Orphan Black, like any show, has had its ups and its downs, but it goes out with one of its strongest seasons and a fantastic, satisfying series finale. As it should be, “To Right the Wrongs of Many” is about the sestrahood above all else, about the family they’ve become and about what they’ve been fighting for this entire time: freedom.
But in a way, getting that freedom is easier than having it, especially for Sarah. When we first met her — when she “stepped off a train one day and met herself,” as Helena’s memoir begins — she was not one eager to take responsibility, and she struggles with that again. In a way, it’s easier for her to have an enemy to fight with than to deal with what comes when that’s over.
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It’s only fitting that the story that began with Sarah ends with her flashbacks of a time when she wasn’t responsible yet facing a situation in which she had to be. A position she found herself in again once she became embroiled in clone business.
Parked outside of a Planned Parenthood facility with Mrs. S, Sarah has to decide if she’s going to keep her baby, and while we know she does, it’s bittersweet to watch her with Siobhan again. At this moment, their relationship is nowhere near what it will become by the time of Mrs. S’ death (easily the most heartbreaking of the series), and Sarah refuses her foster mother’s offer of support.
They’re on Their Own (But They Got This)
In a perfect world, Sarah and Helena would make it to the elevator and outside to where Felix and Donnie are waiting, and Helena would not be giving birth in the basement of an old wing of Dyad. But since this is Orphan Black and not a perfect world, with Neos looking for them, Sarah hides Helena in a boiler room and leaves her (with a weapon, of course) to find supplies.
Art knocks out Enger, something he’s probably wanted to do from the moment she revealed herself to be a Neo and threatened his family, and briefly uses her radio to track the enemies’ movements until Coady realizes what happened and orders radio silence. Once he finds Sarah, he tells her what medical equipment to grab and gives her his gun before following her directions to Helena.
John’s fading fast (but, unfortunately, not fast enough), and it’s almost hard to believe this guy is the same man who fooled Revival and his followers into believing he’s 170. He ignores his doctor’s advice on two occasions, insisting he give him pharmaceutical methamphetamine and disregarding his suggestion that he’s putting himself under too much strain for a “man his age.” “Man my age,” John scoffs after shooting the doctor.
By the time Art reaches Helena, Coady’s already there and takes his gun before telling him he’s going to be the midwife since she’s learned her lesson about getting too close to the clone. But Helena’s armed, and she and Art work together to lure Coady to her death. All it takes is Art saying that Helena’s bleeding, and Coady gets close enough for him to grab her gun and Helena to stab her in the throat. Moments like that, watching two of the characters work together like Art and Helena do, are part of what makes this series so great (especially when you consider how far they’ve come).
Sarah returns to the makeshift delivery room set up for Helena to find supplies, and that’s where John finds her and taunts her about her return to her cage, like a lab rat. “You never caged us, not me and Helena,” she reminds him. “You got nothing to do with who we really are.” She fires off a few shots through the plastic surrounding her, and while she hits him, he does try to suffocate her, but he’s not strong enough.
“I survived you. We survived you, me and my sisters together,” she tells him as she stands over him while he bleeds out. “This is evolution!” When he still goes on about his legacy — he lives on in her daughter — she shuts him up by smashing an oxygen tank into his face. (I’m not sure whose death I find more gratifying, Coady or John’s.)
By the time Sarah returns to Helena, it’s time for her to push, and it’s one of the most emotional moments of the season (and probably the series) as we flash between Sarah giving birth to Kira, with Mrs. S at her side, and Helena giving birth to her “miracle babies,” with Sarah and Art at her side. Despite some struggles in the finale, Sarah is filling Mrs. S’ role, and that’s never more apparent than in this scene.
What Comes Next?
And then it’s … time for normalcy? Helena and her twin boys take over the Hendrixes’ garage. Sarah studies for the GED test with help from Cosima and Scott and encouragement from Kira.
Art sends Cosima, Delphine and Scott the names of Ledas, and they’re inoculating them. Tony, Krystal and four others are done when he sends them a seventh, Camilla Torres from Cartagena. But Cosima wants to find them faster; they don’t know how many are out there and how many are already sick.
