Best and Worst Moments of Orphan Black Season 3

Monday, 22 June 2015 - 10:09AM
Orphan Black
Monday, 22 June 2015 - 10:09AM
Best and Worst Moments of Orphan Black Season 3
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Season three of Orphan Black was convoluted, messy, overcrowded, and often unfocused. But it was also often brilliant, making us laugh out loud with hilarious one-liners, breaking our hearts by killing off some fan favorites in the most devastating of ways, and provided us the visual of Donnie and Alison twerking in a shower of money. Here are the best and worst moments of this uneven but wonderful season:

Worst: Two obvious revelations

This is technically two moments, but I'll combine them because they're annoying for exactly the same reason. First, the show dramatically revealed that Castor and Leda are genetic siblings, and then it dramatically revealed that Castor's neurological problems and Leda's reproductive issues are the result of the same defect. Unfortunately, both "revelations" came about five episodes too late, as they were just sort of common sense and the audience had pretty much already figured it out for themselves.

Best: Mrs. S. sings!

I mean, Mrs. S. was singing. No further questions.

Worst: Alison's school trustee speech

As a fan, it was sweet and sentimental to hear Alison talk about family and being a "mother hen," but the speech itself was treacly, and the fact that the speech was paired with Mrs. S. and Sarah's declarations about the importance of family was all way too much.

Best/Worst: Art is in love with Beth

I was torn about this development; on the one hand, it's a fairly cliched way to add pathos to Art's relationship with Beth. It arguably would have been more interesting if he were broken up about it simply because he loved her as a partner and friend. But on the other hand, it does add some interesting dimensions to his relationship with Sarah, and I've loved the season's overall attempts to make Beth part of the emotional core of the show.

Worst: Delphine becomes a Single White Female

Delphine's characterization was all over the place this season, and this was never more evident than in her treatment of Cosima. She would switch from the well-meaning corporate stooge to the jealous, sociopathic ex at the drop of a hat. If I ever shipped Cophine, Delphine's petty violations of Cosima and Shay's privacy convinced me otherwise.

Best: Delphine threatens to slit Shay's wrists

But that being said, Evelyn Brochu did an amazing job when she went full-on villain. She was always supposed to be "the new Rachel," but it wasn't until she started filling Shay's bathtub with water and calmly threatening to stage her suicide that she really gave the pro clone a run for her money.

Best/Worst: Delphine's death

Worst: Jason kisses Cosima-as-Alison

This entire subplot was weak. Donnie and Alison are solid enough that we don't really want to rock the boat at this point, and the mistaken identity hijinks can only be pushed so far before you get into sitcom/soap opera territory.

Best: Pupok the Scorpion

Yes, the scorpion was a little over-the-top at points, but it provided some of the season's best and most ridiculous scenes. Plus, the fact that Tatiana Maslany provided the voice for the scorpion just proves that she can literally do anything.

Best/Worst: Alison and Donnie break bad

Alison and Donnie becoming drug lords gifted us with some of the best lines of the season, but it was also completely irrelevant. It was interesting to see that an incisive satire of suburban life is within Orphan Black's wheelhouse, but it would have been much more satisfying if it were tied to the overarching plot.

Worst: Cal has a dark secret, and no one cares

Up until the end of this season, Sarah had a difficult choice between two love interests who were both painfully generic and underdeveloped. The writers made a feeble attempt to make Cal more interesting by giving him a vague "dark secret" (because that's original) involving war profiteering. No one cared, and he left. The end.

Best: Helena stabs a Castor clone's exposed brain

Only on Orphan Black would a character stab an exposed brain with a scalpel in a moving act of compassion. This scene was brutal, ridiculous, and touching, which pretty much describes Orphan Black at its best.

Worst: There's a "spiritual element" to Kira's powers

Like Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and any number of other sci-fi shows, things start to go off the rails once characters get too cosmically "special." Incorporating spirituality into science fiction often gets cheesy, and although Jordan Gavaris claims there is nothing magical about anything on Orphan Black, the development of Kira's "powers" doesn't bode well for the future of the show.

Best/Worst: Rudy vs Helena

We've been waiting all season for a Rudy vs Helena showdown, and the finale didn't disappoint. The fight was well-choreographed and intense, while Rudy's death scene was well-written and strangely tender. But after all of that build-up, the fight was cut short and Helena ultimately won because Rudy glitched, which was a bit of a letdown.

Best: Alison and Donnie twerk in their underwear

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Orphan Black writers are clearly writing scenes entirely for gif purposes. Job well done.

Best: Alison's Mommie Dearest

One scene with Alison's mother and we immediately understood why Alison is- the way that she is. Every scene with Mrs. Hendrix was brilliant, from her pot-downs of Donnie to her mildly racist denial that Cosima could possibly be her daughter's clone. Just like her daughter, Mrs. Hendrix provided some of the funniest one-liners of the season.

Best: Krystal steals Felix's heart, and all of ours

Everything about Krystal's introduction was hilarious, from her opening scene with Delphine barely holding back derisive laughter to her ridiculous flirtation with Felix-as-straight-guy. But most importantly, the writing was sympathetic towards her. It would have been far too easy to reduce Krystal to a borderline sexist "bimbo" stereotype, but Orphan Black's reliably humanistic writing saved the day.

Best: Paul's sacrifice

It's a tribute to the writers of Orphan Black that they could take a relatively one-dimensional, not particularly compelling character and give him one of the saddest deaths of the series. Between the references to Beth and the elucidation of the character's motivations, Paul's death made the character more than the sum of his parts, and now we'll miss him more than we ever expected.

Best: "Fertile, infertile, they're all just people."

When Mrs. S. says this line to Gracie, you immediately get the impression that it's the closest thing Orphan Black has to a thesis statement. Regardless of the show's occasional messiness and conformity to sci-fi tropes, it's ultimately sending the message that women are often reduced to their reproductive functions in today's society, and that this is unacceptable.

Worst: Helena's a mother bear

But for all those feminist aspirations, the show dropped the ball a little when they made Helena conform to a tired "mother bear" stereotype. One could argue that between Sarah, Mrs. S., Dr. Coady, and all the complicated portrayals of motherhood on this show, they're due to portray a woman with an uncomplicated maternal instinct, but it was stereotypical enough that it rubbed me the wrong way.

Best: Castor is Leda's absorbed twin

This revelation was over-the-top, but it was over-the-top in the best way. Rather than deepen the conspiracy with yet more organizations that are out to get the Clone Club, the writers should get back to the show's roots and just do some crazy science. Plus, bonus points for the fact that this development was foreshadowed by the fact that the clones are called Castor/Leda rather than Castor/Clytemnestra.

Worst: The conspiracy becomes Lost-levels of convoluted

Last season, Orphan Black became a little too complicated, they were throwing a few too many organization names around, but I was still on board. Then, they added Project Castor, which meant they had a little bit of trouble juggling all the disparate plotlines, and couldn't really develop that plotline to its full potential. And then, in the season finale, they introduced yet another level to the conspiracy, because they didn't have enough going on already. So we have Dyad, Topside, Project Leda, Project Castor, Proletheans, and now the Neolutionists who apparently control everything. It's not that it's too complicated to follow; it's refreshing when shows trust the viewers' ability to keep up with complex mythology. But if it gets too complicated, they're not going to be able to do all of the elements justice within a ten-episode season. 

Bonus: The season's best one-liners

-"Where are the mangos? I would like to see these mangos." - Helena to Coady
-"I'll beat her like a French meringue." - Alison re: Marci Coates
-"I talk to your children so you don't have to." - Alison to constituents
-"A storage locker! Like on Breaking Bad!" - Donnie
-"In Siberia when planning escape you take weak person with you. They are called sandwich because you eat them." - Helena to Sarah
-"You, baby Jesus, come up the stairs with me." - Felix to Gracie
-"Nut up and lead me to the cyclops." - Felix re: Rachel
-"You need bangs. Bangs that say unhappy, sexless marriage." -Felix to Cosima-as-Alison
-"Was that an intolerant comment?" - Alison to Marci Coates
-"I really relate to that, the healing arts. I don't know if you feel that right now, but it's kind of my gift." - Krystal
-"You are strong like baby ox. This I like." - Helena to Donnie
-"I'm pretty good with my tools." - Felix pretending to be straight with Krystal
-"I may be a bitch, but I'm Alison's bitch." - Donnie
-"It's one of those really bad colds that messes with your... syntax..." - Donnie re: Helena-as-Alison
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