What You Didn't Know About 'Gag or Throttle'

Here are behind-the-scenes secrets from our very own Orphan Black production team!

NEW CLONE, NEW LOOK

When we create a new clone on the show it takes a lot of time, input, conversations, team members, test shoots, and more. Even if they’re just going to appear as a dead corpse. We need to give them a story so that we can create a look and Tatiana can create a character. In this episode, we did something we’ve never done before which is create a clone corpse, without Tatiana having to play the character herself. To pull this off we used the prosthetic body that we built in Season 1 for the autopsy scenes and added piercings holes and a blue Mohawk wig.

Fun Fact: We had our hair artist create two different wigs to try out on the body because we were worried that the shaved scalp wouldn’t look real on camera as we weren’t puncturing in the hair follicles but rather having our makeup artist paint them on. Once we tested it though we knew we had the look down.

Fun Fact: This type of hairstyle would always be way too difficult to pull off on Tatiana herself as we don’t have the time to give her bald cap in our production schedule, and we also can’t shave her head. So, it was really fun to be able to pull off a look that we could never afford to do in our day-to-day production schedule.

WIGS ON WIGS ON WIGS

Between Leekie’s younger wig, our new clone’s look, and young Rachel, this episode is full of wigs. And it was no small feat that our hair team was able to pull all of these wigs off. To do so, Patricia, our lead hair artist, had to hire multiple daily hair designers to come in and cover her on set so that she could knot the wigs in the trailer. She worked nights, weekends, mornings, and more to create all three looks.

Fun Fact: Because our scripts were a bit late in being released to our crew through the end of the season, Patricia only had two weeks to finish all three (four if you count the extra wig we didn’t use) wigs. She had to make Matt Frewer look ten years young, help Tatiana pull off teenage Rachel and create an entirely new clone while still working the day-to-day production schedule because we were shooting Episode 506.

FROM STORY COORDINATOR TO WRITER

One of the best behind-the-scenes tidbits from this episode is that this episode was the writer’s first hour of TV ever written and produced. Renée St. Cyr, the second woman writer of the season, was promoted in Season 5 from Story Coordinator to Writer and Story Editor. Renee was a part of the show beginning as early as Season 2 when she did some part-time accounting work right after she moved from Vancouver to Toronto to get her foot in the door as a screenwriter, and three years later she blew us all away with one of the strongest episodes of the final season.

Fun Fact: Renée, not unlike Rachel, likes to drink late at night in the office and does her best work when cracking a beer or two as she pulls (almost) all-nighters.

Fun Fact: Renée and Graeme are old friends from Vancouver. They’ve known each other way longer than the show’s been on the air.

Fun Fact: After impressing John, Graeme, and the rest of the producers so much with Episode 507, Graeme asked her to come on-board and co-write the series finale with him. So this isn’t the last of Renee’s writing you will get to see come to life on screen this season. She wrote half of 510 as well!

TWO FOR ONE

David Frazee does it again! He was both the Director and the Director of Photography for this episode. He wore both hats last year as well in order to cover the floor while our regular DOP Aaron Morton was busy in the production office prepping Episode 508. David has been a fundamental part of the show since Season 1, and, outside of John Fawcett, has directed more hours of the show than any other director.

Fun Fact: David is a real outdoorsman and athlete, and when he is in prep for his episodes on Orphan Black, he usually walks over an hour every morning and evening to and from his hotel room. And usually he is prepping in the darkest and deepest part of our Canadian winters, January and February, so it is no small feat to walk over an hour in those icey conditions.

NO BETTER BFF THAN #CLONECLUB

The script called for a specific prop that we were having a hard time finding in stores: Kira’s friendship bracelet for Rachel. Renée had a clear vision of a handmade, braided, colorful bracelet, but everything we found in the stores wasn’t really right. That’s when we remembered one of our favorite fan artists Miriam Salzman (mnsalz91). For those that don’t know, Miriam is an incredible bracelet maker (@SummerOfString), and she has sent our production office countless packages full of incredible friendship bracelets. It’s actually really hard to describe how detailed her work is, and it's better if you check it on Twitter or Etsy. Once we realized we had the perfect person to ask to help us out, producer Mackenzie reached out. Within minutes, the colors and design were picked, and Miriam had them in the mail two days later. It really is amazing that we can rely on #CloneClub for so many things outside of what a normal fandom would help out with. In this case, props!

Fun Fact: This isn’t the end of Miriam’s work featured in this season.

Fun Fact: Miriam usually makes WAY more complicated and beautiful bracelets than the ones we used in Episode 507.

ENDLESS IMAGES

Renee had a great image she wanted to pull off in the episode — when Rachel looks at PTW’s tablet and discovers her eye is a camera. She wanted to see endless reflections as you do in mirrors. To prove that that would work, we spent a good half hour in a production meeting holding up iPhones to other iPhones with the camera apps open to make sure it was realistic.

DIRTY MARTINIS

We debated a lot on what tool exactly Rachel would use to scoop out her eyeball. We thought about a spoon, a surgical knife, but ultimately everything seemed too dull to do the job or too premeditated. And that’s when we landed on the martini glass. We all know Rachel loves her dirty martinis, but we didn’t  know she liked them stirred with blood.

Fun Fact: We made a prosthetic eye that our VFX team then modified with the lenses we have previously seen last season. Half of the blood, guts, and the martini stem are VFX that match up with real props used in the scene.