Orphan Black Season 2 Finale Review: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried

The Orphan Black season finale delivers on every level...but mostly makes us want season 3 to get here faster.

As we bid adieu to our multiple beloved Tatiana Maslanys and get ready for another long, cloneless year, let us look back and ponder how much each of our beloved clones have grown as people, and more importantly, as sisters.

The cast of Orphan Black seems to be expanding by leaps and bounds. While characters like Art have taken a bit of a step back in recent weeks, the newer members of the cast have served the mythology well. No matter who comes and goes, Orphan Black seems to be about four women as diverse as four distinct individuals can be, but made from the same genetic stock. As the second season barrelled to a close and the four clone sisters danced their distinct little dances (it can’t be easy for Maslany to come up with three distinct styles of dance to match each of her characters’ personalities), we are left with joy for our cloned foursome, joy that is soon turned to pain and confusion as all hell breaks loose and the world of Orphan Black is invariably changed.

To examine these changes, we must take a look at Mark and Gracie, two relatively minor characters that played roles in Helena’s season arc. Gracie was the young girl who carries Helena’s removed embryos while Mark is the creepy Promethean that betrayed his brethren for Gracie’s love. At first, it seemed this little plot point was instituted just to provide Helena a means of escape. Boy, could that statement not be more wrong.  

Many of the hidden truths behind Dyad and the experiment that created our crew of clones were revealed this week, and these reveals were seismic. Remember Dr. Marian Bowles, the beautiful doctor played by Michelle Forbes who seemed to be a new foil for Dr. Leekie before Leekie got Donnied? Yeah, she returned this week and allowed for Sarah to escape the clutches of Rachel and her Dyad cronies (more on that in a sec), and what she revealed changed everything. It’s not clear whose side Dr. Bowles is on. She helped Sarah and Kira yes, but is she doing so out of the goodness of her heart or is there a deeper motivation at play? I think it’s the latter as any Battlestar Galactica or True Blood fan knows, never trust a character played by Michelle Forbes.

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Anyway, Bowles revealed that the same experiment that created Sarah and her sisters also developed a male strain. Yes, that’s right; there are male counterparts to Sarah and her crew. Now, I would have bet my 1978 mint-on-card Death Star Droid that the male clone would have been Paul, but Forbes reveals that the male clone is in fact crazy Promethean Mark. Yes, the same Marc that will soon be raising Helena’s genetically engineered clone babies currently being carried by his way to young bride Gracie. Yeah, that creates a whole new playing field for season three doesn’t it?

That’s not to say there wasn’t a surprising revelation regarding Paul. Turns out, Paul was playing Rachel all along and was instrumental in helping Sarah escape from Dyad. Paul has been an agent of Mrs. S and now I feel bad for calling him a pathetic, weak livered bottom. Looks like Paul is also being controlled by Bowles which makes what, five different women that have pulled his strings so far? Oh, Paul, when will you liberate yourself like Donnie? I can’t believe I just said that…

So that’s the state of the Orphan Black world as we bid it farewell for a long year, but where are our four beloved clones?

Well, Sarah was in the unusual position this week of needing to be saved rather than using her survival skills to help others. It was her ovaries that were going to be harvested by Rachel and Dyad (eww), it was her body that was going to be carved for science, but thankfully, she had the mind of Cosima thinking ten steps ahead of Rachel, and with the help of physics, a pencil trick that would make the Joker proud, and a fire extinguisher, she helped her sister Sarah to escape with Kira, ovaries intact. By episode’s end, Sarah found herself in Dr. Bowles house, face to face with an eight year old clone of herself. Mind-blown.

Sarah was witness to some shocking reveals this week, but make no mistake, this episode was about Cosima, her brilliance, her warmth, her beauty, and her heart. She helped Sarah escape while teaching Kira how awesome science is. The status of Cosima’s relationship with Delphine is up in the air, as is Cosima’s health as mega-bitch Rachel destroyed the stem cells Kira so generously donated a few weeks back, but Cosima’s mind and her passion for life was on full display this week. When she danced with her sisters, she danced like it was the last time she would feel joy, Cosima knows the end is coming and wants to make each moment count. It is a powerful character arc, the kind that makes this show so special. Not all hope is lost though, as Cosima got a hold of the copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau that contains the cipher left by Dr. Ethan Duncan that can crack the clones’ genetic code, and that book may save Cosima’s life.

The book was a gift from the former Dr. Duncan, a gift to a woman with a good soul who deserves it. Duncan raised a clone, and his last act seems to suggest he wishes it was Cosima who was his daughter and not Rachel. Rachel, his once darling baby girl, knows that only Duncan can break the clone code, so he poisons himself rather than allow Rachel to have it. To Rachel, this is the most profound of betrayals as she considered Duncan the only pure thing in her life. Now all she has are memories, memories tainted by the rejection symbolized by a cup of poisoned tea. By the end of the episode, Rachel has no family, has lost Kira and Sarah, and thanks to Cosima’s pencil trick, is down one eye. If Rachel returns next year, it looks like it will be without any shred of compassion or humanity. And quite possibly, with a bitchin’ Nick Fury eye patch.

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We end things with Helena. Dear Helena who took one last opportunity to raid Art’s fridge, Helena who danced with her sisters and found the joy of a true familial bond for the first time in her life. Helena, who after two seasons of searching, has found her humanity. She even left her cryogenically frozen eggs behind so they could provide the stem cells Cosima needs to survive before she goes off to find her trucker boyfriend. Helena was in a great place, the best place we’ve seen her, until she’s tazed and kidnapped by Bowles’ men for reasons unknown. As we break from our clones, it seems like Cosima is on the road to good health, but what of Helena?

All Alison did this week was smack Felix on the ass while they were dancing, which was oddly sweet.

So we end with some revelations, some mysteries, and a great deal of concern for four very diverse clones who we had the honor to watch become sisters.

The good

– Everything, really.

– The Dancing, oh the joy and freedom that were on display in those perfect moments.

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-It looks like Cosima is going to live.

– The revelation of the male clones.

– SCIENCE! Seriously, this show makes science almost as cool as Cosmos.

The bad

– Just not enough Alison.

– A year without our clones. 

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The ugly

– Ovary harvesting.

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4.5 out of 5