BBC America launched this new sci-if drama last year and after finishing airing its second season back in the beginning of the summer, Orphan Black is locked as a firm fan favourite and a show that showcases the talent of a fantastic young actress.
Orphan Black tells the story of Sarah Manning, a street wise young woman who hasn’t quite found her way in the world, moving from place to place and scam to scam. One evening while waiting for a train, a young woman jumps in front of a train and kills herself right in front of her. If that wasn’t crazy enough, the young woman looks just like Sarah -as if she could be her twin. Freaked out and not sure what to do, she steals the identity of the young woman, Beth Childs a police officer who also comes with a charming partner Paul, played by Dylan Bruce (who is extremely attractive).
As Sarah digs further into Beth’s life, she discovers other women like her that have the exact same face. Sarah discovers that the reason all the women have the same face is because they are in fact clones. Sarah gradually meets her “sisters” a family unit created from science; first she meets Alison, a soccer mom who lives in the suburbs with her husband and adopted children; next she meets Cosima, a science geek who helps crack the science behind the clones and thus becomes a interest to Dyad, a group that after some exposition is discovered to be partly behind the experiments. Not all the clones however have the same agenda, and some are more self-aware of their situation than others. Sarah discovers that a killer is on the loose, targeting the clones and that the killer just so happens to also have the same face. Helena is slightly unhinged, and doesn’t have a lot of self love on account of being raised by a religious cult that believes the clones are abominations of God. Finally as the first season comes to a close, we also meet Rachel, a woman quite high up in the Dyad group, and a completely self-aware clone. She wants to experiment on all the clones, crack the secret of their DNA and also replicate the cloning further, and will use any means necessary.
As the season entered its second season, I couldn’t get enough of this show. After two great opening episodes, the series drags a little leading up to the middle, and then really hits its stride in the second half. At points you do have to pinch yourself whilst watching this and realise that all the clone characters are played by the same actress – Tatiana Maslany. The Canadian actress pulls off so many different accents, mannerisms, and material, she is such a huge talent and the fact she has not been properly recognised for her work with an Emmy nomination is a crime.
As well as Maslany steering the show, Orphan Black has a host of brilliant supporting characters that interact with one or more of the clones including Felix, Sarah’s adopted brother, who is with her every step of the way as she discovers more about the clone conspiracy. Jordan Gavaris plays him brilliantly; full of humour and honesty, Dylan Bruce’s Paul, who Sarah forms an unlikely friendship/bond with after she discovers Paul was Beth’s monitor, a person paid to watch their assigned clone and monitor their lives, but without knowledge of why. After Paul discovers the truth, he is put into a compromising position, acting as double agent for Sarah to gain further information. Alison’s husband Donny played by Kristian Bruun also provides many of the shows’ black comedy sketches, and has a great connection with Maslany. Maria Doyle Kennedy also features as Mrs S/Siobhan who raised both Sarah and Felix when they were children and acts as a carer to Kira, Sarah’s biological child.
The second season only built on a strong first season, bringing more characters into play and opening up the conspiracy further. The major reveal at the end of season 2 saw Sarah learning that not only is their female clones, but also male clones, owned by the military. The face the male clones all bear is that of a character we had seen throughout season 2 – Mark, who had worked for the religious cult that had captured Helena and tried to impregnate her in a bizarre cattle like experiment.
It’s fair to say this season of Orphan Black has seen some tense moments, some twists and turns and also some shocks. And it’s also fair to say that the last few minutes of the season was certainly a game-changer, a huge reveal that leaves many possibilities for season 3. That reveal at the end of the finale, regarding the male clones of Project Castor opens up so many questions for next season – how many other clones from Project Castor are out there, are others self aware, because it seems Mark is not. How will Mark and Gracie play into next season? What’s happening to Helena and why do the military want her? What will Rachel’s next move be? And more importantly what will Sarah do now with this new information.
Whatever will happen, I know it’ll be a long wait for season three.
Felix: You are a bloody wrecking ball. You are an exploding cigar. Do you know that? (Orphan Black 2.03 ‘ Mingling Its Own Nature with it’)