Orphan Black Review: “To Right the Wrongs of Many”

One of TV’s best SF series gave us one last look at Clone Club.

Expect spoilers.

Title: “To Right the Wrongs of Many”

Cast and Crew

Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Renée St. Cyr and Graeme Manson

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning/ Cosima Niehaus / Rachel Duncan / Alison Hendrix / Helena / other Leda clones
Jordan Gavaris as Felix Dawkins
Kyra Harper as Dr. Virginia Coady
Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix
Evelyne Brochu as Delphine Cormier
Skyler Wexler as Kira
Stephen McHattie as P.T. Westmoreland
Kevin Hanchard as Art Bell
Calwyn Shurgold as Hell Wizard
Josh Vokey as Scott
Lauren Hammersley as Adele
Natalie Lisinska as Aynsley Norris
Elyse Levesque as Maddy Enger
Millie Davis as Gemma Hendrix
Drew Davis as Oscar Hendrix
Cynthia Galant as Charlotte
Mike Shara as Head Guard
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler

Premise

The tense situation comes to a close as Helena gives birth while people die.

The clones and their associates reunite for a baby shower at the Hendrix homestead.

Rachel, though on the run, provides a critical piece of information.

High Points

The episode and the series had many strong points, but the success of both ultimately comes down to Tatiana Maslany. Of course, they have her excellent material and made critical use of state-of-the-art effects and editing, but none of this would have mattered if Maslany couldn’t convince us she was multiple people with separate histories, personalities, and bodies.

Two of the most effective amalgams of acting, writing, directing, and editing occurred in the final episode. Firstly, Helena gave birth to twins under fire, as Sarah recalls the events leading to Kira’s birth. Secondly, the decidedly more relaxed second half of the episode features an extended assembly of clones that could not have done more to erase the fact that one person plays all of these women.

Low Points

The show skips over a few loose threads, like how Art Bell smooths everything over with the police, or the ease of the escape from the institution. They laid the groundwork earlier for these matters earlier, but it’s difficult to believe all of these problems could resolve so easily between breaks.

As for the series overall, it allowed its mythology to grow absurdly convoluted, with some inherent messiness that never cleared entirely. The reveal this season of the man who would be P.T. Westmoreland as a prime mover in events never quite worked for me. We know the showrunners only had the first couple of seasons planned in any way, and the retcons and improvisations show in the other years.

And I’m beginning to think islands are just bad news in the television of the fantastic.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 Once again, they blend Maslany’s characters so seamlessly, it becomes easy to forget we’re watching the same actress in so many roles.

Story: 5/6

Acting: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 Despite some unevenness in the ride that gets us to the end, the characters receive a fitting finale. The episode also gave us one last look at Maria Doyle Kennedy as Siobhan Sadler, in the flashback sequences.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6 Helena’s memoir beings by recapping the first episode. The clones feel some confusion at the title Helena chooses: Orphan Black.

In total, “To Right the Wrongs of Many” receives 36/42

Lingering Questions

Regarding the globe-trotting clone-healing:

Shouldn’t they give these women some head’s-up about their identities? In a world of social media, they’re likely to discover each other.

Who’s paying the bills?

3 replies on “Orphan Black Review: “To Right the Wrongs of Many””

  1. Jethro says:

    It’s going to be a long, long time before we have a show like this again.

  2. lost says:

    You know, while the hanging plot threads and details left unresolved are vaguely annoying, I don’t think leaving them hanging is really a bad choice. As much as I’d love to have the mystery of Kira’s father properly explained, or a sort of epilogue for the events on the island, or an explanation of where the money for the world trip came from, or any number of other things, I think it was perfectly reasonable to leave threads hanging.

    Sure, it’s clear that some of the events got away from the producers and took on a life of their own, but that actually makes things run a bit truer, I think. May of the plot threads left hanging are tangential to the actual Grand Conspiracy narrative and resolving those isn’t necessary for the series resolution. Sure, it would be nice, but once the main narrative moved away from those events, they were no longer relevant however much we want resolution.

    Also, I’m kind of glad they did what they did. Nothing they showed precludes complications from the events at Dyad and other situations. However, I think if they had showed it, it would have either felt too rushed to ring true or dragged the dénouement out too long. Overall, considering the complicated mess they accumulated over four seasons, they did a very good job winding things down.

    Of course, I would love it if a director’s extended cut of season 5 on DVD/Bluray is created with some added scenes to deal with some of that. I suspect much of what seems to be dangling was cut for runtime at various points during the season. Some of the episodes felt like they should have been a few minutes longer than they were.

    All that said, on the balance, Orphan Black was very well done, technically and artistically and I have to rate the series finale among the very best I’ve ever seen.

    • zocalo says:

      Not too fussed about the few hanging threads either, given the constraints of runtimes – I think they really needed another season to do it properly, but what they managed to achieve in ten episodes is quite an achievement in itself. I felt the finale struck an almost perfect balance between wrapping up Neolution and what happened afterwards – to show more resolutions would have made the second part feel too rushed, or vice versa. Yes, it would have been nice if there had been time to address a couple more of the major loose ends like Enger potentially getting away with Gracie’s execution and the fate of the recurring islanders liked Mud and Westmoreland’s sidekick on the show, but I suspect they were cut for time too. Definitely fingers crossed for an extended cut of Season 5 on DVD/BluRay, but I expect we’re not going to be disappointed with the extras no matter what gets included.

      I didn’t have too much of an issue with the innoculation world tour either; 274 Ledas – about a dozen we know of in the US / Canada, 14 more in Brazil, and probably other similar groups in Europe, the Far East… Seems like Dyad clumped the clones together somewhat (around regional offices, perhaps?), so perhaps more of a series of road trips with a few economy class flights in-between rather than just racking up the business class airmiles would work. Delphine was senior enough in Dyad to have presumably put a bit of money away, Felix’s painting sales would help, and perhaps they are meant to have recovered the money MK stole from Ferdinand or some slush funds Neolution had salted away? That doesn’t address the issue of clones bumping into each other, but that was a risk for Neolution throughout anyway and is probably best not thought about too deeply – just like the remaining loose ends.

      Concur 100% with Lost and and Jethro’s sentiments – very well done on all fronts with some truly inspired moments culminating in one of the best finale’s I’ve seen too. It is indeed going to be a long time before we get something like this again.

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