Season 3 of Orphan Black evolves and expands and not only because of the addition of Project Castor and their “Mother,” Dr. Coady. There is a big, sort of convoluted plot in the premiere episode that finds Sarah dealing with murderous plans at Topside. Detective Art is still around, this time focusing his investigating on the other clones. Cal is struggling to protect his old/new family, Sarah and Kira, while Mrs. S. is — what else — apologizing for yet another betrayal. Alison and Donnie have founded a brand-new business that rivals the suburban drama of Weeds, but with a smarter woman in charge. Cosima seems to be on the mend, and she has her own secret mission to attend to.
The Orphan Black writers have already proved skillful enough that they will surely find a way to make the male clones complement and intensify the female agency that drives the show (and the Project Leda sisters), rather than distract from or overpower those themes. Two episodes in, and there’s already a stark contrast between the sets of clones. The women are most valued for reproductive purposes — there’s always been a not-so-subtle allegory to reproductive rights throughout the series — and used in experiments where someone claims their bodies; it appears that the men were created for their strength and perceived lack of emotion, to form a terrifying military, representing how damaging and toxic this emphasis on masculinity can be. Yet it’s hard not to worry about this expanding universe and the increasing reliance on twists and violence in a show that works best in the smaller, smarter character moments.