A podcast for fans of Orphan Black, the sci-fi thriller sensation that combines crazy science with heartfelt sisterhood. Jean MacDonald, who has obsessively watched and rewatched the series, is joined by Kathy Campbell, who is watching it for the first time. We review and analyze one episode per week, looking at what makes this show so emotionally and intellectually satisfying. Watch (or rewatch!) Orphan Black with us!
March 13, 2019 Orphan Black Series Wrap-Up
51 Series Wrap-up: Sestras Are Forever
Jean and Kathy get together for a look back at their experiences of the series Orphan Black. We have had such a lovely time getting to know each other through our shared love for this show and its characters. Did the show live up to Kathy’s expectations? What’s it like not to binge watch this show? How do we introduce this show to others?
This may not be goodbye forever. We have a couple ideas for some fun one-off shows to do for Orphan Black fans. And after we recorded this, AMC announced they have a new Orphan Black series in development.
March 2, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 10
50 “To Right The Wrongs Of Many” (S5E10)
It is as perfect a series ending as we have ever watched and we enjoyed every minute. We also reflect a bit on our journey.
Kathy: “This is the podcast that really got me podcasting.”
Jean: “Same here. Who knew? I had no idea. Just like our sestras didn’t know what would happen next, when Sarah stepped off that train.”
We’ll do a proper wrap up as the last installment of SestraCast, but we’ll need a little time to compose ourselves.
February 24, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 9
49 “One Fettered Slave” (S5E9)
The tagline of this watch/rewatch podcast is that “we make sure not to spoil any storylines beyond the episode we are currently discussing.” We are down to the last two episodes of this show we love, but we keep our promises. Spoiler alert: we are getting a bit emotional about the whole thing.
February 18, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 8
48 “Guillotines Decide” (S5E8)
The antepenultimate episode of the series, i.e. the third last. We talk about how it’s nearly impossible to avoid spoilers, and how that has affected Kathy’s experience watching the series. Felix’s Gallery Opening is the Clone Dance Party equivalent of this season, and we enjoy every fun detail, giving us strength for the very emotionally challenging parts.
February 7, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 7
47 “Gag or Throttle” (S5E7)
An eye-opening episode. We learn about Rachel’s childhood as the “pro clone,” which means we get a flashback with the long-gone Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer). And Alison’s back, with a new haircut and a new laid-back attitude. We also ask the question: martini or not? Rachel pours the spirits liberally, but not one drop of vermouth.
January 25, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 6
46 “Slim Manacled Wrists” (S5E6)
Krystal is back! It’s another mid-season fun episode, a breather as we hurtle down the path to the series finale. Krystal takes charge, in her quest to unmask Big Cosmetics’ evil plan. (Check out Kathy’s Krystal voice!) Plus, stuff goes down on the Island of Dr. Westmorland.
January 19, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 5
45 “Ease For Idle Millionaires” (S5E5)
Much is revealed on The Island Of Doctor Westmorland. Cosima and Delphine attend a special dinner party at the Big House, for which they must dress appropriately, Victorian-style. Says Cosima: “Frock that!” We learn what makes Kira’s regenerative DNA special, and what Neolution plans to do with our favorite little girl. Will the sestras be able to protect her?
January 14, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4
44 “Let The Children And The Childbearers Toil” (S5E4)
Mrs. S. and Sarah go on a mother-daughter road trip to find a Neolution scientist held hostage in a psychiatric ward, and they display some excellent con artist skills along the way. Adele is admitted to Clone Club, and will be paired up with her brother on another assignment to Switzerland to research Neolution patents, even though Felix hates fondue. We are all ready for Kira’s stint as a Dyad lab rat to end.
January 5, 2019 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 3
43 “Beneath Her Heart” (S5E3)
Remember “Variations Under Domestication” from Season 1? (Hint: glue gun.) This is the bookend. Alison and Donnie’s journey together has come so far. Bonus: Highland dancing in full Scottish regalia. Yes, really.
December 8, 2018 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 2
42 “Clutch of Greed” (S5E2)Helena escapes (again) and she's on the lam (again). Cosima finally meets the legendary P.T. Westmorland, who offers her the chance to do great science in his laboratories. Sarah, Siobhan, and Felix concoct the perfect plan to abscond with Kira before Rachel can commence her experiments. But Kira and MK will not play along, preferring to control their own destinies, which leads to heartbreak.
December 1, 2018 Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 1
41 “The Few Who Dare” (S5E1) - And Secret Sestra Santa Gift Picks
Jean and Kathy continue their holiday tradition of picking fun and useful gifts for the sestras. Links to all our choices are below!
Season 5 picks up where we were left cliff-hanging, on the Island of Doctor Westmoreland, as we are now calling it. Rachel emerges triumphant as the new face of Neolution leadership, while Delphine tells Cosima to keep pursuing the science (however crazy it may seem). Back on the home front, Art gets a new partner, and we come up with a new rule: assume everyone is a Neolution co-conspirator. It’s just easier that way.
November 21, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 10
40 “From Dancing Mice to Psychopaths” (S4E10)
The finale of Season 4. Our final podcast episode covering Season 4. It is shocking, heart-warming, titilating, funny, sad, and…holy freakin’ Christmas cake! We just could not make this episode any shorter than it is.
We’ll see you soon to start Season 5, the final season of Orphan Black. 😭
November 17, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 9
39 “The Mitigation of Competition” (S4E9)
Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Rachel and Sarah join forces to save the Leda project. Helena is back from her wilderness retreat. Donnie is back from prison. Some people get their richly-deserved comeuppances. Episode 9 of Season 4 carries on the tradition of kickass penultimate episodes.
November 9, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 8
38 “The Redesign of Natural Objects” (S4E8)
Violent retribution plus musical theater: yep, it’s close to the end of another season of Orphan Black and they are pulling out all the stops. Will Alison play Judas to the sestrahood, while starring in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar? Orphan Black pro tip: if you’ve crossed Mrs. S., don’t let yourself get locked into a basement alone with her.
November 2, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 7
37 “The Antisocialism of Sex” (S4E7)
It’s an episode that gives us a bit of a breather as the sestras process the traumatic events of last week’s episode. This doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park for our favorite clones, though: Alison hosts the worst slumber party ever, Cosima nearly implants a maggot bot in her own cheek, and Sarah drinks all the bourbon in Canada. At least Felix as Super Brother-Sestra is on the scene, and we are grateful for that.
October 14, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 6
36 “The Scandal of Altruism” (S4E6)
A heartwrenching episode on so many levels. If it weren’t for Felix posing as a detective from Scotland Yard, complete with deerstalker hat, there’d be nothing to smile at. Get out your handkerchiefs. 😭
October 7, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 5
35 “Human Raw Material” (S4E5)
We set a record for length on this one, but we just couldn’t help it. Donnie and Cosima scope out Brightborn, where Krystal is also sleuthing. Meanwhile, Sarah is unconvinced that Adele is really Felix’s biological sister, and uses underhand means to find out the truth. We witness the shocking, true evil of the Brightborn perfect baby factory, and honestly, there is too much to unpack about ethics, science, parenthood, siblings, and trust to fit into a 50-minute podcast episode. If you’ve watched the episode, you’ll understand.
September 25, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 4
34 “From Instinct to Rational Control” (S4E4)
An old nemesis from Season 1 and 2 heads over to the lab at the Rabbit Hole. Helena says farewell to the science babies and the Hendrix family. For comic relief, we have Donnie and Felix posing as prospective parents at Brightborn Designer Baby Factory.
Jean: “I’m very glad you are not pregnant for this story arc, Kathy.”
September 8, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 3
33 “The Stigmata of Progress” (S4E3)
Content warning for maggotbots and other stuff that is icky. Sarah goes further down the rabbit hole, looking for a way to remove the neolution tech from her cheek, when an old adversary shows up at just the right time. Alison, Donnie, and Helena provide the much needed comic relief. How much do jackhammers cost anyway?
September 3, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 2
32 “Transgressive Border Crossing” (S4E2)
“A secret lab underneath a comic book store: what more could a girl ask for?” Cosima is ensconced with Scott, doing the crazy science. Something’s bugging Sarah (and it’s grossing us out). At least there’s good news from the obstetrician for Helena, and copious footage of Felix painting wearing only an apron.
August 25, 2018 Orphan Black Season 4 Episode 1
31 “The Collapse of Nature” (S4E1)
It’s the start of Season 4, and wow! One of the best season openers of any show. In a fantastic episode-length flashback to Beth Child’s life in crisis, we learn so much about our favorite characters. It’s the Orphan Black universe before Sarah Manning took that fateful train ride that opened the series, and we enjoyed it so much. (Well, except for the icky bits…)
August 16, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 10
30 “History Yet to Be Written” (S3E10)
A wrenching rollercoaster of a season finale. Story arcs are tied up, new stories are being launched. The sestras come together (another clone special effects triumph) in an ending that is emotionally satisfying. Save room for the ethnic cake! We can hardly wait to watch Season 4.
July 25, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 9
29 “Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow” (S3E9)
A cryptic clue (“In Londontown, we all fell down”) means a road trip for Mrs. S. and her foster kids. Siobhan the Bomb fronts her old band at the pub, putting on an amazing show. Felix wouldn’t eat jellied eel and Sarah wouldn’t mind her mother. Meanwhile, on the home front, Donnie makes a dad decision and Helena gets refund.
July 18, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 8
28 “Ruthless in Purpose, and Insidious in Method” (S3E8)
Like a good spy novel, this episode keeps us guessing right to the end. The much sought-after copy of The Island of Doctor Moreau could fall into the wrong hands; who will end up with it and what will they do with it? Kathy helps Jean figure out some of the nuances of the plot, even though Jean has watched this episode at least five times. That’s what sestras are for.
July 10, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 7
27 “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” (S3E7)
In an unusual episode where Sarah and Helena are minor characters, it’s time for a crazy romp with Donnie, Alison, Cosima, and Felix as Alison’s school board campaign heats up. The big surprise this week? Donnie speaks Portuguese, but it doesn’t assuage Pouchy the Portuguese drug dealer and his papercutter.
June 17, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 6
26 “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” (S3E6)
Kathy is back! We celebrate her return with a kickass episode that features not four, not five, but six clones! Kathy has been Team Paul since the beginning, so we definitely needed her back for this episode. She also needed to be here to comment on the best dancing-on-the-bed-in-underwear sequence on TV.
June 1, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 5
25 “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” (S3E5)
This week, Allison Sheridan (that’s Allison with two Ls) is our guest co-host, while Kathy is on hiatus. Allison introduced Jean to Orphan Black a few years back, using the classic strategy of “Hey, I’ll watch the first episode again with you.”
In this episode, the drama unfolds at Castor Base, where Sarah and Helena are imprisoned in side-by-side cells. There will be blood. Don’t act all surprised by this.
May 26, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 4
24 “Newer Elements of Our Defense” (S3E4)
With Kathy on hiatus, we welcome Tim Mitra as guest co-host this week. He is a mobile apps developer and producer of both a tech podcast and a scifi podcast. Of greatest interest to SestraCast? Tim lives in Toronto, practically next door to the Dyad Institute. We talk about the Canadian-ness of Orphan Black and its cast, and how the show was received in Canada. We also try to untangle ever more complicated genetic shenanigans.
May 16, 2018 Season 3, Episode 3
23 “Formalized, Complex, and Costly” (S3E3)
Kathy is taking a break, due to being pregnant. (Spoiler alert: she had the baby! Everyone is healthy and happy.) For the next three episodes, Jean has invited some special guests to co-host. Kelly Guimont, podcaster, volunteer, and friend extraordinare fills in, and offers some personal insights on the nature of family ties. (“My family is a PowerPoint presentation, it’s not a tree!”) We also vote for our favorite (and least favorite) mother figure on Orphan Black.
April 23, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 2
22 “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” (S3E2)
Cosima’s feeling better, and so are Jean and Kathy, after a short hiatus during hay fever season. Alison and Donnie become entrepreneurs. Helena would like to see the mangos. Sarah and Kira play house with Cal for too brief a moment, before finding themselves stalked by another clone on a mission. Don’t doubt our stones.
April 9, 2018 Orphan Black Season 3 Episode 1
21 “The Weight of This Combination” (S3E1)
Welcome to Season 3! New clones means incredible performances, shocking storylines, and… new butts. We also talk about Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States.
March 30, 2018 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 10
20 “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” (S2E10)
It’s the Season 2 finale, another triumph for our sestras and for the series. We loved this episode and this season. Excellent ending with a special treat for sestra fans and a peek at a new clone we’ll learn about in Season 3.
March 23, 2018 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 9
19 “Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done” (S2E9)
How dark and tense is this episode? Well, the light-hearted bits are all about burying a dead body in the garage. Kathy and Helena have something in common that might surprise you. We are one episode away from the season finale, and things do not look good at all for our sestras.
March 5, 2018 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 8
18 “Variable and Full of Perturbation” (S2E8)
In this episode, a lot of pieces are being moved around the chessboard (or should we say the Runewars board) as we hurtle toward the season finale. Donnie and Alison are united again, in love and in felony. Rachel gets some bad new from her dad. Sarah tries cooperating with DYAD for Cosima’s sake. Cosima schools the lab’s battle bitches in their favorite board game. Oh, and there’s a new clone in town who’s got a unique perspective. (“Not our usual identity crisis,” notes Sarah.)
Reminder: March is membership drive month at The Incomparable. Support SestraCast and all your favorite shows with a monthly pledge, and get cool members-only perks, including a special SestraCast exclusive.
February 12, 2018
17 “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” (S2E7)
In the tradition of last season’s favorite, “Variations Under Domestication,” Felix, Alison, Sarah, Vic, and Donnie treat us to another fantastic romp of rehab hijinks and identity switching. We also love the musical tie-in to our favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually. (Haters, don’t @ us.)
February 2, 2018 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 6
16 “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings” (S2E6)
Sestras hit the road! It’s like a Girl Scout camping trip, except you’re sharing a tent with your insane clone and professional killers are on your heels. When Sarah finds what she was looking for, she learns about the science that is responsible for her existence.
January 26, 2018 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 5
15 “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” (S2E5)
Knowledge itself may be power, according to the title, but we have all the feels this week for our sestras as they undergo serious trauma and shocking revelations. There’s even one really awesome date, or at least it starts out that way. “You make me cry, sestra,” says Helena to Sarah. No, you make us cry, Orphan Black.
December 30, 2017 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 4
14 “Governed As It Were By Chance” (S2E4)
The blood really hits the fan in this episode. Alison is locked up in rehab. Helena escapes from the Proletheans. Sarah tries to figure out what Mrs. S. has been up to. We can hardly contain ourselves when we get to the scene of badass beautiful Mrs. S. tracking down an old flame in a dive bar. Another amazing episode!
December 22, 2017 Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 3
13 “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” (S2E3) + Secret Santa!
Jean and Kathy draw names of clones for a fun Secret Santa segment. Check out the show notes to see our picks for the ideal gifts for Alison, Rachel, Cosima, Sarah, Felix, and Helena. (And feel free to share your picks with us on Twitter or Facebook.)
This week’s episode is a bundle of cliffhangers and one big reveal. There will be all sorts of mingling!
December 15, 2017 Orphan Black, Season 2 Episode 2
12 “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” (S2E2)
Yes, a lot happens in this episode: Sarah finds Kira; Helena is whisked out of the hospital by a flying-fish-belt-buckle-wearing dude; Alison finds shocking messages on Donnie’s phone and immediately resumes drinking. But the most important thing we learn: Do NOT doublecross Mrs. S., especially when sharp cutlery is handy.
November 24, 2017 Orphan Black, Season 2 Episode 1
11 “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed” (S2E1)
We are back for Season 2! Kira and Mrs. S are missing, but who has them? Is it the cool elegant evil Rachel or the wild-eyed guy trying to capture Sarah in the diner who wears a Prolethean flying fish belt buckle? Meanwhile, Alison is promoted to lead in her community theater musical, while simultaneously procuring a clean piece for Sarah.
How do you convince your friends to watch Orphan Black? Jean and Kathy talk about their recruitment strategies. It’s hard to avoid spoilers!
October 18, 2017 Orphan Black, Season 1 Episode 10
10 “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” (S1E10)
A satisfying season finale, despite its cliffhanger ending. Cosima and Delphine unravel the secret encoding in the clones’ DNA. Alison takes care of her Aynsley problem. Helena has mother issues. Sarah has sister issues. And finally we learn how “sestra” became the favored term of endearment on Orphan Black.
Sestras, brother-sestras, sibling-sestras: thanks for listening to our Season 1 (re)watch. Jean and Kathy look forward to bringing you Season 2!
October 10, 2017 Orphan Black, Season 1 Episode 9
9 “Unconscious Selection” (S1E9)
Revelations, revelations, revelations. Sarah finds out why she and Helena feel a connection. Cosima learns the hard way that she can’t trust Delphine. Alison spills the beans on Aynsley. Art discovers who really died that night on the train platform. With the introduction of one more mysterious woman, the stage is set for a dramatic season finale in Episode 10.
September 1, 2017 Orphan Black Season 1 Episode 8
8 “Entangled Bank” (S1E8)
Alison uses Chad to get back at Aynsley. Delphine uses Cosima to get info for Leekie. Mrs. S. uses tea to comfort her expanding brood. We use a lot of tissues. Kathy needs a hug after this one.
August 25, 2017 Orphan Black Season 1 Episode 7
7 “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner” (S1E7)
From last episode’s twisted yet lighthearted romp, we delve deep into the basement of depravity and evil. One “part” in particular has us totally cringing. On the other hand, it looks like romance is budding, and that makes us happy.
August 10, 2017 Orphan Black Season 1 Episode 6
6 “Variations Under Domestication” (S1E6)
Jean and Kathy welcome their first special guest, Jason Snell, founder of The Incomparable Network. Jason told us that “Variations Under Domestication” is his favorite episode of Orphan Black, and now it’s one of our favorites too. This is the episode where we first learn of Neolution. We imagine what the reception would be like to a TED talk given by Neolutionist ringleader Dr. Aldous Leekie (played by one of our favorites, Matt Frewer). And we are immersed in the crazy suburban farce where a golf club, a glue gun, and a burnt sausage roll can all be used as a weapon of retaliation.
July 27, 2017 Orphan Black Season 1 Episode 5
5 “Conditions of Existence” (S1E5)
Jean and Kathy get new answers, but that only leads them to new questions. Paul is definitely monitoring Beth/Sarah, but why? Donnie is definitely keeping secrets from Alison, but what? And did you know that DNA can have barcodes?
July 21, 2017 Orphan Black season 1, episode 4
4 “Effects of External Conditions” (S1E4)
Kathy and Jean marvel at how much can happen in one episode that’s only 44 minutes long. Alison pretends to be Sarah, Sarah pretends to be Beth, and even homicidal maniac Helena manages to play a convincing Beth. Somehow Felix still gets the best lines.
July 12, 2017 Orphan Black season 1, episode 3
3 “Variation Under Nature” (S1E3)
We can use the “c-word” now, but our heroines wish they could find a new label for themselves. The mysterious assassin is revealed, but that raises even more questions. Your hosts know way more about TV police procedure than poor Sarah, but resolve not to be overly picky. Felix is our new favorite babysitter.
July 4, 2017 Orphan Black season 1, episode 2
2 “Instinct” (S1E2)
While cataloguing favorite Felix quotes, Jean and Kathy watch Sarah become more entangled in the mystery of her apparently identical twins.
June 27, 2017 Orphan Black season 1, episode 1
1 “Natural Selection” (S1E1)
We kick off our new podcast series with a comprehensive review of the premiere episode. In particular, we analyze the stunning opening scene, two and a half minutes of television guaranteed to hook the viewer on the Orphan Black.