Or­phan Black

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When Clone Clubs go to war


he kick- ass cliffhanger end­ing of Or­phan Black’s sec­ond sea­son dropped a huge twist into a show that al­ready stag­gers un­der the weight of at least three good twists per episode – that there are male clones as well as fe­male ones. Gasp! And for the ma­jor­ity of this third year the Cas­tor clones ( all played, with steel, by Ari Millen) wreak ex­actly the kind of havoc you’d ex­pect them to wreak, as Sarah and the rest of her sis­ters strug­gle to fig­ure out where they’ve come from and what they’re for. Once you’ve thrown an un­hinged US mil­i­tary wing into a mix that al­ready in­cludes at least two shad­owy or­gan­i­sa­tions, you’re def­i­nitely into some se­ri­ous con­spir­acy the­ory ter­ri­tory.

But, sadly, this ramp­ing up of the arc plot, while ad­mirable, doesn’t al­ways work. The first two- thirds of the sea­son bril­liantly fea­ture He­lena – and later Sarah – stuck in a dev­il­ish in­tern­ment camp, go­ing through tri­als that could have been too dark and un­watch­able if it hadn’t been for He­lena hav­ing amus­ing hal­lu­ci­na­tions of a talk­ing scorpion ( as you do). But se­quences like these con­trast harshly with the en­joy­ably silly plot­line that has Al­li­son run­ning for school trustee, or Cosima’s rather dull plot- arc that sees her do noth­ing ex­cept strike up a new re­la­tion­ship with Shay ( Lost Girl’s Kse­nia Solo). The first two sea­sons of Or­phan Black man­aged to com­bine “do­mes­tic­ity” with “con­spir­acy” beau­ti­fully, but once the stakes get this high, re­al­ism starts to lose out.

Still, that’s a small quib­ble and the rest of this sea­son has many high­lights – whether they be the un­likely sce­nario of He­lena and Don­nie bond­ing over a few mur­ders, or Ta­tiana Maslany hav­ing a whale of a time, al­beit briefly, as yet another clone ( let’s hope we see more of Krystal in the fu­ture!). It’s just a pity that the whiplash be­tween the dark and light el­e­ments of this se­ries has been so se­vere this time around; hope­fully that will be smoothed out a touch when we re­join our favourite clones next sea­son. Jayne Nel­son

tv re­views and opin­ion An or­phan. On a black back­ground.

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