7:00pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Orphan Black' Declassified: Maria Doyle Kennedy on Mrs. S' Secrets, Racy Past
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Saturday's episode of Orphan Black, "Governed as It Were By Chance"]
Mrs. S is one saucy lady.
If Orphan Black viewers had questions about Mrs. S' intentions with Sarah, Felix and Kira, one thing's for certain: She knows how to have a good time. In the fourth episode, Mrs. S passionately reunited with Carlton, the man who introduced her to Sarah, all those years ago. "When she speaks about him, it’s very clear there’s a tenderness and a wistfulness," Maria Doyle Kennedy tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Other big moments from the hour had Sarah leaving Kira in Cal's care, a move she may or may not regret down the line. "She trusts him very much, but she's also in a corner," Michiel Huisman tells THR. "She's going by her gut and taking a little bit of a risk. She's so defensive when it comes to her daughter; she won't trust anybody but she will trust Cal." He wouldn't say whether Sarah had reason to worry about Cal's true intentions, but he did add this: "Is it a wise decision of hers? We'll have to wait and see and have this conversation a couple of episodes down the road."
One thing that did signal Sarah's trust in Cal was her decision to reveal intel about the Dyad Institute. "That's enough, that's something," Huisman says. "The Dyad Institute instantly rings a bell, but more importantly, it gives him the opportunity to unravel the story a little bit because Sarah isn't giving him anything." With Project Leda having military ties and the pollinators Cal helped create being used for militant purposes, could there be a connection? "That's a very good question," Huisman says. "It's one of those things for audiences to find out. I think I should not give that away."
Among the other revelations: Alison is in rehab; the man and woman in the Project Leda photo are Susan and Ethan Duncan, Rachel's parents; Helena, in her white wedding dress, escapes the Prolethean compound after remembering what Henrik had taken from her; and makes her way to Rachel's apartment, killing Daniel in the process and reuniting with Sarah.
In THR's latest installment of Orphan Black Declassified, Kennedy breaks down the latest episode and the secrets Mrs. S may be keeping from Sarah.
It’s been unclear where Mrs. S stands: Is she good? Is she bad? Do you know what side she’s on?
I’ve always felt that she is a person of honor. I think it’s an old-fashioned code of honor, sometimes she behaves in ways that are not acceptable to most people. She certainly has done things in the past outside the law. In episode two, she’s fairly handy with a gun, but I do feel she doesn’t do things lightly and she doesn’t do them without justification. She has a very strong moral compass. She is doing things for the greater good, the bigger picture. The ends justify the means is how she’s going forward in all of this. It’s all moving very fast for her in season two. You certainly get to see a lot of what we’ve talked about in season one, [such as] her past. She was an anarchist, she protested a lot. You see the actuality of it in season two. I do believe she has a strong moral compass at her center and ultimately she loves Sarah, Felix and Kira.
Everything she’s doing is in support of their situation?
Yeah. There are issues between her and Sarah that don’t have anything to do with Mrs. S' past. [They’re] of two personalities, of two strong, opinionated women growing up in a house together -- particularly when one is trying to be the maternal figure or the guide -- and they clash like mad because they’re so alike. There are issues of trust on both sides. Sarah’s trying to find out about herself, about herself, about her past and what’s really going on. Mrs. S lied to her in episode two when she said she didn’t know anything about Project Leda, but she did. For Mrs. S, the fact that Sarah left Kira in her care and didn't come back for a while, there are issues of trust. Mrs. S has secrets and they’re going to come out. She knows a lot about a lot of things it seems that we didn’t understand from season one. But ultimately she’s working in their interests. I don’t know how far she’s going to have to go against things to move things forward in a bigger way, but ultimately she’s working for the good.
Before we get to this week’s episode, we have to discuss Mrs. S executing the Birdwatchers. Any memories from filming that?
