All posts by A.R. Wilson

A.R. Wilson has been interviewing actors, writers and musicians for over 20 years. In addition to TV-Eh, her work has appeared in Curve, ROCKRGRL, Sound On Sight and Digital Journal. A native of Detroit, she grew up watching Mr. Dressup and The Friendly Giant on CBC, which led to a lifelong love of Canadian television. Her perpetual New Year’s resolution is to become fluent in French.

Orphan Black 510: Co-creator Graeme Manson on the ending he always envisioned

Spoiler warning: Do not read this article until you have seen Orphan Black Episode 510, “To Right the Wrongs of Many.”

“I survived you. We survived you, me and my sisters, together.” —Sarah

In the end, Orphan Black‘s Big Bad, dying eugenicist P.T. Westmorland (Stephen McHattie), was dispatched less than halfway through the series finale, his self-important, patriarchal sputterings cut short when Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) smashed an oxygen tank into his skull. Then the show turned its attention to what really mattered: the enduring sisterhood of Sarah, Alison, Cosima and Helena.

After five seasons of trauma and loss, the clones were given a relatively happy ending. A six-month flash forward showed that Helena was raising her twin boys with Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun), Cosima and Delphine (Évelyne Brochu) were traveling the world to cure hundreds of Leda clones (with a list given to them by Rachel), and Sarah was struggling to raise Kira (Skyler Wexler) without Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy)but finding strength and comfort in the support of her diverse group of sisters.

According to Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson, it was the ending he had envisioned when he originally pitched the series to BBC America several years ago. “I think myselfand all of uswanted a happy ending,” he says. “We wanted enough time to take a breath, come back and see what freedom meant to these sestras we’ve come to know so well.”

That the sisters defeated Neolution by banding together and embracing their differences also means a lot to Manson. “You know, a show about clones that at its core is about diversity, there’s something ironic and beautiful in that premise,” he says, “and to pull it off is kind of still a little bit flabbergasting.”

Manson joined us by phone to tell us more about the series finale, the show’s influence on Canadian television and what he plans to do next.

Overall, Orphan Black’s ending was happy and hopeful, with all the core clones surviving. How important was it to you that all the main sisters make it to the end?
Graeme Manson: I think it was very important. Behind the scenes, our four core sisters were off limits. It would come up once in a while, like when we needed to do something dramatic, like to kill someone, but then it would be like, ‘OK, who? Are you serious? Are you gonna kill Alison? Are you going kill to Cosima? We’re going to have to carry that?’ So in our minds those four sisters, including Helena, were safe. But then Rachel’s head was on and off the chopping block right up until early this season, but we made a decision that it was dramatically more interesting, and it would be a deeper and more interesting journey for Tatiana to play this sort of partial redemption of Rachel.
You’ve said that you knew the way you wanted to series to end when you originally pitched it, yet I understand that you made some fairly significant changes—such as moving parts of the action from the Island to Dyad—to the final two episodes. What was the reason for that?

Well, I would argue that they were, in fact, not major story changes really. Like the resetting of what we planned to do, closer to home, I mean the biggest thing [that moving the action from the Island to Dyad] did with the story is allow us to have the supportive characters play a bigger role. But it wouldn’t have made any difference. We would have come back and spent the final two acts at home anyway, we would have cut ahead six months after Sarah’s climax had occurred on the Island. So the change wasn’t actually that massive. What was difficult about the change was that it late in the game, and it was hard on production.

So that six-month jump forward was the ending you’d always envisioned?
I had a shape for the finale that jumped six months later, after the climax of it, after we dispatched the Big Bad, and I think myselfand all of uswanted a happy ending. We wanted enough time to take a breath, come back and see what freedom meant to these sestras we’ve come to know so well. And I think it was pretty early on in the season that we envisioned that Sarah was the stuck one. The brave woman who we’ve followed since she got off a train on the way home to steal her daughter and has gone through so much and has grown up and gained maturity and stepped into her late mother’s own shoes, that she would be the one who would still need to be carried over the line by her sisters. I think that was pretty solid pretty early. Quite honestly, we had large parts of the finale in mind since the end of last season.

