The Final Trip: Orphan Black 5.10: “To Right the Wrongs of Many”

It’s over. There are no more episodes left.

Some people wait to watch a show until the series finale has aired because they want to see the whole thing start to finish. They want to watch at their own pace, rather than have that pace be dictated by the cable network’s release dates. But mostly, they want to know if the time spent watching is going to be worth it. Was it a good finale, or was it a bad finale? Are the fans of the show happy, or are the gnashing their teeth and wailing for all the wrong reasons?

No spoilers: it was a fantastic finale, a perfect endnote to the series. If you’ve been waiting to watch because you don’t know if it was worth it, let me tell you: it was. Have no fear in that regard.

For the rest of us, still absorbing those final moments, still absorbing our favorite characters’ journeys, let’s sit down and talk about Orphan Black’s series finale, “To Right the Wrongs of Many.”

Spoilers for the whole series, including the finale, below the poster. Because obviously.

I feel like I can breathe again. Unlike the previous weeks where I’ve been a nervous ball of tension wondering where Orphan Black was going to take our favorite characters and how the story was going to resolve, to the point where writing my reactions was just so damn hard, I watched the finale, and I was like, I can do this.

I’m so happy with how it ended.

Don’t get me wrong: personally, I would’ve loved at least a mention of Cal Morrison (Kira’s father). And I remembered Helena’s Jesse too! We didn’t get any of those in the finale, but as Graeme Manson pointed out in an exit interview, what’s more important for Sarah and Helena (and for all the clones)? That their endings be propped up by having their boyfriends? Or that their stories are focused on what’s most important, which is their families? Their sisters?

I think we all know the answer to that.

What makes the finale so freaking satisfying is that everyone is able to breathe. Everyone is able to achieve a new normal and a chance to build a life free of conspiracy and from being hunted. It’s a happy ending, but it’s also not, in that life is moving forward and there’s always going to be tough spots, because that’s what life is. But it’ll be a life without that war to fight, and that’s what they’ve been fighting for all along.

Which is why the focus on Sarah struggling to come to terms with her new normal was so spot-on, so real, and so heartbreaking. It’s also why I’m glad they didn’t bring Cal back in the end. She’s still dealing with the grief of losing Mrs. S and having to really be a mom now. Who is Sarah Manning without a war to fight? She’s lost, she’s sliding back into her old insecurities, and she wants to run even though it’s not good for anyone, not even her. My heart ached for her when she turned away from taking her GED, when she lied to her family at the baby shower, when she finally snapped at Alison about not wanting Kira to live in the same house where Mrs. S was shot. It spoke volumes, and watching her sit and drink a beer while staring into a fire pit could’ve gone so many ways, but it went exactly where it needed to: with her sisters coming out to support her. And when Sarah finally let her armor down and admitted her fears, I cried with her. I laughed as Alison shared her own story, when Helena shared hers, and when Cosima shared hers. Then Felix came in with Rachel’s gift: the full list of the 274 (!!!!) Leda clones from around the world, and Helena brought out her journal to share her story, which was a wonderful callout to the show, and it was just freaking awesome.

It didn’t stop there. It could have, and I would’ve been perfectly happy. But we get to see each clone a few months later: Helena, naming her twin baby boys after the two men who’d shown her kindness and support without demanding anything in return (Arthur and Donnie, yay!); Cosima and Delphine, traveling around the world to inoculate the remaining Ledas (and we got to meet yet another new clone, Camilla Torres, who I think was flirting with Delphine? And I kind of loved that when Camilla passed Cosima on the way out, she kind of paused and looked back, as if maybe she felt that connection); Alison is still practicing her music, and encouraging Donnie into impromptu strip teases post-workout (their marriage is made of WIN). Last, but not least, we find out that Sarah did NOT sell the house and run; instead, it’s been redecorated with Felix’s art, and he, Sarah, and Kira are headed out for a beach day. Everyone looks happy, and Sarah looks over her shoulder at the house as she’s closing the door to make sure everything’s in order. The camera pans out on the empty house and closes on a shot of the living room. And it’s over.

At first, I was confused by the final shot, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? When we first met Sarah, she was alone. She was a nomad. She was wanting to take her daughter and her brother and keeping running. Now, she has exactly what she wanted, but in a way she’s never imagined: she’s got sisters. She’s got nieces and nephews. She’s faced loss, yes, but now she really belongs somewhere.

She’s learning how to stay still. She has a home.

You’ll notice I’m not talking much about the end of the actual plot mechanics: Dr. Coady and Westmorland. The demise of both of those characters was utterly satisfying. I loved how Art and Helena teamed up to take Coady down, and I loved how Sarah’s final words to Westmorland were, “This is evolution,” followed by a very apt, “Oh, shut up!” as he tried to monologue his patriarchal and villainous thoughts into her head before she bashed his head in.

The real beauty of the final storyline was watching Sarah deliver Helena’s twins. I admit, I cried there too. Who would’ve ever imagined, back in season one, that Sarah and Art would be helping Helena, of all people, deliver her babies? That would be be such a happy, life-affirming scene? I mean think of it: Helena started out as the serial killer that Art and Sarah-disguised-as-Beth was hunting. Helena nearly killed Art and would have if Sarah hadn’t pushed him out of the way. And Helena nearly killed Sarah and would have if Sarah hadn’t said she wasn’t Beth at the last minute and if Helena hadn’t believed her.

What a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been.

Some stray thoughts:

I’d completely forgotten about Rachel until Felix met her in the car. She has a new glass eye now, and she’s completely off the grid, stuck with an Uber driver instead of a chauffeur. I wanted to laugh, but it’s clear, even by the nature of her glass eye, that she’s fallen far from her usual social strata. I liked that she’s redeemed herself in previous episodes and continued to do so in this one (Sarah knew exactly where the Leda information came from), and I also liked that Felix protected his sisters by not letting Rachel come in. I think she might’ve gone inside if he let her, but she covered it well: after a lifetime of studying every single Leda clone, the last thing she wants to see is another face that looks like hers. Well played, Rachel. Redeemed but not forgiven. It’s a kind of optimistic ending for her in a way: she may be in hiding, but there’s a freedom in that, and I hope she can find out who she is without the shackles she’s lived under her whole life.

I should note, however, it makes sense that Rachel is still on the outside: Sarah’s grief over losing Mrs. S is still too near, even if the others might’ve welcomed Rachel with open arms, Sarah at the very least still needs time. I think Felix understands the score, because he’s the one talking to Rachel, but he’s the clone-whisperer, isn’t he? That being said, I don’t think Rachel would necessarily be on the outside forever, unless she chooses to be. And it’s okay if she chooses to be.

I loved the show utilized the flashbacks in this episode. Not only did we get to see Mrs. S again (yay!), but we got to see Sarah’s decision in keeping Kira (just think how different things might’ve turned out if Dyad and Neolution had thought Sarah was just another infertile clone?), and then Helena’s birthing scene was intercut with Sarah’s all those years before. It was super, super powerful, and I loved it.

No, I don’t mind that Helena gave birth to twin boys. Feminism is for everyone, equality is for everyone, and body autonomy is for everyone. What Coady and Westmorland (I really should call him John, shouldn’t I?) wanted to do to the twins was the same regardless of their sex, and that’s why feminism is important. For everyone.

I loved the finale gave us a final shout-out to Krystal and Tony being cured, and that Art was actively helping Cosima, Scott, and Delphine track down more clones.

I also read it confirmed in the above-mentioned exit interview that the Leda Clone information DID NOT go public. An interesting choice, but ultimately the right one. Everyone was fighting for the right to live a normal life on their own terms. If it’d gone public that they were the clones, they’d be fighting a different fight, wouldn’t they? People who saw the Leda face, some of those people might see something different, something other, something not human, and that’s not what any of the clones deserved. That also would’ve been a terrible thing to do to those 274 clones who had no idea they were part of an “us.”

Overall, I loved that the ending was such a breather, and that it was so affirmative. It didn’t have to be a blood bath. It didn’t have to be full of twists and turns. It just really focused on what mattered, which was the relationship the sisters had with each other and their families. It may not have given every audience member everything we wanted, but that’s what fanfic is for, right?

To that end, that’s a wrap. I suspect I’ll have more thoughts later, after I’ve had time to really let this episode and this final season settle in my brain. For now, I’m just really happy with the episode we received, with the journey I was allowed to take with these wonderful, amazing, multi-dimensional women. It wasn’t a perfectly told story, no, but it was a damn smart one, and it was so very timely. It’s absolutely one of my favorites, and I already know it’s one I’ll come back to again and again.

All images courtesy of BBC America, Twitter, and Facebook.

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