Tuesday 9 June 2015

Orphan Black - You’re with family now.

Orphan Black: 3x07 Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate.

I will not make boundaries my agenda. Instead I would … I would… family. That’s my agenda.
Sometimes family is not just the people under your roof. They’re people who jump in head first, who aren’t afraid of making fools of themselves to help you, who don’t hide their faces in shame if you fall down.
If your family is suddenly bigger than you expected and your house gets too crowded, do you tell your family that they need to find a different place to live? You make room. You adapt. You find creative solutions to keep people together. 
Family is at the centre of this episode, and it is at the centre of this season, this whole show. The idea of a growing family is one way of thinking about what has been happening. In a way, discovering that she was a clone, for Sarah, was like feeling her family grow. It took her a long time to accept that, and to figure out how it fit in with her always wanting to run, and have as little baggage with her as possible, but she is now at a point where she doesn’t just care for her sisters, but needs them. They are inseparable, a family, and that family is still growing. Mrs S has just taken in Gracie, given her a home the same she did to all those children back in the day. She is now providing the same for Helena, in an attempt to make up for selling her out. In a way, it’s a lesson learned: in a world with an enemy as powerful as whatever Sarah and her sisters are up against, nobody can afford to sell each other out, to make those distinctions. Selling out Helena meant betraying Sarah. Loving one of the sisters means loving all of them, protecting all of them equally. The scene in which Helena and Siobhan struggle with each other is one of my favourite this season, because their respective natures are so clear: they are both utterly fierce in their stubbornness, their protectiveness. Helena is hurt and wants revenge, Mrs S is the mother trying to make up for her past mistakes, trying to extend her hospitality and care to another child. 
As much as Alison has been on the fringes of this season, her speech summarizes the struggle they are all facing, and their strategy to win it. They will not cast anyone out, and instead house everyone who is up against the same machinery. It is the only way to move forward. Last episode, Sarah was haunted by Beth, who attempted the same thing but ultimately failed. They will now all do better, or at least try their best, without leaving anyone out in the cold. 
Siobhan: You can’t have Sarah without the rest of her family, I’m afraid.
Random notes: 

As a lesbian… supporter.

Sarah Stubbs’ affection for Alison is very very adorable. 

In this episode, mutual trust and support includes Cosima posing as Alison for her school trustee campaign, while Alison struggles with both her mother’s neuroses and inability to support her and trust her, and Jason’s resilient feelings for her. Cosima has always been the one clone who is most terrible at changing and pretending, and she doesn’t do a particularly good job here. 

Delphine and Cosima are… an absolute disaster, and an example of how things go wrong once trust is lost. They both are incapable of separating their personal feelings from the fight itself, which is both the struggle with Castor and the forces trying to control the clones’ lives and for Cosima’s life, and their break-up. Delphine falls into old monitoring habits which loses her even more respect and trust, and Cosima falls into old making terrible decisions about whom to trust patterns as a result. 
It’s that weird dynamic that ultimately leads to both her and Scott putting more faith in Rachel, or at least in Rachel’s self-interest, than in Delphine’s ability to help them from Topside. They know that Rachel can translate the text for them, but fail to take into account how fierce Rachel’s ability to manoeuvre still is (and part of that is believing that she is no longer capable, while in fact she is even more dangerous wounded). 
Alison: You’re gonna tell me what’s wrong. Are you sick again?
Cosima: No, this isn’t about me. This is about this protein in castor and whether it’s communicable or not.
Alison: No it isn’t. Look I reported my menstrual flow to Donnie this morning. We need Dyad when it comes to our health. 
The episode was also a reminder of how blocked the information flow is between the clones. Felix wasn’t aware that Alison is selling drugs (nor is anyone else), Alison isn’t really up-to-date when it comes to Castor and Cosima’s health. If family is the strategy, and extending the meaning of it, then failing to share and communicate is exactly what will make that strategy fail. And one of the successes of Castor this season has been separating the clones. 

This is the first time we’ve seen any of the clones’ mothers (if we do not count Siobhan) – and it’s interesting considering how very much shaped by her mother Alison is. It’s all about biology, but also nurture.

Alison ends up revealing to her mum that she is a clone out of anger more than anything else, but like a true suburban mother, Mrs Hendrix successfully suppresses the obvious and finds an explanation for it that suits her better.  

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