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Orphan Black: Nature vs Nurture

This post will be discussing the Temple Street Productions, BBC America, and Bell Media series Orphan Black, seasons 1-2. If you haven't watched them, and don't want to be spoiled, stop here and go watch them. You won't be disappointed. 

Source: http://cdn.breathecast.com/data/images/full/24842/orphan-black-banner.jpg


A couple of weeks ago my dear, dear friend Gemma came to visit me for the day at University. We wandered the hallowed halls (i.e. drank coffee in my favourite haunt Coffee Aroma), browsed the charity shops, and discussed all things geek: from DS to Orphan Black to comics. Genuinely, it was such a lovely day (please come back soon, Gem!) and one of the things I promised I would do, is upon departing, I would begin watching Orphan Black. Every now and then this show had popped up on my Netflix screen and I thought "ooh, maybe", but I never clicked the play button (admittedly, largely because I was usually distracted by the pile of 8+ books currently residing on my desk.)

A couple of weeks ago, I finally did click that play button and, oh boy, I wish I had done it sooner. The premise, acting, and writing of this show are unbelievably good. Not only have I not been hooked by a show this much since Gilmore Girls and The West Wing wandered into my life, I genuinely think this will be a show I come back to, again and again.

I would describe it as a psycho-thriller-science-fiction-drama-amalgamation. It mashes together great writing, great acting, and a cracking score that literally has me on the edge of my bed when I'm watching it. I also have been sending Gemma a running commentary (I apologise), and I'm thoroughly enthralled.

However, this show actually makes all of the statements about gender, sexuality, and human identity. It begs the question of nature vs. nurture in its purest sense. Cosima (my personal favourite) is gay, scientifically minded, and super geeky. Allison, on the other hand, is a soccer-mom which a love of guns. But it Helena who really typifies it for me. Helena has been subject to religious abuse, and sexual abuse, and has violent tendencies. But still, I find myself liking her; her circumstance has made her that way. Even though all the women (and indeed man) are clones, each has their own individual path and identity. Similarly, the same situation isn't going to create two identical people. We, as individual human beings, each have our own identities and paths, and indeed reasons for being.

What Orphan Black says to me, above all, is be yourself, it's allowed.

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