Felix’s successful art opening led to a show in New York, and when he returns, he’s surprised to see a “for sale” sign on S’ lawn. Yes, they talked about it, but he didn’t know Sarah was going to do it now. What’s her plan for Kira? They’ll see where they end up when the school year starts, she says. The conversation is shelved while Sarah heads to her test, but, after noting that the other dropouts are 10 years younger than she is, she skips out on it, a fact she doesn’t share with the others when she joins them at the baby shower at the Hendrixes’.
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In a way, the baby shower is what a happy ending (to this chapter of their lives) looks like for Clone Club. Everyone is there. They’re one big family and they’re comfortable around one another. Alison, who was so worried about her kids seeing one of the clones in season 1, wants them to all be together, to be a family, for the kids to have playdates. Art, who was somewhat uncomfortable dealing with the other clones, greets Alison and Helena with hugs.
But just like how Sarah was somewhat on the outside looking in on her family in season 1 when Mrs. S was caring for Kira, she seems to be doing that again, staying in the kitchen while the others are out back. Delphine is the first to find her, and when she tries to find the right words about Siobhan, Sarah just tells her, “She did what she had to do for this. We all did.” This isn’t a comfortable situation for her.
While Alison hopes that Sarah’s going to be around more (to do things like convince Helena that rocks are not baby toys), she also heard about the “for sale” sign. “This is what we fought for, right?” Alison asks. “To be sisters. It’s a good thing.” But Sarah argues that “freedom looks different to everyone.” While Alison thinks that Kira now has cousins and a “stable home,” Sarah points out, “in the house where her grandmother was shot dead!”
Later that evening, when Alison, Cosima and Helena join her in the backyard, Sarah admits she didn’t go to the test and lied to her kid about it. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she tells her sestras. “I carry around all these mistakes. I don’t know how to be happy.” Even with no one left to fight, she sees herself as a bad mother.
But she’s not the only one struggling. Alison screamed at her daughter and scared her when Gemma was driving her crazy, Helena’s letting her babies eat sand (and she has no idea where they get it) and Cosima panicked when Felix handed her a baby earlier and wonders if her lack of a maternal side makes her selfish or scared. They’re all scared. They all make mistakes. (Alison was a drug dealer, as she recalls.)
But the sestras are there for each other. And this is easily one of the best scenes of the entire series, the sisters, just talking about normal problems, together, just being normal human beings now. They can be that. And that is scary after everything they’ve had to do and been through to get here.
Meanwhile, Felix sneaks away to join Rachel in the back of an Uber (no more manservants for her now). “I have a glass eye, no friends and no identity unless I want to be found,” Rachel tells him. “Leaves little room for elitism.” This is what freedom looks like for her. When she asks how the babies are, he reminds her that she can’t come in. But she’s been comparing herself to every Leda since she was six, so the last thing she wants to do is see another face like hers. She gives him an envelope, and Felix leaves her with, “Have a nice life, Rachel.”
What’s in that envelope? The complete list of the Ledas, with their medical histories, physicians, contacts, addresses, everything they need to cure them, all 274 of them. They’ll never have to go through everything they did, the sestras realize.
But first, Helena wants to share her memoirs with them. She calls it Orphan Black. “My story is an embroidery with many beginnings and no end, but I will start with the thread of my sestra Sarah who stepped off a train one day and met herself,” she begins reading.
And then it’s time for what comes next for the sestras. Alison is writing music, and she and Donnie are more in love as ever. She even accompanies his strip tease with the appropriate music.
Delphine and Cosima are traveling around, inoculating the Ledas, with Cosima hiding in the hallway (and hiding her face) when Camilla walks by.
Helena, who was calling her babies “Purple” and “Orange”, gives them real names. The names of real men: Arthur and Donnie.
As Siobhan wrote in a birthday card to Sarah that she found earlier, “it might not feel like a home yet, but it will.” And with no sign of boxes around as Sarah, Kira and Felix head out to the beach, S’ house is Sarah’s home.
What did you think of the series finale? Were you happy to see Mrs. S again, even just briefly in flashbacks? What do you consider the most emotional moment from the finale?
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(Images courtesy of BBC America)