In which I totally get my Orphan Black fangirl on.

This post contains spoilers for all of Orphan Black, which you should seriously watch if you aren’t already because holy hell, Tatiana Maslany.

So. That was quite the season finale.

But that’s not what I’m going to write about today. Not exactly, anyway. No, I am going to ramble about the characters.

I said, a while back, that this show was every narrative kink I (and Jason) have in one show: Science! Smart women who are smart in a lot of different ways! Geekiness! LGBT characters! Amoral characters! Amoral main characters! Accents! That moment after the show where you realize Tatiana Maslany was basically acting with herself for most of it!

I just love it. And by “it,” I mean, like, all the characters. (Felix and Art as the world’s weirdest pair of private investigators? The ever-unfolding what the bloody hell that is Siobhan Sadler? Kira Manning, world’s sneakiest 8-year-old?  Yes.)

And I actually love all the clones. Who doesn’t love Cosima? (More on that below.) And I love Helena because she does all the things that I always want the psychotic characters to do on other shows. I mean, seriously, as soon as the creepy religious cult grabbed her the first time, you knew where it would all end up.[1] When next season starts we’re just going to be waiting for Helena to start carving a swathe of bloody destruction through whatever super-secret military base they keep her in. I even love Rachel–her little-girl temper tantrum in her blood-stained heels made me think of Ben Linus telling Juliet Burke, “You’re mine!” after he sent her lover off to be killed.[2]


I really love Sarah and Alison the most. They are tied.

Part of it is the mom-thing. The show makes a lot of Kira, as it should, but Alison has her kids, too–and both Sarah and Alison do all sorts of crazy-ass things to take care of and protect their kids. Part of it, too, is how whenever they’re faced with some new insane thing, both of them just adapt. Sarah becomes Beth; Alison gets a gun.

They aren’t likeable people. Sarah’s a grifter; she cons people like breathing. There’s no situation she can’t assess for her own personal gain, and she is very adept at becoming a person her marks want (want to give money to, want to be loved by, want to trust, whatever). Alison is highly strung, high-maintenance, slightly paranoid, and stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. It is her way or the highway, Donnie.

But what I love is, those are the things that serve them so well in the series, and make them the most well-adjusted of all the clones.[3]

Well, save for Cosima. Cosima’s the perfect clone.

Okay, I have this thought that out of our primary clones–by which I mean the ones we see every week–Cosima is the perfect mix of their traits. She’s smart and down to earth; she’s stubborn; she’s actually kind of intrigued by the clone thing, and she’s not afraid to jury-rig a fire extinguisher to put a pencil in someone’s eye.

This is why, narratively speaking, Cosima is sick and the other ones aren’t. She’s Willow. If Sarah were sick, we’d worry, but not in the same way that we worry for Cosima.

In the end, I see the primary clones being connected to each other in particular ways, and Alison and Sarah are kind of paralleling one another, as are Helena and Rachel[4] … okay, here:

Here is my (very primitive) diagram of how I see the primary clones:

Sarah ————- Alison
|   \               /   |
|       Cosima       |
|  /              \   |
Helena ———— Rachel

I think Helena is Sarah taken to the extreme end, and Rachel is Alison done the same. And while none of the clones are actually all that okay, Helena and Rachel are the two who are most visibly Not Okay.

Cosima is in the middle–Cosima has all their best traits. And some of their not-best traits. Plus, let’s be honest, she has the best hair.

So what does any of that mean? I have no clue, other than I have a tendency to think about TV shows in the shower and then blog about them.

[back] Gracie is watching and is angry. I want to know where that’s going.

[back] It’s a good thing to be compared to Ben Linus. Ben Linus is one of the great television anti-villains.

[back] And while they aren’t likeable people–I would be chewing my arm off to get away from Alison at the neighborhood potluck–I really just like them. I enjoy watching them. I could probably write a whole post on the difference between characters need to be likeable (which I don’t think is true) and I need to be able to like the characters (which has nothing to do with their ‘likeability’).

[back] I didn’t even think about the fertility thing between Helena and Rachel–Rachel crumbles into fury at the idea that the clones weren’t meant to be fertile; Helena basically volunteers to go back to the farm when she’s told she’ll be able to have a baby.

Published by Laura E. Price

I read (you can check out my Goodreads if you want; it's linked on my blog). I write (I’ve been published in Cicada, On Spec, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Betwixt, Metaphorosis, Gallery of Curiosities, The Cassandra Project; the stuff that’s available online is linked on my blog). I plan for the inevitable zombie apocalypse and welcome the coming of the gorilla revolution. Or the anarchist rabbits. Whichever happens first. (I also blame my husband for basically everything.)

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