Orphan Black: To Right The Wrongs of Many
August 12, 2017 1:14 PM - Season 5, Episode 10 - Subscribe

With Helena forced to take shelter behind enemy lines, it’s a bloody last stand for survival as Sarah and Art struggle to protect her, and end the siege on the sestras once and for all.
posted by Pendragon (72 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, good! Are we live-blogging? I'm actually going to watch this one when it airs.
posted by minsies at 3:46 PM on August 12

Sure, go ahead. That's why I posted this early. Unfortunately I can't watch it when it airs :-(
posted by Pendragon at 3:54 PM on August 12

Whew! For a moment I thought it was airing early up in Canuckistan or something.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 PM on August 12

I sure hope there's a reason PT/John is still alive. I am sick of his face.

Sarah should not leave Helena alone. Yeesh.
posted by minsies at 7:07 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

2 commercial breaks in, and I do not know where any of this is going. (This episode is brutal, though.)
posted by minsies at 7:23 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

Come on Alison, get to the basement.
posted by sammyo at 7:23 PM on August 12

That would be the reason.
posted by delfin at 7:26 PM on August 12

This is so weird.
posted by minsies at 7:54 PM on August 12

Alison was never in the basement.
posted by sammyo at 7:55 PM on August 12

Hmm, OK. I need to sleep in this one.

(274, though! That's not quite Buffy-level of potentials, but still!)
posted by minsies at 8:05 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

Dance Party! Perfect wrap up!
posted by sammyo at 8:05 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

The second half seemed so perfect and color-saturated and lovely that I thought, for sure, we were seeing a dream or Sara hallucinating as she was being suffocated by PT. Happily, they didn't play that trope.

Overall, the episode ended as a nice, happy decompression from all that had gone before.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

But did we get any indication at all that Sarah was okay? I think we got it for Cosima, Alison, and Helena but not for Sarah.

So so sad this show is over. Tatiana Maslany will never have another opportunity like this. She is just fucking amazing.
posted by torticat at 10:57 PM on August 12

But did we get any indication at all that Sarah was okay?

Well, she didn't sell the house, so I think she's okay. The look she had when she closed the door seemed pretty content to me.

Great ending to a great show, although I think the first season was the best.
posted by Pendragon at 1:13 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

Count me satisfied! That was lovely, even Sarah's lingering disquiet. (You know when you've borne the one ring for so long you never really get over it, right?)

The decorations for Helena's baby shower- didn't we see a scene like that in one of her talking-scorpion dreams in an earlier season?
posted by Coaticass at 2:42 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

Yes, S3 opened with Helena's dream baby shower.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:51 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I totally missed it somewhere along the line...When did they reveal that Sarah and Helena were twins?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:42 AM on August 13

Oh, gosh. I can't remember when that happened (Sarah/Helena twins reveal), and my preliminary searches haven't helped.

I am still not sure how I feel about the episode. It was too abrupt, I think, switching between the horror-filled first half and the dreamlike second. We never got any explanation for what happened to Alison, we never get any real explanation for PT/John ...

But then there was Helena calling her sons orange and purple, and talking about how they eat sand, and Cosima saying that she didn't feel maternal and did that make her selfish (right there with you, Cos), and Felix coming through with the list ...

I didn't need everything explained, but I would've liked a little more of a bridge between the first half and the second. Overall, though, I loved this story, even when it frustrated me. That scene with the main clones all gathered around the fire and talking about how damaged they are, but also that they're together - that gave me hope. Maybe the future really is female.
posted by minsies at 8:01 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]

I'm mostly satisfied with the ending, too. I think the producers knew they had kind of written themselves into a corner and took the quick and dirty way out. Just take out the bad guys, and get to the happy ending. That's cool. I liked it better than a battle up to the last ten minutes or something.

I assume all hell is still breaking loose on the island. I sure would have loved a shot of PT's mansion in flames fitted in somehow.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 AM on August 13

I totally missed it somewhere along the line...When did they reveal that Sarah and Helena were twins?

Episode 9 of season 1 "Unconscious Selection". From Wikipedia:

Sarah meets with Leekie, who wants her to save Helena from the Proletheans, the extremists who indoctrinated her. Tomas punished Helena for defying orders, but she is later rescued by Sarah and turns against Tomas. They later return to Mrs. S, who has reached her contacts in England, and meet with Amelia, Sarah's birth mother. Amelia reveals that she gave her away and fled after realizing she was a surrogate mother to Dyad scientists. Furthermore, Amelia gave birth to twins; Helena is Sarah's twin sister.
posted by Pendragon at 8:32 AM on August 13

We never got any explanation for what happened to Alison

Does it really need explaining ? Alison just had some sort of midlife crisis and decided to let her artistic side out.
posted by Pendragon at 8:34 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]

I just thought it was - and I wanted it to be -
more than that. I guess it's not, which is OK. I'll live!
posted by minsies at 9:15 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]

I would watch the Alison and Donnie show. And as I was writing that I thought, Remember, Alison is also Tatiana Maslany, and she probably doesn't actually want to spend a few years playing Alison. But I forgot it was her. Still!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:10 AM on August 13

There are many reasons to praise Graeme Manson and John Fawcett’s science-fiction thriller Orphan Black, which is barreling through its final season on BBC America, but the first is that it gave its brilliant star Tatiana Maslany the role(s) of a lifetime. This piece will make a case for Maslany as not just the most impressive actress on TV today but also the most fun to watch, so we should start by reiterating something that every fan of the show has said or thought at one point or another: No matter how many hours of Orphan Black you watch, and no matter how aware you are of the behind-the-scenes machinations that allow one performer to interact with multiple versions of herself, there are still stretches when you forget that almost every clone on the show is played by the same actress. (Matt Zoller Seitz last month for Vulture.)
posted by cgc373 at 10:55 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I liked this ending, but I thought it could've easily been a 90 minute episode or something else--a few too many things seemed to end up kinda lost in the wilds to me, but I do like that the sestras get a happy ending (and showing how that is different for everyone).
posted by sperose at 10:57 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]

I'm so glad no one else good died! Such a nice way to end things. I am disappointed that the clones would keep it a secret from the new clones, especially considering how angry they were that it was kept secret from them. And Cosima being ok with lying about whatever the vaccine is? Could totally see Allison creating some kind of welcome packet for all the new sestras.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:22 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

I do wonder whether the world is large and separate enough that some three hundred fifty (?) identical twentyish young women would never encounter any of their counterparts. I guess we can handwave handlers and Dyad and whatever for an explanation within the story but outside the story? Is our world so potentially disconnected?
posted by cgc373 at 3:03 PM on August 13

I do wonder whether the world is large and separate enough that some three hundred fifty (?) identical twentyish young women would never encounter any of their counterparts.

Well, Sarah just happened to stumble onto Beth's suicide, so I certainly think it's possible, especially given how exposed people make themselves online. Imagine Clone-1 posting some crazy selfie and Clone-2's friends giving her grief or praise about it. Clone-2 takes a look and freaks out.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:30 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]

Well, she didn't sell the house, so I think she's okay.

god, here I thought she didn't sell the house so she'll never be okay.

but I hope once she gets back from the beach it will occur to her that she can sell her dead mother's house where her dead mother died, but also find another place and stay in the same town where her sisters live. that doesn't seem like too much to ask, there's got to be more than one house for sale at a time there.

staying in your dead mother's house indefinitely while you try to stay functional for appearances gives me the Buffy horrors. also, real life ones. but Sarah can have a happy ending in time, that's why god gave us realtors. or Felix and Colin can come live there since Felix is such a sentimental soul, and Kira and Sarah can go live in the loft and have loft parties. that would be a good idea.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:08 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I was very worried that Art and/or Alison was going to die going into this... Art for obvious reasons, as he was running headfirst into danger, and with Alison I just had a weird feeling something would happen to her. Glad it didn't. I agree with the criticisms that there was a good number of plot threads and holes left unresolved (the island being the biggest of the most recent ones, but going back a little further, as the AV Club recapper pointed out, where the hell is Cal?). But I thought the finale was well-executed and in keeping with the spirit of the show, which has shone the most when it's focused on the bonds between the sisters and (to a lesser extent) the rest of the core characters. I liked the choice to dispatch the villains quickly and give us some time for denouement/epilogue. I also thought the interspersed flashbacks with S leading up to and during Helena's birth scene were effective and really well done. Gonna miss this show but I'm glad they ended where they did--feels like just the right length.
posted by Kosh at 5:13 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

Imagine Clone-1 posting some crazy selfie and Clone-2's friends giving her grief or praise about it. Clone-2 takes a look and freaks out.

Something similar has happened in real life.
posted by pjern at 6:26 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

...but I hope once she gets back from the beach it will occur to her that she can sell her dead mother's house where her dead mother died, but also find another place and stay in the same town where her sisters live.

She needs to get a job first, which isn't going to be easy without that high school diploma. Unless S was independently wealthy and left it all to Sarah, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:29 PM on August 13

I touched on this in the non-FanFare post on the show, but over the course of the past five years, Orphan Black has been the most-thoughtful and interesting pop culture resource I followed with regard to the importance of and portrayal of adoption in the show's milieu. Adoption is a standard, crucial, but generally backgrounded element in many genre stories, SF, fantasy, or superhero, wherein the premodern antecedents for the tales often require a changeling narrative to account for the exceptional abilities of the mythic hero.

This pattern holds from before Jesus Christ, adopted by Joseph, and on into Superman, adopted by Ma and Pa Kent, and well beyond. Orphan Black adapted (see what I did there) this trope in many ways, into a literal multiverse of adoptee identities, and did so with conscious awareness that part of what the show was about was specifically adoptee identity.

Sarah-ndiptitously for me personally, the five years of the show's run precisely concided with the first five years of my entering into reunion with my biological family in the people of my birth mother and (sprawling) extended family. The absurdities of the show's potboiler plots never got in the way of my experiencing the show, first and foremost, as an hour in which I was granted the freedom to reflect, with the aid of science fiction, my genre of choice, on my identity as an adoptee.

As early as the first season, with the inclusion of Felix in the show, I was aware that adoption was a particular element of the show's bailiwick that appeared to be considered and presented with greater frankness than usual in mass-culture media, as a warts-and-all aspect of western culture which unquestionably includes and disguises literal, actual human trafficking and the sale and purchase of human beings. By shifting the show's depiction of adoptees-as-property to patented-genetic-constructs-as-property, the show used SF to explore a profound taboo, which is the classic and highest function of SF.

It's no accident that the last new clone we meet is in Cartagena. Columbia, along with Korea (and for a period, Russia and, yes, the Ukraine) are among the countries with the highest rates of US-oriented international adoption. I attend an adult-adoptees support group here in Seattle with two Columbian-born American-citizen adoptees.

I am deeply grateful for the show's presence in my life over the past five years. It has felt as if the show was traveling in some way along the road that I have chosen to take, and hearing the show refer to and explore (in its' inimitable fashion) many topics that were first coming to my attention and experince at the same time made the show uniquely important and emotional for me to watch.

Thanks, Orphan Black. I am so happy to have shared this time with you.
posted by mwhybark at 11:55 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]

where is Cal?

Presumably hanging out in Essos with the Second Sons.
posted by mwhybark at 12:04 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]

I think it was fine that they didn't bring Cal back. He's still out there, and I presume that he'll be reunited with Kira and Sarah at some point. But I expect that bringing a MAN back into Sarah's life right there at the end would have been the exact opposite of the message the showrunners were trying to send. Sarah's got to get her own shit together, and she is capable of doing that with the help of her sestras.
posted by torticat at 12:56 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]

I was miffed that they didn't even mention Cal and that they long forgot about Alison's kids and definitely seem to have vanished her son. I was also sad that Krystal wasn't invited to the baby shower to peddle, like, her organic diaper cream made from daisies or whatever.

I also felt torn in that I was so happy that the clones (especially dear Helena!) got a mostly-happy ending, but also felt like it was jarringly abrupt in the shift. Like, how did they get out of the basement past the thugs and everyone next door? Since Art (foolishly) didn't kill his evil partner, is she still out there?? I also thought that the Castor clones on the whole went out with a kind of disappointing whimper.

The clone club dance party at the end was sweet fan service, but it totally won me over when they had the clip of all the clones dropping the mic--except Alison, who of course crouches down to place it softly on the floor. Tatiana Maslany is a wonder, and to keep up the detail and distinction to the clones even to the very end was fantastic.
posted by TwoStride at 11:20 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]

According to the wiki, Cal was in Iceland? In any event, they could have wrapped up his story any time. He's Kira's father, who has an established relationship with her, and I thought it was a weird omission. TwoStride, I found myself questioning my memory and whether Alison had kids. There were a lot of loose ends, but I'm mostly just sad it's over.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:38 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I was miffed that they didn't even mention Cal and that they long forgot about Alison's kids and definitely seem to have vanished her son.

I agree with you about Cal, but Alison's kids got mentioned plenty. It's just a fact that the actors playing the kids outgrew their roles.
posted by Pendragon at 11:39 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]

They're probably in their room, playing video games with Henry from The Americans.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:40 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]

No teenage boy would want to be hanging out at a baby shower. I saw this elsewhere but Drew Davis, who played Oscar, is 15 or 16 now and way too tall and young adult-looking to play someone who was a little kid a year ago in show's timeline.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:49 AM on August 14

I felt like the first half of this last season struggled to bring together all the threads left hanging in a sensible way. By the second half of the season, a lot of the complications had just been shrugged away and we had to roll with it and it came to a fairly tight end.

The medium of weekly TV, write-as-you-go is dangerous, because it's a lot easier to create new mysteries than it is to satisfyingly tie up old ones. (See BSG, Lost, etc.) I sympathize with the writers, because as a tabletop RPG dungeon master, I do a lot of creating on the fly, too, without knowing where it's all going to go. Fully writing a more limited season-at-a-time series (like Stranger Things, etc.) is less risky, but it doesn't let you discover what works as you go.

Of course, sometimes responding to audience reaction can paint you into a corner. Spike becoming popular on Buffy really ended up limiting that show, imho.

I think this season will seem a lot weaker than previous ones for binge watchers, but the creators still pulled off an ending that was just satisfying enough.
posted by rikschell at 11:50 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Kira's age was starting to be a challenge to reconcile and she was a central character to the plot. Allison's kids? Yeah, we're going to ship them off to the island of misfit toys.
posted by Kyol at 11:53 AM on August 14

And wait, there was a clone club dance party in the finale? Or do you mean the one from a few episodes back at Felix's art show? I mean I know I spent most of the episode in a dusty room so I might've missed a thing or two, but I don't remember a scene where it would've fit.
posted by Kyol at 12:14 PM on August 14

No there was a post-credits clone club dance party where they spliced in all of the characters dancing with fanvids of cosplayers dancing...
posted by TwoStride at 12:15 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]

Though they included clips from Felix's art opening, too, from Cosima gettin' down! :)
posted by TwoStride at 12:16 PM on August 14

Ah here we are, for anyone else whose show stopped with Sarah going off to the lake and the credits rolled.
posted by Kyol at 12:20 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]

We enjoyed it, and thought it hit most of the notes we were looking for. Still not sure what the point of Kira's empathic connection to the clones was, but I'm OK with it just being a character trait, I suppose.

The moment that is still resonating with me, though, is:

"There's no one left to fight, and I'm still a shit mum."

I'm glad they didn't magically resolve this. Sarah was messed up before ever finding out she was a clone, and with S being killed and everything she's done and been through, there's no way she'd be magically OK now.

She was a warrior, which is what they needed. But now she's just like other warriors after the war. Adrift.

Wherever you go, there you are. Heartbreaking, but perfect. At least she has a deeply connected support group now, though. I think that's where we are supposed to find hope for her.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:30 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]

Awww, here's the final season blooper reel.
posted by TwoStride at 12:37 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]

It's so incredible how much chemistry Maslany makes with everybody. She has great chemistry with Donnie, with Felix, with Delphine, with S, with HERSELF. The sparks just fly, even when she's acting against a body double and then splicing it in later with her own performance!
posted by rikschell at 1:59 PM on August 14

I actually don't know what Tatiana Maslany's real voice sounds like.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:06 PM on August 14

She sounds like Gilbert Gottfried on helium.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:19 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]

Yeah, there was far too much mythology that was still expanding for them to bring all of it to a logical, satisfying conclusion, but I thought they did as good a job as anyone could with regard to plot (short of having another 10 episodes to wrap it up).

I did find it emotionally satisfying. There was more than one dust speck in out living room when we watched it, I can tell you that!

I loved Helena's bit about the bebes eating sand.

I hope Felix isn't too miffed about not having one of the bebes named after him.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:29 PM on August 14

I thought about that, too, but at critical points, both Donnie and Art were there for her and the bebes. She and Donnie spent a lot of time together, and I think maybe more than anyone else, Donnie had a lot to do with Helena learning to socialize in a healthy way. And Art literally saved her and helped deliver the bebes. She had a lot less time with Felix, and I don't think they bonded as much, although he seemed like a natural with the bebes.

So, I decided it was earned. Maybe both of them have Felix for their middle names, though.

But in my headcanon, they'll always be named Purple and Orange, because of course they are.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:59 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]

I adored Helena slapping the "Hello My Name Is" stickers on their tummies. And I agree that Donnie and Art were closer to her than Felix, so the name choice was great.
posted by TwoStride at 5:05 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]

And now that the series is over, I'm going to take this opportunity to mention how happy I was that they portrayed the closeness between Donnie and Helena without cheapening the relationship by making it romantic or sexual or making it ever a problem for Donnie and Alison.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:10 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]

Ah here we are, for anyone else whose show stopped with Sarah going off to the lake and the credits rolled.

Thank you, sestra!

(if I may)
posted by mwhybark at 6:01 PM on August 14

I'm really glad that Art survived and has an ongoing place "in the family". he helped midwife Orange and Purple!! he's nearly their surrogate dad :)
posted by supermedusa at 8:28 AM on August 15

Kevin Handchard (Art) shows up in season two of the delightful People of Earth. (Everyone should watch People of Earth.)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:02 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Leeke is no longer buried in the garage, right? Helena is not living on top of his grave?

I will miss this show.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:58 PM on August 16

Well, his head is no longer there. I'm not sure about the rest of the body. Plus, there's at least one other body in there. A Castor, I believe.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:57 AM on August 17

Yes, I believe Rudy is still down there.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:21 AM on August 17

Didn't the female corrupt Neolution cop call Rachel (ep 5?)to ask how to handle the situation she found the bodies, fortunately Rachel was convinced (blackmailed) at that moment to instruct the area be cleaned up and the bodies were disposed by Neolution minions.
posted by sammyo at 12:36 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]

First, props and shoutouts to Kathryn Alexandre, who as a stand-in and acting double helped Tatiana Maslany get the most out of her performances. She and many others helped make it all possible.

Overall, it was a good final season that left us wanting more. Actor availability seemed to play a part in whose stories we saw. It felt like we got more over the last two episodes though. It helped that Mrs. S' passing wasn't lumped in with Helena giving birth or any other major reveals.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:46 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]

What an incredible journey. The scene where they're all together in the backyard was great but my favorite was in the kitchen where everyone is reaching out to Sarah. Very glad Art made it to the end alive.

I know there was a lot to pack into 10 eps but recasting the kids would have been better than disappearing them--especially for a show that leaned heavily on the value of adoption. By showing only Kira, Orange, and Purple, the message is biological offspring > adopted offspring--at least for Donnie and Alison.

Rachel deserved to be forgiven. Yeah, she killed her sisters but so did Helena. Giving up her money, giving up Ferdinand, warning S, releasing Kira, betraying PT, finding the remaining LEDAs, all of that should have earned her forgiveness. Her comment about never seeing another clone seemed like her way of putting on a brave face. The joke about the driver was pretty good.

Ok, 200+ clones. Could they all have had monitors? Monitors who stayed bought? That seems so unlikely. Why so few CASTOR clones in comparison? A more reasonable figure would have been 30 or 70.

This was a great show. Three cheers for Canada.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 4:17 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]

We never got any explanation for what happened to Alison

Didn't they reference her coming back from rehab? I thought that's where she caught the music bug.
posted by scalefree at 1:16 AM on August 21

I actually don't know what Tatiana Maslany's real voice sounds like.

Beth. Basic flat mid-Atlantic accent.
posted by scalefree at 1:32 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]

...but recasting the kids would have been better than disappearing them...

Weren't their kids taken away permanently way back when they were caught selling drugs?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:32 AM on August 21

Last time Allison's kids were mentioned, it was in reference to them being with her mother somewhere.
posted by sperose at 1:19 PM on August 21

I really wanted Rachel to join clone club too, but I get why she couldn't. Helena killed clones because she was lied to, but Rachel was fully aware. More importantly, Helena killed clones mostly before clone club happened, while Rachel has been in direct conflict with them throughout. Sarah in particular holds a grudge that I don't think she'll let go of regardless of Rachel's actions.

Combine that with Rachel's prickliness and trauma. Even if they'd forgive her and welcome her in, I think it'd take a long time for her to accept. She's been hurt badly by everyone who she might have considered family at Dyad, and I don't think she's ready to jump into emotional intimacy or any kind of familial relationship right now. Maybe in time.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:01 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]

To clear up a few loose ends, like the whereabouts of Tony and Cal, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett answer the questions creators purposely don't answer.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:02 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]

Marie Claire's site has an interview, photoshoot and very funny video (at end) where you can hear Tatiana's actual accent, as she creates "The Housewives of Orphan Black"
posted by Jesse the K at 3:43 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]

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