Orphan Black: The 10 Most Essential Felix Moments

Ten years after his debut in the Orphan Black pilot, Felix Dawkins remains one of the show's most delightful creations.

Felix (Jordan Gavaris) on Orphan Black
Photo: BBC America

This article contains spoiler for Orphan Black.

Felix Dawkins is definitely a character, and human clone Sarah’s foster brother brings some unexpected humor to the tension and trauma of Orphan Black. However, there is someone unwaveringly loyal and determined beneath the eyeliner and comic relief. 

Orphan Black premiered a decade ago today. Throughout five seasons, it becomes evident there is more to Felix, brilliantly played by Jordan Gavaris, than sequins and witty comebacks. He is at Sarah’s side even when they have to figure out how to hide a dead body. He’s allergic to suburbia, but still ventures to this alien realm when Alison needs him. He willingly turns his loft into a makeshift hotel for the sestras. He may have no power next to Rachel, but still manages to strike fear right through her left eye socket.

Whether or not his eyeliner is on point, these moments are definitely some of Felix’s most fabulous.

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Every time someone walks in on him painting naked

Felix might not paint nudes, but he does paint in the nude, gloriously naked except for an apron that leaves little to the imagination (especially in the back). Sarah thinks nothing of it whenever she throws the door open and finds him swirling his brush to an opera soundtrack. This is just an everyday thing for her. When a stranger sneaks in without warning, typical reactions range anywhere from confused to somewhat amused.

Now enter chronic suburbanite Alison, who must be a virgin to anything above a PG rating,  who is predictably horrified by the scene. Felix? Unbothered. He just assures her that the painting on the wall is exactly what she suspects it is, and by the way, “phallus” is the more sophisticated word for it.

When he plays wingman at Allison’s intervention

Speaking of Allison, her undercover addiction to alcohol and benzodiazepines is exposed when she walks into an intervention that was obviously organized by Ainsley to humiliate her. What they don’t expect is Felix. When she locks herself in the bathroom and Ainsley’s minions gang up on her, she makes it clear she only wants to speak to Felix, which leaves them outraged as he smugly elbows them aside and opens the door. 

This is when Felix proves he is more of a friend than any of those vipers. Not only does he give her a lesson in Backstabbing 101 and help her put her face on, but he gives her the courage to unleash a torrent of truth that reveals Ainsley has been cheating on her husband.

The theatrical way he glams up for a date

This is just Felix being Felix in the wild. With a show like Orphan Black and the seriously heavy subjects it deals with, you need that sometimes. So much as the way he covers his latest painting with a flourish of red fabric like the final close of a Broadway curtain. He doesn’t just get dressed. To the tune of Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels,” he dances himself into and out of several outfits until he shimmies into the most seductive clothes he can find and amps up the fierceness with tousled hair, black eyeliner and a swig of whiskey.

When his date, Colin, comes knocking and asks if it’s safe to come in, Felix only has one answer. “It depends on what you’re scared of.”

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How he tries to hide a body in plain sight

When one of the Castor clones is shot dead in Felix’s loft, the question is what to do with the body. He reluctantly helps Sarah haul it to the bathtub. The most pressing thing that comes to his mind at that moment is that he’s really going to need a bath after they wipe away all the blood, without a thought that he will be soaking in the same tub a dead body was lounging in. 

When Art bangs on the door, Felix fakes—with high drama—that he’s been throwing up for hours. The blood is just the aftermath of a fresh painting. Ironically, he later does start to feel queasy when Cosima takes a chainsaw to the clone’s skull so she can examine his brain.

His satisfyingly vicious confrontation with Rachel

After Sarah gouges her eye out, Rachel still thinks she can take over Dyad and the human race. She hardly takes Felix seriously enough when he sneaks in her hospital room disguised in a lab coat. Convinced she is above him, Rachel has no idea he is about to try and torture whatever she knows about Castor right out of her, and with flair. Torture shouldn’t be the answer, but she did smash a needle into his neck before. 

Rachel’s sarcastic laughs hit a nerve. Felix snatches the brush she had been painting with and gives her a makeover with a crude eye on the patch of gauze where her left eye once was. When she refuses to give up the intel, he demands it by screaming in her face.

That stint as Alison’s campaign manager

Who would have thought of Felix (who almost broke out in hives on his first trip to Bailey Downs) as a campaign manager caught up in petty suburban politics? He turns out to be Alison’s secret weapon in a pink pom-pom hat when she runs for school trustee, and faces her nemesis Marci Coates without so much as flinching when she insults him as an “interesting choice.”. Felix remains unbothered as usual.

When Alison suddenly disappears because her mother has a hypochondriac breakdown, even that isn’t that much of a problem when he has her clone Cosima on hand. Cosima comes for a urine sample and instead gets a crash course in public speaking. Allison rushes back just in time to take the stage—and kills it.

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When he reluctantly pretends to be married to Donnie 

Donnie is the last person Felix would ever be sexually attracted to. When Alison parks outside the fertility clinic she wants to investigate, she breaks it to both of them that her clone Beth had gone in before, so they need to pretend to be a gay couple trying to conceive. You can almost hear Felix’s massive eyeroll.

Felix and Donnie have trouble conceiving a plan. Part of it is Donnie trying too hard to appear gay. The other part is how disgusted Felix is at the thought of them actually being husbands in an alternate universe. Keeping up the facade is awkward, since they have no idea about the logistics, such as whose sperm is going to be used for IVF. This marriage obviously doesn’t last long.

When he suits up as an investigator from Scotland Yard

You have to give Felix credit for going full Sherlock Holmes in this one, down to the plaid coat and hat. He saunters into a suspicious Krystal’s apartment as Inspector Dawkins from Scotland Yard. When she recognizes his face from her kidnapping, she sprays mace in his eye, but his Monty Python flesh wound reference is golden.

Because Felix agreed to keep Krystal, a manicurist and makeup enthusiast, as naive as possible about what is really going on with the Leda clones, he and Art struggle to disguise the situation as big cosmetics using questionable stem cell technology. Krystal’s vlog is all about fighting the most powerful cosmetics companies. Unfortunately for them, Krystal is not the space case they make her out to be. She’s onto Dyad.

The unorthodox but genius way he gets intel

Felix doesn’t need a detective costume to play the investigator. When he questions someone, he goes hard, and Castor clone Ira is no exception. Ira claims he knows almost nothing about the private island colony whose inhabitants are brainwashed into thinking stem cell tech will make them nearly immortal. Felix sees right through Ira and tells it like it is right up in his face. Rachel has ditched him. 

Ira doesn’t just need to pick a side, he needs to pick a bloody side. What does Felix think of his silence? Bollocks. Hardly finished, Felix then turns his attention to Scott and demands to know exactly how a rescue mission is being carried out. Jet skis? Frogmen? Someone on a bike? His persistence finally gets someone to answer. 

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His absolutely epic art show

All those hours spent naked with a paintbrush weren’t for nothing. Felix finally finishes the series of paintings that reimagine the sestras as ancient goddesses, and he has live models. He borrows Alison for a moment, tells her to put Donnie on champagne duty, and begins the spectacle. 

Felix introduces Alison as Hestia, goddess of hearth and home. She stammers that she can’t indulge in any champagne because she needs to drive the soccer bus the next day. You can take someone out of suburbia, but you can’t take the suburbia out of them. As Metis, goddess of deep thought, Cosima busts out a dance to the music a Castor DJ is spinning. Sarah is Athena, goddess of wisdom and war. Helena doesn’t show up, but her painting is fierce.

By the way, the flashy production snags Felix both a gallery spot and a boyfriend. 

All five seasons of Orphan Black are available to stream on AMC+.