Have you been watching Orphan Black since the beginning and become a Clone Club expert? Good for you! Are you new to the show or a longtime viewer who STILL has trouble remembering the names of the clones? We understand. It’s a complex show and the clones are all played by the same actress, Tatiana Maslany. That said, they’re all meant to be pretty distinct. As we enter the show’s fifth and final season here’s a cheat sheet to help you remember the names of the clones on Orphan Black.
Sarah Manning is the main character of Orphan Black and the Clone Club OG. When we first met Sarah she was just a smartass punk on the run, trying to make a life for her daughter and foster brother. Sarah gets woke to the clone conspiracy after the death of Beth Childs. And although she first takes on her identity in order to steal Beth’s savings, Sarah soon finds herself sucked into a hidden life-long project of illegal human cloning.
When we first meet Alison, she’s not supposed to be likable. She’s anal retentive, snippy, and a seemingly manic suburban mom. But then that slightly twitchy and bitchy way of hers grows on us. And when we start seeing her more criminal side come out when she decides to become a back-of-the-minivan drug dealer to moms who need a little helper, we really start to love her. The same goes for her husband Donnie, who at first seems like a lame sad sack. After admitting to being her monitor, killing the evil Dr. Leekie, and burying the body under their garage, Donnie and Alison both realize they’re real peas in a pod, and the couple’s love is ignited. Soon they become drug-dealing partners, which results in the happy scene above.
Helena had a brutal upbringing. She is a trained assassin who is fierce, loyal, fearless, and can handle pain. Even though she was psychologically and physically tormented, she still has love in her heart for others and a need to be loved, which is shown most deeply in her love for her “sestras.” She has no problem inflicting pain upon anyone she perceives as a threat to her or someone she loves. She has a childlike quality because she was never really socialized. She remains partially feral, and in all aspects she is awkward (her dress, mannerisms, dancing, social relations). But through all of her awkward nature, she is delightfully charming.
Cosima Niehaus is a brilliant bespectacled Ph.D. student. She, along with Alison and Sarah, is one of the original members of the “Clone Club,” who’s mission is to uncover where they all actually came from. Cosima was involved in a romantic relationship with Delphine, but trust issues drove the couple apart. Cosima suffers from an unknown illness that causes her to cough up blood — likely traceable to a genetic abnormality originating in the cloning process.
With her prim manner and the fact that she’s seemingly acting against her own interests as an executive at the Dyad Institute, Rachel may feel more like an android than a clone when you first meet her. But as the showrunners fleshed out Rachel’s story in Season 2, little pinpricks of emotion began to shine through her facade: a shed tear here, a religiously re-watched home movie there. It’s that internal struggle between the scientific reason of her upbringing and her irrational humanity that makes Rachel such an exciting on-screen presence.
Want to learn more about the clones and Orphan Black? Check out the Orphan Black Wiki for everything else you need to know.