Orphan Black: Echoes Stumbles Under the Weight of Its Predecessor | Black Writers Week

June 18, 2024 - Movies

Originally announced in 2022, “Orphan Black: Echoes” takes place in the same universe as its predecessor, though several decades into the future. Human cloning is now illegal, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from creating what are now called “printouts.” The series begins with Lucy (Krysten Ritter) waking up in a room where a therapist (Keeley Hawes) sits opposite her. After an array of questions, it becomes clear that not only does Lucy not remember what year it is, she doesn’t know who she was before she woke up. Later, she breaks out of her captivity, and it’s here that she comes across the same technology that made her, and she realizes that she may not be the only Lucy in the world.

The series has an air of mystery that allows it to feel fresh, and its opening twenty minutes are especially strong. Lucy’s neon-soaked escape set to the backdrop of Trevor Yuile’s immersive score makes it feel like we’re watching something vibrant, albeit still familiar. After finding a home with a man named Jack (Avan Jogia) and his deaf daughter Charlie (Zariella Langford), her past comes back to haunt her and puts the ones she loves in danger. Thus, Lucy sets off on a journey to find out who she is, which hinges on a recurring flashback about a version of herself covered in blood and wielding a knife.

Despite the strong start, after the first episode, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is a world worth returning to. It becomes clear that there is a very thin rope connecting this series to the greatness of its predecessor, and it never really continues the intriguing pace present in the pilot. The series lacks almost all the pieces that aided in “Orphan Black’s” success, and “Orphan Black: Echoes” doesn’t even come close to breaking new ground like the original series did. By the end, it feels clear that the problem here is that the series doesn’t really have much to say. While we’re forced to wait for answers, there isn’t much else to keep our attention.

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