I really appreciated that Sarah didn’t get a pat ending, that she still had some of the restlessness and rebelliousness in her that she’s had since the beginning. 
Yeah, she was in danger of being right where she was when we met her. She was in danger of taking Kira away again. She was in danger of running away. But over the course of this thing, Sarah has learned responsibility.

Meanwhile, Cosima, Alison and Helena seem to finish the series with a sense of peace and purpose. Beyond the flash forward you showed us in the finale, have you given any thought to how the clones will spend the rest of their lives?
That’s entirely up to the fans. It really is. You know, I have ideas on where we could pick up another story, but I set them free, too. I don’t sit around wondering what they’re doing today. [Laughs.]

Since you mentioned it, are there more Orphan Black stories to tell in the future? Could we see another series or a film?
Yeah. I think that there’s a chance. I think we all need a break from it, and I think the characters need a break. But we’ve talked about a feature. I’d love to think of that someday.

I was thrilled that Cosima and Delphine got a happy ending, which—as you know—is pretty rare for a lesbian couple on TV. Did you always envision them making it to the end, or were you at all influenced by the backlash the show received when Delphine was almost killed off?
No. The truth is that I think I really understood the ‘Kill Your Gays’ trope, perhaps more than a few people as we were driving toward the dramatic end of [Season 3], and I absolutely refused to have that character die. I was OK with a cliffhanger that we could claw our way back from, but I was 100 per cent against ever killing [Delphine]. I knew we were going to take heat even cliffhanging it, but as long as we could bring her back, I was willing to take the heat.

But bringing her back was very difficult. I mean it was pretty obvious what was going on when you realize that Évelyne Brochu was the lead in another series. I mean, I don’t know what all the hoopla was about. [Laughs.] I mean, come, look, she’s got another series, what do you think happened here? And the fact that she was carrying another series made it extremely difficult, but I was 100 per cent determined to bring her back, even though I knew that we would get her back very, very lightly in the next season. I made the case hard to our people, to the producers to keep the thread alive, and I made the pitch hard to Évelyne and said, ‘This is not the end. We want to bring you back. It’s the right thing for the show. It’s the right thing for these characters. You started the show, you’ve gotta end the show.’ And Évelyne really took it to heart, and we made it work.

What was the final scene that you filmed before wrapping the series?
The final moment was a piece of the birth with Sarah already wrapped. It was Tatiana as Helena and Art [Kevin Hanchard]. That final clone scene and that amazing birth were our final two days.

Was it very emotional for everyone?
It was four o’clock in the morning, and starting at about one o’clock in the morning, the cast started arrivingpeople that had long wrapped, crew who had been wrapped, people from past seasons, producers, network people. The number of people behind the monitors grew and grew until there were about 70 people behind the monitors waiting for that final cut. And it was super emotional. Everybody just stood in silence for a little while, and then people began to speak, there were testimonies. Maria Doyle Kennedy sang a song. And then we ate bagels with cream cheese and had champagne.

Orphan Black is credited with ushering in a Golden Age of Canadian television. What does that mean to you?
First of all, we’re thankful for coming up in the Canadian system and getting a show over the wall and being given the reins by our network and by our producers. And anything that we did to inspire others, whether that be business models or to inspire more confidence in the business or inspire more confidence in creativity, giving creatives full reign, that’s just great. We came up in Canada, you know? I’ve spent my whole career here. If it is true that the show has done that, then I’m very proud of that. You know, I’m certainly happy to see so many writers and actors that have come through the show going on to other stuff, and to keep the bloodline going I think is important to all of us.

What about Orphan Black makes you the proudest?
Oh, wow. I think it has something to do with wrestling this main character, Sarah, through this long journey and spending so much time with a character that formed the backbone of the show. And then working with so many incredibly talented women like Tatiana, like [science consultant] Cosima Herter. To have created a show that really did manage to break some molds as far as putting women at the centre and a show that managed to have a message underneath really fun storytelling and the action, edge-of-your-seat shit.

