Everyone is talking about the mesmerizing chameleon work of Tatiana Maslany as her various incarnations in the series ORPHAN BLACK, but one of the more fascinating characters making up the clone-club world is Sarah’s right-hand man, Felix (Jordan Gravaris).
Sarah would literally be up a creek without the one person who has her back, her foster-brother Felix; even Paul (Dylan Bruce) had not been solidly on Sarah’s side to support her and help her until last week’s episode “Parts Developed In An Unusual Manner.” Before that, Paul was really just monitoring Sarah’s increasingly erratic behavior. It had been Paul’s job to only watch, not assist.
But Felix, through the familial bonds of being her brother and the bonds of friendship forged over decades growing up together, has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty. When Sarah appears out of the blue after a 10-month absence, Felix drops everything to be at her beck and call, including: planning a fake funeral to throw Sarah’s dubious ex-boyfriend Vic (Michael Mando) off her trail; hiding and selling the illicit cocaine that Sarah stole from Vic; covering with Sarah’s adoptive mother Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Sarah’s daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler); nearly getting shot in head; playing faux bartender for Sarah’s clone Allison’s block party; and then in last week’s episode, Felix infiltrated the goth Neolution club to scope out the set up for Sarah before she stuck her neck out. Felix also anxiously waited to see if Sarah was successful in rescuing Paul, being her backup in case she didn’t make it out. That’s Felix’s biggest job, having Sarah’s back. He is literally the only person she trusts enough with her own well-being.
However, Felix is not just her back-up plan and her brother; Felix is really the only one that Sarah knows will always be there no matter what. He may be the first to tell her that she’s out of her mind, but when things really start to get weird or out of hand, he is there.
On the lighter-side, Felix is an outrageously fun character in his own right. He is not just the loyal brother, the confidante, and the fixer; Felix is Mr. Party. He doesn’t live just for his sister. He sneaks in flings with every good-looking guy that crosses his path – morticians not excepted. His sense of style and fashion would put most runway models to shame. And he knows exactly what to say, no matter what the occasion; a few favorites include: “Impersonating a dead officer – that’s like a whole new crime” and “I’m beginning to realize crazy is genetic.” Sassy one-liners and eye-popping fashion aside, Felix is the kind of person we all want in our lives. Someone who is so self-possessed and confident that we can lean on them when our lives go to hell. In Sarah’s case, that is pretty frequently, so perhaps Felix has learned to be the reliable and secure one in their relationship out of necessity.
Sarah brings the adventure to ORPHAN BLACK, but Felix brings the fun. The show would be just another gripping drama series without its perfectly timed moments of levity and the reminder that there is a family at the heart of the show. Sarah and Felix’s relationship is stronger than most siblings. Their time in the foster care system raised under the strong-willed and stringent Mrs. S taught them that they needed each other, and yet they also appreciate the other for the person they have become. Neither Sarah or Felix seeks to fix or curb the lifestyle of the other. When Sarah announces she is taking over the identity of her clone Beth, a cop, Felix barely bats an eyelash. In turn, Sarah takes it in stride with the constant parade of lovers leaving Felix’s place. These are the norms in their lives and they accept each other wholly as who they are. The core of their relationship is founded on love. They love each other for exactly who they are and what they may do. Though we suspect Felix’s love must be the stronger given the craziness that tends to rain down as a result of Sarah’s life choices. Felix is Sarah’s “constant” – the one person she depends on when everything goes to pieces. Wouldn’t we all kill to have a brother like that?
Kudos to Jordan Gavaris for bringing such joie de vivre to his portrayal of Felix. Even during the more over-the-top moments, we sense that there is a feeling of love underlying the performance. Jordan clearly loves playing Felix and we feel that radiant joy and embrace it. He lights up the screen and we are riveted watching him. For what would Sarah, with all her clones, be without her one person to call in a pinch?
Here’s to many more Felix moments, whether it is sitting in the car with the police on speed-dial, posing as a straight bartender, parading around in his erotic kimonos, or playfully reminding Sarah that pretending to be a cop doesn’t actually make her a cop. He’s the cherry-on-top of this spectacular new series. It may be clone-club on the show, but count me for the Felix-club.
To see what wondrous antics Felix is up to next, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of ORPHAN BLACK on Saturday, May 18th at 9:00 p.m. on BBC America.
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