Previously: Sarah found out that Paul was Beth’s “monitor” and he found out that she’s not Beth.
Variations Under Domestication
Sweeney: This episode begins with Alison. She wakes up next to her sleeping, snoring husband, and goes to check her poorly hidden camera. She takes it down to her laundry room of solace to watch the tape. She sees Donnie get up in the middle of the night, but all he does is stand over her and leave before the memory card file fills up.
She comes up to the kitchen to find Donnie grumbling like an asshole about how he has to do everything (LOL, K) as he loads the dishwasher. He sasses her about getting ice because they only have three hours to go until something. Alison asks him where he went in the middle of the night – claiming she woke up to find him gone – but he is too busy being a condescending asshole, setting off to buy the stuff she was supposed to get when she was procuring the nannycam. As he goes for the front door, she snatches up a golf club. She makes another failed attempt at actually discussing this situation, and when Donnie continues to be an asshole she hits him IN THE FACE with a golf club, knocking him out.
Lorraine: Her reaction is a combination of, “OH SHIT,” and “well, okay.”
Sweeney: DNA and SCIENCE and a NEAT-O SCREEN SAVER.
After the credits, Paul is making coffee and explaining what he knows about the monitor situation to Sarah. He got up to some shady stuff even before his military days and then he was blackmailed into being Beth’s monitor. Sarah gives him shit about not knowing more information and he flips it, noting that she chose, sans blackmail, to infiltrate Beth’s life and screw her boyfriend. They agree that it’s all whatever since they were both lying liars who lie. OK, show. (L: It’s a lying draw! SEE EVERYONE?) Paul says that all he knows about the tests is that they go to Olivier and he has no idea what the tests reveal. Sarah says she’s going to take a shower to wash off the filth. Paul says that they need to be honest with each other but he says it in a really sinister bad guy way. He claims to be worried about her and whatever she’s not telling him. While she’s in the bedroom she flees though the window.
In the car, Sarah calls Cosima to confirm the double blind theory – Paul clearly has no idea about the clones and buys into the idea that Sarah is Beth’s twin sister. Cosima explains that she may have her own monitor dilemma – she’s new at this school that semester and didn’t bring anybody with her, but she’s got this French girl really eager to be friends with her. Sarah tells Cosima to stay away from her and stick to the science, but Cosima’s not interested in being “the geek monkey.” They’re interrupted by Alison calling Sarah because she has a situation and needs her to get over there right now. Good thing Sarah didn’t have a real plan/direction!
Alison’s Abode. She shoos the kids over to her friend Aynsley’s house as she puts a football helmet on Donnie and heaves him down the stairs.
Alison’s Abode. Speaking of being creepy, the music doesn’t even change as we cut to Donnie waking up to find himself tied to a chair as Alison demands to know where he went and what he did with the actual contents of his box that he replaced with the porn. She threatens him with a hot glue gun. He laughs at the threat until she actually puts some on his chest. That gets him. He asks if she’s lost her mind, and she says that she knows he spies, does medical examinations on her in her sleep, turns her whole life into a lie, and switched the files in his special box. Then she slaps him around.
Sweeney: It’s all that acting training! COMMIT TO THE BIT!
Good Girl Gone Bad Library. Cosima spots Delphine studying at the next table and decides to take charge and start monitoring her potential monitor. She tells Delphine that she’s bored and Delphine invites her to this lecture that she was going to. It’s for a “neolutionist” called Dr. Leekie whose TED talk Delphine saw. Cosima says it’s kind of fringe science, but she’s game.
Paul calls Sarah, continuing to use a voice that says much more sinister things than his words while pouring some powerdered meds into alcohol, supporting the murdery notes in his voice. He tells her that they need to talk about everything that night and then puts the booze away.
Alison’s Abode. Alison asks if she’s sick like the German. Donnie has no idea what she’s talking about and denies everything. He’s spared additional torture when there’s a knock at the door. Alison puts her sleep mask and gun ear muffs on him and gags him before going to let Sarah in the back. She tells Sarah to sit down, but she declines and is horrified when Alison opens the laundry room door to show her what she did, explaining that she thinks Donnie is her monitor. Someone comes in the house and Alison freaks out, realizing that she completely forgot about their party in all the beating, tying up, and torturing her husband hullaballoo.
Alison runs upstairs to find people entering her home and judging her for being in her pajamas, namely a tall blonde woman who I already know to be Aynsley so we’re just going to cut straight to that. Alison claims to be sick, but Aynsley says it’s too late to change venues and patronizingly tells her to go upstairs, get dressed, and take one of her “happy pills,” while letting Aynsley take charge.
