The BBC has a penchant for creating smart shows. One of their latest has a simple premise, clones. While the concept is simple, it’s the execution that makes or breaks the show. Thanks to the amazing Tatiana Maslany, every character is fleshed out and unique.
Sarah Manning, a UK orphan raised in Canada, sees someone who looks identical to her step in front of a train, killing herself. This is the first of many clones Sarah encounters, each one played by Maslany. As the show progresses, the girls learn more about themselves, who created, and why, all while avoiding being killed by a renegade clone. As the show progresses, layers are added, drawing you in to learn more about the mystery.
Again, the draw for the show is Maslany. We see her play several characters throughout the season, with more than their wardrobe setting them apart. First are the accents. Aside from a British accent, there’s an American, Ukraine, and even German one. Adding to their individuality are their mannerisms. Alison, the Canadian house wife, moves, acts, and talks exactly how you would expect an uppity suburbanite to. Sarah looks every bit of punk rebel she pretends to be, while Helena is crude and predator like in her movement. Honestly, I forgot they were the same actress half the time.
Proving her acting prowess, through good and poor writing, several of the clones needed to cover for each other, taking another’s place. I enjoyed seeing Helena go undercover. Her character was so well defined that when it wasn’t shown that she was pretending to be someone else, I could still tell it was her. While it was fun seeing Alison play Sarah or vice versa, this when the show became a little hokey. It seemed these situations arouse to showcase Maslany or fill time, rather than further the plot. This change of tone wasn’t uncommon. There were a few times throughout the season the show became a little too goofy or happenstance for my taste.
Most of these tone changes came from Alison. While some of them worked, poking fun at suburban life, enough of them stuck out for me as poorly conceived. One in particular was Alison’s quest to find her monitor, leading to her becoming passed out drunk with Sarah needing to cover for her at the party she was hosting. It was a little much. Adding to the extraneousness was Cosima. Her character never really seemed that vital considering her physical proximity to the others. While some elements were revealed through her, it wasn’t enough. She seemed to only exist to give the others a scientist.
After being conditioned by the stalling tactics of TV shows past, I was a little surprised to see how much the plot progressed by the end of the season. Again, no status quo was ever really established. By the end of the season, plenty had changed, leaving the door wide open for plenty more next season.
Taking the writing, good and bad, the show is a solid B. Thanks to Maslany, it easily becomes an A. While the first episode or two was a little slow to start for me, it picked up quickly by the third. I’m excited to see what’s next. I hope this doesn’t last more than 4 seasons.
Which was your favorite clone? Think there were a few lulls or was it all great? Comment below!
I’m from Canada, they think I’m slow. Eh.