Sci-fi show Orphan Black returns for third season

Jessica Sieling, Managing Editor

The return of the Canadian science fiction television show, Orphan Black, has sparked much interest with fans around the world eager to discover what the upcoming season has in store. Written by Graeme Manson and directed by John Fawcett, the show continues to tell the story of Sarah Manning trying to navigate through life after the discovery that she is a clone and part of an experiment for the operation, Project LEDA. The third season premiered on April 18.

Tatiana Maslany plays five main clones in the show- ex-con Sarah, soccer mom Alison, research scientist Cosima, Ukrainian assassin Helena and executive Rachel- as well as several other minor clones that have made brief appearances in the show’s history. Other characters include Jordan Gavaris playing Sarah’s foster brother Felix, Maria Doyle Kennedy playing Sarah and Felix’s foster mother and Évelyne Brochu playing Comisa’s French girlfriend Delphine.

This season starts exactly where the last one ended- with Sarah finding out more about another set of clones, similar to her and her “sisters”. Season two ended with the surprise revelation that the research that developed the clones gave the information to two separate divisions, Project LEDA, with the women clones, and Project Castor, a military faction using male clones. Ari Millen plays all the male clones in the new season.

“I can say that the clones are all in very disparate worlds right now,” Maslany said in an interview. “At the beginning of season three, there’s a real fractured element to the sisterhood. We don’t know exactly where Helena is, and Sarah has had this revelation about the Castor clones and Alison is in her own little suburban world, while Cosima’s life hangs in the balance.”

The man clones seemed to be a bit of a shock, not only to the characters in the show but also the real-life fans.

“The story of the male clones is really seen from Sarah’s point of view,” because the show has “always been [her] trying to figure out what is going on,” Co-creator Graeme Manson said. “It was really a critical part of moving the ball forward this year.”

So far these male clones include Mark Rollins, a character introduced in the second season, as well as clones named Rudy, Miller and Seth. Millen, who started the show only playing Mark’s character, had no idea that the writers planned for his character to also be a clone like the others.

“It was a little surreal, but it certainly made me very excited,” Millen said about playing the role of so many characters. Maslany has also addressed in interviews her excitement to not bear the weight of playing all the clones by herself anymore.

“The show continues to be somewhat from my clones’ point of view, but there is a huge element that is now being lifted off my shoulders that Ari is carrying,” Maslany said. “His clones have just as much at stake in this world and as much complexity as mine do. We’ve also had so many amazing guest stars and recurring guest characters on the show, and the supporting cast has been playing a bigger part in the show, too.”

With the direction the show is going, it seems to continue the nature vs. nurture debate that the first two seasons developed. This time, however, always the Maslany clones to compare their experience with clone that were raised self-aware of their situation.

“This other side of the coin is just as important, and helps to give our show different viewpoints and another experience,” Maslany said. “They allow the LEDA clones to look at themselves in a different way, because the Castor clones were raised as a unit, whereas the LEDA clones were raised separate. There’s a different nature/nurture perspective that we can deal with.”

Only being two episodes into the season, it is interesting for fans to continue to guess what will happen later on, and what plot twist the writer will come up with next. Orphan Black episodes premiere on Saturdays at 9:00/ 8:00 central on BBC America.