'Orphan Black' creators talk mystery of Delphine's disappearance
[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Thursday’s “The Stigmata of Progess” episode of Orphan Black.]
Rachel’s back! And so are the Project Castor clones! And Susan Duncan! But one person who is not back? Delphine. After being shot in Orphan Black’s season 3 finale, she has yet to appear (either live or dead) this year. So what’s the deal? We spoke to Orphan Black creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson to get the low-down on the latest episode, as well as when we may get answers on the big Delphine mystery.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Graeme, do you just tune out when John slips one of his favorite nerdy board games like Descent into an episode, as he did here?
GRAEME MANSON: Maybe at the beginning, but now I’ve totally embraced it. The comic book shop is an awesome thing. And now I know that when we get to it, I’m like, “Okay, we get these certain characters, you get Cosima, you get Scott and Hell Wizard now. You get those guys together.” And I’m like, “Okay, we’ve got a scene where we’ve got to do some talking, we got some practical things to get done. John, what board game should they be playing? What references can we make?”
And do you dress the board game, John?
MANSON: He’s super anal about the board game.
JOHN FAWCETT: I did, actually, in this episode. I went down to set an hour and half before they were going to shoot it and I put it all out myself. And we figured out what part of the game it was going to be at.
MANSON: I was on set last year when Rachel and Scott were playing Agricola — I just thought it was too funny.
Alright, let’s move to some more serious matters. We meet Ira, another Project Castor clone here, played by Ari Millen. What is this guy’s deal and why is he not glitching like the other Castor clones?
FAWCETT: He’s not glitching yet.
FAWCETT: That’s the deal with the Castors, is that they are not healthy. And he may be fine now, but he knows and Susan Duncan knows that his days are limited unless they can find a cure for him. And so he’s kind of like Susan’s pet at this point. He’s not sure what to make of his role in this. He’s got a bit of a mysterious feel about what his function is here at this place. He’s got a nice sort of naïve quality to him, I think, too that makes people ask questions like, what’s his story? He wasn’t raised like his brothers, which is the most interesting thing about him.
MANSON: He’s a bit of weirdo though, isn’t he?
He looks like he’s been to Emily Post finishing school. He’s very polite, his posture is perfect, the way he cuts his meat is perfect.
FAWCETT: Well, it’s kind of interesting when you put Susan Duncan and Rachel and Ira together. They’re the Carnegies of Orphan Black.
MANSON: I like the idea that he was very still — that his movements were very precise. He’s not a “dude,” right? He didn’t grow up in the military. He went to boarding school and various academic backgrounds and is very still and very proper and kind of metrosexual. Or maybe downright androgynous. He rocks some really good slacks this year.
Let’s chat about the other two tips of that triangle that you were talking about with the relationship, between mother and daughter, Susan and Rachel. Complicated doesn’t really cut it, does it?
MANSON: It’s very complicated and Rachel was sort of given over by her mother to Neolution to be raised as a child of Neolution, parentless — which I think was a struggle for both of them. Interestingly enough, Susan Duncan kept Ira closer. She kept Castor closer. So, there’s a very fraught family dynamic developing there, I think.
And a bond between Rachel and Charlotte, it seems.
FAWCETT: I think we’ve demonstrated that Rachel has been strangely keen on motherhood. I don’t know if I’d really want Rachel as my mother, exactly, but Rachel seems to think that she would be a good mother and has kind of wanted that. And has shown us through season 2 that she is upset about the fact that she can’t be a mother. And so we just like the idea that this is her weird opportunity. You want to be a mother? Here you go — have at it! We think that it will be fun to explore that because while maybe she does think she wants it, I don’t know how good she’s going to be at it.
MANSON: Rachel sort of wants everything she can’t have.
So Donnie and Alison decide to dig up Dr. Leekie from their garage to see if he has this mystery cheek implant — and holy crap, that was disgusting. Tell me about that fake corpse in that bag there.
MANSON: Poor Matt Frewer.
FAWCETT: We had Matt back at the beginning of the season in the premiere episode when we did a flashback, and when he came into town, we were putting the finishing touches on episode 3 as a script. And we realized quite suddenly we were going to need a corpse. And so I said, “Dude, I know it’s last minute, but can you please go and see my special effects guy before you go to set? Because I would really want to make a face cast of you because I really need your dead face, in a bag, in episode 3.”
How can you say no to that?
FAWCETT: And Matt was very gracious with that and got up early and went and got his face covered in plaster. And then we made this awesome, awesome corpse. For me, it was a hill to die on, that this corpse, I wanted it to be Matt Frewer; I didn’t want it to just be so decomposed that you couldn’t recognize him. That’s how I sold it to Matt. I was like, “I want it to look like you. I want this dead, gross corpse to actually still look like you.” And so, he thought that was really fun.
Graeme, let’s switch gears and talk about Felix and his biological sister. He clearly is feeling like he’s not part of his foster family and searching out his roots. He even tells Sarah he doesn’t want to be her sidekick anymore. Where is this thing going?
MANSON: Well, at the end of last season, Felix was left out in the cold a little bit. Everybody else, the family of “S” Felix and Sarah, has been their little alternative family. None of them are related. This is a family by choice. And a family by adoption. So, to discover that they’re related and that you’re the one who’s not blood related to other people, I think it set Felix on a little bit of a quest. Asking those questions that the show asks about family, about choosing your family, about what biology means. And so, while everyone else was on holiday in Iceland, Felix has gone about seeking out his actual biological family.
We’ll see where that heads, moving forward. What about Ferdinand? You have James Frain back. I know you’re excited about that. What do we know about what Ferdinand’s intentions are this season?
MANSON: He’s a multi-headed snake, that man, isn’t he John?
FAWCETT: He is. I just don’t know whether to trust him at all and that’s part of the fun. He’s kind of a frenemy.
MANSON: He is, but when agendas align, sometimes he’ll turn to you, or sometimes you have to turn to him, and that’s always a tough choice to make.
Alright, we’ve seen three episodes now. So where the hell is Delphine?
MANSON: It’s a disappearance. So, Cosima’s struggling with that disappearance. We’re going to keep struggling with that with this season. It’s part of the mystery, finding that answer. And we promise tears and heartbreak along the way.
Do you promise answers at some point, in terms of not just, “Where’s Delphine?” but “Who shot Delphine?”
MANSON: We promise answers.
FAWCETT: We promise nothing.
MANSON: We promise nothing.
We’ve got episode 4 next week. What can you tell us about it?
FAWCETT: Well, the thing that is exciting to us about next week is that we get a real re-dosing of M.K., and she comes back in a big way and we get to find out some of M.K.’s deep secrets.
MANSON: Yeah, and we get to dig deeper into our bot mystery as well. So, we’ll find out more about the implants next week.