‘Orphan Black’ Season 5 Finale Review: The Tale of Many Sestras

Orphan Black finale 11

Leave it to Tatiana Maslany to do a scene in which one of her clones helps the other give birth to twins and have you never doubt for a second you’re watching two separate, distinct characters. Hell, they probably could have superimposed her face onto each of the twins and I wouldn’t have blinked. She’s just that convincing.

Later on in the affecting series finale, “To Right the Wrongs of Many,” we get a scene featuring most of the core clone characters lying back and having the rare unguarded moment to themselves- Sarah, Cosima, Helena, and Alison- while Rachel, ever the outsider, lurks on the fringes, and it’s done in such a laid back, un-fussy way that, once again, you never forget these are all well-thought-out, individual personalities, despite being all portrayed by one incredibly talented actress.

Orphan Black finale 3

I mean, alright, it’s no clone dance party, but they’ve been there, done that. (We did get a solo dance break from Donnie to make up for it, so there was that, lol.) No need for an encore this time around. These girls have earned their right to take a break, and so has Maslany, for that matter. One can only guess what she’ll do next, but I certainly wouldn’t blame her for taking a break from something this complicated her own damn self. Maybe a nice, unassuming rom-com?

Orphan Black finale 7

For that matter, the sky’s the limit, really. Is there anything this girl can’t do? Hell, at one point in the series, she convincingly portrayed Tony, a transgender clone. Why stop there? Get this girl a “Mission Impossible”-style action flick where she flits from one persona to the next, stat! Or maybe she can even portray James McAvoy’s multiple personality-palooza character Kevin’s similarly divided love interest in the “Split” sequel. Why not?

Orphan Black finale 4

As for the finale itself, it was reasonably satisfying. After a tense, action-packed first half, in which all main foes were roundly defeated- though not without some effort, of course (both P.T. Westmorland and Dr. Virginia Coady took a licking and kept on ticking for an inordinate amount of time before finally being vanquished for good)- we got a muted, unhurried second half in which we got a sense of where the girls were headed next.

Orphan Black finale 9

Cosima and Delphine continued to work together, to hunt down the remainder of the clones, of which there were many, to deliver the cure to all of them (274!), without them even quite knowing what was going on, with a sly assist from Rachel, who provided them with the names on the down-low, with Felix as a go-between. We even got one last “new” clone persona, just for good measure, in the Spanish-speaking Camilla Torres, as the two girls made their way across the globe. (Camilla even hit on Delphine, as Cosima laid low just out of the room, listening, in a nice, amusing touch.)

Orphan Black finale 2

While Sarah was still a bit on the troubled side- nothing new there- skipping out on taking her GED when she spotted how much younger the others taking the test were, for the most part, there was a distinct sense of a well-earned happily ever after for the girls, with a lovely bow put upon the entire affair as we caught a glimpse, as well as a sound bite, of Helena’s much-beloved journal, which, as we saw, gave meaning to the show’s very title.

Orphan Black finale 12

Although, the show couldn’t help dodging even that a little, as one of the girls asked: “Orphan Black? What does that mean?” and never having Helena really answer it. Got to leave a little mystery, even on the series’ finale, I suppose. It just wouldn’t be “Orphan Black,” otherwise, right? (For the record, I believe it has something to do with the fact that Sarah and Felix were orphans in danger of being sold on the black market, which is why Mrs. S. smuggled them out of the country in the first place.)

Orphan Black finale 8

That said, the finale was essentially pitch-perfect and just right, despite the rest of the season being a bit frenzied and overpacked- “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” we hardly knew ye. I did like that all of the main personas got an episode that focused on each of them, even Krystal, filling in the blanks on some of their often-elaborate back-stories. Helena’s, as one might expect, was the most involved and illuminating, and, as such, they saved hers for last, and it was well-worth the wait.

Orphan Black finale

The final season wasn’t perfect, to be sure- indeed, I’d say the same for the last two seasons in general- but overall, I’d say the show course-corrected just enough towards the end to be generally satisfying, making for an emotional, affecting finale, if a bit reserved in the end. After all these girls have been through, though, I’d say that they’re justified in taking it easy from here on out, Cosima’s temporary globe-trotting notwithstanding.

Orphan Black finale 13

I did love the brief scenes that opened and book-ended the birth scene, in which Siobhan was shown, helping Sarah decide whether or not to go through with giving birth to her daughter Kira. Of course, we already knew the outcome of that, but it was still nice to see Mrs. S. again, even if she hasn’t been gone all that long, and it was a nice touch, having Sarah’s relatively docile birth juxtaposed with Helena’s decidedly more taxing one, in a nasty, industrial basement on a sheet of cardboard boxes on a concrete floor. She’s tough as nails, that Helena.

Orphan Black finale 10

I also liked how the show deftly showed the lie to Dr. Coady’s claim that Helena was an unfit mother- her ways might be a bit primitive, what with her ad-hoc baby hammocks and the like, but look at the way she was brought up. Oh, she wasn’t perfect by any means- at one point, the show made reference to the fact that Helena let the kids eat whatever they put their hands on, including (eek) poop! But a bad (or should I say sh*t, given the aforementioned reference) mother she was not. Take that, Dr. Coady!

Orphan Black finale 6

Fittingly, the show ended on a ray of sunlight flooding into the house Sarah decided to keep after all, after contemplating a move earlier in the episode, given what went down there with Mrs. S. and Ferdinand. Nothing a bunch of well-placed photographs and Felix artwork couldn’t fix, as it turned out. Well, that, and a little hope for the future, for once.

All in all, a pretty solid finale, perhaps the best we could have hoped for, after the erratic season that preceded it. I can live with that. Besides, it’s all about the journey, not the destination, and this was one hell of a ride, every step of the way.

Orphan Black finale 5

Thank you, John Fawcett (who also directed the finale) and Graeme Manson and all of the other writers who developed the show, and in particular, Tatiana Maslany, who, more than anyone else, helped bring it to life in such a spectacular fashion. She truly deserves all of the awards, and if there isn’t an Oscar in her future, I don’t know if there’s justice in the world.

Let me know what you thought of the finale, and the final season in general, down below, and thanks for reading!