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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Orphan Black: To Right the Wrongs of Many

And it's over. I've been on the Orphan Black rollercoaster since day one and now that it's come to an end I'm not sure how I feel. A little bereft, oddly nonchalant and mostly satisfied? That's a weird combination, but it's where I'm at.
Truth be told, this season wasn't hugely compelling, and many of the deaths felt more perfunctory than shocking (MK's especially, but even Mrs S's to a certain degree) and a lot of my attention was diverted by what was happening over on Game of Thrones and Still Star Crossed. To paraphrase Mary Crawley, I'm sad the show has ended – but not as sad as I thought I would be, and that makes me sad.
In my mind I imagined this finale differently: there would be an elaborate and ingenious subterfuge carried out by the seestras and their allies, with clones impersonating each other three levels deep and every skill-set being utilized in surprising ways and a couple dozen twists and "oh shit" moments – but the show opted for a more lowkey resolution. I can't really hold it against them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Orphan Black: One Fettered Slave

So it's not just work that's making these reviews late, it's that there's so much to process in each episode, and a part of me doesn't want it to end. It's hard to believe we only get one more episode of Orphan Black before it's over forever.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Orphan Black: Guillotines Decide

Late again, but it's been a busy week! Last week's preview of Orphan Black refused to show anything of this episode, which was a dead giveaway (no pun intended) that one of our regulars was not long for this world. The moment Sarah kissed Siobhan on her cheek and called her mum, I knew it would be Mrs S. C'mon, that's not even a spoiler, they were telegraphing it in neon lights throughout the entire episode!
So although I'm sad, I can't say I was upset. It didn't come as a huge surprise, and as death scenes go, it was a dignified one. Killing off minority characters is always a risk, but for every ten female characters that get fridged to make a male character sad (I've already seen two this year on Versailles and Into the Badlands) there's one that goes out on her own terms, looking fantastic and taking her killer down with her.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Woman of the Month: Dutch


Dutch from Killjoys
If there's one type of characterization I really love, it's a tough exterior hiding a vulnerable gooey centre. Such is the case with Dutch (real name: Yalena Yardeen) from SyFy's Killjoys. In many ways she's a total power fantasy: a bounty hunter with fantastic hair and a smirk to rival Natalie Dormer's who flies from planet to planet collecting warrants for large sums of money ... but of course, there's a dark backstory just waiting to be exposed.
She's deeply reminiscent of Firefly's River and Dark Angel's Max (who were also trained as living weapons), but where River was psychologically damaged and Max emotionally stunted, Dutch has set up very strict moral limitations on herself, striving to keep her abilities in check so that she can better distance herself from her past.
But she's not a grim, stoic killing-machine, which is a trap plenty of writers fall into when they're told to write a "badass female character". Across the episodes Dutch is allowed to be playful, tearful, distraught and afraid – even if those emotions don't come to her quite as naturally as others.
Her tale is one of self-identity and found family. When we first meet her she's already escaped a long-term abusive relationship with a father figure who was training her to become an assassin, and gone on to form a much healthier platonic bond with her partner in the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition. But if Khlyen and Johnny represent the two sides of her – the broken and the functional halves – then it doesn't come as much of a surprise when Khlyen's return sends her into a tailspin.

Another interesting feature is that she doesn't really get along with other women, but though I usually find a lack of solidarity really irritating in any female character, it makes a lot of sense here and is treated like a legitimate flaw.
Ultimately Dutch is defined by two internal drives: the protection of her crewmates and a need to understand where she came from. Always the question lingers: if it came down to it, which one would she chose? As I've only watched the first season, I don't yet know the answer...