There’s finally no need for “The Alison Report!” Not only did she actually cross paths with another clone this episode, but she also added some curious details to the big picture by revealing key information regarding her upbringing.
“Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” is basically this season’s “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things.” (And, oddly enough, both are the seventh episode of their respective seasons.) However, rather than feature mayhem during “Family Day” at rehab, things go awry at a “Meet the Candidates” event for the Glendale School trustee election.
After Donnie gives Alison her Dyad-required check-up, they make a quick pitstop at Bubbles, hoping that Alison’s mother will sign the papers right away so that they can zip over to the local high school. Trouble is, Connie Hendrix (Sheila McCarthy) isn’t into it. It’s clear that she’s given Alison a hard time all her life and continues to do so, but boy does she despise Donnie – or, should I say, Donald Francis Chubbs? Between her disdain for Donnie and attachment to the store, Connie insists that she get some time to read over the contract. And right there marks the start of what will become a growing pile of calamities that will circle back to get Alison later on in the episode.
Cut to Cosima and Shay sharing a tender moment until Delphine shows up to warn Cosima that her levels are “worrying.” Sure, Delphine did just break Cosima’s heart and go over to the dark (top) side, but if Delphine and Scott think that she needs to undergo testing, why would someone as science-savvy as Cosima ever think it’s a good idea to cheat the urine test and have Alison pee in the cup instead? Probably because the writers needed a reason to get Alison and Cosima in the same location and, minus that logic flaw, the resulting mix-up is worth it.
With Felix’s help, Alison attempts to focus her attention on the election. But that doesn’t last long. She gets a frantic call from Connie who claims to be having a heart attack so Alison’s got to rush back to Bubbles while Felix does his best to cover for her. Again, did the episode need the detail about Connie being a hypochondriac? Not really, but it does get Alison out of the high school so that Cosima could come in and someone could mistake her for Alison.
Cosima playing Alison marks more brilliant work from Tatiana Maslany. We’ve seen Alison and Sarah pretend to be other clones before, but not Cosima and her first go at it is fantastically awkward. Sarah and Alison have big, bold personalities, so it’s easier to buy them being able to switch gears and actually convincingly portray someone else. However, that just seems like an impossible task for the more low-key Cosima. While watching, I likened it to being required to sing. I can’t do it and don’t want to, but if someone shoved me out on a stage in front of a room full of people, it might turn out to be something along the lines of Cosima’s speech at “Meet the Candidates.” It’s amusing, but not quite like when Sarah pretends to be Alison or vice versa. I can feel the discomfort radiating off of Cosima, making the moment more poignant and less madcap than most Orphan Black clone swap situations.
Complicating matters further, things don’t go particularly well during Donnie and Jason’s meeting with Pouchy (Tony Cianchino) who, as Felix points out, is the same crime boss who hacked off Vic’s finger in season 1. Turns out, Alison actually gave the envelop with $30,000 in it to Sarah Stubbs so Donnie goes to Pouchy with an envelop full of election signatures, and Pouchy isn’t happy about it. Pouchy insists on holding Donnie until he gets his money, so Jason has to go back to the school to get it himself. So now we’ve got Alison, Felix, Cosima and Jason involved in the crazy “Meet the Candidates” mix-up, but that’s not all. Connie comes by for a visit as well.
This recap would be insanely long if I broke down the entire back-and-forth between all the characters, so here are the key details. When Alison and her mother are alone, Connie reveals that when she had the in vitro procedure done, she had the clinic swap out Alison’s “father’s” contribution for “an upgrade.” Alison is visibly upset and eventually gets a little payback. When Connie walks in on a conversation between Alison and Cosima, Alison figures, screw it, and introduces Cosima to her mother – as her clone. It was one heck of a “holy shit” moment because I most certainly didn’t see it coming. It’s an insanely risky move, but it didn’t even matter because Connie didn’t believe Alison anyway, and that’s a reaction that feels very appropriate given her know-it-all, entitled attitude.
On top of that, it looks like Alison might really win this election and that could seriously shake up her priorities in the final episodes of the season. We also get that kiss between Cosima and Jason as well. I don’t like the idea of Alison possibly cheating on Donnie, especially when the large majority of season 2 was about them coming back together, but it was pretty obvious that this was coming the moment we met Jason. I also like the idea of seeing a little tension between Felix and Alison. She had to come clean about the drug business and he clearly doesn’t approve, so will this wind up being a secret between the two of them or will he rat her out to her sisters?
Meanwhile, back in Mexico, Mrs S. tries to make amends with Helena. The cuts between these scenes and the ones back at the election event aren’t as seamless as the ones between various storylines in previous episodes, but I did appreciate the overlapping themes of acceptance and embracing family.
Lastly we’ve got Rachel and Scott sharing a few scenes that make Josh Vokey the unsung hero of the episode. I’ve enjoyed Scott since he was first introduced so it’s especially exciting to see him take matters into his own hands rather than just hanging out in Cosima’s shadow. Even though Rachel scares him, when she gives Scott an in, he jumps at the opportunity and agrees to teach her Agricola so that they can discuss the code in the book behind Delphine’s back. It’s a novel and especially smart diversion. When the time finally comes for them to sit down for their first lesson, all it is is a conversation between two people over a board game, but it functions as a very tense chat that successfully puts these two drastically different characters on the same level, giving the scenario loads of potential in the remaining episodes.
“Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” is a fun watch and is also an effective come down from last week’s episode, but it was definitely a bit clunky compared to season 2’s “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things.”
Episode Rating: ★★★ Good
Sequencing and Analyzing:
- “First I eat. Then we fight.” – Helena
- “We’re going to dismantle that bitch.” – Felix
- “Donnie, when we’re in there, don’t use words like copacetic.” – Jason
- I’ll take Donnie jokes any day, but it’s also especially gratifying to see him get serious and defend his family. (Hopefully Donnie and Jason don’t have an argument in the car à la Leekie anytime soon though!)
- “He is named Jesse. Together we will drive tow trucks and make a home for our babies.” – Helena
- “You can’t have Sarah without the rest of her family, I’m afraid.” – Mrs S
- “You need bangs, bangs that say unhappy, sexless marriage.” – Felix
- “I know Alison’s got a cactus up her ass, but you’re over clenching.” – Felix
- “There are not two Pouchys (Pouchies?), darling.” – Felix
- Is that Krystal in the episode 8 preview? Definitely looks and sounds like it might be!