A Pre-Finale Check-In with the Clones of 'Orphan Black'

Orphan Black finishes up its second season this weekend with a revealing finale that opens a lot of doors for the show's third season. 

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Orphan Black finishes up its second season this weekend with a revealing finale that opens a lot of doors for the show. But before we look ahead, let's look back to consider our clones' journeys over the course of the second season.

Tatiana Maslany has continued to amaze this year, effortlessly sliding in and out of her various roles, and the show itself has made some efforts to clear up its mythology. We've met some new clones—one who is sadly deceased; another who is trans (and reveals a weak spot in Malsany's acting ability — or maybe it's just the horrible wig that makes Tony the weakest of the clones, though we admittedy haven't seen much of him yet.)


Sarah is arguably the clone with the most stable storyline, despite the fact that she isn't able to stay still. The Sarah we have grown to know over the course of the first season, for the most part, is the Sarah we get. What does change Sarah's story are the people she enlists as allies. Early on in the season she takes Kira to Cal, Kira's father, who proves to be both incredibly forgiving of her and incredibly loyal. (Also, you know, pretty attractive.) She also teams up with Mrs. S, her foster mother. Though it's still unclear what exactly Siobhan Salder's endgame is, she appears to act in Kira's best interest.


Oh, Helena. We left the murderous Helena for dead at the end of last season, only to find out that Sarah never really killed her. Now, Helena has gone from being a legitimate threat to a loving sestra to Sarah. From the start of the show, the the character has provided both genuine horror and comic relief, but this season tempered her villainy. Helena, it seems, really wants a family. (As do most of the clones.) So she both attaches herself to Sarah—their car ride singalong to "Sugar, Sugar" was a season highlight—and leaves her when she believes that religious extremists will give her children. We also find her truly falling for a trucker in a bar. It's still unclear exactly what is going on in Helena's messed up head, but she's certainly not as volatile as she once was.


We find Alison at the end of the season putting herself together in one twisted way. She and her husband Donnie—who was her monitor, but didn't really know why he was monitoring her—have rekindled their relationship, in part because they've both admitted to each other that they are accidental murderers. Alison watched neighbor Aynsley suffocate at the end of last season, and Donnie shot Dr. Leekie in a frustrated gesture. The two bond, burying Leekie's body, and Donnie takes on Vic, Sarah's ex who is being used by police officer Angela to get information. Alison, meanwhile, is sober, after going to rehab following the tumble she took during opening night of the musical in which she was playing the lead. So everything is, in a way, going pretty swell for Alison.


Cosima has had the roughest time of all of the clones, considering this season has followed her descent into illness. Cosima, who was set up with a swell lab at the Dyad, has frequently been used as a pawn this season, a way for Rachel to manipulate both Sarah and Delphine, Cosima's girlfriend.


One of the frustrating things about Orphan Black, as much as we love the show, is the fact that the motives of the bad guys are never exactly clear, and while that could be in part intentional, it also sometimes feels at times like the show is treading water. That being said, Rachel Duncan, the evil pro-clone, became less of a cypher this season, though no less strange. We learned that Rachel likes really kinky sex and is obsessed with motherhood. She was raised by Ethan and Susan Duncan, the scientists responsible for creating the clones. Ethan survived a Leekie-orchestrated fire that killed his wife.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.