Though the show’s most notable and recognizable characters share the same face (belonging to star Tatiana Maslany), the Leda clones are all wildly different. Nearly as long as the show’s running, fans have debated which clone is the best, the favorite, or who’s next on the chopping block.
As Season 4 approaches, let’s rank by the clones by the metric that might matter most as things get darker, more complicated and way more dangerous: the ability to kill a man when push comes to shove.
Because yesterday’s gone, let’s focus on the clones who are still alive.
7. Cosima Niehaus
Is an actual puppy, would not a hurt a fly.
Even dead clones are more dangerous than Cosima, who is in serious contention for “Sweetest Person On The Planet Award.”
Cosima’s interactions with difficult people, like Mrs. S’s mom, prove that she’s got a heart of pure gold. I’m not sure what it says about her that she fell in love with a bonafide killer (Hi Delphine, hope you’re still alive), but Cosima is about as far away from “ruthless killer” as one could possibly hope to get.
6. Tony Sawicki
Oh Tony, we hardly knew ye. Fortunately still alive, Felix and Sarah sent him away before he could get too wrapped up in the Dyad/Neolutionist/Castor insanity. Probably for the best. To our knowledge, has never hurt a fly and if he stays away from the #DyadDrama, he stands a pretty good chance of remaining unsullied by the horrors of the Clone Wars.
5. Krystal Goderitch
Poor Krystal. She didn’t sign up for this. We’re unwilling to rule out a surprise ruthless streak a la Alison, but Krystal seems like a nice girl who’s found herself caught up in some seriously bad shit.
4. Rachel Duncan
Damn if Rachel doesn’t have a ruthless streak a mile wide. Sort of the cockroach of the clones, Rachel’s pretty committed to doing whatever she has to in order to survive. She’s on the mend right now, but Rachel has proven herself totally willing to go to extreme lengths to keep herself alive.
There’s an argument for ranking Rachel above Sarah in the ruthlessness department, but here’s the clincher: Rachel doesn’t have much to protect outside of herself. With Sarah (and Alison and Helena), we see characters that are protecting something beyond themselves, which is likely where they draw the motivation and the justification for brutality.
Though Rachel seems pretty invested in her own survival, it’s difficult to imagine her will to live outweighing Sarah, Alison or Helena’s drive to protect those they love. That said, we do have a new wrinkle in Charlotte.
3. Sarah Manning
Sarah’s got a pretty twisted “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” thing going on. She’s hidden or otherwise disposed of a number of bodies, from Katja’s to Rudy’s, but has yet to actually kill anyone. In fact, Sarah’s the closest thing Orphan Black has to a hero and her moral compass has her saving people’s lives often.
It’s Alison who has to teach Sarah to use a gun, and on two separate occasions, Sarah’s been faced with the opportunity to go in for the kill and hasn’t quite gotten it done (though she definitely intended to kill Helena, which is why she’s earned herself the #3 spot.)
Now, if something were to happen that directly and immediately threatened Kira, Mrs. S, Felix, Cal or one of the other clones, it’s hard to imagine Sarah not pulling the trigger and closing the deal. Sarah Manning seems textbook Medium Ruthless.
2. Alison Hendrix
I know, I know. Alison hasn’t killed anyone, and so the #2 spot seems awfully high for her, particularly when Sarah almost definitely meant to kill Helena, right? True enough, but, counterpoint: Aynsley.
Alison let Aynsley die right in front of her, and even though she didn’t kill her directly, it was arguably more cold-blooded than taking a shot at someone who’s trying to kill you.
Alison’s also a champ at hiding bodies in her own right, a lá Dr. Leekie in the concrete garage floor, and she even starred in a musical called Blood Ties in which her character does some Grade-A blood scrubbing. She’s got all the trappings of a Lethal Housewife of Toronto.
Beyond that, Alison is fiercely protective and doesn’t seem to have Sarah’s decidedly heroic streak. If anything endangers Alison’s family, her sisters or her way of life, she won’t hesitate. She’s not going to take a minute to think about the sanctity of life or another, nonviolent option. Alison Hendrix is 100% warrior in a sugary-sweet soccer mom exterior.
Helena’s literally an assassin. Killing has been her go-to method of conflict resolution (though she is softening around the edges a bit) and she wins because of sheer body count and the fact that she’s, you know, trained to kill.
But the race isn’t as cut-and-dry as one might think — Alison and Sarah definitely have a little Helena in them, too, with the added unstable elements of emotional attachment and protective instincts.
That said, Helena’s got even more to fight for with her “babies” and the addition of Jesse Towing. It’s not hard to imagine her leveling up in the lethality game in the coming season.
Orphan Black returns for Season 4 on April 14th on BBC America.