The Hive Recap: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried


Just dance.

The Hive Season 2 Finale Writers' Notes Graeme Manson

"Any problem in the world can be solved by dancing." – James Brown

"Clone Dance Party" had been written on a card and pinned to the board very early in the season 2 writer’s room.  As often happens, what started as kind of a joke grew into a good idea – a non-talky, active way to capture the emotional climax of the season. To reunite our Trinity of Sarah, Cosima and Alison – with a new moon, Helena. Because of course we’re not satisfied with three clones interacting. No, we just gotta try four.

ob5The dance party tape marks.

The complicated geography of clone choreography. I don’t think anybody had ever seen such tape marks. Heroic on set work by 1st AD Joanna Moore and Katherine Hughes and their team - the culmination of a couple months of pitching the sequence and marshalling the extra time in the shooting schedule to pull it off.  Key crew gave lunches to meetings; Tat, Jordan and 3 acting doubles stole rehearsal time during the shooting of 109. Then it was time to bring on the Technodolly!  The motion control beast that comes with several operators, multiple monitors, and its own separate playback system.

ob6Jordan and Tat rehearse the Technodolly shot as the crew looks on.

By the end of the second day of shooting, the crew gathered around the monitors watching a rough composite image of all four clones plus Felix.  Seeing that dance take shape, and realizing it was going to work, was one of the most rewarding moments of the season.  A truly collective labour of love came together, and we finally got to see The Cosima Dance!  Then of course, Geoff Scott and his team at Intelligent Creatures VFX took over to make the shot seamless – a process rumoured to have taken hundreds of hours in post.

ob4Adham Shaikh's Refractions album.

The Art department mocked up a vinyl edition of Adham Shaikh’s Refractions album. Adham is an electronic music artist and buddy from the Kootenays, British Columbia.  I sneaked-peaked Season One with him while at the Envision Festival in Costa Rica, and was very glad when John and Tat glommed onto his track "Water Prayer Rasta Mix – Matt the Alien remix" for the dance. It's Cosima’s dance really, and this is her sound. Two other cards The Hive had up on the board early were "Cosima tells Sarah about Sacred Geometry" and "Sarah is the Wild Type." They were so elemental to the season that at one point I was trying to put them both in the opening episode. Luckily cooler Hives prevailed.  Both those concepts, and the Bucky Fuller reference, are very much inspired by our Science Consultant, (the real) Cosima Herter.

ob1Cosima and Graeme doing what they do best. No, not drinking, having a conversation (with drinks).

ob3Shooting in the church.

210 was a big episode, and of course there's never any money left at the end of the season.  It required some crafty producing by Claire Welland, Karen Troubetskoy, and everybody at Temple Street.  We used a 2nd Unit to shoot Mark and Gracie’s scenes.  Here’s 2nd unit camera operator Jeremy Lyall shooting the wedding. Brett Sullivan directed 2nd Unit, as well as edited the episode. Now for the awww shucks part. The book Cosima reads Kira is written by my very own Mum, Ainslie Manson.  She’s been writing for kids since I was a kid, and A Dog Came, Too is my personal favorite.

ob2Tat and Skyler with "A Dog Came Too"

Truth be told #CloneClub, this book also offered the opportunity slip in a little puppy reference for all the Cophine fans. And this has been the most surprising and rewarding thing for everyone here at The Hive – the level of engagement from YOU. We’ve never experienced anything like it before, and it's changed the way we engage with our own show. Now, after all the talk and writing and shooting and editing and launching, for 10 weeks our Saturday nights come down to this – assorted and honourary Hive members, cocktailing, watching the broadcast while following your reactions from all over the globe.

ob7Watching the finale.

So thank you, #CloneClub, from #TheHiveActual. You guys are funny and creative and so supportive of one another and you got your own thing going on. We love this pact we share. As always, The Hive abides.

Graeme Manson

(And over the break, just try wrapping your heads around this:  "Is Orphan Black a Simulacrum?")

