Advertisements

Saying Goodbye to Orphan Black

11 Aug

On Saturday night (August 12) the last ever episode of Orphan Black will air and I am not ready to say goodbye to all the Tatiana Maslanys — and the rest of the incredible cast — even though it probably is time for it to end. You never want a show to spiral particularly when it has this level of mythology (see also The X-FilesAlias and Fringe).

Sometimes the story has threatened to drift, but the performances have always held it together and there are not enough words of praise I can throw at Maslany and the entire supporting cast (including Maslany’s double Kathryn Alexandre).I’ve written about the Orphan Black costume design many times over the past five seasons and the work of Laurie Drew and Debra Hanson has been incredibly important at helping establish just who these characters are. And giving plenty of Wish List suggestions including the Cosima coat, which I ended up getting a much more affordable version of.

This isn’t even including Tatiana Maslany as style icon who also makes me want to wear sports leisure clothing.

[Source]

The way this show delved into ideas of identity spawned several pieces including this Helena-centric essay, the time I got to write about Orphan Black and The Americans and a recent deep dive into my fave thing this show does to showcase just how amazing Tatiana Maslany is; clones playing clones.

[Source]

Below is a piece I wrote after the fifth episode of this season — “Ease for Idle Millionaires” — and it centers on one of the best ever Orphan Black costumes; Cosima in a tux. It felt like a fitting way to say goodbye to this show, which means so much, with a moment that made me gasp.

“Frock That:” Dressing in a Doll’s House on Orphan Black

Each clone on Orphan Black has a sense of self and individual traits separating them from the ones who share the same face. When the situation calls for it they are very good at imitating each other and they share the same genetic materials, but these clones are much more than an experiment to unlock secrets of existence. The house up on the hill resembles a doll house stuck in a time warp, with its dress up rooms, taxidermy animals and servants pouring wine. What lurks beneath is a reminder of the facade presented by P.T. Westmoreland and it is a mix of smoke and mirrors with disturbing experiments on human subjects.

Cosima and her sisters were created in a lab, but they are not doll parts to be pulled apart and reassembled at the whim of the person playing with them. Each of them is defying their origin and fighting for survival in ways which showcase their individuality. Sarah is all about the hustle and is helping shape her own mini-hustler in the form of her daughter, Kira. Kira is at the heart of the next stage of this grand experiment, but even though Westmoreland thinks Rachel is the most deserving clone of Cosima’s inoculation he is yet to encounter the full wrath of Sarah. Particularly when it comes to her daughter.

Being the only clone that has been self-aware throughout this process might explain Rachel’s cold and detached demeanor toward her bio-sisters. Her costume color palette reflects this iciness and doesn’t stray from neutral tones; it is an expensive wardrobe that always looks immaculate. Whether recovering from a pencil to the eye or confronting her mother in a bloody battle nothing is out of place. Perfection is what she strives for in the way she dresses and in her life’s work (that is also her life) and while Susan told her the other clones are better than her, it is Westmoreland’s approval that matters most. And now she has the power to turn up late for dinner in a super sultry frock that definitely did not come from the P.T. Westmoreland collection.   Science is where Cosima lays her battle and she can’t quite help but push and prod to see what results she will get. First she invites herself to this exclusive dinner party and then she defies the dress code. Mixing science of the future with etiquette of the past is Westmoreland’s jam and Cosima and Delphine are led to a room filled with clothes that look like they are almost as old as Westmoreland’s so-called age. That or P.T. has been sneaking in a Downton Abbey binge between experiments and wants to live it up like he is a Crawley. In “Ease for Idle Millionaires,” Cosima and Delphine’s current contemporary outfits are not fit for dinner and they either get changed or leave.

