RedEyedGhost

Orphan Black 3: So, sometimes stuff just works out[SPOILERS]

304 posts in this topic

10 hours ago, Bastard of Boston said:

Newest episode was great. I've complained about less character-centric episodes this season. I thought last season was great due to all the Beth background. The best seasons are the ones which prioritize characters over plot. I think this final season has done the opposite. I just don't care about Neolution. I want to see these characters work through their baggage -- especially because it's the final season.

Best episode of the season was the Rachel one because it was what I wanted to see. This one just falls short, but still really good.

My favorite thing about it was them digging up Helena's dirty laundry. I've been a critic of the character's white-washing. I think previous seasons started to portray Helena as lovable and quirky, forgetting the fact that this girl has a lot of blood on her hands. Yeah, she was brainwashed and is just as much a victim, but she still killed innocents. I'm not saying it makes her a bad character, because I love Rachel -- also a killer -- but I think it needs to be woven back into Helena's arc.

I think it's weird that they didn't use the same young girl for the Helena flashbacks. Helena is a clone -- she should look like all the other girls. I'm assuming they went with the new girl because she spoke Russian...?

As the series winds down, my clone power rankings:

1. Beth

2. Rachel

3. Krystal

4. Sarah

5. Helena

6. Alison

7. Cosima

Yes, that struck me as weird too.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

There's a method to this madness...

Orphan Black has a lot in common with Mr. Robot and Twin Peaks.  The use of doppelgangers is clear indication of that.  All are a type of story I call the Seeker's Journey.  Others have called it the Heroine's Journey (to contrast with Campbell's Hero's Journey), but most of the examples I can think of are led by male characters, except Orphan Black, so Heroine's journey really is the wrong term.  There's no reason a hero can't be a woman too (Wonder Woman was a fine example of that), and you can see gender is irrelevant if we describe what the different journeys focus on.  And certainly men can be seekers too.

Seeker's Journeys are all about connection, identity and seeking meaning. A seeker's character arc is formed through the switching between dualities, seeking to bridge them consciously instead of instinctually under stress. These dualities are like differences in personas between aspects of our conscious and subconscious selves.  Personal growth in anyone's life has to bridge this duality, so it should be a fairly common story form but has gone largely unrecognized by those who teach fiction writing.

The main duality Orphan Black focuses on, of course, is nature vs nurture.  It's also about growing up, taking on adult responsibilities, connecting with family and raising the next generation, and learning to guide them through their own development.

Hero's Journeys are all about conflict, and solving problems. A character arc for the Hero will be formed from the conflict of binary opposites. All themes in Hero's journeys contrast those opposites, and are used to lead a Hero from problem to a solution, or to reject the solution and end tragically.  There's a misdirection of chasing the symptom to the problem and attempting to manage the symptom with a treatment, before finding the solution / cure in the final act.

Dualities are not binaries.  For instance, good vs evil is a binary, simplistic though it may be.  Nature vs nurture is a duality.  Natural vs unnatural is a binary.  Masculine and feminine is a duality.  Dualities can seem like paradoxes, but taking more abstract effort into seeking meaning from it can reveal a deeper understanding that resolves the paradox.

The Dyad Institute / Neolution is on your back.  What do you do? Fight?  Does that solve the problem?  No, because Dyad is a duality too.  It is exploitation and violation and control, but it is also truth-seeking and science and the desire to be better humans.  Dyad is a paradox that needs to be resolved, not solved.

From myths and fairy tales we can see a typical seeker's journey abstracted into the story of a queen/goddess that journeys to the underworld, encountering various characters that take on the roles: the Preserver, the Destroyer and the Creator.  What existing analysis of "heroine's journeys" have missed is that there has to be a duality.  If Creator & Destroyer are dualities, what's the duality with the Preserver role?  In the archetypal heroine, it's the queen/goddess herself in the role of Transformer.  Usually she returns home and the king doesn't recognize her, she remains hidden.  Once he acknowledges her gifts, she reveals herself, and transforms from maiden to mother.

The Transformer is a liminal state.  Liminality is the gateway between worlds, between the conscious and subconscious.  It's also very vulnerable, but vulnerability is necessary before one can achieve connection.  This is has mostly been sick Cosima, but lately it's been Alison.

The Creator role is an authentic state, connected to their relationships and herself.  Mrs. S.  The mother role that Sarah is seeking to become.  Expressing a clear vision of the future of bodily autonomy free from exploitation.

