Review: Orphan Black, Season Three ‘Episode One’

The Beach Boys were not referring to the anticipation of upcoming TV shows when they said “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn’t have to wait so long,” but it is certainly apt here. This Eastern Euopean cover version of the song is very fetching too. The “wouldn’t it be nice” premise parallels the notion that we know we are watching a dream sequence in the opening moment of Orphan Black Season Three. But we indulge and savour it just as much as the heavily pregnant Helena does when offered a selection of cakes and sweets with her three clone “sestras” Sarah, Alison and Cosima. We want to dream of good times with these girls. We want there to be desserts galore at family gatherings in the sun.


When Helena wakes from the beauty of that dream, though, she is literally faced with a large black scorpion emerging from her garment. The paradox of the sweet life and the awful prospects engulf us from the opening minutes. When Helena wakes yet again, she appears to be inside a cargo box, with the scorpion, whom she appears to hear speak back to her softly. Unusual, but fitting.

Keeping it in the surreal family then, we encounter the pencil being removed from Rachel’s eye (so she’s alive), and there is emphasis on the blood of course. Or at least there was in my mind. What will they do with that, I wonder. Delphine appears a little more ruthless in her look and actions, she has even straightened her hair. The “new Rachel,” as Cosima puts it. The scene between the two supposed love-birds is set-up with a pending gloom, though lightened hopefully by their respective sobbing as they part company. We know Cosima’s affection towards the French woman, but it is reassuring to see ice being chipped from Delphine all the same.

By the way, Felix mentions at one point that Cosima is looking a lot better, that she has color in her cheeks. We notice that too. She is for now keeping schtum about Duncan’s notes she discovered through the book “The Island of Doctor Moreau” (also at the close of last season). And it would appear Alison is making an effort to regain her soccer mom reality, which is not really helped by Donnie leaving his actual employment. Then we have Sarah, who is her usual rogue self, trying to keep her long-lost family together while carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

And what of these Castor clones? You know, the secret male clones we discovered at the end of season three. The religious farmer (cow)boy Mark is clearly one of them, and we followed him a little while back. He does not appear here, but in that last episode Sarah was introduced, so to speak, to one of the male clones – is he the psychotic, creepy one? Here, he implies more danger for the sisters, and they soon realise the urgency of Helena having not come back (she was snatched by the “military” remember?).

One new Castor clone (hooded jacket and tiny moustache) breaks into Siobhan’s house and roughs her up, while asking her about Duncan and his research. Sarah and Felix later comfort Siobhan, who confesses that to get Sarah out of Dyad, Helena was the sacrifice. Of course, Sarah flips out, and although Siobhan might not have had any other choice, you can understand the hurt Sarah feels.


In an attempt to seek out Helena, and get her out, Delphine negotiates that a reluctant Sarah could imitate Rachel. Once again, Tatiana Maslany is tasked with merging one character with the other, allowing us to identify the mimic over those who ought not to know. I mean, we know Rachel does not walk quite like that – but how did we know that? This further emphasised when they interrogate Alison-playing-Sarah. It is these character role shifts that put the skilful Maslany on a pedestal of TV actresses, that I implore should at the very least be in very strong running for Emmy consideration. It should not even be up for debate.

The Sarah-playing-Rachel charade is performed to a fine knife point, we are never quite sure if the Dyad “professional” Ferdinand (he is no Leon by the way) has quite figured out he is being played. Exploring Rachel’s sexual prowess over men certainly buys some time with him, but the drama sure takes us very close to strangulation. Quite literally in fact, as Sarah delves further into the role-play realisation that Ferdinand and Rachel had a history. At the same time Sarah discovers Alison is planned to be eliminated next via an “accidental” house fire, and attempts to warn her. Very tense.

As any fan of this series will vouch, the season three opener is a real firecracker, pretty much exactly what we craved in all that adrenaline-fuelled apprehension. And Orphan Black does not swamp you in mystery and questions so deep we cannot breath, but it does keep the many juicy carrots dangling in front of us. How deeply exactly is Delphine involved? What happened in Helsinki? Why is Helena conversing with the scorpion? Is Sarah becoming more Jason Bourne by the minute? Why do we have to wait seven days for the next episode? Indeed, we must, and fittingly so as intrigue and patience are all part of this experience. It sure is good to have you back, girls. Yes, that incudes you Felix.

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