Review: Orphan Black’s slow ride

SPOILER ALERT: Please do not read on unless you’ve seen the Season 3, Episode 7 of Orphan Black, titled “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate.”

Anyone who watches any TV knows what this episode was: filler. We took a break tonight from the main, pulse-racing plotline that dominated last week’s hour, and instead had our focus shifted to the wacky Alison drug-dealing sideplot. Nothing really happened, nothing really changed, and the momentum Orphan Black was picking up screeched to a halt as we dallied around at a school trustee campaign rally.

Every scene outside of the Alison story was far more compelling and interesting. The things we’ve been led to care about this season—Helena and Sarah’s relationship, Cosima’s health, Rachel’s plan of action—are relegated to the sidelines, so any morsel we can savour, we should. As I will always attest, Helena is by far the most interesting character; every scene with her shines. So the opening in the Mexican restaurant is engaging enough, knowing that Helena wants to kill Mrs. S. for betraying her and selling her out.

I thought we were going to have an episode of fun Sarah and Helena dialogue, but instead Sarah decides to take a shower in a strange place from a complete stranger (who knew Helena was pregnant?), even though they just escaped a military base and are probably being sought after. She then proceeded to spend three-quarters of the episode in there. Bummer.

Cosima, too, is barely onscreen (not disguised as Alison), and when she is it’s infinitely more watchable than the Alison plotline. The chemistry between Cosima and Shay is believable, and their pre-and-post-coital flirtations are actually kind of hot. (To be honest, I didn’t really see that coming from two actresses who worked together as children. Good for them!) Cosima tells Shay the half-truth, that she’s sick but not why, and doesn’t mention anything about clones. Shay will find out soon enough!

When Cosima started bleeding out in the bathtub, I have to admit I got a little worried. So many of the Castor clones have died, and there hasn’t been any personnel loss on Team Leda for some time. (I’m not counting Paul.) Could Cosima die this season? I hadn’t really considered it. It wouldn’t be advisable for Orphan Black to lose one of its strongest characters at this juncture, so it’s most likely not going to happen.

The rest of the episode was pure Alison running for school trustee. We all knew she was going to win, so the stage is set for her victory—unless it all derails from the drug-dealing, which is probable. We meet her mother (Canadian shout-out to Sheila McCarthy!), who takes forever to sell her store to Alison, and we see Donnie make a series of missteps in the suburban couple’s first big drug deal. Everything is drawn out as Alison has to go back and forth between the rally and the deal. Watching this storyline was like that girl counting the money in Portuguese. It took forever.

At the end, at least we find out that Rachel knows the code in Ethan’s book, and she’ll only reveal it to Sarah. Yes please, more scenes with those two, and let’s circle back to the big stuff. We’re running out of time (and episodes) to dally any further.

Clone of the Week: Who else but Helena? Punching Mrs. S. in the face, being mouthy with the server, muttering death threats. It’s all so classic.

Random Thoughts:

  • I hate when Cosima coughs! Makes me so upset because I know what’s coming.
  • Helena vs. Mrs. S.: Ding ding ding! Loved every second of that.
  • Sooo the Castor clones just took the day off? No pursuit? No nothing? I find that very hard to believe.
  • Felix: “You need bangs that say ‘unhappy, sexless marriage.’”
  • How could they possibly hide Cosima’s dreadlocks under a Santa hat? I had dreads for two years of my life and they would bend to no hat.
  • Learning to play Agricola looks … uh …
  • Felix: “We’re gonna dismantle that bitch.”
  • I will never tire of seeing Canadian money on TV.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.