I finished watching the ORPHAN BLACK series finale, “To Right the Wrongs of Many,” hours ago, and I’m only now sitting down to write this, because it’s taken me this long to process the end of what has been one of my favorite shows on television. I think perhaps I hoped that if I didn’t write this review, the show would just continue on. But, like every era of life, all must come to an end.
I’m just going to lay it all out there first and foremost by saying that the finale didn’t give us a lot of that typical Orphan Black action-hook that reels us in, but then again, how would you? It doesn’t quite feel in the vein of the usual episode and story structure because it’s a final end, and the show has never had that before.
Additionally, the finale didn’t take much risk in story choices, opting instead to do the more happily-ever-after ending. This of course, strayed away from Orphan Black’s typical high-risk, high-action, high-sacrafice approach, but it certainly will please any Clone Club fan who just wanted to see the sisters get some peace and happiness.
For me, personally, it felt like the episode was too short. I know it played for its typical hour, but the split structure – climax action for the first half, resolution drama for the second – left me thinking, “Wait, there’s more, right?” but that might be less of a critique on Orphan Black and more a note on my continued denial that the show is actually over.
It was really nice to see what the clones’ lives looked like without neolution hanging over their heads. The amount of editing that went into that baby shower party should be commended. All four of our favorite clones together, in the same shot – that scene must have taken ages. It was also nice to include flashbacks so that Mrs. S could still be part of the finale – her death still hurts.
Speaking of Mrs. S, while it totally makes sense that Sarah would only now, after the downfall of Neolution, be grieving her late adopted mother, the storyline felt a bit contrived. It felt more like a device to make sure there was something interesting to string along the last twenty minutes of the show, probably because it popped up pretty out of the blue and had to be resolved fairly quickly as well.
The action at the beginning, however, did not disappoint, though towards the end, I did wonder where all the guards went, seeing as Virginia had called for backup and no one had come. But, besides that, it was a pretty satisfying conclusion.
With Helena’s babies coming, Sarah and Helena must stop and take refuge in the boiler room. What luck that the sound of the boiler masks Helena’s cries as she deals with contractions. Sarah leaves Helena to look for medical supplies to help deliver the babies. While she’s gone, Virginia finds Helena, shortly before Art also finds Helena. Virginia, thinking she’s being smart by making Art give up his gun and forcing him to be Helena’s midwife – as Virginia doesn’t want to get too close to Helena in case she might try to kill her again (probably smart, as Helena has a screwdriver in her hand) is caught by surprise when Art and Helena fake her out, making her think something has gone terribly wrong with the birth. As she runs closer in panic to look, Helena kills her. Good riddance.
And speaking of good riddance, Sarah finds her way back to the operating room where Helena had been restrained, looking for medical supplies. She doesn’t find any, but she does find P.T. Westmoreland – or rather, he finds her. He’s weak from the blood loss of Sarah swiping him with a knife earlier, and he’s a bit crazy from the meth he had injected a short while earlier (why? I’m not sure, does meth have some weird medicinal benefits, or is he just insane?) but that doesn’t make him any less of a threat. Luckily, Sarah is an insanely good shot after five years of fighting Neolution, and in a climatic confrontation, she shoots him. In possibly the greatest scare of the entire show, he doesn’t die immediately, and Sarah has to fight him off, finally overpowering him and shoving his evil face in with an oxygen tank. Which, I will note, while the oxygen tank was much deserved, it did feel a little less sympathetic and more murder-y on Sarah’s part to kill him that way. Now if it were Helena, yes, but Sarah? It felt a little weird (but also satisfying) watching her do that.
With Westmoreland gone, Sarah returns to Art and Helena without any luck finding medical supplies, but luckily, Virginia had been carrying some with her, so Art and Sarah help Helena through giving birth to her two sons – though let’s be honest, in reality giving birth naturally to twins is rare, and also, those babies would be super premie, as Virginia had already mentioned they were a week ahead of the average time that women give birth to twins, and twins always come early because it’s usually physically impossible to carry them to full term. But reality aside, it was a very endearing scene between the two sisters, with flashbacks to Mrs. S helping Sarah through her own labor (still too soon, Mrs. S). With the babies safely delivered and Art, Helena, and Sarah feeling extremely relieved to have the tough part be over, we jump forward in time to the clones living happily Neolution-free. (Well, except Sarah, who is still coping with Mrs. S’s death.)
I would have liked to have seen the story come full circle, with Sarah getting her GED and passing police force training. But the scenes with the four sisters together, Delphine speaking Spanish to another clone they’ve cured, and Sarah and Felix and Kira living happily in Mrs. S’s house, were all really lovely, and really warm-and-fuzzy-feeling ways to wrap the show up. I like to think that later Sarah will become a cop, and maybe Art’s partner, but I’ll rest easy knowing that the orphans are all together, finally having found each other and built the family they never expected to have.
Season 5, Episode 10 (S05E10)
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10PM on BBC America
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
Keep up with all of Tasha’s reviews here.
Tasha Cerny | Contributor