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Orphan Black creator promises more flashbacks in final season

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BBC America

Last season of Orphan Black saw everything coming full circle. Through the heavy use of flashbacks, characters galore were brought back from the dead, including the clone that set Sarah off on her journey — Beth Childs. According to show co-creator Graeme Manson, you can expect the flashbacks to continue in the fifth and final season, which kicks off June 10 on BBC America. And that’s just one of the juicy teases he shared with us about the clone drama’s final run of episodes. Read on for more.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So are we going to be meeting any new clones this season or is this more about wrapping up the story for the sestras we have?
GRAEME MANSON: Well, I think that the heart of the story is wrapping up our sisters, and we really felt that Tatiana [Maslany] has played, I think, 116 characters since this show started. So, we’re like, let’s concentrate on those 116 and then wrap that up, and then perhaps there might be a little squeak of room for one more clone.

You do have a few new characters though. What can you say about them?
Well, we have scaled our conspiracy. We are at the top of the pyramid ready to punch it in the eye. We met at the end of the last season our big bad— who’s sort of at the top of Neolution — P.T. Westmorland. This is a man that we have believed has been dead for a hundred years or something. Lo and behold we are introduced to him at the end of the last season as actually still alive. This would make him the oldest man in the world and the most evil man in the world. This is part of what we do each year is we pick a new branch of science to kind of hang our story around and this year we’re looking at the science of prolongevity, which is quite timely.

What is the mission for the clones this season as we’re heading towards the big finale?
I think this season is really about freedom. It’s the final season and the clone sisters have to be all-in. Cosima is all-in to find a cure, to find her own cure, and the cure for the sisters. Sarah’s all-in, fighting and scrapping for everybody’s freedom. Helena’s all-in because she’s eight and a half months pregnant when we start. So if you take some stakes like that, it’s a very high-stakes season and it revolves around Helena’s pregnancy. It also revolves around Kira — we’re really going to get to the bottom of Sarah’s daughter this year. So, it’s a year with a lot of the usual Orphan Black hijinks, but also, it’s a very, very, very important year for the relationship and the bonding and the freedom to move forward for the sisters.

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You really humanized Rachel for us over the past few seasons by showing us her backstory, but then just when we want to like her, you have her start stabbing people. Is the Rachel vs. Sarah dynamic back in full effect for season 5?
Sarah’s arch nemesis Rachel is back right in front of her, and this happens really early in the season. But I will say that Rachel has a surprising character arc this season, despite the fact that she is the big bad and that she really wrestles to finally get the sisters under her thumb at the start of the season, where Rachel ends up is really not where you might think.

You all did a great job last season of bringing back a lot of people we had not seen in a long time — obviously with Beth but a lot of old faces as well through flashbacks and what have you. Any surprises like that we can expect in season 5?
We really enjoyed opening that can of worms last year. It’s not easy, but it’s really a great thing for the fans to be able to go back into a flashback and learn something new about these characters that we spent so many seasons with now. So, we sort of pressed ahead with something similar this year. We figured in our final season what you really want to do is you want to take a look at these girls, and maybe just sort of ask how far have they come, where were they before?

So, we took a few episodes these seasons to create some character-focused episodes — so Cosima, Sarah, Rachel, Helena, Alison, they each sort of get their own character-focused episode, and those episodes are going to use flashbacks to open up their backstory, and tell us something new about these girls that we think we know so well.

For more Orphan Black intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.