Orphan Black: Natural Selection   First Watch 
July 30, 2014 10:57 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

When Sarah Manning witnesses the suicide of Elizabeth Childs, a woman who looks just like her, Sarah arranges for Beth's body to be misidentified by her foster brother, Felix, as Sarah assumes Beth's identity. The plan is to clear out Beth's bank accounts, get her daughter Kira back, and run away to start a new life, but Sarah gets caught in a conspiracy about why she and Beth look alike and what led Beth to kill herself.
posted by mathowie (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I finally sat down to start on this show tonight after not feeling up for a movie. It's very good, I love how they reveal tiny bits and it definitely made me jump to the next one right after. I'd heard it described as "sci-fi" but it doesn't quite feel like that.

So far the story is really intriguing, it's tough to comment on any part of the story since it is being revealed in such small bits.
posted by mathowie at 11:01 PM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I finally sat down to start on this show tonight after not feeling up for a movie.

Oh boy, are you in for a treat! It is, so far, consistently good.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:34 PM on July 30, 2014

All I feel comfortable saying in a First Watch thread is "prepare to be blown away by Tatiana Maslaney."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:40 AM on July 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

I remember liking Sarah's initial grungy look. She also showed a lot of fortitude (more than Beth?). I'm occasionally told I look like someone else (I've never met them to confirm) and if I came upon a similar scene, I think I'd be too shocked to do anything other than get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:51 AM on July 31, 2014

Yeah, despite the underlying premise, I'm not sure it's at all helpful to refer to the show as "Sci-Fi."

It's basically a character-driven drama built around a single speculative component. The stunt element is that all the characters are portrayed by one astonishing actress. (okay, most of them - you also have to adore Felix.)

And the creators do an an absolutely brilliant job of building the mess they've created one little brick at a time. That's the up side of mathowie's "small bits" observation. Every beat of this show makes you go, "oh fuck," as the ante goes up by one more chip. Just one. And then there's another chip. And another. And another. And before Sarah knows it, her frog is thoroughly boiled. You can already see the first bits of it in the first episode, but they somehow manage to pull this off pretty consistently throughout.
posted by Naberius at 11:54 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Felix is THE BEST. That character could have been flat and one note, but instead he's a person. An awesome, hilarious person.
posted by KathrynT at 4:48 PM on July 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

I do have to say that at the end of this episode, while I sensed solid creative chops, I was pretty worried at the somewhat comical Cockney siblings being too over the top. They do continue to occasionally nudge the lid, so to speak, but as of S1E4 they're on pretty firm ground, thankfully.

I agree about the genre being a poor framing. As I was just reading about film noir, most of the directors in the golden age did not think of themselves as working within a genre, or if they did, it was more generically the psychological or suspense thriller. I think that fits for this show, as most of it is essentially Sarah as an everyman character getting drawn deeper and deeper into heart-pounding, life-threatening situations.

Knowing what I know about the intense time demands on actors in even normal series -- thinking James Garner and his aging knees doing The Rockford Files -- I'm pretty damn impressed with Maslany at this point, who has a seemingly bottomless well of theatre tricks to create different ways of moving her face and body (in addition to some effective, although again threateningly excessive, costume and make-up variations), not to mention some of the best multiple-accent voice work I've ever heard. They must have dialect coaches coming out of their, um, ears for this to work (and be consistent), especially when one of the clones is impersonating another -- as with Sarah nailing Beth's standard North American accent, to my mind, deliberately not Canadian despite the locations being unmistakably Toronto.
posted by dhartung at 11:25 PM on July 31, 2014

Excellent! Glad to see you're enjoying it, Matt. You're in for a great ride.
posted by homunculus at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2014

I just started the series (via Amazon Prime) and really liked the first episode. I agree that it built nice and slowly and there appears to be a lot of room to keep going.

Sarah/Beth/Katja had a lot to work with and covered a lot of range. Felix also really shined, though no one else did. I didn't get much off of Art but that makes sense as he's still a mystery to Sarah. I wasn't a fan of Vic and would be fine if he was done shortly, unless they are able to bring out something else in the character.

I barely know anything about the show and I like that, especially with how everything is unfolding.

I wanted to immediately proceed to episode two but I am saving it for later.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:12 PM on August 10, 2014

We watched three episodes last night after hearing good things. Thought it started a little slow, but it definitely picked up steam towards the end of the episode and so far really enjoying it!
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:18 AM on August 11, 2014

I just started watching this tonight and really liked the first episode (though it seemed like Sarah's American accent slipped in a few places, I think that was probably all intentional on the actor's part; at one point Paul comments about it).

I'm hoping Sarah will come out on top but the odds seem hopelessly stacked against her already, and at this point we know barely anything about what's going on.
posted by johnofjack at 5:59 PM on October 5, 2014

Ack, I love this. I watched this episode last night and this morning a puzzle piece clicked for me: the pink phones! Both Katja and Beth had the exact same pink phones! And then the person (the therapist, maybe) who said she had to figure out why a cell phone call would cause her to shoot someone? Was the Asian woman she shot another person with a pink phone? Eeep!

The husband/boyfriend... yes, he's hot. But from the way he looked at her when they started having sex in the kitchen, I think he knows already that she is not Beth. And apparently that didn't stop him at all - not in the morning, either. I can only think that he's hoping that her being off her meds is causing this different personality to emerge, but that is still creepy.

I love Felix. The relationship between him and Sara reminds me of the movie Hackers with Cereal and Kate. (Just initial gut feelings - it has been a while since I saw that movie.)

I wasn't sold by Katja's accent, to be honest. But she's dead now anyway...?

Ooof, that little girl who needs her mom. I'm not sure how that storyline is going to affect this emotional mama.
posted by jillithd at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2016

We just picked up Amazon Prime a few weeks ago and finally got around to starting this. So far, everybody in the household is hooked. We went right from the first to the second and only the late night stopped us from hitting the third one immediately. Sarah is a person you'd hate to be around in real life but she's a very compelling character, and she and Felix bounce off each other really well.
posted by PussKillian at 2:44 PM on February 9, 2016

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