'Orphan Black': Creator John Fawcett explains that big [SPOILER]
[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Saturday’s episode of Orphan Black.]
Season 2 of Orphan Black claimed a major victim tonight when Dr. Aldous Leekie met his untimely demise by the most unlikeliest hand of all. After losing a Dyad power struggle with proclone Rachel, Leekie fled the institute, only to be stopped by a distraught Donnie. Donnie was so upset about his wife’s…ahem…”probing” that he quit emphatically. Only one problem: When he quit, he also accidentally discharged the handgun he was holding, which splattered the doctor’s brains all over the car windows. In our weekly post-episode Q&A, co-creator John Fawcett explains the decision to kill Leekie (played by Matt Frewer), as well as Rachel showing some actual emotion, going for big laughs in rehab, and the twisty-turny relationship that is Cosima and Delphine (or Cophine, for short).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with some words for the dearly departed Aldous Leekie.
JOHN FAWCETT: We knew Dr. Leekie was going to die in season 2. And we knew that was something that we wanted to work towards and was going to be a big part of the Rachel/Dr. Leekie story and be a big part of why we’ve been telling a lot of this backstory. Ultimately, I think we didn’t really know how we were going to do it. We knew we were going to do it, we just didn’t know how we were going to do it. And [co-creator] Graeme [Manson] early on had this idea that Donnie should kill Dr. Leekie. It’s funny because my initial reaction was “that’s ridiculous.” Then we sort of kind of went at it a bunch of different ways: Who would kill him? How would he die? And ultimately we came back to Donnie. We wanted to do it in a surprising sort of strangely comic fashion, and that was the result.
EW: And to have Donnie be an accidental triggerman is kind of perfect.
FAWCETT: Yeah, we wanted it to be surprising. And you know that Leekie’s life is in danger at the end of the episode. Rachel in a way kind of lets him escape, but there is a very real threat to his life, and Donnie just happens to step in the wrong place at the wrong time. The gun goes off.
EW: Obviously when you kill off a main character, that’s a big deal and you have to walk through the pros and cons of doing that. So why Leekie and why now?
FAWCETT: Well, I think that obviously Dr. Leekie and Matt Frewer are a big part of our show and it is a very big decision to decide to eliminate a character. We don’t want to just make those decisions lightly, and it really has to have a bearing on not just story structure of the season, but really the big picture also. It has to work towards our end goals. So we designed the first part of the season all the way to episode 7 knowing this was going to come to a head and that Leekie was going to die. We used that as building blocks for that character, and by the time the end came for him, he wanted to build a character that we actually had grown to like and maybe couldn’t entirely trust, but were having some sympathies for. And he wasn’t just a kind of a bad guy. He was kind of in a weird way helping. It’s interesting then to kind of kill off someone that actually the audience and the fans are sort of starting to like and care about. I think it was an important element to building that character and using his death to actually mean something at the end of episode 7, and going forward in the next bunch of episodes. Because Dr. Leekie’s death…the fact that he’s gone or missing or presumed dead or whatever — that informs a bunch of story in the coming episodes.
EW: Now you guys aren’t going to pull a Helena on me and tell me in season 3 that you’ve been lying to me this whole time and he is actually still alive, are you?
FAWCETT: I don’t know, dude. That was clearly a bullet in the dead. That was, like, brains on the window. That one’s hard to fake.
EW: Let’s talk about the Cosima and Delphine relationship. You have this very tender scene where they kiss before Cosima begins her treatment, but then later Cosima confronts her on using Kira’s stem cells, yells at her, and kicks her out of the lab. Why can’t these crazy kids just ever stay happy?
FAWCETT: And that’s one of my favorite scenes of Tat’s in the episode — that scene where she tells Delphine, “This is my biology, my body,” and kicks her out of the lab. It’s one of my favorite dramatic scenes for Tatiana in the episode. And this is the nature of this relationship — it’s wanting to trust but can’t trust, and Delphine kind of getting used by Dyad and being torn between her love for Cosima and the people that are pulling her strings in other directions. Listen, this is very much a love story. Right at the center of it, it’s a love story between Cosima and Delphine. The two of them are just caught in unfortunate circumstances. I don’t think Delphine wants to hurt Cosima. I think Delphine wants to protect Cosima and help Cosima, but there’s all these other factors. And it also makes for good drama.
EW: You have elements of almost a classic screwball comedy at the rehab center with Vic passing out, and Sarah pretending to be Alison, and then Alison and Felix carrying Vic around and hitting his head on the wall. And then you throw Donnie in the mix, who’s always funny.
FAWCETT: It’s kind of our Weekend at Bernie’s episode. One of those things that is so fun about this show is that we can play big, heavy emotional drama scenes on one hand, and kind of slip into hijinky-comedic fun on the other. We knew we wanted to make a predominantly comedic episode, and then it’s kind of like okay, where is the line? How far can you go until you’ve gone a little too far? And it’s interesting, because there’s a line from episode 6 that I’ve seen quoted endlessly on Twitter now: It’s Duncan the scientist saying “Once you’ve gone a little bit, it’s hard not to go all the way.” And that sums up me and Graeme and the way we feel about this show in the first place. And that’s part of the fun of the shenanigans at the treatment center.
EW: It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good clone-impersonating-another-clone scene.
FAWCETT: It is definitely a fun aspect to our show. We don’t want to do it all the time or it starts to kind of get a little…”Oh, we’re impersonating a clone again.” You want to have fun with it, but use it judiciously. And that’s something we hadn’t seen before and it was just a fun aspect of trying to deal with Alison’s dilemma and having a roofied Vic on the ground at the treatment center. That piece where Vic actually goes down, which is a very, very funny moment — our stuntman actually broke his nose. And we talked about it in meeting with our director of the episode, Ken: Should we have a breakaway table? When he hits it, does it shatter? Does it break? And Ken was very on this thing of, “I want it to be solid. I want it to hit it really hard and hit it as a solid, not a breakaway table.” And man, it is so painful to watch but hilarious. But it is one of those shining moments — just glitter and Alison’s craft stuff flying in the air like a pinbowy, crafty Alison spray.
EW: What about the scene where Rachel is reunited with her father? This is the first time we’ve seen any emotion escape that icy exterior.
FAWCETT: This is the beginning of something new for Rachel. This is the beginning of a little journey of seeing Rachel as a much more emotional character. This is a discovery for her. Her father, not biological father, but her father is not dead. And the discovery that Aldous Leekie killed her mother, and has kept this entire thing from her this entire time — it’s such a massive moment for this person. And as much as you want to paint her as a villain, and see her as sort of icy cold empowered woman, she’s still here, and this news has a massive impact on her.
EW: And people are going to want to know about Michelle Forbes. How much more will we see of her as Marian?
FAWCETT: Well, Marian is definitely someone that is important to the story and to upcoming episodes and beyond.
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