Orphan Black: Everyone, Even Kira, Has A Choice

Orphan Black 5x02 Sarah and Kira

In Orphan Black 5×02, everything old was new again. Sarah Manning was back in a Dyad containment cell, wearing those familiar blue scrubs from the series’ second season finale. This time, however, the situation was a little bit different. Once upon a time, in an attempt to keep Kira safe, Sarah surrendered. However, in Orphan Black 5×02, Sarah was at Dyad completely against her will. And instead of seeking to find a way to save her, her family was cooperating with Rachel Duncan herself. Were they brainwashed? Was Sarah being lied to? As Orphan Black 5×02 unfolded, Sarah once again made keeping Kira safe from Rachel and her experiments a priority over all others. Unlike in previous seasons, though, the one person who was never before given a voice finally spoke up.

Orphan Black has always been the tale of a group of women, fighting to have control over their own lives and their own bodies.

Regardless of any other plots, that’s been a recurring theme. Sarah Manning and the remaining Leda clones have fought against Neolutionists and Proletheans alike, always trying to keep themselves free of others’ control. Kira, being the only healthy child born to any of the Leda clones, was of particular interest to the Neolutionists. And so, as the story goes, Sarah has spent much of her adult life doing anything and everything to keep her only daughter from becoming a lab rat.

After all, even Cosima Niehaus, science clone herself, never wanted to be someone’s experiment. Why, then, would an innocent child want or need to be poked and prodded by strangers, all for the sake of furthering their studies? As a mother, Sarah never wanted that for her daughter. So, when Orphan Black 5×02 opened and Rachel coerced Sarah into accepting her weird shared custody agreement and promise of only doing “non-invasive” studies on Kira, it was obvious what would come next: Sarah would fight back.

And she did.

Sarah’s plan to dress up as Rachel and pull Kira out of school was fraught with the kind of danger that Orphan Black has always been known for. It even ended in the heartbreaking and brutal murder of MK, yet another sacrifice to Sarah Manning’s quest for freedom. In the end, that most tragic of deaths was a waste. Right as Sarah was ready to load Kira into a black van, headed for at least the millionth hiding place in a long line of failed escape attempts, the little girl finally put her foot down. She refused to go with her mother, saying she’d rather go with her “Aunty Rachel.”

I want to know why I’m like this, and I don’t want to go with you! I’m going with Rachel!

Viewers’ initial reactions to this outcome for Orphan Black 5×02, if they were anything like my own, might have been to wonder how Kira could be such an ungrateful brat about all of it. The kid definitely threw a big enough tantrum. Then, there’s the element of “seriously? You’re stupid enough to think you can trust Rachel?”

But let’s put ourselves in Kira’s shoes.

She has some sort of weird connection to her “aunties.” The second the life left MK’s body, Kira sensed it. She’s had other weird feelings and a certain ability to just sense when there’s danger afoot for a long time now. The little girl knows she’s not like other children, but she has no idea what she is.

And how many times can a single child be dragged out of school, away from friends, away from father figures and homes, to go on the run before she’s simply had enough? Regardless of whether or not Rachel Duncan is trustworthy in all of this — and she’s likely not — Kira has the right to decide what happens with her own body. Just like her mother and the rest of the clones do.

If Kira Manning wants to get to the bottom of her own biology, to understand why she’s special, she has every right to. Maybe she’s a bit young to make those kinds of decisions and should listen to her mother. Then again, her mother isn’t exactly the most stable or responsible on the planet. (Sorry, Sarah.) Besides, with the support of Mrs. S., Kira’s decision-making can’t be scrutinized too much.

But if Orphan Black‘s mythology is centered around the idea that all human beings have the rights to their own bodies, then it’s time for Kira to claim that right.

Just like Helena was able to choose leaving the hospital over finding out how her twins had miraculously healed, Kira was able to choose to stop running and start looking for answers. Even as Sarah has (rightfully) always worked against the system that created her, Kira can choose to become a part of it. That choice may very likely be a bad one; but at least nobody else will die because Sarah is so set on keeping Kira all to herself. With this newly chosen freedom, Kira’s own mother can’t constantly lie to her, knowing that she’s too smart to believe the lies anyway, to keep her safe anymore.

And maybe, if she’s incredibly lucky, Kira will be the first person in this messed up family to have some answers. With those answers could come some control. Or maybe, just like Sarah’s escape attempt in Orphan Black 5×02, Kira’s choice will blow up in her face. Only time will tell as the series’ final trip unfolds.


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