Orphan Black Series Finale

Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany Looks Back at Her Clone Journey, Talks Bloody Goodbye and 'Really Different' Finale

Orphan Black‘s chameleon-like star Tatiana Maslany had such a difficult time parting with the many clones she has played on the BBC America series that she, literally, got a nosebleed while saying goodbye to one of them.

The bloody moment, which came during her final scene as suburban mom Alison, “was so telling in terms of how little I wanted to let go of that character,” Maslany tells TVLine in the following Q&A. (We’ll miss Alison a lot, too.)

Below, Maslany reflects on her 230+ clone appearances over the past five seasons, and previews the “very different” series finale (airing this Saturday at 10/9c), which takes the show “back to a human level.”

TVLINE | There’s a chart on the show’s Wikipedia page that tallies the number of appearances for each actor per season. And thanks to your many characters, your total is 231 appearances over five seasons. Just to put that into perspective, Ari Millen comes in second at 50 appearances.
Oh my God. That’s awesome.

Orphan Black Wiki

Source: Wikipedia

TVLINE | What goes through your head when you hear that number?
I mean, it doesn’t feel unreasonable. [Laughs] ‘Cause I definitely was on set every, kind of, second of the day. So that feels about right. I think I did ten thousand lines of ADR… Nobody should be talking that much. [Laughs]

TVLINE | The very first interview you and I did was before the show premiered, but I think you had filmed all of Season 1. You talked about what a joy it was to play all these characters, but also how exhausting it was. Did it get any easier for you over the years?
Not entirely. I think I was just sort of in shock that first season. I’d never led a TV series, let alone played this many characters, so it was a new thing for me. I think I got used to the amount of work it was, but it’s only now that I’ve got some time off [from] it that I’m like, “Oh, right, this is what sleep feels like. And this is what not, like, constantly having 90 voices in your head feels like.” It’s been a bizarre process of letting go of that amount of work a little bit.

Orphan Black RachelTVLINE | I remember you saying that Rachel was a particularly scary clone for you because you’d never really done that type of character or accent before. By the end, did you feel comfortable in her skin?
I always felt a little bit uncomfortable in Rachel’s skin, but I also just loved her to bits because of that. She definitely wasn’t a natural choice for me, or kind of conventional casting. She really gave me this chance to stretch as an actor and try something different. So I loved Rachel, and I’m so glad we got to keep exploring her.

TVLINE | Looking back at the five seasons, is there a scene that stands out for you as being particularly difficult or rewarding?
There’s some stuff that happens at the end of Season 5. But there have been so many. I mean, I can’t even remember half the things we’ve done on the show. The last episode of Season 5 is full of scenes that were technically complex, emotionally complex. That was a really memorable episode for me.

TVLINE | Speaking of the last episode, how would you sum up the series finale for those who haven’t seen it yet?
I’m interested to see what people think about it. We really wanted to finish it in Orphan Black style, and also kind of surprise the audience. So hopefully, they get some of that. We’ve had some major things happen this season that have broken the hearts of the clones and altered them forever. So we see some of the consequences of that. It’s a really different episode for us, as well.

Orphan Black Series FinaleTVLINE | There were some individual clone-centric installments this season, and the finale’s a big one for Sarah. How would you describe her mindset in the episode?
Helena’s in labor, and it’s Sarah in action: Sarah flying forward, trying her best, the way that Sarah always has, just with her own resourceful mind and with this team of people that she has around her, trying to fight for freedom. So that is certainly where we start that episode. But it’s this kind of blind crashing into whatever’s coming at them.

Orphan Black Series FinaleTVLINE | The last episode ended with Helena going into labor. What can you say about her journey in this final hour?
I loved the episode [last week] that was Helena-centric, in terms of seeing a little bit of her backstory that we sort of knew, but also fleshing out this self-hatred she has with herself in the present day, in terms of what she did to her sisters and all of that. At the beginning of this episode, obviously, she’s in labor and in distress. But she’s also firmly holding onto her sister, [whom] she fought so hard to be with over these last few seasons. They’ve had a very difficult relationship in that they’ve both tried to kill each other. [Laughs] But their love is so strong.

TVLINE | You’re so close to these characters, and you’re a producer on the show. How much influence did you have on where their journeys ended? Were there certain things you wanted to see for the seestras?
There are certain things that I wanted, and other things that I wasn’t expecting and loved the surprise of them. I think for all of us, it was about coming back to the microcosm of this family, this chosen family that they’ve all created, and these links that they have, that sense of community. So that was really what our focus was: taking it out of this large-scale corruption of these larger corporations, and bringing it back to a human level.

Orphan Black Series FinaleTVLINE | I have a very difficult question for you: Which clone will you miss playing the most?
I think I’ll miss Helena the most, but then Alison as well. Like, my body had a really visceral reaction to saying goodbye to Alison. I was doing a scene that happens in Episode 9, where I’m Skyping with Cosima, talking about Siobhan’s funeral and her death. It was the last scene that I shot as Alison. So I was already so upset, doing this scene, and then also just saying goodbye, and my nose just started bleeding profusely. It was a mess, a disaster. So I was just, like, covered in blood, and that was my last moment as Alison. [Laughs] Which was so telling in terms of how little I wanted to let go of that character.

Orphan Black Dinner SceneTVLINE | Getting to portray so many distinctive women in one project is such a rare gift. What are you going to take away from this experience going forward?
I guess just a sense of play. There was so much creativity in this project for me and for, I think, all of us. And just continuing to explore that way and be open to the infinite possibilities of what any person could be or what any actor can play. I just feel very open and excited to tackle something new. Not sure what that’s going to be.

TVLINE | After taking on such a monumental task, could you see yourself signing up to do another TV series and committing to another five or six seasons of something?
Yeah, I think so. Maybe not like immediately, but definitely down the line at some point. But I also want to do theater and go back to the rehearsal hall a little bit.

Clone Club, hit the comments to share your favorite Orphan Black memories.

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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28 Comments
  1. I will miss the sestras so much. Tatiana made them each so unique, I often forgot I wasn’t watching 2 (or 3 or 4) different actresses on the screen. The coolest thing was when she played one of the clones as another one of the clones (ie, Tatiana playing Sarah playing Rachel). So subtle, showing us that maybe Sarah wasn’t quite as good an actress as Tatiana. Brilliant! And I will miss my darling Felix just as much.

  2. M says:

    Amazing series; amazing actress. I’m excited for the finale and dreading it so much. There will be many re-watches (in entirety) in my future.

  3. Lysh says:

    I wish the finale was two hours so we had more time left with the sestras and everyone. I’m looking forward to see how they wrap things up but I’ll be sad to see it go.

  4. webly3 says:

    Great interview! I love Tatiana Maslany and I’m excited for the finale.

  5. Me34 says:

    I’m going to miss Helena so much and her saying “Dony Hendric”.

  6. AlisonM says:

    So does that mean that Alison isn’t in the finale? I feel like we need a bit of all of the clones in the finale. I want to see where Krystal and Alison end up. I’m still super excited for this last episode, though!

  7. LAwoman says:

    The show is so unique. I’m going to miss it. Helena, Donny and Allison were my faves.The humor mixed in so well with the darker story elements. Tatiana is just amazing.

  8. shanec1973 says:

    My favorite, Helena, having regret for every sestra she had killed taking her life in hopes that her babies had a better life, saved by Sarah and the subtle look between as she then broke Dr. Cody head open was classic. I have been so involved in this world then every time Tatina was on screen as one of the others, she was that character. And I still will not believe that she was Cosima, because Cosima looked so different from the others. It will be sad to see them go but I own every season and will watch and rewatch, and share with others. Wasn’t there talk about seven seasons and a movie? How about five seasons and three movies?

  9. Charlene Ofstedahl says:

    I am going to miss this show for sure. Tatiana is a remarkable actress. It always felt like I was watching different actresses playing all these parts.

  10. postalinVT says:

    Tat’s the MOST amazing actress I’ve ever seen. Completely believeable in each role. Robbed by the awards shows every time. Helena, my fave, must live, have babies and hook up with the guy from “Suits” she met in the bar in an earlier season and I will be OK.

    I will really miss this remarkable program and ALL the parties involved. Best wishes to all.

  11. T says:

    Omg!!! I am going to miss Helena ,Felix,Alison

  12. dsrbroadway says:

    I’m going to miss her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And that one we met for just a second last week.

  13. Matt says:

    Alison has really grown on me.

    I really like how complicated Helena is. I always fondly think back to her and Sarah singing in the car together.

  14. Alichat says:

    I am really not ready for this show to end!! I will miss the sestras so much. When the show began, I said to friends ‘Why does the uptight clone have my name?!’ But I love Alison and Donnie so much now. Their scenes, once Donnie became part of the Clone Club, were hysterical and sweet. And Helena’s character growth. It’s just amazing that Tatiana could give each of these clones individual personalities, but also that the writers could flesh them out so well. There are 7….maybe even 8….clones that were fully fleshed out. So amazing!

  15. Sheila says:

    It was such a fun ride. I loved Felix and Alison during the intervention. My top episode was the Hendrix house potluck where Vic the dick AND big dick Paul crashed the party. I loved Meathead saving Sarah when she was tied up in Rachel’s condo. Another great scene was Helena running past Art in the woods outside the cult compound. It was amazing to watch Mrs. S kill her former cohorts at the “safehouse.” I hope Kira’s daddy shows up in the finale. This show was so amazing! The cast was awesome!

  16. Nancy says:

    Oh my, It is difficult to choose who my favorite is (not Rachel) but I will miss Sarah, Felix (a lot), Helena, MK (even though we saw so little of her), and Mrs. S. I guess Donnie, too. This has been a great-never miss- series and I will miss it though I can stream it, I suppose. Tatiana: Thank you for all of your work in order to bring this story to all of us.

  17. Any scene with Mrs. S, Sarah and Fee…such love there…<3…

  18. gretabensley says:

    I think Orphan Black and the force that is Tatiana really show how far TV has come. Leaving a show behind as an avid fan is always its own process of letting go, too, but in this case it’s letting go of so many things at once that all lead back to her incredible performance and her characters that are so very well developed. I will forever hold dear Sarah’s endurance no matter the odds, Alison’s complexity in trying to be normal and then letting go of that notion in order to be truly happy, Cosima’s heart always coming before her unfathomable wit, Helena’s struggle with her inner demons and the ones that were bestowed upon her, and yes, even Krystal’s blunt badassery, teaching us not to take ourselves so seriously all the time. Not to mention Jordan Gavaris who is a revelation just as well! Letting go of a show, sure, letting go of the sestras, never gonna happen. Tonight I will watch and weep and eat Eskimo Pies and I’m looking forward to all of it!

  19. postalinVT says:

    Is it strange that a 66 year old man got teary-eyed several times during the finale of Orphan Black? Please say no.
    On a more “manly” note: was that Tats rear end we saw in episode one, season one or a stand in?

    Man am I going to miss this show. :(

  20. Mark P says:

    One small thing. From the first episode I assumed from her accent that Sarah was an Australian living in London. That worked for me really well until an episode where it was stated she was supposed to be from London.

    Now I don’t want to take anything away from Tatiana’s masterful portrayal of all the ses traditional, but to everyone in the UK, she’s clearly got an Aussie accent as Sarah.

    For some reason, people in US TV seem to confuse the two accents. Alias was a real shocker in this regard, with characters practically saying “G’day, oim from Luuunden, cobber!”

    British accents are quite distinct from Aussie ones, and everyone here knows the difference.

    • Mark P says:

      Damned autocorrect screwed up the word sestras. Apols

    • Al says:

      Mark – as a Londoner and as someone who enjoys dabbling in accent work, I have to say Sarah’s accent was pretty much spot on. London has quite a few different accents and Sarah’s was streety without being gutter-trash. I never once caught a hint of Australian – and to my ear the two accent groups are very far apart.

    • Leals says:

      Mark, as an Aussie, I can assure you that Sarah never sounded Australian to me ;). I thought she was a growly version of Londoner from the get-go.

  21. Shawna Trudeau says:

    Orphan Black was the most amazing show. Tatiana is, by far, the most talented and amazing actor I have ever seen. I’m going to miss it incredibly. Can’t wait to see her in her next adventure.