Family probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the sci-fi hit “Orphan Black.” But after all the conspiracy, clones, and ass-kicking, the story really comes down to one woman’s struggle to save her family.
Even though our family struggles (hopefully) play out with fewer weapons and undercover ops, “Orphan Black” has a lot to teach us about putting family first. Take a look at the top five things this BBC America hit gets right about family.
1. Putting Your Children First Doesn’t Always Feel Good
Even before Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) witnessed the suicide of one of her clones, she left her daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler) in the care of another woman. Whatever the reasons, Sarah knew that her current lifestyle and the unsavory company she kept was not the best thing for her daughter.
Sarah repeatedly makes the tough decision to leave her child in a safe, loving environment that she just can’t provide. Every time it’s a super-mom move. Parents have to make tough choices all the time, and doing what’s right for our kids isn’t always what’s easiest. Sarah shows us just how tough she is by hurting herself to care for her daughter.
2. We Can Create Our Own Family
“Hey…That’s my brother. Which means he’s one of our sisters. Family. You get it, meathead?” – Sarah
Family can be confusing. Especially when you discover you’re a clone and new sisters are in abundant supply. All the clones – and Sarah’s foster brother, Felix (Jordan Gavaris) – had their lives and families turned upside down. Sarah had never known a blood relation. And even though this rag-tag bunch of clones was thrust upon her, she didn’t walk away.
Her new sisters ran the gamut from a perfect suburban housewife to a strung-out trained assassin. But no matter what, Sarah ultimately made the choice to accept, embrace, and protect her new “siblings.” When they all decided to help each other instead of killing one another, a new kind of family was created.
3. Let Sleeping Children Lie
For parents, few things are as sublime as a peacefully sleeping child. That’s your reward for surviving another day with them. No one knows this better than uptight perfectionist Alison (also portrayed by Tatiana Maslany). When Sarah first showed up at her door Alison wasted no time brandishing a gun and warning her to stay quiet because her kids were sleeping.
In response Sarah asked, “You’re going to shoot me while your kids are sleeping?
And without any hesitation, Alison answered,” You wake them or show your face, yes, I will shoot you.”
4. Family Ties Are Stronger Than We Realize
“It’s foolish to spare you, but you raised me. Nurture prevails.” – Rachel
Even clones have a soft spot for their parents. Rachel (also known as “The Bitch” and, again, played by Tatiana Maslany) had the chance to get even and kill the man who started it all, Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer.) But to everyone’s surprise she went completely against her nature and let him go.
She might not want to have Sunday dinner with him every week, but she didn’t want to wipe him from the face of the Earth, either. Sometimes that’s the best you can hope for in the tangled web of family drama.
5. Nepotism Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be
Sure it’s great to get a little help from the fam with summer jobs during high school or internship options in college, but working for family as an adult can be tough. It’s difficult to keep personal feelings, expectations, and judgments out of the professional relationship.
And working for family is different than working with family. Alison knows the pain of working for a family member, and even though she loves her family, she’s not going back.
“I will dig ditches for this family, but I am not going back to work in my mother’s store.” – Alison
“Orphan Black” might seem like an action-packed thriller that’s all about the twists, turns, and explosions. But tucked in between all the excitement is a message that family matters – especially when it doesn’t come in a perfect package (real life, people).