TV Show Review

TV Review: ORPHAN BLACK: Season 1, Episode 1: Natural Selection

Tatiana Maslany Orphan Black Natural Selection

Orphan Black Natural Selection Review. Orphan Black: Season 1, Episode 1: Natural Selection was a premiere episode that had moments of highly interesting drama and action, along side moments that built characters and past relationships. Though some were colorful, those secondary moments didn’t advance the plot of the episode in a way that made their inclusion supremely relevant. Exempli gratia: The guy Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) hits over the head for a bundle of cocaine then tears up when he hears that Sarah is dead. The fact that Vic (Michael Mando) insisted on a memorial service for a person he wanted to throttle half an hour earlier was comical and I do not believe it was intended to be so.

Sarah being street-smart was evident the moment she manipulated the swipe card so it didn’t work but her intelligence was shown when she began studying recently deceased Beth, her make up, her American accent, and went through Beth’s things to gather intelligence.

In that moment, Orphan Black turned from the impetus of a street kid trying to con into a spy TV show.

The curve ball element in the episode, the element that created the greatest drama behind a.) Beth killing herself, b.) Sarah taking her identity was, c.) Beth’s  occupation. It was never hinted at in any of the promotional materials for series or the episode itself before the pivotal moment.

This was a surprise both for the viewer, Sarah, and it made her spy game that much more intriguing (how she adjusted and dealt with it). If she is that good at adaptation and improvisation, like the real life guy in the documentary The Imposter, she should apply to the CIA or in her case, MI6.

The sexual element in this episode of Orphan Black was one of showing its cable network and the audience what they could expect, that the show is a risk-taker and not afraid to be salacious.

It also showed something never witnessed on J.J. AbramsAlias: A female agent using sex to lull and get herself out of a potential compromising situation or line of questioning. The expression on Sarah’s face as she is on top of her coital partner (I don’t want to do this or have this stranger inside me but I have to) was very similar to the look on Daenerys Targaryen face during her first sexual encounter with Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones.

The initial blood work in the episode was only what was necessary to advance the plot, nothing extraneous or excessive. A later instance was certainly violent and unexpected.

The mystery elements in Natural Selection were small. It was more about getting to know the Sarah and her abilities. Mission accomplished.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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