By Jackson McHenry
Updated June 22, 2014 at 08:00 PM EDT
Orphan Black Clone Ranker

SPOILERS AHEAD. If you’ve been following our coverage of Orphan Black, BBC America’s clone-tacular sci-fi thriller, you know that we’ve been ranking the clones every episode. Why? Well the answer was never really clear at the time, but now we have found the deeper meaning: So we could determine which version of Tatiana Maslany won the show’s sprawling season 2.

How did we decide our rankings, you ask? Based on a totally scientific analysis of the amount accomplished per clone, per episode (Cosima, for instance, occupies a happy, illness-induced medium). We gave big points for power plays, but couldn’t help it if our rankings occasionally played favorites (Alison scored for appearing in community theater) and occasionally moralized (see Rachel’s abduction of Kira).

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Award for Participation: Jennifer Fitzsimmons, Tony, Charlotte

Neither of these three clones made it into enough episodes to compete (Jennifer only appeared in two, Charlotte and Jennifer in one each), but they deserve credit for being drawn into existence by Maslany (except for Charlotte, in which case the casting directors deserve credit for finding a child who looks eerily like Maslany).

Fifth place, 19 points: Rachel

Rachel hit the ground running early in the season, striking a glamorous pose in her proclone platinum blonde and high heels, but she didn’t manage to keep her steely facade for long. The Dyad leader quickly faded into the background, reemerging for a high point in episode 5 (when she seduced Paul). But Rachel’s rise was doomed by emotional distress, she ordered a wanton hit on her superior, kidnapped Kira, and ended the season not on top, but on the floor.

Fourth place, 26 points: Helena

After a perplexing surprise return from a gunshot wound to the chest, Helena became a force (and fan favorite) this season. Everything from her love of sugar to her love of dancing was a hilarious hit—too bad she dropped out of the picture for two episodes and spent way too much time on the Prolethians’ farm wearing white dresses, bonding with other curly haired girls, etc. Otherwise, Helena could really have been a contender.

Third place, 28 points: Cosima

We were surprised, too. Cosima’s illness kept her incapacitated for most of the season, trapped in what Felix dubbed “some sort of transgressive lesbian geek spiral bound to end in tears” with Delphine. But maybe the illness worked in her favor, as the geek monkey took advantage every advantage she could to climb in our rankings—revealing that she’s a boss at Runewars, doing a pitch-perfect Dr. Leekie impression, even proving in the finale that she can be the beating heart of the show. It doesn’t hurt that Cosima somehow made her way into every episode this season, sickness be damned.

Second place, 35 points: Alison

This is less surprising. Alison Hendrix has always been a star, whether she’s in a musical, in rehab, or planning the best way to cover up a murder. In fact, Alison ranked in the top three of every episode she appeared in (excluding the finale, where all she did was dance and disappear). If she hadn’t been shipped off to rehab, we’re sure Alison’s competitive instincts would have led her into the lead. After all, her own husband told her she’s “perfectly comfortable with manslaughter.”

First place, 37 points: Sarah

Sometimes it feels as if Orphan Black is a reboot of Taken, with Sarah Manning as Liam Neeson and Kira Manning as Liam Neeson’s daughter. Yes, she has incredulously good action hero-level skills; yes, she can be kind of a bore (unless she’s imitating Cosima or Alison, in which case Sarah is on point); but Sarah’s Orphan Black‘s center, and the source of most of its action. Even when she spends several episodes road tripping with her baby daddy, Sarah still manages to solve the most mysteries and save the most people. Here’s to season 3, Ms. Manning. May you lead the clones onward to whatever you define as victory.

Have quibbles with our rankings? Have advice for the clone club as they head into season 3? Sound off below.

Episode Recaps

Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.

  • TV Show
  • 5
  • TV-MA
  • BBC America