The Final Trip: Orphan Black 5.01: “The Few Who Dare”

Yes, I know I’m behind on my Orphan Black Rewatch, but I do intend to finish it. While the original intention had been to finish rewatching the series in time for the season five premiere, I think it’ll be just as fun to watch the final season, go back and finish my rewatch, and then cap it off with a rewatch of the final season.

Can you believe those words? The final season? I think I’m one of the few people who gets legitimately excited when creators announce an end to their series. It’s not a cancellation, it’s a choice. It’s a chance for the writers to tell the story they want to tell on their own terms, in the time they know they have left. While that time may not always be used wisely, you know you’re going to get the ending the writers intended, not one that was forced upon them because the network decided on a cancellation.

So I’m excited. I can’t wait to see what John Fawcett and Graeme Manson have in store for us. I can’t wait to see Tatiana Maslany’s final performances as Sarah, Cosima, Allison, Helena, Rachel, and who knows how many other clones? It’s time for the final trip, and to celebrate, I’m going to post my reactions to each episode from week to week. Those reactions will be posted the Friday after the new episode airs the Saturday before, giving you, the viewer, nearly a full week to watch, because not all of us can watch the show live. I know I’m watching my episodes on iTunes as soon as I’m able.

It should go without saying, but there will be spoilers for the entire series to date, but I will not comment on any episodes that haven’t aired yet (obviously).

Now, are you ready to embark on the final trip?

While it’s been months and months since season four ended, it sure as hell ended in a dark place, in a rather The Empire Strikes Back kind of way. Our favorite clones are scattered and bloody, with Rachel rising to the top after embracing her cruel and violent tendencies. The scene I haven’t forgotten was Sarah Manning lying bloody and broken on that Neolution Beach, alone in the dark, with no way out.

Season 5 picks up there.

I can’t do recaps. They’re just way too time-consuming, and I’d much rather focus on the squee of the episode and my own immediate thoughts rather than re-telling every single detail of an episode you’ve already watched. And if you haven’t watched it yet, why are you here? Go watch it already, and if you aren’t caught up, go catch up, watch it, and meet me back here to squee!

  • I always love how resourceful Sarah is. “The Few Who Dare” turns her into one of my favorite childhood heroes as she MacGyvers her way to Cosima with 2% battery on her cell phone, a tampon, a book of matches, a picture of Kira, a pocket knife, and the clothes on her back. I have to say, using a tampon as a bandage? So logical, and so genius.
  • When she’s attacked at the fire, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Others on Lost, which, combined with the fact we’re on a strange island with a strange community led by a mysterious, not-seen leader, well, let’s just say the parallels to one of my favorites shows are obvious. I have to wonder: is this “Other” a result of the fountain that keeps getting referred to? I kept thinking, “Oh, it’s the Fountain of Youth,” but that seems too obvious and magical, but then again, P.T. Westmorland just celebrated his 170th birthday, so who knows exactly what this fountain will be. Yet I won’t be surprised if this feral “Other” is a result of it. Perhaps an outlier, yes, but still a probable result. And yes, I know there may also be an answer in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, which has figured heavily in recent seasons, but since I haven’t read that book yet, I don’t want to speculate.
  • How freaking creepy is Rachel in this episode? By creepy, I mean she’s radiantly so! I’ve never seen her look so happy, which means I trust her even less. I was terrified she’d show her true colors when Cosima was administering the cure, but truthfully, I want that to be real. Sarah wouldn’t do it. She just wanted to get Cosima off the island and let real doctors handle it, but Cosima refused to leave because HERE BE ANSWERS, and then there wasn’t enough time to do what needed to be done (would Sarah have still refused? I hope not). But it’s a nice contrast to see Rachel, the business-mogul, be the one to do administer the cure, because we forget she was raised by Neolution, and she, too, is a scientist. When Cosima asks if Rachel knows what she’s doing, I wanted to say, “Of course she does.” It’s an amazing moment between those two, and I want it to be genuine. It makes Rachel more complex, and villains are always convinced they’re doing the right thing. And I truly believe that whatever happened when Rachel met P.T. Westmorland transcended everything she thought she knew. I think she truly wants to help her sisters. The question remains, is what Rachel wants the right thing in the end?
  • Speaking of Neolution, I loved Felix’s catty remark about consolidation, but I loved how this was addressed up front, and how everything seems to be taken up a notch. They may not be able to harm a hair on a clone’s head (and do we really believe this?), but what they can do to those they love? To Felix, to Donnie, to Art, to Mrs. S.? The possibilities are endless, and the people we’ve met so far bring a certain level of edge that has me concerned, though maybe that concern comes with the fact I know it’s the last season, and anything can and should happen at this point, so long as it grows organically out of the story we know.
  • “Follow the crazy science.” Either Delphine believes in whatever is happening here, or she believes she doesn’t have a choice. That she hides the cure from Westmorland’s people is telling (interestingly, Rachel does too when she has everyone leave her and Cosima alone). I hope sending Delphine away isn’t a way to write her out of the story completely. I’m sure we’ll see her before the series is over, but I hope it’s in more than simply flashbacks. Cosima and Delphine are the love story of this show, and I want to see where the show takes them (please, oh please don’t let it be tragic).

  • Fun fact: this season’s episode titles are from the poem “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Orphan Black science consultant and real-life Cosima talks to BBC America talks about this departure here and what the poem means to her, as well what what it stands for in this final season. I urge you to go read both the piece and the poem. Both are quite moving.

That’s a wrap for the season premiere! I hope to be back next Friday (June 23) with thoughts on 5.02, “Clutch of Greed,” which airs tomorrow, Saturday June 17th on BBC America at 10:00 pm, EST.

All images courtesy of BBC America.

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