5 things you need to know before the ‘Orphan Black’ season 3 premiere

Welcome back to the trip, Clone Club.


Michelle Jaworski


Published Apr 18, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 1:13 am CDT

A new season of Orphan Black is upon us, and Tatiana Maslany is having an intense moment with Tatiana Maslany.

At this point in the trip that is BBC America’s hit sci-fi drama about clones, high stakes, and sisterhood, seeing double (or triple) doesn’t really even phase fans anymore.

Maslany acted alongside herself next to herself, and at times she makes you forget that it’s all one actress (and a stand-in to act next to). In last season’s most complicated scene, four of the clones went and had a clone dance party; BBC America’s just showing off now.

But the revelation in last season’s finale—that a group of male clones were created as part of Project Castor (all played by Ari Millen) and Prolethean Mark Rollins was one of them—raised the stakes even higher. Instead of being raised unaware as an experiment (with the exception of proclone Rachel Duncan), the male clones were bred for the military. Mark seems to be on his own—although we’re not sure why just yet—while another ended up locked in a box for Sarah Manning to see.

As we last saw nearly a year ago, however, that’s the least of their problems. Sarah escaped Dyad, but she’s got Castor to deal with. Rachel Duncan’s got a pencil lodged in her eye, Cosima Niehaus appeared on the brink of death, Alison Hendrix just buried a body under her garage, and Helena ended up in military custody. And from the start of the season premiere, which airs tonight, they hit the ground running and don’t look back.

Fans will get some questions answered, but in the meantime, here are some spoiler-free highlights to keep an eye out for. Welcome back to the trip, Clone Club.

1) You’ll find out what happens to each of the clones

We won’t get equal time with each of the five main Leda clones in the season premiere, but we will see them. Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson told TVGuide that the premiere picks up “very close to where we left off, not quite the same moment, but a day later.”

That’s evident with the threads we pick up and follow throughout the premiere. There’s time to settle down from the latest showdown, but it’s only a matter of time before everything goes into disarray again.

And Rachel? She’s been missing from most of the promotional footage to date, but we’ll see what exactly happened to her after she met with that fateful pencil when attempting to remove Sarah’s ovaries.

2) Project Castor is in the forefront, but it won’t eclipse Project Leda

Some fans were initially wary about the introduction of male clones into the Orphan Black universe, but Millen’s Castor clones offer a unique dynamic foil to Maslany’s Leda clones. We know Mark already, but in the premiere we also get introduced to Seth, Miller, and Rudy (who Sarah saw in the box). It’s their confrontation that’s front and center in promotions for the premiere.

Even though there’s two sets of clones, it’s still ultimately about the ladies. The two sets of clones will likely and inevitably meet later in the season, but much of the plot is driven by the women, and Sarah’s quest to get Helena back from Paul and the military no matter what.

But we’ll have an entire season to get acquainted with Castor and see what makes them tick.


4) Maslany isn’t the only actress who gets to shine

At times it’s easy to forget that Maslany is playing all of the clones, but not only does Orphan Black succeed in its portrayal of flawed and complicated women, it succeeds past Maslany’s characters. Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) is left with the consequences of her decision to let Paul take Helena last season while Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) takes on an entirely new role, which will almost certainly put some strain on her relationship with Cosima. And we see almost instantly how good she is at it.

5) “Keep your sisters close”—but your secrets even closer

Even more precious than the concept of sisterhood? The secrets everyone is keeping from each other. Alison never told anyone her husband killed Dr. Leekie last season, Sarah hid the identity of Kira’s father, and Prof. Ian Duncan hid secrets from everyone. But just because you’re a clone or a member of Dyad doesn’t mean you know everything that’s going on, as many of the characters discover. 

And it’ll only be a matter of time before everything is exposed for everyone to see.

Photo by Steve Wilkie/BBC AMERICA

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*First Published: Apr 18, 2015, 1:43 pm CDT