Emmy episode analysis: Tatiana Maslany (‘Orphan Black’) hopes to return to winner’s circle with series finale

Yes, the 2017 winner of the Best Drama Actress Emmy, as we all know, was Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”). But we actually have two defending champs defending their crowns this year. The 2016 winner, Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) had no episodes eligible to compete in last year’s race since BBC America premiered the show’s fifth and final season 10 days too late to qualify for last year’s awards. The acclaimed science-fiction thriller about a group of female clones (all played by Maslany) who set out to find the mysteries behind their existence, aired its final 10 episodes more than one year ago. Can Maslany pull off a final victory?

It was the series’ final episode (“To Right the Wrongs of Many“) that proved to be Maslany’s choice as her series episode submission. It’s an episode that plays to both of her main strengths — her ease in handling intense action scenes, as her ability to create distinctly personalities for each of the clones whom she inhabits. The first half of “To Right the Wrongs of Many” is pure action, with Maslany’s British clone Sarah trying to escape from the halls of the Dyad Institute, the cloning company that is now trying to kill them. Sarah, however, is trying to accomplish this while having in tow the pregnant Ukranian clone Helena, whose water is now breaking.

The episode’s second half is what Maslany really does best, differentiating the personalities of her clone sisters who have all gathered for Helena’s baby shower. There’s Maslany’s soccer mom Alison, her Ph.D. student Cosima and her prim executive Rachel, who is the sole unwelcome clone as she betrayed the sisters at the Dyad Institute. To realize that Maslany is having a single multi-character conversation who are the actress makes it easy to see why Maslany selected this episode as her submission.

Will Maslany win for “Orphan Black” on her final nomination? Let’s dive into the pros and cons.


There’s no denying the quality of Maslany’s work on a scale of which has rarely even been attempted on television. It’s rare enough for someone to be nominated for playing two characters, let alone a whole class of clones.

Voters obviously like her performance, rewarding her with three nominations the last three eligible years, including that win in 2016. And this will be their last choice to throw a final bit of Emmy love her way.


New episodes of “Orphan Black” have been off the air for over a year now (an eternity in an Emmy race), and the series may have fallen off voters’ radar. Will voters remember her performance(s) from a year ago?

There may also be a “one-and-done” feeling. They’ve already given Maslany the Emmy, so TV academy members may want to move on to the Next Big Thing.

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