Orphan Black’s beautiful, cathartic finale

Pour one out for your adrenaline stores. Orphan Black — BBC America’s extraordinary thriller featuring clones, female agency, the expanding limits of what counts as intellectual and biological property, and one of our greatest actors — has drawn to a beautiful close. The series that gave us images like these

(Screenshot/BBC America/Orphan Black)

(Screenshot/BBC America/Orphan Black)

has ended with the even more disquieting spectacle of Sarah Manning wearing shorts and something other than black:

(Screenshot/BBC America/Orphan Black)

That’s fitting, as the series (through Helena, who has emerged as its author) both explains and finally shrugs off its name. Siobhan once explained that Sarah was part of a group of children who were disappeared “into the black” for their own safety. As lovely as it is to hear echoes of her phrasing in Helena’s title (this is one of Helena’s many acts of naming), the title is obsolete the moment its uttered. True, the episode was deeply invested in Sarah’s coming to terms with her mother’s loss. But it’s telling that she’s no longer wearing black, and that these lovely, lonely characters aren’t really orphans anymore. The crowd in Alison’s house makes this clear, as does the series’ ever-expanding definition of family, which has come a long way from Cosima’s genetically-fixated remark in Season 1: “We are your biological imperative now.” There are over 200 clones, it turns out, and they aren’t all family.

The thankless job of a series finale is to orient the viewer as to what really mattered all along. Fans will track a thousand theories and storylines, but the finale is where the creators announce which threads they personally considered most important, which arcs stood most in need of resolution, and which feelings merit closure and catharsis. Not every question will be answered. Orphan Black was riddled with more questions than most. What, for example, is the scientific explanation for Kira’s ability to sense the other clones? What are the limits of her ability to self-heal, and why does Helena in particular seem to have some of that ability (if her ability to survive rebar stabbings, massive blood loss, and other insults is any indication)? Does Kira possess the “fountain of youth”? Can she solve cancer? There are a lot of major-league sci-fi questions the show is asking, in other words — questions whose answers have major philosophical implications for humanity arguably matter more than Alison’s marriage or what Helena

Source:: The Week – Entertainment

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