Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Throwback Thursday - Orphan Black - Pilot -Episode 1x01 - Natural Selection

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Throwback Thursday - Orphan Black - Pilot -Episode 1x01 - Natural Selection

Share on Reddit

Throwback Thursday is a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from the past.

Warning: This article may contain spoilers.

On March 30, 2013, BBC America aired the pilot episode of an intriguing new Canadian-made drama with a relatively unknown actress in the lead. Orphan Black set itself apart from anything else airing on television at the time within its shocking first five minutes. Not only would the show continue to confound and enthrall viewers for five award-winning seasons with its complex storytelling, but it also introduced the world to the brilliance that is actress Tatiana Maslany. The success of the show would not have been possible had it not been for the bold choices made in the pilot episode and Maslany's talent in playing multiple characters, often against herself.
Nine years ago next week, Orphan Black viewers watched the first of many exciting shocks to come when streetwise grifter Sarah Manning (Maslany) came face to face with a woman that looked exactly like her (also played by Maslany) on a subway platform, only to have the woman step in front of an oncoming train and be killed. If the opening scene of "Natural Selection" didn't get your attention, Sarah's actions following the suicide surely did, as the young woman is pulled into a dangerous, massive conspiracy that changes the lives of everyone around her.
A rising antihero from the very start, Sarah Manning is an unlikely protagonist. She's striving to reunite with her daughter Kira, whom she's been unable to remove from the foster system. By trade, she's a thief and a con artist, pushed to desperation by an abusive drug-dealing boyfriend. The first thing viewers see her do is to steal the dead woman, Beth Childs,'s bag and later her money, identity, and essentially her life, hoping to become flush enough to reunite with Kira. In Maslany's talented hands, it's not hard to empathize with Sarah's terrible luck or fate. Soon after transforming herself into a passable version of the deceased, disgraced police officer, Beth Childs, Sarah learns Beth was involved in a dark, life-changing conspiracy far more complex and worse than any con she could imagine. And that mystery becomes even more layered when, after discovering Beth had birth certificates for two more women, Alison Hendrix and a German woman named Katja, Sarah comes face to face with another doppelganger (Katja) only to have the woman assassinated in front of her, launching Sarah and the show into a thrilling flight.
What makes the pilot also click is the great casting and chemistry of the key characters that will end up surrounding Sarah as she races to unravel the mystery that claiming Beth's life has thrust her into. Sarah is closest to her fellow orphan and foster brother, bohemian living artist, Felix Dawkins (Jordan Gavaris), and soon comes to trust and rely on Beth's former police detective partner, Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard). She also learns that there's more to Beth's boyfriend, Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce) than meets the eye. All three actors share different but powerful bonds with Maslany on-screen that add to Orphan Black's appeal. And, of course, there's the chemistry she shares among the different versions of her character.
Hands down, however, what makes Orphan Black work, what makes it eminently watchable is Maslany. She commands your attention whenever she is on screen, and it is unlikely the show would have worked with another actress playing the doppelgangers.
Orphan Black is unlike many shows in that you cannot just watch it half-heartedly, once you're in, you're all in. Each episode, thanks to the standard set by the "Natural Selection" pilot, you have to give it your full attention to keep up with the intricate twists and turns the story takes and to marvel at Maslany playing so many different characters at once.
If giving Orphan Black a try for the first time with the pilot, it would be a safe assumption that you will instantly be hooked and want to see where this story is taking you. If you're already an Orphan Black fan, rewatching "Natural Selection" will remind you of how brilliant the show was as you see the show expertly laying the foundation for its story. It's always a good time to revisit the introduction of TV superstar Tatiana Maslany.
Regardless of when you watched Orphan Black's "Natural Selection," what are your thoughts on this unique show and its talented star? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News