Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Orphan Black, Season 3 (2015)
The writers of Orphan Black seemed to have created a rod for their own backs. By far the most engaging and entertaining of the various clone sisters in the show is the uptight soccer mom Alison, but she's also the one that's got very little to do with the whole "secret cloning/genetics experiments" storyline at the heart of the show. Everyone else has some skill or ability that ties into this. Cosima has the science; Helena the special forces skills; while Sarah has both street smarts and is the only clone able to have children of her own. Alison ... well, she used to help with the finances but even if this was still necessary it's not exactly something that keeps her front and centre in the show.
What this means is that season three sometimes feels like you're watching two different programs, as most of the characters feel like they're in something like The Americans while Alison's apparently turned up to work on Weeds. Both solid shows, but not exactly an easy mix. The writers do what they can to generate reasons for other characters to get involved in Alison's story arc, but they can't so readily resolve the problem of the different tones.
Fortunately, the show does a better job handling its other challenge: maintaining a core mystery and moving it forward in a satisfying way. There is one major plot twist that I don't think was entirely earned, but other than that it holds together quite nicely. I'll certainly be checking out season four.