NEXT: The Hive: Observations, Unexpected Results, and Mind-Benders

The Hive: Observations, Unexpected Results, and Mind-Benders

Cold Open The questions asked in Sarah Manning's interrogation scene weren’t scripted. Graeme gave vocal coach John Nelles a list of questions to ask Tatiana, and her answers were improvised. This method provided a very surprising and moving scene for everyone – including Tatiana. OrphanBlack_S2Ep10_05

"We would like to harvest your eggs." – Dr. Nealon

Name Game Dr. Nealon is named after The Hive writer Aubrey Nealon, but not to worry, the character is not at all like the writer! Canadian actor Tom McCamus, who played Dr Nealon, did an incredible job capturing the precise nature Graeme envisioned for Nealon’s character. Work of Art Kira’s artwork has been sprinkled throughout season 2. In episode 2.10 you see some of Kira's masterpieces at Mrs. S’s house, as well as a drawing Rachel brings Sarah in the OR. So, who's the artist behind Kira's work? Meet the art department's Sash Kosovic! blog7

The art department's Sash Kosovic, displaying his handiwork.

Packing Up It's always a little bit sad on set during the filming of the last episode. You see a lot of set items packed into storage – including over 60 boxes of Orphan Black wardrobe! blog4

The clone wardrobes, packed into storage.

Update Pls. Rachel’s itinerary, which Cosima received from Delphine, was not finished in time for the shoot. VFX had to burn it in after. However, the version that was created didn’t work. So what do you do in post when you need art and your art department is scattered and working on other shows? You have assistant to the co-creators Mackenzie Donaldson whip up an itinerary on her iCal – with Graeme’s assistance creating the activities. Here's a closer look at Rachel's day – still saved in Mackenzie’s iCal. Look carefully, because you may recognize some names of Hive members (shout out to Alex Levine and Dr. Christopher Roberts!) Can you spot any more? blog2

Rachel's itinerary.

On Point THE. PENCIL. SCENE. Sarah and Rachel's gruesome showdown scene came straight from the mind of Graeme Manson and was executed perfectly thanks to John’s direction, Tatiana’s performance and our amazing VFX team at Intelligent Creatures. We weren’t sure if we would be able to pull it off, but after about 20 hours of meetings, we did! OrphanBlack_S2Ep10_27

"Enjoy your oophorectomy!" – Rachel Duncan (We spared you a close-up shot of Rachel's pencil eye.)

Duped In the photo below, actor Ari Millen and Graeme are deep in the thick of it, right before Psycho Mark Clone (name to be revealed) has his first scene. Creating new characters is not for the faint of heart! Sandy Sokolowski, the hair stylist on Orphan Black, shaved Ari Millen’s head for his other clone characters and created a Mark wig for the final scenes in episode 2.10. blog

Ari Millen and Graeme Manson talk cray-clones.

Sarah Manning-Up Can we please take a moment to admire Sarah’s choice in men? Gotta admit, she has quite good taste. OrphanBlack_S2Ep10_15

"Just look at the two of you. I don’t know how she does it." – Mrs. S

Just Dance Below you'll see director John Fawcett watching Helena "get down" during our two-day-long clone dance party shoot. That’s right – TWO DAYS of dancing! The song during the dance party is called "Water Prayer," by Adham Shaikh – Mat the Alien Remix. blog5

John Fawcett directing the epic four clone dance party.

On the second day of shooting the four clone dance party, the entire Orphan Black crew joined in to dance with  Tatiana. We filmed it to play at the Orphan Black wrap party.

Time Suck The Technodolly, affectionately known on set as the Time Vampire, is what makes a 4-clone dance party possible. So why the nickname? The Time Vampire has a knack for sucking away our time, and is prone to breaking down. We love it and we hate it – either way, Orphan Black couldn’t exist without it. vampire

The Time Vampire.

Set Inspection: Military Base Here's a shot of the crew nearing the end of their gigantic shooting day at the warehouse. Here they are shooting the interior scene of Mrs. S and Paul's exchange inside the military truck. The scene looks as though it was shot outside, but it was actually filmed on a blue screen indoors (a much warmer setting for the cast and crew!) blog11

The OB crew at basecamp.

