Orphan Black‘s first season has ended, with deceptions, three significant deaths, and several important revelations. Begun the Clone Wars have.

Title: “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”

Cast and Crew
Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Graeme Wilson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Alison Hendrix/ Cosima Niehaus / Helena / Rachel Duncan
Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell
Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierden
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mrs. S.
Matt Frewer as Dr. Aldous Leekie
Ron Lea as Lt. Gavin Hardcastle
Daniel Kash as Tomas
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Natalie Lisinska as Aynesley
Inga Cadranel as Detective Angela Deangelis
Melanie Nicolls-King as Amelia
Matthew Bennett as Daniel Rosen
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
Michael Mando as Vic

Full cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

Nothing that will make a lick of sense to anyone who hasn’t been watching the show, but here goes:

  • Rachel Duncan (the apparent “Proclone”) and Dr. Leekie pressure the clones to sign a deal.
  • Bell and Deangelis arrest Sarah and Felix, but have to let both go. However, they get closer to the truth about Sarah
  • Sarah and Helena have an expected confrontation after Helena stabs their birth mother
  • We learn more about Paul’s past
  • Alison confronts Aynsley, and the situation spirals down the drain
  • Cosima makes an unsettling discovery about the clones
  • Sarah tells off Rachel when she learns the truth, but does so before she has Kira secured….

High Point

While maintaining a high level of interest as a conspiracy thriller, the series in general, and this episode in particular, have offered intelligent commentary on identity, personal rights, reproductive rights, social responsibility, and social control. The deal offered to the clones may have particular relevance to women, but all viewers must recognize the difficult games we play when we engage in any social interaction, especially when the other side has more power than we do.

And while I doubt a patent on a human would have much legal weight as far as the individual’s choices go—at least in the west–, the legal issues raised will become increasingly important in the real world.1

Low Point

While Alison’s morally problematic decisions helps her not at all (though, for the moment, she believes otherwise), and the show handled the scene for both drama and dark comedy, I found the instigating accident a little hard to believe

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 It’s a mystery/conspiracy thriller with a lot of expected tv elements, but it does a few things I’ve not seen before.

Those wondering about a certain twist in the tail2 a couple eps ago might note that some of the people behind the scenes created the Canadian cult classic Ginger Snaps a few years back.

Effects: 4/6 The show lacks many real effects, thought he make-up plays a key role, and has been done well.

Story: 5/6 The story features some forced, if plausible, decisions and developments, but also some intriguing payoffs that will make this a must-watch next year.

Acting: 6/6 As this is our first true review of an episode, I’m going to give the highest possible score. The cast is generally strong, but Tatiana Maslany is extraordinary.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6 If you haven’t been watching Orphan Black, I urge you to catch season one before next year’s season premiere.

It will be available soon in DVD and Blu-Ray.

In total, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” receives 35/42

Note

1. In the world of the show, I suspect the Evil Corporation intends the legal documents offered to the clones as much as a psychological inducement as anything else. Leekie and company have actively tried to avoid public and legal scrutiny, for obvious reasons.

2. Not an error.