One of the most inventive and engaging sci-fi shows in recent memory is BBC America’s Orphan Black, the clone drama that manages to be equal parts fantastical and plausible. The premise—protagonist Sarah Manning learns that she’s a clone, that there are many just like her, and that someone is picking them off one by one—leads to some intriguing plot twists and to virtuoso acting by Tatiana Maslany, who plays numerous different iterations of herself (and finally snagged a SAG award nomination for her efforts). Now we’re learning more about what’s in store for season 3 via a still and an interview with series co-creator Graeme Manson.
In case your short-term memory isn’t what it used to be (it happens to the best of us), here’s where we left the clone club at the end of season 2 (major SPOILERS ahead if you’re not caught up).
The big revelation is the existence of “Project Castor,” the yin to the Project Leda yang. The latter refers to the female-cloning project that produced and then compromised the lives of Sarah and the rest, both in terms of generating conspiracy and being unable to avoid the real-life pitfalls of cloning—namely, seriously health problems. The focus on the women has been a huge strength of the show. The clones are all their own unique characters, but they all kick ass in different ways, whether it’s by beating the crap out of someone, by outsmarting the enemy, or by demonstrating the most enjoyable and hilarious suburban housewife existential crisis in history. The reveal of Project Castor, then, promises to turn the show upside down, especially with regards to the focus on girl power.
Still, Leda in the myth did have two sets of twins, both of which were male and female. Thus, all this time, there was a male clone program, and Prolethan Mark is one of them. The male clones seem to be somehow connected to the military, which may balance out the females’ ties to Dyad and the medical industry—both clone genders struggle under the weight of forces much larger than themselves.
In the season 2 finale, we also learn of an eight-year-old girl—the “daughter” of Marion Bowles (Michelle Forbes, who will undoubtedly be a big player in season 3) cloned from Sarah’s DNA, the result of 400 tries to make more. The season ends when Sarah surrenders to Dyad because they’ve kidnapped her daughter Kira.
So now that we’re caught up, the reveals about season 3 will make a lot more sense. The picture above, published in Entertainment Weekly, shows Sarah and Project Castor clone Mark (Ari Millen) having a face-to-face interaction. One can only imagine that in this scene, they’re learning not just about the existence of one another, but about so much more, especially given that Mark was involved in capturing Helena last season, and thus knows about the female clones—but he may not know how many of them there are, who made them, etc.
Graeme Manson says that there’s no time gap in between the close of season 2 and the start of season 3, so the characters will pick up right where we left off. Manson also says Mark isn’t the only male clone we’ll meet the season, but wouldn’t confirm whether or not any new female clones would come of the woodwork. In an interview, he raises the same question viewers are likely asking: what effect will the male clones and Project Castor have on the female clones and their relationship with one another? Manson insists :
[T]his does remain [Sarah Manning and her sisters’] story. So is the threat that these guys pose—will it bring them together or will it break the bonds? They are definite pressure, and within the season again, Sarah is the lynchpin. So whatever more she understands about these Castor boys, she understands more about herself and her sisters and their origin story…We want that audience to be taking that journey with Sarah, throughout the whole series.
Season 3 starts in the spring. Here’s a little something to make the wait more bearable.
Orphan Black S02 Finale Dance Party scene from justwarmingup on Vimeo.