“Orphan Black” Episode 503 Recap: Welcome to the Trip, Alison

Hello and welcome to this episode of Hendrix House where it’s all Alison all the time!

In a rare change of tempo, this episode of Orphan Black focused almost exclusively on Alison, In a combination of flashbacks and present-day scenes, we learn more than we ever have about what makes Alison Hendrix tick.

We start in a flashback, which we know immediately is a flashback because Aynsley is there (RIP). Aynsley and her husband, Chad, who despite being a pretty prominent character in Alison’s life, I called “Chet” at least three times (and “Chat” once) in my notes I’M SORRY. Anyway, Chad and Aynsley have a proposition for Alison and Donnie and at first they think they’re swingers and it’s a pretty adorable misunderstanding moment that I hope really happens in the suburbs all the time.

Aynsley and Chad might be considering an orgy now

“Well, now that I’m thinking about it…”

But what they really want is to do mushrooms, and while Alison is hesitant at first, she eventually gives in because it turns out this is just around the time when Beth is trying to explain to her that they don’t just happen to have the same face, but are in fact clones. And to prove it, there’s someone Beth wants her to meet; but Alison chooses escapism instead and gets high as a kite.

The person, of course, is Cosima, and I didn’t know I needed an Alison-meeting-Cosima scene in my life but I did and I’m so glad we got it. Because Alison comes outside, high off her ass, and Alison is of course “but the neighbors!” about it, poking at Cosima’s nose ring, amazed at how different and how similar they are.

Cosima looks a little bonkers the way High Alison sees her

No wonder Alison was so indelicate about “the clone thing” with Sarah.

Alison’s high mind paints a caricature of Cosima, her hands and voice moving faster than reality, and Cosima recognizes the pupils of someone who is high almost right away. Alison scurries inside, leaving a very confused Cosima on her porch, probably cursing Beth for making her do this in the first place.

Present day Alison and Donnie are being interviewed by that Frontenac fella and he ends up saying horrible things to Alison, calling her expendable and vapid and borderline implying he wishes she had been crushed to death instead of MK. It’s not great for our broken little soccer mom.

Speaking of MK, after Frontenac leaves, Alison and Donnie Skype into a little memorial Sarah, Felix, Mrs. S and Kira are having for her in Felix’s loft.

Mrs. S, Felix, Sarah and Kira stand around candles and MK's mask

Having fire at MK’s funeral seems in poor taste.

Things are looking bleak; Alison is upset, Kira won’t talk to Sarah; Mrs. S has things to do on her own. But before she leaves, Siobhan tells them that they’ve got some people in their corner, and also assigns Felix to essentially babysit Sarah for the day.

Alison is too upset to go to the church fair she’s no longer being permitted to run, but Donnie reminds her that they’re part of the entertainment, so they must. Alison finds pills and pockets them, lamenting out loud, “Why do I love my sisters so much when they ruined my life?” Which I think is a perspective on the clone situation that is pretty uniquely Alison’s and very interesting.

Alison marches to the church and confronts Nona Walker, who is in charge of the fair now and was warned this might happen, so swiftly shuts down any help Alison offers.

Alison looks pissssed as she tries to take Nona's clipboard

“I have a very helpful suggestion for exactly what you can do where this clipboard.”

Defeated, Alison slinks to the chapel and takes a few of the pills. She puts the rest in an apple juice she digs out of her purse and almost gives the juice to Nona but luckily takes it back before she becomes a suburban serial killer.

At the DYAD, Rachel is talking to Frontenac and tells him that PT Westmoreland told her that he wrote the book on Neolution and Leekie dumbed it down to publish it; she has a new hero now. She also says that the new information about Helena’s bbs might prove that they’re worth more to them than even Kira, which is great for us because that means Kira will be safe, and it’s not like Helena’s going to go down without a fight.

Rachel looks contemplative

Have fun with that, Duncan.

Back in the suburbs, Art and Maddie, greeted by a be-kilted Donnie, enter the Hendrix house to search for evidence on the death of the drug dealers Helena killed to death.

Present-day Alison is feeling shunned at the church event (classic) when she runs into Chad and his kids at a memorial photo of Aynsley. He looks older, tired, and so, so sad. He starts to muse out loud about whether they could have saved her, but Alison cuts him off and storms away, unable to deal with the thought of it. Because yes, she could have. But she didn’t and that’s a thing she has to live with now.

Flash back to the night of the mushrooms, where Alison is questioning her life choices and poking at her face that she’s now seen on two other people and poking at Donnie’s face which is so…normal. She says she feels like her whole life is a lie sometimes and before Monitor!Donnie cracks under the scrutiny, Aynsley pops in and tells Alison to get out of her own head and out into the starlight.

Aynsley takes Alison by the hand to lead her outside

“Take my hand, live while you can.”

