women in orphan black

“(Wo)man Up” Series: Orphan Black

10th of August, 2017

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Eurythmics once sang along with Aretha Franklin those lines: Sisters are doing it for themselves. Standing on their own two feet. And ringing on their own bells. There are no better words to describe “clones-sisters” from Orphan Black – BBC America production created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett. The viewers will have a pleasure (or sadness and pleasure, because production is one of the best ones) to see the last, finale episode Saturday, at 10 on BBC America channel. That is why Orphan Black will do the honour to begin new (Wo)man Up Series, where I write about women in tv shows and movies (once a week – different production).

Orphan Black is, without doubt, one of the best, the smartest, the most dynamic production people have ever seen. There is action, mystery and incredible chemistry between characters. All those qualities together gave me a thrill I never felt before. Tatiana Maslany, the main actress playing ALL(sic!) clones, is one of the most talented artist entertainment industry had ever seen – no doubt! She played almost 30 or more clones in the show. With the help of Katherine Alexandre – her double stunt – she created a group of amazing, independent, sometimes funny women who are not afraid to stand up and fight for their rights even if it means sacrifise. Oh, there was a lot of sacrifise. Fifth finale season gave fans one of the most brutnal clone death – MK, quiet clone, Helsinki survivor who was helping others. After the episode, Internet literally broke. People were grieving after MK’s death. That only proves how much of a talent Maslany really is: I try to get roles that challenge me in what I can do and who I think I can portray. For me, it’s about creating characters with really fascinating stories, because that’s what I like to watch on TV, said Maslany in one of many interviews.  Every one of Tatiana’s characters had beautiful, often sad story and the acress showed that without any fail.

Throughout all five seasons, the clones, which the audience had the best chance to get to meet Sarah Manning, Cosima Niehaus, Alison Hendrix, Helena and Rachel Duncan. Each of them, together, and also separately have shown that feminine solidarity is one of the most powerful things in the world. Each one is different, has a different way of being, different experiences – Sarah Manning is lost woman with daughter who wants to find her way in life, Cosima Niehaus is a smart scientist, trying to find a love she deserves. Alison Hendrix is not-so-typical soccer mom of two and suspects her husband is her monitor.  Helena is an Ukrainian orphan, Sarah’s real twin, trained to kill others. In her example, you can observe how difficult it is to free yourself from the mental abuse. Helena was raised by Prolethians, the group of dangerous people. Trained, tortured, raised without love, the character is a perfect example of a person, of a woman who survived and wants a change of her life.

 

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Rachel Duncan is a contrast of her sisters. Raised by Neolutionists – the creators of clones, she was being prepared to take over responsibilities of her guardian, Aldous. In many moments, Rachel resembles Helena. Although both women were raised differently, there is a certain kind of abuse that, in both cases, is similar. But the two characters show that you can get out of the oppression and after a lot of hard work, try to live normally.

Although sisters and Rachel Duncan are on opposite sides, there is day when they all have to unite to defend even more powerful villain – the founder of Neolution, PT Westmoreland who claims to be over 100 years old. Orphan Black has come to a point where there is, really is a man behind the curtain. There is a problem of patriarchy, still fresh and present  in modern world. Although PT tries to control women’s bodies, sisters, Siobhan – Sarah’s mother and Delphine along with Felix and Adele do everything they can to defy him. The time finally had come to show how strong and independed women can be to gain their rights and autonomy.

To defeat the enemy, Cosima Niehaus along with Delphine Cormier, her monitor and partner in life, and Scott, has to explore Neolutionism and work on clones’ advancing diseanse that touches her personally, too. Cosima reflects knowledge in Orphan Black, as well as his own sexuality. The scientist demonstrates that being scientifically gifted is not a graph of being so-called. geek. Cosima and Delphine (Cophine) helped many young women deal with their own sexuality. And if the series can positively affect the change in the public, it can only testify to the greatness and freshness of production.

Sarah Manning and Alison Hendrix, although so very different, they seem to be so similar. Sarah Manning is bravado, which sometimes ends up really bad. Alison seems to be like that too. A woman often makes decisions based on emotions. Both sisters have a problem with the abuse of alcohol. Both have children. Sarah Manning has a daughter, Alison has two adopted children – boy and a girl. In spite of this, Alison seems to be happier, giving the audience a laugh and a respite. Sarah, on the other hand, introduces powerful, often darker emotions.

Sisters show they can fight but they couldn’t handle everything without help of Delphine Cormier, Siobhan “Mrs. S.” Sadler, Felix Dawkins- Sarah’s brother and Adele, his biological sister. We also cannot forget about Art – police detective.

Delphine Cormier had come a long way into Clone Club to be finally trusted yet there are still some people who don’t truly believe her. But, to be honest, there is nothing to believe in or not believe in anymore. Delphine had been welcomed in clone family for good. Evelyne Brochu, playing the rold of the blonde scientist said: Women can’t only be the person only there to french kiss the hero after he’s won the game or won the war. Women are half of humanity. They’re part of history. Brochu proves that in her role. Delphine’s specialty is immunology, whose heroine devotes essentially all her life. Doctor, whose home country is France, is assigned the role of monitor. Delphine shows viewers the world of science and technology, which is extremely important in Canadian production, but not only, because the viewer has a chance to watch the heroine through the deeper relationship with Cosima that suddenly turns into love.

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In all its complexity, the image of Delphine’s world, however, creates some coherence. Spectators have the opportunity to watch her: her climbing the ranks of the career and the gradation of feelings that character reveals to the audience season-after-season. She is an employee first and answers before Leekie and then takes his place. Delphine becomes director of the institute and has to make decisions that affect not only her and her relationship with Cosima but also with her lover’s sisters. Delphine Cormier proves in every season of production that she will do everything to be a good boss and an effective caregiver. Despite the discrimination of the Cosima’s sisters, she still tries to do everything for them. The doctor proves to viewers thinking that her relationship with Cosima is ephemeral and not important, that it is an illusion. Delphine also shows that she is a much better boss than her predecessor. Delphine Cormier is the defition of a strong woman who will do anything for love and truth. mrs s ssssSiobhan Sadler keeps her pace with one exception. Not only does she prove the power of women, but also shows how tough and important it is to be a mother. Mrs. S adpoted Sarah and Felix when they were kids, had to handle all their behaviours, then Sarah’s dissapearens. She had to take care of Kira, Sarah’s daughter. But she did all of it in the name of love. Siobhan is the shadow of her family through all seasons of production. A woman cares for their well-being and takes care of them. Even when it comes to tragedy and the woman loses her mother who turned out to be a clone original – she still stands with her loved ones. Siobhan along with Felix, Delphine and Adele, destroy the Neolution. Siobhan, even for the price of her life, will not let their chickens to be killed. She sacrifises herself which is one of the most powerful, most heartbreaking scenes in Orphan Black. 

 

 

Tatiana Maslany said once: I feel so lucky to be in a show that puts women at the center. And this is true. Production proves that women can be strong and fight for what’s good for them. As Felix said in episode eight, season five – To galaxy of women!

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