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Characters / Orphan Black: The Proletheans

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The Proletheans

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    In General 

A group of religious fanatics have divided in several factions, two of whom have different intentions toward the clones.

  • Abusive Parents: Not a single decent parent or parental figure among them. From a conversation between Helena and Gracie, it can be inferred that sewing their children's lips together for disobedience is a standard practice.
  • Animal Motifs: Their symbol is a winged fish. It's carved on Helena's knife, tattooed on Maggie Chen's neck, and it is the design of Mark Rollins' buckle.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: They're a secondary threat to the Leda clone sisters in the first two seasons along with Neolution (Season 1) and DYAD (Season 2).
  • Church Militant: Very much so. In fact, they're the most violent faction so far. Art even refers to them as terrorists.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Johanssen ranch. Bonnie takes care of Helena in a heartwarmingly maternal way one minute, then the next minute she helps Hank force Helena to marry him and bear his children. We're treated to an adorable scene of Hank reading to his children before it turns out that their nurse is openly abusive.
  • Cult: The whole organization checks off so many boxes.
    • Breeding Cult: Hank Johanssen's branch specifically wants to make a population of "miracle" babies, a merger of science and religion, born of Helena's eggs and Hank's sperm using several different women as surrogates. Not even Hank's own daughter is safe from this plot. There's also a nursery with at least a dozen young children that Word of God confirms are all Hank's.
  • Demoted to Extra: They're a huge threat to the Leda clone sisters along with Neolution and DYAD in the first two seasons. By Season 3, their only major arc is hunting down traitors/deserters such as Mark and Gracie, then becoming completely irrelevant to the Myth Arc from there on.
  • Enemy Civil War: The group are divided into two factions. The "Old Order" who clings to traditions and customs, and the "New Order" led by Henrik who is open to modernization.
  • Evil Luddite: Tie-in guidebooks reveal this as the the core of their doctrine. Henrik's branch is the exception, and he is considered an outlier because of his willing use of technology.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Against the Neolutionists.
  • Farm Boy: The headquarters of Henrik and his New Order is a farm village.
  • Foil: In a case of "science vs. religion", they're the "religion" to the Neolutionists' "science". However, they're Mirroring Factions in their shared view of the clones as objects to exploit and control rather than real people.
  • The Fundamentalist: They're religious extremists.
  • Good Old Ways: Played with. Tomas and his company follow an older form of Prolethean doctrine that is more harsh than what the Johanssens follow. Bonnie and Hank are concerned when Gracie shows signs of following the old traditions more strongly than the revised doctrine that Hank endorses.
  • Kill It with Fire: Helena burns down the Johanseen ranch in season 2.
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: A large portion of the Johanssen arc in season 2. Hank extracts Helena's eggs and fertilizes them with his sperm. Then he artificially inseminates Helena and Gracie, with the plan to do so to more women. All the children on his farm were conceived this way albeit with different genetic mothers. It's also likely that they planned to involve Sarah and Kira in this plot.
  • One True Faith: Subverted. There are multiple versions of their doctrine, as Tomas and the Johanssens don't see eye-to-eye on several points.
  • Religion of Evil: They are a fanatic Cult, and they are not really portrayed sympathetically. Those who did are either The Mole or members who defected who later pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Self-Harm: Both Tomas and Helena hurt themselves to atone for their sins.
  • Villain Decay: They're a legitimate threat to the Leda clone sisters in the first two seasons, especially in the first. From Season 3 onwards, the Leda sisters are more focused on Rachel, DYAD and Castor while the Proletheans became Out of Focus.

Old Order

    Maggie Chen 

Margaret "Maggie" Chen

Played by: Uni Park

A scientist who played a role in the cloning experiment, but saw "the error of her ways" and joined the Proletheans to get rid of the clones.

  • Accidental Murder: What actually seems to have happened to her.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Well, she is a scientist who was part of the project that created the Leda clones.
  • Asshole Victim: She may have been a victim of an Accidental Murder, but she also has no qualms with the killing of several people because they're not "real humans". Plus, it's heavily implied that she's just as abusive to Helena as Tomas.
  • Karmic Death: Accidentally killed by a woman who is part of the people Maggie and her kin are trying to eradicate.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: We are led to believe she was killed to protect the clones' secrets. However, the season four premiere certainly makes it look like a case of Accidental Murder.
  • The Mole: She infiltrated the Neolutionists, then reported back to the others.
  • Parental Substitute: Along with Tomas, she raised Helena to be a killer and is responsible for making her what she is today.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: She was fatally shot by Beth before Beth's own demise, giving Sarah problems when she takes over Beth's life. Her death was also part of the reason for Helena's initial antagonism against the Clone Club.
  • Posthumous Character: She was killed by Beth to protect the clones, supposedly, though it looks more like Beth killed her in a state of cocaine-induced paranoia.



Played by: Daniel Kash

"Abominations have no souls."

A mysterious fanatic who acts as a pseudo-father figure to Helena. It's implied he took her from the Ukrainian convent where she grew up.

  • Abusive Parents: He acts as a parental figure to Helena, but he's anything but loving.
  • Asshole Victim: He's killed by Mark on Hank's orders.
  • Back for the Dead: Disappears for about three episodes and is then killed after reappearing.
  • Bad Boss/Would Hit a Girl: He's physically abusive to Helena. She's too far under his control to fight back until he threatens Kira.
  • Boom, Headshot!: In 2.02, he's shot by Mark with a bolt gun.
  • Break Them by Talking: Because Helena is very capable of kicking his ass, Tomas controls her through verbal and emotional abuse that borders on brainwashing.
  • The Caretaker: Subverted. He nursed Helena back to health after the events of episode 5, but is verbally and emotionally abusive to her. Once she recovers, he starts beating her into obedience.
  • The Fundamentalist: At first, he appears to represent the belief system of the Proletheans, since he's the only such character onscreen aside from the less-reliable Helena. The second episode of season 2 reveals he was an aberration, and that other Proletheans are more accepting of science than he was.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: 2.02 reveals that he scars himself in a similar method to Helena's.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After cruelly locking Helena inside a small cage, Sarah finds her and, rather than kill him outright, decides to imprison him in the very same cage.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Tomas refers to "The Imposter" (i.e. Sarah) as "it" in his conversation with Helena.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In S02E02 fans probably weren't too disappointed to see him get shot through the head with a bolt gun. In the following episode, Helena even says "Good riddance."
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: A major antagonist in the first season, he's unceremoniously killed-off in the second episode of Season 2.


New Order

    Hank Johanssen 

Henrik "Hank" Johanssen
What I see here is God opening a whole new door.
"You know, a wise man once said, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind"."

A Prolethean religious leader.

  • Abusive Parents: Subverted when we discover that he treats Helena much better than Tomas did. And then Double Subverted when we see that he plans to have Helena impregnated whether she wants it or not, and especially how he treats his natural daughter Gracie.
  • Asshole Victim: Courtesy of Helena.
  • Big Bad: For Helena's season two storyline, when he's established as the leader of the Proletheans.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Whether through ignorance of what she's capable of, megalomania, or ideological inability to believe that a woman could be a threat to him, he spends the whole storyline behaving abusively to Helena and to other people in front of her. The sole question for the average viewer is just how long it'll take her to lose her patience and off him. The answer is episode 2x09.
  • Cult: He's the leader of one.
  • Evil Genius: He's a MIT grad with a lab hidden on his compound.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's generally quite polite, even when he's torturing his daughter.
  • The Fundamentalist: Played with. He's a Prolethean, but studied at MIT and unlike Tomas, believes "religion without science is blind".
  • Groin Attack/Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Helena stabs the embryo-implanting rod, with which he impregnated both Helena and Gracie (and likely many other women), either into his rectum or through his perineum, though thankfully we don't get to see much of it. If that didn't kill him, he probably died after Helena set the entire compound on fire.
  • It's All About Me/Narcissist: Heavily implied, as he believes he's entitled to impregnate many women with Helena's eggs because she a "scientific impossibility". All of them were fertilized with his sperm because, in his mind, he's the only man worthy of being their father.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Impregnating his own daughter with his and Helena's embryos was a baaaad idea and led to Gracie, Helena, and Mark betraying him, with fatal results. Specifically, Helena went for "poetic" death by impaling him pelvically with his own inseminating tool.
  • The Leader: He is the charismatic and intelligent leader of the Proletheans' New Order until Helena kills him.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: He marries Helena against her will. This is despite his already being married to Bonnie, who appears closer to his age.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His son Abel died shortly after Bonnie gave birth.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Introduced in the second episode of Season 2.
  • Undignified Death: And holy shit how! Helena literally sticks him in either his rectum or his perineum using his embryo-implanting rod. And if that didn't killed him, the fire Helena set certainly did.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: He has a pronounced cheekbones, and he's The Leader of an evil Cult and is Faux Affably Evil to boot.