At the present-day DYAD, Rachel and Kira are hanging out, Rachel taking Kira’s fingernail clippings, Kira playing with a mouse, talking about how the mouse can slither out of its own skin and then grow its skin and fur back, all normal things I also did with my aunt as a child.

Kira confesses to Rachel, in that almost-too-honest way kids do sometimes, that people have warned her not to trust her Aunt Rachel, but she’s having a lot of fun.

Rachel considers Kira

I just want inside Rachel’s head.

Which luckily Sarah isn’t around to hear; instead she’s holed up in Felix’s loft, being forced to sit for a portrait, which she feels some type of way about.

Sarah sticks her tongue out at Felix and flips him the backwards peace sign

it’s like breathing fresh oxygen after living in smog, seeing Sarah being silly again.

It was a moment of cute sibling levity between them we haven’t seen in a minute and I liked it a lot.

In the church fair parking lot, Alison runs into a throwback character, Ramon the teenage drug and weapons dealer. Figuring she already broke her sobriety with the pills, she joins Ramon for some booze and weed and bonding.

Alison takes a hit from Ramon's joint

I feel like Alison, Cosima and Sarah should just get high af together.

Speaking of bonding, we flash back now to Aynsley and Alison lying beneath the stars together, talking about Bailey Downs and whether this is really what they’re meant for. I was struck with a strange sadness about Aynsley and her friendship with Alison in this moment; they were more similar than they thought and they only really found out when they let their guards down and stopped trying to play Perfect Housewife for a second.

Aynsley and Alison stargaze together

Sure NOW you make us love Aynsley.

Present-day Alison, also high and drunk, comes out of the bounce house to a confused Donnie, and they argue about murder and monitors and you can just see the threads of Alison’s carefully knit life spooling around her.

Back at the Hendrix’s house, Art catches Maddie planting evidence in the garage because she’s desperate to find where Helena is, and thinks this will be good leverage. But before she can do it, she finds something better: newly poured cement, approximately the size of a grave.

And listen, Maddie is chalking up to be a piece of shit, but she’s very cute and I am very gay so when she got out that jackhammer I wasn’t that mad about it.

Maddie uses a jackhammer on the Hendrix Garage

The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants chicks with tools.

Felix and Sarah’s Painting Hour gets interrupted by a desperate call from Donnie, and they decide to ignore their mum’s warning and go help their sestra.

After he hangs up, Donnie chugs the whole bottle of apple juice he finds in Alison’s purse, not knowing it’s drugged to high heavens. I said, “Oh no!” out loud to my TV at this point, because I was afraid the show was going to go into “kill someone every episode” final season berserker mode, but I should have known better, because Donnie has become some much-needed relief on this dark and twisty show.

Back at Mrs. S’s house, Kira won’t talk about her time with Auntie Rachel, so Mrs. S tells her to get ready for bed, but instead Kira looks at her new pet mouse, then whips out a knife, because this show wasn’t stressful enough yet apparently.

Kira looks mischievously at a switchblade she got GOD KNOWS WHERE


When Donnie goes out to perform his Irish jig, Felix arriving just in time to watch the insanity, he starts to wobble as he drugged juice floods his system and eventually pulls an Alison and wipes out on stage. Alison and Felix rush the stage to help and when Alison hears some snickering and name-calling from the crowd, she. goes. OFF.

Alison looks out at the jerks she's been killing herself to impress

“Well this is just a little Peyton Place, and you’re all Bailey Downs hypocrites.”

She’s seeing and hearing the Aynsley she once knew now; she’s finally realizing that she has found the purpose they were talking about. Alison is part of something bigger than Bailey Downs, a sisterhood she calls it. She’s finally done trying to resist “the c word.” She’s finally ready to join her sisters on the frontlines, not just help out behind the scenes.

And just in time, too, because things are coming to a head. No pun intended. But there is a literal head. Maddie found the decaying, headless body of Dr. Leekie, and Donnie giving up Helena’s location is out of the question, so Alison takes things into her own hands. She marches to DYAD, marches up to Rachel’s desk, and plops a bag down in front of the ProClone sestra she’s never met.

Alison knows Rachel counts her out, but she was one of the first ones in this thing, and she’s in it now. She slides the bag closer to Rachel, who opens it to find Dr. Leekie’s rotting head.

Rachel looks VERY UPSET

No other clone has ever made Rachel this SHOOK

Alison explains the situation, and knows Rachel won’t file murder charges against them. She hands Rachel a phone and tells her to – nay, COMMANDS her to call off her dogs. Rachel is impressed and maybe a little turned on and she does indeed tell Maddie to stand down (just in time, because Art was about to off her in a panic).

Alison shoves the phone in Rachel's face

“And order me a car while you’re at it.”

