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Orphan Black “To Right the Wrongs of Many” Review (5×10)

13 Aug

“I survived you. We survived you. Me and my sisters, together. This is evolution.”

I don’t have much to say about this finale. It’s not that I don’t want to say anything; it’s simply that there isn’t all that much to unpack. This is a crowd pleaser, a thoroughly satisfying series finale that dispatches of its villains in the first third of the episode so that it can focus on the themes that drove the series. The main one? Sisterhood, the bond that never broke through the trials and tribulations these people faced, the connective tissue that transcended mere biology. You could see it shine through in each and every episode, even if Clone Club wasn’t completely intact.
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Orphan Black “The Collapse of Nature” Review (4×01)

15 Apr


“Is this my life now?”

What a fascinating way to open a new season of Orphan Black. When the new year starts, you expect to get advancement of the present-day narrative and answers to lingering questions, but “The Collapse of Nature” defies expectations, instead choosing to delve into the backstory of Beth Childs. We already know her story–to an extent–through pieces of information that we’ve gleaned throughout the first three seasons, but that story has always been filtered through the eyes of Sarah Manning…and by extent, through the eyes of the other clones. Here, though, we get the backstory front and center, and it’s a great way to reintroduce us to the perfection that is Tatiana Maslany.

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Orphan Black “History Yet to Be Written” Review (3×10)

20 Jun


“I know that whatever comes next, we’ll face it together: as a family.”

No matter how far apart these characters are–whether it be physically or emotionally–what this show always circles back to is the idea of family, of connections between people we love through thick and thin. It comes as no surprise, then, that this is a finale filled with reunions at every turn; eventually, these people will make their way back to each other, even if it takes years and years for that to happen.

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Orphan Black “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” Review (3×09)

14 Jun


“I am a mother now. I walk a different path.”

Even though it features quite a few major revelations, season three’s penultimate episode isn’t as meaty of an hour as the show’s last few installments. It’s still a twisty-turny 42 minutes, but it doesn’t quite possess the propulsive plot that drove episode six or the pure emotion that drove episode seven; it lies in a middle ground of sorts, never quite gelling, but still delivering a thoroughly entertaining set-up for next week’s season finale.

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Orphan Black “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method” Review (3×08)

6 Jun


“I need a way forward.”

This episode certainly makes multiple advancements in the show’s central plot, but its main focus is on these characters and the relationships they share. “In reality, we’re now all in bed together,” Jason tells Alison after he kisses her in the store, and although it’s a line in reference to their specific dynamic, we can apply it to the rest of the show as well. After all, this episode looks at this complex mixture of character paths, working from a shared center as it expands its gaze outward, outward into the emotional ramifications of the Leda-Castor conflict. These characters are all in this together in some way, and the intrigue comes from how they handle the situation.

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Orphan Black “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” Review (3×07)

31 May


“If your house gets too crowded, do you tell your family they need to find a different place to live?”

While it certainly is one of the more on-the-nose moments of the entire series, Alison’s trustee election speech still is an encapsulation of the major theme governing this show: family. We’ve seen families torn apart recently, but what Orphan Black keeps coming back around to are the indelible bonds these people share. No matter what difficulties may befall these characters, what remains at the end of it all is the concept of family.

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Orphan Black “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” Review (3×06)

23 May


“We do terrible things for the people we love. Stop asking ‘why?’, and start asking ‘who?'”

“Certain Agony of the Battlefield” is exactly the kind of episode this season needs. It’s a thrill ride from the first second to the last, an hour brimming with tension and history and energy. It brings many of the show’s plots together, delivers answers to burning questions, and tells a compelling story in and of itself, and it’s easily one of the best episodes this show has produced.

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Orphan Black “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” Review (3×05)

16 May

5-5 []

“Now we are even, sestra.”

When Orphan Black centers an episode around a certain plot and commits to it with aplomb, it can be some of the most thrilling television on right now. As much as I love Alison and Donnie, them not being in this episode helps the hour maintain more of a focused, propulsive nature, and it’s fun to watch it all unfold. It’s the Tatiana Maslany show once again–this time for her Sarah and Helena performances–and it’s a great way to end the first half of the season.

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Orphan Black “Newer Elements of Our Defense” Review (3×04)

9 May


“You know, I’m not really your brother.”

“Well, you are. Biology says you are.”

This season of Orphan Black has been exploring what it means to be a family, to feel a strong connection to those you are genetically similar to. Of course, the big idea that then comes into play here is nature vs. nurture: are you the way you are because biology says so, or because of the environment and its molding ability? Are families formed or broken apart merely on the basis of biology? It’s an intriguing question, and although it can sometimes get lost amidst the flurry of plot, it’s at the forefront in this episode.

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Orphan Black “Formalized, Complex, and Costly” Review (3×03)

2 May


“The boy clones are our brothers.”

Thematically, Orphan Black is oftentimes on point, posing questions about family and love and care in the face of danger. At its best, the series’s exploration of the sestras can deliver some of the most poignant, entertaining, and endearing moments you’ll ever see, and it’s when we return to this shared bond between them that the show becomes truly great. However, the writers do also have a penchant for attempting to juggle too many plot points at once, and there’s certainly a very scattered feel to the beginning of this season. Although I have confidence that it’ll all come together, not quite everything is clicking right now.

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