Orphan Black has been a surprising cult series to watch over the years, and has only become more popular with each passing year, though the series took a bit of a tumble in its third season through some convoluted plot points. Orphan Black Season 4 returned the series to its former glory by returning the focus on the primary conspiracy involving Sarah Manning and the rest of the Clone Club.
One of the best aspects of this season was bringing it full circle by exploring the events leading directly up to the pilot episode, answering some long-standing questions in the show’s mythology.
Easily the best aspect of the show, Tatiana Maslany gives some of her best performances as Sarah and the various clones, particularly Cosima and Rachel.
She’s really fleshed out the characters and displayed how dynamic she can be in each role. As the season went on, and tragedy struck the club, it was hard not to feel for the characters. Maslany did an excellent job showcasing how each one handled their grief differently.
One of the problems last season was how underutilized Rachel had become given her injury. Season 3 lost out because their villain couldn’t quite match Rachel’s ruthlessness, so it was great to see Rachel progress back to the top throughout the season.
Maslany portrayed Rachel in such a way that you were never quite sure if she sought to redeem herself or regain her power. By the end, she went full Bond-villain and caused a lot of damage to the heroes. It was definitely gratifying to see her cemented once again as the series’ top villainess.
The story was also much easier to follow in Orphan Black Season 4 than the last, thanks in part to focusing back on the main clone conspiracy and dedicating time to some major revelations.
Beth Childs, for instance, has been such an illusive figure because she died in the opening minutes of the series and viewers have never really gotten to know who she really was. It was a pleasure, then, to see flashbacks dedicated to her and her initial investigation that started everything.
The season also took time to explain some of the more fantastical elements of the show, namely what that worm-like thing seen at the end of Season 3 was, and its actual purpose. It helped to somewhat ground the series again instead of relying on mystery after mystery as other sci-fi shows have done.
Other members of the cast gave great performances as well.
Kevin Hanchard was brought back into the fold after being sidelined last season, and we got to see more of what made his character tick, in Beth’s flashbacks. Maria Doyle Kennedy gave very emotional performances during the latter half of the season and though she didn’t quite match Rachel’s presence, newcomer Jessalyn Wanlim gave a good, and at times chilling, performance as Evie Cho, the season’s big bad.
Overall, Orphan Black Season 4 was a return to form, and with the announcement that next season will be the show’s last, the finale set up the final conflict very well.
Maslany continues to impress as each clone, with their own distinctive voices, body language, and emotions, and there’s no doubt she’ll be able to continue that trend next year.