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Jeremy Boxen: For M.K., It’s Personal

And can I point out how brilliantly John Fawcett directed this episode? I’m floored by how he created the single shot, clone-switch-on-the-fly set piece. It was all achieved through intricate choreography of actors, crew, and equipment that was then fit together seamlessly with CG magic. It was wild to see the complexity of it all. But it was just as thrilling to be there for the virtuoso acting of Tatiana and her scene partner and double, Kathryn Alexandre. As a writer, I was drawn into their dance, workshopping the sequence with them to establish the pace and deepen the emotional beats. Watching them bring it to life was the highlight of my time on Orphan Black. And the audience doesn’t realize it, but the intimate emotional work Kathryn did on set inhabiting both M.K. and Sarah (as Tatiana played opposite her in both these roles) is very much present in the finished scene. Even after Kathryn is visually replaced with a clone, but she’s still an invisible spirit that gives life to the show.

Some backstory for one of my favorite small moments: the Arthur Conan Doyle poem P.T. Westmoreland quotes is called “A Parable,” and it came to my attention by chance through my spouse, who was reading a graphic novel called The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage for her book club. Its author and artist, Sydney Padua, compiled tons of research for her story of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, and Charles Babbage, as they partnered to create a steam-powered computer in Victorian England. Padua featured Conan Doyle’s poem in footnotes as an example of Victorian theological satire, and I thought it fit perfectly in the mouth of our Victorian-era scoundrel, Westmoreland. As our science advisor Cosima Herter would say, chance and contingency drive evolution — in this case, the evolution of a script!

Jeremy

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