BBC America's sci-fi thriller Orphan Black—and especially Tatiana Maslany's brilliant performances in it—has taken TV critics by storm recently, and we're just as enthralled by Sarah, Paul, Alison, Felix, Helena, Art, Cosima, et al. While the series is on hiatus until April 2014 (sob!), we here at H&H are eager to relive the glory of Season 1 with a hiatus rewatch led by Kiersten Hallie Krum, who also recaps Lost Girl, every Thursday for the next few weeks or so. Won't you join us?!
(Haven't watched the series yet, or looking for a way to watch it again? BBC America has a list of places where you can watch the episodes; plus, Season 1 is now out on Blu-ray/DVD for Region 1.)
Now onto the recap of episode 6, “Variations Under Domestication”...
In Alison’s house, Donnie snores on while Alison wakes and carefully examines her Husband Cam. Down in the Craft Room, she watches the captured video of her and her husband sleeping, but stops the feedback when Donnie rises from the bed in the middle of the night. She watches as he circles the bed to stare down at her and can we pause for a moment and note the real motif of Donnie in a t-shirt and his tighty-whities? Hat tip to actor Kristian Bruun for bringing the unromantic practicality of married life.
Alison warily enters the kitchen where Donnie is loudly shoving dishes into the dishwater and complaining that he “has to do everything around here,” cementing his role as a total dick of a husband. He lights into Alison the moment he sees her about all the things she’s left undone. From his bitching, it sounds like there’s an incoming party at their house that Alison appears to have completely forgotten. She studies her husband without hearing him. “Where did you go in the middle of the night, Donnie?” Donnie: “Ah, I don’t know. Never-Never Land?” Heh. Alison accuses that he left their bed in the middle of the night. Donnie continues to bitch about the house, the kids, and the million things with which Alison isn’t helping. Asshole. He puts on his coat and shoes to go get ice. Alison pursues him, demanding to know where he went during the night. He admits they had a bad day yesterday which Alison thinks is too small a way to describe their confrontation over his Sekkrit Box. She demands to know where he’s going now. “I’m going out to get the stuff that you were supposed to get yesterday!” he shouts back. Twitching in place, Alison spies Donnie’s golf bag propped against the half wall beside her.
She pulls a club from the bag and crosses to the door while tightly telling Donnie she’s trying to have a conversation with him. Donnie obnoxiously replies what a joy that is and goes on to patronize that he’s sure they’ll talk about it later. “It’s all good,” he lies as he turns around. Which is when Alison clocks him across the face with the 3-wood. I think. Despite my father’s life-long love of the sport, golf is not my milieu. With a grunt, Donnie falls to his knees as Alison covers her mouth in shock at what she’s done.
At the condo, Sarah flips through snapshots of Paul from his military days as Paul tells her that his problems didn’t start there, but rather when he left service to become a private contractor. Paul makes coffee as Sarah lifts his old dog tags from his box. “You understand?” he asks. “I’m not doing any of this by choice.” Sarah sums up that “they” forced Paul to be Beth’s monitor for two years without even knowing why. Paul looks insulted by her bald recounting. “You some sort of hustler, right? You understand leverage? You chose to infiltrate Beth’s life, to screw her boyfriend right on this counter.” Sarah: “And you weren’t even you.” Paul: “And you weren’t you either.” Oh, he’s getting her number now and by the look on her face, Sarah doesn’t like it. The only person who’s ever been able to call her on her shit before is Fee. Now here’s another man who sharp enough to keep up with her for whom she has no filial feeling for at all. Lots of other feelings in that mix though for sure.
Paul doesn’t think Sarah understands just how serious all this is. “We need to try and be honest with each other, twin sister,” he suggests. Sarah is wary but nods her head. She says they’ll see what happens with the medical tests he had performed on her, a clear rebuke despite her tacit agreement to honesty. Paul is sincere when he reminds her he wanted to get her away from that. “I’m serious about Rio.” Present tense. He’d still take her away in a moment if she gave the okay. Sarah insists she just wants him to tell her what happens to the results. Paul says they go to Olivier and after that he doesn’t know what happens. Sarah gets up and takes her top off as she steps into Paul’s space. He asks what she’s doing but doesn’t back up, and I think if she jumped him in that moment, he’d be all for it despite the distrust and anger he has for her now. Instead Sarah says she’s going to take a shower. “Wash off the filth,” she adds pointedly. “Is that okay with you,” she sneers over her shoulder as she heads for the bathroom. Paul glares after her, pissed that she riled him up even after everything he now knows about her.
Now in her bra and jeans, Sarah calls out from the bathroom to ask if Olivier will be able to tell she’s not Beth from the tests. Still wary and now on guard, Paul again says he doesn’t know what the test are for. “I explained that.” Sarah sidles into the doorway and deliberately unbuckles her jeans as Paul reminds her that this is his world. “It is you that I’m worried about.” Sarah raises a brow at him as she strolls from the bathroom into the bedroom while peeling down her jeans. “What is it that worries you about me?” Unfazed if not unaffected, Paul shoots back, “Whatever it is you’re not telling me.” He knows she’s still lying but he’s prepared to trust her anyway—right up until the moment he realizes she went out the bedroom window to escape him. His face hardens into cold, determined lines. Game on.
