Orphan Black Season 3: The Deal So Far

Welcome back to Clone Club! Season Three of Orphan Black is finally out, and our official report take a look at the new direction the show is moving in.

The new season of Orphan Black premiered on April 18th, just a few weeks ago at the time of writing. With Netflix releasing each episode weekly alongside the official TV channel BBC America, the majority of fans worldwide are currently able to catch up with the show without fear of spoilers, a stellar decision on the part of the broadcasters, who are no doubt aware of the show’s invested fan base.

We’re currently in to the new season by three episodes, which is the perfect number to get a feel for where this season is really going. Some spoilers may follow, but before I dive into specifics, you might want to reacquaint yourself with this show as it’s truly epic. In short, it’s a drama about human cloning. The whole thing starts when Sarah, a young twentysomething punk, witnesses her doppelgänger commit suicide, then decides to steal her identity, unwittingly discovering that she’s a clone and getting drawn in to an ethical war between different corporations and shadowy organisations. Even if you’re not so hot on your present-day sci-fi, or if the biotech theme isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a watch for Tatiana Maslany’s jaw-dropping performances as the distinctly different personalities of Sarah’s clones. The entire series is available now on Netflix, and I’d recommend dropping whatever you’re doing and watching it. Right now.

Warning: the spoilers start now!

Season Two ended with Sarah escaping the Dyad Facility with her daughter Kira in tow, narrowly avoiding an oophorectomy procedure at the hands of Rachel (and severely injuring Rachel in the process). Cosima’s condition had worsened considerably by the end of Season Two, although we did see her come back from an apparent out-of-body experience. We know that she’s now seen the data from Ethan encoded in Kira’s storybook. There’s also the big revelation that Project Leda had a ‘brother project’ called Castor, producing exclusively male clones. And at the very end came the ultimate betrayal: Mrs S giving Helena over to Project Castor in exchange for nothing more than vague assurances of Sarah and Kira’s freedom.

So far in Season Three, it makes sense to see the Dyad institute is in turmoil. With Dr Leekie being taken out towards the end of the previous season, and Rachel left in a brain-damaged state, the executive position falls to Delphine, and it’s heartbreaking to see her driving herself further away from Cosima for the greater good, despite their clear love for each other. The elusive Topside organisation gets more involved as they send out an auditor of sorts to investigate the company. Cue lots of evasive manoeuvres from Delphine and a few favours called in as Sarah yet again has to masquerade as another one of her clones – in this case providing the illusion that Rachel is still running the show at Dyad.

We’ve also seen that the Castor ‘boy clones’ are a lot more dangerous, organised and self-aware than the Leda girls. So far we’ve met Miller, the military clone, and of course Mark, who has been tracked down and taken out brutishly by Gracie’s mother since he and Gracie eloped together. And then there’s the more childish, anarchic pair Rudy and Seth.

Ari Millen's fantastic performance as Rudy. Forget dark alleyways, you wouldn't want to run into this character at any time of day...
Ari Millen’s fantastic performance as Rudy. Forget dark alleyways, you wouldn’t want to run into this character at any time of day…

It’s also revealed that, as you may have expected, the Castor and Leda projects had their origins in a brother-and-sister pair. So all the clones are genetic siblings, despite looking radically different. And while the Leda girls have a predisposition for contracting respiratory disease, the Castor boys seem to be susceptible to neurological disorders. It’s already claimed Seth, so it will be interesting to see where that leads.

The Castor boys seem to be dying off quickly already, at such an early stage in the season. Although, if we think back on Season One, it did seem that a lot of Sarah’s clones were dying left, right and centre. It helps with the shock value, and it’s likely that the numbers will stabilise soon and allow some strong characters from the Castor camp to become prominent. I’d say my money’s on Rudy, but I’ve already been proved wrong about Mark, so you never know.

Helena goes through testing at the desert facility
Helena goes through testing at the desert facility

Helena’s not doing too well under the care of Dr Coady at the desert base, and her character gains an interesting new dimension as she confides in an imaginary anthropomorphic scorpion during her ordeal. This is all a sharp contrast to Alison, who is back in her suburban middle-class drama of a life, providing some much-needed lightheartedness to the show by taking over the local drug dealer’s business to fund her school’s trustee electoral campaign – all good fun!

There’s a lot of directions this show could be heading in, but as ever, I suspect it will continue to surprise us. Stay tuned for the next instalment! And if the wait is too difficult, don’t forget to keep up to date with BBC America’s Orphan Black website, which features tons of behind-the-scenes info, such as how much blood went into that bathtub scene. They know what the fans want, all right!


all images © BBC America


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