Wednesday, 4 January 2017

TV review: Orphan Black, season 3

I am not your property 
Sarah Manning [Tatiana Maslany] and her clone sisters [Tatiana MaslanyN] continue to close in on the secrets behind their existence, as they discover there is a second set of (male) clones.

Once there are two of something, we need names to distinguish them: Sarah and her “sestras” are part of project Leda, while the male clones form project Castor. And through the series we learn the relationship between the two projects, the source material for each line, and much more.

Season 3 is, if anything, even better than the previous seasons: it keeps up the pace of revelations, and has so much history to draw on. One of the things I like about this series is its unpredictability. I am rarely able to guess an action before it happens, or quote a line of dialogue before it is spoken, unlike some shows I could mention. This unpredictability isn’t mere randomness: events usually makes sense in context later, but it makes for an absorbing tale. And the story isn’t at all linear: each of the Leda clones has her own agenda, her own life, even while they are working together to uncover the secrets.

The arrival of a second set of clones further highlights the massive talent of Tatiana Maslany. The Leda clones are all very different people, even when they are playing each other: Cosima giving a speech as Alison, Helena doing a drug deal as Alison, all excellent. Yet I had trouble telling the Castor clones apart. I don’t know whether this was a deliberate decision (highlighting that they were raised together as soldiers), or whether their parts are underwritten, but I do know Maslany deserves every award going. And the special effects are superb without intruding. There is one scene where several of the Leda clones are sitting around the dinner table chatting together: this is “just” a scene comprising several different people, not immediately obvious as a great special effect.

Roll on season 4!

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