Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Best Show You’re Not Watching – Orphan Black

Imagine this: you’re on a train platform. You’ve just come back into town after being away for a while. You’re on a pay phone with your foster brother, trying to convince him that you’re not a scheming scammer anymore. You’re clean now and you promise it’ll be different this time. 

You hang up the phone and you see, down the platform a little ways, a woman who looks exactly like you. You squint. Exactly. Like you.

You grew up in foster care so could this be a twin sister you never knew about? A freaky double of some kind? As you watch, the woman who looks like you puts down her briefcase and purse, takes off her shoes and STEPS IN FRONT OF A TRAIN.

Gasping in shock, you run to her but it’s too late. Your old instincts kick in and you immediately redirect to her stuff, grabbing the wallet from her purse, hoping the cash, credit cards and ID will help you with your clean slate.

That, my friends, is the opening of the amazing and fabulous Orphan Black. From there we learn that the main character, Sarah, is actually a clone, one of many, and someone is working their way across Europe and now North America systematically killing them.

I know it sounds crazy but if you keep watching you’re rewarded with some of the most amazing performances ever, particularly by new-comer Tatiana Maslany, the woman who plays all the clones (seven at last count). You guys, she’s so good at embodying each new clone that I literally forget that she’s just one person.

Who are the clones? There’s our main character, scheming scammer Sarah, smarty-pants scientist Cosima, gun-toting soccer mom (and fan favorite) Allison, evil Rachel, psychotic Helena and dead cop Beth (jumped in front of a train) just to name a few. 

In addition to Maslany, there’s Felix (Jordan Gavaris), Sarah’s foster-brother, an artist who’s not afraid to put his eye-liner on thick to prep for a showdown. There’s Delphine (Evelyne Brochu), Cosima’s partner in the lab and sometimes the bedroom, there’s Donnie (Kristian Bruun), Allison’s affable but clueless suburban husband and finally, there’s Mrs. S played by the peerless Maria Doyle Kennedy (Tudor’s, Downton Abbey). Mrs. S. was Felix and Sarah’s foster mother who moved them from London to Canada under mysterious circumstances years before. When Sarah skipped town Mrs. S took over the care of Kira, Sarah’s daughter and getting Kira back proves rather difficult. If there’s one thing Mrs. S has going for her, it’s the shotgun paired with her protective nature.

When Sarah tries to impersonate Beth the cop, things go pretty sideways (she has a partner who’s still pretty pissed that Beth accidentally-on-purpose shot and killed a seemingly innocent victim) and stay that way.

Because there’s no such thing as clones, right? The Clone Club exists in a world that would basically want to do non-stop experimentation on them so they’re fighting for their lives all while trying to keep anyone from finding out their truth.

By turns family drama, sci-fi mind-bender, and a vehicle for some pretty hilarious sibling (if you can call multiple clones siblings) rivalries, Orphan Black is one of the best shows out there and a testament to the truly brilliant programming BBC America is putting out right now.

Season two ended back in the spring with some crazy developments about Kira’s father (not to mention the Clone Club’s father) and season three is expected to be just as good. When we left the Club one of their number was sick and getting sicker. Will they find a cure in time? Is it genetic?

I for one can’t wait to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment