Turn and face the strange – Orphan Black takes us on a fun ride with a twist

Orphan Black follows the story of Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) who after seeing someone who could be her twin jump in front of a train decides it would be a swell idea to assume her life.

Now this makes it seem like Sarah is the Queen of Bad Decisions but she really isn’t, she just sees opportunities and goes for it.  She needs money to start a new life with her daughter Kira and her best friend come foster brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris). So taking on the identity of Elizabeth Childs to achieve this is meant to be a short term solution. Elizabeth was well dressed and clearly had a lifestyle which could help Sarah out quite nicely. So she adopts an Canadian accent and dresses smartly and draws a huge amount of cash out of an account. So far everything is going fine, she even fools Elizabeth’s boyfriend.

Then things start spiralling out of control and with it the show becomes one hell of a ride. Sometimes it is really fun to watch characters get themselves out of impossible often crazy situations. Also as Alias and most recently The Americans has taught us it is also fun to see characters dress up as other people and go undercover.

But there is a twist in this tale, one which hasn’t been explicitly stated in the show yet but if you have seen the trailers is clearly spelled out and one which if you realise what genre Orphan Black is classified as becomes pretty clear early on. Orphan Black is a sci-fi series.

You see Elizabeth really did look like Sarah and Sarah is as the title of the show implies an orphan, so who knows maybe she does have a twin she didn’t know about . How though would that explain the crazy German she finds in her car who also just so happens to look like her or the Soccer Mom who lives in suburbia?

Clones.

Yep that sci-fi classic trope is back on TV and right now we don’t know the full extent of why there are clones or what their purpose will be but if it is like the rest of Orphan Black it is going to be fun finding out.

Because we are seeing many versions of the same character the casting is vital and Tatiana Maslany does a fine job as the many different clones. She hasn’t reached Anna Torv levels yet, in which she played a least half a dozen different versions of Olivia Dunham in Fringe but I already love the differences Maslanybrings to each new clone we meet. She also has great reactions to every mad thing happening, often it is just one or two words muttered to herself but the way she incredulously says “Soccer Mom??” in episode two had me in stitches.

Sarah is constantly struggling to catch up with everything that is happening around her. She thinks taking on Elizabeth’s life will be fairly simple until she finds out that Childs was a Detective currently suspended for killing an unarmed civilian. Then the money Sarah desperately needs is being kept by her partner until he can be certain she has convinced the inquiry board that the killing was an accident.   She has no idea about the whole clone situation and why there are people going around looking like her whereas it seems the other clones are more clued in.

There is still quite a way to go in this first season and I have no if a second season is on the cards but I am certainly on board with the show at this point and enjoying watching Sarah figure out what the hell is going on.

Other obversations

+ I love Sarah’s relationship with Felix – he  helps her fake her death and is part of her plan to start a new life. They have a nice sibling relationship and he often provides comic relief as well as asking the questions the audience are asking.  Everyone needs a side kick.

+ The killing of the civilian clearly has a bigger role to play in the story, could it be linked to the clone plot?

+ Sarah’s ex (and abusive) boyfriend Vic (Michael Mando) attempts at befriending Felix and pretending he was such a great boyfriend to Sarah is interesting and I do wonder what his role in the show might become.

+ So Mrs S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) the foster mother of Sarah and Felix took the pair from the UK and moved to Canada, that seems like a big thing to do. Does she know about the clone situation and is that why she is protective of Kira?

+ Clones don’t happen by accident, so whoever is behind this all has some kind of evil plan right?

+ Rock ‘n’ Roll” might become my standard reply when I don’t know how to get out of a situation or somehow forcing myself to vomit.

Orphan Black is currently airing on Saturdays on BBC America 9/8 C

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