Orphan Black S05E03 “Beneath Her Heart” REVIEW

Orphan Black S05E03 “Beneath Her Heart” REVIEW

0 comments 📅25 June 2017, 12:14

Airing in the UK on Netflix, Sundays
Written by: Alex Levine
Director: David Wellington

Essential Plot Points:

Flashback: Alison is having a dinner party with her old friend Aynsley (who she left to die when her scarf got caught in a garbage disposal unit) and her husband, Chad (who Alison slept with).

She’s getting calls from Beth, who’s trying to convince her that she’s a clone. Ignoring Beth’s messages, she takes magic mushrooms with Aynsley and Chad to forget it all.

Present day: Frontenac grills Alison and Donnie, trying to find Helena. When they say they don’t know (although we know Donnie knows), he says to Alison, “Even MK had more value than you.” This triggers a long dark night – well, day – of the soul for Alison, who is convinced she’s worthless.

Flashback: Alison is tripping balls as Cosima turns up on her doorstep. “You have a nose ring,” she tells her, flummoxed, then goes back inside, leaving Cosima bewildered.

Present day: The seestras light candles and mourn MK.

Alison goes to the church fair and is upset that she’s had to hand over control to her nemesis, Nona Walker. She spikes Nona’s drink with pills, but the priest arrives and she has a change of heart, taking the drink off her.

Art, Detective Enger and the Neo police arrive at Donnie’s and search the house; they want incriminating evidence to use against the Hendrixes to get them to reveal Helena’s location.

Donnie asks Art to keep them away from the garage – because of course there are two bodies under the cement.

Flashback: Alison, still high, tells Donnie, “You’re so normal! You golf and you watch TV and you commute! Sometimes you look at me so strangely, it’s like our entire life is a lie.” Which is pretty perceptive of her, given that we later learn he was her handler…

Present day: Rachel shows Kira a spiny mouse, which can apparently grow back its own skin and fur; this could be useful in their search for answers about the clones. Kira takes the mouse home with her.

Alison bumps into her old dealer, Ramone, and starts drinking and smoking weed with him!

At the Hendrixes’ house, Enger is planting evidence in the garage as Art walks in. He confronts her – but she spots the weird cement patch and realises there are probably bodies under the floor. Cue drills and digging…

Alison sees Chad at the church. Racked with guilt over the fact she let Aynsley die, she tries to come clean. He just hugs her.

Donnie, who has accidentally downed the spiked drink from Alison, dances a Highland jig – and collapses on stage (inadvertently flashing the entire crowd with what’s under his kilt).

Alison overhears Nona making a sarcastic comment about Donnie and tells the crowd exactly what she thinks of them. Bridges burned!

“Oooh, found a squishy,” says Enger, finding Leekie’s corpse under the garage. However, Alison has gone to see Rachel. She gives her Leekie’s head and points out that if Rachel sics the police on them, the murder trail will lead right back to her.

Rachel calls off Enger. Which is good, as Art was about to shoot her!

Alison tells Donnie that she needs some time away, and she’s going to see the kids. They sing a sweet little duet of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” together.

Helena’s location is revealed at last – she’s at the convent where she was raised.


There’s no denying this is a “treading water” episode, as the huge events of the previous few episodes (not to mention the tail-end of the previous season) wind down a little so that we can all catch our breath. This isn’t a bad thing, mind: it gives us a chance to focus on Alison, who has been a little bit neglected of late while Sarah, Cosima and Rachel have been stealing the spotlight.

Tatiana Maslany is – as usual – superb as the seemingly shallow, yet actually rather complex, Alison Hendrix. One minute she’s leaping about on a bouncy castle and absolutely off her tits; then she’s weeping on the shoulder of her former best friend’s husband after almost confessing everything to him. It’s a wonderful performance that has you feeling deeply for poor Alison and how everything she touches goes wrong. You also have to love how she bonds with Ramone over a spliff – remaining motherly, yet throwing caution to the wind. We’re glad he got a chance to return.

Also returning is Aynsley, which is a welcome reminder that Alison had a life before all the seestras started getting in touch and ruining everything. The journey from Alison and Aynsley lying in the back garden and staring up at the stars together to Alison watching her friend die is an even more poignant one now.

Compared to Alison’s journey this week, everything else seems a little downbeat. Kira’s still keeping her mum at a distance and keeping mum about Rachel’s “tests” on her (which don’t seem to be anything too drastic, luckily). Art gets to showcase his “worried” face as his mean new partner digs the dirt (literally), but it would be nice to see him get a few scenes in which we understand what’s going on with him more – he’s always been a somewhat underwritten character, and that seemingly isn’t being fixed in the final season.

This week’s most valuable player, however, is definitely Donnie. The way we see him in the flashback staying sober and clear-headed to watch out for his magic-mushroom-inhibited friends is adorable, as is his Highland fling (for a while, at least). His stricken face when Alison says she’s going to leave for a while is heartbreaking, too.

And their song! What a lovely way to end the episode – they’re being forced apart, but their bond is stronger than ever.

The Good:

“The weirdest people get one,” mutters Felix as he stares at Donnie’s naked dangly bits. If this isn’t a contender for the funniest line in the entirety of Orphan Black, we don’t know what is.

Donnie baring his bits to the crowd is hilarious – closely followed, suitably, by Alison baring her soul to the crowd. And big cheers from us for that: she was ostracised for dealing drugs, but she was selling them to the very people condemning her for it! Double standards in suburbia are RIFE!

The bodies are finally out from under the Hendrixes’ garage! This bodes well for them living a long, happy normal life when all of this is over, doesn’t it? Fingers crossed…

“I should like to put my hands around your neck and squeeze,” says Rachel, always in control. However, Alison’s reply – “Then we’re not so different, you and I” – is so suitably badass that you realise Rachel could have met her match with this one. Ironic, as she’d always dismissed her.

The Bad:

Given MK’s horrific death last week, it’s nice to see the ladies lighting candles for her this week… but, er, then that’s it. Nothing else, no more mentions. I know we didn’t know MK well, but this does seem a rather fast recovery from everyone!

Either Kristian Bruun really smacked his face when he fell over, or that was some bloody clever cushion-disguising. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

The Random:

The spiny mouse has, indeed, been shown to regrow skin – you can read about it here.

They’re also tiny and can squish themselves almost flat, so Kira’s mouse could easily escape from its cage by squeezing out of the bars. Plus she didn’t even bother closing the top of the cage…

Best Quote: Aside from Felix’s humdinger (above)…

Alison on a bouncy castle: “Talk to the bouncing hand, Donnie!”

Reviewed by Jayne Nelson

Read all our reviews of Orphan Black here.

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