At its core, Orphan Black has always been about agency. Anchored by Tatiana Maslany‘s striking performances as a slew of clones (especially the core four), the twisty sci-fi gem has tackled the boundaries of scientific discovery, the fluidity of sexuality, and what it truly means to be human. As the series reaches the end of its story, it’s hard to be grateful that the show is ending on its own terms, even with the sting of impending loss. Clone Club couldn’t go out any other way.
Season five’s premiere, “The Few Who Dare,” picks up where the finale left off, with the sisters united in purpose but scattered to the winds. After her violent confrontation with Rachel at the end of last season, Sarah is desperately trying to get off the Island of Dr. Westmoreland after the realization that the founder of the ever ominous Neolution had discovered the key to immortality. Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) are still camped out in the woods, desperately trying to outrun the police after their side business as drug dealers caught up with them while also keeping Helena and her babies out of the hands of the Neolutionists. Cosima, temporarily reunited with Delphine (Evelyne Brochu), finds herself with some crazy science at her fingertips at Revival, a research camp of sorts on the Island. And finally there’s Rachel, the big bad whose last confrontation with Sarah leaves her angry and even more dedicated to her quest for control.
As the episode progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that while each clone is desperate to throw off the shackles that have come with their existence, what they consider freedom might not be the same for each. While Sarah makes it clear that she no longer cares about the “why” of Neolutionism and just wants to be left alone with her daughter to live her life, Cosima can’t help but be drawn to whatever discovery is being done, even if the ethical boundaries are seriously starting to blur.
The motivations of nearly all the characters are called into question during “The Few Who Dare,” between Donnie’s temporary abandonment of Alison in order to save Helena to Rachel’s apparent adoption of the Neolutionist cause. Everyone is clearly focused on survival at this point, and four seasons of intrigue and pain have taught them to play a more pragmatic game.