'Orphan Black' collides with the Trump era
Brace yourselves, Clone Club: "Orphan Black" is back! Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany dropped by BUILD Series NYC with supporting castmates Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard and Ari Millen. The cast gave us a hint of what to expect from the show's final installment, and shared how sweeping change in today's political climate has brought a striking new relevance to the entire series.
Entering its fifth and final season, "Orphan Black" tells the story of rebellious outsider Sarah Manning (Maslany) who witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks unexpectedly identical to her. Sarah's attempt to steal her identity leads to the mind-blowing discovery of a life-long human cloning conspiracy. The series follows Sarah's entanglements with her many clone sisters, and the various scientists and corporate figures that seek to own them as intellectual property.
Over the previous four seasons, clones Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena -- all played with stunning depth and specificity by Ms. Maslany -- have formed a tight-knit sisterhood. "I think that one of the things about the show has been the idea of family," reflects Maria Doyle Kennedy, who plays Sarah's foster mother, Mrs. S, "of an other kind of family, of a chosen family."
In a political moment when the scientific community has come under attack, the effects have rippled out into the sci-fi world of "Orphan Black." "It's needed now more than ever," insists Kristian Bruun who plays Donnie Hendrix, husband to one of Maslany's many clones. "I don't think we ever really expected that the world would shift that way from where we were five years ago when we started the show. Things needed to be said back then, but it just feels way more urgent now."
With feminist ideals at the core of the show, January's Women's March did not go unnoticed by the cast and creators: "This season was always set out to be about patriarchy, and the systems in which we are all oppressed ... And then it topically, you know, ended up just happening in life in major ways in politics," said Maslany. "I feel like we were really eager to reflect back what was happening and talk about it, and get to work through it through the storytelling."
As "Orphan Black" says goodbye, its star reflects on the driving force behind the series:
"It's always been about womanhood, and about just being a human; being a complex human being who is defined by more than your genetics or your aesthetic or your gender or anything. So, we continue to tell that story, and I think we do that through all the characters," Maslany continued. "It's all about family, and it's all about community, and how individuals together are stronger together."
The final season of Orphan Black premieres Saturday, June 10th on BBC America.