The BBC America series Orphan Black has quickly risen in …
Given the inconsistency of Orphan Black season three, it was easy to fear last week’s moving installment would be a blip in an otherwise unremarkable season. Thankfully, “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” builds on the strengths of its predecessor, continuing its character-based approach and efforts to tie as many threads as possible into the central narrative of the season, Project Castor’s conflict with Sarah and the rest of Clone Club.
After four episodes bogged down with disparate strands and far more plot than character, “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” pares down the narrative and in doing so, delivers by far the best episode of season three. It’s no coincidence this upsurge in energy comes the week Alison, Donnie, and their new drug business stay on the bench; with the exception of Cosima’s C storyline, every scene contributes directly to the main thrust of the season and by the end of the episode, even the most seemingly superfluous corners of the show—again, besides Hendrix Pharmaceuticals—gain relevance.
The season two finale of Orphan Black took a big risk in introducing male clones, theoretically opening up the world and giving star Tatiana Maslany a slightly lessened load moving forward. Maslany’s towering performance has made the series must watch television, for genre fans at the very least, and the prospect of watching another actor explore and embody multiple personas should be exciting. Unfortunately despite a few interesting developments, “The Weight of this Combination” is ultimately disappointing thanks to its mishandling of Project Castor and Ari Millen’s reintroduction to the series as a far more prominent figure.