I used to love Orphan Black, I was a huge fan of the first season, but as time went on, it started to fall to the bottom of my “must see” list. And it has nothing to do with Tatiana Maslany, she was great throughout, it has to do with trying to do too much and losing focus on the things that mattered to me.
So anyhow, this is my look at the end of the series and what they, and a lot of other shows, did completely wrong, at least in my opinion.Sarah and Cosima are trapped on the Neolution island, where the supposedly very old Westmoreland rules Neolution and directs biological experiments in an effort to extend his already very long life. To that end, he’s enlisted the aid of Susan Duncan, Rachel’s adoptive mother and Virginia Coady, former head of Castor, who Susan had committed to an asylum. They’re all after Helena’s unborn baby in an attempt to cure death, while continuing to work with Kira, who is now within their clutches.
You know, for a series that once had so much promise, this one has taken all leave of its senses and gone for the “bigger is better, even when it’s not” school of TV production. I’ve complained about this before in past seasons, I failed to see why they expanded past the first five clones, I never saw the point in Leda or Castor and especially not the giant conspiracy nonsense that season 5 turned into.
Granted, the very ending did get back to basics, the very personal story that I really wanted to see, but frankly the rest was something I could have done without. And that’s a shame because I started out really loving this show. But like shows like Continuum, it started strong and tried to do too much and wound up losing its way.
And it did it in spite of Maslany’s continued excellent portrayal of half of the cast. I have no idea how she did it, but she kept every character distinct and unique, but at the same time connected. But even that couldn’t keep me interested in where this show went. And if you look at the overall ratings, by the time this show hit season 4, they were on a downward spiral. It became all flash and very little substance and the kinds of trials they put the clones through were simply not that entertaining. It just wasn’t fun. This is an unfortunately recurring theme this year, as most shows that I’ve been watching and enjoying have fallen into the same trap. Just because you can do more doesn’t mean you ought to do more. You have to maintain the elements that your audience fell in love with, otherwise, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
And that’s really where I think Orphan Black went wrong. It tried to be too big when the core of the show was small. It tried to do things that I don’t think anyone wanted and even the excellent cast, and they were almost all excellent throughout, but even that couldn’t save it in the end. And that’s a real shame.