April 19, 2014 at 6:38 AM ET
BBC America's "Orphan Black" may have premiered last March to little fanfare, but ever since it's become a critical (and binge-watcher's) darling. The slick sci-fi drama starring Canadian Tatiana Maslany — who masterfully portrays uniquely different clones — plays like a mash-up of "Alias" thrills, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" wit and "Fringe" out-and-out bonkers science.
So with season two premiering April 19, it's time to get your clones straight, including the dead ones. Here's a brush-up primer so you can hit the ground running Saturday night.
Essentially the alpha clone, as far as the series narrative is concerned, Sarah is the street-smart gal who watched her doppelganger (Beth) kill herself in the series premiere. Shocked but more than a little ready to scam on the fact that they look alike, Sarah assumes Beth’s cop life and gets swept up in the spiderweb of revelations about their origins.
Other things to know: Sarah is a single mother to eight-year-old Kira and initially wants to swipe money from Beth’s life to legitimately start over. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is Sarah’s foster brother (and enabler of bad behavior) who gets fully entangled in the clone mystery. Siobhan Sadler (Maria Doyle Kennedy) is Sarah’s foster mother who has custody of Kira and might know a lot more about the clones than she’s letting on.
A corporate bigwig at the Dyad Institute, Rachel knows she is a clone and wants Sarah and Kira under her control for testing. The personification of an ice queen, Rachel is pretty ruthless when it comes to getting what she wants.
Other things to know: Rachel has a British accent and works for the Neolutionists, a group that supports clones and clone existence.
The suburban soccer mom of the clone circle, Alison made a deal with Dyad in exchange for living a “normal” life with her husband and kids. Of course, that all goes to hell when Sarah finds her and a whole lot of dark truths push Alison to the edge of her tightly-wound life.
Other things to know: Alison and Felix became BFFs as the first season unfolded. Donnie, Alison’s husband, has also be swept up into his wife’s craziness.
The actual scientist of the bunch, Cosima connects with Sarah and together they’re able to investigate the genetic technology behind their existence. Scarily, Cosima is also wracked by a mysterious illness that might threaten the lives of all of the clones, so there's a ticking clock for the cure.
Other things to know: Cosima is in a relationship with Dyad double agent Delphine.
The Dead Clones
The scary clone, Helena was raised to be a self-loathing assassin by a fundamentalist sect. She sought out others with her face to rid the world of their "sin," but she unexpectedly bonded with Sarah. It was revealed they were twin sisters, but that didn't stop Sarah from putting Helena down with a bullet.
She was the police officer whose suicide Sarah witnessed in the first episode. Her existence initiated Sarah’s awareness that they were two of many clones around the world.
A German clone who provided Sarah some key intel before she was murdered by Helena. She suffered from the extreme respiratory illness Cosima now fights.
By the end of the first season, 10 clones had been mentioned thus far on the show, including a few who have been presumed dead (though never seen outside of photos) since before the series began (Danielle Fournier, Aryanna Giordano, and Janika Zingler).
But a promotional release for the next season indicates there's an 11th clone coming: Jennifer Fitzsimmons, who is trying to get treatment for a disease that resembles the one affecting Cosima.
"Orphan Black" returns to BBC America on April 19 at 9 p.m.