clear he’s going to have to do some stalling.

Credit BBC America

Alison’s mom is, of course, just fine. She plays off her problems as a panic attack and then confesses that she can’t sell the store—she doesn’t feel comfortable selling it to Alison if Donnie is a part owner as well. They argue about the store, about Donnie, about Connie’s criticisms, and I’m really proud of Alison. (Is it weird to say that, when she’s fictional?) Standing up to a family member is hard, and it’s clear that she’s been mentally beaten down by her mother her entire life. Alison gets Felix’s text, and she leaves—but not before telling her mother that she will win the election, and tearing down the “Re-Elect Marci Coates” poster on the way out the door. Go, Alison!

Cosima arrives at the school, looking for Alison to get her to pee in a cup for her. She isn’t getting ahold of her, but she runs into Sarah Stubbs who, of course, mistakes her for Alison. It looks like we have another clone impersonation episode! Hooray! Those are always fun. Cosima is dragged towards the photo op, but Felix spots her in time and pulls her aside. He explains their crisis and insists that Cosima wear Alison’s campaign items and pose as Alison for the photos. Cosima is focused on her task at hand—getting ahold of urine—and doesn’t want to do it. Felix talks her into it, though, explaining that she won’t be able to get any pee if she doesn’t cover for Alison. I believe this is the first time that we’ve ever seen Cosima pose as anyone, so I’m excited to see how it goes!

Back at DYAD, Scott is upset with Cosima and tries to distract himself by playing the Medieval Farmer board game with his buddies. Delphine arrives and kicks them out, saying that she needs the lab to run some tests—on Rachel. As Rachel is being tested, Scott tries to get the Doctor Moreau book into her line of site, but Rachel focuses on something else: the board game. She wants to play. Scott, seeing his opportunity, agrees to teach her.

We see the first problem with Cosima imitating another clone almost right away: she can’t see anything without her glasses. As a fellow “blind as a bat” person, I appreciate that the Orphan Black writers took this into account. She’s bumping into people and squinting during the photo op. Once again, I have to admire Tatiana Maslany’s work—Cosima is so visibly uncomfortable playing the role of Alison, which we haven’t yet seen from a clone impersonation scene. I love it.

Here’s where the episode gets complicated: Alison returns to the school, and she and Cosima clearly can’t be seen together. Not long after, both Jason and Connie show up, making the whole event a juggling act for Alison. She needs to swap out the money envelope (which is on a table with Sarah Stubbs) with the envelope of campaign material, she needs to deal with her mother, and she needs to do her campaign speech. She deals with her mother first, taking her aside and sequestering her in a classroom. Her mom decides to choose that moment to confess the fact that her father’s DNA was never used in their in vitro process—she had the clinic switch out his sample for a more perfect one behind everyone’s back. Alison is upset and leaves, sending Jason in to keep her mother occupied while she deals with the candidates’ events.

Credit BBC America

Felix finds Alison and explains what’s been going on with Cosima. Alison tells Felix that Sarah Stubbs has an envelope with $30,000 inside and she needs to get it back. Felix, confused, wants to know what on earth is going on with her. So Alison spills the truth, and man, is Felix’s expression awesome. Of course, it turns out that the crime lord holding onto Donnie is a pretty big deal—Pouchy was the one who cut off Vic’s finger in earlier seasons. Uh oh!

True to form, Pouchy (Tony Cianchino) is impatient and isn’t happy with Donnie’s nervous ramblings. He decides his niece is going to go to the school and find the money, while Donnie’s head is slammed next to a big paper cutter and they threaten to cut his nose off if they don’t get the money in half an hour. Yikes. They force Donnie to call Alison and tell her to meet Pouchy’s niece in the parking lot and give her the money, all the while threatening to chop his nose off. Yeah, that’d make me nervous too.

While Jason and Connie are wandering around the school, reminiscing about old times, Jason tries to talk her into selling Bubbles over to Alison. Meanwhile, Felix distracts Sarah Stubbs so that Alison can swap the envelopes. Marci Coates catches her and passive aggressively implies that Alison is trying to cheat the election, but in true suburbia fashion, doesn’t do anything more than insult her. Alison then heads outside to meet Pouchy’s niece and give her the money. She wants to drop the money and run, but Pouchy’s niece insists she sit in the car with her until it’s counted out.

The candidates’ speeches have started. Marci’s is full of digs about Alison, including the fact that she is currently M.I.A. Felix, once again, has to enlist Cosima to go onstage and impersonate her. Cosima, knowing nothing about Alison’s school trustee position and unable to see the cue cards to read he speech, is very nervous about the whole thing. But Felix pushes her onstage anyway. Cosima-as-Alison’s speech is, of course, a bit of a disaster. She goes off the rails talking about the idea of family values and supporting LGBT issues, all while dealing with a nasty cough. Alison, able to return to the school now that the money has been delivered and they’ve called off the threat to Donnie, waits in the wings while Cosima poses as her onstage. They do a little switcheroo as Cosima-as-Alison steps offstage for a moment to take a drink of water. Alison replaces her, walking onstage to give the speech she’d intended—but Cosima has inspired her. She sees her mother in the audience, and changes her speech. She talks about the importance of family, and that family is the people who stand by you when you need help—not the people who tear you down. It’s a triumphant speech, Felix is beaming with pride, and her mother in the audience looks thoughtful. Yay, Alison!

Cosima, waiting out in the hall for Alison, runs into Jason. He mistakes her for Alison, of course, and tells her that he thinks he’s sweet talked her mother into selling the store. Then he kisses her. Cosima doesn’t know what to do with all of that confusing information, so she bails pretty quickly. I’m so happy that Alison’s storylines are starting to mingle with others!

Credit BBC America

We go back to Mexico briefly for a scene with Mrs S and Sarah after Sarah’s shower. Sarah’s concerned about Mrs S’s bloody and bruised face, but Mrs S insists she’s fine—Helena is outside walking her emotions off, and they’ve worked things out. Sarah fills Mrs S in on Paul, Mrs S fills Sarah in on Gracie, and there’s a really sweet mother-daughter moment where Sarah puts her head in her hands and calls Mrs S “Mum”. I don’t think she’s ever called Mrs S that. Aw! It’s evident the burden of everything has been weighing Sarah down, and she’s relieved to have her mother there to back her up. I love moments like these.

In the school bathroom, Alison is in a stall while Cosima tells her about her run-in with Jason. She asks Alison if she’s having an affair, which Alison indignantly shoots down. Alison is worried about Cosima and decides that she isn’t going to pee in the cup for her—she wants Cosima to go through DYAD’s testing, too, in order to keep her healthy and safe. In the middle of their conversation, Alison’s mother bursts into the bathroom. Cosima hides in a stall while Connie tells Alison that she liked her speech and she’s been moved to sign Bubbles over to her. Alison is thrilled, surprised that Connie has changed her mind even on her issues with Donnie. Connie blows offs the matter, implying that someday Alison will wise up and leave Donnie and maybe even wind up with Jason again.

Alison, insulted, decides to pull Cosima out of the bathroom stall and introduce her. Connie is understandably pretty confused, so Alison comes right out and tells her mom that Cosima is her clone! Crazy! Her mom, of course, doesn’t believe her. It’s pretty clear that Alison is showing her mom all of this to distance herself from her—to show her mother that no part of her is biologically hers. And also maybe to give her a real heart attack. Poor uncomfortable Cosima is allowed to leave, and it turns out Connie doesn’t even believe what Alison’s telling her—she makes gross little racist comment as she argues Alison’s claims, which shocks Alison. Ugh, Connie, you are terrible. Connie insists that the donor she used was used by Cosima’s mother as well, and that the two of them are half sisters, and isn’t it nice that they can have a bond? Alison, at this point, is completely fed up with her mother. She leaves her alone in the bathroom as she’s rambling on about half-siblings.

Scott and Rachel are in the middle of playing Medieval Farmer. Rachel asks Scott about Duncan’s book—she wants to see their secret language again. Scott agrees, giving Rachel the book, along with paper and a pencil. Rachel makes markings in the book, circling and crossing things out, deciphering the language. But it’s still gibberish. Scott asks what it means, and Rachel says she’ll only explain the language to Sarah. Yes! Sarah and Rachel finally coming face to face once again!

Cosima is back at Shay’s taking a bath. Shay can sense that something is wrong, so she kneels by the tub and asks. Cosima explains that she’s sick, filling her in on her disease as best she can while leaving the whole clone aspect out of it. At the moment, Cosima’s disease is affecting her lungs and uterus. While they talk, Shay looks down—and spots blood in the water. Cosima is bleeding! No!

And that’s where they end the episode.

Credit BBC America

Honestly, for an episode that was lighter and only tangentially related to the main storyline, it was an enjoyable one! It was nice to see Alison, Cosima, and Felix interact without Sarah there as a sort of unifying buffer. The episode was all about the Hendrixes, which is never a bad thing—I’m loving their duo now, as I’ve mentioned many times before, and it now feels like their storyline is starting to weave back in with the main one. I’m excited about that! This was also the first episode of Season 3 without any of the Castor clones. In that vein, it felt like an episode from one of Orphan Black’s earlier seasons—a little lighter, with the focus on the Leda clones. I did miss the Castor boys, though, and I’m excited to get back to them next week. I guess that goes to show that Orphan Black works no matter who the main focus of an episode is on. So bring on more of it, I say! Only three episodes left in the season. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!

EPISODE RATING: B

BEST LINE: Felix, when preparing Cosima to pose as Alison: “Now, you need bangs. Bangs that say ‘unhappy, sexless marriage’.” Clearly Felix knows nothing about the current state of the Hendrix relationship!

FAVORITE MOMENT: Alison standing up to her mother in Bubbles. I love seeing unlikable characters being told off, and Alison sure tells people off well. I also just love seeing Alison stand up for herself. It’s a hard thing to do with family, and it was evident that it was a long time coming for Alison and her mother. Can’t go wrong with that.

What did you think of this episode of Orphan Black? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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One Comment on “Black is Back: “Orphan Black” – Episode 7 “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate””

  1. Dagny May 31, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Tremendous episode! My favorite so far this season.

    My favorite scene also involved Alison and her mother. It was the one where she introduced Cosima and told her they were clones. My next favorite was Helena and Mrs. S with the hits and then the hug.

    Do you trust Shay and think she’s for real? I keep wondering and thinking she might be a plant.

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