Getting Hitched "Going to the chaple, and we’re gonna get marr-i-ed..." Graeme Manson watched over Mark and Gracie’s nuptials – which were shot by a splinter unit and directed by the episode’s editor, Brett Sullivan. blog6

Graeme Manson, presiding over Mark and Gracie's nuptials.

Farewell For Now, #CloneClub ...and that’s a wrap! Here's a few last looks behind-the-scenes of Orphan Black season 2, including a shot of John and Graeme giving a lovely speech on the last day of shooting. Thanks for another incredible season #CloneClub! Thanks for watching! blog9

A glimpse behind-the-scenes of Cosima’s lab, shooting one of the last scenes of the season.


Sarah Manning's chair on set! (Adorned with Katja’s infamous coat!)


Orphan Black co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson say farewell.

NEXT: Series Science Consultant, Cosima Herter

There Be Monsters Here By Cosima Herter, Series Science Consultant

On the eve of this recent New Year, my dear friend Siobhan presented me with an unusual, but rather exquisite gift. "There be monsters here," she remarked as she handed it to me with her customary mischievous wink, and a hug. The package contained a current map, but not one I’d ever seen before—it is an actual map of uncharted waters. [1] It displays nothing but that strange, flat-green color common to aeronautical maps, the black crisscross lines of longitude and latitude designating a small area in the northern Pacific Ocean, and a footnote that reads "Assign Longitude Values as Required." It hangs above my desk now so I can see it every day when I sit down to work. I’ve drawn a little picture of a boat on a sticky note, which I’ve named Intuition (in honor of Bucky Fuller who loved to sail), and I like to randomly position it around the map, then just sit and focus on it. [2] For the record, this has never been effective in calling down the recalcitrant Muse when I need Her most, it doesn’t help me to either meditate or think any better, and neither does that little boat silently whisper any secret strategies to help embolden me when faced by dragons. But I do it anyway, hoping some day it might. Despite being a mystical disappointment, this map does regularly serve as an effective reminder for a few things. First, to have the courage to try things I might not feel particularly competent to try. Competency, not to mention expertise, comes in stages, it’s a learned process, and learning requires an alarming amount of courage — it’s often exhausting, isolating, and grueling. But it’s also exhilarating and wonderfully gratifying. That map clearly speaks to the obvious metaphor of bravely setting out into unknown territory, of intrepidly exploring that which has been left unexplored, of being undeterred by possible dangers that lurk seductively close on the other side of the horizon, of having the fortitude to strategize one’s own course according to one’s own index, and of having faith that with enough perseverance one will find safe passage to lucrative shores. Learning also requires an enormous amount of generosity. We learn and accumulate knowledge through sharing, and that includes the mistakes as much as the achievements. This map also calls into stark relief for me something else: finding an appropriate orientation towards some goal profits as much from failure as from success. Effective strategies to navigate unknown terrain often come by way of laborious trial and error, by experimenting with different ways of solving problems, some which work and others that don’t. This is made doubly difficult because we are often blind to the future consequences of our current actions—all that poking and prodding in the dark might just as easily let loose the hornets as it might locate a buried chest of gold. These points also serve as a nice paraphrase for the history of science, especially the experimental methodology that Francis Bacon advocated almost 400 years ago: “It would be an unsound fancy and self-contradictory to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which have never yet been tried.” The scientist must be brave explorer, a fearless interrogator, a systematic designer of experiments that can be effectively repeated, a meticulous laborer, and finally, endowed with tremendous creativity so as to approach obstinate problems in novel and innovative ways. I don’t want to get carried away with romantic tropes of intrepid scientists building a New Atlantis, but the point is this: Bacon believed that the role of science is to acquire knowledge, and in order to do so the scientist must be someone who is audacious enough to enter uncharted waters to obtain it. The search for knowledge and the limitations of knowledge both have a long history of being represented geographically, and often quite graphically with narratives built around sea-faring journeys into the "Unknown." Indeed, the frontispiece to Bacon’s Great Instauration depicts precisely this—two ships that have passed through the Pillars of Hercules into the Straight of Gibraltar, underscored by an inscription from the Hebrew Book of Daniel 12:4, which reads, "Multi pertransibunt & augebitur scientia" ("Many shall pass