But that’s not as important as a show that’s main thrust, main messageespecially in this political climateis that there is strength in diversity. That’s a biological truth, and at its core, that’s what this show is about. You know, a show about clones that at its core is about diversity, there’s something ironic and beautiful in that premise, and to pull it off is kind of still a little bit flabbergasting.

What’s next for you?
I can only tease, but suffice to say that I’m continuing to explore some of the themes of Orphan Black in terms of science, citizen science, the limitations of science. I’m continuing to explore these themes with the real Cosima, Cosima Herter, with [series co-producer] Mackenzie Donaldson and with some other members of the Orphan Black family.

And so many people who have come up from Orphan Black are now onto their next things. Some of them are original. Some people have gone higher and further. I continue to be inspired by the themes and ethics and political stance of Orphan Black and continue to be super proud of everybody else and their own next steps, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to say now that the show’s final trip has ended?
Just a huge thank you from me and all of us at Orphan Black to Clone Club and all the supporters of the show.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

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Orphan Black 510: Sarah faces down Neolution and her own demons in the series finale

This is it. The final episode of Orphan Black‘s final trip. After meeting dozens of clones—and almost as many villains—during Sarah Manning’s five-season quest for identity and freedom, it all comes down to Sarah and Helena. When we last saw the yin and yang twins, they were attempting to escape Dyad just as Helena went into labour. The finale jumps right back into that crisis, but, as series co-executive producer Alex Levine told us in last week’s postmortem chat, the episode will ultimately be more than just “run and jump/battles. We will get to see our sestras as they come to terms with life after the war.”

Here is what Bell Media had to say about “To Right the Wrongs of Many,” written by Renée St. Cyr and Graeme Manson and directed by John Fawcett.

Now in labour, Helena is forced to brace herself for delivery in the basement of Old Dyad. It’s a fight for survival as Sarah and Art struggle to protect her in a desperate last stand against Neolution.

And here are some spoiler-free tidbits we gleaned from watching the screener.

And where I did begin, there shall I end
Orphan Black started with Sarah’s discovery that she is a clone, and it will end with a look at who she is now, after enduring so much. As with the other clone-centric episodes in Season 5, expect some flashbacks and a cameo by a character from the (not so distant) past.

You gotta have Art
After being one of the most loyal Clone Club members for five seasons, Art plays a pivotal role in the finale and has some touching moments with the sestras.

A happy ending for Cophine
This is not a spoiler; it’s been telegraphed that Cosima and Delphine were going to be endgame from the moment that Delphine was resurrected from the “dead” in Season 4. Plus, the writers have told us as much in our chats this season. However, it’s still rare for a lesbian couple to make it to the end of a TV series alive and well, so it is worth noting and praising. Expect lots of heart-warming Cophine goodness in the finale.

They stick the landing
Orphan Black has been guilty of dangling story threads in the past—What happened to Marion Bowles? Where in the heck is Cal? Is Shay still wandering around Toronto with Delphine’s business card?—and some fans may quibble about a few unresolved plot details in the finale (don’t expect to learn why Kira feels the clones, for instance). However, the details of the conspiracy have always been less important than the emotional ties between the clones and their allies, and “To Right the Wrongs of Many” absolutely delivers on that front. There are several deeply moving character interactions, as well as a few unexpected ones, and the ending shot put a lump in our throats. So, stock up on tissues and some wine, and enjoy the final ride.

The Orphan Black series finale airs Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Space.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

 

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Orphan Black 509: Alex Levine breaks down the series’ penultimate episode

Spoiler warning: Do not read this article until you have seen Orphan Black Episode 509, “One Fettered Slave.”

“You are shit mother.” —Helena

Orphan Black has come full circle. Season 1 ended with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) trying to kill her twin sister, Helena (Maslany), and the penultimate episode of Season 5and the seriesends with Sarah trying to save her. Imprisoned in the bowels of Dyad by P.T. Westmorland (Stephan McHattie)and emotionally tormented by Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper)Helena makes the only choice that makes sense to her: to commit suicide to spare her unborn “bebes” from the life of torment she has endured. (And flashbacks showing the unholy acts of monsters wearing holy clothes emphasize that she has been viciously abused from a very young age.)

Luckily, Sarah’s non-convincing impersonation of Rachel (Maslany) lands her in the right place to offer a life-saving blood transfusion, which allows Helena to take out Coadya “shit mother” if there ever was onein brutally satisfying fashion. But we’re left with a major cliffhanger, as Helena’s water breaks while she and Sarah are trying to escape Dyad.

Joining us to break down all the plot twists in the second-to-last episode of Orphan Black is co-executive producer Alex Levine, who tells us more about Helena’s flashback scenes and gives us a few hints about next week’s huge series finale.

Penultimate episodes can be tricky because you want to build momentum, but you don’t want to outshine the finale. And “One Fettered Slave” isn’t just any penultimate episode, it’s the penultimate episode of the entire series. Did that pose any special challenges for you?
Alex Levine: Oh man! Every episode of Orphan Black poses special challenges, but yes, you’re right, the pressure was high on this one. And frankly, we shifted gears very late in the process. As a creative group, the decision was made to set the story on the mainland, in Dyad, during prep, rather than return to the island. We actually overhauled the story and rewrote half the script well into the prep process, which is very unusual. But we all knew we were making the right decision by changing course.

It’s an honour to write such an important episode of the show, and I was willing to do whatever it takes to make it as good as possible. But it wasn’t easy! I am confident that we made the right decisions. And I have to give credit to a posse of young creatives for pushing to change the direction of the episode and make it great: Mackenzie Donaldson, Renee St. Cyr and Tatiana too.

This was Helena’s episode, and we find out lots of details about her backstory. How did the writers’ room decide what portions of her dark past to focus on?
The Helena flashbacks were challenging but so fun to dig into. The genesis of the early convent scenes was a scene from a classic Faulkner novel, Light in August. There’s a killer in that story who has a seminal event in his childhood. So I riffed on that, and with Tat’s help, created a visceral early moment in Helena’s childhood where we see that she isn’t just an evil child, she’s a victim. The other scenes were key moments of her past we knew we wanted to explore, and it was about choosing the moments we felt would resonate with Helena’s current predicament. John was always eager to show her first kill, and the twist of her not knowing she’s a clone really made it sing. Graeme and Renee deserve much credit for the Barbie scenes with Tomas. The Barbie house that our art department created was brilliant.

Cynthia Galant played young Rachel in Episode 507. Why was Habree Larratt cast as young Helena for this episode?
Cynthia was cast to portray young Rachel, and we love her in that role. She’s composed and obedient and restrained. She’s a wonderful young actor with great chops. But in portraying young Helena, we wanted to be sure we had an actor who could explode emotionally, who is wild and untameable. And Habree really blew us away during the auditioning process. Her portrayal gave us the confidence to expand the scenes with Young Helena.

I thought the scenes between Helena and Dr. Coady were fascinating, with their back and forth about Coady killing her kids and Helena being an unfit mother. 
In any pairing, we are looking for the deep dramatic juice. We wanted to dig into this relationship anew, because they did have a number of scenes back in Season 3 at the Castor camp. We knew Coady was struggling with her responsibilities as a mother and that helped crystallize the line in which P.T. forces her to euthanize Mark. And we figured she would want to drag Helena into that nightmare with her. Tatiana actually pushed for Coady to be harsher in the final climactic scenes. She wanted Helena to be destroyed by this woman, to properly motivate Helena’s decision to commit suicide.

