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'Orphan Black' creator on the show's latest bloodbath

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Steve Wilkie/BBC AMERICA

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you’ve already watched Saturday’s episode of Orphan Black, “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow.”]

Orphan Black’s penultimate episode for season 3 brought us the twist of all twists—the Castor original is actually…Mrs. S’ mom? Say whaaaaaaaa?!? That capped off a bloody installment that also revealed the Leda mole, saw Helena go on a slaughtering-spree, and showed off the vocal stylings of Maria Doyle Kennedy. We chatted with co-creator Graeme Manson about all that and more, and got a sliver of intel about next week’s season finale to boot.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was a violent episode, man. Threat of torture, actual torture, Helena chopping up Pouchy & Co, Mrs. S almost shooting her own mother…. What the hell is wrong with you sickos?

GRAEME MANSON: Well, it’s the penultimate episode and it is kind of a gruesome one.

Where did the inspiration come to send Sarah, Felix and S on a trip to London and see them in a brand new setting? 

I think it was just trying to push ourselves again to try and make the show feel bigger. And certainly, Sarah’s journey is largely a journey into her own past, which we discover by the end of that episode. So it really made sense to take it back where it all belongs, in jolly old England.

Maria Doyle Kennedy, who plays Siobhan, is an accomplished singer off screen. Was it just natural to incorporate that at some point into the show?

Obviously, Maria is a very accomplished singer-songwriter, folk singer. We keep track of our actors’ little talents, and we like to use them. And that’s part of the fun of spending a lot of time with actors over a period of time on the series. So I always had it in the back of my mind, but Maria’s careers have been very distinct. I think her creative soul is different in both mediums, so we were very aware of that when we approached her and we gave her the leeway to pick the song she wanted to do and just made sure she was up for it. Because it’s my understanding she hadn’t done it since The Commitments—that is, marry film and music.

You obviously could have had a lot of fun and a lot of action showing Helena chop up Pouchy and company. Why the decision to not show that and instead leave it up to our imagination?

Sometimes you can’t just do it all, and sometimes you don’t want to. And while we love a little gore, there’s a certain deliciousness in leaving out the details and showing the audience through that. Given enough time and money, I’m sure we would’ve loved to have a bloodbath.

Gracie is the mole! It all makes perfect sense now! Why did I not figure that out sooner?!? And does this prove for once and for all that love makes you do terribly terrible things?

I do think it’s true that we do terrible things for the people we love, which is one of the themes of our season, really. And I think that’s true for Orphan Black as a whole, especially with the journey they go on. There were people out there who thought it was Gracie, but for the most part I think the bait-and-switch [with Shay] seemed to be working, at least coming into the episode. It’s one of those things we enjoy doing with our storytelling—try and help them be surprised. So that was the one we chose to pick and chose to kind of bury.

And what does this mean for Shay? Delphine ran that bath water and has that blade all ready when she gets the call from Cosima saying it was not Shay who was the traitor. So what’s Delphine’s next move?

I guess we’re really going to have to wait and see next week. Although we’ve had “Hellphine” this year, I believe in Delphine’s heart. I believe she’s true at heart.

Okay, let’s talk about this Kendall Malone character. So she is a woman. And Mrs. S’ mother. But she absorbed a male twin in the womb and has two cell lines so is also the Castor original they have been searching for. I’m so confused right now. Explain how the hell you came up with this one because this is a new level of weird, even for you guys.

The science works. We thought it was an intriguing way to put the original as the ultimate goal of both Castor and Leda and put us on a collision path towards our finale. And also, it was important to us to draw, for Sarah, some deep understanding and a little bit of closure with her own past—that’s her own family’s journey with Mrs. S and the reason they went to London in the first place.

How does something like this even enter your brain?

Well, it was kind of like Helena as Sarah’s mirror twin. You discover a little biological, physiological tidbit, a genetic tidbit, and you kind of hold onto that and maybe it can work its way into the story.

I can’t believe we have only one episode left in season 3. Give us a nice juicy tease as to what to expect in next week’s finale, sir.

We’re on a collision course with Castor after this long season. This being Orphan Black, there might be a massive [co-creator/director] John Fawcett clone sequence in the offing. As well as some really shocking reveals and twists—the way we like to go out on our seasons.

That’s the way I like you to go out on your seasons as well. And I believe you also have a pivotal cameo from a writer/radio host making his acting debut?

Yes, everyone should keep their eyes out for Denton, the mystery voter.

The whole season really hinges on him, from what I understand.

It does. We used to think it all came down to the fat man in the towel, but it all comes down to Denton.

For more ‘Orphan Black’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

 

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