Cosima’s response to this forced change of clothes mirrors her resistance to her body as intellectual property. A point that is reinforced with a flashback that acts an extended scene from the season 1 finale; when Cosima discovered their bodies are effectively patented and she told Delphine about her sickness. A low ebb for Cosima, who was not only dealing with her mortality but this idea of self. Because if your body isn’t yours then what is? This was a major turning point in Cosima and Delphine’s relationship transforming an act of deception into a true partnership. Trust is hard to come by and further complicated by corporate science. Delphine continues to shares scraps of information to make it look like she is towing the company line, but her heart is with Cosima.Whereas Cosima chooses to wear a tuxedo to dinner rather than one of the many available dainty looking dresses because “frock that,” Delphine mirrors her seemingly passive response to the demands of her boss by wearing exactly what she is told to. Her power comes from nodding and doing her due diligence, while Cosima is about poking and prodding her way to defiance.

The fancy attire reveal is an all-time Orphan Black costume highlight and costume designer Debra Hanson delivers the perfect menswear look for Cosima mirroring Westmoreland’s tuxedo. They are effectively both Delphine’s date and Cosima is the interloper here. She gets told that her choice of clothing is not appropriate, but this is what happens when you try to dress her like a doll. It is also just the tip of Cosima giving none of the fucks as she still gets to make a choice; the decision to opt for menswear is all hers. Cosima is defying, while Delphine protects and this balance is just as delicate as the material of Delphine’s white frock. Dressing up for dinner to this degree is a tradition that has long since passed and the marriage between old and new ideas comes up at the dinner table.

What sets Cosima apart from the other scientists at the table is her deep connection to family; whether it is the parents she fears finding out her truth because it will make what they had a lie or the seestras she is working to save through science. Love is important as it can’t be replicated or forced and neither can the integrity, humor, intellect and passion that Cosima has in spades. Cosima has curiosity when it comes to her own biology, but ultimately she is not willing to do whatever it takes to unlock these secrets. There are lines and the attributes that make her so much more than intellectual scientific property will stop her from crossing that ethical barrier. She still has her humanity.It is also why she ends up locked in a cage at the end of the episode after she refuses to shoot Yanis. By this point she has removed the trappings of this dinner costume; the tie, waistcoat and jacket have gone. All that remains are the suspenders to hold the pants up and it is a shame she left her Canada Goose coat upstairs as this basement looks like it could get a little cold.

Before Cosima loses her freedom she shares an intense moment with Delphine and they both double down on their commitment to each other; intercutting between kisses of past and present as the camera circles around them is intoxicating. This takes place in the creepy dress up room of a bygone era and as Delphine takes off the dress of playing along with Westmoreland’s plan she once again reveals her true intentions to Cosima. Acknowledging the cycle of their relationship problems, which are intrinsically linked to the overall clone conspiracy – Cosima pushes too hard, Delphine withholds – and realizing how dividing women is all part of the grand scheme. They will not be divided. But they will at least pretend they are.

Whether dressed in a tuxedo, as a soccer mom drowning in Lululemon, wearing a band tee and leather jacket, a slip straight out of the Courtney Love playbook or in designer threads for the office; each and every one of these clones has agency. Despite the best efforts from the powers that be to exert control, they can’t even make Cosima wear a frock. They can trap her in the basement, but as we have seen from five seasons of this show you can lock a clone up (and boy have they tried), but the support network is just too strong to crush.

[Source]

Gonna miss you guys and I’m off to read this Orphan Black oral history to prep for the finale.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Ex-aspirational

Depression, creativity and the pressures of growing up, as told by a twenty-something not living her best life

Julie Hammerle

Nerds Need Love Too

Sofa and Remote

I love talking about TV as much as I love watching it

Ellie Writes Stuff

About this and that

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Authors, Bloggers, Fashion Assassins

Twitter Music Club

A rotation curation music club, based on Twitter, mainly for Kiwis

INTO ROW Z

If you enjoy a challenge, like Claude Makélélé, read my blog. Its about sport.

lost somewhere in new york city

We rock a lot of polka dots

sankles

We rock a lot of polka dots

frocktalk.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns

Rookie

We rock a lot of polka dots

ScreenFad

TV show news, reviews, recaps, spoilers, and photos

The Frisky

We rock a lot of polka dots

irkyle.wordpress.com/

I review this shit so you don't have to.

%d bloggers like this: