Orphan Black finale: What happened on the 'tragic' season finale
[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you’ve already watched Saturday’s season finale of Orphan Black, “History Yet To Be Written.”]
Death. Despair. Twists. Turns. Yet also, hope. Saturday’s season 3 finale of Orphan Black had it all. Helena helped escort Rudy to the grave, Delphine was shot (perhaps fatally), the Neolutionists are back in a big way, Alison won her election for School Trustee, and Cosima may have the biggest key yet to her recovery. Add onto all of that a four-clone dinner party and four-generation snowy reunion, and you have a jammed packed season-ender that ended some threads while starting new ones in their place. We spoke to co-creator John Fawcett (who also directed the episode) to get the inside scoop on what went down and what to expect next in season 4.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So we thought we had Topisde on top of Leda, and now we find out we have Neolution on top of Topisde. What does this revelation and the introduction of Susan Duncan mean going forward for the sisters?
JOHN FAWCETT: I think what was important for us in season 3 is that this was a chapter in the larger puzzle that we’re trying to tell in the bigger mystery. We’re trying to answer a lot of questions in this finale and have a lot of resolution. It was important to us in this finale that there are a lot of answers and there is resolution and there is the feeling of a finale, but we also are at the brink of almost a brand new rabbit hole. It’s interesting to come to the end of our Castor mystery, and how that fits in with Leda and Topside and then to introduce our new foes that we’re expecting to see more of in season 4, which is Neolution, which we set-up in season 1.
What is that worm-like thing that came out of Doctor Nealon’s mouth? Is this another mutation like Olivier’s tail, speaking of season 1? That was super-gross, man.
Well, I know, but it’s good to have something sick and gross. What’s kind of shocking about it, which I thought was fun, is that this goes from Neolution are the bad guys, to the reveal that Nealon is part of Neolution, to suddenly he’s on top and he’s strangling you and there’s something creepy coming out of his mouth—there’s blood, there’s this wormlike creature and he’s trying to force him into Delphine’s mouth. I love leaving that mystery hanging in season 3.
Let’s talk about Kendall Malone a little bit. What’s does Kendall’s DNA as the original mean for Cosima’s health?
This is exactly what they need to figure out the solution for the Leda clones, so obviously this is a massively positive thing. We’ve kind of put an end to Castor, loosely. We have the original. And there’s been a very big victory for the sisters by the end of this season.
Okay, we see Delphine get shot in the chest. Then again, we once saw Helena get shot in the chest and she was okay. So what is Delphine’s status?
Uhhhhhhhhhh…well, you know, I know this will be upsetting to many fans but the story in our minds has always been a tragic love story. Listen, I didn’t want to say one way or the other. For us, I believe this is a horrible thing that had to happen. And I know that it’s hard and I know that it’s emotional and I know there are going to be a lot of people out there going “WHY?!?” But trust me, this was a necessary move to make. And its necessary in Cosima’s story and it’s necessary going forward in subsequent seasons—in season 4 and season 5.
It sounds like she’s dead by what you’re saying. And you bastard—you give her this really tender moment with Cosima right beforehand. Delphine has been a little bit of Hellphine this season, but then she comes around and does the right thing—and, of course, whenever anyone does the right thing, you know something terrible is about to happen to them.
I think Évelyne has just had an amazing season. She’s had this great arc through the season where she goes pretty dark, she does some bad things, and there’s this triangle going on between the three of them. There’s a little jealousy obviously. And still some passion. You can still feel those embers burning between Cosima and Delphine. But in this episode it really plays out as a strong, strong tragedy, and from the moment Delphine is told she’s not going to live through the end of this day, it takes on this emotional flavor of Dead Man Walking. And Delphine knows it. It’s just that emotion which strongly informs the scene were she shows up at Shay’s door and then when she shows up outside the dinner party.
Is the person who shot her someone we’ve seen before or someone new?
Why would I tell you that?
I don’t know. I’ve got to try!
Why on God’s green earth. Dude, I love you, Dalton—but I can’t tell you that.
I had to give it a shot and hope you slipped up. Look, you referenced Project Castor earlier and how this acts as a sort of period or exclamation point to that whole arc that we’ve seen this season. But what about Mark? He says he only has limited time and wants to spend it with Gracie and then helps them get rid of Dr. Coady. Will his storyline continue in season 4?
