The phrase “stick the landing” might be a bit overused in regards to series finales, but if there were ever a time to use it, now would be it. “To Right the Wrongs of Many” was one of the strongest episodes in Orphan Black’s five-year run, and it gave fans exactly what we needed for closure. All plots of importance were concluded, but nothing was too neat and tidy. Clone Club’s members have been given the chance to live free and happy lives, but it’s clear it won’t be all blue skies and jam hamburgers. Life is still life, even after you’ve defeated an evil, patriarchal corporation. There was an authenticity to this finale that’s often hard to find; as the credits rolled, there was a sense that this story is ongoing, even if we’re not lucky enough to keep watching. Much of the credit for all of this success comes from OB’s understanding of what its final focus should be: the sestras.
Through all the crazy science, the sometimes-convoluted plotlines, and the never-ending mystery of who was really behind Project Leda, it was the bonds of Clone Club that consistently grounded Orphan Black. It was these women (and a few good men) who, despite living in extraordinary circumstances, struggled with relatable issues like identity, autonomy, sisterhood, and motherhood, and made the show so much more than just another drop in the sci-fi bucket. It would have been easy to center this finale’s attention on the definitive battle between Leda and the last of the Neolutionists; many fans were likely anticipating it after the intense cliffhanger of “One Fettered Slave.” But the wiser decision was to dispatch of Coady and PT within the first third of the hour. Not only was there just enough suspense in that dingy DYAD basement to satisfy, there was precisely enough time left to explore how the sestras were moving on (or not,) without making the finale feel too tightly packed.
Even the flashbacks felt appropriate, never impeding the flow of the present day narrative. In fact, these glimpses into Sarah’s life before Kira, allowed the show to come full circle in an entirely organic manner. She’s still a bit of a mess, but it’s clear Sarah has grown so much since we first met her five short years ago. To see her so defiant towards Siobhan was painful, but seeing her use those memories to gather strength for her twin sestra gave a worthwhile purpose to that pain. Helena giving birth was just the first of several tear-worthy scenes, but it’s a definite standout for the multitude of emotions it evoked. The relief of knowing Helena’s babies were free, the bittersweet reminder of Siobhan, the sheer joy and hope of the moment, and the solidified bond between Helena and Sarah (and Art) all made for one of the most profound and beautiful birth scenes I have ever witnessed.
“To Right the Wrongs of Many” wasn’t short on uplifting moments. The entire baby shower sequence, minus Sarah’s outburst, was so bright and cheery, and felt almost therapeutic from the sense of calm it was emitting. The celebratory nature was a much-needed atmosphere, for both the characters and the audience. It was an excellent vehicle for delivering new bits of information, without feeling expository in the slightest. Above all, it was a hopeful preview into what these character’s lives will hopefully be like for years to come. There was one scene that stands head and shoulders above them all, though. Nothing can beat the heart-to-heart (to-heart-to-heart) between the four sestras in Alison’s backyard.
First of all, it’s visually mesmerizing to watch four Tatiana’s interacting with and reacting to one another. It’s mind-boggling to consider just how many times Maslany would have had to film that section. Second and third viewings of this scene have proven worth it for catching the movements of each clone so easily missed the first time through; it’s a piece of art unto itself. More importantly, it’s been some time since we’ve seen these women all together and it was a vital piece for a truly fulfilling finale. The mechanics of the scene were impressive enough that most fans would have been happy for the women to just have a friendly chat. But OB goes above and beyond by giving us a conversation that’s enormously meaningful.
In just a few bits of dialogue, “To Right the Wrongs of Many” sees Sarah being wholly truthful, a rare occurrence, and reinforces the sestras’ bond more than ever before. There’s something truly touching about Sarah finally allowing herself to break down in front of these women. It’s messy, and that feels natural because it’s not easy to move on from such a big loss so quickly. However, it also feels like she’s taken the exact right step to start finding some peace. When her sestras comfort her by revealing their own fears and mistakes, it’s another moment of authenticity, and an extremely heartwarming one at that. And, of course, Helena’s childrearing tales are already hilarious, and come at the perfect time to lighten the mood. All in all, it was highly rewarding for longtime fans.
The final check-ins with all the sestras could have been a tacky after thought, but instead felt entirely earned. Helena finally found the family she deserved and named her sons after two men who helped her find it. Alison has cultivated a new life of living deep, and she and Donnie have never seemed happier. Cosima is curing the 274 remaining Ledas, while making crazy science (free of secrets) all over the world with Delphine. And Sarah’s found a way to be content with her life, embracing the lack of chaos, and becoming the mother Siobhan and Felix always knew she could be. None of these endings feel forced. It’s just a group of women who fought to make their own futures, and won.
- Did anyone else cry, like, a lot? I knew I would probably tear up at least once, but I hadn’t anticipated the mountain of used Kleenex that sat in my lap when the final credits rolled.
- The shot of Helena opening a gift was a great call back to her baby shower dream in season three. It was a nice way to reflect on how far Helena has come.
- “I call it Orphan Black.” – Helena. “Boy, that’s weird.” – Sarah. Man, I would love to get my hands on those memoirs!
- For just a moment, I really wanted Rachel to be part of the sestrahood. I am such a sucker for redemption arcs, and hers felt very genuine. However, as soon as Felix said, “you know you can’t come in,” I knew immediately that he was right. I suppose it’s enough for all parties to know that, in the end, Rachel did what she could for the good guys.
- I had really hoped we might get to see Tony or Krystal once more, but we did get to see Tatiana introduce one more clone, Camilla. It was fascinating to see the new clone flirt with Delphine and generate zero chemistry. A minute later, Cosima walks in and the entire vibe completely changes. Just another testament to the immense attention to detail given to each clone.
- Thanks to everyone who read these reviews for the past three years! See you around, chickens.
Orphan Black S5E10
"To Right the Wrongs of Many"
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Skyler Wexler, Josh Vokey, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu