Post Mortems

Post Mortem: Orphan Black Boss on Helena's Pal, Mean Delphine & More

Orphan Black Season 3 Spoilers

Warning: The following contains spoilers from Saturday’s premiere of Orphan Black.

How do you give the versatile Tatiana Maslany a new acting challenge? If you’re Orphan Black, you ask her to… become a scorpion?

On Saturday’s Season 3 premiere, on top of playing a Sarah-as-Rachel vs. Alison-as-Sarah scene, the actress also took on the task of voicing Helena’s new imaginary arthropod friend.

Below, co-creator Graeme Manson reveals the story behind the strange twist for the captured seestra. He also answers TVLine’s burning questions about the darker side of Delphine, the new female clone, a “twisted” adventure for Alison and much more.

TVLINE | I wanted to start by talking about my new favorite character, the scorpion. How did the idea for that originate?
[Co-creator] John [Fawcett] thought Helena needed a little buddy who’s a scorpion, and I was like, “You’re crazy. That sounds stupid.” And then he said, “Oh, no, no, it talks.” [Laughs] I said, “Oh, a talking scorpion. Why didn’t you say that to begin with?” [Laughs] So it did originate with John, and it was one of those ideas that we often have where someone throws out an idea and everyone thinks it’s dumb until we talk about it a little more. the impetus was to give Helena, in this difficult situation she finds herself, which is a familiar situation to her if you think back on her life, being in prison, having her freewill taken away and turned and twisted. It’s happened to her before. She just got a little bit of a respite and started to feel normal and it’s happened again. So it was like the scorpion’s been with her before. It’s her little scorpion. It’s her little piece of conscience, a little devil on the shoulder. And of course his name is Pupok. [Laughs] You can look it up in your Ukrainian translator to see what it means. [Editor’s note: bellybutton!]

Orphan Black Season 3 SpoilersTVLINE | Is that what she says in the premiere when she sees it?
Yeah. She says something about, “I remember you, Pupok.” You fully won’t get it right away until you spend a little time with her.

TVLINE | Who’s the voice of the scorpion? Is that someone we might know?
It was. From the very beginning we wanted Tat to voice the scorpion. And she and John talked about it a lot and worked on it. We went through a lot of like, “What should the scorpion sound like?” Because it can really be anything. He hasn’t got a face. Like he hasn’t got some like [visual] effects mouth that’s moving or anything. They hit on the idea together of the scorpion actually having a sound, you’d know when it’s coming. He kind of purrs and clicks and has this sound. Tat did all those noises to give it voice. She like beatboxed that thing. I would speak in like a Bronx accent when I was doing the scorpion, but nobody really bought what I was selling. [Laughs]

TVLINE | We also met a new clone, Crystal, and found out that there were supposedly six others that were killed in the Helsinki operation. In your heads, have you and John landed on a number for how many clones there are total?
It’s a mystery to our girls, it’s a mystery to Sarah. It could even be argued that it’s a mystery to the Dyad itself or it could be a mystery. The answer is it’s convenient for us not to have a number. Maybe one day, we’ll come on 42, the answer to everything, but I don’t know. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Was the Dyad aware of Crystal before they intercepted Rudy with her?
Yeah. She’s not some off-the-radar clone, no.

TVLINE | Is she aware that she’s a clone? Or is she just out there in the world and hasn’t been introduced into what’s happening?
All the Leda clones are not self-aware, except our little circle of clone club. And the only ones that were really the wild ones were Sarah and Helena. The others are within the experiment.

orphan-black-season-3-spoilersTVLINE | Sarah now knows about Helsinki and what Rachel and Ferdinand did. How is she going to use that information? That’s a pretty big thing she got clued into.
It’s nice to give the experiment a sense of history, and it’s good to know the stakes, to reiterate the stakes to these guys. If Topside is the cabal that runs Dyad or that controls Dyad, it serves to show us how ruthless they are at the very top. Beyond their research institute Dyad, Topside is probably a many hydra of many interests.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about Rachel. She survived this pencil stabbing, but she could be incapacitated in some way. What can you say about her condition and what that means for her role at Dyad?
We’re interested in taking that character of Rachel, who’s so cool, composed and in control and has this sense of the elitism, and it’s pretty interesting to take her and knock her down a peg. To put her in the situation of losing her dignity and finding herself essentially in the same position Sarah was in. She’s now in the basement of Dyad.

TVLINE | Has she been demoted? She no longer has any kind of authoritative role?
We’ll have to wait and see what happens when she wakes up.

TVLINE | Did you land on what kind of eye-patch she’s going to have?
[Laughs] I would like Rhinestones. Some day.

TVLINE | I remember you had some fun ideas after the Season 2 finale.
[Laughs] Yeah, everybody’s had a lot of Rachel eye-patch ideas. But she’s got some recovery ahead of her. She’s not going to pop up tomorrow in her rhinestone eye patch.

TVLINE | Meanwhile, Delphine has taken over some of her duties and displayed this whole new side of herself. Kind of cold, kind of brutal, especially in her interaction with Rachel. How dark is Delphine going to get?
Delphine’s in this conundrum, in this position, that a number of our characters are where they’re torn between their heart and their allegiances. The heart hasn’t changed for Delphine. Telling Cosima that they can’t be together, you see how hard that is for her, for both of them. But the real question for us in the writers’ room was, “OK, Delphine made this promise. She made this promise to Cosima that she would keep her sisters safe and love them all equally. So how far will she go to do that?”

TVLINE | We’ve seen that, aside from Sarah and Helena, all the female clones are sterile. Does that also apply to the males?
What is up with the males, what is up with their biology and psychology, that’s part of the mystery we’re pursuing this year, so you’re going to have to wait and see.

Orphan Black Season 3 SpoilersTVLINE | Alison now wants to run for school trustee. What’s in store for her and Donnie in their new suburban adventure?
The fun thing about Alison’s journey this year is that she and Donnie are well bonded over the death of Dr. Leekie. Team Hendrix it is going forward. We’ve seen them mistrusting and bickering with each other for a couple seasons and now the family has come together. It’s nice to see that suburban unit come together. But of course, it’s Alison and Donnie, and it’s going to be a bent and twisted version of suburban marriage, for sure. [Laughs]

Orphan Black fans, what did you think of the twisty, turny Season 3 premiere?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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18 Comments
  1. laurelnev says:

    SO BUMMED I don’t have BBC America, and so will probably have to wait to see the rest of S3, Loved being able to watch this on AMC tonight, and wish they’d show the rest of the season there too! (Oh well. The GOOD thing about waiting for the DVDs is you can binge watch the season in like 2 days!)

  2. Joey says:

    I must say its nice to see James Frain on my TV screen again in a yet again predictably creepy role.

  3. Patrick Maloney says:

    The Castors are exactly what this show needed, a truly unknown quantity to wrap all the science fiction themes around. I am still super bored by Allison though. . . At least, until she starts killing again.

  4. abz says:

    Solid premiere. I’m intrigued by the Castor clones and Tatiana was as amazing as ever. My main complaint though is the background music. I don’t know if it’s just me or maybe what I was watching it on, but at certain points it was pretty hard to hear the dialogue. It was just a little too loud.

  5. madhatter360 says:

    I genuinely loved how all the clones have these super dramatic arcs (kidnapped, dying, trying to save all the other charcters) and Alison is running for school trustee. Alison is my favorite.

  6. Dreed10 says:

    I loved the premier…great set up for the season and plenty of Tatiana!

    And I’m just gonna say it…can we have of a round of applause for the real star of the episode: Ari Millen’s bum!!! (Sorry I had to)

  7. DarkDefender says:

    Another well done episode. Unexpected to see another clone in the premiere. On principle alone, Tatiana Maslany should get performer of the week. Although, Tatiana Maslany was also great this episode.. And so was Tatiana Maslany.

  8. Cate says:

    Loved this episode and I’m really interested to see the development in Delphine’s character. No more puppy hair, she’s a badass now! They didn’t do much with Cophine last season really so I think it will be interesting to see them operate separately this year – but hopefully get together again eventually.
    Not enough Felix in this episode, but I liked that he is the makeover queen getting Sarah all Rachel-ready. Did he also get Alison into her Sarah look?
    The Castor clones don’t interest me that much. I love the show for our Tatiana clone characters, not because I want to see loads of other clones. However, they do give another set of baddies to hiss at.
    I was sure Ferdinand knew that wasn’t Rachel after he looked at her neck in the elevator. Has Rachel got a scar or birthmark that Sarah hasn’t – like Paul spotted with not-Beth’s scar in season 1?

    Great to have the show back!

  9. analog says:

    Yes to Ari Millen as Rudy.

  10. jenferner8 says:

    The premiere was nothing less then I’d expect. James Frain was a pleasant surprise, I have missed him on Grimm. Looking forward to another great season of the sestras!

  11. BarbS. says:

    I am more and more impressed with Tatiany Maslany’s portrayals. I have to remind myself that the clones are all played by the same actress! I was especially impressed with Sarah as Rachel. She had Rachel’s look (almost, but not quite), but she walked like Sarah. Rachel has a more regal bearing. And Allison as Sarah – also close but not quite. How does Tatiana keep all this in her head? And can I add, Helena in a pink dress at a baby shower – priceless!

  12. BrightLight says:

    I wonder when Tatiana is nominated for her next award if will it list the scorpion as one of the roles she played on the show?

  13. Jared says:

    I thought this was the best premiere so far for Orphan Black. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the season plays out but having male clones now was genius!