Underappreciated Character Post: Scott Smith (Orphan Black)
No, but seriously. Where is the love for this guy?
Although Felix Dawkins is often highlighted as a character who is taken for granted by the rest of the characters, Scott is a character who I feel is honestly kinda taken for granted by the Clone Club.
Orphan Black is a show that seriously gets off on deconstructing tropes and archetypes. We’re introduced to so many characters who, at first glance, are walking cliches (for example, Felix Dawkins as the hyper-effeminate “sassy gay friend”, Alison Hendrix as the neurotic henpecking housewife, Donnie Hendrix as the emasculated henpecked husband, Krystal as the airheaded hyperfeminine “Barbie Girl”…) but who, through their interactions with the other characters and the narrative, grow into so much more than their “type.” Scott is no exception—when he’s first introduced to us in Season 1, he’s the socially-awkward, nerdy loser who’s got a crush on a girl who’s “way out of his league”. In another film or series, Scott may have been the protagonist, the schlubby everyman audience stand-in, and his story may have revolved around him “winning” Cosima’s affections through semi-stalkerish methods that would be portrayed as “romantic.” But this isn’t another series or film, it’s Orphan Black, where nobody is “just” what they appear to be.
Over the course of the first 3+½ seasons of Orphan Black, Scott has evolved and transcended his trope beautifully. Although he’d already started to “grow out” of his trope by the end of Season 1, the real “tipping point” of exponential growth came in season 2, when Cosima reveals to Scott (who has already figured out on his own that Cosima is working on a human cloning project with DYAD) that she’s the dying clone. I give a hat-tip to actor Josh Vokey for that particular scene, he portrayed Scott’s reaction (silently going through stages of “Oh, funny!” “You…are joking, right?” “No, that can’t be” “Holy shit, is this for real?” “You’re…not joking. You really are a clone, all this time…” “Wait, 324B21…you’re the sick clone…you’re dying…” “Oh shit. My friend is dying.” “And I can help save her. I can do this.” “This isn’t what I expected at all. But now I know the truth, and I’m all in.” within a matter of seconds before saying “It’s an honor to be working with you…Cosima.”) powerfully and convincingly. Although Scott mostly remains in Cosima’s storyline, he’s also made his share of impact on the other storylines as well (choosing to risk his own life in the Sarah rescue operation at the end of season 2 rather than chance letting Cosima, whose illness was taking its toll on her, make the rescue run, for example, or his current involvement in the “progenitor” storyline as the only person who knows that Kendall Malone is dying of leukemia).
And now let’s talk about his character. He starts off as the type of character who would be a “jaded Nice Guy™” in another film or franchise. But the further the story goes along, the more he transcends that. He’s in over his head, wrapped up in something that’s a lot bigger than him, and he knows it—but even after being formally “released” from DYAD, he chose to keep working with Cosima to save the clones, even knowing that the threat is bigger than ever. He isn’t hung up on his (possibly former) feelings for Cosima—he sincerely cares about her not just as a girl, but as his friend, and sincerely wants to help to save her and her sisters not because he anticipates any sort of “reward” but because it’s the right thing to do. He’s just as smart as Cosima is, he’s sincere and compassionate, and he’ll do anything to protect the people he cares about. And he’s in the fight not because he was born into it, or because he has anything to gain from it, but because he chooses to be—that’s probably one of the biggest things that goes unsaid about his character but that I think deserves recognition, there were so many points in the series where he could’ve walked away (and probably should have) but consciously chose to stay on-board and help Cosima and her sisters. Far from being a Nice Guy™, he’s a genuinely good person.
And he deserves a lot more kudos than he gets. So there you have it.
What if in season 4 of Orphan Black Cosima gets this package and it’s a flash drive and when she plugs it in it’s a video of Delphine saying “my love, I’m sorry, but if you are watching this it means I am dead…”
MVP - ORPHAN BLACK SEASON 3: Dr. Delphine Cormier.
For her incredible bravery, cunning, selflessness and determination in the face of adversity, danger and immediate threat of harm and for risking her own life for the woman she loves, the Leda faction and their families.