Sarah is in the Jag and on the phone with Cosima whom she tells is right. “Paul doesn’t even know about the clones.” Cosima is in the library back at the university. As she walks down the rows of shelved books, she whispers that she knew it was a double-blind. “The monitors are unaware of the purpose of the experiment. That way they can’t skew the results.” She stumbles over the end of the sentence as she passes Delphine who is nestled between a pair of stacks. Startled, she gives Delphine a cute wave. “Oh, hey.” Sarah goes on that she just had to get out of the condo, “I don’t even know where I’m going.” Cosima confesses she may have a monitor “dilemma” of her own. She glances back to see Delphine has exited the stacks to look after her and now poses prettily as she smiles at Cosima. She tells Sarah that she’s new at the university this semester and didn’t bring anyone with her. “But someone wants to be friends.” Sarah checks over her shoulder for pursuit and she advises “Cos” to stay away from Delphine. “Stick to the science, yeah?” Cosima gets huffy. “What am I, the geek monkey now?” But Sarah is serious. She downloads Cosima that Paul is a serious bad-ass and ex-military. “If somebody’s trying to get close to you just stay away.” Cosima snarks that Sarah wants her to do as Sarah says, not as Sarah actually does, what with all the banging of Paul she’s already got under her…belt. Before Sarah can respond to that though the PinkMobile beeps with a call from Alison. “Are we good?” she asks Cosima before she disconnects. Cosima sighs heavily and flippantly agrees. Sarah knows she doesn’t mean it, but she’s got another Clone Sister to deal with at the moment, and boy if that crisis isn’t bound to be a doozie.
“I need you,” Alison says without preamble. Sarah tries to get details but as Alison fastens a bike helmet over Donnie’s unconscious head (little late there, sweetie), she insists Sarah needs to get over to her house right now. She disconnects as her kids rambunctiously enter the kitchen and hustles them back out to go to Aynsley’s house despite their attempts to remind her of their upcoming party. Taking Donnie’s feet in hand, she tries to push him down the stairs to the basement, but squeals when gravity takes over and Donnie slips her grip to tumble down the stairs head first into the railing.
Back at the condo, Paul…makes toast? Oh-kay. He’s changed into dark navy clothes and calmly butters his toast (not a euphemism) as the tracking program on his laptop marks Sarah’s direction. So, he tagged her car with a tracker knowing she’d run out on him even as he tried to make somewhat of a fresh start with Sarah. Definitely has her number.
Down in Alison’s Craft Room, she’s bound him to a chair with her latest knitting project and tapes down his arms with red and black striped packing tape. Donnie rouses with confusion. “Why am I tied to the chair?” Alison shushes him and again asks what was really in his Sekkrit Box. Donnie: “Are you out of your mind?!” Getting there pretty quickly, yeah. He demands she untie him but Alison calmly refuses and claims she has questions that need answers. She spins a Lazy Susan of color-coded scissors with implied threat as Donnie shouts that this is insane and finally chooses a dark-green handled one from the center of the caddy. “Don’t worry, honey,” she patronizes deliberately. “It’s all good. Isn’t that what you always tell me?” She snips the scissors in the air with a direct look at Donnie’s groin. Not for nothing, but she bears a disturbing resemblance to Helena in this moment.
Spying something next to Donnie, Alison replaces the scissors and instead picks up the hot glue gun. She threatens Donnie with it and advises he think about what he might want to get off his chest. “Or what?” Donnie sneers. “You’re going to stick sequins on me?” Ha! Alison accuses him of moving the files. “The files you have on me. From your box. Your special box.” She drips some hot glue on his furry chest and Donnie screams in pain. Alison leaps back, shocked by her own behavior, and I think the fact that she’s really enjoying hurting her husband. Donnie howls and looks between his burned chest and his wife. “Have you lost your mind?!” Alison yells that she knows he spies on her. “You perform medical examinations on me in my sleep. You turned my whole life into a big, embarrassing lie, and you switched the files in your special box for porno DVDs! A Big Boob Blowies!” She punctuates each word of the title with a slap across Donnie’s blubbering face and then glue guns him again. Donnie howls.
At the university, Cosima works at a table while stealing glances at Delphine who is only a few tables away. She finally gives in and wanders over to talk to the French woman. It’s here that I notice the red and black scarf Cos wears features skull heads. Hee. “I’m bored,” she states baldly. Delphine searches her papers for the notification of the lecture she was going to go to. Neolution—NOW! Presented by Dr. Aldous Leekie. Hey, it’s Max Headroom! Yes, Matt Fewer, no matter how many other roles you play, you will always be Max Headroom first and foremost to me. Max was awesome though so worry not.
Cosima thinks Neolution is fringe science but Delphine thinks that since Cosima is a Darwinist, Neolution would interest her plus Dr. Leekie is, apparently, da bomb. Although Delphine would say he is la bombe. “I saw his TED Talk online and…Whew!” Cosima shrugs. “Sure. Why not?”
Paul snaps on black gloves before opening the bathroom medicine cabinet. Felix would be so proud. He removes some of Beth’s prescription pills. In the kitchen, he leaves a message on Sarah’s voicemail as he grounds what appears to be a magnum of emptied capsules in a modern mortar and pestle. Why does it not surprise me that he has a mortar and pestle? “Sarah, I understand why you took off this morning,” he says in his flat, Batman voice, “but I need…we need to know that the ground beneath us is solid.” He lifts the door to an upper cabinet as he says this and removes a bottle of whiskey. “So please,” he adds as he pours the ground up drugs through a funnel into the whiskey and swirls it around, “let’s talk about all this tonight.” Way to ruin good booze there, Paul. He disconnects and replaces the whiskey in the cabinet.
