Previously, on Orphan Black
Season premieres are tough. They may not have the same weight to carry as a series pilot, but they still have to do the work of catching us up with characters, tying off loose ends from the finale before them, and giving us a sense of what the overall arc for the coming season will be. “The Few Who Dare” checked all the necessary boxes, and while it wasn’t the best premiere in the show’s history, it managed to hint at a final season that could be the peak of Orphan Black.
Big answers to big questions are finally on their way. We’ve seen shades of these answers before, but it’s clear now that DYAD, Topside, and BrightBorn were basically shady parent companies for Neolution, and more importantly PT Westmoreland, to hide behind. Whatever is going on at Revival is integral to knowing why and how Project Leda was conceived, and what role our clones play in the bigger picture of it all. If Rachel is this psyched to be a part of it, that has to mean at least two things: it can’t be great for the rest of Leda, but it’s also the key to following all this crazy science to a conclusion. The fact that this premiere wasted no time in telling us exactly where Cosima had been taken and began to explain just what is going on there, demonstrates proper pacing for a final season and imparts a sense of confidence that Orphan Black is ready to start showing its hand and lead us to a satisfying finish.
This premiere gave us more than just the promise of big answers, though. It also left just about everyone in very perilous situations. While it’s not as though our beloved clones have never been in grave danger before, the level of threat does feel heightened. Whether by choice or not, Cosima and Sarah are in the clutches of Rachel and Neolution, Allison has been captured by Art’s new partner (way to abandon your wife, Donnie,) and Helena’s babies might not be long for this world.
“The Few Who Dare” also delivered other aspects that we’ve come to expect, and love, about this show. Donnie and Helena provided a few laugh out loud moments – the loon calls back and forth, and his immediate recognition that, though she’d saved him, her appearance meant nothing good was coming for the man she’d saved him from. Allison had a few classic one-liners like “poop stoop” and “fudging fudgers” – she is maybe the only person ever to use such tame language in describing her captors. There were heartbreaks, too, Helena’s poor babies being just the tip of the iceberg. Delphine and Cosima’s reunion was way too brief, but it played out perfectly by showing the nuance of their relationship. Cosima’s hesitancy towards Delphine is warranted, but the tender kiss she gave her bullet wound was both beautiful and deserved. Similarly, Art had no choice but to go along with his new partner’s directives but you can tell, even before she puts a gun to his head, that he’s genuinely conflicted – and somehow hopefully figuring out a way to use this all to both his and the clones’ advantage.
The one moment in this premiere that fell flat, and I mean face first onto the ground, was the reunion between Sarah and Cosima. What lies at the heart of Orphan Black – beyond the many plot twists and turns, past all the crazy science and pulse-pounding scenes – are the clones, and their relationships with one another and the other members of Clone Club. These emotional bonds are what have always grounded the show and made finding a connection with it so effortless. This essential component was entirely absent when Sarah finally made her way to Cosima. There were no hugs, no sense of relief from either of them that the other was ok, and then, they simply parted ways. While both Cosima’s decision to stay at Revival and Sarah’s desperation to get far away from Neolution felt completely true to their characters, their ease in leaving one another did not. Cosima is essentially alone on this island and Sarah just went through hell to save her sestra, and their reunion and parting wasn’t given the emotional depth they deserved. There was something very “for plot reasons” about the whole thing, and one can only hope it doesn’t reoccur in the precious little time that’s left.
More reunions are definitely in the works; they kind of have to be, it’s the final season. Seeing our clones work together, more than likely grieve together, and, hopefully, get to celebrate together, is necessary. Though shooting scenes where one woman is responsible for most or all of the characters involved has to be demanding, Tatiana Maslany has proven time and again that she can handle it, and then some.
- What the hell attacked Sarah in the woods? Was it the product of a botched experiment at Revival?
- There is something amazing about the fact that Sarah used a tampon to stop the bleeding from her leg wound.
- Sarah’s dreams of Kira could be just that, but the series has always hinted that there is something more to Kira than we know. Because of that, part of me wonders if these were more than dreams. Especially since they came at very opportune moments when it was in Sarah’s best interest to be awake.
- Rachel is still evil, but damn she looks good in that getup.
- What are the chances PT is also a clone? That would be a “reasonable” explanation for how he made it to his 170th There’s something about Cosima’s words to Charlotte about myths, and the knowledge of how cults need a leader that embodies what its followers are all hoping for that seems to point in this direction.
Orphan Black S5E1
"The Few Who Dare"
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Skyler Wexler, Josh Vokey, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu