Rophy says: As you all know Rophy watched Orphan Black last year after several of you screamed at us to watch it, and we loved it. Rophites, you were right. You were so flipping right that we’ll be watching week to week this year and providing you with recaps even if they sometimes devolve into AD;FLKJDS;LFKJSD;LGKJS;DGJS.
Ever since we finished season one in a giddy rush, we’ve been meaning to do something to show our love. This page sat on our dashboard half-filled for many, many months, until the knowledge that the show is returning spurred us to get it finished and out there.
For the record, we were originally intending to do a ‘Top 10 ‘Holy crap, this show owns Rophy’ moments in Orphan Black Season 1’ list and then we couldn’t. We just couldn’t do it, you guys. So we decided to modify the parameters slightly as follows…
Top 20 ‘Holy crap, this show owns Rophy’ moments in Orphan Black Season 1
20. Introducing… Alison.
“Hide your ugly face on the way out.”
Sophy says: She had me at hello. Okay, I don’t think she actually said hello so much as “Are you out of your mind?” closely followed by “Idiot” and “Don’t you even know who you’re talking to?” So she had me at all of that.
Alison was my first favourite clone and remained my favourite clone up until, well, she kind of stood by and watched somebody asphyxiate and/or get their face munched off, I’m not really sure on the logistics of that death scene and I’d rather not think about it any more than I have to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Alison to death and all… it’s just that I’m now very, very afraid of her. Like… almost Helena-afraid. Okay, not quite. But she’s getting there.
But really, I was just totally enamoured of her from the moment she appeared on screen in her vest with her headband on and Sarah was all “A soccer mom?” And then she was wielding a knife around and making crazy faces and taking orange slices out to the kids and before she left she was all Hide your ugly face on the way out.
I laughed out loud at the intensity with which she delivered that line but at the same time I felt uneasy – sad and a little disturbed – that this woman had been made so afraid and so hateful by the experience of being a clone. That she valued the life she had made for herself so highly – above and beyond pretty much anything – but on some level it had all become fake to her. Because how can you really love your life – your family – your who-you-are if you look at your own face and call it ugly with such devastating vehemence and ease?
And I guess that’s what makes it so sad in the end. Alison goes through her own rebellion against herself throughout the season, trying to undo everything she’s done so well up to now in an attempt to not be this person – this trumped up copy of a copy of a copy. And in the end she’s too afraid of the chaos. In the end she returns to the safety of what she knows, holds on tight to the life she’s made for herself – to Donny – unaware that he is the one who has made it for her.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST I HATE DONNY, YOU GUYS. More on this later.
Rin says: ALISON. Oh what to say about Alison. Like Sophy, it was an instant love kind of thing. From the moment Orphan Black started it was heavy. And really, when you start off with a suicide, can you really expect anything else? And I am all about that side of Orphan Black, it’s what makes it brilliant. This is some really deep twisted weird shit we’re dealing with and I love it. Sarah’s world is also pretty dark — with her druggie ex, her foster mum looking after her kid, etc. Fe is pretty magic and hilarious, but he’s also a part of that world.
When Alison showed up it was like this breath of fresh air that we didn’t even know we needed. She brings the complete opposite of Sarah’s world, and it’s hilarious. And you know what? She’s the Rachel Berry of the Orphan Black world. She’s more Rachel Berry here than Rachel was during Season 4, and it makes me smile. She’s crazy, over-the-top and wide eyed, and manages to charm the pants off you because of it.
I am also scared of her. And a little bit angry that they made Alison stand-by while her completely innocent neighbour/friend died. I was angry because now I can’t fully love her unconditionally. I mean, I get it. Alison was pretty messed up by that point and it was all building to point where she would have a moment of insanity like that. But it’s still basically murder, you know? AND I PREFER MY LOVES TO NOT BE MURDERS? EXCEPT FOR ALICE MORGAN, BUT YOU KNOW THERE IS ALWAYS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. It’s also what you have to expect with a show like Orphan Black, i.e. expect the unexpected. They will throw a curveball like that whether or not you like it. They knew Alison would be someone that people loved because of the comedy — but now she’s a little bit tainted. No one is safe.
Sophy says: I think the saddest thing about Alison basically murdering her neighbor is that she’s never going home now, you know? She’ll still pretend to be a suburban mother of two but now she’ll know it’s pretending. Helena is the one who died this season, but I feel like the person Alison always believed herself to be died as well.
19. And a special introduction for Vic.
“It’s a race to see who can get in the car the fastest!”
Sophy says: Honestly, I never knew whether to laugh or cry when Vic was on screen. Usually, I did a bit of both in a spluttery kind of way. He’s just ridiculous. He’s a ridiculous human. I wanted to include about 6 other caps from this scene that were just of Vic being Vic, because the actor has a natural comedy in the way he moves and is just downright endearing and irritating and overall marvelous. And I think most of the time because he’s such a ridiculous figure you’re just sitting there giggling at all the shit that he goes through and then every now and then it hits you how badly his life sucks and how maybe it’s not actually all that funny when people maim him…
EXCEPT IT IS.
ALISON MACED HIM YOU GUYS. SHE STRAIGHT-UP PEPPER-SPRAYED HIS POOR LITTLE FACE. AT CLOSE RANGE. AND HE ALREADY LOST A FINGER??? Which, by the way, one of the things that made me laugh/cry most about Vic was just how long he kicked-puppied around the place with that shabby bandage on his hand being more worried about other things like Sarah and the ways she screwed him over.
AND THEN ALISON MACED HIM. AND THEN SHE TASERED HIM FOR GOOD MEASURE. And the best part about it is that she absolutely does not have the excuse that a strange man came up and started harrassing her. Well she sort of does. But not really. Because she knows full well why he’s calling her by another name and talking about her being alive. She knows he’s not just some random shopping mall loon out to harm her. But the thing is that Alison protects Alison’s world, you know? It doesn’t matter how unfair it is that this guy has found himself caught up in the clone hurricane and has no idea what is going on and is clearly distraught and confused and, you know, bleeding and stuff. Alison’s not going to explain herself. She’s not even going to try to make up a lie. She’s going to mace and taser the hell out of him, get her kids in the car and pretend this never happened to her.
AND SHE MADE IT A GAME.
SHE. MADE. IT. A. GAME.
Rin says: THE BEST GAME EVER.
I love that the clichés continued to keep stacking on top of Alison. Because of course she would be the kind of person that carries around mace and a taser in her bag. I would not be surprised if she has a rape whistle on her keychain too. Alison is just the complete Soccer Mum package, and it’s perfect. She was also just in a shop called ‘THE SPY GUYS’. Christ.
Vic is so stupid. HE’S SO STUPID. And he starts off being an annoying fly that you can’t get rid of, showing up everywhere where he isn’t supposed to. And turns into a character you learn to love and accept because he’s just that hopeless and pathetic.
Also the scene in the grocery store where Vic tells Alison’s kids to stay in school and then looks pointedly at his own bloody hand. Oh my god. Ridiculous.
Sophy says: I absolutely love the fact that Vic the Dick was probably once the scariest thing in Sarah’s life. And now he’s just…. lol.
Sophy says: I nearly barfed. But in a really impressed and appreciative manner?
And I just about cried when that kid came into the bathroom, because, hey, naturally I assumed Helena was going to eat him for breakfast and be on her way and so I was bracing myself for child-murder that thankfully never came. That’s kind of the brilliant thing with Helena though – you never know quite where to place her. When you see this figure, back slashed into bloodied wings, rubber gloves on, pulling large objects out of wounds like it’s Tuesday… you just assume she’s some kind of horror movie villain. And then she isn’t. And then she is.
And then she isn’t…
and so on and so forth.
Look at me, talking about her in the present tense.
Rin says: BUT THEN SHE REALLY KIND OF IS. Because oh my god what is happening and my eyes, my eyes.
And I totally get what you mean when you say you were impressed. This is the kind of stuff that lets you know they’re not kidding around. A lot of shows will tend to use gore as a means of SHOCK and HORROR, and yes this was shocking and horrifying, but it’s also completely necessary for Helena. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I’m pretty sure having bloodied wings carved into your back says a lot about a person.
They’re not the type of people you invite over for Christmas Lunch.
Sophy says: Oh god now I’m imagining Clonemas Lunch. Helena keeps trying to climb to the top of the tree only it’s too flimsy and Alison spent sixteen hours hand-painting that goddamn angel and is swatting at her with a spatula.
Sarah and Cosima are drinking quietly.
Rin says: NOW WE’LL NEVER GET THAT.
And she’ll never have any more fruit punch ever or eggs or yawn or brush her hair.
Sophy says: WALL-PUNCH.
17. Family before clones.
“You point a gun at my brother again and I will kick the living shite out of you!”
Sophy says: BROS BEFORE CLONES. I love how badass Sarah is when it comes to the people she loves. Like, she hasn’t got time to freak out about the fact that a copy of her is holding a gun and making psycho face, because she’s holding that gun and making that psycho face at her brother.
Sarah is such a mama bear. Like, really, there is a huge fucking seven foot roaring wild animal inside her tiny body when it comes to her family. And actually, I think Alison kind of relates to that. I mean, the whole reason she’s standing outside shaking with a gun in her hands is because she feels that her family is being threatened.
And then once Sarah has calmed the whole situation down she gives Alison a good slap. Because a little physical abuse never did any harm when it comes to establishing who’s boss.
Physically abusive Sarah
Rin says: This moment really is about everything that has come before it. From the end of the previous episode and it being almost a complete joke to Felix because Suburbia and ‘Oh my god, don’t stop, someone might speak to us,” as he clutches at his jacket. I love that Sarah wanted backup in the form of Fe to go to Alison’s house. And then the big clone reveal happens and it’s all BAM BAM BAM. I’m sad I couldn’t fit more Cosima into these caps, because she’s a real champ throughout these scenes, but don’t worry there’ll be plenty of Cosima yet. Spoiler alert.
I love that we see how much of Alison’s tough girl act, what with the gun toting and all, is just an act. As she shakily points the gun at Felix, shouting at him in a panicked voice. AND THEN SARAH SLAPS ALISON AND THREATENS TO KICK THE LIVING SHITE OUT OF HER IF SHE POINTS A GUN AT HER BROTHER AGAIN.
And you guys know how much we here at RophyDoes love on the sibling relationships. And this was one of those times when the strength of that relationship is brought to light, with Sarah showing just how seriously protective of Felix she is.
And Alison is being all Rachel Berry again, with her little slapped face. No, I don’t ship Alison/Sarah.
Clonecest is illegal.
Sophy says: I think it would be a terrible shame if no clonecest ever went down on this show. What self-respecting secret clone-making organization wouldn’t at least try to make that happen and look on eagerly, clip-board in hand???
ALSO. “HI. AWKWARD. I’M COSIMA.”
16. We refuse to believe Mrs S is evil.
“I can keep Kira safe. Just like I kept you.”
Sophy says: I know there’s plenty of evidence at this point to suggest that Mrs S has simply been playing Sarah her whole life and she is just really good at it, what with the reverse psychology of being hard on her and keeping her at arm’s length whilst keeping her daughter, rather than being too obviously cloying and trying to play happy families… but. BUT.
I just can’t believe that she’s that evil. I mean I can… and I can’t.
Say what you like about the ethics of knowing something huge about someone their whole life and never telling them – of spying on them – of allowing them to be essentially a rat in a cage and have just about as much awareness of it as, well, a rat in a cage. Even if that’s really what Mrs S has been up to all these years, the fact remains that she has, as she says, kept Sarah safe. And she has kept Kira safe. And I loved that in this darkest moment, as Sarah prepares to crawl into the belly of the beast that made her, Mrs S is the one she entrusts her most precious human to. Having railed so hard against Mrs S’s interference, here Sarah recognizes the good in having a woman like this on her side – someone strong enough to protect her child from any harm at any cost. So I’d like to think that even though Mrs S is clearly dodgy as hell, Sarah’s instincts when it came to her child were right. I’d like to think that whatever other agenda Mrs S may or may not have been running she loves her enough that her safety > all other things.
We’ll see where season 2 goes shortly. But until I get definitive proof that Mrs S would ever willingly put Sarah or Kira in harms way, I’m going to go ahead and treasure the moment Sarah caved – the moment she gave in and loved this woman who is all the mother she will ever get.
(THANKS A LOT HELENA, MORE ON THAT LATER.)
Rin says: Hahah there’s a lot of things we’re thanking Helena for later.
But I agree, I refuse to believe she is evil. Mostly because I don’t want it to be that simple, she’s always been a bit suspect and whilst it’s easy to think the worst of her and TRUST NO ONE, there surely has to be a reason for her actions. Besides the house had been ransacked so she probably took Kira to protect her. Also I love her accent. WHAT, MAYBE SOMETIMES THINGS ARE SIMPLE.
I love their little thrown together family. Clearly their upbringing wasn’t all butter and salt and their current relationship isn’t either, but they look out for one another. They are all the family they’ve got and more than ever they have to cling on to each other when so much else is up in the air. WHEN THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WEARING YOUR FACE. You kind of need the people you have a history with, good or bad.
15. Here’s to not murdering you!
“You should have just told me in the first place.”
Sophy says: There aren’t many shows around that would establish the foundations for one of their central romantic relationships in the very same scene one party was gearing up to murder the other. But here’s the thing about Paul/Sarah: it’s dark and the writers are not afraid of that. Paul doesn’t have to be a good person for Sarah to want, take, have him, and a lot of that is down to the fact that Sarah is extremely self-contained in her romantic relationships. She can revel in attraction because she is quite good at not letting it become anything more than it needs to be.
But although Paul isn’t a good person I also don’t read him as a bad person, so much as somebody who got stuck in the middle of something far, far bigger than he knows – someone confused and angry and self-hating and staggeringly depressed – someone who’s had his life taken away from him over the past few years by being forced to become a monitor, as much as any of the clones has by being monitored.
I know a lot of people hate Paul and think his actions with Beth (and I guess Sarah) are unforgivable and he should get the eff away from any and all Tatiana Maslanys and die slowly in a ditch somewhere. I’m not one of those people. If what Paul says is correct and he killed several fellow soldiers without intending to… personally I can hardly blame him for hastily accepting any deal to cover that up. It may be that he did nothing negligent or malicious that led to those people’s deaths, but it ain’t easy being prosecuted, especially when you’re suffering from a motherload of subconscious guilt and probably actual PTSD. Sure, a hero would face the music – tell the truth, let the chips fall where they may. A hero wouldn’t compromise his morals. A hero wouldn’t hide.
But Paul isn’t a hero. He’s just a desperate man whose misfortunes and unfortunate choices have led him slowly further and further away from the person he used to be. He would have done anything to escape the shame and guilt of what happened in Afghanistan. He’d do anything now to escape DYAD and the shame and guilt of what he did to Beth – including killing this girl who looks exactly like her, who has been playing him in a game he’s been at for too long without knowing the rules.
Paul would do anything to get out. But unfortunately for him Sarah isn’t a bad guy. Unfortunately for him neither was Beth. This isn’t a situation where he can tell himself all’s fair in love and war, fight back, win, and walk away when it’s done. What Paul realizes when he assimilates that Sarah and Beth are clones – that there are nine of them – that they are victims in this and have been all along, is that the only way out of this is through it. The only way he’s ever going to regain an ounce of self-respect is by helping Sarah instead of hurting her.
She trusted him. She told him all of the truth. Poisoning her now would be like shooting an unarmed man in the back.
So Paul puts the contaminated bottle back and gets another out and they both drink. And he does this in a way that is slow and deliberate, making it clear to Sarah what was going to happen if she hadn’t been straight with him. That’s the honesty he gives her in return. That’s the truth of who he is that he doesn’t try to hide from her.
Not a good man. A coward. Ruthless. On her side.
This is when Sarah and Paul first know each other, never mind all the bow chicka wow wow, and their introductions are sleek and dark and just perfectly written and acted and shot.
Rin says: Yeah but I probably would have poured that bottle down the drain instead of putting it back in the cupboard. LIKE WHAT IF YOU FORGET ONE NIGHT AND IT’S OH SHI—-DEAD??! Better safe than sorry.
I don’t hate Paul either. (One day Sophy and I will disagree and the world will implode.) I wouldn’t say he’s my favourite character on the show because I don’t even know how that would be a thing when you have so many Maslanys, but I like him because he’s necessary. Without Paul there wouldn’t be as much push and pull, someone to actually challenge Sarah in a way that the others don’t. He’s about as regular as you’re going to get on this show and in a way that balances out the dynamics. Everyone else is kind of crazy, let’s be honest.
I have a lot of faith in Paul. Mostly because I find it impossible to look at Sarah’s baby bruised face in the elevator and not throw caution to the wind and basically move mountains to give her what she wants. I think he’s going to be willing to risk everything for her. IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.
Sophy says: LOL OH GOD NEVER PUT THE MURDER BOOZE BACK IN THE CUPBOARD. Noted.
14. A jogging.
“Did you say ‘a jogging’?”
Sophy says: Okay, I will admit that part of the reason this is in here is because visually there are ways in which it is so violently Quinn and Rachel at Yale in ASWD for me that I could cry.
But really, how can you not ship this, regardless of any Faberry visuals you may or may not get out of it? Well, okay, if you’re one of those people who’s a real stickler for relationships not arising out of deceit and manipulation, and, you know, one party monitoring another party because they’re a science experiment and it’s, you know, interesting… Then I guess not shipping it is fair enough.
But is there a single such stickler in fandom? I think not. And the reality is that as much of a time honoured teen movie cliche as it is… it may have started out as a dare/prank/bet/job opportunity, but the one thing Delphine didn’t count on was how adorable certain clones could be. She didn’t count on who Cosima is being more fascinating and engaging to her than what Cosima is.
And maybe she just didn’t count on having so much fun? And not just in this scene. Obviously.
Rin says: Oh wow. Now all I’m seeing is Faberry and suddenly I’m shipping Cosima/Delphine more? BECAUSE I SEE IT SO MUCH. The height difference. The coats. The blonde/brunette. The university. Sigh. FOREVER LAMENTING WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.
But yes. Running away hand in hand from the conference with stolen wine while it’s snowing? AND THE EXTREMELY 90s NO DOUBT SONG IS PLAYING? It’s like the trifecta of romance for gods sake. And then Cosima says they should steal some bikes and now they’re treading on Naomily territory.
AND THEN ‘A JOGGING’ AND HER BEING ALL FRENCH. Okay. Fine. I mean, we all know she’s a double-crosser. Cosima knows. Well she at least suspects. But it’s times like these that are so easy and free that clouds her mind..because it can’t all be an act? Surely? Some of it has to be real.
It’s always the smart ones who take you by surprise at how foolish in love they can be.
Sophy says: I know right? Cosima really is one of those smart people who’s stupid about pretty ladies. I mean, for the love of all that is good and cloney, how could she leave all that info out in the open while she went to get icecream? Like, I’m sure sex with Delphine is the shit, but does it actually make your brain stop functioning?
(That’s an actual question.)
13. In which Sarah is better at being Alison than Alison is
“Your wife is the rock of this family! You will no longer speak down to her!”
Sophy says: Okay first of all the entirety of Alison’s ill-timed pot-luck party was just gold. Gold. But especially this for reasons of Donny is the fucking worst and I hate him I hate him I hate him?
Donny tied up and gagged and glue-gunned with the pink eyepatch is one of the best things that has ever happened to me – and to be honest, that was actually before I was sure he was Alison’s monitor and didn’t even have the decency to be kind of in love with her and therefore deserved everything he got.
But there were actual reasons I loved this scene so much beyond the LOLs and the way it satisfies my vindictive spirit.
Sarah is not all that into Alison, let’s be real. Alison is an uptight soccer mom who alternately scares or irritates Sarah from day 1. If there was ever a Clone Club episode of Come Dine With Me (which let’s face it, there should be a Clone Club episode of Come Dine With Me) Sarah and Alison would score each other 4’s and tell the cameras they don’t see themselves staying friends after this experience.
(Cosima and Sarah would promise to facebook. Helena would eat all the food and tie everyone up in the basement so it would all be moot.)
But yeah, I don’t think Sarah has all that much time for Alison in terms of their day-to-day interactions, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about her. Scenes like this show us that she does care – about Alison’s rights – about her life and her well-being – that she cares about her the way you care about a sibling you never had anything in common with and used to try to pretend you weren’t related to (ha, good luck) but when push came to shove you would beat people to death with a shovel if they hurt them?
Alison isn’t Sarah’s sister. They have no shared history beyond the one they’re building now. But they do have a connection that I don’t think is so much about sharing the same DNA as it is about facing a shared enemy and living with shared fears. I think that when Sarah tells Donny how much more Alison is worth than the way he is treating her, she’s speaking for herself as well and for all the clones.
But there is a way in which it’s very personal. This isn’t just Sarah sticking up for a woman she barely knows – it’s Sarah returning a favour. Because let’s not forget that Alison went out on a limb for her too. She was there for Sarah’s right to be a mother to Kira. She went all out for it. She wore a freaking hoodie about it! For all Alison’s lethal levels of crazy (not just an expression), Sarah knows the ways she can be strong and decent. She knows that she can value somebody else’s family just because family is something she believes in. And I think that’s why the thought of Danny not appreciating that pisses Sarah off so much.
Also, the psycho face going on in that last cap is so absolutely and impressively Alison’s, not Sarah’s, that I was about to congratulate Tatiana on pulling off such a great imitation for this scene.
Rin says: I HONESTLY SOMETIMES FORGET THAT SHE PLAYS ALL THE CHARACTERS. Especially when she’s one clone impersonating another clone. Who the fuck even wrote this and even thought it was a possibility that someone would have to play one character playing another character that they’re already playing? It’s just the most delicious mind fuck and once again all the awards the Tatiana Maslany.
THE CRAFT ROOM THOUGH.
It’s probably one of the scenes of the show for me because it was so hilariously lame and Alison. A special shout-out to the production crew for making everything pink too. IT JUST ADDS. And a hot glue gun. I never ever thought I would find torture hilarious and Orphan Black proved me wrong.
ALSO BIG BOOB BLOWIES.
Sophy says: WHO WOULD WIN IN A FIGHT, BIG BOOB BLOWIES OR ASIAN FUNNY FUN??????? These are the questions.
12. The mitten on her face. THE MITTEN ON HER FACE.
“What happened to you?”
Sophy says: AFELKFJA’LKJFL’AEKJFLAK;FLAFLKJEA;LFJA;LKJF. WHAT IS THIS EVEN I DON’T. THE MITTEN. AND HOW. BECAUSE.
So Helena steals Kira from Sarah, except she doesn’t so much steal her as borrow her for some love – for some comfort – for the briefest sense of belonging. Because Kira, being innocent enough to trust in people, being, at the same time, smart enough to see through facades, being preternaturally strong in a way that makes her less afraid than most people, Kira is the one who knows that Helena is not a monster, only someone to whom ‘something’ happened. Helena herself does not understand this. She sees who she is now as a finished product – as the way she was always supposed to be. But seeing Sarah, this copy of her who feels like a sister before she is even revealed to be one, seeing her be sane and clear-eyed, seeing her have friends and family… I think that’s what finally opens Helena’s eyes to the ways she has been hard done by.
Kira brings truth to her. She soothes Helena. She warms her. And she makes Helena aware of herself in ways she never has been before – awesomely aware – terrified – lost because she has been found.
Kira is the angel Helena has been trying to shape herself into. And in this moment Helena understands herself to be just a girl that somebody else played with – and broke.
I sometimes wonder how differently things might have played out for Helena if Kira hadn’t been hit by a car immediately following this epiphanic experience. Alas.
Meanwhile how stunning are these shots? The pink and the green of it all is doing things to my pants.
Rin says: That sounds so much more gross than just saying your pants came off. God. But you’re right, the alley shots are gorgeous
I’m not sure things would have been that different if Kira hadn’t been hit by the car. WHICH BY THE WAY, was so horrible. What kind of show lets this little adorable pink puffball get hit by a car?? I definitely think it added to Sarah’s decision to shoot Helena, because she knows how dangerous of a person she is..but also when you’re confronted with your birth mother bleeding out and dying right before your eyes. Stabbed by your psychotic twin. Well, you’re probably going to shoot her. Though by that point she was already on her second chance, so maybe Sarah wouldn’t have shot her. It’s a fine line.
BUT LOOK AT THEM HUGGING AND YES, THE MITTEN. And then you think about how Kira is her niece and they could have been so many things. If only. I’m so happy we got to have these kinds of scenes though because Helena is brutal, she’s a killer, but in some ways she’s also very innocent. Almost child-like. I think that might also be a reason they bond so immediately and wholly. Why Helena holds her tight, a tangible emblem of everything she never had.
Sophy says: Noooo, I’m not saying Kira being hit by the car is why Sarah kills Helena in the end, I agree that that’s mostly about her birth mother and just how generally dangerous Helena is. It’s just that I sometimes think that if Kira had just been scooped up safe and sound and given Sarah her perspective on Helena, maybe things wouldn’t have wound up spiralling, you know? Like, maybe the whole sequence of events would have been different and Helena would have been able to bond to Sarah just that little bit more before their birth mother showed up and they could have faced her together and no knifing would have occurred.
11. Sarah as The German.
Sophy says: I think this was the moment I knew I was in love with Sarah Manning. Because she keeps it together when everyone else would fall apart. Because she has all the balls. Because she finds out she’s some kind of science fiction freak and she uses it to her advantage – she owns it. And she is fucking adorable about it.
GERMAN SARAH IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SARAHS AND ALWAYS WILL BE. ROCK N’ ROLL.
Rin says: Hahah this was the moment that I knew that YOU would fall in love with Sarah Manning. Because one time Sophy told me about how she fell down the stairs and got massive bruises because she was carrying her giant German dictionary.
BUT WHEN SHE’S TALKING TO HERSELF JUST BEFORE SHE ENTERS THE HOTEL…HOW CAN YOU NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH HER.
Sophy says: SHHHHHHH. Die Rin Die!
10. Alison sexually objectifies Chad.
“I’m objectifying you sexually to get back at Donnie.”
Sophy says: BUT. ALISON. AND. SEXUALLY OBJECTIFYING. AND CHAD’S STUPID FACE. JUST. ALL OF IT.
You might think we have this on the list purely because it’s fucking hilarious, and it is, but we don’t. Looking back, Alison’s character is brilliantly constructed throughout this first season of the show. When she watched her neighbour die horribly and stood by next to the switch she could flick to save her and did nothing I was stunned. How could Alison do this, I thought! She was my favourite and now I would forever feel creeped out by her and queasy at the sight of her gloriously head-banded face.
But the thing is that I should have been creeped out and a little queasy all the way along. The truth is that so much of what’s funny with Alison would be disturbing if it wasn’t on TV – on a TV show especially in which everything else is already so disturbing. Alison didn’t just have a psychopathic moment out of nowhere. However you’d diagnose her, it should always have been clear to us that she was a little… crazy. Or at least not exactly sane. So when she watches the obnoxious blonde woman who is so clearly not her monitor die it’s not so much a twist as a revelation. This side of Alison has always been there, we just weren’t paying attention and that was the writers’ plan all along. Basically, they kept us occupied with Helena’s crazy to the point where Alison’s crazy sailed right past us till it was too late?
When I was rewatching this episode the other day I was struck by something I remember from The Vampire Diaries. There was a line in there about how a doppelganger will try to destroy its counterpart’s life – to pick it apart at the seams till it is entirely undone. And obviously Helena does that with all the clones and especially Sarah and in a brutally efficient sort of way. But I like the idea that Alison does that too – unpicks a life, undoes it – but not to her fellow clones who are victims just the same as she is. She does it to her monitor – or the person she thinks is her monitor. Or at least that’s what I thought this was about initially. But now that I’ve taken a deep breath and had a good think about it, you know what I think Alison’s whole thing with Ainsley was about on a subconscious level?
Ainsley is her true doppelganger. She may look nothing like her but she is her true doppelganger in that she is living exactly the life Alison should be living – exactly the life she was trying to build for herself. And nobody is hunting her. Nobody is thrusting copies of herself in her face. Nobody is telling her everything she is and everything she has might be a lie.
So Alison ruins it. She takes it over. She makes it hers.
And she is fucking hilarious while she’s at it. Just. How purposeful and deadpan she is about it. Like, she doesn’t really even bother being seductive, she just cuts right to the chase and commences sucking his icky face off? Amazing.
Rin says: I was so incredibly shocked they literally turned Alison into a killer. It’s not something you expect from the hilariously lolsy character, and I guess that’s why Orphan Black did it. They know exactly who their characters are and what is expected of them, and then how to completely turn everything on its head, and somehow still have it all make sense? Because after it happened, yes we’re all like what the fuckkkkkkkkk but then you think about it and you see it. The slow build of Alison’s character into some kind of insanity. Because what happened was the actions of someone not right in the head. Whether she was a monitor or not is irrelevant. Normal healthy people do not let other people die right before their eyes when they can so easily avoid it. LIFE FACT OKAY?
The doppelganger thing is super interesting, and I’d never really thought about that before but it makes sense. And even more sense when you take out the clone factor and just apply it to real life. In a sense doesn’t it really just boil down to jealousy? We all have our visions of what we’d like our life to be, and we know people who are living that life much better than you. There will always be a part of you that is jealous, that wants it… because it should be yours shouldn’t it? I think that’s pretty normal behaviour. Unless I’m kind of alone in this and have just revealed that I’m kind of a bad person? But I don’t think it’s necessarily unhealthy to want better things for yourself. Or to wish that you could somehow get your shit together and actually start living the life you want to lead. /backpedalbackpedalbackpedal.
WHAT WAS I TALKING ABOUT?
Oh yeah. Alison being crazy. Making excuses for her actions. But I think she has probably wished Ainsley was dead way before clones and monitors came onto the scene.
I think it’s smart for Orphan Black to challenge its viewers in this way. I’m just intrigued to find out how they can salvage her character. I mean, she’s not ruined as a character in the sense that I think it’s bad writing or anything like that. I just can’t like Alison any more. I know I’ll still enjoy her as a character and she is bound to be crazy and hilarious as always, but until there is some real redemption there — it can’t ever be the way it was. I think that was probably the goal of the writers anyway, they don’t want to fall into a lull with their characters and letting us feel comfortable. They like us on our toes.
It’s not that I can’t like killers, okay. I LIKE SO MANY CHARACTERS THAT HAVE KILLED PEOPLE THAT THAT ALONE PROBABLY SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT ME. But it’s like.. it is always circumstantial. What was their childhood like? Were they abused? Did they have a choice? What was their motivation? Did they have a soul at the time? Etc. I don’t think there is anything about the way that Alison killed Ainsley that makes it understandable. Like I know Alison was paranoid as fuck and everything, and kind of teetering on the edge of insanity. BUT. LIKE. Ainsley got her scarf caught in the garbage disposal thing (WHICH REALLY WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN HAVE THESE ANYMORE) and she just stood there! Crazy.
ANYWAY. After all of that.
Sexually objectifying people is something she should do more of.
Sophy says: I love that you basically hijacked this category to vent further about Alison/Ainsley/Garbage disposal. I understand. And yes, I agree, what happened there went beyond a momentary lapse of reason. I’m sure there have been things in Alison’s life even prior to finding out she’s a clone that have contributed to her being able to stand there and watch someone die, but for now I’m just going to remind myself of that one time Felix said he was beginning to realize crazy was genetic and I’m going to keep a close eye on Sarah and EVEN COSIMA. YES, DEAR LITTLE COSIMA. I’M WATCHING YOU.
09. We want this babysitter.
“I’ll dress up as a boy!”
Sophy says: As soon as I finished this episode I rewound to this scene and rewatched it a whole bunch of times. Then I did what you always do when you’re so charmed and delighted by something you could burst and you know fandom will be similarly charmed and delighted: you go to tumblr and gaze at gifsets when you could just as well be rewatching the scene some more, but you’ve done that already so it’s time to move on.
Seriously though, you guys, how cute was this? One of my favourite things about Felix is how immensely liberated and simple he is about his sexuality. There’s no shame in being different from the people around him for Felix and there’s no dwelling on it either. He just gets on with being him and assumes that other people will get on with the same, which really, is how you should live life.
So whether it’s painting naked, flirting cheerfully with Sarah’s boyfriends or making babysitting as gay as he likes… Felix is true to who he is. And that is awesome.
THESE CHILDREN THOUGH. The boy was so adorably disgusted by the notion of cross-dress-ups – and hey, let’s face it, a lot of little boys his age are disgusted by the notion of dress-ups full stop – but Felix didn’t care how typical or understandable or ‘normal’ or possibly entirely unhomophobic it was, he was just disgusted right back by this kid’s flagrant unwillingness to allow him to play pied piper. And then the girl thought about it and was all ‘I’ll dress up as a boy!’ and RECEIVED SUCH APPROVAL. Just like if Felix was a chef and one kid didn’t want to try his roquefort souffle and the other was all I’LL TAKE TWO. Now I’m picturing him in one of those tall hats beating eggs. Naked.
Rin says: Him and Drogo would make such cute chef friends. There should probably have a reality show.
It’s interesting because Felix is definitely a cliché of a character on paper. HE’S THE SASSY GAY BEST FRIEND/BROTHER. We’ve all seen it before, many times over. What I think makes him work as well as he does is quite simply down to the brilliance of Jordan Gavaris and his amazing chemistry with Tatiana. Sure, Tatiana is hands down the break out star of the show, and is pretty much one of the best actors currently on television. But Jordan deserves major props too for what he’s been able to achieve with Felix. Especially when you see videos of him in real life and he’s like.. the anti-Felix.
Sophy says: I THINK FELIX WOULD LIKE CHEF DROGO. A LOT. ESPECIALLY IF HE WAS NAKED TOO.
Also, I think you really hit the nail on the head there. What makes Felix so awesome is that he is a total cliche but at the same time so well written and acted that it’s like the cliche is brand new again. Like, there has never been a sassy gay sidekick before Felix Dawkins, okay?
‘Does your daddy have a drinks trolley?’ Just.
Also ‘FETCH ME SOMETHING GAY’ should be on a t-shirt.
08. COSIMA STOP COUGHING BLOOD IMMEDIATELY.
“I’m sick, Delphine.”
Sophy says: This was the jumping off point for Delphine/Cosima for me. For a lot of people it was the ALKDAFJALDKJLFKJ point, but for me it just feels like the beginning (although with ALKDAFJALDKJLFKJ). Not that I didn’t love their moments prior to this, but I didn’t really feel like I was shipping anything so much as enjoying watching a story unfold. At this point though, when Cosima looks Delphine in the eye and stops being strong? I’m as helpless as she is.
Tatiana’s delivery on “I’m sick, Delphine,” was outstandingly puppyish and the choice to have Delphine hug her at that point rather than kissing her was perfect. Somehow it seemed right for her to care rather than want in that moment – to give affection without expecting Cosima to go back to that romantic place they were in when everything was a lie (not everything).
I think because she is so remote for most of the series and we don’t meet her friends and family, Cosima feels like a terribly lonely character and this is the first time she really seems like she’s with someone – someone who’s there for her and her only. Delphine seduces her. They flirt. They shag. They do things like icecream in bed. And throughout all of that Cosima is easy-going and tries not to see around corners and Delphine is philosophical and a liar. But now? This moment? It’s wholly honest. And that’s when I realized how much Cosima had been holding back, too. Because she presented herself as a suitable suitor – someone strong, capable, sensible and straight-forward. But the truth is she’s as scared as anybody else and has even more reason to be.
OH GOD COSIMA WOULD YOU STOP COUGHING BLOOD? PLEASE? RIGHT NOW?
So yeah, as much as I loved “That’s oddly romantic. And totally encouraging,” this was the big deal for me in terms of Cophine. Because it was from this point on that I allowed myself to start thinking of the relationship as an actual relationship.
NOW IT’S SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DAMAGED BY POOR WRITING CHOICES, YOU GUYS. MY SHIPPERLY INSTINCTS ARE KICKING IN.
Rin says: ARE YOU KIDDING. SINCE WHEN DOES ORPHAN BLACK MAKE POOR WRITING CHOICES. I have so much faith in this show that I’m fully prepared to go down with this ship. They’re going to tear us apart
I think they weren’t as shippable before this moment because it was a relationship built on a lie. Delphine inserted herself into Cosima’s life under false pretences, so now when everything is out in the open and they no longer have to hide things about themselves, is their chance to start again. UNFORTUNATELY THAT ALSO COMES WITH COSIMA COUGHING UP BLOOD. JUST STOP IT.
I am also super excited to get to know Delphine more. And I think we’ll get our wish because I know she’s a huge fan favourite, deservedly so, and I can’t wait to get under that characters skin. ALONG WITH COSIMA. THERE’S GOING TO BE A LOT OF SKIN. WHAT.
Little Cosima’s lip quiver after she’s told Delphine that she’s sick. And that she tells her after they learn the horrible truth that they are patented. Man alive. It was like after learning that, she had nothing left to lose so why not put everything out in the open. She needed to be completely vulnerable and open in that moment because she needed comfort. She needed it from someone who knew her completely and there isn’t any time left for there to be secrets.
Also I have to give a shoutout to the way Felix opens the door for Delphine. JUST SHOUTING “IT’S DELPHINE!” and then “She’s got baggage.” Which is SUCH a great line at this moment in time.
Sophy says: Rin, there was a time when we would have said Dexter didn’t make poor writing choices. Trust no one.
07. Fe and Alison though!
Sophy says: Felix’s scandalized “Hey” followed by his imploring “Sharesies?” when Alison brought out the xanax was one of those actually-squealing-out-loud moments for me. And this whole scene in general was pretty superb. Much is rightfully made of how different Tatiana is depending on which clone she’s playing, and that is never more apparent than in her relationships with Fe, as Sarah and as Allison. The dynamics of both relationships are strong, but they have an entirely different chemistry. It is impressive that these two were able to build two completely different and equally compelling BROTP relationships in the space of a 10 episode season. But hey, Orphan Black is being impressive, what else is new?
And you guys I love the kindness of Felix and his ability to relate to basically all and sundry. He adapts himself extremely well to complex emotional situations and forms bonds so easily – even with an uptight control freak bitch-lover-mother who has the exact same face as his basically-sister and introduces herself with violence. That’s water under the bridge when Alison needs him and you have to respect someone who’s so capable of just… moving on. Felix doesn’t hold onto shit. And I love that about him. I love that he knows how to calm a clone in the middle of a quarter life crisis. I love that he cares enough to do it. I love that he gives her confidence. I love that he helps her get her game face on.
I hope he never finds out about Ainsley. Although, having said that, I can imagine Felix moving on from that too. He doesn’t strike me as particularly moral or prone to outrage.
And now that I’m thinking about Felix and the things he wouldn’t have moral outrage about I’m back in that place where I’m scared that he will turn out to be Sarah’s monitor. Don’t worry, you guys, Rin has already reminded me there’s a 90% chance I’m just being anxious over-invested conspiracy theorist loser. I know, I know, I know. But given recent developments on Agents of SHIELD I wanna say that just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, okay?
The paintings make me anxious. The keeping-his-cool makes me anxious. The way he looks at Sarah sometimes when she’s engaged in conversations that do not involve him? Makes me anxious. And then I read an interview not long after the first season wrapped in which Jordan commented that Fe is just the kind of guy who would follow his big sister around everywhere, and man, that really drew my attention to the way Felix is just kind of… there. Watching.
