Everyone’s favorite inmates are back for another round in Litchfield. Orange is the New Black hit Netflix on Friday, with all 13 episodes released at once (standard Netflix practice). Since doing a recap for each episode doesn’t work, I’ll be splitting the season into 3 episode chucks all week. SPOILERS will be included, so be careful if you haven’t gotten your binge in yet and let me know what other shows you’d like State of Mined to cover.
At the official mid-point of season two, business has definitely picked up. Some friends became enemies, some back story was told, and we got the return of Pornstache. I wouldn’t say Orange is the New Black was suffering from a lack of conflict, but once lines were drawn and the definitive villain made herself known, that it that was missing became very evident. Vee is shaping up to be a force to really fear, and her manipulation is being felt all throughout Litchfield. Even the guards are being hit and don’t even realize. OITNB hit a good stride in these three episodes.
Episode 7, ”Comic Sans” showed us the lighter side of print news, and just how deep these “criminals” are. Watching Flaca and Daya bicker over turns of phrase and grammar was a nice treat, so were the little hints about Flaca’s life. She may look like the typical “gangbanger girlfriend” but she’s quoting The Smiths, and fighting against female exploitation. Holy shit, we’re getting fleshed out characters here. Little aside, Morrissey was a pretty big deal for Hispanic gang bangers in L.A., so clearly one of the writers was tapping into that a bit.
We also got to see the serious side of Black Cindy in her flashback. Turns out the clown of the block was a TSA agent. Not a very good one though. When we see her at work, she hardly takes things seriously, and even steals property from people’s bags. While we didn’t find out what put her in prison exactly, but it’s not hard to figure it out. She was probably caught doing one of the many things she does illegally at her job. Our tax dollars at work people (forgive me if our taxes don’t actually pay TSA agents, just kinda went with it).
In a twist you could kind of see a mile away, turns out her younger sister is actually her daughter, which her mom is raising as her own. Not hard to tell why, I wouldn’t leave her watch my lunch, let alone take care of a child. When she showed a clear lack of parental skill, her mom took her to task about it. That whole clown persona may not be a full on farce, but it definitely covers her own insecurities as a person, and allows the ability to shirk out of responsibility.
Oh, and to keep the non-prison story interesting, Larry had sex with Pipers best friend Polly. Larry isn’t exactly the most likeable, and apparently it’s infectious. The boss villain, Figueroa is finally getting a human side to counteract her cartoonish ways, but with Vee taking the reigns as an actual baddie, it may have been too little, too late.
Speaking of cartoonish, in “Appropriately Sized Pots” we got to see the bank robber days for cancer stricken inmate, Rosa. We also got to see what she would eventually coin “the curse” as every lover she robbed banks with would die soon after, which she blamed on her ritual of kissing before and after each robbery. It was a fun flashback, but the meat of her story laid with her budding relationship with another young cancer patient, a teen boy. They’re fun to watch, and seeing her open up and connect with him, even over the art of the steal, was cute.
Meanwhile, back at fair ol’ Litchfield, Piper was granted a 48 hour furlough to see her grandmother before she died. Problem is, no one EVER gets a furlough, so it was just another example of preferential treatment for lily-white Piper. The rest of the inmates reacted accordingly, even going so far as to call it “New Jim Crow”. Piper even called it out as White Privilege in a grandstanding speech that only she could give, and just as I wanted to do, Crazy Eyes threw food at her head. Perfect. Just because you point out that your preferential treatment is unfair, doesn’t mean people will like you for it. In a cruel twist of fate, Piper’s grandmother died before she got to leave, making her furlough trip 24 hours of freedom.
Alright, the moment we’ve all been waiting for; Pornstache was back to up the guard enforcement, and just like that he was gone. Listen, Pornstache was a great folly last season and bringing him back was a fun move, but it also didn’t amount to much considering Bennett has been losing his grip and told a half-truth to get The Stache fired again. So now the higher up’s know that Daya is pregnant, but they now think it’s Pornstache’s kid. What’s worse is, so does he. Man these people are making drama for drama’s sake.
Piper got her Furlough, and even though she wanted to spend it out and about, there was the small matter of her grandmother’s wake. Yea, she still had to go. Watching her explain to the line of relatives why she was released was pretty funny, especially in this context, since she was taking all the shine from, ya know, the dead relative.
Of course, she wants to drink and she wants to get freaky, and right on cue, Larry messes at least the lat part of that up. “You tell me that, while I have your flaccid dick in my mouth?” Yea, he tells her about his having sex with someone else mid-blowjob. This is a man who clearly never wants to have sex again.
Piper also had to deal with her emotionally repressed mom and dad, who constantly try to call into question her character. They comment about how she’s not being herself, where alas, she’s being more herself than she’s ever actually been. She may still be annoying, and barely tolerable, but she’s finding out exactly who she is as a person. Growth and all that jazz. Her moment on the bridge, with a 40 oz. Colt 45 and a burger was just classic. “Merica.
The saddest parts of this stretch were the depictions of betrayal, and just how far things have fallen. Vee is running Litchfield like Scar after Mufasa died. We saw how she turned on Red during their earlier time together, and how she’s turning all of those around her into ruthless bullies. Suzanne is like her hired heavy, beating and moving whoever she has to in order to keep Vee happy. Watching Taystee give heroine to recovering addict Nicky was rough. No honor, no understanding, just all about the paper.
The fallout between Pouessy and Taystee is hard to take, and they are really selling the end of their relationship. P took a vicious beating from Suzanne after she drunkenly tried to go after Vee. Her empire is growing, but she is making just as many enemies as she is friends, and at this rate, no amount of money will keep a revolt from happening. You turn decent people into corner girls, and that loyalty has limits. I’m saying I want Vee to get got. Plain and simple. Which means her menace is entertaining.
I do wonder why Red even feigned friendship after finding out Vee had her stomped like a flaming poo bag, but I guess she was operating on Murtaugh’s law. Either way, the fun times are gone, and Pride Rock is in disarray. The guards are burnt out, and inmates are freaked, things are about to come to a head soon, and hopefully in a big way.
What do you think; you think Vee is gonna get hers, is Larry as big a dumbass as I think? Let me know. @TheArnold_SoM