The Clones Of “Orphan Black,” Ranked

The delightful mess that is BBC America’s runaway hit “Orphan Black” comes back this Saturday, and there’s a whole bunch of new intrigue. Don’t remember a damn thing from last season? Here’s a brief recap: There’s a whole set of boy clones running around courtesy of Project Castor, which is a companion of Project Leda. Leekie is dead. Allison buried Dr. Leekie in the garage after her husband, Donnie, killed him. Rachel, the evil bitch clone, got stabbed in the eye with a pencil. And, it turns out that Dyad isn’t really all that bad, because they’re actually just a front for Topside, which is another shadowy, shady as fuck organization that’s run by Marion Bowles, Rachel’s boss, who is actually the evil one. Got that?

The fun of “Orphan Black” isn’t so much about the twisty plot, but the clones. Tatiana Maslany plays, at minimum, three characters an episode, laboring against the obstacles of terrible wigs. Each performance is so different that you almost forget it’s the same person. For me, that’s what makes it fun. I could care less about Dyad, and Topside and Leekie and genomes. I just want to see Tatiana Maslany act in scenes with only herself, over and over again. Since the clones are the thing that drive this show, everyone out there certainly has strong, unwavering opinions about which clone reigns supreme. With that said, here’s a definitive ranking of the clones of “Orphan Black.”


12-10. Danielle Fournier, Aryanna Gordon, Janika Zingler: They are supposedly “dead”, because we think that Helena killed them in her singleminded attempt to eradicate all her sestras, but this show is so crazy that they might come back to life. You never know!


9. Beth Childs: It’s hard to say what anyone would do if they discovered that they were a clone, made in a lab and studied by people that they thought loved them. I imagine that the way Beth’s life ended was the only thing that made sense to her, even though she was operating under a haze of shame and psychoactive medication.


8. Jennifer Fitzsimmons: Gone too soon, this one served her purpose as a plot device through her video testimony discovered at Dyad, in which she talked about the mysterious illness that will eventually kill them all.


7. Katja Obinger: She died pretty quickly in the first episode, but she served as the vehicle the plot needed to get Sarah in contact with the rest of the clones. She gets extra points for utility, and for her whole East German-chic thing, but that’s it.


6. Tony Sawicki: Props to Tatiana Maslany for gamely gluing what appears to be pubes to her face to portray the trans clone Tony. Sadly, he doesn’t do much, except for kiss Felix and sulk. He’s been sent away for safekeeping, so that means he’s hopefully not dead, and maybe we’ll see him again in season three.


5. Rachel Duncan: She’s incapable of love, she works for the bad guys, and she’s a power blonde with an affinity for sharp pencil skirts and is preternaturally intelligent. I also find her irritating for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on, and have little to no sympathy for her! So, she lingers in the bottom half of this list.


4. Sarah Manning: You’d think Sarah would be the awesomest clone, but really, she’s kind of a snoozefest. Yeah, you are the glue that is ostensibly holding these idiots together, but if I have to hear you say KYYYYYRAAAAAA one more time, I’m going to throw a shoe at the TV. Sashay, you stay, but don’t get too comfy.


3. Cosima Niehaus: She loses points for the white person dreads, but gains it back because she’s really smart, extremely level-headed and practically unflappable, even though her girlfriend turned out to be her monitor and she’s basically dying while trying to protect her sisters.


2. Helena: I don’t know if I would last in a long car ride with Helena, because she is the squirreliest person I have ever encountered in fiction, but if you have her on your side, she’s pretty ride or die. She makes a tattered fur and a chemise stained with blood look effortless and she almost always has snacks. Yes, those snacks might be a peanut butter sandwich she found on the ground and a handful of foraged berries, but that’s better than nothing, right?


1. Alison Hendrix: My favorite little pill-popping soccer mom is my number one, because I love her whole tightly-wound-in-Lululemon-and-a-headband vibe. She’s paranoid to the point of drugging her hapless husband Donnie because she thinks he’s her monitor, and her friendship with Felix is charming in its own way. If the world were ending and I had to pick one person to have in my corner, it would be Alison.