Headscratchers: Orphan Black

  • If the clones are all the same age (as seems to be the case), how is Cosima still in college at the start of the show, while Alison is married and living in suburbia with two kids? I know the kids are adopted, but Alison and Donnie met in college, and while Cosima's degree definitely takes longer, it seems like Alison and Donnie have been married for quite some time. Did Alison just go to college for her MRS? Even so, it seems like Donnie at least graduated and got a decent job.
    • Cosima is a graduate student- it's not weird for a science PHD to take 7 years, and there's no guarantee she started immediately after undergrad. So if the clones are 28-29, Alison and Donnie could easily be 6-7 years into their marriage/career while Cosima's finishing a doctorate.
  • Do the Neolutionists really own the clones and Kira?
    • No, that's not the way that genomic patents work. First and foremost, human beings are not property, no matter how they're made. The guy who holds the patent on in-vitro fertilization doesn't own the children who were conceived that way. An AgriCorp may own the genomic patents on the seeds they produce but the farmer still owns the wheat they grow. Genomic patents apply to an intellectual property that's used to develop technologies, not the end-product of using those technologies. Of course, since the Neolutionists aren't really concerned with moral or ethical niceties they're probably not planning on taking things into a court of law.
      • Or the patent was put in place in preparation for a time when they gain enough influence to change the laws, allowing them to conduct their experiments legally and legally own the clones. Some of the Neolutionists are seen discussing this very prospect in one scene, celebrating a favorable court decision relating to such matters.
      • The sentence encoded in he clones' DNA is not a patent, despite what Cosima says. It's a statement of property. In any case, not enforceable legally, since cloning is illegal. There's also the question of whether a clone can be property, which could be disputed if cloning becomes legal.
  • If Maggie Chen was 41 and the clones are about 29 (according to their passports), how is it possible that Maggie helped make them, like Helena said? Maggie would have been something like 12 when they were born, and even younger when the science was happening.
    • Its possible that Helena was lied to or doesn't really know what's going on.
    • According to Leekie, Maggie wasn't involved in making the clones. She was a spy who showed up later in the game, while the neolutionists were watching the girls grow up.
  • Why didn't Beth find Sarah when she searched the Europeans' photos for matches on the police database? Especially considering that Sarah has a criminal record.
    • Sarah was moved to Canada when she was still a minor. Her criminal record is Canadian.
    • A better question is why didn't Beth search the Canadian database?
      • It's not clear how far along she was in the process. Beth had found several clones, but she still had Allison's money untouched in her account and was clearly losing her grip.
      • Beth might have been afraid to alert her coworkers or even the secret conspiracy. It is also completely possible that she did found other clones but went through a combination of: Didn't had the opportunity to contact them; decided that contacting wasn't safe or useful; Didn't kept records of them anywhere; Kept their information/records in a different place, which would be safer to everyone involved.
      • If she found Sarah's record while Sarah was with Vic, then that's quite likely. If Beth hadn't killed herself, she probably would have contacted Sarah after Sarah returned to Toronto.
  • The whole concept of the fingerprints connecting the clones makes this the least credible plot element. Not only, as noted on the main page, would Beth's prints have been taken when she became a police officer, Alison's would likely have been taken in order for her and Donnie to adopt their children. Given all the things that people must get fingerprinted for, the existence of the clones would have come to light long before the present.
    • Actually, identical twins don't have the same fingerprints.
  • Wuerzberg is in West Germany. Why did Katja have a DDR birth certificate, then?
  • The fact that Alison and Donnie were High School Sweethearts makes the idea that he is her monitor a little hard to reconcile. It seems weird that the Neolutionists would have placed a teenager in the critically sensitive position of a monitor. It is also equally unlikely that he became her monitor at some point after marriage. The monitor would have to be somebody who was able to watch the subject on a day-to-day basis, and there could have been no guarantee that Alison and Donnie would have continued to remain so close, let alone gotten married. Were the Neolutionists just that Crazy-Prepared?
    • Presumably Dyad subverted and recruited Donnie sometime after their relationship became serious, if not after their wedding. It would also make sense that monitors only get emplaced after the clones reach adulthood, because children tend to get more medical monitoring than adults do.
    • It seems likely that Dyad has some damning information hanging over Donnie's head like they do with Paul, but the writers haven't found it prudent to go into detail (yet).
    • It's revealed that Donnie was recruited for what he thought was a sociology experiment in college, probably sophomore year going by the course number. He didn't know about the full ramifications, and breaks down when Alison tells him what's really going on.
  • Helena grew up in a Ukranian orphanage because her birth mother wanted to "give one child to the church." Why did she pick a church in (what was then) the Soviet Union, of all places?
    • In fact, why separate them at all? Why not give both to either the church or the state?
    • We don't know the exact circumstances. Given how weird the whole situation was, she may have separated them to decrease the odds of them both being found, and trusted a church out of whatever religious convictions she held.
  • Regarding the CASTOR and LEDA clones being brother and sister, is that supposed to mean the originals were brother and sister, or are they Opposite-Sex Clones? The clones refer to each other as siblings anyways, and Cosima explained this through Technobabble.
    • The originals were normal siblings who got cloned. Genetically, the Castor and Leda clones are all siblings.
  • Why did Delphine and Cosima break up? I know Delphine is dealing with taking Rachel's place at Dyad, but no real reason is provided.
    • Delphine couldn't maintain the front her new position required while still involved with Cosima. It would have raised awkward questions and could be used as a lever against her.
    • Okay, but that's not a reason to actually break up. Dyad already knew Delphine was a monitor, why not just keep things quiet until things get resolved? There's obvious animosity between them and no reason for it.
    • It seems to me like it has less to do with any potential awkwardness in Delphine's position, and more to do with her commitment to protect the clones. She won't be able to do the things she has to do if she's that close to Cosima. Delphine says herself that she's promised to "love all (Cosima's) sisters equally." She can't do that if Cosima is "first among equals."
  • Mrs S not recognising that Sarah, and thereby the clones, looks exactly like her own mother seems extremely implausible. We are even shown what appears to be a photo of Kendall holding a young Siobhan in her lap right before the reveal, and yet the younger Kendall did not seem 'old enough' to plausibly mean Siobhan didn't 'recognise' Sarah as looking like the Mum she knew. Even if this is the case, it seems likely that Siobhan would have seen pictures of her mother when she was the clones' age. It's all very Marty Mcfly, and felt a bit contrived for what is otherwise a fairly serious show.
    • Resolved in the Season 3 finale. The original's status as a chimera means she doesn't look like either the CASTOR or LEDA clones. Scott and Cosima start brainstorming about the epigenetic implications of being a chimera.
  • Real life actress aside, how are all the clones exactly the same weight? Are we supposed to believe that all of them share the same diet/exercise routine? Or are we supposed to believe that they were somehow designed to be identical in their bodies as well as in their faces?
    • Yes.