This review, like Dyad, is full of secrets and spoilers. Tread with caution.
Orphan Black has been one surprise after the other for us since day one. Then, this episode showed up. Focusing on Allison Hendrix, this is the first episode of Season 3 that hasn’t held me on the edge of my seat. To be fair, “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” is not designed to be a serious episode; after the scars and agony of watching a beloved character die in the last episode, the showrunner no doubt wanted to leave the viewer with some lighter fare.
The episode begins in Mexico. Sarah is devastated after losing Paul and spends most of her time with her head down. Helena, however, is living it up at the card table and making enough money for the two to eat. Still, Helena is adamant that when she sees Mrs. S she will kill her. Mrs. S shows up, prepared to take the girls back to Canada and deal with the consquences of giving up Helena at the end of Season 2.
Donnie is still monitoring Allison’s heath for Dyad. Allison deals with it with passive frustration, but her mind is focused more on the upcoming School Trustee election and buying her mother’s store, Bubbles, in order to use it as a front to launder drug money. However, in the end Allison’s mom (from here out known as Mrs. Hendrix) is crazier than Allison could ever be. She delights in calling her son-in-law Chubbs; it was Donnie’s name before he took the last name Hendrix for Allison’s sake. Mrs. Hendrix demands to look at the documents before signing her store over and in the process, Allison learns that her mother will be voting for her competition in the upcoming election. Allison does her best to shake it off and not appear devastated.
Delphine interrupts private time between Cosima and Shay, claiming she needs an emergency urine sample. She is worried about some findings she has discovered looking at the Castor proteins. If it weren’t for the fact that Cosima’s lab partner, Scott, seems greatly worried as well, the viewer would probably ignore this as a stalker intent.
Donnie makes a big deal of kissing Allison in front of Jason, their drug dealer buddy. Allison’s husband is less concerned about the envelope he grabs from the car in order to accompany Jason in giving money to a local drug lord to purchase product. Allison’s signatures for candidacy are in one envelope. Donnie’s money is in another. You get where this is going. Everyone gets where this is going.
Back in Mexico, Helena punches Mrs. S in the face, and Mrs. S takes it like a champ. She ends up hugging Helena until she stops fighting; it was not unlike the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight.
Mrs. Hendrix calls Allison while having a panic attack and demands her daughter get down to the store. Of course, this is just in time for candidate photo ops. Lucky that Cosima shows up to the school to try and get a urine sample from Allison, in order to escape testing. Cosima, reluctantly, steps in as Allison deals with her mother refusing to sell Bubbles. Allison fights for Donnie’s reputation and leaves.
At Dyad, Rachel comes in for full testing. Scott is wise enough to give Rachel a glimpse of The Island of Doctor Moreau, and offers to teach Rachel how to play the roleplaying game he has. Rachel accepts, hoping to get a closer look at the book she and her father read, and coded, when she was a child. Delphine misses this entirely.
Mrs. Hendrix comes to the school to tell her daughter just why she’s so uppity as a matron. It turns out, Allison was created by in vitro fertilization and that Mrs. Hendrix asked for a few upgrades in the process. She is disappointed, it turns out, that Allison has not been the perfect specimen she expected. She asks her mother to wait so she may give a speech, but ends up running into Jason who has come to get the money. Donnie’s envelope has been discovered and he is being held by a drug dealer…the same one that cut off Vic’s fingers in Season One…because there seems to be only one major drug lord in Canada.
Allison ends up in the parking lot with the money so that the niece of the drug lord can come get it and make sure there is no funny stuff. Allison is, of course, missing her speech. Cosima steps in briefly to handle the speech, as she is still at the school waiting for a pee sample. Allison is able to return just in time to save the day and give a rousing speech about family dynamics. This, of course, overlays with images of Mrs. S talking to Sarah about Beth, Helena and future kids. Cosima runs into Jason, and Jason kisses her, surprising no one but Cosima.
We end the episode with Mrs. Hendrix getting to meet Cosima, and of course continuing to be completely crazy and Cosima succumbing to her own deceptions to Shay.
Sarah calling Mrs. S “Mom” during their discussion completely floored me. For so much of the show, Sarah has stuck to “Mrs. S” as her official address. Now, devastated and broken all Sarah wants is her Mom. Allison, however, spends so much of this episode being the adult and learning who she really is. She is able to shrug off her mother’s need for approval. Mrs. Hendrix’s speech about hard decisions foreshadows that Allison will likely have to make a decision in the next few episodes: stick with Donnie or succumb to her past with Jason.
If this episode wasn’t so cut and dry predictable, it would have been far more enjoyable. However, fans who needed a break after last week will likely be relieved there are no grenades and broken hearts in this one.