Orphan Black: Season 3

orphanblackI wasn’t quite sure how I felt about season 3 of Orphan Black, I just didn’t feel the same sense of overwhelming positivity that I had for previous seasons. I’ve generally been embarrassingly gushy about the show, wanting to shout about it from the rooftops and force people to sit and watch. Re-reading the previous reviews did help me narrow things down. On the second season review I highlighted some of the things that the show had avoided doing

I think this show is going to be one of those like Buffy, Battlestar or Twin Peaks that lives on and on and certain people talk about in hallowed tones. It’s got that kind of depth and complexity to it, without getting lost in convolution that can easily leave you disengaged (X-Files, I’m looking at you)… With the final moments of season 2 we’re all set up for the story to keep growing in season 3. I hope it doesn’t fall down the rabbit hole that shows like X-Files or Twin Peaks did, but even if it did, I’m sure I’ll still be blown away by Maslany’s acting master class

I think they fell down the rabbit hole.

The story DOES get a bit lost in convolution, with the conspiracies and shifting loyalties of the Diad group and, well, frankly I’m not sure who or what is going on there to be honest, because I lost track. The back-story of the history of the clones, and the present day with the introduction of the male clones left me confused, then a bit bored, then disengaged. They did their best to keep the story relevant and character driven, but I lost track of why anyone was doing anything and it all just fell apart.

The clones are emotionally closer than ever and their relationships are absolutely wonderful to watch, as are their connections with “niece” Kira and “brother” Felix. It’s those extended relationships that really help to reinforce that this is a family of complicated individuals. That also helps to reinforce the differences with the male clones, although that in turn shows up just how uninteresting they are in comparison. As the male clones were all raised together they’re just not distinct enough to make you really consider them as separate people. It’s psychologically interesting, but makes the characters a bit dull.

The tone of the series is also a bit disjointed. Most of the comedy was focussed on Alison’s storyline, but she was isolated from the others most of the time. Likewise the relocation to other countries felt like it broke the clone club up too much, as if the physical distance between them stretched the nerves of the show somehow.

However, even when it’s a bit disappointing, the show is still better than most of the stuff on telly at the moment. The ambition and elegance of the script and storytelling and the calibre of the actors carries the show along and had me finishing the whole season in just a few days. I’m hopeful that things will settle down again next season and this was just a bit of a miss-step.

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