Donnie now has globs of cooling glue on his chest. Gross. Alison asks why he does it and Donnie again denies that he examines her in her sleep. She leans over him wielding the gun and Donnie recoils in fear. “Am I sick like the German?” she asks. Donnie doesn’t know who she’s talking about and Alison is about to start working on him again when Sarah knocks on the back door. Donnie demands to know what the hell is going on but Alison merely shushes him again. She puts her hot pink sleep mask over his eyes, adds her hot pink headphones to block his hearing, and stuffs cloth in his mouth as a gag, so clearly some part of her is still thinking strategically. Sarah enters and asks what the emergency is. Alison frets for a moment and then opens the door to reveal the bound and gagged Donnie. Sarah: “Who’s that?” Alison: “That’s Donnie.” Sarah: “Who’s Donnie?” Alison: “He’s my husband.” Sarah gapes at her. “I think he’s my watcher!” Alison shouts in defense. Sarah can’t believe what Alison’s done…which is when her friend Aynsley enters the house upstairs with a cheery “Hello!”
Finally, Alison remembers that she’s hosting this month’s pot luck. She hurries upstairs as Aynsley and a brood of children invade her house. Aynsley helpfully notes that Alison isn’t even dressed yet but laughs at the idea of changing the venue last minute. Hilariously, she’s toting the discarded golf club Alison must have left in front of the door after she knocked out Donnie. Passing it off to Alison, she promises to help “get this party started.” Dazed, Alison automatically replaces the club in Donnie’s golf bag. Aynsley’s douche husband greets her and Alison says hello to various people as she clenches up under the magnitude of the cluster she’s caused. Random extra off screen: “Is this a pajama party?” Snerk.
The whole neighborhood descends on Alison’s house as she hangs a homemade (natch) OFF LIMITS sign across the stairs to the basement. Aynsley approaches, full wine glass in hand, and in a quiet, embarrassed tone, informs Alison that nothing’s ready. Lady, she’s in her pajamas, her husband’s mysteriously absent, and she just finished telling you she didn’t feel well. Naturally, there should be a four-course meal prepared and ready to go. Oy. Alison takes the wine from Aynsley and tells her to cover for Alison. Ha. Another Stepford Wife arrives to ask why the basement is off limits. Alison claims it’s a mess and renovations start next week. SW snobbily whines that the kids are asking for chips. I tell you where to get your chips. Alison goes off to retrieve some from the pantry (not what I was going to suggest) and tells Aynsley to get the sausage rolls out of the freezer.
Downstairs, Sarah demands Alison kick out the monthly pot luck troupe. Alison shrugs into a shirt and sweater she’s retrieve from the nearby laundry basket. On the stairs are three family-size bags of chips. Look, it’s the details that add the layers, yeah? With a deep gulp from her wine glass, Alison insists she can’t kick out the pot luck people (PLP). “It’s my turn.” She pours a handful of pills from a prescription bottle. So both she and Beth were on Rx meds for anxiety/depression and Helena is flat-out bat shit crazy. Interesting. “And I have no gift bags,” Alison details, “no ice, and no bartender because my husband is tied to a chair.” She swallows a pill down with another gulp of wine. Sarah tries to head off the meltdown before Alison blows up. “You need to take a deep breath,” she soothes. “I hate yoga,” Alison snaps. Sarah rolls her eyes. “Okay.” She tells Alison she has to go up and play hostess like nothing’s wrong. Alison agrees, but only if Sarah interrogates Donnie. Alison pulls more of her clothes from the laundry basket. She says Sarah’s the expert so she should “go in there and get that lying bastard to confess.” Sarah is indignant as Alison passes over the clothes. “Be me. Put this on.” When Sarah objects that Donnie might just be Alison’s husband and nothing more, Alison cuts to the chase. “I need you to help me with this. I impersonated you in front of your daughter. Now it’s your turn.” Clone Sister Solidarity!
At Felix’s Fun Flat, Fee is getting the skinny about Donnie and Alison. He’s wearing black leather dance pants and a black mesh shirt. He denies her request to bartend for Alison. “I have a very handsome guest here.” The naked man on his bed seems to disagree about Felix’s availability as he opens his wallet to lay a wad of cash on the bed for Felix. Sarah changes her clothes as she begs Fee not to tell her he’s with Cute Colin again. Fee says no but he does plan to be again. He then asks “Teddy” if that’s all he can handle. Teddy smiles but pats the cash in answer. With a laugh and a slap on Teddy’s ass, Fee tells Sarah his afternoon just opened up. She tells him to hurry up and dress suburban. Fee: “You’ve got to be joking.” Sarah: “I know; it sucks to be my sister.” Heh.
Upstairs, Alison pulls burnt sausage rolls out of the oven. Shame on you, Alison. Domestic points shall be docked. SW#1 comes in the kitchen with SW#2 demanding disposable wine glasses, which, after two misdirections, Alison realizes she doesn’t know where to find. SW#2 asks what’s going on downstairs. Alison offers a burnt sausage roll on a spatula to buy time and distract her. Her delivery of “sausage roll?” cracks me up. Turns out SW#2 really just wants the name of Alison’s fake contractor. Alison goes off to deliver the burnt sausage rolls to other guests while SW#1 and #2 gossip about how Alison is already drunk. “And where the hell is Donnie?” SW#1 wonders.
Dressed in Alison’s clothes and applying Alison’s lipstick, Sarah tries out Alison’s accent. With a sigh and another roll of her eyes, she takes a cup of water in to Donnie. She takes out the gag and removes the headphones but leaves the sleep mask on. Donnie plaintively asks if they can stop now and Sarah/Alison agrees they can once he answers some questions.
