and its not just her its cosima and helena and alison and all of the other clones

'Orphan Black' A to Z: Dive Into the Show's DNA Before Its Final Season

‘Orphan Black’ A to Z: Dive Into the Show’s DNA Before Its Final Season

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Source: Entertainment Weekly

A: Alison Hendrix

She’s just your everyday suburbanite mom — aside from the drug dealing and gun toting she does when she’s not crafting, acting in musicals, or running for school trustee. She’s also fiercely protective of her husband (and former monitor), Donnie, and their two children.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

B: Body Double

How does Maslany manage to play so many integral roles on the series? Kathryn Alexandre has been the star’s stand-in for Orphan Black’s entire run. Once the show’s invisible secret weapon, she was eventually rewarded with a minor onscreen role, playing Alexis.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

C: Cosima

Cosima Niehaus, one of the original Clone Club members, is a pot-smoking, board-game-playing former Ph.D. student specializing in evolutionary developmental biology. She puts her science smarts to use, researching her sisters’ origins and trying to find a cure for the respiratory illness that threatens the lives of almost all Leda clones — including her own.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

D: Dance Party

The season 2 finale brought Sarah, Helena, Alison, and Cosima together for the first time, and after all they’d endured, the sestras (“sisters” in show parlance) took a moment to cut loose. But it wasn’t all fun and games; shooting the complex clone dance party took two days. The result: Orphan Black’s most memorable scene.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

E: Episode Titles

The ethics of cloning isn’t the only topic on Orphan Black that requires analysis. Each season has taken its episode names from specific texts (season 1 used Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species; season 2 borrowed from the works of Sir Francis Bacon; then Dwight D. Eisenhower and Donna Haraway followed, with season 5 set to use the poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox). The titles are sometimes ominous, often telling, and always open to interpretation.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

F: Felix

Honorary Clone Club member Felix Dawkins (Jordan Gavaris) is Sarah Manning’s foster brother and a loyal ally to her sestras. When he’s not risking his neck to save their lives, he can be found turning tricks or painting graphic murals in the buff. Despite his frequent forays into territory that’s not strictly legal, Felix serves as a voice of reason.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

G: Genetics

Questions about DNA and identity are the very center of Orphan Black. The clones are exact genetic copies — so why are they so different from one another? Their DNA is patented — so what rights do they have to their own lives? Their creators meddle with genes in an effort to direct evolution — but at what point are they crossing an ethical line?

Source: Entertainment Weekly

H: Helena

Introduced in the third episode as “the killer clone,” Helena was raised by the Proletheans to be an assassin on the hunt for her fellow clones. Fast-­forward to now, and she’s become an integral (and deadly) part of the Clone Club, helping her earn the distinction as the most vicious, hilarious, and pregnant clone.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

I: Impersonation

Let’s be honest: There are some real negatives to being a clone (see: the whole conspiracy thing). But the best aspect — besides having ride-or-die sestras — has to be duping bad guys or undecided school-trustee voters by pretending to be another clone.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

J: John Fawcett and Graeme Manson

Susan and Ethan Duncan may have spearheaded Project Leda, but these two television masterminds are the true creators of our favorite band of clones. Manson serves as the primary writer, and Fawcett has directed 17 episodes, including every season finale.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

K: Kira

Kira Manning (Skyler Wexler) is the young daughter of clone Sarah, which is pretty miraculous considering the clones were genetically programmed to be sterile — the unexpected side effect of which is a deadly respiratory illness. Kira’s stem cells may offer the key to a cure. She also seems to have an unexplained knack for predicting the future.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

L: Leda

Named after the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Project Leda is the code name for the Dyad Institute program that created Beth, Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, and the other female clones. With the exception of the villainous Rachel, the Leda clones were raised without any awareness of the nature of their birth and DNA.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

M: Monitors

Spying on the clones for Dyad should be an unforgivable sin. Yet Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu), Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce), and Donnie Hendrix (Kristian Bruun) have all managed to redeem themselves over the course of the series, whether it be through love, sacrifice, or humor. Plus, how can we hold a grudge against half of the duo behind TV’s all-time greatest twerking scene?

