Sunday, March 31, 2013

Orphan Black: Series Premier (spoilers)

Last night was the series premier of BBC America's new show Orphan Black.  Now, the premise of this show excited me almost immediately.  Everybody thinks about what it would be like to have a doppelganger, right?  I even remember a month on facebook where everybody changed their profile pictures to their celebrity dopples.  Honestly, it's amazing that a show like this hasn't come up before, especially with the advent of cloning.  The concept of Orphan Black feels new and fresh which is exciting since now-a-days everything on TV just seems like re-hashing of old concepts.

The show revolves around a con girl named Sarah who is on a train on her way back to New York.  While on the platform waiting for her connecting train, Sarah sees a woman going through some odd ritual, putting her bag down, taking of her shoes and when she turns around well... she looks exactly like Sarah.
The doppelganger then proceeds to jump in front of the train.  What does con girl Sarah do?  Steals her purse of course.

Sarah takes this all rather casually and goes to meet up with her fabulous friend Felix.
We get a lot of Sarah's back story here.  Her an Felix both grew up in the same foster home somewhere in the UK.  Both of them live on the other side of the law now, but as the closest either of them as to family they help each other out.  As it turns out, Sarah has a daughter named Kira who she up and left months back.  Sarah has been gone for 10 months with her bad bad boyfriend Vick and nobody had heard a word from her since she left, including Felix.  In order to change the subject, Sarah tells Felix about what she saw at the train station and decided to go to Elizabeth's apartment.

Now to skim through.  Sarah goes to Elizabeth's apartment and finds she has 75K in a bank account.  Sarah decides to pull off the ultimate con, watching videos of Beth, mastering her accent, dying her hair, giving herself a quick "Being Beth 101" course.
Well it looks like things are going to be easy as Sarah is able to convince the bank that she is Beth and she wants to withdraw from her account.  Sarah even goes as far to go into Beth's safety deposit box which is full of birth certificates, all with the same birthplace and date.  Sarah thinks herself pretty high and mighty...  Then it all goes to hell as Sarah finds out that Beth is a DETECTIVE.  Not only that, but she is a suspended detective who is in the middle of a hearing... for what?  Sarah has no idea.  So she drinks soap and barfs in order to get out of it.... but then, UH-OH, Beth's boyfriend shows up early... how does Sarah deal with this next bump... well she sleeps with him of course!  But finally, Sarah is able to get Beth's money and is rather proud of herself.  Little does she know that Beth's detective friend Art is following her... as is some other mysterious car.

As Sarah is busy taking over Beth's life, Felix is dealing with the other side of the con.  ID-ing Beth's body as Sarah.  In the process he even tells Sarah's baddie BF "Vick the Dick" that she's dead which devastates him. Sarah keeps telling Felix not to tell too many people she is dead, but frustrated with her antics Felix goes against his word and throws a makeshift wake.

Sarah is annoyed with Felix, but gets a bit of a rise watching her own funeral from a distance   That is, until Mrs. S, the woman who has been taking care of Sarah's daughter Kira.  Sarah freaks out, she doesn't want her daughter to think she's dead!  She begins to panic and on her way back to the car she finds herself face to face with another woman who looks exactly like her.  This version is German and... coughing up blood.  She quickly realizes that Sarah isn't Beth but not soon enough as A SNIPER SHOOTS HER IN THE HEAD.
WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!!  Sarah drives away as the sniper continues shooting.  Beth and the now dead clone's cell phone begins ringing off the hook.  The mystery begins.

Pros:  The acting is superb.  Tatiana Maslany is playing all the clones, and damn is that girl good with accents.  As Sarah pretending to be Beth, she does an amazing job at a bad American accent, slipping in some English sounding vowels here and there...  Jordan Gavaris (Felix) is also fantastic, his Canadian accent undetectable under a nearly flawless British accent.  I am also very impressed with the writing, the show is engaging and original and I can't wait to see where it goes.  One last fantastic aspect is the effects, when Sarah is with the clones, you don't get that weird "Split Screen" feeling, it really looks like they are all together.

Con:  Really I have just one.  At the beginning of the show, at the train station the conductor announces the next train to New York.  Now, I don't know if they meant NYC or just somewhere in New York State, but I live in New York City... this does NOT feel like NY in any way, nor does it feel like Brooklyn or Queens.  Now if this is meant to be upstate or Long Island, fine, but if not epic fail on the NYC vibe.

All and all I will absolutely be checking out the next episode to see where this crazy train is headed.