THE CONCEIT OF ORPHAN BLACK FINALE THAT LEFT AUDIENCES UNSATED
The sophomore season finale of the Canadian sci-fi hit Orphan Black which aired on Saturday introduced a new twist to the plot that no one saw coming. Okay, show creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett hinted about doing something crazy, and yes they did deliver “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried.” The 10 episode series ended with the introduction of male clones (as if the female ones weren’t a handful enough) and the revelation of the military involvement in the clone conspiracy.
So now there is Project LEDA (female clones) and Project CASTOR (male clones). Mark played by Ari Miller is a clone, how refreshing –for a moment there, with all the teasing of a man’s back I was afraid it was going to be Felix! Graeme’s edge as a writer just grows bigger and bigger, this man doesn’t know when to put a full stop. I love that he doesn’t wrap everything neatly in a nice bow. For a show that has offered us not one but seven Tatiana Maslanys, that would be too mainstream.
I think it is safe to attribute Orphan Black’s success to Maslany’s many sides. The Canadian is the only actress capable of pulling multiple characters in one scene, and still manage to achieve uniqueness in all of them. Not many actors can pull this off and be so good. That is an Emmy performance right there.
Certainly, it is not easy to play five clones and isolate every character as though they were different people. There is Sarah – the ex-con, street smart English punk (don’t let all that leather fool you, she has a soft heart), Cosima – the evo-devo American lesbian nerd, Alison – the uptight soccer mom, Helena – the psychopathic Ukrainian assassin and Rachel – the corporate villain.
Well, for the sake of argument Tyler Perry has played multiple characters in his Madea franchise. But seeing him in those layers of costume, grandma clothes and shoes and lipstick is just plain creepy!
With no doubt, Maslany is Canada’s new it girl, a break out star who is clearly a favourite among critics as she has won Critics Choice Award for best actress in a drama series two years in a row.
Watching her transform from one character to the next is like watching Netherlands thrash defending champions Spain in the World Cup – it feels so good, so right, you have to pinch yourself several times to confirm if it is true (belated apologies for those who were offended by my world cup reference).
Furthermore, the dance scene in the finale was nothing short of breathtaking when all the four clones (even the stray and wild Helena) reunited for a dance party at Felix’s place. It’s hard to imagine that it is Maslany dancing beside herself because every clone has got her own groove going on.
The introduction of male clones to an already complex clone conspiracy hints plausibly to what a wrecking ball season 3 will be. And I hate to say this, but the fact that another male character in the show can play multiple characters like Maslany kind of rains on her parade. I mean, come on, most people were attracted to Orphan Black because Tatiana could just comfortably crawl from being a con artist to a scientific braniac and then transform to a psychopathic killer back to a paranoid soccer mom.
The feminist card is pretty much Hollywood’s thing these days, and Orphan Black doesn’t shy away from driving the point home with Maslany holding the torch of feminism in the many roles she embodies. But it would be interesting to watch Ari Miller juggle between his different roles as a clone.
And so as Orphan Black faded out with all its vanity, fans were left with a million questions and very few answers;
- Why the male clones? What is their relationship with the female clones?
- Can we expect an alliance or conflict? Just so we are clear, it would be fun to see a female-male clone club conflict.
- What is Mrs. S’s game plan? After she betrayed Helena and aided her capture to Project Castor, couldn’t this woman get any sketchier?
- Is Rachel going to live? After all, Graeme and Fawcett did revive Helena after she ‘died’ in the season 1 finale. Besides, after that eyeball puncture from Sarah, I’d love to see Rachel with a pirate patch.
Well, in a word, the finale was brilliant, and it would be fun to see how all the twists play out in season 3 (just don’t cancel it yet). I would especially love to see just how further the show creators can pedal their creative edge.