After a Not Break Spice Girls blasts as Alison, still in her pajamas, puts up a pretty “off limits” sign with ribbon, barring entry to the basement. Aynsley hands her a glass of wine and another friend comes to complain about the lack of chips. Alison goes downstairs to get some, telling Aynsley that there is more food in the freezer. Aynsley and Stepford Friend glare at her a bit as they walk off.
In the basement, Alison is pulling on a purple sweater and getting her game face on, chasing her happy pills with that glass of white wine, telling Sarah that she can’t back out of the monthly potluck, it being there turn and all. Of course, her bartender is currently tied to a chair, so that’s a struggle. Alison says that she will go and play hostess as long as Sarah stays and interrogates Donnie, calling in that I-impersonated-you-for-your-daughter favor, handing Sarah some clothes to wear before heading back upstairs.
Sarah calls Felix, who is with a gentleman guest and insists that he can’t come play bartender. The man pulls out some cash, though, and Felix sees that the rest of his afternoon is now free. He’s coming over and picking up ice on the way.
Lor: Sans the burned rolls, this doesn’t seem like a bad party. Mostly I’m saying that because of the day drinking. Yeah, that.
Sweeney: I’m all about this pro-day drinking party. We speak wine here at Snark Squad, after all.
In the basement Sarah is prepping her Alison impersonation as she does her makeup. Her hair is in a headband to hide the absence of bangs. In the laundry room she pulls out the gag and lets him sip some water. He asks if they can stop now, and she says yes, but after she asks a few questions.
Paul is out for a walk with Olivier. He says that Beth quit the force and dumped her therapist (both true) adding (less truthfully) that he stopped her from swallowing a handful of pills the night before. Olivier says that she at least has Paul, but reminds him that his role as monitor is not to interfere. Paul says he just wants to know that he won’t be blamed if she tries it again and he can’t stop her. Or, like, if he kills her and makes it look like a suicide.
Alison’s Interrogation Laundry Room. Donnie says that he got up at 4am to watch cricket because that’s when the South African games start. Alison!Sarah rolls her eyes at the absurdity of all this and seems just about to let him go until they’re distracted by the noise of the party. Donnie goes off on “Alison” for being crazy and Sarah gets defensive on Alison’s behalf, telling him to watch his tone. He persists in being an asshole so she pulls up the eye mask and gets in his face, yelling, “Your wife is the rock of this family. You will no longer talk down to her. Am I clear?”
Lor: Despite the absurdity of the situation, and though they seem to be as opposite as two people can be, here is Sarah standing up for Alison. I love it.
Sweeney: Me too! They’ve both grown to respect each other as they learn how they are each coping with actual serious life struggles even beyond the clone stuff.
Double Blind Lecture Date. Cosima notices that several other attendees have creepy looking things in their left eyes. Her face clearly says that “fringe” is just a polite word for “crazy” but Delphine’s into it, so Cosima plays along. They sit down the lecture continues to journey down the crazy trail. Dr. Leekie talks about replacing failing body parts with titanium. He singles out Cosima, telling her that he can soon replace her glasses with magic infrared eyeballs. She jokes that she’ll just start with basic lasik. He says she should, as that’s an evolutionary choice. Neolution, he explains, is self-directed evolution that is not only a choice but a human right.
Lor: Cosima’s “YEAH. RIGHT.” faces are hilarious, made more funny because she’s, you know, a clone.
Felix’s Frisky Flat. Vic the Dick is doing a little B&E, not content to actually fuck off as requested by the fuck off money. Felix’s laptop conveniently still has the map open to Alison’s address.
We cut to a dapper-looking Felix arriving at Alison’s in a cab, which makes me wonder why he even mapped it on his laptop other than to leave that clue for Vic.
Alison!Sarah lets him in the back and starts laughing. He freaks out because he totally thought she was Alison. He sighs and she just laughs some more, saying shit’s all sideways.
Upstairs, Stepford Friend is giving Alison shit about crackers and Alison sasses her away. Aynsley asks Alison where Donnie is. “He’s tied up,” drunk!Alison answers. Aynsley is mad for her friend that Donnie isn’t helping, adding that since Alison knows what Aynsley is going through with Chad, she definitely shouldn’t be covering for Donnie with her. Chad smarms up, complimenting Alison’s ass. Felix enterounces that he’s the bartender and needs to steal Alison. Chad laughs that having a gay bartender is awesome. Aynsley cuts him off: “Chad, shut your stupid mouth and feed the kids.”
Down in the basement, Alison’s freaking out because it’s not Donnie and she tortured her husband, destroying her family for no reason. Felix runs back upstairs to clean things up a bit and Sarah sits down with Alison as she melts down. “You’re the only person I can talk to and you’re just another version of me.” Sarah explains that Paul is military and a professional, but Alison has known Donnie since high school, so it can’t be him. Alison thinks her monitor is probably one of the bitches upstairs. She passes out from all the pills/booze.
