Spoilers for Season 2 of Orphan Black ahead. You know the drill.
While the first rule of Clone Club may be, “Don’t talk about Clone Club”, the second rule, with the obvious exception of Fee and any male clones sharing identical DNA, has been an unspoken no boys allowed policy.
No more digital ink needs to be spilled praising Orphan Black for it’s absolutely unapologetic female-focused nature, the internet has pretty much got that covered. This show doesn’t only feature women in all of it’s prominent roles, but it features women have a diverse set of personalities, strengths and weaknesses, they are the good guys, the bad guys and the grey.
Women aren’t just the actors in the show’s plot, women’s issues are built into the literal DNA of the show. The heart of the action revolves around the ideas of autonomy and ownership of a living person, the ethics of a corporation holding a patent on DNA, and the feelings of entitlement that others have over women’s bodies, even if it is for science.
The second season dove much deeper into the questions surrounding consent in regards to reproductive rights (Helena, Sarah), and the right of women to make decisions about their bodies more generally (Cosima, Kira). These questions are especially potent when women are at the centre of the discussion. As in the best science fiction, the parallels to our own world are a strength.
Overall, our gut feelings after the season 2 finale reveal of male clones was betrayal. Once we recovered from the wonderous Clone Club dance party, we’re left with the weird taste in our mouth of boy-clones, and what this means for the show going forward. We give Graeme Manson, John Fawcett & the OB crew the benefit of the doubt and trust them to take the ball and keep running with it into season 3.
Our concerns are primarily a skepticism that the introduction of male clones with take the spotlight away from the strong feminist discussion taking place within this crazy-wonderful clone world. Taking the discussions of ownership, consent and seestrahood away from the core of the story and move further into a focus on complex plot and wild twists.
On a secondary level, there are plenty of characters (female and otherwise) not played by Tatiana Maslany that can shoulder some of the spotlight. Mrs. S, Fee, Art Bell, Delphine, Kira, and Cal to name just a few. Even the introduction of second-generation female clone is compelling, and tied to our core-group (and brings Michelle Forbes into the fold in a meaningful way).
Fleshing out these already compelling characters could deepen this world instead of expanding it – something we think would enrich the experience of OB. It was difficult at points this season to keep up, and stay enthralled when the show was moving too fast with unruly plot, and spreading out to entirely new communities (the Proletheons).
Orphan Black deserves all the praise it has been receiving for being a kick ass show, and for being a show about women. We just don’t want that to change.
What did you think about the big boy-clone twist? Or about Season 2 in general?