RIN PLEASE TALK ME DOWN FROM THE EDGE AGAIN.
Rin says: URGH NOT AGAIN. And basically my entire basis of an argument that Felix isn’t Sarah’s monitor is “I don’t want him to be :(((“. Seriously that’s it. No evidence or anything. Just not wanting to have to deal with the major fallout and betrayal that would happen if he was her monitor. It would actually be pretty delicious and angsty, but it would cause Sarah so much pain and I don’t want that.
Although I think the strongest reasoning I do have is that he grew up with Sarah, and they wouldn’t make a kid be a monitor would they? Not because they have morals or anything like that, but simply because trusting a kid with such an important covert job like that would seem a bit irresponsible.
I think it’s entirely plausible that Fe could be her monitor. And it’s something that I would probably enjoy. BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A HUGE THING THAT THEY’D HAVE TO WORK THROUGH TOGETHER. And so much heartbreak.
And then I don’t want it to be the case because SO MUCH HEARTBREAK.
I don’t know you guys!
I do love Fe/Alison though. I love the unlikeliness of them as a bonded peas pair, and “SHARESIES!” was one of those ridiculously hilarious moments. I am scared though for what’s to come. Mostly because of Alison and what that means for her relationships with everyone else.
Sophy says: OKAY MAYBE HE’S NOT HER MONITOR BUT WHAT IF HE’S LIKE… IN ON IT. WHAT IF HE ISN’T HER MONITOR EXACTLY BECAUSE HE WAS A CHILD BUT THEN WHAT IF HE FOUND OUT AT SOME POINT AND AGREED TO WATCH HER FOR LIKE……….. EXTRA POCKET MONEY I DON’T KNOW I’M HYPERVENTILATING A BIT.
I’m always afraid of everything whilst watching this show.
06. WHY WHY WHY.
“You are all I have now. I love you.”
Sophy says: When Helena staggered softly towards Sarah and put her arms around her and said those words: ‘You are all I have now. I love you’…
I experienced all the emotions. At once. This was horrific and sweet and terrifying and such a relief and it was funny and it was very, very serious business. It was all the things.
But again, that’s Helena, isn’t it? As I mentioned above she’s pretty much impossible to pin down, which could be on account of her being, well, jean-shorts crazy. She’s unpredictable because she doesn’t make sense – because who she is and what she has been told she must do just does not make sense. This poor girl was born into chaos. She adapted to that chaos by becoming a chaotic entity. But this is one of the key moments where we see Helena make sense. Her own special kind of sense, but sense nonetheless. Sarah freed Helena from her cage. So she loves Sarah. Add to that that having had her revelation in the alleyway with Kira, Helena knows that everything that has made the misery and loneliness and madness of her life bearable has been a lie. She’s not the original. She’s not an angel. She’s not the light. So now all she has to hold onto is what she would have been: this sane girl with her face. This sane girl with a glorious child.
It’s terribly sad and beautiful that Helena feels this particular connection to Sarah before she has any idea why. It’s terribly sad and beautiful that she understands without knowing why that she came so close to being her. They are twins. One went to foster care and the other… went to hell.
Rin says: Oh my god. It’s both bad and amazing that we’ve tarnished poor Sophia’s reputation so much that she is comparable to HELENA.
They’re kind of like Neville and Harry aren’t they? It’s always interesting to sit back and think about what lives could have been depending on circumstance, how easily things could have gone the other way. And Orphan Black probably tackles the debate of nature vs nurture to a t, having these clones reside in different parts of the world and seeing what becomes of them. It’s something that I can actually see happening eventually in the future. AFTER WE’RE ALL DEAD OF COURSE SO WE WILL NEVER KNOW. But still.
Poor Helena though. She was such a primal character, like if Buffy Beer Bad was done seriously. And for her it is as easy as one small moment of kindness, or mercy, and I LOVE YOU. She doesn’t exactly have the emotional capacity or range of a regular person. She’s like an abused puppy you guys and my heart breaks for her.
SEE? DO YOU SEE? YOU HAVE TO SEE.
Sophy says: OMG BUFFY WAS PLAYED BY TATIANA MASLANY????
Rin says: Or was Tatiana Maslany played by SMG??
05. No deal!
“They patented us.”
Sophy says: This, right here, is really, really good television. It’s that magic moment, you know? When a show can make you buy something totally ludicrous – buy it and pay for it instantly with all of your feelings. There are so many twists and turns in Orphan Black that you don’t see this coming – that Sarah and half the people she hangs out with these days who happen to look exactly like her… they’re owned. They were made to be owned. By someone other than themselves. (And when I think of all of the things the show would be able to do there in terms of Sarah and Mrs S’s rivalry over Kira and the right and wrong reasons to have kids and the right and wrong reasons to love them… I have tingles.)
But it’s totally implausible, right? This idea that they’re owned. I know that. Cosima knows that. Sarah knows it. And yet in the moment the words are passed from one to the other it is palpably real. It’s happening to them.
The thing is that yes, however little faith you may have in the law and/or humanity, the chance of a patent on a person being enforced is slim to none. The chance of the whole world trying to put the patenters in jail forever? High. But that doesn’t change the fact that officially, as things stand, right now, under the law, these women do not belong to themselves. There is a fucking barcode in them. How are you even supposed to feel about something like that?
A little taken aback, I would think?
Tatiana is always amazing, but I was particularly impressed in this scene when she shares what Cosima has told her with Paul – Paul who has slinked back to the dark side – because she is so shocked by this sense of alienation from her own existence that she can’t help but speak – that she can’t help but be vulnerable.
And hey, maybe a part of her knows he will help. Maybe a part of her remembers that when she told him the truth over drinks she didn’t get the one with death in it.
Sarah’s certainly not a damsel, but she does recognize when she needs help. And maybe she’s not that attached and maybe she wouldn’t be sappy about it even if she was, but she does know that Paul can help her, if he chooses to, right now, in this moment. And there’s no sense denying she needs him, if only to get away from him – if for whatever reason he does decide to go against her it won’t matter how hard she pushes the button to go down or how close to the door she stands. She can’t run – not without him on her side.
Sarah has been running ever since we’ve known her. She tells Paul she doesn’t do run and she means it, but what she means is that she doesn’t back down from a fight – that she leaves no man behind – that she’s brave – that she is a soldier. And there are so many ways Paul loves that about her – hates that about her – idolizes her for it – fears her – finds comfort in her. There are so many ways in which Sarah is everything Paul wishes he could be. But still, she has been running – not away from the chaos so much as with it. She has been trying to keep up with every crazy new piece of information that’s flung her way, since the moment she looked into a sad woman’s eyes and saw herself – watched that self die by choice. She accepts everything quite placidly. I had a twin? Oh hey, cool. I can be American in 12 hours. I can be German too. Rock and roll. And by the way, I am not a triplet, I am a clone, but we don’t use that word. Oh and one of them wants to kill us all. Moving on. My alter-ego’s boyfriend’s alter-ego is my boyfriend – sort of – maybe – we fuck and we nuzzle and we try not to talk about it.
Sarah takes all of this in her stride. That’s not to say it doesn’t freak her out. It’s just that she doesn’t have time to be freaked out. It’s just that she’s not that kind of person. So I think in this moment a lot of what she’s been shunting to the side while she’s out getting shit done hits her all at once like truth, boom. This is what it’s all about. This is what it means to be created-not-born.
She is shocked. And she is vulnerable. And she is also being smart.
Paul is a knife-edge. She knows this. He loves her maybe – wants to love her, certainly. But he is not a good man. He is not steadfast. And here he is, back on Team Evil because it’s easier that way.
But she also knows that once he gave up everything including his chances of staying alive to tell her to run. She also knows that how far he is willing to go for her is at least in part a function of how far she asks him to go. She also knows that a moment ago he told her the biggest secret he has. A moment ago it mattered enough to him what she thought of him that he gave her the same leverage over him that Team Evil have. She could use that against him now. And not only that, she could also judge him for it. She could find him miserable – pathetic – contemptible. She could find him to be the very opposite of what he thinks she is.
