I can’t believe that it’s been four years since the first episode of Orphan Black was released. Those introductory sequences with Tatiana Maslany meeting someone who looks exactly like her were so promising that I was almost hesitant to get too into the series – I was too worried it would get cancelled. Fortunately for me, it didn’t.
Season Five is the final season in Orphan Black and I think its finished at the right time. The show has been left with every season perfectly formed, not a single episode that felt like filler and all the loose ends neatly tied off. There are no remaining cliffhangers that could lead to another season, no plot holes and no feeling that the last few episodes were rushed or that additional storyline was cut. Even so, I’ve heard rumours of a movie and I haven’t yet decided whether I want one or not.
Obviously, by season five it’s hard to write a review which doesn’t have spoilers. I’m keeping mine as minor as I can but stop reading right now if you don’t want even the most minor ones.
Orphan Black is a sci-fi that features genetic modification and illegal cloning. Tatiana Maslany plays the roles of several clones, starting with Sarah Manning, who’s adventure starts when she sees the first copy of herself, Beth Childs. As time goes on she meets other clones, the main group being Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, Helena and Rachel Duncan. Maslany’s ability to so convincingly play so many characters that are all so completely different in every aspect except their appearance is one of the things that makes this series so compelling and, honestly, the woman deserves every acting award available.
It’s not just a sci-fi though, and don’t expect anything remotely like Star Trek or Battlestar. It’s more like a drama or an action with the only sci-fi element coming from the fact that human cloning is real, has happened, and a shady evil corporation (Dyad) is keen to continue to work on cloning, at any expense both for profit and to further its “Neolution” cause. Ok, so it’s kind of sci-fi.
So this final season has Sarah and pals with almost all the information they need to defeat Dyad and to live their lives free, uncontrolled and unmonitored. Of course, like any good evil science corporation, Dyad isn’t going down without a fight. That would hurt profit margins. Our team, including Sarah’s adoptive mother Mrs S, her adoptive brother Felix and almost the entire gang of favourites from previous seasons still have plenty of work to do. Not least of which includes working to figure out how to cure the clone sisters of a genetic illness. Good thing Cosima is a biologist.
We get additional bits of character backstory interspersed with up to date character development and full on terrifying action scenes. Felix and his biological sister bring much-needed humour along with Donnie Hendrix and occasional visits from un-aware clone Krystal. It really is hard to imagine a better-balanced series in this respect.
So I’m sad its over, but I’ve loved every minute and wouldn’t change a bit of it. If the series end is a cloud, then the silver lining is getting to look forward to whatever Maslany does next.