Orphan Black Recap: A Clone Walked Into a Bar – Season 1, Pilot Natural Selection

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[icon-box icon=laptop]Snark Tank is where we recap TV episodes. This Orphan Black recap is for the season one episode, Natural Selection. This recap has spoilers you can reveal by clicking on the blurred text.[/icon-box]

I will say as a young child, I was subconsciously programmed into being a lover of the sci-fi and a good plot line. My father would come home and feed wee baby me to the sounds of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Later, we’d watch Stargate SG-1 as I got older. From there, it translated into becoming a lover of sci-fi shows and trying to find one that, as an aspiring tv writer, feminist, and giant ball of trivial information, would actually be able to enjoy and not pick apart every two seconds due to plot holes and poor character development . For a while, it seemed hopeless, until a role-playing partner of mine suggested Orphan Black, a show that was launched in 2012 by BBC America. It’s written by Graeme Manson who co-created it with director John Fawcett.

Surprisingly, I had to say I was a little hesitant of this when my friend explained it had a small cast but decided to give it a try. And I am glad to say I found myself binge watching all twenty episodes in a matter of a few days and currently, await the newest season which premiers on April 18, 2015. So in order to celebrate/countdown to season 3, I’ll be recapping the series as it stands thus far and continuing to recap the new season once it airs as well.

Without further to do, Orphan Black‘s pilot episode is titled Natural Selection, and where we meet our not so plucky but punky anti-hero, Sarah Manning (played by the talented Tatiana Maslany), who is valiantly….snoozing on a train. It’s clear by the side eye she gets, she’s not the most pleasant passenger on the train when she’s woken from her beauty sleep.

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Orphan_Black_S01E01_Natural_Selection_1080p_WEB-DL_AAC_2_0_H_264-ECI_0053However, with the proper change and all, Sarah calls someone mysterious and says that she’s finally back in town and wants to see Kira. “Who is Kira!” I wanted to scream. An ex-lover, a drug dealer, is it some super secret seer lady who’s got the four one one on everything? Nope turns out [spoiler] Kira is Sarah’s daughter [/spoiler]. Despite a rather passionate argument that would draw your attention, no matter how hard you want to ignore it, the camera pans to a crying woman who decides the train platform is a perfect place to do yoga and begins to remove her shoes.  And as she is starting her yoga, Sarah is walking by determined to find some new con to run or a shower.


And seeing a crying woman in need, our young punky thief can’t pass up the opportunity to see if crying yoga lady is in need of lightening her purse. However, she’s not prepared to come face to face with a identical woman who, in an effort to either escape Sarah or the fact she missed her yoga lesson, (trigger warning guys, spoiler contains mentions of suicide)  [spoiler] throws herself in front of the train and kills herself [/spoiler].


With the commotion of everyone running to the scene, Sarah noticed that yoga lady left her purse behind.  And with Sarah’s years of street wise experience, she knows that it’s finders keepers and snags the purse to go look over her new goodies. Locking herself into a bathroom that would make the most non-OCD person cringe and search for a bottle of Purel, the punk quickly pockets cash, ID, and low and behold, two cellphones. It seems Sarah won’t need to be going to Best Buy for a cheap cellphone. As we look over the ID we discover yoga lady’s name is really Elizabeth Childs. Well, there’s only one thing for our young corpse robbing street wise punk to do (besides break out into a rousing version of Dog Eat Dog from the international hit Les Miserables).


And that’s to head to the nearest punk ruck dive bar and order herself a drink to wait for someone. Turns out we only have to wait for a few moments before a rather skinny but delightful gay friend/ex foster brother named Felix Dawkins who decides he has nothing better to do than to remind Sarah she needs a shower. However, it’s met with a round of giggles, hugs, snarks and drinks before discussing what’s about to get the plot rolling

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As the two talk, we learn that Elizabeth Childs had a nice flat that is in a good part of town and that Sarah has a key of coke, stolen from an abusive ex, and is intent on making it as a female Scarface. She asks her brother to do what any good brother would do, show it off to his customers and sell it.

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Determined to figure out how her life became a grown up Parent Trap, Sarah either catches a bus or walks from bar to get to the loft. Which, I’m pretty sure she took enough money from Beth’s wallet to hire a cab. Unless she blew it all drinking with Felix, which is probably a strong possibility. But Sarah lets herself in and looks around the house, not really impressed with how Beth has lived her life. Or the boyfriend that she finds out that Beth had.


In the meantime, we get to watch Felix practice for the remake of Pretty Woman, which has the Julia Roberts character now selling cheap cocaine. At least until, Sarah’s ex, lovingly referred to as Vic the Dick, who really is a dick. After threatening Felix for the cocaine, he undoes all this hard work by asking him if he can take Felix’s apple.

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The two siblings call each other after this and Sarah gripes about not being able to use Beth’s credit cards for quick cash. Meanwhile Felix reminds her that its no big deal that  he got threatened by a low level drug deal. It’s during this conversation that once again, the law of convenient information being shown at the right time strikes as the news talks about the fact that Elizabeth [spoiler]jumped in front of a train [/spoiler]


Like any good thief, she decides it’s time to form a plan. It’s clear that it’s time for a crime and fashion montage complete with home videos, talking to cell phones, and swear words that all ends in Sarah looking like Beth as she walks through the hallways of her twin’s bank.  In the meantime, Felix is tasked with calling the morgue and making everyone believe that [spoiler] that Sarah threw herself in front of the train, not Beth [/spoiler]. It doesn’t take her long to work over the gullible bank manager into releasing the money to her in 72 hours, along with a safety deposit box.  Sarah checks it out and finds [spoiler] a whole bunch of birth certificates from all over the world[/spoiler].

