Season 3 of Orphan Black has been shrouded in mystery, and the show’s BBC panel at TCA didn’t reveal too much more about our favorite clones, other than it does seem some might not be returning, at least not yet. In a press release delivered to journalists before the panel, star Tatiana Maslany is listed as playing only four clones (Sarah, Alison, Cosima and Helena) which begs the question, where are the rest? Tatiana has played at least three others (the deceased Beth, Rachel, and transgender Tony) in Seasons 1 and 2. Jordan Gavarais, who plays Felix, says not to put too much stock into what the release says.
“I think there’s still a really good chance Tony will be included, but in what capacity, I’m not sure,” Jordan said. “His absence from the press release doesn’t have a lot to do with, and there was some polarity, a polarized response to the character, which I think is great. I think it’s just a matter of integrating the character in an organic way and not just bringing him back for a one off. Because they don’t want to do another one-off with Tony. Because it dishonors the character, it dishonors the work that Tat does, so the question is how do we bring him back for a longer more organic way for a longer period of time. So that’s been a conversation in the writers’ room, but they don’t tell us anything.”
During the panel, Jordan mentioned Felix and Cosima would be spending a lot of time together in Season 3, and they share a special bond because of their queerness.
“Tat can, I guess, speak to this, too, in that it’s kind of neat that they share something together, not in any way to reduce them down to their sexuality, but they do share this thing together that none of the other sisters share, that is just kind of a neat common thread, and there’s no disparity between them,” Jordan said during the panel. “She treats him, not like an accessory, not like a crisis counselor. She just treats him like a friend, and he treats her like a friend. And they talk about life and love, and it’s neat. It was just neat to explore that.”
During our interview, Jordan elaborated.
“What I can say it’s less about sex and sexuality and more about loneliness,” he said, “which is really nice for them to finally explore because I feel like nobody really wants to know what’s going on in Felix’s life. It’s a bit of a social commentary in that some people like their gay best friend to stay their gay best friend. They don’t want to know if they’re happy, or their sex life, they don’t really want to know. Not so much now because we are a more informed generation, but years ago, and even some cases still now. But its great for the story because suddenly he’s not a commodity anymore but a person when he’s with her. And I thought that was an amazing dynamic to explore.”
Jordan says Cosima has a different way of “seeing” people, which is part of what makes her such a beloved character.
“I think Cosima sees that in everybody but I think that being a gay woman has probably been reduced to that on many occasions,” Jordan said. “So when she gets seated across from someone like Felix, and Felix plays into the part a little, it’s very easy for her to say, “Yo, dude, you don’t have to do that. I’m here, you can just be you, you can tell me that you can’t sleep at night and we can just talk about this.” So I would be remiss if I said that their sexuality didn’t bond them a little bit, it did. And does in life. And that goes for any commonality. If I see somebody with —My mom always talks about—why am I talking about my Mom? But she always talks about meeting women with freckles and red hair. She says immediately, and this is so silly and innocuous, but she knows their plight. They can’t go in the sun too often, they freckle if they tan too much. They have something to talk about all the sudden.”
Tatiana was part of the panel via satellite, as she’s feeling under the weather, but said a certain demographic often tell her Cosima is their favorite clone.
“Like young women tend to really relate to Cosima, so they’ll sort of identify me as her a lot more often,” Tatiana said. “But like, middle aged couples are really into Alison, so I think I don’t know why she resonates with that group, so she’s maybe the one that they associate me with more. I think mostly Sarah, she is the sort of center piece of the story, so I think she’s kind of the default and the one that they associate me with the most. Not Helena, surprisingly.”
Tatiana also said she felt differently about Tony than she has with other clones, that inhabiting his body and switching back to Sarah in the same day was somewhat disorienting.
“I remember when we did when I had been playing Tony for a couple days straight and Jordan and I kind of experienced this together. He and I had been playing the Tony/Felix dynamic for about two, three days, and it was a new dynamic, and we were really excited to be exploring it, and it felt very rich and all encompassing. And then I had to switch into Sarah halfway through a day, and I didn’t know who she was anymore. I had no idea. I was just kind of I felt like a deer in headlights, like I felt like all my impulses were still resonating with Tony. And I think, Jordan, I think you can probably speak to that too, that we were sort of looking at each other like, “Who are we to each other?””
“The dynamic was so strange because there’s never been any kind of romantic… the sexuality wasn’t anything we’d ever explored with any of the other clones, so it was yeah–it was strange,” Jordan said. “You spent all this time together, especially with Felix and Sarah, because that was the anchor relationship. That was the thing we would always come back to, our touchstone. So to have that sort of… it was just thrown off its kilter a little bit, and it threw us for a loop. It was a weird, cool challenge.
Jordan said he shares scenes with Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) this season (“There’s some shade thrown, there’s some cattiness. All I had to do last season was say her name once and everyone gasped. But it’s fun.”), but he also might spend some time with guest star Ksenia Solo, who plays a holistic healer named Shay. When I mention the press release hinting that she might stir up some trouble for Cophine as a love interest for Cosima, Jordan laughs.
“What I will say is that press releases are very strategic and they are designed to elicit that response, to make the audience ask that question,” Jordan said. “Whether or not it will, I can’t say. Things will certainly be complicated… I think its pretty obvious that there’s a bit of friction between Delphine and Cosima. There’s a lot going on. Delphine’s loyalty is kind of messy.”
Jordan knows Ksenia has a huge Lost Girl following coming to the show, and says she’s the “nicest person in the world.”
“We had a table read and she comes in like this ethereal beauty queen in a yellow floppy hat,” he says. “A lovely lovely woman.”
Felix will have some of his own storylines this season, too, outside of the clone sisters who take up so much of his time.
“He’s kind of in debt, and I can’t say with who or over what but we get to see a little of it,” Jordan said. “It’s nice to see him not be the younger brother, the accessory, for five-seconds. It’s nice to see him be an independent human with a singular drive, to own his strength, his power. We get to see him be a little more powerful.”
As for any romantic possibilities, Jordan says it hasn’t happened yet but they aren’t yet finished with filming Season 3. And, truly, all of our favorite Orphan Black characters have even bigger troubles when the show returns in April, including Ari Millen, who is playing several male clones from Castor, including a scary-looking Scarface and the threatening Rudy.
“I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a military angle to Castor, and that Rudy is a threat to the sisters, to the girls,” said Executive Producer John Fawcett. “Rudy is a dangerous character who is very, very smart and very ruthless, and the guy’s seen some action. He’s a trained fighter, trained likely by the military.”
Tatiana joked that she was happy to see Ari taking some of the burden of playing several characters and scenes off her shoulders.
“It’s amazing for me. Ari, I talk about this a lot. The first day he came to set was the diner scene in Season 2, the first day I had worked with him, and he and I had weirdly done improv together in high school or opposite each other in high school, so we kind of knew each other. So sitting opposite him and the sort of intensity he had –he was just so scary. He was so scary because he was so alive and compelling and had this amazing energy as Mark that was new to our show, and really excited all of us, I think,” Tatiana said. “So to have him take on this challenge, I felt like it was like a no-brainer, and it also gave me a chance to have some three day weekends I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
As the OB universe continues to grow and include more characters, John said the writers’ room becomes a more challenging place.
“This season has been the hardest to write yet. Every day, really it is. It’s the balance. We have so many characters that we love, and we have so many — like there is the, kind of, the big sort of overall conspiracy and puzzle and mystery that we’re trying to tell through Sarah’s eyes, but there’s so many other characters that we love, and storylines that we’re trying to kind of juggle and fit them in in an intricate, unique way into the main plot,” John said. “It’s been the biggest challenge, I think, of my career, and I know certainly of my partner, Graeme Manson’s. And it’s fun and terrifying, and really it’s just been an incredible journey so far. I’m just grateful that I have these people, everyone, BBC America, Tat, Jordan, and Ari and all these people, and my partner, Graeme, on our side creating this because they’re all incredible talents. That’s what it takes. It takes a lot of collaboration, really, to make these stories, and I’m excited to show Season 3. I mean, it’s been challenging. That’s for sure.”
Season 3 of Orphan Black returns to BBC America in April.