AFTERBUZZ TV — Orphan Black edition, is a weekly “after show” for fans of BBC’s Orphan Black. In this episode hosts Sam Davidson and Yael Tygiel discuss episode 3.
ABOUT ORPHAN BLACK:
Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction thriller television series created by screenwriter Graeme Manson and director John Fawcett, starring Tatiana Maslany as several identical people who are clones. The series focuses on Sarah Manning, a woman who assumes the identity of one of her fellow clones, Elizabeth Childs, after witnessing Childs’ suicide. The series raises issues about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning, and its effect on issues of personal identity.
The series begins with Sarah Manning, a con artist by trade, witnessing the suicide of a woman, Beth Childs, who appears to be her doppelgänger. Sarah assumes Beth’s identity and occupation (as a police detective) after Beth’s death. During the first season, Sarah discovers that she is a clone, that she has many ‘sister’ clones spread throughout North America and Europe, and that someone is plotting to kill them and her. Alongside her foster brother, Felix Dawkins, and two of her fellow clones, Alison Hendrix and Cosima Niehaus, Sarah discovers the origin of the clones: a scientific movement called Neolution. The movement believes that human beings can use scientific knowledge to direct their evolution as a species. The movement has an institutional base in the large, influential, and wealthy biotech corporation, the Dyad Institute. The Dyad Institute conducts basic research, lobbies political institutions, and promotes its eugenics program, aided by the clone Rachel Duncan. It also seeks to profit from the technology the clones embody and has thus placed “monitors” into the clones’ personal lives, allegedly to study them scientifically, but actually to keep them under surveillance.
Sarah eventually discovers that she’s also wanted by the police and by a secret religious group, the Proletheans. A faction of the Proletheans carries out the clone assassinations, because they believe clones are abominations, and they use a clone, Helena, to kill the other clones. Sarah and Helena share a surrogate birth mother and are twins both genetically and with respect to their early maternal environment.
Eventually, the Dyad Institute and the Proletheans learn that Sarah has a daughter, Kira, the only known offspring of a clone; all other clones are sterile by design. The plot lines of the series revolve around Sarah and Kira’s efforts to avoid capture by the clearly sinister Neolutionists and Proletheans, as well as around the efforts made by each clone to give sense to her life and origin.
The attempt to control the creation of human life is a dominant theme that drives various story lines. A second key theme forms around the intrigues made by the Dyad Group and the Proletheans, along with the earlier intrigues made by the authors of Project Leda (see the Greek myth Leda and the Swan), Mrs. S., Sarah’s foster mother, and her political network.
Both themes intersect in the effort to control the creation of human life. Sarah, who matures because of her struggles, defends the bond between parent and child against the Neolutionists and Proletheans.