Source: Entertainment Weekly

N: Neolution

Darwin this isn’t — Neolution is a movement that believes mankind can use scientific knowledge to advance its evolution as a species. It has a corporate face in the Dyad Institute but will be best remembered for its body-­modified believers.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

O: Original

All the clones — female and male — originate from one woman: Kendall Malone (Alison Steadman). She absorbed her twin brother in the womb and possessed both male and female DNA, which scientists harvested while she was in prison. Kendall is also the mother of Siobhan (Maria Doyle Kennedy), who raised Sarah and Felix.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

P: Proletheans

A secretive group that believes synthetic biology should only be carried out in God’s name, their views on clones are divided — ­traditionalists see them as abominations, but another sect, which saw them as miracles, kidnapped and forcibly impregnated Helena.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Q: Queer

Orphan Black has been embraced by the LGBTQ community because of its treatment of queer characters, including Felix, bisexual Cosima, and transgender clone Tony Sawicki (Maslany).

Source: Entertainment Weekly

R: Rachel

Unlike her fellow Leda clones, Rachel was brought up knowing that she’s part of an experiment, and she works for her creators. Ruthless, manipulative, and cold, underestimate her at your own peril.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

S: Sarah

Brash, British, and totally badass, Sarah Manning began her journey to discovering her clone identity on that fated train platform where she crossed paths with Beth Childs. What’s come next has included deep levels of conspiracy and intrigue, not to mention high doses of danger, but it also gave her (plus Felix, Kira, and all the Orphan Black fans) the best sisterhood — or should we say sestrahood? — around.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

T: Tatiana Maslany

Arguably the hardest-­working actor on TV, Maslany’s played nearly a dozen characters so far on Orphan Black, including the five distinctive women at the heart of the story. Her performance earned her one Emmy, but she deserves a trophy for each one of the clones.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

U: Unknowns

Orphan Black has revealed a lot about Neolution and the clones’ origins, but there are plenty of unanswered questions: How many more clones are out there? What’s up with Kira’s prescient abilities? Is there a cure for the illness that threatens Cosima and her sisters? Here’s hoping season 5 offers some answers.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

V: Village

Yet another quandary for the clones to unravel is this mysterious colony on the show’s very own Island of Dr. Moreau, whose inhabitants include a man seen in Rachel’s visions. Who they are, why they’re there, and why Delphine is with them will be among the questions fans will be looking to have answered before the series’ end.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

W: Westmorland

The clones’ long and often perilous journey has led them to 170-year-old Neolution founder P.T. Westmorland (Stephen McHattie). Described by co-creator Manson as the “most evil man in the world,” the mysterious figure is finally stepping into the spotlight in Orphan Black’s final season.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

X: Experiments

Cloning may be Orphan Black’s signature scientific foray, but it’s not the only one. Neolutionists push the boundaries of human evolution — and our stomachs —­ with wild body modifications and implanted “maggot-bots,” while Cosima logs ample time in the lab searching to cure her own health issues before it’s too late.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Y: Y Chromosome

Clone Club was an all-girls’ club no longer when Ari Millen arrived in season 2 to play Project Castor’s Mark, Rudy, Seth, Miller, and last (known) man standing Ira, Rachel’s brother and adoptive mother’s boyfriend (you read that right).

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Z: Zygotes

Sarah and Helena, who shared a surrogate birth mother, also share a genetic mutation that allows them to have children, unlike their sestras. Helena is currently carrying twins — and still kicking ass. (Don’t mess with her babies.)

Source: Entertainment Weekly

anonymous asked:

the negativity is because Orphan Black was FLAWLESS in the first two season. by that I mean flawless for the fans. Do you want Helena & Sarah? Here have a roadtrip. Do you want Cophine? There it goes, we'll even make her call her puppy. Do you Sarah & Kira? How about we throw a bit of auntie Alison, Helena, Cosima, uncle Felix & make them all dance? OB negativity is like greeks complaining if Zeus ever made a mistake NO YOU ARE A GOD YOU ARE PERFECT YOU CANT!! does it make sense now?

You know what you just listed there? Those things? Fan-service. Not plot points, not storyline-building things, not what makes a show a show. Those are the little inside-joke, wink moments that casual viewers wouldn’t bat an eye at but the fandom erupted over. Those are the things you really care about when you binge the show, like most of us did (more than once).

