'Orphan Black' Declassified: Michelle Forbes on Big Changes Ahead, Marion's Weird Arc
"Marion does get weirder and weirder over the next couple of episodes -- and I like that," the actress tells THR of her mysterious character.
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Saturday's episode of Orphan Black, "Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things."]
Talk about a bloody ending.
Orphan Black pulled yet another surprise in the latest episode, killing Dyad Institute leader Dr. Aldous Leekie in an unexpectedly violent manner: a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The man who pulled the trigger was equally as surprising: Alison's monitor husband Donnie. There were clues that things at the Dyad weren't going according to plan (see: the Ethan Duncan situation), especially with Leekie's curt exchange with Rachel's calculating boss Marion Bowles.
"Because the show is complex and there are so many mysteries involved, it seemed like this open-ended, beautiful, mysterious world that was bottomless in a way," Michelle Forbes tells The Hollywood Reporter of her character's entrance. "It’s like taking a child who understands nothing about quantum physics, and saying, 'This is a big deal in quantum physics and you can be a part of it in some way.' "
In THR's latest installment of Orphan Black Declassified, Forbes breaks down the latest episode, what the loss of Leekie means for Marion and the Dyad and offers high praise for co-creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett's "outlandish" minds.
What about Marion did you first gravitate toward?
The story is so complex and so labyrinthian, and I obviously was not fully aware. They did send me the script and I did come across the first scene where I meet Dr. Leekie, and there’s a line where I speak about fecund jelly on his hand. As soon as I read that line, I knew that I had to be a part of the show. (Laughs.) Any writers who put together those words “fecund jelly on your hands,” you want to be a part of their world.
That piece of dialogue is so unique in its structure. You certainly don’t hear those words strung together very often.
No. I often lean toward the odd and the perverse and it was those particular words put together -- you’re always looking for insight into the writers’ minds -- I thought, “I don’t know who these people are but they’ve got something that I want to be a part of.”
What was your initial sense of the Marion-Leekie dynamic?
That relationship is not necessarily intellectually black-and-white clear to me initially, but there was something about talking to [the producers] and seeing that first season that I trusted them implicitly. They call “action” and all of a sudden, you feel you understand what you’re doing even though you possibly don’t understand what you’re doing.
At the end of the episode, Marion tells Rachel to terminate Leekie, but Rachel decides to spare him. How do you think Marion would react if she found out that Rachel went around her?
I believe that Marion is so used to being listened to that I don't even think that enters her mind and would never suspect that Rachel would, or anyone would, defy what is asked of them. I don't know that that would have been a question in her mind. I don't know that that would have been questioned. That was an absolute in her mind.
With Leekie out of the picture, how does that change things at the Dyad?
It changes things immensely. Everybody has such inner conflicts and there are so many loyalties that are switching and changing, that it's a little bit of loyalty gymnastics going on. You never know who's flipping or who's turning -- everyone's on the balance beam. Leekie out of the picture just changes everything. It changes everything for Rachel, it changes everything for Sarah, it changes everything for Marion. The loyalties she thinks she has with Rachel is not necessarily true and yet other things happen down the line which creates different loyalties. I just love this show!
Is there a shift in Marion's character?
Marion does get weirder and weirder over the next couple of episodes -- and I like that.
How much do you know about the Dyad conspiracy?
I knew a little bit, I didn't know a lot. I understood what I can understand. I remember going up to John Fawcett and saying, "You guys are so crazy!" (Laughs.) This world that they've created that is derivative of nothing. We're so used to seeing shows that are derivative of something in some way, especially conspiracy or science-fiction shows.
How much more will we see of you on the show?
I'm in the last two episodes as well. It gets far more complex than this one episode. It gets wonderfully weird. There are moments on set where I'm like, "Oh my god, you're all mentally mad!" -- in the most wonderful, highly intellectually sophisticated way. It seems so outlandish, yet still everything connects. It connects underground, it connects above ground. I really have ultimate respect for them. As we're speaking now, the other person I can think of who's also connected those metaphysical dots and those scientific dots is [Battlestar Galactica executive producer] Ron Moore. (Forbes appeared in three episodes of Battlestar from 2005-06 as Admiral Helena Cain.)
What can you say about the finale?
I know a lot of people say "Buckle up and get ready," but it's true. They've called "cut" and I just turn to them and say, "Good lord, where are you guys going with this?" because it just keeps getting weirder and more complicated and yet it all makes sense.
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.
Sundance: On the Scene