Get ready #CloneClub, because the third season of Space/BBC America original drama Orphan Black is back. And judging from the action we previewed in our advanced copy of the season opener, “The Weight of This Combination,” last season was just a small hint of things to come.
When we last left Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and her sestras, we learned about the many, many faces behind Project Castor (as played by Ari Millen), watched helplessly as Helena was kidnapped, and prayed that Cosima would get better already. (You can read our full Season 2 catch-up guide here.)
In the Season 3 opener, the action ramps up right away, with Sarah realizing that Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) has betrayed her twin, Helena making a strange new friend in the form of a scorpion and a new secret organization threatening to take down the clones for good. As Alison would say, it’s a doozy.
To gather more Season 3 intel, The TV Junkies caught up with Ms. Clones herself, Tatiana Maslany. Here she talks about last season’s introduction of trans clone Tony, filming scenes in a box and Orphan Black‘s ongoing gender identity debates.
The TV Junkies: Another season, does that mean potentially even more new clones? And how do you feel about introducing new characters at this point in the series?
Tatiana Maslany: I love introducing new characters and meeting new characters, I think it’s so much fun and as long as the characters continue to be fleshed out, that they are vital parts of the story, then I’m all up for them continuing to grow. And for there to be an infinite amount. But I want to make sure they don’t sort of pop up and go away and we don’t care about them. We know they have a life that we’re interested in and they’re there for a reason–not just to be another clone.
TTVJ: Last season’s introduction of Tony caused quite the social media stir. Do you pay attention to the naysayers at all?
TM: That noise is like … for as many people that are having an adverse reaction to Tony there were just as many influential people who really cared about him. I don’t mean influential in any way except that he moved them in a certain way or he spoke to them because they felt represented or they felt like their friends were represented onscreen. We never set out to make a political statement or anything with Tony. It was just, we were fascinated with that exploration and expression of gender identity because our show’s about identity. When Rachel came onto the scene and even now still continues to have an adverse reaction on fans. I think that’s great, we should challenge people and there shouldn’t always be an easy response to things, or else we’re not making our television show.
TTVJ: Do you think sometimes the show takes a political stance on gender identity? Or is it something you’ve started thinking more about?
TM: We’re interested in talking about body ownership and autonomy, and this idea of women being patented. It’s not that we’re making a statement on it specifically but we’re really fascinated by the discussion. This fight for autonomy and ownership continues to be something I’m really passionate about. Fertility is this thing that sort of defines women but it doesn’t have to. It’s just interesting, this thing of women being mothers inherently, and Sarah sort of proved that she isn’t inherently–she’s not maternal by her instincts, she runs. That’s not necessarily where she feels safe. So it’s fun to explore the different facets of what fertility means to women and what it means to men.
TTVJ: With male clones on the scene in Season 3, does the story still continue to be told predominantly through Sarah’s eyes?
TM: It’s hard for me to remember because I play all the clones and see it through their eyes, but I guess it is sort of Sarah’s main journey. We followed her from the start and have grown with her. But we definitely get to know the other clones in deeper ways this season. Plus the other characters, the supporting cast–Maria Doyle Kennedy and Kristian Brunn and Kevin Hanchard–we get some really great insights into their characters. They take on a larger role than just sort of being the sounding boards to the clones.
TTVJ: (Co-creator) John Fawcett hinted to us that this could be considered the year of Mrs. S. Do you agree?
TM: I’m excited for the audience to see it, and I want them to be fresh and be surprised by it. She’s such a tremendous actor and such an integral grounding part of our show. It’s really cool to get to flesh her out more and give her more backstory and get to know her world a little. It just emerges; she does some amazing work. That’s all I’m going to say.
TTVJ: Speaking of amazing work, Helena seems to be spending a lot of time in a box in the first episode back. What was that like to film?
TM: Cages and boxes aren’t unfamiliar to her and I think that’s why she will have such an intense response. For her it’s about escape, and it was really daunting to be kind of shoved into this little box and try not to lose my shit. But it’s fun to experience those things through her, because she is so visceral and feral.
TTVJ: Is there anything you’d like to add?
TM: I’m just really excited about the season; it’s really big. There are a lot of huge storylines that shocked and surprised me. I’m excited for the fans to see it and I’m excited for new people to see it. I’m really happy about it.
Orphan Black returns Saturday, April 18 at 9 p.m. ET on Space and CTV. Catch up on Season 2 with an all-day marathon Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. ET.
Amber Dowling is a bonafide TV Junkie, critic and freelance writer who watches countless shows and lives for dramatic (fictional!) twists. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.