Olivier and Paul pedeconference. “You told me yesterday she was fine,” Olivier accuses. Paul says “Beth” is right back in her dark place. He claims to have stopped her from O.D.-ing the night before. “She’s quit the force. Dumped her therapist. She has no one else.” He’s prepping Olivier for the report of “Beth’s” death once Sarah drinks his doctored whiskey. Sneaky. Olivier points out that “Beth” has Paul to “share in this crisis like any other event.” Paul sends him a side-long look. He’s more suspicious of Olivier and the people he works for than ever before, but his anger with Sarah is his driving force at the moment. Olivier instructs him not to interfere with “Beth” unless it’s critical. Paul stops walking and states that he needs to know he won’t be blamed if “Beth” does harm to herself and he can’t stop her. Olivier compliments that Paul has done well for them and as long as his “subject makes her own choices there are no wrong decisions.”
Sarah/Alison is trying the Good Clone tactic on Donnie, sweetly asking him to tell her how “it” works, “the double-blind. Monitor.” Donnie maintains he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and shouts that he got up in the middle of the night to watch South African cricket which starts at 4 AM. “Is there nothing in my life left unexamined by you?” Funny, coming from the man Alison believes is actually examining her. Sarah is already predisposed to believe Donnie as he is nothing like Paul and thus she has a hard time believing him to be in a like position as monitor/protector. She buys the cricket excuse and Paul’s aggrieved demeanor having experienced Alison’s anal tendencies for herself. Sarah is about to untie him when Donnie hears the PLP noise upstairs and is appalled that the whole neighborhood is at their house while he’s tied up downstairs. “What kind of irrational nonsense is going through that head of yours?!” Sarah/Alison scolds him but Donnie pays no heed. “Alison, get your frazzled PMS shit together!” That’s too much for Sarah to endure on Alison’s behalf. She jerks the sleep mask up to get in Donnie’s face and instinctively defend Alison. “Hey! You watch your tone! Your wife is the rock of this family. You will no longer speak down to her! Am I clear?” Clone Sister Solidarity Redux! Surprised and frightened by this alpha version of his wife, Donnie nods frantically. “Yeah.” Heh.
At the university, Cosima joins Delphine at Dr. Headroom’s lecture. She’s wearing a kick-ass crimson coat that I madly covet. Delphine is delighted that Cosima showed up and gets up close and personal in her space to prove it. She promises Cosima won’t be disappointed and Cos murmurs agreement as she notes a few people with augmented eyeballs. “Doctor Leekie attracts diverse thinkers,” Delphine allows. She drags Cosima over to a seat just as the lights dim. Leekie puts on a light show worthy of a top-notch planetarium though featuring genetics instead of stars. He’s a charismatic speaker who breaks down his ideas to common-man understandable levels. Delphine watches Cosima very closely to gauge her response to him. Leekie zeroes in on Cosima and uses her glasses of an example of how he could someday improve her vision to see a broad spectrum of light from infrared to x-rays and ultraviolet. Cosima shrugs: “Maybe I’ll just start with basic LASIK?” Everyone laughs, including Leekie, who points out that a decision for LASIK is making an evolutionary choice. “Neulotion gives us an opportunity at self-directed evolution. And I believe that’s not only a choice but a human right.”
Over at Felix’s Fun Flat, Vic the Dick uses bolt cutters to snap through the padlock. He roams around the flat, helping himself to a joint and an apple, and then raises the lid of the laptop to see the map to Alison’s house that Fee ordered up. Way to clear your cache there, Fee.
Felix gets out of a cab in full gay preppy mode of shirt, sweater, blazer, and trousers complete with pocket square and penny loafers with actual pennies in them. Love. “All right, Felix,” he coaches himself. “Time to party with the party.” He knocks on the back door and Sarah comes out of the
Torture Craft Room to answer it. Fee spins around to greet Alison and Sarah bursts out laughing at the sight of him. “Oh shit. I totally thought you were Alison.” Sarah grins at him and Fee sighs. “Have you looked in the mirror? There’s a thing on your head.” Heh. She pulls him into the basement. “Shit, as they say, is completely sideways, Fee.” Fee doesn’t hesitate. “What do you need?” Love. Him.
Upstairs, Alison is giggling into her disposable wine cup. SW#1 comes up to her, nearly empty cheeseboard in hand, and prissily asks where to find more crackers. “How should I know, Cherry?” Alison sneers waving the half-empty wine bottle in her hand. “Why don’t you go check the cracker cupboard?” Sensing trouble, Aynsley hurries over to intercept. She snatches the bottle from Alison and in a low voice tells Alison that SW#3 (Meera) is “talking.” She wonders where Donnie is and why he isn’t helping Alison with the PLP. “He’s tied up,” Alison murmurs drunkenly as she tries to escape Aynsley’s interrogation. Aynsley orders Alison not to cover for Donnie. “Not again and not to me. You know what I’ve been through with Chad.” For a minute there, I thought she might really care for Alison. Good for Aynsley to make it all about her again. Chad decides to call out to them in that moment and lewdly compliments the results of Alison’s exercise regime. “Why is everyone asking me so many goddamn questions?!” Alison shouts just as Fee makes his way into the room. “Hello neighbors,” he sing-songs. “Your bartender is here!” he calls out. “I’m just gonna have a quick word with our hostess and I’ll be…ah…right back to top you off.” He gives Chad the once over during this neat distraction and then extracts Alison from the company of her “friends” but Aynsley narrows her eyes and gazes after them with suspicion anyway. Chad grins. “That’s a gay bartender. That’s awesome.” Aynsley: “Chad shut your stupid mouth and feed the kids.” Honestly? They deserve one another.
Downstairs, Alison collapses on the couch as Sarah emerges from the
Torture Craft Room again. Rubbing her forehead, Alison acknowledges that she screwed up and Donnie isn’t her monitor. “But I whacked him and it felt so good.” Heh. Right there is a good clue that your marriage is over. Skeptical, Fee asks if Donnie is really in there and Sarah confirms Alison’s husband is actually tied to a chair. Fee hurries off to handle the mess upstairs while Alison castigates herself. “I tortured my husband. I messed up my family. And you’re the only person I can talk to and you’re just another version of me.” She starts to cry as Sarah joins her on the couch. Sarah pats her leg. “I’m a horrible person,” Alison decides. “I’m not even a real person!” Sarah’s had enough and points out that Alison has stood up to all this clone shit so far. I don’t know how that disputes that she’s horrible and not a real person, but okay. Sarah tries to take away the disposable wine cup but Alison pulls it out of reach as she drains it down. Carefully, Sarah explains Donnie’s excuse about the cricket. “Look, Paul’s military. He’s a professional.” Alison’s known Donnie since high school so Sarah thinks this a good reason why Donnie couldn’t be her monitor. Unless, since “they” didn’t lose track of Alison the way “they” did of Sarah (and, presumably, Helena), “they” would’ve been prepared to set up Alison’s monitor from a very young age…for both her and the monitor.
“So he’s just Donnie?” Alison whines. “Eating, farting Donnie?” She finishes the wine in her disposable glass and finally hands it off to Sarah. “My monitor’s probably one of those bitches upstairs,” she decides. But before Sarah can counsel more caution in the monitor hunt, Alison falls over and passes out.
Outside in his Range Rover, Paul sits not at all creepily and watches more of the neighborhood go into Alison’s house.
Back at the planetarium, Delphine and Cosima are good-naturedly arguing how best to classify Neulotion over some wine when Delphine excitedly points out that Doctor Leekie has entered the room…again. Cosima looks over to see the doc signing some of his books for his augmented devotees. Delphine decides that she would just love to meet him but Cosima is more reluctant to interact with The Great One. Delphine plays advanced scout and then motions Cosima to join her. Dr Leekie speaks a very little French and Delphine nearly wets herself. “I have a neuro-lingual chip,” Dr. Leekie admits with fake chagrin. Okay, now that would be super cool. Cosima calls him on his bullshit and he admires her skepticism and admits that neural implants are only something they’re working on (poser).
Recognizing her cue, Delphine provides the name of the DIAD Institute that Leekie runs and Cosima asks if the more obviously genetically augmented devotees are from the DIAD Institute as well. Leekie laughs and calls them his “freaky-Leekies” or so the media has dubbed them. He explains that once in response to a question about his perfect human, he off-handedly suggested silver-gray hair and one white eye. So, even genetic revolutionists have fandoms. Nifty. Delphine proves this by fangrrling over his lecture. She volunteers that she’s in immunology but Leekie ignores her almost completely in favor of Cosima. “I’m in Evo Devo,” she offers, “so whenever somebody talks about the future, I always say ‘Show. Don’t Tell.’” Hey, that’s a writer’s watch phrase too! Though for entirely different reasons. Honestly, I kinda think the Orphan Black showrunners/writers deliberately included that phrase for just those reasons. And a wink wink nudge nudge to both of you sirs too! Leekie, quite seriously, says he hopes Cosima will give him a chance to do that and oh my, is there a double meaning in that! He passes over a DIAD business card and invites her to take a look at their work. As he moves on, Delphine playfully calls Cosima a brat for poking at The Great One. Cosima scoots over to the food table and snatches up a pair of unopened wine bottles. Giggling, she passes one over to Delphine and they jog out of the room before anyone can stop them.
Back in Suburblandia, Felix pours most of a bottle of tequila into the punch bowl, glances around, and then swigs from the bottle direct. Sarah/Alison makes her way around several
brats running kids to join him. In the back room behind her there is this really hot, built, Italian-looking guy who is totally checking Sarah/Alison out around the woman talking to him. Fee glances down as she joins him and offers “Alison” a pint of Chablis. Sarah/Alison gives him A Look. “It’s me, Fee,” she drawls in her native accent. “Oh shit, sorry.” Sarah/Alison informs him that the Real Alison has gone down in a heap. “We need to get her life out of the fire somehow.” Felix, bless him, doesn’t even hesitate. He’s pretty sure he’s spotted Alison’s real monitor. Aynsley hurries over to chide Sarah/Alison some more before Fee can reveal who it is. Chad sweeps by and grabs Sarah/Alison’s ass, to which Sarah reacts strongly. Chad: “Just bouncing quarters here.” Such a douche.
Aynsley recognizes Fee from the first night Sarah met her Clone Sisters when she brought Fee along for backup and he got hassled by the snot walking her dog. “Do you work at the plaza?” Fee: “Oh, I don’t do plazas.” Snort. She asks how Sarah/Alison knows Fee and after a fumble, Felix introduces himself as Alison’s acting coach. Aynsley chides Sarah/Alison again for not telling her she (Alison. Stick with me here) was getting professional training. Fee distracts the endlessly nosy gossip by offering red or white as Sarah/Alison escapes back down to the basement.
Hand in hand, Delphine and Cosima run through a tunnel, purloined wine in their free hands. High on their escape (they were pursued for cheap wine?) Cosima next wants to steal some bikes. “Oh no, that’s too much crime for me,” Delphine moans. Heh. She excuses that she has a class to TA, which academic to the core Cosima understands. Delphine informs her that a very French thing to do after “a jogging” is to smoke a cigarette. She offers one to Cosima who refuses as she only smokes pot. “I’m from San Fran, so…I am going to get you sooooo baked one day,” she promises. “Okay, one day,” Delphine agrees cagily. Obviously, like Sarah with Paul, Cosima is unable to resist her pull to Delphine and unwilling to give it much of a go at that. Delphine tells Cosima that it’s really nice to make a friend in the “brave new world.” She kisses Cosima European style (one on each cheek) and Cos just barely resists turning her head to make it a real kiss.
