I will admit that Orphan Black was not on my radar of shows to watch this mid-season. I became intrigued with this show after I attended the cast Q&A panel at Comic Con Toronto 2013 held earlier this month. The cast was quite affable and it did make me at least want to check out the first episode.
The show opens up with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), a young British woman, arriving back into Toronto. While waiting on the train platform, she on the phone with her foster brother, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), talking to him about wanting to see her daughter that she left behind one year ago. While on the phone, she observes a distraught young woman and after finishing her conversation with Felix, Sarah approaches the young woman and sees that she looks exactly like her. But before she could speak to her, this woman jumps in front of the train (that looks like Toronto’s GO Train carts) and is killed. In the aftermath, Sarah steals her purse and rummages around it, stealing some cash and pretty goes and crashes at this dead woman place, whom we learn her name is Elizabeth or Beth Childs.
Sarah goes to Beth’s condo and looks through her things and learns that she has a $75,000 savings account. She comes up with the idea to steal her identity and gets her foster brother to claim Beth’s dead body as her own. Because Sarah is running away from her drug dealer boyfriend and she wants to use Beth’s money to help care for her young daughter. Sarah also takes a peek at Beth’s safety deposit box and finds several birth certificates for different women, whose birth date is a month off from Sarah’s.
But Beth’s life is not as uncomplicated as Sarah would hope. It turns out Beth is a cop, who is has been placed on suspension for shooting a civilian. She is under the care of a psychiatrist and has been taking medication.
Sarah’s instinct is to run and just when she is about to, Beth’s live-in boyfriend comes home early from a business trip. The boyfriend, Paul (Dylan Bruce), notices something different about Beth but before he can press any further, Sarah kisses Paul and the two proceed to have sex.
The morning after, Sarah leaves and manages to take out most of the $75,000. As she goes to Felix’s loft, Beth’s partner, who has followed Sarah, breaks into Beth’s car and discovers the cash. While at Felix’s loft, she discovers that her foster brother is holding a wake for her, in part at the request of her grieving boyfriend, VIc (Michael Mando).
Sarah watches from afar and then sees her foster mother, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy), who has brought Sarah’s daughter, Keira. Sarah becomes distraught at the fact that now her daughter thinks she is dead, something she didn’t want. As she returns to Beth’s car, a young German woman enters her. This young woman is Katiya (she was one of the birth certificates that was in Beth’s safety deposit box) and she too looks just like Sarah. Katiya, who thinks she is Beth, keeps on asking about a scientist that Beth was supposed to meet with. Sarah starts getting scared and doesn’t answer any of Katiya’s questions. When Sarah tries to leave, Katiya jumps into the car but before any more questions could be answered, Katiya is shot and killed. Another shot rings but it misses Sarah. Sarah manages to get away and the episode ends as she receives a phone call on the other cell phone that Beth was carrying and Katiya was also carrying.
At the end of the episode, Sarah doesn’t know that she is a clone and I think we as an audience don’t know either but going into this show, I knew that but maybe part of the journey of this show is we discover this fact along with Sarah.
One of the things that Jordan Gavaris said that the one thing he hopes people will ask after the first episode airs is “where is this show going to go?” Well, I am not quite sure that I care where this show will go. Right now, Sarah is not a very sympathetic character and neither is Felix nor Vic. All three characters that got the spotlight were selfish and I thought why should I care about you. And Beth too seems shrouded in a mystery that I am not sure that I care about either.
But I will admit that Maslany is good as Sarah and pulls off playing the different characters well and differentiates them well beyond the different accents or hairstyles.
And Gavaris, who was funny and charming during the Comic Con Toronto 2013 panel, was good as Felix too but at times was a bit tad over the top in Felix’s eccentricities.
I will give this show one more episode to delve deeper into its mythology/mysteries/conspiracies to see if can get into this and care about the characters and hopefully I will.