You know what they tried to do this season? I’ll make a list for you (below the cut, ‘cause this is about to get long):

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

why were u disappointed by ob s2? bc i was too, i wanna hear if we have the same reasons

it’s hard to pin down, but i’m going to say it’s a mixture of 1) the hodgepodge plot and 2) the derailment of individual character growth/storylines. i hate to say it, but i think the ob crew’s desire to appeal to the tumblr fandom is at least partially responsible for both of these issues; that had a particularly significant impact on the delphine/cosima relationship and helena’s occasional woobification (the worst word! but there it is) going into the second season, among other things. i once saw someone talking about how the creators were so determined to make season 2 “cool” and “surprising” that they ended up juggling too many things at once, and i think that pretty accurately encompasses why it fell flat for so many people. 

the first season of orphan black was impressive for its characters and the ethical themes it grappled with, but also because it was so tightly plotted. watching it, i felt that the writers knew exactly how to keep viewers on the edge of their seats without leaving so many unanswered questions that the plot became jumbled. whereas the second season: 

  • introduced the proletheans as a significant threat, and yet that entire arc quietly fizzled out when helena burned down the farm. like, what was the point of their existence in the first place except to introduce mark and gracie? all the background we were given regarding them, the amount of time spent fleshing out these characters and their motivations–for what, exactly? was anyone else anticipating the season culminating in some kind of confrontation between the proletheans and dyad?  
  • isolated alison so completely from the main plot of the show that it’s becoming progressively more difficult to defend her as one of its three central protagonists. the only thing that made her relevant to it was the situation with leekie’s death, which didn’t occur until the very end of the season. her increasing irrelevance could have been avoided if the show had addressed the fact that alison was the only one to sign the contract at the end of the first season, but (as so many fans have observed) it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever be revisiting that. 
  • had rachel kidnap kira only for that to be resolved an episode later. introducing minor arcs that have little to no impact on the main plot only to immediately abandon them an episode later has become a staple of season 2; this is just one example of many. felix, for example, has a heart to heart with sarah about how left out he feels early on in the season, but their discussion is never referenced again (that i know of).  
  • introduced an excess of characters. this is probably at the core of my issues with the second season. even with the plot in shambles, i remained invested in the show because these characters (and the clones, more specifically) are so near and dear to my heart. but between prominent side characters (paul, delphine, cal, mrs. s, art, angie, etc.) various members of dyad, and various proletheans, we hardly had any interaction between the clones themselves. going into the third season, it’s probably safe to assume that there will be even less of this, since the show will be gaining all of the male clones (for better or worse) along with several new faces (which is, in my opinion, the absolute last thing we need). now, i absolutely understand that tatiana pushed herself to her limits to give us the sheer amount of clone interaction we were given in the first season; it makes sense to try to find some middle ground in that respect. but the clones and their relationships with one another are at the heart of the show, and it’s my feeling that that didn’t come across in the second season, which brings me to:
  • developed relationships too fast. this happened constantly throughout the second season. it’s sometimes difficult to admit to this, because the scenes where the clones shared intimate moments were naturally our favorites. but when you take a step back from your sentimental attachment to the show and ask yourself “when did sarah become so close with helena when she killed her during their last meeting?” “why is it that cosima and sarah spent the last season bickering and now consider each other to be ‘sisters’?” you’ll probably come up blank. now, it isn’t that i don’t want the clones to reach a place where they can consider each other family: i do! but skating over the roadblocks in their relationships and pretending they’ve reached that point when we’ve seen no evidence to show that they have…makes it feel insincere. we didn’t earn this, so how can we properly appreciate it?
  • introduced the male clones. the fandom seems to be split down the middle over this issue, but i’m very much aligned with the anti-castor group. tony is an excellent addition to the show because his experiences offer a different (and necessary) perspective–and, as far as i’m concerned, he’s the only male clone we need. i would argue that an entirely new set of clones is the last thing this show (and its already full-to-bursting cast) needs. but if the military vs. civilian dichotomy was truly something the ob crew wanted to explore, the castor clones could just as easily have been women–or better yet, women of color, a group that was actually impacted by eugenics. part of the reason orphan black has resonated with so many people is because it prioritized the stories of disenfranchised groups (with the glaring exception of people of color, who have been woefully underrepresented on the show). the crew’s decision to make this new group of clones white and male feels like a slap to the face in that sense, and (with no disrespect intended to ari millen, who is a talented actor) i’m not looking forward to meeting them in season 3. 

even all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, and i’m sure there are issues i’ve missed (i invite anyone to add/edit/delete as it suits them). this isn’t to say that the show is no longer worth watching, but it’s my opinion that it certainly has lost its focus and declined in quality as a result. 

Is Not Life a Mirror Maze: Fragmented Identity in the Cinematography of Orphan Black

ORPHAN BLACK: The theme of identity is inherent to Orphan Black. In a show where a multitude of identical characters seem to materialize around every corner, it’s bound to be. As we follow our leading lady, Sarah Manning, through her journey of self-discovery, however, we also witness the confrontation and fracture of this identity. But, the plot isn’t the only thing that emphasizes this reflection and fragmentation of self that Sarah encounters; it’s also underlined quite clearly in the show’s use of mirrors and cinematography.

In Orphan Black, mirrors make for a pretty obviously symbolic motif. Mirrors, by nature, reflect what you are back at you, so it makes perfect sense for them to be heavily at play in a show like this.

Throughout the series’ first episode, “Natural Selection,” mirrors seem to follow Sarah Manning as she becomes submerged in the world of her double. We constantly see Sarah through mirrors, from the very first moment she begins to question herself, and all throughout her transformation into Beth.

But, the mirrors don’t stop there. Often associated with twins and diametric opposites (thesis and antithesis, yin and yang, right and left), mirrors serve the story of Orphan Black in plenty of symbolic ways.

And their presence, obviously, isn’t just meant to be seen and not heard.

In the scene in “Instinct” (Season 1, Episode 2) when Sarah is burying Katja’s body in the woods, we hear a voice from Sarah’s “funeral” quote the following song lyrics:

We’re in bummed out city
I plead your mercy and your pity
Is not life a mirror maze?

Well, Rockabilly Bob, Sarah’s life certainly seems to be. As Sarah stares into the face of the second twin of herself she’s seen die, it’s clear that the reflections are starting to be more than mere coincidence.

Keep reading

kimnrowdy  asked:

Dude. It's like, tough coming up with intelligent things to ask you for this 4k video you are making. But I am wondering about your thoughts on the writers replacing Alison and/or Cosima as part of the 3 main clones. Would the show still work if it was Sarah, Helena, and Rachel; and Cosima and Alison became side story? And this is totally calmorrison's idea. But it's an interesting idea I've been mulling over and I'm curious as to what you think about it.

Hey friends! Look who’s finally back on the analysis train!

It’s me!

Friendly reminder to everyone that I made my video, but didn’t have time for all the analysis and so I’m doing separate write-ups, of which this is the first of many. 

As for the topic at hand here though…

Well, well, well. This is a topic both myself and Jacq and I’m sure other people have addressed before and it’s something that’s always relevant so I’m going to let myself ramble here. I can’t go and dig up every writeup someone’s done on the topic, so I’m just going to summarize my own thoughts in combination with what feels like the general consensus on this idea here.

Here’s the thing about our clones — they represent three very important worlds. I’ve heard Jacq call them Street, Science and Suburbia, and that is important. These three worlds all have their assets.

  • From the Science we get exposition dump, we get foundation to our mystery, we get conspiracy theories, we get organizations, we get labs and white-coats and everything you would expect from a clone show. We get your classic sci-fi elements.

  • From the Suburbia we get dark humour, we get to relate, we get stark contrast to everything else, we get this hyper-realized world that hits close to home for many viewers, we get very real “ordinary” life and we get very real “ordinary” human fears.

  • From the Street we get our indy tone, we get dark, we get gritty, we get danger, we get fast-pace and we get our story. We get something interesting that the everyday viewer likely doesn’t experience every day. We get action, and we get excitement.

These three worlds combine so beautifully to create such a unique tone that ultimately makes Orphan Black successful. Let’s all consider what would happen if we lost one of these clones (and by extension) these worlds:

  • Street: Nope. Sarah Manning dies, we all die. Case closed.

  • Science: If Cosima fades too far into the background, we’ll lose essential information. As much as I love Cosima, her primary role is giving us all of the information we need to know in order to draw our own conclusions as viewers. “But Melanie!” someone out there says “We could still get occasional information from Cosima if she’s in the background and only in an episode every now and then!” Well dear reader, I do realize that. I raise the counter point though that we are all already frustrated with the lack of time for Cosima character development and experience. If we stuff her into the background only to show up every third episode and exposition dump…well her entire value as a character goes down the toilet. And I don’t know about you, but Cosima’s a very interesting character that I would like to know more about. We can have characters like Rachel on the side, because her arc is primarily concerning with her character as opposed to exposition dumping for the audience and other characters. When we see Rachel Duncan, we’re learning more about Rachel Duncan. If we relegate Cosima to the background, we’ll just see a lot of her explaining things and then leaving. Also, less Cosima means less Delphine. And none of us want that. (A much better worded — and always relevant — explanation of why Cosima can’t die right here)