through and knowledge will be the greater.") While Bacon certainly had great respect for the individual’s courage to risk himself for the sake of knowledge, he was adamant that this kind of undertaking should not simply be for the individual’s glory or gain. Instead, he had a much grander and altruistic goal. The accumulation of knowledge is a collaborative endeavor, a great communal project which must be done for the benefit all of humanity. Just like the great explorers who mapped the contours of the earth for all those who might come after, science should be approached as an effort to add to public coffers of knowledge for the prosperity of all humankind. We assign longitude values not for ourselves alone, we chart the waters for everyone. Science is a collective effort for collective gains. He also believed that for science to be a fully realized enterprise there needed to be a complete renovation of all scientific activities (more accurately, natural philosophy) to date, and a systematically designed standard program be put in place. We need to rid ourselves of all the false thinking and assumptions that impede our abilities to learn about and understand the natural world around us. [3] We need to develop new ways to organize, understand, and utilize raw data; facts must be arranged and understood in such a way so as to infer general principles and laws of nature. We need to recognize that logical deduction alone is insufficient in proffering knowledge; physical experimentation was key to Bacon’s project. Finally, we need to standardize those experimental methods of inquiry. This is not simply repeatability for its own sake, but because repeatability allows for the collaborative effort of both confirming proofs and sharing knowledge. Bacon really did believe he could plan it out, and effectively standardize and implement methodologies by which science is done (and just as importantly, communicated). If we could just get rid of the impediments to knowledge, and conduct experiments in certain kinds of ways, what could possibly go wrong? It turns out that science involves much more trial and error than Bacon imagined. I don’t just mean insofar as developing and employing particular strategies for particular experiments. Rather I’m referring to the long durée of the history of science more generally. There is just so much room for error: errors about hypotheses, errors in perspective, errors in implementation and utility, errors in practice, errors in judgment—sensory, philosophical, and ethical. Science, both as a practice and an epistemological framework, is in many ways, just as much a history of the human project of stumbling along until we hit on something that 'works,' as it is a systematic attempt to apply those well worked out principles and proven theories towards greater and greater knowledge. Certainly not all science is simply a vulgar matter of poking at things with sticks, but sometimes it is. Finally, that map reminds me that no matter how meticulously I might try to plot out a course for myself (trivial or grand), I cannot escape the unforeseen contingencies that might derail my planned trajectory, and throw me into situations for which I have no cartography. You know the kind of scenario I’m talking about: those events, relationships, or ideas that you just couldn’t see coming, the ones that disrupt—for good or for ill—the best laid plans, and force you to re-navigate the course, or worse, to scramble to draw up a whole new one without really knowing where it’s going to take you. Sometimes they are the outcomes of past choices only now manifesting with material consequence. Other times, they are random improbable events that run derelict to the expected order by which you’ve set your aspirational compass. The Unexpected really has a way of screwing with your sense of direction. Like, for example, that time I was shocked to encounter a strange man, in the middle of the tundra, carrying a shovel and pail, who was prospecting for diamonds; he just seemed to appear out of nowhere.[4] After that chance meeting I left my job, and spent the following 6 years in diamond exploration camps all over the arctic. And then there was that time I came home to find my house burning down, and Graeme was kind enough to put me up in his home for several months. It was then, on his front porch late one night that the first Clone Conversation happened between us. Quite literally, out of the ashes of a totally unpredictable event was born a most gloriously unexpected collaborative opportunity for me, with some of the most remarkable and brave people I know. There be monsters here, indeed. ______________________ [1] I’m not even sure if this should still technically called a "map!" [2] Ok, let's be honest… usually I’m just daydreaming, and blankly staring at it. [3] This is the basis for his four Idols: Idols of the Mind, Idols of the Tribe, Idols of the Theatre, and Idols of the Marketplace. [4] You may be wondering what I was doing wandering around the central arctic barren lands myself that day: that too was the strange consequence of another unexpected, and unrelated, encounter. But that’s different story.