There are few shows out there quite like BBC America’s Orphan Black. Debuting in 2013, it covered a whole new swathe of the sci-fi TV universe, focusing on a group of fully grown clones slowly unraveling the massive conspiracy surrounding their creation. It started out simple enough: as a show focused on a single main character discovering that she’s a small cog in a greater plan to create clones en masse, all the while trying to shield her natural-born daughter from the ruthless corporation that made her.
The true star of Orphan Black is lead actress Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning. As the one playing the primary clone, she’s been responsible for upwards of seven separate roles, each with a distinctly different personality. She’s put on Russian, regional British, and American accents all to perfection, while making us as viewers forget that this is one Canadian actress playing all these parts. The show builds around Maslany’s wonderful performances, living and dying by each complex relationship her clones have with the world around them.
That’s not to undersell the supporting cast of characters, though. Also in the mix are Jordan Gavaris sporting a similarly convincing accent as Sarah Manning’s adoptive brother, Matt Frewer as the delightfully creepy Dr. Aldous Leaky, and Kevin Hanchard as the no-frills police detective. It’s a cast that all rotates around the sun that is Maslany’s assortment of clones, making for a final product that blends together multiple personalities seamlessly. For a show that’s the second highest rated on BBC America, behind Doctor Who, while airing on a less-than-ideal Saturday slot, it’s fairly clear that whatever it’s doing is working in spades.
So where did the last two seasons leave off?
Sarah Manning is a con artist drifting from city to city. When she sees a woman identical to her in every way jump in front of a moving train, her whole world is turned upside down while she uncovers the mystery surrounding where she came from. While trying to protect those closest to her — her young daughter and adoptive brother — she stumbles upon a web of deception woven by the monolithic Dyad Institute.
Spoiler-tastic, spoiler-filled synopsis
The first season begins with Sarah assuming the identity of a woman identical to her in every way, after witnessing that woman kill herself by jumping in front of a train. As she lives this woman’s life, she discovers that both of them were in fact part of a large-scale cloning operation headed by the Dyad Institute. Along the way, she meets more and more of her clones, each trying to find the same answers she seeks. Dyad spends the better part of the season attempting to track down Sarah to haul her in to study the reasons why she was the only clone able to procreate.
The Dyad has its own opponent in the fundamentalist Prometheans, who believe the clones are an affront to God. Sarah and her clones/sisters are caught in the ensuing fray between the two groups. The latest season wraps up with Sarah turning herself into Dyad to ensure the safety of her daughter, only to escape together with the aid of a shady higher-up at the Institute. She meets with the mysterious woman he saved the following day, only to find out that there was a male series of clones, scattered throughout the United States military as well as the Prometheans.
It’s hard to tell where the newest season will go, but we imagine it’ll be chock-full of new information concerning Season 2’s cliffhanger ending, as well as all the clones we can possibly handle. Tune in April 18 on BBC America at 9 p.m. Eastern for the Season 3 premiere (it re-airs again at midnight and 3 a.m. if you forget to set your DVR).
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- ‘Orphan Black’ Gets New Season But Can’t Clone an Emmy Nom
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