Sarah goes into the
Torture Craft Room and apologizes to Donnie as she gives him some water. He begs her to untie him but she says she can’t until the party’s over. Donnie: “I—I bought mulled wine.” Heh. Ignoring this, Sarah/Alison suggests that while he’s down there, Donnie should really think about his and Alison’s lives together, their house and kids. “You don’t wanna lose that.”
Outside, Paul draws on the black gloves of bad intent and heads for Alison’s house. Inside, Fee swans around with an empty bottle, turns in place…and runs smack into a grinning Vic the Dick. “That is a really good look on you,” Vic the Dick snarks. Sarah exits the
Torture Craft Room and checks again on the sleeping Alison as her mobile rings. Felix demands she come upstairs immediately. “Vic (the Dick) is here.” Vic the Dick takes the phone from Fee and tells Sarah that if she doesn’t come upstairs he’s going to start making friends fast. She agrees to meet him in the upstairs bedroom in two minutes.
Paul slips inside Alison’s back gate (not a euphemism!) and stealthily enters the basement. He sees the pictures of Alison with Donnie and the kids. Alison snorts in her sleep and Paul whirls to see her on the couch. Puzzled, he approaches her and turns her head to check for Beth’s scar. When he doesn’t find it, he tries to rouse Alison, calling her Sarah. “Are you Sarah?” Eyes still closed, Alison brushes his jacket and identifies herself. “You want some of this?” she asks drunkenly, pursing her lips and making kissing noises. Paul recoils. There should be a betting pool on how many times it took to shoot this scene due to them all cracking up over this moment. “Come to bed with me,” she mutters even as she rolls over. Paul straightens when he hears a crash from the
Torture Craft Room followed by Donnie’s moans of pain. He carefully opens the door to find Donnie on the floor but still tied to the chair. Glancing around, Paul sees Alison’s laptop, still connected to the Husband Cam upstairs that now shows Vic the Dick getting comfortable on Donnie and Alison’s bed. Paul shuts the door from inside the Torture Craft Room. Uh-oh. Paul gazes down at Donnie, frowning, but makes no sound as to alert Donnie he’s no longer alone. Instead, Paul moves over to examine the scene on the laptop.
Upstairs, Sarah braces herself and then enters the bedroom to confront Vic the Dick. “A stroller and a latte and you could fool even me,” he says as Paul watches on the laptop downstairs with a death expression. Sarah says Vic the Dick has five seconds. “Or what?” he taunts. “You gonna call the Neighborhood Watch?” Calling her bluff, he calls out for the Neighborhood Watch and Sarah orders him to keep his voice down. Vic the Dick tells Sarah they have unfinished business. “You faked your own death so you can move on to your new scam, hmm?” Vic the Dick concludes while Paul listens in and puts some of the pieces together. Sarah refuses to answer him. “Sarah, it must be so confusing.” Understatement of the year, boyo. Sarah: “You have no idea.”
Paul removes his gloves with clear deliberation and exits the
Torture Craft Room. Uh oh. Shit’s getting real now! On the screen, Sarah reminds Vic the Dick that he got his money but he doesn’t think a measly five grand is enough to cover his lost finger or his pain and suffering. He wants in on the scam she’s running or he’s going to blow the whole thing wide open. Sarah wants to know what it’ll take to get rid of him.
Paul busts in through the French doors of the bedroom like a gunslinger coming through the saloon doors. “You must be Vic,” he says to…um…Vic the Dick, ignoring Sarah for the moment. Vic the Dick shoots Sarah a look and gets to his feet demanding to know who Paul is. Sarah gets between them and tells Paul that it’s none of his business. “Am I talking to you?” Paul shouts at Sarah who recoils. Paul has never spoken to her like that before, not in all of the—two or three days of their entire relationship. Vic the Dick tries to dial Paul back down as Sarah scans his face, trying to pick up on what’s going on…once she gets past her shock. “What’s she done this time?” Paul sneers in a more normal voice. Puzzled, Sarah narrows her eyes. What are you on about? Vic the Dick chides Sarah, but Paul immediately interrupts that Sarah works for him. For her part, Sarah remains uncharacteristically quiet as her grifter instincts fight to reconcile with this new side of Paul and what is going on between them. Vic the Dick doesn’t like being told Sarah is hooked to someone else. He pulls out his gun and now Sarah reacts.
Paul takes a step back and holds up his hands, but when Vic the Dick orders him to turn around, he’s smiling. This is what he knows. This is what he does. Paul asks what Vic the Dick wants as Vic the Dick badly frisks him. Sarah keeps trying to pull Vic the Dick away from Paul, but he shrugs her off. He tells Paul that he wants a cut of the play. “I’m the taxman,” he adds, shoving Paul’s shoulder to swing him back around to face him. Now that she’s behind Vic the Dick, Sarah makes speaking faces at Paul. “Can’t you see we’re right in the middle of it?” Paul says through his teeth, gaze locked on Sarah. Wow, there are just double meanings all over the place tonight! Vic the Dick can appreciate that they have a “whale on the line” so Paul suggests they take their convo somewhere else before someone walks in, “take it out to the garage?” Sarah quietly pleads with Vic to agree and he does, insisting Sarah and Paul precede him. Sarah marches past both men, shoving Paul’s still spread out arm as she goes past. She might play along, but she is far from happy with him. Throwing open the French doors, Sarah shouts with surprise to find Aynsley standing there waiting. Vic the Dick steps ups close to Paul and presses the gun into his spine. Aynsley widens her eyes at the men standing behind Sarah/Alison in Alison’s bedroom. “Ali, can we talk?” Vic the Dick politely invites her inside the bedroom as he pushes Paul out of it. Sarah tries to object. “We’ve got this, Alison,” Paul says pointedly. Sarah starts to hear him call her by Alison’s name. I didn’t tell you that. Vic the Dick agrees snickers over “Alison” and the men leave. Trapped, Sarah can only watch them go and before she turns to deal with Aynsley.
