Luce: Well, guys, it’s been a long journey to the finale. Five years of twists and turns later, we’ve finally reached the end of the journey (or, at least, this journey) for Clone Club. But how did our favorite clones fare at this, the end of all things, and did they all make it through unscathed? Reviewing the end of Orphan Black is too much to take on alone, so I’m super glad to be joined by all of our faithful Orphan Black review team for this very last review.
We left last week’s episode with Cosima locked in Westmoreland’s basement and Kira determined to take a more active role in her family’s crusade against Rachel. So of course the clone we start out with this week is… Krystal? With only a few episodes left, it makes sense that she would come back to wrap up her plotline, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it quite so much.
First of all, let’s get this out of the way: this season’s titles come from the fiery-badass poem “Protest” 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.
As we all hopefully know by now, Orphan Black is a super intense show about clones. For the first two seasons, at least, those clones are a host of wonderfully well-realized personalities played by the inimitable Tatiana Maslany. As such, the clones are primarily (though not all) cisgender, heteronormative, conventionally attractive white women. The feminism of the show may be limited, but within these narrow confines, the show effectively critiques the patriarchy and its commodification of female bodies and agency. Like the show’s limited feminism, patriarchy is also a fairly limited term for the systematic oppression of women by men. Orphan Black shows us how women are affected by the patriarchy and how women can also be complicit in furthering the patriarchy’s systematic oppression.
Although the show is shot from the point of view of its female protagonists, it’s clear that the clones are fighting against an institution that claims ownership over their bodies and tries to interfere in everything each clone chooses to do—which is a nice allegory for the patriarchy. As this great post on Girls Like Giants says, the patriarchy in Orphan Black is metaphorically represented by the Dyad Institute, which stands for corporate/government policy, and the Proletheans, who represent the religious patriarchy. This post will just focus on the Dyad Institute. It’s pretty creepy stuff, and the Dyad Institute’s involvement in the clones’ lives illustrates the many ways in which the patriarchy affects real-world women’s lives.
Spoilers through Season 2 of Orphan Black after the jump!
The other week, I had an uncharacteristic amount of free time amid a very busy season. So I went wild and had a full-out Redbox spree: four movies, three different Redbox machines, two days. Included among the four movies I rented were Hercules and The Legend of Hercules. I had thought it curious that there would be two big Hollywood movies about the same subject in the same year, and it was even more curious that the one, Hercules, did so much better at the box office. Since I hadn’t gotten around to seeing either in the movie theater like I had wanted to, I thought it would be fun to rent both and watch them back to back for comparison. I went in with low expectations, particularly for Legend of Hercules, thinking that the movies would be dull or outright bad, but bearable due to the lead actors’ Herculean physiques. In fact, I ended up finding both films genuinely enjoyable and even thought-provoking. Now, maybe my thoughts are just easily provoked, but each film was an intriguing blend of the political and the personal, and there were elements of both stories that stuck with me and kept me thinking long after they were over.
Why do they always use the Romanized “Hercules” instead of his original Greek name “Heracles”?
I was planning to write about how skeevy it is that literally all the clones on Orphan Black are/were in relationships with their monitors (don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a sec), but thinking about this brought me to an unpleasant realization: just how common it is for shows with main female protagonists to have a system of male oversight/regulation above them. If that wasn’t bad enough, we never see an inverse parallel where women oversee/regulate men, nor even situations of matriarchal oversight for female characters. Spoiler alert for Orphan Black and Buffy the Vampire Slayer after the jump.
I’m not a bad guy, I just want to control women’s bodies!
I am a feminist theologian. To many of you, this may sound like an oxymoron. Just being religious and devout in my faith does not mean I am not a feminist. Furthermore, just because I am a feminist does not mean that I am not religious.
There is a large disconnect between religious feminists and secular (non-religious) feminists, and that disconnect causes a lot of problems. Many religiously-minded feminists become offended at what they see as frankly ignorant critiques of their religion by secular feminists. Most recently, many debates have raged around Muslim women who constantly feel that they have to defend their ideals and religious beliefs to western feminists, especially with certain issues like choosing to wear a hijab.
In pop culture, it is rare to ever see a character who is openly a feminist or even promotes feminist ideals. Religious people are either shown to be radicals or one of the “rare” good religious people. Pop culture shapes how we view the world. Now more than ever, with the rise of groups like Femen, the recent issues between the Catholic Church and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the general conflict between religion and feminism in the political world, we need religious feminists in pop culture. People need to know that belief in any sort of deity or deities does not inherently mean a believer supports sexism and oppression.
It’s always a good day when I get to blog about my fellow feminist ladies. So this week’s Web Crush is the awesome Feminist Disney.
So many feminists over the years have talked about what a problem Disney is for young girls, people of color, and many other minority groups. Disney tends to be a bastion of heteronormative white people fulfilling traditional gender roles. I’m not saying that strides haven’t been made—compare Snow White to Brave and I think we can all agree there’s been progress, even if Disney hasn’t reached their full potential.