Finally, finally, Cosima and Alison get the attention they truly deserve.
Bringing back the good ‘ole vibes of Orphan Black, “Community of Dreadful Fear and State” marks the first episode in the season that doesn’t feature the Castor boys. We get some depth and exploration into both Cosima’s relationships and health issues and Alison’s juggling act between running for school trustee and drug dealing.
Helena, Sarah, and S
Fresh from the terrors of the Castor military base, Sarah and Helena have found themselves inside a quaint Mexican cantina, seeking refuge and a haven. Soon, they are joined by Mrs. S herself, who has finally put her badass shades on and come directly into the field. While Sarah has reconciled all negative thoughts for her, you could definitely not say the same for Helena. Seeing as S betrayed Helena to the military, it takes Sarah to physically restrain her from jumping on S.
Sarah is offered the opportunity to take a shower by the cantina owner, and by doing so leaves Helena and S alone to resolve their feelings. It’s not easy for Helena. They start off with discussions of Helena’s unborn child, her boyfriend, and plans for the future (Helena wants a tow-truck driving family). She very quickly wants to instigate a fight between the two, and soon she throws punches at S. S doesn’t reciprocate, but instead holds her into a tight hug, repeating over and over again that she is sorry, and that they’re family now. Another child for S to put under her wings.
Post-fight and post-shower, Sarah and S have a little chat while Helena burns off restrained anger outside. It’s not been easy on Sarah for the past couple of weeks: Paul’s death, the appearance of Beth in her dreams, not being able to see Kira. She feels alone, but knows deep down that there’s something calming and reassuring, no matter what the circumstances, to be in the hands of family. And that’s what she feels in the arms of S.
Cosima and Alison (and a little bit of Rachel)
It’s a big day for Alison: the town-hall/publicity stunt for the school trustee elections, and very precarious drug negotiations for her side business. Alison and Donnie somehow complement each other in this very fragmented yet collected environment; while Alison prepares her speech flashcards and ensures the large deposit of money that is being handled towards the drug dealers in person, Donnie does some self-monitoring work on Alison for Dyad and discusses these negotiations, including the purchasing of Alison’s mom’s store Bubbles.
Before heading off to the big event, Alison and Donnie stop by Bubbles and we finally get to meet Alison’s mom, Connie. Turns out she’s as dreadful as we could imagine. Alison hands over the paperwork, trying to be as prim and proper as her mother probably intended on her to be, while Donnie remains at the brunt of Mommie Hendrix’s jokes (apparently his last name before marrying Alison was not Donnie, it was Chubs). Things turn a little sour when Connie insists on delaying signing the paperwork, and when Alison finds out that she’s supporting Marcia Oates.
The two regroup with Jason and split ways: Donnie armed with a manila envelope filled with $30k heads with Jason to the main drug dealer’s (Poochie) headquarters, while Alison aims to win over the hearts of the citizens in the school trustee event.
Cosima has really been enjoying herself lately with Shay. Like really, really enjoying it. Sadly, a moment of beautiful intimacy is rudely interrupted by the arrival of none other than Delphine, who insists on seeing Cosima. As we’ve seen from the past episode, Delphine is clearly not over Cosima and lightly stalks her (for Dyad purposes, of course); however, she must maintain a brief and professional attitude. It looks like Cosima is way more annoyed than hung up over Delphine at this point, however. Delphine has brought with her a urine cup for Cosima so that they can make progress on identifying what the protein pattern found within the Leda and Castor clones will do specifically to the Leda clones, and specifically to Cosima, who seems to have inherited all of the sickly traits and behaviors compared to the rest.
Cosima becomes increasingly suspicious of Delphine and Dyad’s motives, and resolves to make their job as difficult as possible. She phones Scott and tells her to cover for her at work, as she really does not want to be there for their whims. Scott himself has an important agenda, and that is to introduce Rachel to The Island of Dr. Moreau (her drawings share some unique symbols with what Duncan inscribed in the novel). Cosima decides to make things more difficult for Dyad by asking Alison to pee in the cup instead.
Over at the Town Hall, pandemonium rages. People are bustling about for the respective candidates, though Alison’s team is very identifiable with their pink beanies and pink shirts (TEAM HENDRIX). Felix is doing a fantastic job as campaign manager for Alison.
Over at the drug headquarters however, things aren’t looking so swell for Donnie. Before entering, Jason and Donnie share a tense moment; Donnie feels the need to defend Alison against him, as it’s pretty clear that Jason enjoys being flirtatious and perhaps would like more from Alison. Jason warns Donnie about not over-talking, which is a fine quality that he exhibits (though not necessarily appropriate in these circumstances).
They enter the den and it looks very similar. If we all remember Vic the Dick from Season 1 (and a bit from Season 2), he made quite frequent trips as a drug dealer himself to this very location. The same location, in fact, where he lost a finger. Uh-oh.
Donnie hands over the envelope, but lo and behold, disaster strikes: he took the wrong envelope. Inside the one he has handed over are buttons, pins, and pamphlets for Alison’s campaign. Jason is ordered to retrieve the right envelope while Donnie is forced to stay and hang out with these drug lords.
Alison is called back to her mother’s place in the midst of election chaos, on the premise that her mother is having a heart attack. Turns out it’s all faked, and all Connie wanted to tell Alison was that she can’t sign the paperwork letting Alison manage Bubbles (a lot of it has to do with Donnie being the co-signer). Alison literally can’t deal with her mom and walks out, taking along with her a Marcia sign.
