'Orphan Black': The binge watcher's support group
BBC America’s 10-episode first season of Orphan Black flew a little under the radar. Airing Saturdays after Doctor Who as part of the network’s Supernatural Saturdays, it garnered fair attention during its run, which ended earlier this month but failed to make a huge splash. That is, until Emmy season rolled around. With lead Tatiana Maslany among the dark horse contenders for a nomination, buzz for the show has grown. Here at EW alone, no less than three staffers have spent their weekends catching up over the last few weeks. And, like many of you, we can’t believe we’ve been missing out.
Now, we have to talk about it — even though the first rule of Clone Club is ‘Don’t talk about Clone Club.’
Below, shameless binge watchers Denise Warner and Sandra Gonzalez, who happened to binge the series on the same weekend (#weneedlives), relive the season and all its great moments via Instant Messenger, because we’re okay with acting like it’s 1998. Feel free to join the conversation below with your favorite moments after you catch up. To those who have been with the show since the beginning, we bow to your wisdom.
Denise Warner: Sandra! I’m so glad we both decided to watch this show. It’s AMAZING. I was pretty much hooked from the first few minutes, when Sarah sees Beth at the train station.
Sandra Gonzalez: I saw that clip when the show was about to first get released. (In fact, it was EW’s exclusive!) And I was totally into it. But it’s so hard to make room for a new show, so I vowed to catch up on it eventually. The problem: When I say that, it usually never happens. Thankfully, this time, it did! I’m just sad it took me so long.
Denise: Oh I know! There are too many shows, and I was currently trying to binge-watch Scandal then got sidelined. But I digress! I could not stop once I started. Although now I want to go back and see them all again, this time a little bit slower. All the episodes almost blend together for me at this point. I basically watched a ten-hour movie. Let’s start off easy. Do you have a favorite episode?
Sandra: A friend who’d already watched told me it was going to be a great episode, so my pick might be influenced by that, but I’d say episode 6 — with the neighborhood pot luck. It was SO FUN. And Alison’s glue gun “torture” scene with her husband Donnie was one of the most darkly comedic things I’d seen in a long time.
Denise: That scene! I felt so bad for Donnie. Now I don’t, though.
Sandra: Well, that tends to happen when I find out a guy is actually a filthy lying spy. I will say, though, I totally bought his cover story about falling in love with the girl with Lupus. Then, when the truth came out, I was like YOU IDIOT (to myself). I’m gullible.
Denise: Me too! Especially since he knew her since high school, and presumably Paul didn’t know Beth that long — as her monitor.
Sandra: But back to my point, episode 6 was perfectly paced and I have no idea how they made so many moving parts come together that well. Sarah pretending to be Alison, Alison getting drunk, Paul crashing the party, Vic showing up…
Denise: Felix as the bartender!
Sandra: Felix’s general fear of suburbia had me howling.
Denise: He’s my favorite non-Clone character. I love that he’s willing to do anything for Sarah and Kira, plus his evolving relationship with Allison — remember she went from threatening to shoot him, to asking him for comfort during her “intervention” — and not to mention his sarcastic asides.
Sandra: He’s fantastic and a much-needed source of levity. This show can get REALLY dark. But can I just say that Paul really surprised me, too? I was immediately prepared to hate him when he was introduced. (I believe my words at one point were, “Ugh. He’s just another a–hole Ken doll.”) Then we found out he was a Monitor, which made me dislike him in a new way. Then, slowly, he grew on me. He started having all these real feelings and emotions for Sarah and started helping her. It was nice to watch that character evolve so much in just ten episodes
Denise: Totally agree. I love Paul, too. I think episode 7, where Sarah has to save him from the dude with the tail (Olivier, right? This is my problem with watching them all at once, I forget names) is my favorite. She’s not really sure of her own feelings for him, yet she risks a lot to help him, even bringing in Helena for the rescue. And I like how their relationship is left at the end. She screwed him over with Dr. Leekie, but he still helps her escape from Rachel and the Neolutionists. (I’m probably getting way ahead of ourselves here, though.)
Sandra: Dr. Leekie, btw, is so freaky. Rhyme! Fun fact, he also played Pestilence on Supernatural.
Denise: Do you have a favorite clone?
Sandra: That is SUCH a huge question. That’s like asking me what my favorite Backstreet Boys song is, Denise. Hmm…I know a lot of people who adore Alison — and I do, too — but I’m partial to Helena because she is a freak and a half. I remember when she was first introduced, I flipped out — both in fear and delight. She was terrifying, compelling, weird, and endlessly fascinating. (Side note: I almost couldn’t watch her eat. It was the same level of gross-out that I get watching Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods.)
Denise: Oh jeez, yes! It was so gross. She scares me but in a good way. I feel bad for her, too, she has that psycho guy brainwashing her, basically.
Sandra: I know. What are your thoughts on the Beth backstory? If the show had one weak point, it was how long it took for them to make me care about her
Denise: I honestly don’t think much about Beth. Are we supposed to care about her? Obviously, she’s the catalyst at the beginning, but beyond that, I’m more invested in all of the other clones.
Sandra: We spent so much time with Sarah exploring the “Beth world” that I assumed we were supposed to care. In retrospect, it also added a lot of context to what we found out later, but the intros of the other clones were far more compelling than unraveling Beth’s story. Speaking of intros, I really hope we find out more about Bob Clone. http://orphanblack.wikia.com/wiki/Rachel_Duncan
Denise: I LOVE that nickname! What did Sarah call her? Proclone? I didn’t even understand that.
Sandra: like, Professional Clone…I think. I’m probably making that up
Denise: Ahhh! That makes total sense. Let’s go with that.
Sandra: I’m so rude. I never asked YOUR favorite episode or clone. So, both questions
Denise: Episode 7 — when Sarah saves Paul — is up there. But I also like the intervention ep — when Allison just unleashes on her bitchy, but ultimately harmless neighbor Aynsley — was great, too. As for my favorite clone? Like you said, it’s tough. I’m a “stick with the heroine” kind of gal, so I will have to say Sarah. They are all so great, though. Except for Cosima — I’m not into her, just because she was an idiot when it came to Delphine.
Sandra: I love Cosima! (Who I always want to call cosina, the spanish word for kitchen. Thanks, high school Spanish!) Yes, she was blinded by a pretty face, but that’s her flaw. I can accept that. Also, her glasses are cool.
Denise: I was about to say, I love her glasses.
Sandra: PS – I hope we get a Sarah flashback at some point that explains what the hell she saw in Vic, who is disgusting
Denise: Flashbacks! Yes! Maybe we can get more on Beth, too. And the German, and the other ones who died before we met them.
Sandra: Oh, the red head?
Denise: Yes, the red head! She seemed fun, for the two seconds we saw her before she died.
Sandra: I want to know about her cough or whatever it is. I got really worried when Cosima started Doc Holliday-ing
Denise: Hahaha. I shouldn’t laugh at that, but I have to.
Sandra: So to wrap this up, I don’t think I could have thought of a better way to spend ten hours of my life last weekend. And, by the way, you’re invited to my Orphan Black-themed Halloween Party. I’m either going as Helena or Cosima — if I can find a wig that works for either.
Denise: I am so in! And there is no better way to spend 10 hours, really. Everyone should watch; it’s the best.
TV Review: Orphan Black