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Pleased and slightly confused with her haul, Sarah decides it’s time head back to Beth’s place and mentally plan what to do with all that money.   At least until she’s honked at by some car and pulled into another one. I swear I was watching BBC America, and not Taken 4!

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However, Sarah realizes in the car that the mystery man isn’t someone who’s going to take her to some abandoned warehouse but the dude who’s been calling Beth’s regular phone non-stop, aka Art. Agreeing to go with Art, Sarah realizes that pretending to be Beth just got a whole lot harder when the car ride ends. It turns out Art took them to where Beth and he worked together as [spoiler] cops.[/spoiler] Realizing that her plan is becoming jeopardized very quickly, especially when it’s shown that [spoiler] Beth is having a hearing with the head of the police department [/spoiler] Thinking quickly, Sarah excuses herself to the bathroom to lose it and call Felix about this development along with calling off his part of the plan.

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Except Felix doesn’t answer his phone and carries on with his part of the plan, which is already at the morgue. And it somehow involves flirting over corpses, but hey, whatever works. He soon has a death certificate to show off that his part of the plan was successful.

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Sarah, on the other hand, panics and seems to be in a bind until she finds that the soap dispenser comes off. She downs it like a sorority girl downing shots at Ladies Night before heading back to the hearing. Once inside, it’s no surprise that what goes down, must come up.

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After that, Sarah gets dragged by Art to some fancy office and gets told that as Beth she’s doing a crappy job impersonating said twin. Felix, on the other hand, tries not to look smug when he smacks Vic and lets him know that Sarah is dead. Of course, Vic doesn’t believe it and Felix has to take him to the morgue, which means he get to stare at his crush while Vic sobs over the cold body of Beth, who he thinks is Sarah.

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Back at the office, it turns out that Sarah is meeting with a therapist who was seeing Beth. The therapist tries to help jog her memory on why Beth is seeing her. Sarah strings her along to learn that [spoiler] Beth shot a civilian woman in the line of duty[/spoiler]. With her mind blown and thinking her twin is Dirty Harry, she heads back to Beth’s loft to have some well needed bonded with Felix.

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The bonding covers the fact that Sarah might have some big old family out there which she shuts down. She’s an orphan, why would she have a family, she more or less bristles.  Despite the evening starting out so well, it quickly turns into a fight about Sarah leaving and coming back once the heat dies down.
The fight ends with Felix storming out like a spurned diva. Sarah decides that after a shower it’s time to pack her bags so she can hit the open road. Only to hit a snag when Beth’s boy toy…err boyfriend, Paul, walks into the condo. Of course, Sarah’s not prepared and Paul tries to look suspicious. At least, I think it’s his suspicious face, there’s not a lot to go on. So Sarah does what always works to distract suspicious men in any situation. Jump his bones and get naked.  And its clear that she’s not a fan of doing this but hey if it works.

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Apparently it works because the next morning, Paul is passed out and Sarah takes this chance to run away from this impromptu one night stand. After all, a girl has got to get her money after all and get out of town without a funeral to mourn her death. Except half way across town, her foster brother is still pissed about their fight and lets a drunk Vic into his loft. Felix listens to him wail about wanting a funeral and decides it’s the best way to get back at Sarah.

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Sarah doesn’t know any of this as she tries to sneak out, only to have a naked Paul attach himself to her. Pretty sure someone forgot to tell the dude that a one night stand is a one night stand. With some quick talking Sarah manages to get free and escape, leaving Paul behind.  Getting into her car, she’s not aware that her kidnapper…err rather Beth’s partner is following her.  With a quick drive, she heads to the back to get her hard-conned money. The moment of truth arrives when she’s got to sign for the stacks of cash. And of course, gullible manager doesn’t even look at it closely. Sarah can’t help but look like a kid in the candy store as she squirrels away the money and rushes off to tell Felix that the heist was successful.

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Heading into his loft, she’s not aware her shadow has decided to take a look into the car. Sarah does some snooping of her own and finds out about the funeral. Once again, she lets out a few words that lose her some quarters.

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The punk drives to the outskirts of town and across the way, watches her funeral with binoculars.  She calls Felix to give him a piece of her mind. But she can’t stay mad at him for too long. They end up joking about everyone who shows up at the funeral, treating it like a little play. That is until a rusty pick-up truck decides to end their fun as two people get out. They turn out to be [spoiler] Sarah’s foster mother, and Sarah’s daughter, Kira [/spoiler].

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Before she can have a fit over this, she forces herself back to the car. All of the sudden, a wild red head appears who speaks with a German accent! Sarah wonders if she had some sort of spiked drink because, now red headed lady looks exactly like her, except calling herself Katja. Or maybe its Katja that’s high because she keeps going on and on about Beth and some samples. It’s clear she’s having a bad trip because [spoiler] she ends up coughing blood into a handkerchief [/spoiler].  The punk tries to get away only to be followed by Katja, who realizes that Sarah isn’t really Beth. She utters their super secret phrase that makes her and Beth besties. Of course, Sarah doesn’t know the answer which confirms to Katja that Sarah isn’t Beth.

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Before she can do anything about it [spoiler] someone shoots her in the head[/spoiler]. Sarah drives away panicking, while her phone buzzes and rings, reminding her that this nightmare is only beginning.

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Next Time: tune in to find out how Sarah slices up a body like Hannibal and Felix teaches Vic the importance of wrestling at home.


1. Best part about this episode?

2. Paul- eye candy or eye sore?

3. Does Jordan Gavaris earn extra money for every time we see his bum?

4. Throw your comments here!


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