During this time, photo-shoots are happening for the candidates. Luckily for Alison, her absence is not the end of the world: having a clone is pretty darn lucky. Felix grabs Cosima, who has arrived to take Alison’s urine sample for Dyad, and transforms her against her wishes into a suburban housewife, who lives an “unhappy, sexless life”. Cosima is thrown onto the scene as Alison, and poses for all the photos.
By this time, Jason has arrived on the scene and finds Alison, telling her about the mix-up. She sees the right envelope next to the front table by the lovely Sarah Stubbs, but it won’t be easy swapping. To make matters worse, Connie has arrived on the scene to see her lovely daughter involved and running about. Alison takes her into an empty classroom and away from all this mess, where Connie unnecessarily tells her that she actually used donor sperm for Alison, wanting an upgrade from her now ex-husband. Alison doesn’t tell her that she wasn’t the genetic product of her + donor sperm at all, but has more pressing issues at hand.
Running into Jason once more, she tells him to go join her mom in the empty room and entertain her while Alison deals with the manila envelope switcheroo. She receives a call from Donnie, whose stakes have now been raised: if she doesn’t get the money over to them soon, Donnie is gonna lose his nose. She ends up letting Felix know her whole situation, and he honestly isn’t that surprised.
Alison manages to switch the envelopes, and finds out that the niece of the drug lord has arrived onto the scene to deal with matters herself and get the money without any more delays. Alison goes into the parking lot to meet with her, just as speeches are about to begin. The niece, clearly irritated, does her best job to slow down the process of counting through all $30k as much as possible.
Meanwhile, Rachel arrives at Scott’s and Cosima’s lab on Delphine’s account, doing some of the usual monitoring. Rachel notices that her drawings are at Scott’s desk, and Scott lets her know that he has her father’s book. Rachel then mumbles out that she’d like to learn how to play the Settler of Catan-look alike game, and Scott openly offers his availability to help her out, both understanding each other without Delphine’s attention.
Rachel arrives by herself to the lab later on, and much to her dismay, is forced to learn how the game works before getting anywhere. She is then given her painting and the book, and slowly starts piecing together parts of the puzzle. When Scott asks her what it means once she’s finished, she says that she’ll only tell it to Sarah.
It’s Alison’s turn to speak and she’s unfortunately still in the car counting bills. She’s not the only one in high tension: Felix grabs Cosima to impersonate Alison yet again – much to her dismay (“I’m not a speech person!”), and Donnie is very close to losing his nose.
Just as Cosima-Alison is describing how she’s a very inclusive candidate as a “lesbian… supporter”, Alison arrives just on time, saving both herself as a candidate and Donnie’s nose. She gives a passionate speech on how as a typical mother hen, she will view all the districts as children and intends to not split them up by re-zoning them as Marcia would, and in the midst of her speech on the importance of family makes sure to look at her mother. She wins over the crowd.
As things slowly begin to die down, Alison deals with her mother while Cosima-Alison has a run in with Jason, who actually kisses Cosima-Alison. Cosima runs into the bathroom. Interestingly enough, Jason, and not Donnie, has the full acceptance of Connie.
Alison meets up with Cosima in the bathroom and they’re discussing Jason’s kiss (it’s more of Alison wondering what Jason’s lips taste like… uh oh) and more importantly, what’s going on with Cosima’s growing and pressing health issues when Connie walks in. She tells Alison how proud she is of her, and hands over the paperwork giving Alison full ownership of Bubbles. It’s not without tension, however: she delivers to Alison more of the same dreadful talk, including telling her that she’ll know when it’s right to leave Donnie. Alison decides she’s had enough and brings Cosima out, forthright declaring to her mother that this is her clone. Cosima awkwardly leaves, and Connie tries to brush this “coincidence” off. There’s no way this could happen! Alison leaves her alone to her own thoughts.
Later on, Cosima has found herself once more in Shay’s place, specifically her bathtub. Shay encourages Cosima to tell her more about her deal with Delphine and what her trip was all about, and Cosima tells the truth to an extent: she’s been getting sick, and whatever has been happening has attacked her epithelial cells near her uterus. As they continue talking, Shay looks horrifyingly into the tub as blood spills out from Cosima’s uterus and into the water.
Okay, let me just say how happy I am to see Alison and Cosima finally get the spotlight they deserve. As episodes go, I’ve enjoyed this one far more than the others, probably due to the fact that I really don’t care too much about the Castor clones and absolutely love seeing the spotlight just on the Leda sisters. That coupled with the intensity and anxiety of this episode, including the golden lines given throughout from Alison, Donnie, Cosima, and Felix, things are looking up. The highlight for me definitely was right after Donnie is being incarcerated by the drug dealers and then released, when he settles himself back down and asks where the bathroom is.
The intrigue of the episode comes from Cosima’s health issues, but more so Rachel’s presence. It’s good to see her moving about and having some life in her eye(s). Especially now that some part of the puzzle crafted from her secret language with her father has been cracked, there’s a ton more to be discovered. Rachel’s intent on only telling Sarah is quite interesting: her presence amongst the rest is obviously unique, and it’s now no doubt that there is more to Sarah beyond whatever qualities exist. Hopefully, whatever Rachel has discovered is enough to save Cosima, who’s sadly not lookin’ too good at the moment.