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Review: Orphan Black – All Together Now

SPOILER ALERT: Please do not read on unless you’ve seen the Season 3, Episode 10 of Orphan Black, titled “History Yet to Be Written.

What a happy ending. Unlike other TV series that ended recently with mass deaths and gruesome, tough-to-bear sequences (ahem, Game of Thrones), Orphan Black draws the curtain on Season 3 with smiles, family, reunions and tight endings. Sure, we’re left with a few questions, but most of the stray threads are tied up nicely.

That doesn’t mean the season was a success overall; in fact, the plotlines felt rushed to conclusion. In particular, the Topside and Castor plots, often muddled and needlessly confusing as the season went on, seemed to be quickly resolved with cryptic explanation. Yes, Kendall Malone graciously offered up her blood after fussing, and she kinda-sorta made up with Mrs. S., but she switched gears so rapidly after being such an old codger, it all felt very convenient.

Aside from Ferdinand, the extraneous faceless corporate men are always hard for me to remember, so when another one of those guys threatened anyone—Delphine, Mrs. S., whoever—I didn’t always get what was going on. Whose side were they on, and what were their motivations? Maybe that’s the point, that we as the audience were supposed to be confused about what was happening, who was on which team, and who we could trust. But I’m a bit skeptical. It felt like Castor didn’t quite work out, plot-wise, so it was a mess towards the end (which is also why we didn’t see the Castors in two episodes out of 10, or one-fifth of the season).

But there were things I loved about this finale—don’t despair. As ridiculous as the idea is of Donnie bringing Jesse back to Helena, I loved it despite myself. Knowing that someone in the Orphan Black universe can be in love with my girl warms my heart. Their reunion was the most enjoyable one of the episode. Delphine’s not-so-subtle final goodbye to Cosima was also touching. Too bad Delphine had to die, since she was finally becoming a badass, using her Frenchness as an asset and threatening people. Her death is a guarantee that we’ll be getting more of Shay in Season 4. I say bring it on.

As brief as they were, I loved the scenes with Rachel. Her nightmare, which opened the episode, was psychedelic and potent. The first time we see her new bionic eye is also quite something. Just when we thought Rachel couldn’t get any cooler! And that last bit when she reunites with Charlotte was poignant (so well-acted by Maslany), and then we see Rachel’s mother, who up until this point was presumed dead. A friend of mine actually predicted that it would be Rachel’s mom as the new enemy—since she’s pretty much the only one left.

For Season 4, it looks like the Neolutionists will be the big baddie. I got a refresher on what, exactly, a Neolutionist is from Orphan Black’s Tumblr:

“Neolutionism is a fictional term, a sort of philosophical composite, designed to tribute several contemporary and historic perspectives on ‘directed evolution.’ At its root, it represents the belief that scientific advancements can and do improve the human condition, so anything we can invent or develop scientifically to do that should be applauded. Even if those discoveries and inventions can refine the terms of the species’ survival.

I’m not sure why a worm came out of that guy’s mouth, or what that has to do with the clones, but we can rest assured that whatever happiness and closure they’ve found will be disrupted soon enough.

Despite it all, the dinner scene was a pleasure—this season’s answer to the big dance in Felix’s apartment from Season 2. It’s always nice to give Maslany a proper send-off with most of her characters in the same frame (sorta). Sarah reuniting with Kira and Cal in the snow at the end was less heartstring-tugging (after all, we said goodbye Kira and Cal like two months ago).

Next season we’ll have Alison as school board trustee, a pregnant Helena with Jesse, Cosima with Shay and presumably not sick, Sarah with Cal and Kira (probably not for long), and Rachel on the hunt for all of them. And the clone story continues.

Clone of the Week: You know who I’m going to pick. It has to be Helena; every scene with her is a pleasure, impossible to look away from. She really breathed more life into this season—without her, it would have suffered immeasurably.

Random Thoughts:

  • Rudy vs. Helena: That. Was. Awesome. It was really the only way Rudy could go out, facing off against his just-as-unhinged sister in a knife battle. I wouldn’t have been bored of that if it had gone on for 20 minutes.
  • Alison is now the school board trustee. I never started caring about that election throughout the entire season. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. It always felt so tacked on.
  • Helena is still pregnant? Doesn’t it feel like she’s been pregnant for years? And in that garage fight scene, she wasn’t showing at all.
  • When Felix kicked down that door, I actually jumped back on the couch.
  • Helena: “Much moly.”
  • I tried really hard to care about Mrs. S. and her mother, but there’s just no charisma there. Mrs. S. works best on the periphery and not in the thick of things. There’s a reason why Art only makes an appearance now and then.
  • Lastly, thank you to everyone for following along with my recaps every week! Normally, I don’t miss multiple episodes a season, but life interfered. My apologies for that. Otherwise it’s been fun, and I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to read these. Until next season!

What did you think of the season finale, and the season overall? Comment below!

Chris Jancelewicz

Chris Jancelewicz

Chris has been an entertainment reporter for almost a decade, covering Canadian and international TV and movies for numerous publications. Mostly known for his work at The Huffington Post, Chris has conducted hundreds of celebrity interviews, including Hugh Hefner, Scarlett Johansson and Michael C. Hall -- just to name a few. You can follow him on Twitter at @CJancelewicz.
Chris Jancelewicz

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2 thoughts on “Review: Orphan Black – All Together Now”

  1. I agree completely with every thing you said. I felt the finale was a bit too jumbled with too much stuck in at the end. I also thought the storyline with Mrs. S’s mother as The Original was a tad weak and contrived The Alison with her school board election and drug-dealing storyline was a bit annoyingly offtrack too. The worm in the moouth thing was a bit gross and eye-rolling too.I felt this season had a poor premiere episode with the same problems but the middle 8 episodes were great witht he finale not as great. That being said, there were many great moments in the episode. My favourite ones:

    Rudy’s death scene with Helena was perfect, so well-written and poignant. When she was stroking his head as he was dying she still told him what he was. It was so ironic in many ways as Helena has such a good heart yet under it all she is a killer through and through. I mean, she had basically killed Rudy, yet provided him comfort while he died.

    The scene with Delphine getting shot was another good one. I really wonder who shot her. I’m thinking it was someone we know on the show. The top suspects for me are Shay and Scott. It was obviously someone close to one of the clones, likely Cosima. I’m actually leaning towards Scott being the one as he would be believable as a neolutionist.

    Ferdinand getting down to business killing his guard was so random and hilarius.

    That Clone Club shindig later flowed so well, I completely forgot that the same actress played all the clones. It wasn’t until later when I was watching Innerspace: After the Black that I remembered.

    This show still remains a favourite of mine (#2 behind Downton Abbey) and I’m glad its coming back next year.

  2. I was really sad to see Delphine shot. I thought Evelyne Brochu was fantastic in the role and a primary reason I continued to watch a show I felt was really losing its way. I also hate when writers shove another love interest at a character right away, so Shay is a no-go for me.

    I’m also tired of Alison adding nothing to the plot and the whole conspiracy is getting too convoluted for its own good.

    Taking Orphan Black off my watch list, sadly.

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