“Orphan Black” Season One

orphan blackFor months, friends have been telling me to watch Orphan Black. I knew I would eventually, it was just a matter of finding the time. This weekend I didn’t have many plans, so Rob and I decided to dive in.

Well, now I’m obsessed with another show. Despite everyone telling me what a great show Orphan Black is, it still exceeded my expectations. We watched three episodes on Friday night, four on Saturday morning/evening, and three more on Sunday morning. I couldn’t get enough! Now I can’t believe I have to wait until April for the next season.

Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction series, produced in partnership with BBC America. The series is about Sarah Manning, one of a handful of women who discover they’re the result of an illegal cloning experiment. I’m not a huge science fiction fan, but this show doesn’t require too much suspension of disbelief.

orphan black clones

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena.

Tatiana Maslany is the Canadian actress who portrays all the cloned women. I can’t get over what a fantastic performer she is. She plays three main characters who appear in pretty much everyone episode, plus many other characters who show up regularly. Not only is she playing so many different women, but she also often plays one character impersonating another. Her accents (and her poorly faked accents, when one character is impersonating someone else) are just killer. I frequently forget that I’m watching the same women on screen in different wigs, because the characters are so rich and her performances are so convincing.

I rarely watch Canadian television, but I actually feel quite proud that this show hails from my country. It’s so well done. Not only does every episode end in suspense, but the writing is so suspenseful and fast-paced that I frequently find myself gasping before it cuts out for commercial.

Seriously guys, watch this show ASAP. Ten 45-minute episodes aren’t much, especially when the narrative is so suspenseful that you Can’t. Stop. Watching.

Spoilers from here on out…

I can’t believe how much this show kept me guessing. For a while, I was convinced that Sarah had to be the original. That the scientists had used some orphaned baby as their lab rat. I thought it explained why Crazy Helena felt a connection to Sarah that she didn’t with the other clones, and why Sarah had a daughter when Alison and Beth were both unable to have biological children.

But then we found out that Sarah and Helena were born as twin sisters to a surrogate mother, Amelia. So that was the special connection – either they’re both originals, or neither of them are. Perhaps some clones are able to reproduce while others can’t, the way some of them seem to be developing respiratory disease while others are not.

I also stupidly trusted Mrs. S as a protector of Sarah and Kira. Of course, at first I suspected she was evil – if not just because she seemed sketchy, but because she played Bates’ mean wife on Downton Abbey. But then she really seemed willing to do anything to protect Kira – of course! Because she’s a scientist protecting her experiment! Of course, this revelation means crazy times are in store for poor Felix, right? Is he also a clone? If Mrs. S is just a scientist protecting her experiment, then why of all the children she supposedly took in would she also have brought Felix to the United States? Maybe there are boy clones, too?

It’s amazing how the clone characters have become more and more interesting as the season went on. At first, we really only knew Sarah. She was rough around the edges, but we were rooting for her. Cosima and Alison were there as foils, and to enlighten her about their strange biology. But eventually all three characters became independently likable and interesting. (And Helena, while not particularly likable, because more interesting and sympathetic.) I mean, Alison stood by and watched a woman choke to death and not only do I still like her, but it was a little funny – because poor Alison was sure that awful, uptight blond bitch was her monitor and not her schlubby husband. Cosima fell for the French scientist even though she knew she shouldn’t, but it just makes her a romantic, not dumb. Of all the clones, I most forget that Cosima is played by Tatiana Maslany.

Like I said, I can’t wait for season two. All our girls are in majorly compromised positions right now. Alison signed the contract with The Dyad Institute and thinks her monitor has been eliminated when it’s actually her husband. Cosima is sick, so I can imagine her agreeing to work for Dyad just to have access to the cure for her illness. And Sarah needs Kira back. WHAT WILL HAPPEN??? I wish it were April already.

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