Giving her that power is a huge leap of faith. So Sarah leaps too. She treats Paul like she trusts him, and all the choking tension of this scene dissolves in one fizzing rush. Suddenly Paul and Sarah are entirely present with each other – and that is the moment they are whisked away from us.
This is the best part, you guys. We don’t get to know anything except that they’re gone. We don’t even know whether Paul came through – not for sure. We don’t know what else he has stashed up his too-neat sleeve or how easily the ghost of his actions in Afghanistan could turn him against Sarah again. We don’t know whether he’s damaged or dangerous or how much of a difference there really is (hello Helena, goodbye Helena).
I love this. I love that we have spent a whole season with Sarah and Paul and I am totally invested in whatever is going on between them and yet I still could not say with certainty that he isn’t double-crossing her this time or that she would not kick him under a truck if it meant Kira or Felix would get a happy Christmas.
I revel in the uncertainty. It is so rare to not be able to see the writers sitting around sipping tea and ticking off OTP boxes – or not. I have no idea what’s going to happen next.
For now I just like to picture Sarah and Paul running prettily through an underground car park under the building and Sarah’s typing her special message into her phone and Paul is laughing and feeling free, the way he always does with her before she’s gone and he remembers that he’s not – that he never will be.
Rin says: This was such an epic moment and end to the season. It’s the kind of reveal that satisfies you as a finale, but also makes you go crazy over wanting more, needing to know what comes next and how everyone is going to deal with it. It’s the perfect setup for a second series and I’m pretty happy that we’re so behind on this that series 2 actually airs tomorrow and I don’t have to feel that dreaded sense of wait whilst writing about all of this.
I can’t wait to see where it all goes, and how it’s becoming such a huge US against THEM, despite the THEM having one of their very own clones in the mix. Now more than ever our clone babies are going to have to band together, and then you wonder how Alison still fits into that equation, plus we just don’t know how many more clones are out there. It could be a few more, it could be MANY more. Which ones would be happy to take a “deal” and which ones wouldn’t?
BUT ALSO. JUST. THE EMAIL.
Sent from my Mobile Phone.”
I don’t know. There’s something funny about Sarah and technology. Like you kind of expect her to be a grandma about it all. She’s no Cosima, that’s for sure. Sarah is basically being an angry fangirl after the writers have killed off their favourite character. If she had a twitter account she’d be livetweeting this shit, but Sarah Manning does not know how to use Twitter
04. Best mother/daughter ever?
“Well, you’re big to me.”
Sophy says: When I came to start writing about this scene I actually had to go and double check that Tatiana Maslany was not a mother, no matter how young she is. Because. I know a lot of people play mothers when they’re not. And a lot of them are great at it. But I guess it just kind of stands out more with Tatiana on account of how she plays all these characters who are not the mother-type and Sarah is very much one of them and yet she is MOTHER, all caps, when it counts.
One of the best things about the writing on this show is that nobody elicits emotions from Sarah like Kira does, with the possible exception of her birth mother, and only because she was being ripped away from her in the most brutal and traumatizing way possible. Nobody gets this side of Sarah to come out – not her best friend or her love interest or the woman who raised her – nobody except Kira. She is giddy, tearful, totally alive, more terrified than she was when she saw her own face staring back at her for the first time, more terrified than she’s been when people are shooting at her or when, you know, some fat guy with a fucking tail shows up. Everything rides on Kira for Sarah. Everything depends on whether she knows her and loves her and wants her in her life. Everything depends on whether she hasn’t ruined this magnificent little person she created – and that she hasn’t ruined their relationship either.
“You’re big to me,” is probably the line of the season to me. It’s actually one of my favourite lines of all time.
Rin says: I think one of the great irony’s of Sarah is that as much as finding out that you’re a freakin’ clone can destroy a person — it actually does the opposite to her. It makes her become a better person. Even though the series starts with Sarah wanting to reconcile with Kira and ride off into the sunset along with Felix, you kind of wonder if she should. Like.. IS THIS WOMAN A FIT MOTHER? Because where the hell has she been, and what she just stole a purse from someone who just killed themselves before her eyes and OH YEH SHE LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE HER, and oh now she’s going to her house and becoming her and wanting to take over her life for some money, and oh she stole cocaine from this dodgy guy and … Yeah. You get the picture. She’s not exactly mother of the year material.
And then she gets bombarded with this entire world that she never new existed but was always a part of. It forces her to become someone who kind of gets her act together (in the messiest way possible). Sarah has always had to be strong, to deal with the cards she was dealt with, but everything that happens makes her become stronger in a way that she probably never had to be before.
I think she’s gained a much greater sense or purpose now than she has probably ever felt before. Keeping Kira safe is number one on the list, but now she also has ties with Cosima and Alison. To something that is much bigger than herself, and as much as running away and pretending none of this ever happened is enticing, she knows that it isn’t an option. I think in a way that makes Sarah a more grounded person, a more responsible person, and someone you can count on. She’s never going to leave Kira’s side again and she has become her ultimate priority. No matter what.
Sophy says: YES. Everything in Sarah’s life goes to shit when she finds out she’s a clone, but I also think it has been and will continue to be a real journey for her, in terms of being a leader and a nurturer and basically saving the world a lot.
Interesting how Alison unraveled this season and Sarah kind of… raveled tighter.
03. Helena has killed the dream Sarah dreamed.
“You gave me to them. You let them make me this way.”
Sophy says: This is probably the most shocking moment of the show so far and that is saying something because this show is anything but gentle with its characters – and its viewers. I hate the fact that Helena and Sarah’s birth mother dies so abruptly and so early in the piece. I hate the fact that Helena dies so abruptly and so early in the piece. But I really, really respect the show for going there. They had to know that Helena, in particular, was likely to be a fan favourite, and they did not let that deter them – or Sarah – from pulling the trigger when the time came. Nobody is safe in Orphan Black-land and to keep that tension alive they really had to deliver some finality – especially given Kira’s supernaturally miraculous recovery from an encounter with a car that should absolutely have killed her.
But this scene isn’t just brave in terms of killing off one character and setting up the death of another, it’s brave in terms of following who Helena is through to an honest conclusion. They don’t romanticize her crazy. They don’t make it something love can save her from. They don’t skirt around it to the point where you can just call her eccentric and turn a blind eye to all the ways she has been made a monster.
That’s what she says to the woman she was born from, isn’t it? You gave me to them. You let them make me this way. It’s another moment of clarity for Helena. It’s a brief window in which she understands what she is and why what she is is not okay – not lovable – not liveable. And it’s the moment we know she cannot change. It’s the moment her fate is sealed.
Sarah won’t forgive her for this – she can’t. And Helena will not be able to respect that and move on – she can’t. Sarah is all she has. And the thing is that when you watch Sarah as she watches her birth mother take her last breath, that’s when you know she will pull the trigger no matter how much Helena thinks she won’t. Is it sad that Sarah doesn’t reach out to Helena with forgiveness and love instead? Sure. Is it unreasonable? No. I love that Helena is not here to be fixed. I love that Sarah does not see it as her job to fix her. This is not that kind of story. We are not so sentimental.
And yet it breaks my heart to see this person Sarah has been dreaming about her whole life – this person Helena would have been dreaming about her whole life if her mind wasn’t addled with angels and pain – simply die.
But all emosplosions aside, what makes this scene so great is just the way it was set up and executed. I think when I was watching I tweeted something to the effect that poor Sarah was starting to get Helenaesque circles under her eyes and two seconds later I knew, on some level, what was happening, but not long enough to be prepared for what came next. It was totally artfully paced and put together, and the image of the wig slipping from Helena’s head and revealing her blonde angel-hair as the knife sunk in to the only woman she had even known to be a mother? Heartbreaking. Breathtaking. Fucking ugly.
Rin says: GOD DAMNIT HELENA.
That’s the beauty of it all though. Like Sophy said, Orphan Black doesn’t try to dress up Helena up and make her something she isn’t. All of the adorable muffin and bread eating can’t shield the fact that Helena is beyond repair. You can’t be abused your entire life, made to be a killer, and somehow come out of it on the other side unscathed.
