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Chris Roberts: ‘When You’re Looking for Story, Look to the Women’

This week’s entry was written by Chris Roberts, Writer/Story Editor

Mark and Gracie: Lovers on the run, dangerous and challenging. Could the audience buy into these two? Care for them like they cared for our clones? We hoped so, because we certainly did.
Zoe and Ari had wowed us in Season 2; their gentle, dangerous attraction thrilling us at every turn. Every time they were together we felt for them. But now it was time for them to carry their own thread.

At first, there were too many secrets—Mark hiding himself from the woman he loved, scared to tell the truth about his mission. But the distance between them became distance from the audience. The answer was simple, and very Orphan Black: make Gracie a player; she goes to Willard. She gets the samples Mark so desperately needs. One thing I’ve learned from three seasons on Orphan: when you’re looking for story, look to the women.

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Which brings us to Beth, and Art’s unspoken love for her. We relished the chance to see Art’s vulnerable side, to shade his loyalty to Sarah in a new way, and Kevin pulled it off beautifully. You can see how it weighs on him from the first scene at the loft to his final confession at the diner. It was a joy to watch unfold, knowing how his secret was building over the episode, and his sad, quiet confession was all that needed to be said. Did they consummate? Was it requited? All that matters (as far as I’m concerned), is that it was real.

I always thought of this episode as a story about secrets and the damage they do. Mark’s fear of his own nature dooms him and Gracie, while Art’s buried love threatens his job and makes him a liability for Sarah. It’s fitting, then, that Mark’s search for the truth of Johanssen’s past, so deeply linked to his own, results in Willard’s death and his own undoing. It’s also fitting that Paul, the man working every angle, is being played by the ones he trusted the most: Coady and her bad-apple son, Rudy.

Nick and Kyra really made this episode work. Nick Campbell is a Canadian legend, and his oily gravitas as Willard really sold the character for me. Kyra nailed the maternal menace of Dr. Coady—watching one of our big bads come to life is always a treat.

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The baddest mother of the episode, though, was definitely Bonnie, as realized by the wonderful Kristen Booth. Off camera, I had to remind myself that this smiling, effusive woman could exude such cold, murderous determination and strike such fear into her daughter’s heart.

Juvenile though it is, my favorite scene is Cosima’s. You know the one. John Fawcett loves his gore, and having Tat, covered in blood, pull the brain from a man’s skull was everything I hoped it would be.

It’s the little things in life…

 

 

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