Orphan Black has never been one to shy away from shocking revelations and season 3 had these in abundance. But with many loose ends tied up, and the shock value from season 1 mostly worn off, how can season 4 refresh the story and keep audiences engaged?
In recent interviews, the producers of the BBC America show gave us some tantalising hints of how they're going to do just that, and why season 4 will be the best season yet! So hold on to your hats, cos there are some big surprises coming, and one big twist that may change the clones' lives forever...
Plot Reset for Season 4?
That's right, after 3 years of intense worldbuilding, Orphan Black may suddenly change tack. It's difficult to keep the shock value of a show like this going: season 1 was such a rollercoaster, and part of the joy of watching was how much potential was there, how much of the mystery we didn't know.
Now, as more allies and enemies come to light, and the plot gets more complex, watching the show is very different experience, and sometimes it's hard to keep track.
But fear not! BBC America president Sarah Barnett has promised that the show will keep things fresh next season. Comparing the plot's complexity to Russian nesting dolls, Barnett assured us that season 4 will take the show in a new direction to prevent the story from getting stale.
After the season 3 finale tied things up quite nicely, series writer John Fawcett added to Barnett's comments, saying that we shouldn't get too comfortable.
"There are some cliffhangers and we've left some things up in the air, but what this allows us to do in season 4 is it allows us to breathe and reset ourselves a little bit."
What this "reset" could mean for the show remains to be seen. The story could shift focus to a completely separate clone group, maybe in Europe. There are still many Leda clones out there, and they're still clueless as to their origins. This would be a fantastic way to reset things while building on what seasons 1-3 established: we would relive these other clones' discovery of the mystery, with new threats emerging as they uncover the truth.
A different antagonist would certainly be a welcome change. I don't know about you, but it's sometimes tricky separating the different factions: Dyad, Topside, Neolution, Proletheans, Project Castor... All of them are connected and intersect, and sometimes seem a little superfluous (Topside especially: it fulfills the same purpose as Dyad, and only serves to add another authority for the characters to struggle with). It would be fantastic to see a completely new foe spring up, trying to use the clones, both Leda and Castor, for their own gain.
In the interview, Barnett also promises that season 4 will not be too convoluted.
"There’ll be plot surprises for sure without a ton of crazy exposition, but I also think there will be some real, big character surprises."
Though there are still many mysteries to be solved, the show is populated by fascinating characters, and delving deeper into their histories and secrets might be just what season 4 needs.
Not What They Seem...
So which character is set for shocking revelations? Sarah's been at the forefront of the action since the show began, and while we don't know much about her grifter past, most of her secrets have already been revealed. Cosima is fairly transparent, and Alison's nefarious deeds are in the present not the past. While it's true that we could learn more about Helena's traumatic childhood, the best thing for her right now is to move forward and forge a new identity after frequently being a tool for others' plans. But we don't know much about new clone Crystal... could she be the one to spill her secrets? Or after many seasons examining the Leda clones' development, maybe another character should take the spotlight.
Clones aside, there is one character who desperately needs more screen time: Felix. Sarah's foster brother has always been there for her, weathering crazy conspiracies, homocidal clones, and corpses in his bathtub. He's the eternal support for the Clone Club, and often provides comic relief for the show with his unfailing sense of humour. But he's long overdue for some serious stories. He's so ready to help the clones, we have to wonder what he he sacrificed in his own life, and what are the consequences of this for Felix?
This might be exactly the kind of question the show is ready to answer: Jordan Gavaris, who plays Felix, recently commented on his character in season 4.
"There’s a lot more to explore, [in season 4]. I’m interested in telling a story about a gay man and what he’s going through as an artist and as a lonely, single gay man. That’s the story that I would like to tell, and I think that I can tell that within the parameters of where Season 4 is going as a season.
So we can look forward to more from Felix next year! And with Barnett promising a new romantic opportunity for one of the characters, maybe Felix will finally start dating someone (anyone remember that cute coroner from season 1? My vote's on him!).
It looks like we'll have to wait for Orphan Black season 4 to find out what makes Felix tick, as well as what crazy plot twists the writers have in store for us. Watch this space though: there's plenty of hints coming from writers and cast alike!