Orphan Black is so cruel. I’m sure we were all right there with Sarah in that moment that she found her birth mother. And had so many questions and why why why’s in our mind that we wanted answers. And also maybe someone to call home? BUT THEY DON’T WANT ANYBODY TO CARE. They take her away from us, in a 2 for 1 deal and it’s like Joss says. Don’t give them what they want, give them what they need.
Did I really need this though Orphan Black? Did I??? What did I ever do to you.
I know this is starting to sound like a broken record, but whatever I don’t care! How did Tatiana not clean up during awards season? She deserves one for that second cap alone. It’s Helena face, cleaned up just a little to resemble Sarah, but the way her head is titled and her brow slightly furrowed and her lips parted. THAT IS HELENA. She puts all of these little nuances into every clone and it’s beyond me how she can manage to separate all of them. It’s kind of like when you’re able to tell identical twins apart but no one else can, even though they look SO DIFFERENT to each other and omg are you blind?
Also just the touch of getting a small peek at Helena’s scars before the wig reveal was a nice subtle touch.
Sophy says: You know, I watched that Cloneversation special and somebody said how great it was that time Tatiana played a clone playing a clone, and I’m pretty sure they were referring to her impersonating Alison with the glue gun, which was pretty amazing, as discussed above, but… SHE’S ALWAYS PLAYING A CLONE PLAYING A CLONE AND IT’S ALWAYS AMAZING.
Like, really, Sarah as Beth, Helena as Beth, Alison as Sarah, Sarah as Alison, Helena as Sarah. All of these were perfectly executed – or less than perfectly where it is perfect for that to be the case.
Hopefully now that Cosima is with them in the flesh she’s going to get to go under clone cover.
Rin says: Omfg, I can’t wait for Sarah to impersonate Cosima. She’d go the full nine yards and get dreads and everything while running lines in the hairdressers chair.
Sophy says: OH NO BUT HOW IS COSIMA GOING TO FIT HER DREADS UNDER A WIG?
02. Helena dances. With tail.
Throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care!
Sophy says: This one time, Helena cut a fat, little man’s precious tail off, and danced with it in his club while he cried. RIP superstar.
Rin says: I’m really really really upset with this being at number two.
Because the human tail really really upsets me.
REALLY REALLY UPSETS ME. JUST WHY. WHY IS SHE HOLDING IT AND BEING SO GROSS AND SO WRONG AND SO HELENA? Sigh.
But I think that’s exactly why it’s so brilliant. It is all the wrong things in the world, and they were brave enough to do it. And then freakin’ dance around with it, flaunting how brave they were. What other show has had someone grow a human tail, had it cut off, and then had the person dance around with it? None.
But seriously. It doesn’t make it any less disgusting.
THE WHOLE NEOLUTION THING IS SCARY. STOP. JUST STOP.
Sophy says: YEAH JUST STOP WITH THE NEOLUTION ALREADY COME ON.
Although without Neolution THERE WOULD BE NO CLONES? THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE WITH CLONES? THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE WITH NEOLUTION?
So I vote we just cut the tails off.
01. Down the rabbit hole.
Sophy says: The moment that started it all. Rin and I count ourselves lucky to have been warned by kind Rophites not to read anything about the show before watching it, and that meant that when this happened it was actually bizarre to us the way it was to Sarah, rather than to-be-expected-in-a-show-about-clones. Still, I think even if we had known it was coming we would have been somewhat blown away by the sheer haunting, sleepy and sudden beauty of it.
We learned so much about Sarah in this moment and all the ways in which she may be our heroine but she’s not our hero – at least she’s not the hero we might expect her to be. She watches a woman kill herself and her first instinct is to take advantage of that. What kind of a person does that make her? It’s a credit to the warmth of Tatiana’s performance that we want to find out – that we want to follow her, understand her, love her, even as she sets the show in motion by doing something phenomenally callous and calculating.
And then you factor in that the reason she can take advantage of this woman’s suicide is because she looks exactly like her and you realise even if she’s capable of being callous she’s also strong – dazzlingly, jaw-droppingly strong.
And Beth. Beth.
Orphan Black seems like the kind of show that is never going to do flashbacks and I can understand why – this is about immediacy and it’s also about mystery. Sarah is navigating a world she doesn’t understand and we are navigating it with her. We make sense of things piece by piece and having the kind of omniscience that is implied by flashbacks would interfere with that process. Having access to that kind of omniscience and only using it when it suited? It would run the risk of seeming like a cop-out in terms of the writing. What we know of Beth we know largely through third-hand glimpses and home videos – what other people say – the clothes she wore – the ways Paul knows Sarah is different – and it’s likely to stay that way. But it’s a testament to how well her character was established that we want to keep getting to know her. Even without flashbacks Beth’s presence hangs like a soft shroud over Orphan Black as much as Lilly Kane’s did over Veronica Mars. She is there with us, all the way, and that would not be the case if not for the strength of Tatiana’s performance in this opening scene – the one time we ever see Beth Childs alive.
She is in so much pain. She is so wearied and frayed and beyond fear. She is at the end of the world. And we feel every bit of it as she turns around to stare us in the face with hooded eyes, as she walks forward to her chosen death, her posture half-crumpled, half-surging, her feet barely there, wisps of hair blowing around her lips.
It is magical in the most horrible way. It is a credit to Tatiana, to the writers, to the director, cinematographer, costume department, everyone. This scene is perfect.
This show? Is perfect.
Rin says: Yeah looking back I am so glad I didn’t know a thing about the show before watching it. And I love that feeling of not having a clue what to expect and getting thrown head first into a show, patiently waiting for it to woo you and show you everything it’s got. With Orphan Black it was like love at first sight, it took us 3 seconds to know that this was a show that would matter to us. Really matter. In the way only a handful of shows really do. I don’t think it’s outrageous to say that this show stands up against some of the greats, Buffy, Angel, Skins when it was at its best…
And to narrow it down even further, I don’t think there are many other shows that have had as great of an opening pilot as Orphan Black. Lost will probably always be one of the best show openers I have ever seen, because at the time I’d never really seen anything like that. The sheer epicness and scale of it all was amazing. And here is Orphan Black, using one actor and a train station, being almost as mind blowing as a boeing plane crash on a beach with tonnes of people running around. And like Sophy said, that is purely down to everyone involved in the production getting it right.
There’s something incredibly sad and beautiful about the way Beth takes off her heels just before killing herself. That she leaves these pieces of herself behind, that makes you want to know everything about her. What drove her to want to kill herself, and in such a brutal manner. She looks so lost and completely done as a person, and when she turns to Sarah you can only imagine the thoughts running through her head. Because Beth knows about the clones and it’s like.. LOL FUCK ANOTHER ONE? SRSLY. YES DEATH PLEASE.
I wish we could have known more about Beth and have had the opportunity to experience a little bit of her journey alongside her. It would have been incredibly sad and probably torn all of our hearts out, but we would have all loved it. It definitely says something about the way the writers and Tatiana handled and cared for these characters that we can say it could have gone either way at the beginning. It could have been Sarah who died, and Beth who lived on and the show would be very different yes, but overall the quality of the show wouldn’t have changed. It’s definitely a testament to the creators that when you think about it, any of the clones would be strong enough to have been the central character and it would have worked.
HAVING SAID THAT. SARAH IS OUR BABY. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am so ridiculously pumped for season 2. It feels like we’ve been waiting since forever, but now that it’s here I am kind of scared and worried at how fast it’s all going to be over. You know how babies or pets get separation anxiety from their parents? I get that with TV shows.
Sophy says: DO WE HAVE A FAVOURITE CLONE? Because we can do that thing where we cheat and pick two even though there’s only one Rophy.
I’LL TAKE SARAH.
And not just because she’s the least likely to die.
Rin says: NO WE CAN’T PICK FAVOURITES OKAY. This isn’t like when we pick favourites for Tegan and Sara and reason it out by having one each. There’s going to be someone left out and DO YOU WANT THAT BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS? DO YOU?!
Sophy says: Okay, but Sarah is still mine.