Thursday, June 25, 2015

Orphan Black Season 3

tatiana maslany
Clone Club
Orphan Black started off as weird show. I don't mean because it was about a clone conspiracy where the first season finale involved one of the clones dancing with the tail she had just cut off from the guy they thought was the big villain at the time. It was weird tonally. It veered wildly between heavy scientific concepts to soap opera like relationship woes to insane over the top violence and somehow comedic acceptance of things The X-Files's Mulder might have trouble with. And that weirdness was always and continues to be its charm. But for a while, I think it kept me from really relating to the characters in spite of enjoying the show. Somewhere in season 2, that started to change as the clone sisterhood became the central focus of the show. And now with season 3 complete, the whacko sci-fi stuff is almost secondary to the characters.

None of this is possible without Tatiana Maslany who plays the five main clones: Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena and Rachel and any others that pop up from time to time. Her talent is so honed that it's immediately apparent which one we're dealing with from the slightest look in her eye. This stands out whenever one clone is impersonating another for various reasons. I can't say this show is for everybody, but these performances really shouldn't be missed. In any other situation this might end up becoming about Maslany putting on a parade of caricatures each week as yet another fringe clone is discovered for her to portray. But that's not happened yet. As a matter of fact, last season we saw the brief arrival of a trans male version of her show up, which she played very straight (pun unintended) and understated. But then, the other thing this show has done from day one is represent LGBT characters as matter of fact as I've ever seen. Cosima is gay and so is Sarah's adopted brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris), and it's just part of who they are. It's never for shock but it's never not discussed either. While Felix sometimes fell into being the "magical gay character" at times early on in the show, I think he's been fleshed out much more were it's now more that he has a huge heart. The point is, LGBT characters are just regular humans in this world. Crazy, huh?

Season 3 is so far the best season yet, I think. It wasn't as crazy and shocking as that first one. By now, if you've been watching, you know anything is possible and you know there's a certain soap opera feel to some of it. The villains will become friends and vice versa on a dime and it will just be that way. You learn to accept it or this show isn't for you. But this season gave us more of a balance in the relationships between the clones and their supporting characters. The conspiracies deepened and eventually brought us back to the villains of season 1, so next season will likely get really weird again. But this time, we'll have the sisterhood of clone club to support us in full force. It's going to be a long year to wait for it.


  1. I'll be honest - I started Jamie on the show and I watch every episode, but I have no idea what's happening on the show anymore. Maybe I need more exposition than I realized, but my joy at the extreme acting tricks of Tatiana Maslany - easily the most talented actress of her generation - are subducted beneath half-started storylines that get abandoned mid-thought and a conspiracy that seems like it could be resolved if the clones just went to a news station with their story. To this day, I have no idea why anyone still actually cares about the clones other than that we're told there are massive conspiracies on both sides of the Atlantic that somehow have religious orders aware and interested. But... why? Nobody even seems curious to find out. I can forgive plot holes, but the show seems intent on seeing exactly how far they can push their inner logic beyond the point of reason. I agree the characters are great and multilayered, and that's a feat as half of them are Maslany. But... I just want for the show to not feel like it's taking place in a hermetically sealed world sometimes.

    1. I get that and don't disagree with any of it. At the end of the day, I think I've gone with it by not thinking too much about it. As far as the plot goes it's just a bunch of crazy shit happening. I would never want every story to be this way, but in this case, I guess I'm ok with it. I can't even justify it beyond the fact that I'm just into the characters at this point.

    2. And, yeah! I mean, I care about what happens to the clones. That's absolutely true. But if you asked me why Delphine is head of Dyad or what they're supposed to find in the book or why anyone is in England right now other than to locate a MacGuffin (I'm about two weeks behind), I couldn't tell you.