    Bonnie Johanssen 

Bonnie Johanssen
Played by: Kristin Booth

"Just do as your father says."

Hank's main wife, the mother of Gracie and the matriarch of the Johanssen ranch.

  • Abusive Parents: Even her husband thinks she's over the top! And she makes no pretense of being Affably Evil with it, either... she stitches Gracie's mouth shut for lying, and tells her directly that if Helena is not recovered, Gracie will bear the child. Later, after Gracie miscarries, Bonnie kicks Gracie out, saying the baby was the only reason Bonnie even let Gracie back in.
  • Action Mom: She's got a huge rifle and knows how to use it.
  • The Dragon: She's Hank's main wife and apparent second-in-command.
    • Dragon Ascendant: She becomes the new leader of the Proletheans after Henrik is killed by Helena.
  • Evil Is Hammy: She's Affably Evil and she loves showing it. She also had a memorable Incoming Ham when she finds out that Helena escaped.
  • Evil Matriarch: She's arguably even more vicious than her husband.
  • The Fundamentalist: Like her husband.
  • Genre Blindness: She has Mark crippled in a cornfield and has a rifle trained on him at close range. Yet she shoots him in the gut and not his head. Naturally, Mark survives the episode.
  • Mama Bear: After learning that Mark was The Mole, she hunts him down and shoots him for deceiving her family and running off with her daughter.
  • Only Sane Man: She's clearly not exactly sane, but she recognizes that having an unstable Helena in the same location as her also unstable daughter might not be the best idea.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Her son Abel died shortly after birth. Then, Gracie is killed near the end of the series.
  • Pet the Dog: In season 3 she forgives Gracie for running away.
    • Kick the Dog: But in the very next episode, she kicks Gracie out after her miscarriage, saying the only reason she had been invited back in the first place was for the sake of the child.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: Her default hairstyle, and she's a very strict, hard-nosed woman.
  • Put on a Bus: Hank sent her to lure young women to the farm so he could use them as surrogates for Helena's children. She returns in season 3.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Introduced in the second episode of Season 2.
  • Stepford Smiler: She performs her duties, whether it be laundry or assisting in Tomas's murder or Helena's impregnation with the same unperturbed air. Her one break has been when she discovered her daughter strangled into unconsciousness and promptly screamed for her husband. Then again when she realized that Gracie is having a miscarriage.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: She has more pronounced cheekbones than her husband, and has a much more aggressive approach than him.
  • You Are in Command Now: The Proletheans' New Order made her their leader following Henrik's death.

    Gracie Johanssen 

Gracie Johanssen
You're barely even human.
Played by: Zoé De Grand Maison

"Go back to hell where you belong."

Hank and Bonnie's young daughter. She grew up an ardent fundamentalist, but her deepening involvement with the clone conspiracy is forcing her to look at the world differently.