Alison also adds that Rachel should leave Helena alone, and Rachel vaguely threatens her, and Alison hates her just as much, so maybe they’re not as different as they seem. Alison gets in the elevator, proud that she, like Aria Montgomery, has finally decided to join in the murder mystery of her own life in the eleventh hour.

Alison looks proud of herself

Sestra is ready to play.

Back home, when things quiet down, Alison sits with Donnie and says she needs to go away for a while. She needs to see the kids, she needs to figure out who she is if not Alison Hendrix, the potluck-having, craft-making, prim and proper suburbanite. Donnie is sad about it, but knows it’s what they need, and they sing a sweet, sad rendition of the song they were supposed to sing together at the fair.

Alison smiles sadly while she sings to Donnie

This made me unreasonably sad. I don’t like goodbyes.

This week’s tag is a quick check-in on our runaway clone, who has taken her bebes back to the nuns who raised her, presumably, and she’s writing in Ukranian, and I will love you forever if you can give me or link me to a translation of her journal.

Helena's hair glows like a halo as she writes in her journal

Come back to us, Angry Angel!

I haven’t seen the preview for next week, and I know we only have seven episodes left, but I wouldn’t mind a single-clone focused, half-flashback episode like this based on Sarah, Helena, and Cosima before the series is through.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 565 articles for us.


  1. My Kid and I are deeply divided over Maddie. I’m all “She may be evil but she is terribly, lankily cute” and my Kid is just “but she’s EVIL!” It’s been quite a contentious discussion this past couple of weeks.

  2. I’m so glad Alison had a chance to save the day! I’m also glad I’m not the only one who was worried Kira might skin the mouse…

    More Helena next week, please!

    • Kira wasn’t gonna skin the mouse – she was gonna skin HERSELF to see if HER SKIN WOULD GROW BACK. Kira is a smart kid, she understands about her super healing powers, she understand why Rachel gave her that mouse, she understands what Rachel wants from her, and like she told Sarah, she wants to know more about who and what she is.

      The problem is, Rachel cares about KIRA’S POWERS but not about KIRA HERSELF, and despite her desperate desire to be a mother, she clearly knows nothing about kids because she somehow didn’t realize that the result of the experiments she’s doing on Kira, combined with Kira’s smarts and curiosity, would result on KIRA EXPERIMENTING ON HERSELF.

      Good god I hope Siobhan runs in and stops Kira before she does any real damage.

      • I know you’re trying to be helpful but the explanation was unnecessary. I understand the purpose of the mouse. My initial reaction (when the mouse was introduced, before it was in Kira’s room) was fear that we would see it skinned alive. I guess I’ve seen too many horror movies.

        • Oh, I wasn’t really trying to be helpful or explain anything, I was mostly just expressing my own horror at what Kira was about to do, and at Rachel for putting her in that position. Sorry if that came across as condescending or overly pedantic. Was not my intention.

  3. I REALLY liked this episode! Orphan Black’s more light-hearted, humorous side has always been my favourite – especially now, after last week’s violent death.

    I was JUST thinking the other day that I would love to see how the Sestras who were self-aware before Sarah reacted upon finding out they were clones, and, as always, Orphan Black delivered. I also love how beautifully the flashbacks tied in with present-day Alison’s thought process and emphasised how far she has come, and how at the end everything – her being a clone, the self-loathing over Bailey Down’s ostracisation, and her part in Aynsley’s death – came full-circle.
    And, well. Alison and Rachel’s meeting was the cherry on top.

    YES to more backstories! Especially Cosima’s. Also, I wonder what happened to Crystal? I hope we’ll be seeing more of her, as well.

    Jeez Louise, I love this show so much.

    • Ok, so my Ukrainian isn’t exactly fluent, but from what I can tell this translation is pretty accurate, I’d make some corrections, but nothing that would significanlty change the meaning of the whole thing. It seems to me that it’s written in a weird way tho, but I can’t really tell if they made mistakes translating it to Ukrainian, or if they wanted to write it the way Helena would.

  4. “The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants chicks with tools”

    you had me rolling on the floor laughing with this caption. You are my favorite caption writer of all time.

    This episode was incredibly.. incredible. I didn’t think I’d like it because Alison has never been my favorite clone. This, however, did her justice. I’m going to miss her. I’m going to miss Alison Hendrix.

    My weeks are now centered around this show. Even the two job interviews I’ve had the last 7 days have done nothing in comparison. Although I respect the fact that they’re ending it while the game is good, I’m a bitter, bitter bitch about it.

    ’til next week, y’all. I don’t know if I’ll cope without Cophine another week.

    • “favorite caption writer of all time” feels like a huge accomplishment THANK YOU

      • What can I say. The heart loves what it loves, and damn it, your captions are ace.

  5. The captions meant that I read this entire recap with Gucci Mane’s song “Both” stuck in my head.

Comments are closed.