The Destroyer role is chameleonic, alienated and denying the duality and switching between conscious manipulation and unconscious aggression unpredictably.  Our repressed Rachel.

The Preserver role is instinctual, caught up in memory and reacting to the expectation of the past.  This is our dear Helena.

The seeker arc gets reflected within Sarah Manning herself as well as the other Leda clones as aspects of Sarah. 

Season One: Sarah fights to preserve her situation and protect her family, Helena fights to preserve the world from what she's been taught is an abomination by killing the other Leda clones. 

Season Two & Three: Sarah fights to destroy Dyad; Rachel fights to destroy Sarah's autonomy.  The Castor clones are Destroyers too.  (Probably the reason season three is perceived as not as good is because it continued the season two stage.  Plot-wise it was probably necessary though.)  Sarah is chameleonic, masking herself as her sestras when necessary to infiltrate Dyad.

Season 4:  Sarah seeks to transform the game by seeking the original; MK seeks to transform the game by seeking Dyad's dirty secrets.  But also Beth.  Beth's story is finally revealed.  Beth was the gateway, the liminal state, vulnerable, but her ability to visualize the future saw only a trap, and no hope.  That's the danger with the Transformer persona.  One can fall backwards into despair.

Season 5: Well, we're yet to see the end but Sarah will become an integrated personality by taking Mrs. S's place as the Creator persona; she's the one that bind these sestras into a family, and she's going to fight for all of them, not just the one's she knows.  Thousands?



Twin Peaks spoilers:  This is a seeker's journey too, but very different in the order of it's progression.  It has the hallmarks of a "flat" character arc where the point is to change the sick world while fighting to remain himself.  Dale Copper starts out authentic, connected, quoting Eastern philosophy and taking the time to enjoy a damn fine cup of coffee.  Laura Palmer is the liminal character, vulnerable, transformative.  Bad Coop is the chameleon, the Destroyer, the repressed and alienated side of Cooper.  Dougie Jones is so representative of Coop's instinctual side, he doesn't speak except to repeat what he hears -- yet can solve a fraud case and disarm an assassin, and still enjoys a damn fine cup of coffee, all while being a walking vegetable.  Pure instinct.  So whether there is another season or the last half of the 3rd season wraps it up like I expect, I think we'll see Dale Cooper emerge, vulnerable and liminal, the transformer.  He's going to save the people of Twin Peaks from their dark natures, from their Bad Coops.  I think it'll end with Dale restored, sitting down to have a slice of cherry pie and enjoy a cup of coffee.  But he'll be haunted by what he sees.

Mr. Robot spoilers:  Eliot is on a positive seeker's arc too, like Sarah on Orphan Black, but perhaps only on the personal level.  Can he change the world?  Mr. Robot is his chameleonic side.  Next season I'd expect to see Eliot in the liminal state, vulnerable but visualizing a possible way forward.  It he can finally integrate all sides of his nature he may be able to win a victory for the world, and save his friends.

Other seeker stories:  The Matrix, and the Grinch Whole Stole Christmas.  Yes, really.  I'm looking for more example to look at and analyze, so feel free to suggest them to me at any time.  I'm thinking of writing a book on the subject.

 

Edited by SpaceChampion

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That's a very thought provoking run-down @SpaceChampion thank you for sharing! For purely selfish reasons (I.e. I want to read it) you should definitely write a book on it.

Are you only looking for TV shows, or books and films too? If I'm understanding you correctly, Sense8 seems like an obvious suggestion to make. Cloud Atlas, perhaps? I need to think so,e more to be sure I properly understand what you mean by Seeker's Journey. But interesting to read your thoughts!

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17 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Are you only looking for TV shows, or books and films too? If I'm understanding you correctly, Sense8 seems like an obvious suggestion to make. Cloud Atlas, perhaps? I need to think so,e more to be sure I properly understand what you mean by Seeker's Journey. But interesting to read your thoughts!

Books and films too.  Any kind of story.  I was thinking Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea.  Any one that deals with the protagonist confronting their shadow self.

I had heard of the heroine's journey before, but it wasn't until I saw a quote by LeGuin that I realized the heroine's journey wasn't concerning conflict at the central process for resolving it's themes:

Quote

Ursula Le Guin, for example, in Steering the Craft, takes serious issue with the “gladiatorial view of fiction” that the seemingly obsessive focus on conflict has nurtured. She considers this a kind of tunnel vision that minimizes depth and complexity, “just the stuff that makes a work of fiction memorable.”

Le Guin herself noted that though Romeo and Juliet revels in conflict, that isn’t what makes it tragic. “Conflict is [just] one kind of behavior. There are others, equally important in any human life, such as relating, finding, losing, bearing, discovering, parting, changing.”

Stories usually have both conflict and connection, but the difference between the two types of journeys, hero and seeker, is a difference in the process.  Conflict helps a hero reject one side and make progress, but conflict hinders a seeker from understanding their own nature.

 

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7 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

Books and films too.  Any kind of story.  I was thinking Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea.  Any one that deals with the protagonist confronting their shadow self.

I had heard of the heroine's journey before, but it wasn't until I saw a quote by LeGuin that I realized the heroine's journey wasn't concerning conflict at the central process for resolving it's themes:

Stories usually have both conflict and connection, but the difference between the two types of journeys, hero and seeker, is a difference in the process.  Conflict helps a hero reject one side and make progress, but conflict hinders a seeker from understanding their own nature.

 

I'll bear that in mind as I'm reading/watching over the next few weeks. Off the top of my head, I think N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy would be a good one to study for this.

 

Re: Orphan Black, some interesting info on the writing for this season. There was significant rewrites fairly late on in the process. Originally, Sarah would return to the island to confront Westmoreland. http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/orphan-black/blog/2017/08/alex-levine-returning-to-dyad

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3 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I'll bear that in mind as I'm reading/watching over the next few weeks. Off the top of my head, I think N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy would be a good one to study for this.

I'll look for that.  Thanks!

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Well, that's it.  One of my favourite series has now finished. *sigh*

I enjoyed the finale.  It wasn't internet-breaking, but it was solid and tied up a lot of threads and we got one last Helena killer motif before the birth of the twins. 

I did like the birth flashbacks entwined with Helena giving birth, giving continuity to family but also insight to Sarah's ever-rebellious streak.

Calling the twins Purple and Orange was funny, but I was pleased she named them after "real men" Donnie & Arthur eventually, as much as I liked her living in the Hendricks' garage.

One last dance from Donnie in his underpants too - :lmao:

I've enjoyed the series and Tatiana Maslany has been just fantastic.  I hope she gets showered with awards, I really do. 

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3 hours ago, Ser Quork said:

Well, that's it.  One of my favourite series has now finished. *sigh*

I enjoyed the finale.  It wasn't internet-breaking, but it was solid and tied up a lot of threads and we got one last Helena killer motif before the birth of the twins. 

I did like the birth flashbacks entwined with Helena giving birth, giving continuity to family but also insight to Sarah's ever-rebellious streak.

Calling the twins Purple and Orange was funny, but I was pleased she named them after "real men" Donnie & Arthur eventually, as much as I liked her living in the Hendricks' garage.

One last dance from Donnie in his underpants too - :lmao:

I've enjoyed the series and Tatiana Maslany has been just fantastic.  I hope she gets showered with awards, I really do. 

I really don't have much to add to this.  Really good finale (although, just because they ended on the same night, I actually preferred the finale of Turn to this quite a bit, it was an excellent finale).  Two Three things I will add were Art was awesome in that opening sequence, Donnie was cutting quite the rug in the post credits dance - he can move pretty well, and I liked the Cosima and Delphine moments (and I feel like I can finally forgive Delphine for her horribleness and be happy for them).

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Yup.  Certainly one of my favourite series of all time.

 

Cynthia Galant (Charlotte) made this Les Miz / Orphan Black tribute:

 

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I really loved the finale, and think it particularly fitting after having read what SpaceChampion said last week. The writing was very strong and I appreciated the decision to focus not on the confrontation with P.T. Westmoreland and Coady (which was all over and done with pretty quickly) but instead on the aftermath, the sisters coming together, etc. Sarah being the one who finds it hardest to do so makes total sense. For all her life she has ran, then she fell into this web and fought, and now she finally has the time to stop, process everything that has gone on, and try and play house. Of course she isn't going to find it easy, or be some kind of flawless parent (as if such a thing exists anyway). I loved the scene with her, Alison, Cosima and Helena in the garden (and how the garden party was a throwback to season 3). 

I was very surprised to find myself feeling so terrible for Rachel. She has done heinous things, and was a villain for much of the series. But despite all that, and because she is very much a victim of circumstance, I was sad to see her finish up completely alone. I almost expected Felix to invite her in, but I know that would not really work narrative wise, or fit with the characterisation of...well, any of them.

