Tatiana Maslany performs ‘Black’ magic in conspiracy thriller
The clone club is closing.
The fifth and final season of BBC America’s “Orphan Black” finds Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany turning in some of her most subtle, authentic work — and that’s saying something for the sci-fi conspiracy thriller that requires her to play multiple roles.
Warning: Not all the clones will survive this last season.
As the series races to a conclusion, it’s clear from the first three episodes that the writers haven’t forgotten any of the plot threads spun out starting back in the 2013 premiere. The women will have to answer for or make peace with their complicated pasts.
The season opener picks up from the fourth season finale as a badly injured Sarah (Maslany) tries to rescue a sick Cosima (Maslany) from the island. Rachel (Maslany) has aligned herself with the sinister presence ruling over the island, PT Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie), who looks to direct humanity’s evolution.
Oh, and there’s something feral and scary on the island, too.
Cosima juggles a surprise reunion and separation and a new mystery involving a sick child.
Meanwhile, the Neolutionists are hunting Alison and Helena (both Maslany, of course), the latter pregnant with twins.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: I was not prepared for the violence in the second episode (scheduled for June 17).
Sarah schemes with Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) to protect her daughter, Kira (Skyler Wexler), but she hasn’t reckoned with Rachel’s persuasive powers. Helena finds a safe haven but can’t relax.
You will never look at a syringe the same way. If you weren’t scared of a needle before, you will be after this.
That’s not even the worst moment.
The June 24 episode shifts the spotlight to soccer mom Alison and exhumes — literally — the crimes of her past.
She and her husband, Donnie (Kristian Bruun), have managed to rack up a body count over the years, and Alison is forced to confront those she has hurt as well as deal with the state of her marriage.
The mythology of the show, like many of these genre shows (“Lost,” “Alias”), can be more convoluted than the tax code.
“Follow the crazy science,” one character says. No thanks.
That’s just wallpaper. The series is determined, to its credit, to explore the emotional homes for these different women.
For instance, in the third episode, Rachel and Alison meet at last, and you might watch this intense encounter and be impressed at how the characters spark off each other.
Then you must remind yourself it’s all the work of one impressive woman who took home the Emmy last year for outstanding lead actress. Maslany seems on track to do it all again this year.