Orange Is The New Black is one of the few TV shows I watch. I’ve never attempted any sort of review on this blog but it’s a smart show with a lot to say and a lot to discuss. And in the absence of of a viewing club I thought I’d share my thoughts with you guys – holla if you’re a fan! I’m going episode by episode to avoid spoilers (I’ve finished the season…) and in between are some of my favourite photos of the actresses – I especially love how tiny Yael Stone, who plays Lorna Morello, always looks. If it’s not your thing then don’t worry – normal service will be resumed tomorrow!
Episode 1 – Mother’s Day
Pennsatucky starting the scene is brilliant!! We are back!! At first I felt a little disconcerted – but of course, Lorna would have lost the van after the incident with Rosa in that incredible finale last season. It’s still bizarre to see somebody else there.
Alex Vause, on first sighting looks awful. I’m so glad Laura Prepon is a season regular now- I missed her during series 2. I really hope the writers have some good storylines for her that don’t revolve around Piper as she’s an incredible actress when she gets going.
I think Lorna using the word “ladyman” but not wishing to offend, and her subsequent discussion and education from Laverne was lovely.
I love the Sophia flashbacks to before her son was born as well; the show is so smart to use Cox’s real life brother and it really helped to flesh out the complex nature of Sophia’s relationship with her son. It’s Mother’s Day – but she’s dishing out fatherly advice on shaving and girls.
I LOVE the idea of Matt McGorry integrating with “the family”. Bennett is one of my favourite characters because he’s just SUCH a dork. It makes no sense that he works in a prison. It makes perfect sense he’s in love with an inmate – he’s just such a dork, it’s hilarious. I loved the scene about motherboard. What is he on about??
Poor poor Suzanne. The part where she looks outside holding her kite broke me up. I thought the show would use that moment for a flashback (especially given what we already know about Suzanne’s relationship with her mother), but in the same way Suzanne was denied going outside, we were denied a glimpse inside to her thoughts.
I became genuinely worried about what would happen if somebody selected Norma in Duck Duck Goose. The game would implode, right?
Pennsatucky and Big Boo – a lovely pairing. Let’s hope we see more!
OK, I normally love Bennett but all I took from this is that he was once a coward and is now still a coward. I’ll be honest; it feels rushed. It feels like Matt McGorry couldn’t commit to the season and they decided to get him out of there straight and fast. So many people have been critical of the Daya and Bennett love-story due to the fact that it’s not going anywhere and that both characters are unrealistic about their situation at best.
I guess I’m a hopeless romantic because I’ve been rooting for them. Sure, it’s not the most interesting storyline, but I’d like to think they could make it work on the outside… how long is Daya in for, anyway?
I think I also found this episode problematic because I felt like we didn’t flesh Bennett out as much with the flashbacks. Normally when an episode ends I feel a lot more in tune with whichever character was featured. I didn’t feel like I learned about Bennett in this one or gained any new perspective on him, and I didn’t feel like I cared when I saw him dash the rest of the series in the episodes closing moments.
OTHER THINGS THIS EPISODE:
Piper and Alex seem to have become their own little gang – and I find it kind of disorientating. I LIKE the gangs, and if I think back to Season 1 I far preferred the Alex that interacted with Nicky, Morello, Yoga Jones etc rather than the Alex and Piper gang that just involves the two of them.
Suzanne and Taystee were incredible in that breakdown scene about Vee.
FINALLY a flashback episode for Nicky. 3 seasons in and we’re finally there. Although, am I the only one who felt like it wore a little thin? Nicky is an addict, and she needed help she didn’t receive. She sacrifices everything to get her fix and she has a hugely strained relationship with her mother. This is what I learned from the flashbacks – but I already knew all this. I wish we’d seen more to flesh her out, rather than supporting what we already know – but maybe that’s what happens when a character is so developed and well-rounded in the present day Litchfield before reaching a flashback episode. Red’s flashback episode was episode 2 of series 1. Maybe if Nicky’s had come earlier, we’d feel more like we were gaining some new perspective?
I felt annoyed at Luschek at the end of this episode for not bailing Nicky out – but similarly, it’s not his fault and she got what was coming to her, and what she’s always had coming to her.
OTHER THINGS THIS EPISODE:
Chang is obsessed with dicks? Or dildos? Or something? That was weird/hilarious.
Healy is horrific.
The book funeral was amazing. “All the David Sedarises.. Sedari?”
First off, I love Big Boo, I love Lea DeLaria, it’s a great role and she’s perfect in it. So I was SO THRILLED to see that she was the featured character for flashbacks in this episode.
I really loved her backstory too. We don’t see why she’s in prison, but we do get a better sense of who she is. I actually really connected with the character – I’m not butch, or a lesbian, but I really connected with having such an innate sense of self and being so obtuse about it. I rarely think of myself as being obtuse about my identity, and evidently neither does Boo. But when framed in this episode we can see how destructive adherence to one’s self can become. Boo/Carrie has always been this person – we weren’t shown a transition, or a defining moment when she became the person she is today. It’s always been this way, right back to the arguments with her mother over dresses, and it’s not something she’s ever been able to hide or conceal; whether on a first date or to visit her dying mother. I completely identify with her in terms of sticking to your personality and not being able to vanish those personal quirks, always being a confusion and anamoly to your parents. And OITNB is to be hugely applauded for bringing such a diverse range of characters to our attention and making each one relatable.
For the second episode in a row, one of my favourite ensemble characters has been featured! Flaca has always been great for one-liners and sassy attitude so it was really fun to check in with young Flaca. “I just feel like I need to invest in some more emotional clothing right now” – you said it girl.
I felt genuinely upset for her when she worked through that door and saw the sewing machines – remembering her mother instilling a skill in her and returning to the same depressing job she had as a teenager. I was thrilled to see her indie-band, drug-dealer boyfriend. And I really enjoyed meeting Flaca’s friend at school – a small, appeasing, Maritsa-before-Maritsa type. She’s definitely in Litchfield for one of the more bizarre crimes but on the whole I appreciated this episode and I felt glad to spend the time with the character. That said.. the second plot of this episode, featuring the pointless quiz, felt a bit upsetting to watch. These women are living with such high stakes that huge affirmations of identity and support are drawn from this one quiz and job audition process, which we then discover to be a completely arbitrary selection that doesn’t reflect on them at all. It could have been funny, but it just made me feel a bit jaded.
OTHER THINGS THIS EPISODE:
Healy hasn’t heard of Woodstock?!
Red and Healy make me feel a bit ill. Actually, a lot ill. Maybe we’re supposed to invest in them following the breakdown of the Daya-Bennett romance, but all I can think is Red deserves somebody badass and Healy is a huge prick.
O’Neill and .. the female CO… are super-cute together! Now there’s a romance story worth investing in.
Leanne and Poussey both speak… Latin? Dutch? German? Also, why? Leanne always comes off as a total moron. What’s her story?
WHERE IS NICKY?! Is she coming back?!
Let me know if you’re watching along too!