Tatiana Maslany may get all of the attention on “Orphan Black,” but she doesn’t act alone. Felix, played by Jordan Gavaris, is at her side — whether she is Sarah or Allison at the time — all of the way. And none of the clones would be half as much fun without him.
A young and little-known actor before being cast as Felix (among his three prior credits is a guest-starring role on “Degrassi”), Gavaris has taken everything “Orphan Black” could throw at him. Often hilarious and occasionally tragic, Sarah’s foster brother Felix is the gay, Bohemian heart of this show.
What makes Gavaris such a good Emmy candidate? Three things come to mind:
The accent: You wouldn’t know it to watch “Orphan Black,” but Gavaris is Canadian. The Brixton accent — good enough that my English brother-in-law identified it as such with no prompting — is completely faked.
The chemistry: While we only see fleeting glances of Felix’s (many) sexual conquests, his real chemistry is with two of the clones, Sarah and Allison. Sarah and Felix have a thoroughly believable brother-sister relationship, including all the love and irritation that brings. With Allison, on the other hand, Felix becomes one half of an insane buddy comedy. The two play off each other perfectly, each making the other more lovable.
The seriousness: Felix often exists to provide a smile in otherwise dark times. But that overshadows the character’s essential seriousness and concern. Felix is the voice of reason to the impulsive Sarah. He is the best friend Allison always wanted. To little Kira, Felix is the uncle who stuck around. Even Mrs. S sees him as the dependable child.
It’s unfortunate for Jordan Gavaris that Felix — and possibly the whole of “Orphan Black” — will probably get overlooked this Emmy season. “Orphan Black” is too new and too obscure (despite Maslany’s Critics Choice win) for many voters. Those that do notice this strange little piece of science fiction will likely focus on Maslany’s amazing multiple roles.
Paying attention to Felix is hard when faced with so much clone action. That’s too bad when Gavaris has created a masterpiece of a character on “Orphan Black.”