Aynsley asks who that was with the tone of holy crap he’s hot. Sarah/Alison asks which one. “Ah, the impossibly handsome one, obviously.” Aynsley duhs. Sarah/Alison comes up with an excuse that “Alison” knows Paul from university, “college,” she corrects. That’s about as much interest as Aynsley can manage to feign for one interaction. She drops on the settee and whines that she knows Alison is tired of hearing her complain about Chad, but apparently she’s going to do it again anyway. Relieved Aynsley’s self-absorption is keeping her from asking any more questions about Paul and Vic the Dick, Sarah/Alison encourages her to continue and sits beside her to fret about what’s going on with Paul and Vick the Dick as she does so.
Paul leads the way into the garage, Vic the Dick right behind him. He tries to make Paul sit in a nearby Adirondack chair. “Let’s stand,” Paul says in his Batman voice with an anticipatory smile. Vic the Dick barely gets out that he’s not going to hurt Paul before Paul whirls around and proceeds to beat the crap out of Vic the Dick and take his gun.
Aynsley goes on about Chad and that slut from spinning class. Sarah opines that every marriage has their secrets. “We all have…them.” Aynsley apologizes for burdening Sarah/Alison when she’s having her own problems with Donnie. She coyly looks up at Sarah. “College friend?” Sarah leaps up and announces she should get back to the party. Aynsley examines Sarah/Alison and realizes she’s wearing a different shirt than the one she had on earlier. Sarah/Alison suggests one of the kids must have spilled something on it. “One of the kids?” Aynsley repeats archly. Sarah hustles her out of the room and Aynsley reluctant goes with the final comment that Alison is acting very strange and she’s going to get to the bottom of it.
In the garage, Vic the Dick writhes in pain on the floor. A small pool of blood forms beneath his split lip thanks to Paul’s fist. Paul calmly loads a nail gun as Vic the Dick asks who he is. “I want you to tell me everything about her,” Paul says, ignoring Vic the Dick’s question. Vic the Dick crawls up the chair arm but it’s as far as he can manage. He looks warily over his shoulder as Paul turns on the power and connects the chord to the nail gun. Vic the Dick begins to panic. Paul continues to ignore his questions about Paul’s intent. He calmly turns to face Vic the Dick nail gun held low and at the ready. Paul asks for Sarah’s last name, which Vic the Dick quickly supplies. “Does she have a twin sister?” Paul asks. Confused, Vic the Dick stumbles around an answer. Paul speeds up a response by shoving the nail gun against Vic the Dick’s head. “No, man, she doesn’t have a sister, she’s an orphan,” Vic the Dick immediately replies. “Do you know Beth or Alison?” Paul asks.
Now Vic the Dick starts to freak out. He pleads for Paul to calm down as Paul’s fingers flex on the trigger handle of the nail gun. He really wants to drill Vic the Dick in the head. Vic the Dick: “I’m in love with her. I do crazy things for her.” This is not a wise thing to say to the bad ass who is also in love with her and already doing crazy things for (and possibly later on to) her. Paul jerks Vic the Dick around and grimaces as he barely holds back from pulling the trigger. I think he’s equally upset to realize that he’s not so different from Vic the Dick when it comes to Sarah. There but for the grace of God go I. Sarah enters the garage and stops in her tracks as she sees what Paul is doing. Paul smiles at her without humor and without releasing Vic the Dick. “Close the door, Sarah Manning.”
Sarah tries to bring Paul back from the brink by calmly insisting that Vic the Dick has nothing to do with “this.” Vic the Dick is only too happy to agree. Paul asks Vic the Dick about Alison “the woman on the couch inside” and why her husband is tied to a chair. Vic the Dick swears he has no idea what Paul is talking about (he doesn’t). “Sarah could you please tell him? Could you please call him this guy off? Call him off!” Vic the Dick screams as Paul roughs him up more. Paul gets down behind Vic the Dick and the chair as Vic is screaming. “Be a man, Vic!” Paul shouts, but he’s looking at Sarah even as he keeps the nail gun against Vic’s head. Surprisingly, this calms Vic the Dick. “Okay, I’m a man.” Heh.
In his Batman voice, Paul tells Sarah that she’s putting him in a very precarious position. “Can’t have any loose ends in this thing. And this guy seems like a very loose end.” Sarah shouts with rising desperation that Vic the Dick doesn’t know anything. It’s actually fascinating to watch Sarah and Paul’s faces as they speak to each other. There’s this entire additional conversation that happening above what’s going on right there in the garage. Vic the Dick pleads for his life and Paul snarls silently and presses the gun even harder against Vic the Dick’s head as though he’s seconds away from pulling the trigger.
