This post contains spoilers for the first season of Orphan Black, and includes speculation on Season 2.
The gripping, edgy, mind-bending, wild, funny, unpredictable, exciting Orphan Black is primed for its new season. Debuting on April 19 on BBC America, the early buzz on this new season promises to make the jaw-dropping season one look like a Disney adventure. Or as actress Maria Doyle Kennedy, who plays the infamous and indomitable foster mom, Mrs. S., put it to Entertainment Weekly Radio, “Season 2 is like Season 1 on crack.” You can hear her entire interview on the Inside TV podcast.
Where did we leave off?
When last we left Sarah and Beth and Katja and Alison and Cosima and Helena and Rachel, all living clones were at a cataclysmic juncture. Alison had watched her frenemy Aynsley choke to death in the kitchen without giving aid then signed her life and her family over to the dubious “protection” of the nefarious Dyad Institute before reconciling with her estranged husband Donnie, only for the audience to see Donnie meet the dodgy Doctor Leekie and prove once and for all that he’s been Alison’s Dyad Institute monitor all this while. Cosima has reconciled with Dyad spy Delphine and together the two scientists have unearthed a patent woven into the clone’s DNA, which confirms beyond a doubt that the clones are considered property, not humans with inalienable rights. She warns Sarah in time to keep her from capitulating to pro-clone Rachel’s demands while caught up in the emotional upheaval following Sarah’s killing of her troubled, murderous clone and actual blood sister, Helena. Cosima has also realized she’s contracted the same blood disease that was killing clone Katja before clone Helena killed Katja more directly with a shot to the head.
Helena is dead. Or is she? If the Dyad Institute could clone her once, what’s stopping them from cloning her again? Long live Helena.
At the end of Season 1, Sarah is facing her deepest fear: the loss of her child, Kira, who, along with Mrs. S., has mysteriously disappeared right after Sarah walked out Rachel’s deal. Did Dyad Institute minions take the child? Mrs. S.’s house does show signs of a violent struggle. Or perhaps Mrs. S. has whisked Kira away before they could be grabbed? We know now that Mrs. S. has murky ties to the Dyad Institute from before her activist past and that she was involved in an Underground Railroad that smuggled kids out of bad situations and into better homes. One of these kids was a young Sarah. Now that Sarah’s birth mother has (sort of) revealed Mrs. S.’s involvement, will Sarah trust her as she has before? Add to that the fact that Sarah’s impersonation of Beth has finally been discovered by Beth’s cop partner Art and his current partner, Angela DeAngelis. They’ve already uncovered Alison’s existence and location after Sarah was briefly arrested and are well on their way to uncovering the whole Clone Club Conspiracy.
Fee and Paul.
At season’s end, Sarah’s men were left in a holding pattern. Fee was off presumably doing Fee things while Cosima and Delphine worked their science stuff in his loft. Paul seemed to have defaulted to Doctor Leekie’s camp but proved he was forever Team Sarah when he finally revealed the friendly-fire incident that left him to accidentally kill his own men, leaving him vulnerable to Doctor Leekie and the Dyad Institute’s blackmail. The empty elevator reveal included an absent Paul. Is he on the run with Sarah? That remains to be seen. But don’t count Paul and his Batman voice out yet.
What do we know about Season 2?
Well, pretty much nothing. The cone of silence around Season 2 production of Orphan Black is nigh impenetrable. But as the premiere approaches, press has begun for the new season and a few tidbits have been allowed to leak out. (For more teasers, visit Orphan Black's official Instagram page, which is being updated daily.)
It starts where it ended. Season 2 will pick up right where Season 1 left off, with Sarah searching for Kira and on the run from the Dyad Institute folks and pro-clone Rachel while also being hunted by the police.
Will there be new clones?: “We haven’t said how many are out there. It’s not a Clone of the Week show,” executive producer and co-creator Graham Manson said at the Orphan Black panel held during the Television Critics Association (TCA) convention in January. Even so, “We love our wacky little clone show,” said co-creator John Fawcett to an enraptured room of fans at last year’s Comic Con, “and we love our clones. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if we unveiled a couple new clones in Season 2.” That said, they discuss all potential new clones with Maslany first and fully develop those characters before they’re introduced to the show.
War: Open war has been declared between Sarah and pro-clone Rachel. With Alison now signed up on the other team (albeit without knowing all that entails for her and her family) and Cosima betrayed by the science she reveres, Sarah and Rachel will essentially battle for the soul of the Clone Club. This will include another unsuccessful attempt on Rachel’s part to get Sarah to sign her life over to the Dyad Institute and at one point her recruiting Paul for help.
The clone disease: Cosima’s disease will have a “heart-breaking” effect according to Manson at the TCAs. Her illness will force her to face her own mortality as she seeks its source…and gets closer to the Dyad Institute in her search for a cure. “When she looks at her own science, she looks at the health of all her sisters too,” Fawcett said at the Comic Con panel. Manson recently told TV Guide Cosima and Delphine’s relationship will continue, but not go smoothly. “That Cosima-and-Delphine relationship is as complex as ever. It stays romantic and stays scientific, but there's a lot of gamesmanship going on.“
Fee will get his own journey:
Up till now, Fee has been pulled along in Sarah’s journey of discovery. Word is, Season 2 will see more of Fee life’s independent of Sarah’s ongoing drama, as he claims his own identity within the show’s paradigm…and perhaps is more directly impacted by her fallout. At the TCAs, Jordan Gavaris teased that Fee and Sarah’s relationship will be much rockier in Season 2. “There will be many tough decisions to be made.”
Alison’s guilt. Allowing Aynsley to die will eat away at Alison as the season progresses and she faces the consequences of her actions…or not. And it’s not like she was so well wrapped to begin with, so…
A new player at the Dyad Institute: Michelle Forbes, lately of The Killing and True Blood, has been added to the cast as a powerful new Dyad Institute overseer who as a particular perspective on the war between Sarah and Rachel.
The patent particulars: In July 2013, just as Graham and Fawcett were writing Season 2, the Supreme Court handed down a critical decision against patenting human DNA. “It’s always cool when you hit some kind of zeitgeist, when the world is reflected in your show,” Manson shared with the fans at Comic Com. At that time, Manson also said that the show would be addressing this ruling thematically. “The synthetic aspect leaves it open to interpretation of ‘What is synthetic?’ We are going to be looking at the issue of the patents and how much legal space there is around that. I find that thematically interesting and quite ominous as well.”
The chapter titles: Chapter titles for Season 1 were chosen from passages of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species. In the same theme, Season 2 chapter titles will originate from Sir Francis Bacon’s work as the first episode title, “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed” originates in Bacon’s Plan of the Work. Helpfully, Huffington Post Canada has located the exact passage.
Next, with regard to the mass and composition of it: I mean it to be a history not only of nature free and at large (when she is left to her own course and does her work her own way),—such as that of the heavenly bodies, meteors, earth and sea, minerals, plants, animals, —but much more of nature under constraint and vexed; that is to say, when by art and the hand of man she is forced out of her natural state, and squeezed and moulded. Therefore I set down at length all experiments of the mechanical arts, of the operative part of the liberal arts, of the many crafts which have not yet grown into arts properly so called, so far as I have been able to examine them and as they conduce to the end in view. Nay (to say the plain truth) I do in fact (low and vulgar as men may think it) could more upon this part both for helps and safeguards than upon the other; seeing that the nature of things betrays itself more readily under the vexations of art than in its natural freedom.
Are you ready for the return of the Clone Club? What do you hope to see in Season 2? What have you missed most during the long hiatus? To the comments!
In the videos embedded below, watch the Season 2 trailer, the entire Orphan Black Comic Con panel, and a clip from Nerd HQ’s panel where you can hear Jordan Gavaris (Fee) demonstrate his impressive singing chops. (You can find the full Nerd HQ panel on YouTube in six parts.)
Need to catch up? Season 1 of Orphan Black is available on DVD and Blu-ray as well as to download and on demand from BBCAmerica. We’ve got you covered here at Heroes and Heartbreakers too: Delve into the recaps for Season 1 and remember all the particulars that make Orphan Black the show to watch.
Orphan Black Season 2 debuts on April 19 at 9 E.T. on BBC America in the U.S. and Space in Canada.