This isn’t a final review, as Orphan Black hasn’t wrapped up yet, but it’s an amazing series. This is the final season of the series, it was always intended to be a five season series, and they are in season five.
Orphan Black is a muddy confusing mess, often it’s challenging to get to the bottom of what’s going on. There are plots inside of plots inside of plots. It can get hard to keep straight. The science is… questionable I guess. Not terrible, but not great either. Often it relies on people not having enough of a background in genetics or science to say things that are close to reality, but ultimately don’t quite match.
The theme song is annoying.
Of course what makes the series is the lead actress. Tatiana Maslany might be the best actress, well, anywhere. The show is an ensemble, but Tatiana Maslany plays most of the characters.
The series opens when Sarah, a street hustler, sees a woman with her face jump in front of a subway train, leaving a bag on the platform. Sarah is in trouble, so she takes on the woman’s identity. It takes time, but it’s revealed that she is a clone, one of many. That’s what makes the series so extraordinary. There are scenes where Tatiana Maslany plays three or four roles at a times. Often these are on screens, for production reasons.
The most extraordinary scenes are when one of the clones is imitating another one of the clones. There is a vast conspiracy (now wrapping up, finally) that created the clones. The clones sometimes have to pose as each other, and you never question that you are looking at one person pretending to be another person. At all times you can tell which clone you are looking at. Subtle bits of body language, cadence, diction, etc. These persist, even when a character is playing another character. It’s acting that’s subtle, but brilliant.
The rest of the cast is fine, decent actors, good characters, but Tatiana Maslany is profound. Watch the series, it will hook you instantly.
Traverse Davies is a writer and journalist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can read more of his work at http://dreamtime.logic11.com