Orphan Black Season 3 Premier: The sestras are back

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Episode 1: “The Weight of This Combination”

Seasons 3 of Orphan Black opens Helena’s dream sequence: blue skies, mountains of cupcakes and costumes right out of a little girl’s dream (including Cosima in Ukrainian folk dress). But for anyone watching the Canadian sci-fi show for the past two seasons, they know that the dream is a far cry from the reality of the clone sisters.

When Helena wakes up, she’s in a small box with scorpion. At the dramatic conclusion of season 2, she had just been kidnapped by the military with the authorisation of Mrs S. This season is shaping up to be something far complicated, and really an undertaking. And it is a far, far cry from any dreams and happiness.

There has rarely been a chance for anyone to breathe – both for the characters and the audience. The show is increasingly becoming more and more complex: characters like Delphine are not what they seem, the looming shadow of Dyad Institute, and the introduction of the male clones that were a part of the Project Castor experiments. It’s been a constant series of changes that has made it difficult to keep up with at times, but that can often be the beautify of things. Viewer’s don’t know the answers any sooner than any of the girls in Project Leda do.

It is that addition of Project Castor that seems to have muddled things a bit. Their goal seems a bit vague at the moment. They were raised together, unlike Project Leda, so it might be interesting to see how their dynamic differs. So far they’re not very compelling at the moment, but hopefully they will find their place.

Someone who has found their footing in a big way is Delphine. She’s now acting as the “new Rachel.” Suddenly she’s a bad bitch. As to why or how this happened seems to be a bit clunky, but so far it has been enjoyable. Her new found inner-power was the catalyst for much of the action in this episode. Unfortunately, that means ending her relationship with Cosima in a really heartbreaking, though brief, scene.

Tatiana Maslany continues to be utterly brilliant; has she won all of the acting awards yet? As her roles become more demanding, she rises to the occasion. She’s even compelling as a scorpion. Even as the relationships increase in complexity, she delivers performances that help see into the unique psyche of each clone.

It’s clear that the comradely and love between the sisters has grown, and yet they clearly don’t understand each other fully. When they have to act as each other, as suburban mom Alison has to act as Sarah, it is still a one-dimensional depiction of each other. Maybe it’s just poor acting by the clones, but the women have a ways to go if they are going to win the war with sisterhood.

This seems to be where the show wants to take viewers next. “The Weight of this Combination” focuses not so much on the individual, but the workings of each individual group. There’s a lot of characters coming out of the woodwork, but no storyline is as compelling as the women viewers have grown to care about over the past two seasons. There’s a lot of directions they can go, but there’s a battle coming that is bound to be relentless.

The sestras are back indeed.

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