Lor: Tatiana’s hand is casting a shadow on Tatiana’s body. I LOVE THIS SHOW.
Sweeney: Outside, the music gets really ominous as Paul makes suspicious eyes at the neighborhood potluck. Oh no! Evil suburbanites with their children! Evil is afoot.
“Fringe” Lecture. Delphine spots Dr. Leekie and says she would love to meet him and Cosima laughs at her until she does finally go introduce herself, ushering Cosima to follow. Delphine fangirls over Dr. Leekie and Cosima calls bullshit on his claim to have a neuro-lingual transplant. He concedes that she is correct. Cosima asks about his weird looking groupies. They’re called “Freaky Leekies” because he once joked that silver hair and one white eye was his ideal human. In case I ever develop a crazed following: my ideal humans are the kind that stay home and don’t wear pants. You heard it here first, folks.
Lor: Duh. That gives people more time to read this website.
Sweeney: Yes. Traumateers. That’s what I really mean. Traumateers are my ideal humans.
Dr. Leekie asks about their specialties and Cosima says that as she’s evo-devo, she responds to future claims with “show, don’t tell” and he creeperifically asks to be given the chance to do just that. He gives her a card and tells her to take a look at their work. After he leaves, Cosima steals bottles of wine and runs off. Smart girl.
Alison’s Abode. Alison!Sarah scares Felix again, and she whispers that they need to figure out how to help Alison. Felix says he may have spotted Alison’s real monitor, eyeing Aynsley. She comes over and asks what’s with Alison, just as Chad grabs her ass, startling Sarah so much she slips up the accent on her, “Hey!” but nobody notices. Aynsley says nobody finds that funny and he says he’s just “bouncing quarters.” Ew. There’s an awkward moment when Aynsley asks how Felix and Alison know each other, but Felix covers, saying that he’s her acting coach. Aynsley’s shocked that Alison didn’t tell her that she was getting professional help. Alison!Sarah just shrugs it off and leaves as Felix asks Aynsley which wine she’d like.
Cosima and Delphine are running and laughing. Cosima wants to steal some bikes, but Delphine doesn’t have time for that. Cosima teases Delphine about her English “a jogging.” Delphine offers Cosima a cigarette, but Cosima’s strictly pot and promises to get Delphine “sooo baked one day.” Delphine kisses Cosima’s cheeks, being ever-so-French, and heads off to TA a class.
Upstairs, Vic the Dick arrives and teases Felix. He calls Sarah and tells her that she needs to go upstairs right away, now that Vic is there. Vic grabs the phone, reiterating that request, adding a threat to the mix. She tells them to go to the upstairs bedroom.
Meanwhile, Paul is lurking just outside the basement door. He comes in and looks at Alison’s family photos, before turning around to see Alison passed out on the couch. He thinks it might be Beth, but doesn’t see the scar. He pats her cheek a bit, trying to wake her up, asking if she’s Sarah. Alison slurs her name without really opening her eyes and air kisses Paul. She tells him to come to bed with her before rolling over and passing out again. Paul hears Donnie in the laundry room. He opens the door to find that he’s fallen over. Inside he sees the laptop open to the nanny cam, still rolling in Alison’s bedroom. What happened to that full memory card situation?
Lor: Um, Alison deleted the footage. FIXED IT WITH MY HEAD CANON!
Sweeney: Vic sits on Alison’s bed and Sarah comes in, telling him he has five seconds, which only makes him get more temperamental. He says that they have unfinished business and orders her to sit, asking if she faked her own death so that she can move on to a new scam. She says that he got his money and needs to get the fuck out, but Vic says hat the five grand doesn’t cover it and she needs to give him a cut of her current scam or he’ll blow her whole operation. With that, Paul heads upstairs. He cuts in on them bickering, saying that this “must be Vic,” asking what Sarah’s done this time, adding that Sarah works for him, so Vic’s going to need to take his problems up with him. Vic says he’s the tax man and pulls a gun. Paul suggests that they had to the garage, since they’re right in the middle of the scam he’s trying to get a cut on and this could well blow it for everyone. Paul turns around after Vic pulls out the gun and is clearly trying not to laugh at him. Vic agrees and says he’ll follow them, gun in hand.
They open the door to find Aynsley there, who is stunned to see Alison in there with two strange men. Vic says that the two ladies can stay and chat and Paul agrees that they’ve got this covered, both half-giggling as they repeat, “Alison.” Aynsley wants to know who the impossibly handsome man was and Alison!Sarah says it’s a friend from university. Aynsley doesn’t dwell on the weirdness because she’s mostly up there because she’s afraid Chad is having another affair.
