We are a day away from the premiere of the final season of Orphan Black on BBC America. It’s led by the Emmy Award-winning performance of Tatiana Maslany playing too many characters to list and the entertaining support of Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Ari Millen, Skyler Wexler, Evelyne Brochu and many, many more.
The last four years have given us a super-dense sci-fi drama with mysteries galore, which include a massive tapestry of genetically manufactured clones, talking scorpions, twerking suburban criminals, cults in the country, military projects and a lot of clones having issues with their parents. The Season 4 finale put Rachel back into the hot seat of overarching villain, our main protagonist clone Sarah was left bleeding on a beach, Cosima and Charlotte were potentially taken out of harm's way, and Kira and Mrs. S were captured.
We're running down all of the information you need to know and also what to ask going into Season 5.
Sarah Manning's Saga
Orphan Black started out with a woman named Sarah witnessing another woman who looks just like her commit suicide by stepping in front of a speeding train. She assumed the woman's identity, Beth, and uncovered bits and pieces of a major mystery where she was the part of decades long-running cloning project called Leda. With the help of other clones, her foster mother Mrs. S, brother Felix, and Beth's partner Art, she has managed to uncover the major pieces to Leda and all of the forces feeding into it.
Motivated by survival and her family – genetic and extended – Sarah tirelessly tracked down the original genetic source of the clones and extracted a maggot-bot implant from her cheek before it could kill her. Now she needs to figure out a way to retrieve her daughter from the clutches of fellow clone and constant thorn-in-her-side, Rachel. She'll need to fall back on the help of Felix, maybe her former lover Cal, and the other clones to unite her family.
Cosima gives new hope
As mentioned above, after some heavy detective work and Mrs. S coming clean, Sarah tracked down the originator of the Leda project, Kendall Malone, who is Mrs. S's biological mother. Kendall is a genetic chimera, meaning she is the result of two zygotes merging into one, and thus was the genetic template for both the Leda project AND the Castor project.
Both the Castor and Leda clones share a common problem: each have a deadly illness that is wiping them out, especially the Castors who are near extinction. On the Leda side, both Cosima and Charlotte (the only successful clone to be produced after the original Leda clones) have a respiratory disease that is affecting their breathing and giving them random bloody noses.
Thinking cloning was obsolete, good scientist gone bad Evie Cho had Kendall executed and burned her corpse to destroy the genes once and for all. Viewers thought Kendall would hold the key to Cosima survival but our favorite dreadlocked scientist developed a new cure at Susan Duncan's compound by fusing a Leda egg with a Castor sperm, but is it too late for her to use it? Can she save Charlotte and the others before they develop the virus?
What will the other Leda clones do?
Not everything is gloom and doom, though. The other clones (and their support) provide moments of humor and levity or allow us to view the clone dilemma from a different angle that's not so straightforward. They've contributed to Sarah's (and Beth's) investigation in their own special way and they often provide some of the series' most memorable moments, especially clone Alison Hendrix and her husband Donnie. They are anything but predictable and even though they are detached from most of Sarah's work, they provide some of the darkest twists on the side of the main story. Last season, ancillary clone Krystal became a treasure trove for funny moments and now she's somewhat debriefed on (parts of) the truth and her role should grow this season.
How will the murdering suburbanites Alison and Donnie surprise us this year? Can they remain on the sidelines for yet another season? Can they keep out of jail? Or will they finally get deep into the game? How will supreme hacker M.K. wreak havoc and who will she help? What truth will well-manicured Krystal stumble onto? Have we seen the last of the transgender clone, Tony Sawicki?
And then there were two ...
Male Castor clones, that is. All of the Castors (portrayed by Ari Millen) died due to either a mental-degrading disease or some physical confrontation, except the obedient Ira, who has been with his adopted mother Susan Duncan on a remote frigid island, and the undercover Prolethean Mark who is still out there running around. Just because they're dwindling in numbers doesn't mean that their role will be minimal. Ira has laid his allegiances on the table but Mark continues to be a complete wild card.
Delphine is not dead
Evelyne Brochu took a vacation for most of Season 4 appearing in just two episodes (as she was away working on her other show X Company), but the fact is her character on Orphan Black is alive. Delphine was shot in the finale of Season 3 and we were all left wondering if she had truly died. As long as there's no funeral, no one's really dead on television right? (Well, okay, besides that fake funeral Felix threw for Sarah in Season 1 to fool Vic.)
Many fans and "Cophine" shippers kept faith alive throughout Season 4 and in the season finale, they were reunited after Cosima and Charlotte were rescued by a mysterious man and brought back to a Neolution camp where Cosima had been this whole time. Before her believed death, Cosima had trouble trusting Delphine and dumped her, but will the show's main love story have smooth sailing ahead now that Delphine is alive? Not likely.
Delphine is expected to appear in the Season 5 premiere and we will need explanations on where she's been and what she's been up to. Can she be trusted again? The producers have said that they will let Delphine and Cosima's relationship play through this final season, so we should have no shortage of the Cophine googly eyes in the lab.
Percival 'P.T.' Westmoreland walks among the living
The father of Neolution couldn't possibly be alive, right? After all, he did author his big book of Neolution in the late 1800s, but there he was among the breathing in the Season 4 finale. He figures to be the biggest ongoing and unfolding mystery in Season 5.
What were his motives and exact role in the history of synthetic biology? How deeply rooted was he in the works of his disciples like Susan and Ethan Duncan, Dr. Leekie and Dyad Institute, Dr. Alan Nealon, Evie Cho and Brightborn Technologies, and even the tailed transgenics like the late Olivier Duvall and his bodyguard Astrid?
Has he been in the shadows of all of these people's actions? What will he do now that he's finally come face-to-face with the products of his life's work? How will he work side-by-side with Rachel? And hey, how is it possible that he still lives and has outlived nearly all of his emboldened followers?
Rachel is the big bad clone again
The CEO of the Dyad Institute avoided an assassination attempt by Helena and managed to survive a pencil shot into her eye by Sarah and a tumultuous childhood by the Duncans and Dr. Leekie. After being reunited with her mother Susan Duncan, Rachel apparently turned the corner, even working to [gulp] help Sarah and the other clones.
But we knew it wouldn't last and in a bold power move in the Season 4 finale, Rachel turned the corner again to literally wrestle control of Neolution away from her mother. Presumably using the work of Dyad (cloning) and Brightborn (maggot-bots) at her disposal, what will be her contribution to Neolution's long history? Will she introduce some new technology? Rachel still has a superiority complex when it comes to her fellow sestras, so what will she hold over them to show she's in charge? And knowing that Kira is special, and how will Rachel exploit that?
The Mystery of Kira and Cal
The Kira subplot has been deep underground for too long but she is obviously special. She can sense when there are other clones around and has an unexplainable bond between her mother Sarah and "aunties." But that can't be the extent of her abilities, can it? She is getting older after all and whatever gifts she has only get stronger with age. Her story has taken the back seat but has been on our minds since the end of Season 1, but that cannot be the case any more. It looks like we will finally see Kira and what her ultimate role will be in this entire ordeal.
Which leads us to think, why does Kira have them and none of the other clones exhibit similar traits? Maybe Cal is the key to her special abilities ... and if so, what's his deal? If we're playing the genetic game, he has to contribute genes to Kira too ... and, say, where has he been hiding? This is more of a series ending question, but will Kira live happily ever after with Cal and Sarah?
The fate of Helena and her bay-bays
It's true, Kira's the only child born from a clone, but Ukranian assassin clone Helena has twins cooking in the oven. While working for the Prolethean religious cult, who believed that cloning should only be done under God's name, Helena gets impregnated and eventually escapes their clutches. After a horrendous upbringing and taking out clone after clone, she ran into Sarah and Kira, who eventually win her over. She spends time with Sarah being prisoners of the military and under the experimentation of Dr. Coady.
More recently, Helena received safe cover by the Hendrixes, who have opened their home to her ... and in turn she has saved their lives on a few occasions. But with babies on the way, those interested in her ability to give birth draws more eyes on her upcoming delivery. Helena deserves some happiness in her life but one wonders if she will survive the pregnancy or if the babies will see the light of day. In the balance of grief and hope, if her babies are destined to be the survivors, who will not make it to the end?
And with that last grim thought we leave you as we head into the Season 5 premiere. Is there anything else you can think of to ponder before the final season starts? Leave your thoughts below in the comments ... or perhaps you want a preview of what's to come first?
Well, as Felix would say, just to be cheeky, here's Season 5 in under 60 seconds. See what you can spot, if you dare.