Orphan Black’s premieres are often shocking in some way, but the following episodes are usually a little less explosive. Not so this season. The final season of Orphan Black looks like it’ll continue ratcheting up the tensions every episode until the ultimate finale, but as this episode shows, the writers may not always pull the right strings with these new twists.
First of all, let’s get this out of the way: this season’s titles come from the fiery-badass poem 1695 by Etta Wheeler Wilcox, which y’all should read. Really, it’s short.
Done? Cool, let’s get on with the show. This week’s premiere picked up pretty much right where the Season 4 finale left off: Sarah injured, Cosima reunited with Delphine, and everything happening so much with Alison, Donnie, and Helena.
Once upon a time, years before we came to the city that’s Not Officially Toronto But Come On, It’s Toronto, a woman had two children. As a fugitive from a dangerous secret organization, she had to give them up. One, she decided, to the church, and one to the state. This is the origin story for the two primary protagonists of Orphan Black. Sarah Manning went into foster care, while her sestra Helena went to an orphanage run by nuns in Ukraine.
It’s not a buddy comedy, despite this picture.
Helena gets indoctrinated into the Proletheans, an ambiguously Christian sect that serves as one of the major antagonists in the series. The religious motifs around the Proletheans make them terrifying, both with Helena as their assassin and as their prisoner. However, the show misses an opportunity to really dig into the theology of the Proletheans and doesn’t truly engage with any number of religious objections to the biotechnology the show presents as being in our immediate future.
Season 4 of Orphan Black gave us a bigger taste of Alison’s religion. Alison is the stereotypical suburban soccer mom, a “type A” personality decked out in pastels. She’s a W.A.S.P. who stands in great contrast with her darker and edgier sisters Cosima, Helena, and Sarah. It’s no wonder that Alison is the clone with the most pronounced religious beliefs. Sure, Helena was raised by harsh Ukrainian nuns, but their religion hasn’t really been delved into by the show. Alison, on the other hand, wears a golden cross necklace and is often shown attending a Mainline Protestant church with her family. Her religion was involved in many minor scenes of this season, and she could be the doorway to a very different kind of religious representation in our scifi media.
Hey there, Clone Club! What a finale, am I right? Well, it was action-packed, to say the least, and we don’t know if everyone’s going to live to see much of Season 5. Still, with the official news that Orphan Black’s fifth season will be its last, it’s a good episode to begin the beginning of the end.
What do I mean? Read on, sestras. Spoilers for Season 4 and the finale below!
I always feel guilty getting behind on Orphan Black, because the show always delivers such quality content that I feel like I owe them my regular viewership. Unfortunately, my busy schedule of con-attending (and then con-recovering) left me yet again an episode behind this week. It’s always fun to do a bit of a mini binge-watch, though, and this episode pulled a lot of our disparate plot strings back toward the center of our clonetastic Gordian knot.
Spoilers—and probably more mixed metaphors—after the jump.
The title of this episode seemed like the episode would get into some serious genetics shop talk, but fortunately, last night’s Orphan Black wasn’t big on the body horror at all. In fact, we seem to be moving forward on several plot points in several different ways.