Sarah folds and promises to tell Paul everything if he’ll just let Vic the Dick go and Vic the Dick swears he won’t say a word. “Sarah, would you please do something!” Sarah swears she’ll be honest with Paul…just as the door opens and Alison’s kids trundle into the garage looking for Mommy. Sarah blocks their path, but it’s enough to distract Paul and Vic the Dick lunges for the door…but is not quick enough. Paul nails his uninjured hand to the chair arm as Sarah is closing the door behind the kids. To be fair, he reacts instinctively and immediately looks a little shocked to have done it. Open-mouthed, Sarah gapes between the screaming Vic the Dick and the momentarily stunned Paul.
Aynsley eases open the basement door. She sees Alison snoring on the couch and when she rouses to say she doesn’t feel good, Aynsley helps her to bed. There’s this bit where Alison knocks over a vase and Aynsley has some quick hands to catch it before it breaks that I’m convinced was a total accident and ad lib they kept in.
Down in the garage, Paul shoves the released Vic the Dick toward the garage door that Sarah is raising. I guess the shock of actually shooting Vic the Dick was enough to dial Paul back to sanity. That or enough to satisfy his blood lust. “You and me end here, Vic,” Sarah says definitively. “Never come back.” Despite everything Paul just did to him because of Sarah, Vic the Dick still protests but Sarah lowers the door between them to illustrate her point. As she turns around, Aynsley walks in the back door. Oh for crying out loud. What the hell is it with this woman?!
Aynsley is surprised to find Sarah/Alison there considering she just put her to bed. And you immediately made your way down to her garage for what reason again? I’m beginning the think this woman is two steps away from boiling Alison’s bunny in a pot. Sarah/Alison chirps the obvious, that she got up, never minding that her hair and clothes are again completely different than what the real Alison is wearing. But Aynsley is too self-absorbed to pay it all much attention, especially when there’s a hot guy in the room who she hasn’t yet met. “You are?” she asks Paul, stepping forward to hold out her hand. “Just visiting,” Paul replies in his Batman voice. He reaches back for the gun in his waistband. Seeing this, Sarah steps forward and grabs his hand. She pulls his arm around her waist and reminds Aynsley that every marriage has its secrets. “This one’s between consenting adults.” She looks up at Paul. “No one gets hurt,” she says pointedly. For once, Aynsley admits that it’s none of her business. She leaves the garage after one last look at Paul and Sarah embracing. Sarah smiles and strokes Paul’s chest for effect. Also, because it’s there. Strewth. The moment she’s gone, Sarah pushes Paul back, but he refuses to release her. “Time to go home,” he says ominously.
Later that night, a sober, chagrined Alison joins a reflective Donnie in their bedroom. She tries to apologize for her “little breakdown” but Donnie insists that it’s really his fault. “You’re right. You are the rock of this family.” So Sarah/Alison’s Come to Jesus moment with Donnie improves Alison’s marriage much the way Alison/Sarah’s interaction with Kira and Mrs. S. helped improve Sarah’s situation there. I like the full circle aspect of that.
Donnie accepts that of course Alison knew it wasn’t just porn in “his special box.” He confesses to an affair he had in college when he and Alison were broken up and that the box contained the dirty letters they’d traded for a few years after. “And then she got lupus and I never heard from her again.” He apologizes and says he was just trying to hold on to something personal. He starts to sob and buries his head in Alison’s lap.
FWIW, I think Donnie was in love with this other woman but was forced to break it off with her in order to reconcile with Alison and continue to be her monitor. Then, when “they” found out he was still in contact with her, “they” killed her and told Donnie that she had lupus and then cut him off. If he is her monitor, that is.
Back at the condo, Paul offers Sarah a drink and when she agrees, he pulls down the doctored whiskey. “Talk,” he orders as he gets out just one glass. Sarah hesitates for one last moment on the brink of no return. “Clones,” she says finally. Paul is already opening the bottle but he freezes in place. There’s a moment of silence as he processes and you can almost see him rifling through all the images of the past few days in his mind and viewing them anew from the perspective of Sarah, Beth, and Alison all being clones. Honey, just wait till you meet Helena! Slowly, he faces Sarah, bottle in hand. “Clones,” he repeats. Sarah adds that they don’t use the “C” word. “That’s Alison’s rule. But yeah, we’re genetic identicals.” Paul clarifies one last time that they’re not triplets but rather genetic identicals and Sarah admits that they’ve counted “nine of us so far.”
Paul turns back around and exchanges the deadly whiskey for an undoctored bottle and right there is when Paul not only decisively accepts that Sarah is telling the truth, but irrevocably aligns himself with her for good. Great visual turning point. Sarah tells him this is what he does; it’s why he was watching Beth. “You monitor human clones.” Paul opens the new bottle but doesn’t bother with the glass. “You should have just told me that in the first place,” he says casually. Paul swings directly from the bottle proving to Sarah that it’s safe even if she doesn’t know that was in question. He then holds it out to her. She eyes him and it for a moment, recognizing that this is not only a peace offering, but an agreement to move forward in a new direction with him. Finally, she grabs the bottle and, without taking her eyes from him, swigs from it too.
Across town in a swanky hotel, a leggy woman in stilettos and a cocktail dress makes her way down the hallway. She keys herself into the penthouse suite. It’s Delphine looking more like a high-class call girl than a PhD candidate. Dressed in a hotel bathrobe, Leekie emerges from the bathroom. In French, he greets Delphine and asks how Cosima is doing (“Tiens. Comment va-t-elle?”). “Bien, je crois (Good, I think),” Delphine responds. And that is the extent my rudimentary French can manage without involving Google Translate. Fortunately for me, it’s the end of their conversation as, without another word, he comes up behind her and begins to make love to Delphine. Delphine closes her eyes—she is genuinely entranced by him—but then opens them again and her expression is full of guilt and worry.
Next week: “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner”