Orphan Black: We’ll Always Have Helsinki

Orphan Black

It was clear from the very first moments of “The Weight of This Combination” that Orphan Black Season 3 is going to be very different from its predecessors. Season 1 was all about the clones finding each other, getting to know one another and taking steps to becoming the cohesive unit they are today. In Season 2 their bonds were tested as they began to uncover the mystery of their origins and just how far down the Dyad rabbit hole went. The clones also had to deal with more domestic issues, like Alison coming to terms with Donnie’s betrayal, Cosima facing her mortality, and Sarah and Helena re-evaluating their relationship. The clones really learned in Season 2 who they could trust and who they couldn’t.

And now, in Season 3, the beast that birthed them has reared its ugly head–or heads, I should say–and its tentacles are reaching out to reclaim its offspring.

Orphan Black is a more confident show in its third season, especially where its visual effects are concerned. There is more clone-on-clone interaction, more clone swaps, more clones in general! Episode 1 was practically crawling with Castor clones, for one thing. It goes without saying–but bears repeating– that Tatiana Maslany has an eerie talent for making the viewer believe that all five (or is it seven?) of her clone characters are played by different women. After watching this episode, I’d say Maslany has met her match in Ari Millen.

Since the Castor clones haven’t been identified yet, with the exception of the Prolethian cultist Mark Rollins, I thought I’d give them nicknames, just so it’s easier to keep them straight. Plus I’m terrible with names:

  • #GIClone – the guy who’s hanging out at Project Castor’s home base in fatigues
  • #Scarface – pretty self-explanatory (Okay, so we officially know his name is Rudy, but lets’ go with this)
  • #Moustache – I know I know, not very creative, but Porn Stache was already taken!

Speaking of keeping things straight, I’m going to have to draw up a flow chart to understand how the Dyad Group works. The Dyad Institute seems to have taken over the remnants of Project Leda, from which Sarah Manning and her sisters originated. Then there is Topside, which oversees Dyad and the military branch Project Castor, and also seems to be under Topside but is somewhat independent? And now some of the Castor clones seem to have gone rogue and are trying to get their hands on Professor Duncan’s research from the original Project Leda?

My head hurts.

Suffice it to say that everyone is busy backstabbing each other and generally working at cross-purposes, and each clone, both male and female, seem to have their own loyalties and motivations. Take Rachel for instance: she may be lying in a hospital bed, minus an eye and possibly brain damaged, but her actions are having far-reaching consequences. It seems she was planning to sell her sisters up the creek for a chance to get her hands on Kira and Sarah’s fertile ovaries. Very Delta Burke in Maternal Instincts of her. Sarah and Delphine managed to stop the planned massacre from going forward, but the creepy gloved man in Alison’s garage (a.k.a. murder room) tells me that subplot is far from over. These girls cannot catch a break!

One thing’s for sure, the clones are stronger when they work together. Here’s hoping Sarah succeeds in rescuing Helena from the clutches of Project Castor, because they’re going to be needing the Angry Angel’s special brand of crazy real soon.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America and Space.