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'Orphan Black' season 2 Blu-ray review

'Orphan Black' season 2 Blu-ray cover
BBC Home Entertainment, used with permission

'Orphan Black' season 2 Blu-ray


Clone Club, are you celebrating "Orphan Black's" season 3 renewal by going out and buying the season 2 Blu-ray or DVD? BBC Home Entertainment released it Tuesday, July 15, and the special features make this a must-have for fans.

The 10 episodes of "Orphan Black" season 2 are split between two discs in the Blu-ray set, with the special The Cloneversation joining episodes 1-5 on disc 1 and a series of bonus features with episodes 6-10 on disc 2. While the Clone Club Insiders are short videos you've probably already seen via BBC America's YouTube channel, don't let that deter you from buying the set because the rest of the features are worth it.

The Behind the Scenes bonuses are "Script to Screen," "Hair & Makeup," "The 2-Clone Smackdown" and "The 4-Clone Dance Party." "Script to Screen" offers a look at the season 2 premiere via episode and table read clips, along with some insight from the co-creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and the series stars. (For example, Donnie didn't have as big a role as he ends up having until Kristian Bruun was cast, and Bruun admits that while he wanted to be a monitor, he didn't think it would happen.) This first feature shows some of what went into putting together the Sarah vs. Rachel smackdown at the end of the premiere, but fortunately, there's another featurette that's only about that scene because, as Fawcett explains, "It's long and complicated, but it provides incredible visual reality that these two women are real and together in the same frame."

In "Hair & Makeup," Key Makeup Artist Stephen Lynch and Head of Hair Department Sandy Sokolowski discuss creating Helena, Rachel, Alison and Tony. On a show like this, hair and makeup can be so important; it's about believing this person can exist, and "Orphan Black" does that so well. For Helena, her dark roots are on purpose to show she does her own hair color. Originally, that was going to be more subdued. For Rachel, they needed something "Wall Street CEO" and being "not too blonde" was key. She had to be "the anti-Sarah" and "someone Sarah would hate."

The final two Behind the Scenes videos are the best features of the entire Blu-ray, offering extended looks at the Sarah vs. Rachel smackdown from the premiere and the Clone Club Dance Party from the finale. Scenes like that are so technical, and getting a chance to look at how they are put together allows for a greater appreciation of what they have accomplished with this show and these clone characters. One wrong move or one uncaught mistake, and you could have a hand in someone else's body or an extra hand around a waist because of how a scene was filmed. Timing is everything, and you can see how hard everyone, both in front of and behind the camera, works on this show to perfect the final product.

In the smackdown, it was important for them to have as much interaction between the clones as possible, and that's where Kathryn Alexandre, Tatiana Maslany's clone double, and her body parts come in. For example, it's her hand with the gun but Maslany's hand on the ground when Sarah's over Rachel on the floor. This bonus feature shows how they put that scene together, including a glimpse at the unused takes, from Maslany acting opposite Alexandre to Maslany acting opposite a tennis ball.

Meanwhile, the"4-Clone Dance Party" was used to close out the clone sisters' arc for the season. Sarah, Cosima and Alison were divided in the beginning, but they learned that they're stronger together, and it's important for Sarah, who rises to become a leader and the glue that brings the sisters together. However, having the four clones dancing meant planning every detail out, including each clone's dance and each clone's dance space. Helena got the biggest area for her wild dancing, Sarah and Cosima's blocks were similarly sized, and Alison's was the smallest because she's the most reserved. Jordan Gavaris was used very strategically during the dance party, and as you may have noticed, he was moved off-screen when he switches between clones. So what's next after getting four clones in a dance party scene together? Will season 3 see five clones sitting down for a Thanksgiving dinner? "5-Clone Fondue," Manson jokes.

Finally, the season 2 set has something the season 1 set did not: deleted scenes. Three scenes were cut from the finale, and while it's a shame they weren't shown (who doesn't want more Donnie and Alison/Donnie scenes, especially after he found out the truth?), at least you can see them here. They're good, but they don't quite fit in with the rest of the finale. Hey, it's worth watching them just to see Donnie giving Rachel his expense receipts.

"Orphan Black" will be back for a third season on BBC America. Are you going to be buying season 2 on DVD or Blu-ray?

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