  • Abusive Parents: Henrik and Bonnie stitch her mouth shut as punishment for refusing to tell them what happened between her and Helena, and there's a chance such a thing has happened to her before. Then her father forcibly impregnates her with embryos that were fertilized by him.
  • Back for the Dead: After disappearing with Mark after Season 3, she returns late into Season 5 only for her to get shot in the head in the following episode after her comeback.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Killed with a bullet to the head courtesy of Engers.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In episode 2.09 she stands up to her father and tells him she hates him for the way he treated her.
  • Character Development: She starts off a rabid fanatic who hates the very idea of clones, but now she's breaking away from her cult's twisted teachings, becoming more independently minded, and learning to be more accepting of other lifestyles. She is also now friendly with Helena and respectful toward Cosima.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Gets impregnated at the end of season 2, but loses the baby early in season 3. She doesn't seem that upset about it, and later reveals that she never really wanted kids in the first place.
  • Crisis of Faith: Though she first shows signs of this in season 2, Gracie really hits this in season 3 after she's banished. Felix, Mrs. S, and the others are helping her unlearn all the cult programming.
  • Dark Chick: Starts off crazy and fanatical; eventually breaks away from the cult; sometimes used for Fanservice.
  • Evil Redhead: Starts off this way, though she gets better.
  • The Fundamentalist: Played straighter than her father. It's also the reason she despises Helena. But later on she has a crisis of faith.
  • Happily Married: She elopes with Mark in the season two finale, and although she has a few fights with him, they are generally happy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In season 3 she leaves the Proletheans and their ideology.
    • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Starts off mistreating Helena, then is shown to be abused by her parents, prompting her to elope with Mark. When she miscarries Helena's baby and is turned away by her mother, she turns to Art for help, and is taken in by Mrs. S. Later, as everybody at Clone Club is desperately searching for the mole for Castor, Gracie only reveals herself after Cosima points out Shay to Delphine by mistake.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear until Season 2.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After realizing how warped her family's doctrine is, Gracie laments all the normal teenage girl things she missed out on. Felix and Mrs. S help her out in that department.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: She hardly considers Helena human and refers to her as "It".
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Averted. After learning that the Castor pathogen sterilizes the women who contract it, Gracie admits that she never wanted kids anyway.
  • Killed Off for Real: By Enger in season 5.
  • Kill the Cutie: Got herself shot in the head after her attempts to lure Neolution away from Helena fails.
  • Meaningful Name: Grace, in Christian belief, is the free and unmerited favor of God. Makes sense that very religious people would name their daughter that.
  • Medical Rape and Impregnate: Bonnie threatens her with being forcibly impregnated with Helena's child in 2.05. Henrik eventually makes good on this threat.
  • The Mole: She gave information about Ethan Duncan's book from Clone Club, who had been harboring her, to Castor so she could be with Mark again. Though she felt bad enough about the betrayal to call Cosima and apologize.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: When she's being punished by her parents for not telling them what happened between her and Helena.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After being introduced as an antagonist to Helena, Grace eventually becomes friends with her, then ultimately got herself killed because her attempts to misdirect her husband on handing Helena over to Neolution fails.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Introduced in the second episode of Season 2.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: After leaving the Proletheans, she changes into Sarah's old clothes, which are tight and revealing. She intended to take advantage of her new found freedom by going out for a night on the town, but Felix and Mrs. S had her start embracing the wild side in a safer environment.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She warms up to Helena after realizing that they've both been used by her father.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: She attempts to murder Helena by smothering her with a pillow, despite only being a teenager.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Inverted. Gracie is Helena's wicked stepdaughter. She even tries to kill her.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • A non-fatal version. Once Gracie miscarries, the Proletheans exile her. They only wanted her for the baby.
    • Then she's executed by the Neolutionists after they use her to capture Helena in Season 5.



Played by: Kathryn Alexandre

"My only regret is breaking bread with abomination!"

A midwife and nurse at the Johanssen's ranch who's responsible for taking care of community's children.

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: While she projects herself as a sweet Cool Teacher, she's incredibly nasty. She also has the same physical features as the (non-dyed/bleached) Ledas.note 
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She seems very sweet until you see the way she treats her charges.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Becomes very harsh to the children over the smallest things.
  • Evil Teacher: Shakes and yells at a little girl for touching Helena's hair. She is also the kids' teacher, so God knows what she does to them...
  • Ms. Exposition: In season 3, she spends her two main scenes giving information to Sarah and Bonnie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It might have been assumed that she perished in Helena's arson of the Prolethean compound in season 2, but she shows up alive in season 3. She hasn't been seen since episode 3x04.note 
  • You Remind Me of X: When Helena shoves her against the wall, she says that Alexis reminds her of a nun who had treated her poorly as a child.

    Mark Rollins