We need to talk about Beth
In the season 1 premier or Orphan Black, Beth Childs jumped in front of a train. We knew that Beth was a cop, and we knew that she knew that she was a clone. We didn’t know what drove her to make that fatal jump. Now, in a season 4 premier that proves that Orphan Black has not even begun to wane in quality, we take a trip into the past for a one-hour Beth-centric episode. It has taken Sarah Manning and her sestras four seasons to discover Bright Born, the company even more advanced than Dr. Leke and his Neolutionists, but it turns out that Beth was hot on Bright Born’s trail even before Sarah was pulled into Clone Club. But Beth discovered too much, and her suicide was a calculated game plan in the mission to protect the other clones. The big question is whether the other clones will be driven to the same fate when they learn what Beth knew.
Orphan Black has a pattern of taking last season’s baddies and turning them into this season’s goodies. Remember when “evil” clone Helena was the baddie? Now she’s defending the Hendrix family to the death. Remember when “evil” clone Rachel was the baddie? Now she’s…well, not good exactly, but they need her help if they’re going to go up against the new ultimate evil: Evie Cho, the head of Bright Born. Keeping the show feminist, both the goodies and the baddies are women. Professor Duncan, Rachel, and Evie are all in positions of power, struggling to one up each other. Cosima is making medical breakthroughs, Sarah and Mrs. S are consistently taking things into their own hands, and Alison is bringing some humanity to the story with her struggle with her faith and morals.
The real world
It’s nice to see that we haven’t totally fallen down the well of science fiction. While some characters are alienated from their old lives, locked in a secret lab below a comic book shop, other characters struggle to keep a balance between Clone Club and their real lives. Alison is still trying to keep her family afloat, trying to make things seem normal for her kids, but when she’s forced to make a choice between the life of her husband and the life of Sarah and co., we do struggle to guess which she will choose.
It’s also nice to see Felix getting a little more to do. Recently, his role was marginalized, as it seemed the writers didn’t know how he fit in the story anymore, but this season, we see he’s trying to have a normal life, and he’s starting out by tracking down his biological half sister, Adele. But when things are at their craziest, how are they going to keep this tipsy Southern bell lawyer out of Clone Club?
It’s just been announced that the next season will be the last season of Orphan Black. The season 4 finale gets us a few steps closer to the truth, but boy does it open us up to a crazy season 5! Yet another baddie appears, but is it possible that we might have finally breached the final layer of the onion? So far, the writers have given us no reason to doubt them, but the viewer does wonder how they’re going to wrap up five years of amazing television intrigue in just ten more 45-minute episodes. Can’t wait!