SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Saturday’s “Guillotines Decide” episode of Orphan Black.
There was no way everybody was going to make it out of Orphan Black alive. The show has already killed off a fair amount of big players (Paul, Dr, Leekie, MK, Susan Duncan, almost all of Project Castor), but it saved its biggest bloodbath for this week with its “Guillotines Decide” episode.
Gracie was murdered by Neolution after accidently leading them to Helena, but that was nothing compared to what came next. A vengeance and info drive-seeking Ferdinand squared off against Mrs. S after being betrayed by Rachel, shooting Siobhan in the chest in her own home. Always the fighter, S managed to get one more (lethal) shot in herself, hitting Ferdinand in the throat and watching him die before looking down at a picture of her two foster children — Sarah and Felix — and uttering “chickens” for the last time before expiring herself.
It was a touching end for not only a pivotal character, but a beloved member of the Orphan Black cast in actress Maria Doyle Kennedy. We spoke to show co-creator Graeme Manson about the decision to take out Mrs. S. and what the fallout will be for Sarah and Co. with only two episodes left.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How dare you go and depress all these people on a Saturday night. What’s wrong with you, for chrissakes?
GRAEME MANSON: Because if you track the story and you track the story of Sarah and Mrs. S, we’re telling a generational story now. Ultimately, we’re telling that story about Sarah’s journey, and to step into those big shoes of her mother is really the strongest journey that Sarah can make. So, there was a drop in the writer’s room. There was one of those moments of deep breath when the idea came up because it’s our final season. Someone has to go, and this made sense. And the first phone calls that we made were to Tatiana and to Maria to talk about this, and everybody had the same reaction — that gut reaction that this was the gut punch the series needed.
So why was this the time and place and way to do it and kill off Mrs. S?
We have two episodes left, and it was the most traumatic point that we could do this and complete the journey of the girl that we saw step onto the train tracks in the very first episode of Orphan Black. And it’s time to set the stage for the final two episodes now. We’ve got a two-parter coming up, and what is Sarah’s reaction going to be? Is she going to be the impulsive Sarah that we’ve known so much? Is she going to be beaten down? How are her sisters going to get through this together without the mother figure of this chosen family? We’re just tremendously excited to see this play out and see how our girls will take the hardest thing that we could throw at them.
What was it like having to say goodbye to Maria Doyle Kennedy?
Oh, terrible. Tears all around. Tears at the read through. And Maria is the mom to our little Orphan Black family. She is such a wonderful woman, and her family, her husband, her musical career, all of her time she spent in Toronto. It may be hard to watch, but it was really hard to live. But we’re living it as we’re winding down the series that we’re all really proud of and we’re created our own little family — much like the sisters.
Of course, Mrs. S not the only character who died. You also killed off Ferdinand and Gracie, who have been big characters on this show. Are you guys like, the end is near, let’s just start offing everybody now?
[Laughing] Well, it’s definitely ramping up, and it’s ramping up in real time with Helena’s pregnancy, so the crux of what’s coming is about new life, as well as the loss that we’ve just experienced. I just can’t wait for these final two episodes. It’s a great two-parter.
What if Ferdinand had taken Rachel up on her offer to go off the grid? Would they be sipping Mai Tais somewhere right now?
Yes. And so I think she would have left Kira. But that was the moment when Rachel chose to stand with her sisters, and it’s more than just the I. Rachel and Mrs. S had a moment where they connected, and Mrs. S had told her before — there will come a time when you need us. So Rachel’s journey over the last couple of episodes has been one of our favorites as well, certainly one of Tatiana’s favorite to play. Episode 7 was very deep, and in episode 8 we see the results. Rachel is stepping to our side, what’s going to happen now? Rachel and Sarah the old arch enemies. This is what the death of Mrs. S does. It throws everybody together.
What does it mean now that the information about everything Neolution had done has presumably gone public?
Well, this is the ultimate pressure that we’re putting on Neolution. This is our atom bomb. Now, how will this play out with PT and his crew and Coady? How this plays out now is this great two-part finale we’ve got coming up.
And looking ahead a little bit to that, what can you say about Helena? We see her taken — I’m guessing being taken to the island now. What can you say as far as that?
End game. It’s coming from all ends. Now, the crux is all coming down to Helena’s babies. Rachel did the right thing and saved Kira, but now we’ve got Helena out there, and she’s about to have those valuable genetic children that everybody wants. So, the stage is set, my friend. Next week’s episode is really about getting back together, closing the circle with Rachel. Is Sarah going to murder Rachel? There’s a lot of stuff up in the air, and it all hinges on Sarah’s reaction to this event. So, it’s a great episode that ends in a huge, huge cliffhanger that’ll lead us into the finale.
For more Orphan Black news and interviews, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.