Orphan Black Season 1 Review

April 15, 2014 in Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest blog by Zuma

OrphanBlack1

I’m going to split this review into two sections; a spoiler free section and one where I go full spoilers.

SPOILER SAFE ZONE

Orphan Black is a relatively new show with just one season having aired so far and a second season set to start on April 19th on BBC America.


The series stars Tiatiana Maslany as Sarah, Cosima, Allison, Katja, Helena, Rachel and Beth…Yes that’s right. She plays 7 different characters in the 10 episodes that season 1 consists of.

We first meet Sarah Manning as she’s travelling home to see her daughter, Kira, for the first time in about a year. Sarah has gotten herself involved with some bad people, but has finally left her now former boyfriend, Vic behind in the hopes of getting her daughter back from her current guardian. Sarah made sure to take a bag of cocaine with her though, in the hopes of selling it for enough to start a new life.

However, as soon as she arrives at the train station her plans change. On the platform she sees Beth Childs, who happens to look exactly like her. But before she gets to say a word Beth jumps in front of a train.
Seizing on the opportunity Sarah takes Beth’s purse and with the help of her longtime friend, Felix, unfolds a plan to steal Beth’s identity, which also involves cheating her (former) colleague, Art and her boyfriend, Paul.

This starts her on a path filled with mystery and she soon discovers that Beth isn’t her only lookalike. In fact Sarah and Beth are just two of a number of clones, with no clue who they really are, where they come from or who, if any, might be the original.

Clone and lookalike storylines have been done before in various movies like The Prestige or The Island, but not quite like this. Tatiana Maslany is awesome as all the clones and you’re never in doubt about who is who. Every clone looks different, has distinct personalities, different accents and mannerisms. Sometimes she even plays a clone doubling as another clone!

The season proceeds at a great pace and the storytelling never really dips. Tatiana Maslany really makes you forget that she’s playing about half the characters on the show. Sarah Manning is a likeable character, but definitely not without her flaws. Her best friend and foster brother, Felix is a bit like the goofy sidekick and extremely loyal. Cosima became my favorite of the clones. She’s very smart and curious, but maybe vulnerable in other ways. Alison is the wild card of the three main clones; very protective of her life and probably the most fragile. Beth’s colleague, Art, could be a bit of an x factor going forward. The weakest character, in my opinion, is Beth’s boyfriend, Paul. We learn a bit about him, but he never really becomes all that likeable or interesting, especially not compared to the others.

Overall I would give the first season of Orphan Black a 9/10

Next season looks promising!

OrphanBlack2

Felix, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany and….Tatiana Maslany?!

SPOILER VALLEY!


So as mentioned above Sarah steals Beth’s identity. Following this she goes to her house does her hair like Beth and looks for as much information as she can on Beth and in the process discovers that Beth has a bank account with $75,000. She manages to trick him, but not long after Beth’s colleague Art drags her to their job….at the police station.

Her identity as Beth holds up though but before long she faces her next crisis as her daughter Kira is about to get the news that Sarah is dead. This crisis doesn’t get to hang around for long though as she suddenly gets a new friend in Katja Obinger, another clone. Katja soon realizes that this isn’t Beth, but before she can do anything about it an unknown shooter kills her, leaving Sarah sitting in a car with a fake identity and a dead lookalike in the back seat.

Sarah soon meets up with the other two main clones of the show, university student Cosima and soccer mom Allison. She also meets the not so friendly clone-turned-assassin, Helena. Helena, a religious fanatic, was brought up believing she was the original and that it is her mission to kill the other evil clones. Shortly after their meeting, Cosima goes back to the University of Minnesota hoping to learn more about herself and the other clones’ biology. She finds a friend in Delphine, who turns out to be more than she seems.

The clone trio eventually starts suspecting the presence of an observer in all their lives causing Alison to grow more and more suspicious of her husband, culminating in her knocking him out, tying him up and torturing him for information with a glue gun. Ultimately she finds out that he’s innocent and instead turns her suspicions towards her neighbor, Aynsley. It’s interesting to watch Alison through the season go from a mostly calm if slightly nervous mother and wife and slowly becoming more and more unstable as their situation becomes increasingly dire.

Meanwhile Sarah tries juggling between staying in character as Beth, repairing her relationship with Kira, learning more about her origin and keeping Helena at bay. But her different lives slowly start colliding with Art growing suspicious of “Beth” and Helena and others showing an interest in Kira.

Sarah of course also runs into perhaps the biggest clue, when she meets her biological mother, or rather her surrogate mother, Amelia. She discovers that there are in fact an original template, or actually two. The two being Sarah and Helena. The people who hired Amelia for the surrogacy are neolutionists who wanted the kids for their work. Amelia, however, discovered their plan and went into hiding and subsequently gave birth to Sarah and Helena. Sarah was then given to the state, while Helena was given to the church. Amelia’s return into Sarah’s life unfortunately doesn’t last long. Helena, in her madness, blames Amelia for abandoning them and kills Amelia, but not before Amelia manages to reveal vital information about Kira’s guardian and the people behind the cloning.

As mentioned above I’d give the first season 9/10. If the show continues at this level it has the potential to be one of the best shows currently on TV.

OrphanBlack3