We’ll definitely see Mark in season 4. The Castors have a ticking clock. He’s not somehow biologically different than his brothers. But he has more heart and soul to some degree. I feel more connected to that character personally. I hope the audience does a little bit too, because we’ve seen him do the right thing a few times. And he’s torn. He’s got this weird innocence and this emotional core to him. He’s fallen in love and he’s bonded with Sarah, and he’s helped Sarah to some degree. Ari is an awesome actor. I don’t think we’re quite done with Castor. But this has certainly been a victory for the sisters. For the fans, this has essentially chopped Castor off at the knees.
Any final words you’d like to say for the dearly departed Rudy?
Listen, I loved Rudy. I loved that character. Graeme and I just wanted to do something different with Rudy’s death. We knew he was going to die and kind of liked the idea that Helena was going to do it. In the beginning, we were going to have some big massive fight and it was going to be some violent mess, but then we decided that we wanted to do a slightly more poetic and emotional ending for Rudy and actually see Helena and Rudy connect over having messed up, slightly deranged childhoods. It’s kind of nice to see them in this moment of death and winding down for Rudy where they actually kind of bond. It was actually an emotional moment and kind of a poetic moment at the same time.
I was a huge fan of Krystal the clone manicurist this season. Will we be seeing more of her in season 4, now that she has sort of unwittingly been brought into things as a fake Rachel?
Absolutely. We all like Krystal and we certainly have plans for her in season 4.
While we’re talking about whom we might be seeing going forward, Delphine handed Shay that info about Dyad including the 324B21. Will Shay be back in season 4?
If the gods are with us, yes indeed. I’m a huge fan of Ksenia Solo. This character is a bit of a slow burn for us and we’ve got some interesting plans for the character. We’re wanting that relationship to go and we have plans for where that relationship will go. I personally feel connected to them as couple. I like it, it’s fun, and it’s new. [Pauses] And I’m sorry about Delphine.
You better be, mister!
You’ve got to hurt the people you love the most sometimes.
You go from a four-clone dance party in last season’s finale to a four-clone dinner party this year. Tell me about staging that, which even featured a seamless glass-clinking toast at one point, which I can’t imagine was very easy to pull off.
Once again it was one of our, how do you make something more elaborate, more interesting than before? And how do you top a four-clone dance party? And that is very difficult, by the way. There were all these conversations that Sarah could have a side-scrolling fight like in Oldboy, where clones come at her from out of doors and she just fights them all. And then that ended pretty quickly. And it turned into, let’s have a dinner party! And I liked the idea because it’s almost like the last supper and everyone is sitting around. It began at a point in the episode where we’ve actually climaxed the show and we get to breathe and say, “Okay, the show is kind of over,” so we get to sit and listen to everyone speak and enjoy everyone’s company and move around the table and see everyone and have toasts with champagne. It was just a fun, big new challenge and it was unlike anything we’ve done yet. It’s pretty seamless. It’s awesome to watch but you forget how technically complicated that scene is.
Well, that’s the sign of a well-done scene, because you don’t think about it.
I love watching it because I get sucked into the emotion of it—like Alison’s speech to her sisters, and Helena, and the cheers to Beth from Sarah, which is so heartfelt. You just get sucked into the drama and emotion of it and you forget what you’re watching until it’s over and then you go, “Wait a second. How the hell did they do that?” That was a two-day event.
What about the final scene with these four generations of Kendall, Siobhan, Sarah, and Kira out in the snow, as we hear Sigur Ros playing in the background. When and why did you settle on that as your capper to the season?
This is the way we wanted the season to go out, which is with a very different tone. This is kind of almost like an emotional epilogue in a way. I just wanted it to feel like it really had some resolve to it, and yes, there are some cliffhangers and we’ve left some things up in the air, but what this allows us to do in season 4 is it allows us to breathe and reset ourselves a little bit. And even though we’re kind of at the end of the season looking into a new rabbit hole, you get a big feeling of finality, in a way. I think that’s important. I didn’t want to end this season in the same way we ended last season, or the season before that. I wanted this to have a very different feel and vibe to it.
Finally, let’s talk about that incredible piece of acting by the classically trained actor who played Denton. What a job he did.
Dalton, I can’t thank you enough for flying to Toronto in the dead of winter. Like, that was one of the coldest days on record, and then showing up. You killed it. We hung out on set, we had an awesome time, and you’re in the show, man. It’s brief, but you’re in the show. And you were great.
I don’t know about being great, but I will tell you that I improvised my big move. Alison says to keep your fingers crossed about the election and it wasn’t in the script you gave me, but I gave a little finger-cross move and you actually kept it in!
That’s a mark of a good actor. I actually think you made that scene. I don’t think it was Tat. It was all you.
[P.S. He’s kidding.]
For more ‘Orphan Black’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
Tatiana Maslany plays half the cast of BBC America’s paranoid clone thriller.