  • Suburbia: I am a fervent defender of Alison Hendrix’s life and screentime on this show, that is no secret. My support extends beyond the bang-sisterhood and mutual love of white wine though. I would argue that it is the Suburbia that truly separates Orphan Black from the pack and makes it such a unique and fascinating show and story. We’ve had sci-fi shows with big corporations and white labcoats. We’ve also had sci-fi shows with street-wise thugs and shoot-outs in diners and running from cops. It is very rare though, that we have a sci-fi show with a suburban soccermom who tortures people with a gluegun. There is a reason that Alison was named one of the top 25 characters by EW this year. There is a reason that Variations Under Domestication won a whole host of the writing awards last year. There is a reason that Alison’s character has been met by almost universal acclaim — and that is because the Suburbia world as portrayed in contrast to the Street and the Science…that’s something that’s never really been done before. It’s fresh, it’s exciting, it’s unpredictable, and it’s relatable.  Anyways, my point is that if we lose Alison, we lose a key part of why this weird little show is so appealing. We lose that unique edge, we lose the black comedy, and we lose the reality. If we fall too far down the street or science rabbit holes, we risk descending into cliche sci-fi/crime tropes. With the Suburbia element, we can keep on having plot points like the potluck or the musical or rehab…and those plot points are what makes this show so gosh darn fun. 

Now, in my imagination I’m speaking to a big group of people right now and somebody just raised their hand in the back. “What about if one of those worlds is replaced by Helena or Rachel? Wouldn’t each of them bring something equally important to the table?” 

Thank you listener, you raise a valid point.

I ask you all this very important question, can Rachel Duncan exist without Sarah Manning? 

Think for a second. Of course literally, she is a person separate from Sarah. But can you really consider any elements of her storyline that are completely unrelated to Sarah Manning? Banging Paul — Sarah. Taking Kira — Sarah. Emotional breakdown — can’t bring Sarah to terms. All of that shit with Ethan — well guess who reintroduced Ethan into Rachel’s life. 

My point is, Rachel is a subset of Sarah’s story. 

Rachel can’t exist in her own world as a character at this current point, because everything she does is tied to Sarah. Rachel is too interconnected to Sarah’s world— and Cosima’s to an extent. Nothing is really entirely her own. At least not enough of her own at this point to justify an entire third of our main storyline. Alison on the other hand has a completely unrelated musical, ice skating lessons, neighbourhood potlucks, accidental stranglings of neighbours….things like that. Cosima brings that essential science exposition, as well as our token romance element with Delphine. These are things that, theoretically, would and could exist without the presence of Sarah Manning (but as I’ll get to later, still can’t in reality.)

I’m not saying that Rachel doesn’t have the potential to get to that point, but it is going to take some work and a lot of development of her as a character separate from Sarah. And I’m not sure we have time for that.

Now, that development is the kind of thing we saw from Helena in season 2. We started to see Helena have adventures separate from Sarah — everything with Jesse and with the Proletheans and…yeah there was a lot of distance in a good way. My issue with Helena being a so called “main clone” ultimately comes with what we would lose if we lose Alison or Cosima. At the end of the day, we are still going to get the needed dose of Helena’s world — especially with the upcoming assumed prominence of Mark/Gracie in s3 — with Helena in the role she is in currently. If we sacrifice our Science or Suburbia for just more Helena…I feel strongly that we would lose a whole lot more than we would gain. 

If we were to trade in Helena for say, Alison, our tone would shift dramatically. Things would be a lot more serious. Yes, Helena does bring humourous moments to the show, but they aren’t funny in the same way Alison Hendrix burying a body in her garage is. Helena is fundamentally dark, and not in a “bang my husband on top of a freezer in our dark garage” way.

We also have to remember that to an extent Helena, and definitely Rachel, are kind of antagonists. Again, I know Helena made progress towards redemption and all that in s2, but at the end of the day she’s not a “good guy” in the same way that Alison and Cosima are. There’s something thematically and structurally nice about having these three main protagonists, the conflicted hero-villain on the side, and then the batshit crazy evil one. Having those two side clones, Helena and Rachel, be intimately connected to Sarah feels so symmetrical and nice. It just feels balanced and right.

Now, ultimately I’m not saying we can never kill off one of our main three clones. There may come a point in the story where that is necessary. We’re going to require some significant tone shifts and setups before that point however in order to maintain some semblance of what the show is, or it’ll have to happen within the final stretch of episode where everything is just going down in flames. I am adamant on how we can’t kill Sarah with any narrative left in the story though — much in the same way that Rachel’s story can’t exist on the level that Alison and Cosima’s do, Alison and Cosima’s can’t exist on the same level as Sarah’s.

Sarah manning is our hero, through and through.

So yeah, that’s a lot of long rambles on character analysis and development. I think it’s important though, because as much as I want to see more of Rachel Duncan and Helena, I’m not willing to sacrifice the important things that Alison and/or Cosima bring to our story.