It was absolutely mental, I have to say. I don’t like conflict so I had to get really friendly with one for a while. It was bonkers. We worked at this old house outside Toronto and very, very beautiful, isolated arts-and-crafts house. It was definitely haunted; it was built by somebody for his wife and she died after being there for a very short time and he left because he couldn’t live there without her. It was really spooky. We were working through the night. Nora McLellan [who played Brenda] just went for it. We were like lunatics, the two of us. She wouldn’t allow the stuntwoman do any of the falling or getting stabbed by me and I was terrified I was going to hurt her. She wouldn’t let me be fake about it, or relax and ease up. The two of us really went mad. We were crying. It was an intense experience. [The scene] meant they meant Mrs. S to be a really integral part of the season, so I felt honored actually.
In season one, Mrs. S’ story seemed to be in service of Sarah’s, but as we saw in this episode, we finally got a glimpse into her pre-Sarah life. Were you surprised by anything?
We spoke about it a lot in season one so I knew that was her path. We talked about Carlton; Mrs. S spoke to Sarah about Carlton in season one and shows a picture of him when she explains to Sarah how she was brought to her by Carlton. She hasn’t seen him in 20 years and last she heard of him, he was in prison. It’s clear from when she spoke to Sarah that there was something very strong between them. When they meet again, it’s like it was yesterday. They obviously had a huge passion for each other, a huge desire. Twenty years later, when they meet again, they give each other the eye-over and they’re going, “Well, I still kind of feel the same way.” (Laughs.) It was great to see more of her in her own person, rather than as caretaker. You got to see more of her internal workings.
Is that how you think Mrs. S’ romantic relationships are like?
I think so. She was never an ordinary person. She didn’t do a nine-to-five job and have a meal with a guy. She was much more motivated by bigger things. She was trying to save some of the people in it and trying to make it a safer place. She didn’t have time for normality so she didn’t have time for regular relationships. Twenty years ago was really transient because they were operating outside the law a lot. They were coming and going; often you wouldn’t know how much time you would have with somebody. They often lived in the moment. We’re not committed to somebody else, lets just go for it -- that was definitely how she operated.
How do you think Mrs. S would react to learning that Sarah entrusted the care of her daughter to Cal?
She’d be pretty upset about it. She believes that Sarah loves Kira. She doesn’t fully trust her capability to mine her or stability because she hasn’t shown that before. She showed that when she left Kira with Mrs. S and didn’t come back to live with a crazy drug dealer. She’s not totally confident in Sarah’s choices. It’s news she’s not entirely delighted with.
How much of Project Leda does Mrs. S know?
I don’t really know. (Laughs.) I’m waiting to find out. Because she had to leave her network of people in the U.K. to keep Sarah and Felix safe, she made it her business to find out everything she could about where Sarah came from so she was as protected she could be. She had all the information she could find so she could be aware of any other changes, if they had to move again. She even says that in season one, “If this takes one step near to Kira, then we burn everything down.” Fight or flight. She’s always armed with anything, information is one of those things, so she can always be ahead of whoever may be after her.
The Birdwatchers were part of her old network, but they betrayed her. Who can she trust at this point?
They were the people who provided for her when she came over originally. They were people she absolutely and utterly trusted. If they can turn on her, then certainly some of the people from 20 years ago can turn on her.
How soon will she be reunited with Kira, Sarah and Felix?
I can’t remember at which point I meet up with them again, but I do.
What else can we expect for Mrs. S moving forward?
We do get to see more of her. She has more secrets, some more of the things she knows she reveals. She makes some new alliances. Kira’s safety, and Sarah and Felix’s, are her main priority. The most interesting thing to me is people keep tweeting or emailing me, and saying “Can I trust you? Is she good? Is she bad? I don’t know!” I think that’s quite fantastic because no one is either all good or all bad. It’s good people care, but it’s good that there are still things to learn about her. It would be boring if you knew where she was coming from and it was all clear. It’s good to still be deciding.
Every week, THR will bring in-depth, spoiler-filled chats with the producers and stars on Saturday nights following original episodes. Check back next week for the next installment.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.