Orphan Black's series finale is an ending and a new beginning

Contributed by
Aug 12, 2017

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen "To Right the Wrongs of Mary" or don't want to know what happened, turn away now. Or, y'know, go watch and come back so we can talk about it.

It's over. Five seasons. 50 episodes. One of the most fascinating, intricate, thrilling, emotional, and brilliant television shows we've ever seen ended tonight, and I don't think we'll ever see another show like it. Recapping this show has been one heck of an emotional roller coaster, I can tell ya.

But I'll tell you something, it's hard for me to know where to begin, exactly. Maybe at the end this time, because while it's hard to say goodbye, I can't think of a better way to do that than the core four together, safe, and finally allowed to live their lives freely and any way they choose.

It took major sacrifices from all involved, and we lost some along the way, but nothing ever felt gratuitous or cheap or forced. What happened needed to happen in one way or another, even when it was heartbreaking. In this case, the ends did justify the means, and dues have certainly been paid.

The finale starts before the beginning, with Sarah and Siobhan in front of a clinic and in the middle of one of the most important conversations any expectant mother can face. The conversation continues throughout the episode, and so many events come back to this one day, the day Sarah chose to have her baby. Without Kira, there's no reason for Sarah to come back to see S. There's no fight. There's no angry trip to the subway, and there's no fateful meeting with Beth Childs. 

More directly, it's the moment that Sarah Manning became the protector we know her to be and, by extension, became the lioness who will protect her family at all costs.

From there, we're right back to the defunct wing at Dyad with Helena in labor and both she and Sarah being hunted. What follows is a tense and bloody fight that pits Helena against Virginia Coady and Sarah against Westmoreland. 

Virginia survived the beating Helena gave her, but she's all out of niceties, and her real darkness comes out in the shadows on that basement. Convinced she's finally won, she lets herself get wrapped up in her vitriolic triumph and ends up caught off guard one final time. I don't think anyone will shed a tear for her loss.

I also don't think anyone will be upset when I say, screw you P.T. fake AF Westmoreland. You were the last to die, but watching you fall apart in these last weeks and seeing control slip through your fingers was glorious. Sarah beat you. You were killed by your own creation. You made human miracles and, instead of letting that be your legacy, you used them in an attempt to live forever. 



However, the real meat of this episode is all about beginnings, starting with the birth of Helena's twins –– two healthy baby boys. Boys! Who saw that coming? Speaking of twins, the revelation that Helena and Sarah were the only twins of all of the Ledas and there they were bringing the boys into the world together is poetic, right?

Helena has taken up residence in Allison and Donnie's garage (good thing the bodies are gone), and she's raising her twins Orange and Purple (how completely Helena) in her own inimitable style and with the help of both of the Hendrixes.

Allison and Donnie have also found their new rhythm (nice striptease), and Donnie has a new job as an architect ("pouring concrete floors"). Allison's still prone to bouts of stress about planning, but her artistic transformation seems to be holding nicely. I'm sure many fans are glad to see those two happy and back with Gemma and Oscar as Bailey Downs' most interesting family.

Cosima is right back to her research with Delphine, Scott, and Art. Thanks to Rachel, we know there's a total of 274 clones. The work Delphine and Cosima have done through five seasons has led to a cure for those 274 clones, and there's something so Cophine about the idea of those two traveling the world curing Ledas one clone at a time. 

If there's one clone I thought would die before this was all over, it's Rachel. But Rachel gets to live and deal with all of the fallout from choices she made. Rachel being the one to provide the Leda info is just one step in making amends, and there's no real indication that she'll ever be welcomed by her sisters, but I like that she made it out alive. Maybe she'll finally find some sort of peace.

It's fitting that the first clone we ever met is having the hardest time adjusting. Sarah has lost Siobhan, and by extension she's rudderless. As independent as she is, and as much as she and S battled, Sarah needed S and has nothing to hold on to. Sarah's always been one to go it alone. To leave when things get too hard. To deny her own feelings. She's able to look out for everyone else, and she's willing to put her life on the line, but when it comes to just being with herself, that's something else entirely.

All of this leads to what's made Orphan Black so compelling from the start: a found family. Sarah, Cosima, Allison, and Helena were created by science, but they found each other and they chose each other. In what I think is the best multiple clone scene to date, Sarah finds the freedom to be honest about her pain surrounded by her Sestras, Felix included. The entire scene is a perfect representation of what Orphan Black is at its heart, and I have yet to get through it without ugly crying. We also get to hear some of Helena's memoir and finally learn how Orphan Black got its name.

In the end, everyone finds their own version of happiness, even Sarah. Some might consider it unrealistic or too neat, but there's been a whole lot of messy over the last 5 years, and it's about time this family got to enjoy being a family.

Speaking of family, the cast and crew of Orphan Black want to say thank you to Clone Club for all the support over the years.

Thanks for joining me for this season of Orphan Black. It's been a pleasure and an honor. I'll see you at Clone Club.

Top stories
Top stories

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: