Orphan Black Review: “Guillotines Decide”

As the blade is about to drop on this show, the Neolutionists’ crimes are downloaded, and three significant characters are down for good.

Title: “Guillotines Decide”

Cast and Crew

Director: Aaron Morton
Writers: Aisha Porter-Christie and Graeme Manson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Rachel Duncan / Alison Hendrix / Helena
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler
Kevin Hanchard as Art Bell
Lauren Hammersley as Adele
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
Evelyne Brochu as Delphine Cormier
James Frain as Ferdinand Chevalier
Zoé De Grand Maison as Grace Johanssen
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Cynthia Galant as Charlotte
Nicholas Rose as Colin
Ari Milen as Mark
Calwyn Shurgold as Hell Wizard
Josh Vokey as Scott
Scott Wentworth as Dr. Ian Van Lier
Diana Salvatore as Bobby
Suresh John as Krishna
Earl ‘Bubba’ McLean Jr. as Teddy
Kent Staines as Ezra Lue
Leslie McBay as Bev
Craig Henry as Steve


The clones dump the secret data online, Siobhan forges a dangerous alliance, Felix hosts an art show, Kira and Charlotte have a sleepover, Art Bell gets something important to do, and some characters make their reluctant final exits.

High Points

The episode’s deaths—not all of them expected—provide a strong punch, contrasted with Felix’s return and showing.

I wasn’t expecting the clones’ appearances at the art show to work as well as it did. In real life, surely, someone would figure out those are three completely different women. ;-)

Low Points

As I’ve mentioned before, I think Orphan Black has done a pretty good job of making the conspiracy seem plausible. Obviously, technology exists in the show we don’t have, but that’s essential to the premise. Occasionally, the size and specifics of the conspiracy stretch credulity a little too far, and here, it feels too vast and too unwieldy to have remained hidden.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 They get a point for the use of the clones at the art show.

Effects: 6/6

Story: 5/6 The story must be viewed in the context of a much larger arc.

Acting: 6/6

Emotional Response: 6/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6 Last year they finally confirmed the city was Toronto through visuals; this week they finally said, “Canada.”

In total, “Guillotines Decide” receives 38/42

5 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “Guillotines Decide””

  1. I thought Felix’s final speech of the episode was really well written and delivered, with some cute echoes back to the Nature vs. Nurture debate that has been a motif of the last couple of seasons, amongst other points, and the use of the Clones was in-joke genius. The only real “downside” to it was the knowledge that there was still a rather obvious pair of Chekov’s guns outstanding and (by that point) the confirmation of just which parties were going to be involved; if they wanted an emotional roller coaster, I think they pretty much nailed it with those last few minutes.

    I didn’t see the other death coming at all, especially given how it might complicate things with their partner (although maybe setting that up was the point), and it also resolved the issue of where another character has been for the last few episodes. Not leaving many loose ends, are they? All in all, really happy with the way things are going at this point, with any thoughts that the show might go out as a shadow of its former self that were mentioned a few weeks back pretty firmly dispelled for me.

  2. I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the “going public(ish)” thing to happen with two full episodes remaining. Major points for that since it allows them to show at least some of the “scouring of the shire”.

    The vastness of the conspiracy is definitely an “edge” thing. However, it’s not so far out in left field as to be completely impossible (modulo the magic technology, etc.). It does seem to bear a striking resemblance to Illuminati style conspiracies, though.

    Regarding the clones: other than the people in the know (including the viewers), who has a reason to suspect anything? The guests would have been more taken by the spectacle and less concerned with how it was done. They would have expected some clever behind the scenes shenanigans. At best they would have suspected a twin or a really good ringer, but any that thought about it would probably assume some sort of fast costume change and acting ability.

    On a narrative level, the art opening was a brilliant peg to use to reveal S’s plot and bring (nearly) everyone back together. It gave the players reasons to be all over the place and for information to be revealed naturally. Of course, that was part of S’s plan, though not everything went as she expected.

    This episode seems to have taken a few steps away from a sort of Pyrrhic victory as a best case ending. It’s looking like they’re going to at least let the bad guys be defeated soundly, if not permanently, but the question is going to be who survives and in what condition. I’m actually reminded somewhat of ending to Burn Notice, actually. (Come to think of it, the plot points and structure along the way have been quite similar. Hmmm.)

    I *still* want to see a director’s cut of this season. I’m even more convinced that there are things from previous episodes that were cut to make the show fit in the time slot. Then again, the final two episodes could fill in those gaps, too.

    • I’m also kinda inclined to believe you could – just about – pull off a conspiracy of this scope with the right compartmenalisation and a suitable “Billionire’s Cabal”. Yeah, it’s getting into Illuminati territory, but lots of IRL companies are actually subsidiaries of larger holding companies that the general public is unaware of. Replace Westmoreland and his board with certain IRL billionaires that control huge corporate entities and are currently looking to live forever, and you could maybe see something like this actually exist. It’s a stretch, but not as great as some shows make.

      It does look like they may be heading for a (mostly) happy ending, rather than something more bittersweet that I was also expecting. Everyone in Clone Club seems to be getting an end game setup (Felix’s art, Cosima tracking down and innoculating the other clones, happy-disfunctional-families for the rest), but I’m not sure we’re done with the losses yet – and presumably there’s a pay off for Alison’s transformation to come at some point too, and I have *no* idea what that – or Rachel’s eventual fate – might be.

      Also hoping for lots of outtakes and bloopers in the eventual BluRay release. :)

      • Regarding the clones: other than the people in the know (including the viewers), who has a reason to suspect anything?

        My comment in the review was a bit of a joke, referencing the quality of the acting.

        On another point you raise: I suspect the director’s cut/extras will provide some missing context.

        • The smiley, and the reason for it, was noted. Yes, it was a cute trick to play by Felix and the clones, but we’ve also had discussions here before about those “It’s really cool that they managed to get the same actor back to play… oh, wait, it’s Tatiana again, isn’t it?” moments, and this gave her another chance to show that level of skill.

          I also really liked that she wasn’t really playing the clones so much as an impression of the clones akin to the impressions in Felix’s paintings, so it was in effect another take on the various “Tatiana playing a clone, playing a clone” scenes. I never fail to be blown away by how easy the crew, and Tatiana Maslany in particular, can make all this look when in practice it’s almost certainly an absolute nightmare of planning, makeup, and character work.

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