Farewell Orphan Black. Overall I still hold you up as the best thing I ever saw. You gave me multiple complex, interesting women, women that I didn’t necessarily like but that I always wanted to know more about, women that I loved and that I was anguished would die, women that were the villains who - however impossibly - you made rounded and redeemed.
In a culture and a medium where we always see the woman’s body sexualised we did see some of that, but nearly every man’s body was seen as a sexual object, complete with naked backsides which is as far as TV broadcast laws let you go. I don’t have a particular desire for see male nudity, it’s more the principle of the thing. TV and film for adults should involve sex, straight sex, gay sex or whatever, but it shouldn’t only be the female form we see naked - men take their clothes off for sex too after all.
Thank you for covering just about all the bases of the LGBT+ and covering most of them so gloriously. In a year when so many shows insisted on burying their gays, you played with another trope and showed they’re not dead until you’ve seen the body works supremely well.
While no show is perfect, and everyone will have their favourite and least favourite story arcs and seasons as is right and proper, I was never unwilling to enter the world of ‘my’ sestras and see what the clones were up to. I anticipated each season and each show, and for the first time I avoided my social media until I could catch up with the episode to avoid spoilers and gifs. I do that for one other show now, despite getting spoilers and gifs from several shows I watch, perhaps it’s not unrelated that it’s another show with multiple strong, complex female characters front and centre.
Although I’m old, Orphan Black was the first show where I was aware of such an interaction between the fans and the cast and crew. Other shows have gone beyond it now, as social media has exploded in more ways then we ever expected even only four years ago, but Orphan Black embraced #CloneClub as much as the fans embraced the show.
I’m normally arguing against the idea that TV is art, it’s a media form and it’s part of our culture and entertainment but art is something different. I don’t think that is a hugely highbrow argument, fundamentally, but in the end the difference between art and entertainment is that art is enduring while entertainment is fleeting and of its time. Undoubtedly the science and technology of Orphan Black will date but the story of the women, the relationships, the abuse of power and so on that we have here has the potential to be timeless and to endure. Orphan Black might just be one of those shows that breaks through and should be counted as art.
On Saturday I wasn’t ready for the series finale. I didn’t know how I would cope with the likely events of the episode - several characters were seriously in danger and it’s a series finale, they can all die without on-going consequences after all - and saying goodbye to the series as well. The episode was far from what I expected and it left me totally at peace. Sarah smashed the patriarchy in its rotten head. Helena stabbed the patriarchy’s lackey with a screwdriver. The clones had a chill session and chatted. Rachel gave them a list of all the Leda clones in the world and Cosima and Delphine went off to save them all, Cosima teasing Delphine when every one who wasn’t totally straight hit on her. Helena named her babies after two of the most courageous warriors she’d met: Arthur and Donnie. And I’m crying again just thinking of it. Even Sarah came to find peace and finally stop running. I don’t always like “…and they all lived happily ever after” as an ending but it was just perfect for the Leda clones.
Thank you, thank you all for the tears, the heartache, the joy and the sheer brilliance of the little show that could.
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