The scene where Coady killed Mark was both chilling and heartbreaking. Why did she go through with it?
I think people forget that Virginia is a ruthless eugenicist. She bought into P.T.’s grand vision and had the cold, evil heart to do certain things that no other party would do. She started this thing with him and she had no moral qualms about using humans as experiments. She always saw the big picture, even with the Castor sterilization plan. And she was very loyal to P.T.; she knows he has the grand vision, that she can’t do it without him. But she also grew to love Mark and became a mother by default. The struggle you see is the amoral heartless scientist suffocating her own maternal instincts. Kyra is a terrific actor and she definitely showed depth in that relationship and in that scene.

I’m sure you gave half the OB fandom a heart attack when Helena tried to kill herself to save her babies from Neolution and herself. Tell me about the decision to have her attempt suicide—and, after all she’s been through, can she handle being a mother?
We had a number of discussions about this choice. We know it’s a very dark choice, that it’s almost anathema to lots of people, specifically mothers. But we saw it as a heroic choice. Helena saw that these children would end up being tortured, being used and manipulated, being twisted and corrupted as she was corrupted as a child. And she believed by making this choice that she was saving them from a lifetime of horrors. I likened this choice to the siege of Masada, one of the final events of the Roman-Jewish war in 73-74 AD. The Jews were trapped on their mountain top village, Masada, surrounded by the Romans. It was only a matter of time before the Romans, who were building a ramp, would invade and enslave them. Having resolved never to be servants to the Romans, the Jews in Masada decided to die free instead. They killed each other and last man committed suicide. But Helena is so resourceful, we had to take her to a place where she truly felt she was out of options. And it sure helps to have an actor as strong as Tatiana sell that moment and make the emotionality credible.

As for Helena being a fit mother, I think she’ll be OK, in that she’ll probably let them run around like wild pigs and climb trees and eat dirt.

If there was any doubt about it, this episode proved that P.T. Westmorland is an evil, crazy misogynist—and he’s also bald! What do you think of him as the ultimate villain of Orphan Black? Is he someone that you and John Fawcett and Graeme Manson envisioned all along?
P.T. was always supposed to epitomize the misogynistic patriarchy that still pervades the world. But he really lets his flag fly in these last few episodes. I think we always knew he had to say some evil things to represent this accursed, awful world view that is the root of all the horrors of Neolution, we just needed to get him to a desperate enough place where he would let loose. I think he and Coady are joint grand villains, sort of a 1a and 1b. And by the way, Stephen McHattie isn’t bald. He’s got some hair, but he thought the better choice would be to shave his head once the wig came off, and it turned out great.

OK, this episode ends with Sarah and Helena—who’s in labour!—trapped in Dyad with Westmorland. What can you tell us about the big series finale?
The best thing I can tell you is that the finale is not all run and jump/battles. We will get to see our sestras as they come to terms with life after the war. And that, to me, is the most interesting and rich part. I have to give Graeme full props for carving out of each episode and each season ample time to explore these characters simply as human beings in a very credible version of our world. I forget who, but somebody smart said sci-fi is just a vehicle to explore how people react under different circumstances. It’s only good when the characters are truly relatable, no matter how cool the sci-fi ideas are. And that’s the best part of Orphan Blackthe mundane, the realistic, the human.

You have been with Orphan Black since the beginning. How has the show changed you as a writer? What will you miss about working on the show the most?
I have grown so much as a writer working with Graeme and some of the best writers in Canada. Everything I write now is coloured by what I’ve learned on Orphan. The reason I stayed with the show all this time is that the material and the characters speak to me. I don’t think any other show being produced in Canada offers the same canvas in terms of all the story and humanity we get to put on screen. And Orphan Black is really three or four shows in one: a thriller, a love story, a horror movie, and a suburban satire. Where else am I going to find that, all in one script?

John and Graeme are experts at what they do. John is such a seasoned director, his instincts are so good in prep and on the floor. And obviouslyOBVIOUSLYwe have the best actor in Canada, and working with her is such an incredible treat. To watch her transform material is really rewarding. She is such a professional in every way and sets a tone for all the other actors and cast and crew; and us as writers and producers. And we have a bunch of other amazing actors as well. Jordan and Kevin and Kristian and Maria, just to name our core cast. I’ve been on other series where there are difficult people, people who put their ego above the show. And that never ever happened on Orphan Black. Not ever. And that’s a testament to the quality of the bosses and department heads. Special shout out to Kerry Appleyard, our exec from Temple Street, who’s also a lovely person and brilliant creative who always helped set the tone. End of the day, I’m extremely humbled and grateful to have been part of the series.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

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Orphan Black 509: Clone Club races to save Helena

Last week on Orphan Black, Clone Club suffered its most devastating loss of the series with the death of Mrs. S. In this week’s episode—the penultimate instalment of the series—things are also looking bleak for Sarah et al., as they discover that Helena has been abducted by P.T. Westmorland/John Mathieson in a last desperate bid to extend his life.

Here’s what Bell Media has to say about “One Fettered Slave,” written by Alex Levine and directed by David Frazee.

The sisters band together in a race against time, determined to find Helena before an unmasked, and unhinged John Mathieson lays hands on her babies.

And here is our spoiler-free peek at the episode.

Darkness abounds 
And not just because Clone Club is dealing with the loss of Mrs. S. This is Helena’s episode, and like all the previous clone-centric episodes this season, we learn a lot about her background through flashbacks. It’s pretty disturbing stuff.

Darkness abounds, Part 2
We chatted with Orphan Black writer Alex Levine about this episode (check it out after Saturday’s broadcast), and he said that he considered P.T. Westmorland and Virginia Coady to be the “joint grand villains” of the series. While P.T./John runs the horror show, it is hardcore eugenicist Virginia who actually gets the science—and its dirty details—done. This episode unmasks both villains in terrifying new ways.

There will be more than one death
That shouldn’t be a shock, seeing as it’s the penultimate episode. However, one death is especially chilling both because of the reason it happens and because of the person who does it.

All hands on deck
Clone Club is out in force to save Helena. Expect help from old trusted friends like Art and Scott—as well as from less-trusted sources.

Nooooo!
We won’t say why, but that’s we shouted while viewing a shocking scene with Helena near the end of the episode.

Cliffhanger ending
This episode essentially serves as Part 1 of the series finale, so be prepared to be left in suspense.

The Orphan Black series finale airs next Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Space.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

 

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Orphan Black 508: Writer Aisha Porter-Christie on Clone Club’s devastating loss

Spoiler warning: Do not read this article until you have seen Orphan Black Episode 508, “Guillotines Decide.”

“Chickens.” —Mrs. S

Well, that was a gut-punch. After providing nearly five seasons of fearless protection and guidance to Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), Felix (Jordan Gavaris), Kira (Skyler Wexler) and, indeed, all of Orphan Black‘s Clone Club, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) met the fate that greets most beloved TV and film mentors: sacrificial death to help the protagonist meet her destiny. It’s not like the writers didn’t thoroughly foreshadow her death this season, repeatedly showing that Sarah was finally mature enough to take care of Kira and fight Neolution on her own. But that didn’t make the loss hurt any less. Mrs. S was the rock of the family, and Maria Doyle Kennedy imbued her with a perfect blend of steeliness, heart and humanity all series long. Her deathand the sacrifice she made to win Clone Club’s freedomtruly changes everything as we head toward the series finale.

Fortunately, episode co-writer Aisha Porter-Christie was able to take a break from working on Shadowhunters to help us make sense of this heartbreaking episodeand give us some hints about what to expect from Orphan Black‘s final two episodes.

You co-wrote the episode with co-showrunner Graeme Manson. What was it like to work with him?
Aisha Porter-Christie: He’s just the most supportive person throughout the process. He really just lets you take a run at things and mentors you through the whole process. And his brain works in such an interesting way, where you’ll write a version of a scene, and he’ll find a way to make it sing. Like, he’ll add a line or two that just really encompasses something deeper, something more than you imagined when you first envisioned the scene. I can’t wait to one day be that good.

Mrs. S’s death is a huge turning point in the series. I have to say that I was fearful it might happen because there was some foreshadowing about Sarah stepping into S’s shoes, but I was hopeful she might make it. When was it decided that Mrs. S was going to die? 
It was already on the board and decided by the time I joined as [the Season 5] story coordinator that Mrs. S would die. So I came into it a bit late, and it also wasn’t my episode to begin with, so I never had those early discussions. But I know that it was exactly as you said, that it was time for Sarah to step into her own, and in a way, she had always been using Mrs. S as a crutch, and Mrs. S is the matriarch of all matriarchs. She is the one who has kept this family together, and Sarah has made a lot of mistakes and has had a lot of growing to do, but it was time for her to really take her place and step into Mrs. S’s shows. And, unfortunately, on shows like this, the only way for your main character to truly achieve their destiny, in a way, is to face that kind of crushing blow and loss. Which is sad, because Sarah has faced a lot loss and a lot of trials in her life, but luckily Mrs. S has imparted so much wisdom on her throughout the season, throughout prior seasons, and she’ll always know that Mrs. S will always be with her going forward in that kind of heartfelt way.

We knew it would have a lot of impact, not just on the fans, but on the characters on our show. And it was a way of grounding the sacrifice that was required to free our people from the shackles of Neolution. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, and we knew it would be bloody, and unfortunately, Mrs. S was a casualty in that. But the fact is, she won. She won us our freedom.

I loved her death scene because, as sad as it was, it was really fitting. She not only took out Ferdinand, but she made sure he died first. She was a badass until the very end. Tell me about writing that final confrontation. 
We knew we wanted it to be Ferdinand because I think for most of our writers he’s one of our favourite villains out of the entire series. We were unaware for a little while whether we would have James Frain available to be with us for Episode 508, but luckily that all worked out. And once we knew that, we kind of just pulled the trigger and ran with it.

That death scene took a lot out of us, and it was kind of Graeme’s brainchild. He went on this tangent researching women and whether or not they would die faster from a gunshot wound than a man would, and that’s where you got the whole 14 per cent more likely to die statistic that we had in there. But I think overall when we were discussing it, we knew that we wanted it to feel like this death match between two seasoned killers, andat least from Mrs. S’s sideshe’s going into it knowing that she could possibly lose her life. That was one thing, is we wanted Mrs. S throughoutas you mentioned the foreshadowingto know that death was a huge possibility and to do it anyway.

And Ferdinand’s arc within the episode is interesting as well because I personally love Ferdinand. I love his relationship with Rachel, as twisted as it is. And I think in this episode the thing that we wanted to make really clear isas greedy of a bastard as he is and as power hungry as he isthe one thing he truly cares about is Rachel. And this is a character who has lost everythingeverything!and so when he goes after Mrs. S, he’s carrying all of that with him, the loss of Rachel. It’s not just that he’s there to take back what S stole, he’s there to get revenge on the fact that she convinced his powerful lady love to side with her sisters and become what he thought was weak. So there are the two things that we wanted to play with going into that. That’s where we got some of that fun dialogue within that scene, with these two seasoned people circling each other before actually getting down to blows.

I’m sure this episode must have been emotional for the cast and crew. 
When the 508 script landed, there were a lot of tears. People were very happy with it, people thought it was a great episode in the crew and the cast, and that made us very happy because we wanted to service S in a real way. And Maria Doyle Kennedy was also happy with the script, and then she helped us make it so much better on set by bringing so much more to it, her performance and shouldering that burden of being a martyr with such grace. She was just phenomenal.

It was incredibly tearful on set. Everyone came down, the producers, all the actors came and sat at the video village and sat and watched her final moments. And then she came out to this massive round of applause, and we all gathered for cake and champagne afterwards, and it was this huge celebration, because she’s such a huge part of the show, and she’s like everyone’s mom and everyone’s friend, and she’s just such a cool human being in general and so sweet. It was great to be able to celebrate her in this way, not just on the page, but overall. It was fun to have her go out with a bangno pun intended! [Laughs.]

How are Sarah and the rest of Clone Club going to deal with this loss?
It’s interesting because they’ve faced so much tragedy throughout the five seasons, but this is by far the biggest blow. I think the person we have to worry about most is Sarah because, as much as she’s learned a lot from S and is in a position to fill her shoes, this will by no means be easy. And we’ve seen Sarah spin out before, so it’s all very up in the air as to whether she’ll be able to keep it together going forward. But Sarah always has ways to distract herself and do what needs to be done, so we’ll just have to see.

And what will Rachel do now that she’s betrayed both Neolution and Ferdinand? 
I don’t know. It will be interesting to see whether or not her sisters accept her, because S was the one who sort of offered the olive branch and allowed her this chance at redemption, and she actuallyin our minds at leastmade the decision quite early, after that scene she had with S, to side with her sisters.

But she had a moment where she realized that Ferdinand was a man who truly cared for her, and she tried to bring him over to her side, to bring him along for this decision that she was making, and then she realized that he just wouldn’t stand for it. But, as much as she betrayed him, I think his death will have an impact on her as well, and I’m not sure that she has much else in her life right now. So I think she’s sort of set adrift, and we’ll see whether or not she’s able to be with us for the rest of the season or what that means.

And there was another sad death in the episode—Gracie was killed!
I know. [Sad sigh.]

What will happen to Helena now that Coady finally tracked her down through Gracie’s phone? 
Helena has always been a fighter. We’ve seen that. She’s not one to get down on herself, she always fights back no matter what. But Coady’s the kind of villain that can get in someone’s head. Coady’s the kind of villain that can push you past your limits and sort of get you all twisted up. So it will be interesting to see those two together again and see the impact that Coady has with her fangs fully bared and Helena in such a vulnerable position. Because she cares so much about her babies. We see that she’s even writing this little novel or journal she has that she calls her memoirs, so we understand what they mean to her, these miracle babies. And to have her at Coady’s mercy, it’s going to be interesting times going into Episode 509 and 10, for sure.

On a more positive note, Cophine had some beautiful scenes this week, including the one where they send off all the Neolution proof to the press. It was great to see them finally fully trust each other and see Delphine fully accepted into Clone Club. 
After Episode 505, what we really wanted to get across was that they had reached a new level of trust in one another. They have sort of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ relationship now, but they’re very aware that the other person will always act in the other’s interest. They know that they are both good people, and they will never do anything to hurt the other. So there is just a degree of intense trust between them. We wanted to keep them closer than ever even though Delphine was going off and doing her covert ops. And I think when Cosima has her line in the beginning, her little paraphrasing of a Jane Austen quote from Northanger Abbey, I think it says, ‘There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature,’ it’s just a way of expressing how Delphine feels about Clone Club. Without even realizing it, Cosima is basically articulating what’s happening behind Delphine’s sacrifice.

And what was really great in being on set, was that last moment, when they get to be together and press that button to send off the emails and expose Neolution, that was an incredible moment between the two actors. Like, Tatiana was not necessarily meant to cry. It was supposed to be an emotional moment, but she just laughed in joy and she just broke, and it was just tears and she was just weeping. And Evelyne was just like, ‘Oh, my God.’ And holding each otherthat moment was so real and so raw between the two of them. I get choked up just by watching it now. It was great to see the end of their arc, basically, as a couple. They’re closer together, and the question just now remains, what will they do with their freedom? Because we know that they’ll be together, but what will they do with their freedom? What does their future look like?

What can viewers look forward to in the final two episodes? 
This will be Clone Club’s last stand, and whether they triumph or fail, they have all banded together. Hearkening back to the beginning of the series and all the people we saw in Season 1, all these people are together with one goal of saving Helena and getting rid of Neolution once and for all. And it’s just great to see the sisterhood between the clones and also the people who are adjacent to them like Donnie and Art and Felix. It’s great to see them all together for this final battle.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Space.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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