Imagine this: after a long absence you come back to your hometown. While at the train station you see someone who has an uncanny resemblance to you. Then they calmly walk in front of the incoming train to their end. You don’t have much money so you assume this doppelganger’s identity (they won’t be needing it) to discover not only a loaded bank account, but also that they are one of several clones of you. Welcome to the world of Orphan Black.
Tatiana Maslany impressively plays 7 characters each with their own appearance, mannerisms, and accents. We have Sarah Manning, a con artist orphan; Alison Hendrix, a soccer mom; Cosima Niehaus, a scientist; Beth Childs, a detective with a big secret; Helena, a Ukrainian fundamentalist assassin; Katjia, a mysterious German; and Rachel, who we can’t get a feel for yet except that she is Sarah’s nemesis. Not only does Maslany play each of these women with impeccable depth, she often must play one acting as another. Wrap your head around that.
In case that is not enough reason why Orphan Black is worth your viewing, add in a fabulous sidekick, tight special effects, and a sprinkle of real science. Needless to say this show has me hooked — as do some other great characters, including Will Wheaton, Patton Oswalt, and Orlando Jones.
I strongly urge you to find the episodes online or on demand and watch them for yourself. But if you would rather come into the show with the new season, here’s all that you need to know.
SPOILERS in 3…2…1….
Sarah fakes her death, assumes Beth’s life, discovers the clone club (although most clones hate his alliteration), and finds out that one clone (Helena) is on a mission from the church to eliminate the other clones. We discover Helena’s relationship to Sarah with the introduction to their shared birth mother (yes they are sisters), but once this problem is quelled another one arises: the ominous Dyad Institute. They employed Paul to “watch” Beth as some form of blackmail for some unfortunate business he was involved with while stationed in Afghanistan. His protection carries over to Sarah, but we never know whether or not his intentions are for good, as the replacement of Sarah as Beth is revealed to his employers. Like Sarah (as Beth), Cosima also gets close to her watcher Delphine as the two work to unlock the secret hidden in the clone’s DNA. Even though she tries to be the most pragmatic and logical of the sisterhood, Cosima falls for Delphine, despite her skepticism of her true motivations. Romantic happiness is not in the cards for any of the clones; the picture of the perfect family that Alison tries to achieve falls apart as she becomes paranoid of her husband and those around her.
Sarah’s foster brother Felix is her rock through all of this, often being forced to assume multiple roles himself. He, along with their foster mother (Mrs. S.), and Sarah’s biological daughter (Kira) are the only few to know what is going on, although Beth’s former partner (Art) is hot on the trail.
Season 2 premiers TONIGHT, Saturday April 19 at 9PM on BBC America.