“If your house gets too crowded, do you tell your family they need to find a different place to live?”
While it certainly is one of the more on-the-nose moments of the entire series, Alison’s trustee election speech still is an encapsulation of the major theme governing this show: family. We’ve seen families torn apart recently, but what Orphan Black keeps coming back around to are the indelible bonds these people share. No matter what difficulties may befall these characters, what remains at the end of it all is the concept of family.
So far this season, the series has been mainly exploring that idea through the Project Castor storyline, looking at the male clones and female clones side by side and posing questions about family in that context. “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate”, however, takes a different approach, providing underused characters like Alison and Cosima with much more screen time this week. As fun as they’ve been to watch, one of the problems of season three has been its inability to make full use of all of its characters, so it’s nice to see them stepping back and allowing the other half of the sestras to take center stage. It’s especially refreshing to get a lighthearted episode after last week’s brilliant–yet extremely intense–midseason explosion.
There are lots to like about the various storylines in this episode, and it’s always a treat to watch Maslany playing one clone playing another clone. Here, Alison’s drug and election plots are beginning to intersect with Cosima’s struggles, and she even ends up letting her mother see her clone at the end. Her mother apparently thinks that Cosima’s a mulatto, but nevertheless, it’s an extremely important moment for both Alison and her sestra. “You can’t choose your family, can you?” Alison throws at her mother after Cosima leaves. And that, of course, ties in with what she says about family values earlier: “[accept] your family for who they are.”
Also mentioned in the episode is the idea that “sometimes, we have to make hard choices” for our families. We have to “make room”, to “adapt”. Whether it’s Helena, just recently having escaped the compound and pissed off at S, or Alison, looking to take down Marci Coates, or Cosima, fighting for her life against her illness, the one constant is the existence of a support system. It’s a constantly changing and difficult world to live in, but that doesn’t mean that family will go away.
-I hope Shay isn’t just some double agent-esque character, or something like that. I hope she’s just someone cool and supportive, as Cosima needs that right now. The blood in the bathtub doesn’t look very good, to say the least.
-All of the above is going on while Donnie is stumbling his way through a drug deal. It’s a fun scenario to watch, and I have 100% confidence that he’ll find his way out of there. Perhaps he’ll dropkick everyone off the planet.
-Rachel and Sarah next week. It’s going to be good.
Photo credit: BBC America, Orphan Black