Orphan Black Review: “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate”

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

Here’s my review of Orphan Black season three episode “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

“Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” seems like an odd title for an episode about family. But this episode also features Donnie almost getting his nose chopped off by angry drug dealers, so I guess we can give it a pass. This episode really felt like we were stalling a bit, and I think the episode suffers a little for it. But in the end, we got to check in on all the clones so it wasn’t a complete waste of an episode.

I’ve been saying all season that Alison and Donnie’s storyline has felt very disconnected from everything. They haven’t been involved in the Castor plot at all, and except for Alison pretending to be Rachel in the opening episode, they haven’t bothered with Dyad stuff either. It has been a little disappointing to not see Alison interact with her sisters much, not only for her character but from a plot writing standpoint. The main plot of any story is always the most important, hence the reason you call it the “main” part. Anything that detracts from the main plot is a distraction. While it may be nice to have one or two brief distractions along the way, we’ve seen way too much of Alison-as-a-drug-dealer this season without having it connect to the main plot at all. This makes the story overall seem weaker because the side stories feel like filler. It feels like you don’t have enough material for the main story.

I’m hopeful though that Alison’s story will somehow connect by the end of the season. This episode did make an effort to remind us that they at least take place in the same universe. We started off with Donnie taking Alison’s stats for Dyad, just as a reminder that they’re still being monitored. And as yet another reminder of things that have happened in the past, Donnie and Jason Kellerman go meet Pouchy, the drug dealer who chopped off Vic’s finger in season one. Things like this make the world of the story seem smaller, which is a good thing. It doesn’t feel like Alison and Donnie are on a completely different planet anymore.

And it was nice to see the dynamic between Alison and Felix again. They make such a great neurotic team. Felix hasn’t had a lot to do this season. As Alison’s campaign manager, he at least gets to take charge and contribute in a way he doesn’t get to do with everything else going on.

Cosima got to be a part of Alison’s storyline this time too, since she needed a urine sample and couldn’t stall long enough to wait until after the school board event. So we get to see Cosima play Alison a few times and Tatiana Maslany is amazing as always. After three seasons, Maslany absolutely nails making these characters distinct from each other. Each clone’s mannerisms are just different enough to make them feel real with their own individual personalities. Even if the story feels disconnected from everything else, the strength of the characters still make it fun to watch.

The overall theme of the episode was family, but in particular it was mothers. We finally meet Alison’s mother and that gives us more explanation about the way Alison acts the way she does. But while that dynamic is interesting, the mother I’m more fascinated by here is Mrs S. While Alison is dealing with her own problems, Sarah and Helena are making their way home from the Castor camp in Mexico. Mrs S meets up with them to take them home, and Helena is understandably angry with her for selling her out to the Castors earlier this season. Mrs S isn’t their actual mother but she’s a mother figure to just about everyone. It was fun to see them exchange a few punches before hugging it out. I would have liked to see more of that scene, but it makes sense that Helena isn’t the sort of person to talk things out, so there probably wasn’t much conversation that we didn’t get to see.

While this episode didn’t move the main plot with the Castors and such forward at all, there were still connections made between our main characters. The plot is kind of spinning its wheels right now, but at least the splatter from the mud is still fun to watch.

Classified Research Notes

  • Scott got to interact with Rachel to ask her about deciphering the secret code left behind in Duncan’s notes. Scott really gets to shine more than he has previously in these small scenes, and I’m glad to see his expanded role this season.
  • Why is Delphine suddenly such a crazy person? Is she just drunk off the power of her promotion? Has she always been like this and was just hiding it earlier? Or maybe her hair straightener has just fried her brain?
  • Cosima’s health seemed to plummet pretty fast during the course of this episode. She seemed pretty okay in her first scene with Shay, but by the time she was talking on the phone with Scott, she looked like she didn’t feel well. And by the time she got to the school board event, she seemed really bad off. With the final bathtub scene, we should all officially be worried about Cosima relapsing again. 😦
  • Donnie speaks a bit of Portuguese which is a lot of fun. Fun fact: the only word of Portuguese I know is “narina” which means nostril.
  • LOL every time I see Justin Chatwin, I just think about Dragonball Evolution. I’m sorry.
  • Helena should keep that cowboy hat forever. Yes or yes?

So what did you think? Like it or hate? Just want to hug it out with someone now? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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