One final mention for how incredible Tatiana's acting is. She had her chance to showcase 6 clones (7, if we are counting flashback Sarah separately, which imo we should since it's a very different performance) this episode and not once did any of them blend together, even the very brief appearance at the end as Delphine gave the cure. Phenomenal stuff, she is rightly acclaimed for this work. My favourite scene though was the birthing scene, which was incredible acting from both Tatiana and Kevin Hanchard (agree with @RedEyedGhost, Art was awesome), some wonderful cuts between Helena and Sarah's births (including the reaction of Sarah herself remembering that) and very emotional music playing throughout. 

I'm the show ended on such a positive note, and overall I am satisfied. I do have a few lingering questions/problems but right now I'm just glad it ended so well

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I definitely think it was a fitting ending too. I want more though. I need a spin off that's just all of them finding nice, mundane lives in the aftermath of all of this shit, healing their wounds and moving on. Cosima and Delphine living their life of live and geekdom, making scientific breakthroughs. Helena...doing whatever she decides she wants to do. Allie and Donnie moving on with Donnie continuing to surprise me as a male character I like precisely because he doesn't have to live up to bullshit masculinity OR be profoundly transgressive, he's just Donnie, and Allison finding whoever it is she is becoming as well. Sarah eventually taking that test, or deciding she doesn't need to lie to Kira about doing it, forgiving herself, forgiving S. Felix becoming a fabulously famous artist. I don't need more Neolution, I just need more of these characters.

And god Tat is magical, Cosima listening to another clone hitting on her gf in another language was fantastic - played out across her face just right.

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Orange and Purple are adorable... I'm a little sad that its over, which is a credit to Maslany.... who was able to make us become attached to --and root for--several different versions of herself...

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Unsurprisingly I think my favourite moment is from the penultimate episode. Cosima and Delphine hitting send on the data to expose Neolution to the world. A tiny act, a huge amount of catharsis. Only made better by the fact that Cosima wasn't scripted to cry, Tatiana legitimately broke down on her own and Évelyne's concern for her reflected genuine connection between the two.

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Just finished this. Very good series.

I note that Maslany's Emmy win was only the first. Frankly she should have won most years since OB started.

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15 minutes ago, Dolorous Gabe said:

Just finished this. Very good series.

I note that Maslany's Emmy win was only the first. Frankly she should have won most years since OB started.

I so agree.

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Hopefully she will get a second Emmy next year when the show is eligible. This season she somehow managed to impress me even more than usual, and I didnt think that was possible.

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I cracked up at a comment on the very end sequence about how she'd had almost no time to get to learn Portuguese and they were all "Wtf? I didn't notice Cosima with any lines in my native tongue?! Omg she got me again in a single scene" hahaha

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Posted (edited)

Finally got around to watching the second half of the season. Overall I think it was a really impressive season and a beautiful ending. I appreciated the return to episodes focusing on individual characters, whether Rachel, Siobhan and Felix, Helena, or Sarah in the finale. The season, especially in the back half, did a great job of wrapping up mysteries, pushing the plot forward, and focusing on the emotional core of the show. I think the finale's best choice was to get the Neolution confrontation over with very early and focus on what came afterwards for the clones, and especially Sarah. I loved the birth scenes, the back porch scene, and Felix and Rachel in the cab in particular. And I can't praise the acting enough... Not only Maslany, who was incredible as usual, but even some of the rest of the cast who didn't particularly impress me in the past (Art's actor, for example).

I've got a few minor quibbles here and there; I think Westmorland's character should have been fleshed out more, especially after the reveal that he's a fraud. I also wish we'd gotten more involvement from Westmorland's "daughter" in the endgame- I found her to be a pretty interesting character. But these are pretty unimportant; it was one of the best conclusions to a sci-fi show I've seen, and now I want to go back and rewatch the whole thing.

Edit to add that I forgot the final season's most serious flaw: no Vic. Where's Vic???

Edited by Caligula_K3

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I think I that was alluded to in the interview with Tatiana, he was just a victim of time and not wanting to ruin the momentum to check in with minor characters.

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If we're asking where Vic is we should also ask where Cal is ;) But it doesn't bother me all that much, they never did a lot to develop him anyway, and time was already tight to cover all of the characters I care about. 

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