Out in the garage, Vic pushes Paul in with the gun, trying to tell him to sit. Paul says he wants to stand and as soon as Vic says he’s not going to hurt him Paul does, in fact, kick Vic’s ass. Paul disarms him, takes him down, and snatches Vic’s gun.
Upstairs, Aynsley speculates that it’s some chick from yoga, then apologizes because she knows that Alison and Donnie are having problems. Alison!Sarah says she’s got to get back down to the party, but not before Aynsley notices that her shirt is different. Alison!Sarah explains that one of the kids “must have spilled something on it” but Aynsley’s pretty sure she was hooking up with one/both of her “college friends.” Aynsley vows to get to the bottom of it.
Said “college friends” are out in the garage and Paul is about to start doing his own torture game. The show was all, “OK, we’ll put this one dismemberment scene in Lor’s episode and balance it out by putting a whole lot of torture-terrogation scenes in Sweeney’s episode. Fair, yeah?” (L: FAIR.) Paul’s got a nail gun that he’s going to use to get Vic to tell Paul everything he knows about Sarah. Vic says that Sarah has no siblings, being an orphan. He doesn’t know who Beth or Alison are. Vic says that he’s not trying to shake Paul down, he’s just doing crazy shit because he’s in love with her. Just then, Sarah comes in and Paul tells her to close the door.
After a Not Break, a panicked Sarah tells Paul that Vic doesn’t know anything. Paul wants to know who the woman on the couch is and why her husband is tied to a chair. Valid questions, but Vic doesn’t have those answers. Paul says that Sarah’s putting him in a precarious situation, as Paul seems like a very loose end to keep open. Sarah promises to explain the whole thing if Paul will just let Vic go. Vic promises to keep his mouth shut.
Alison’s daughter runs in, tossing a ball at Sarah, thinking it’s her mother. Sarah scoops her up, tells her to get out, and sets her down outside. (L: Childhood trauma.) Vic tries to use the distraction to make a break for it, but Paul grabs his hand and NAIL GUNS IT TO A CHAIR. Vic the Dick is suffering greatly for being a dick.
Inside the house, Aynsley is getting her creep on, she finds Alison on the couch and helps her back upstairs to her bed.
Torture Garage. Alison is shooing Vic out the door, telling him that they end there. As she closes the garage door, Aynsley appears through the other door, stunned because she just put Alison to bed. Aynsley tries to introduce herself to Paul, who says he’s just visiting. Sarah sees him going for his gun and sidles up to him to stop him. She tells Aynsley that every marriage has it’s secrets, and this one is between consenting adults. Aynsley decides that this is none of her business and sees herself out. Paul tells her that it’s time to go home.
That night, a very anxious looking Alison comes to bed with a cup of tea in hand. She sits on the bed and starts to make amends, but he cuts her off. He says she was right and that she is the rock of the family. He confesses that the box wasn’t full of porn but was, in fact, full of letters from a possibly now deceased woman that he had an affair with when he and Alison were broken up. Donnie says he was just trying to hold onto something and cries into Alison’s lap.
Back at Beth’s apartment, Paul gets out his murder booze and tells Sarah to start talking. She takes a deep breath and says, “Clones.” He takes a beat and decides against the murder booze. She says they count nine so far and explains that what Paul has been “monitoring” is a human clone. He grabs a non-murdery bottle of alcohol and says Sarah should have just told him that in the first place before taking a swig and offering it to her.
Lor: It certainly would’ve saved Paul a lot of saying shit in murderous tones. What an exhausting episode it must’ve been for him!
Sweeney: Elsewhere, ominous music plays as a leggy woman enters a hotel room. We see that it’s Delphine in a cute cocktail dress. It’s Dr. Leekie’s room and they clearly know each other quite intimately. End credits.
This episode was bananas and it was a super fun combination of Who’s On First? style mix-ups with the high stakes intensity and drama of this show. There are a few things that seemed a little on the convenient side, but surprisingly few, given how much had to come together to make this little plot work.
Lor: I have to admit that this is one of the most memorable episodes for me. In fact, when we decided to start recapping, that interrogation scene with Alison and Donnie was one of the first I remembered. I remember that even with everything Donnie said in this episode, when it finished, I still suspected him of being the monitor. I’m not sure if this episode was supposed to disprove that theory completely, but when it comes to Donnie, I’m on team, “MMHMM. SURE.”
Sweeney: Team MMHMM. SURE is a smart place to be with pretty much everything on this show. A healthy dose of skepticism will serve everyone well. Basically, just keep making that face Cosima’s making. At everyone and everything.
And with these latest developments, the larger plot thickens! Only four episodes to go!
Next time: Everybody gets a little closer to the truth – including Paul’s monitors and the cops investigating Katja’s death. Find out what they discover on Orphan Black S01 E07 – Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner.