This season of Orange Is the New Black was possibly one of the most hyped seasons of a TV show so far this year, thanks to its killer first season. However, with such hype it’s easy to fail expectations. Showrunner Jenji Kohan clearly had her work cut out for her. And trust me, it delivered.
Last season ended on a great cliffhanger. Piper Chapman was attacked by Pennsatucky. But the tables quickly turned. We were left for nearly a year wondering what would become of the two.
I’ve finished my binge-watching spree of this season and let me tell you, it was amazing!
As I said above, this season is fantastic. The season opened with Piper being transported from solitary confinement to a Chicago Prison while awaiting sentencing. While there, she is told by Alex to lie on stand to protect herself. However, she is thrown under the bus by Alex and sent back to Litchfield.
Back at Litchfield, the Hispanic side of the prison is running the show now. This is what seems to be the main premise of the season. A shift in power from the white side to the Hispanic side angers the residents. The residents are now joined by a new resident, Vee, who is actually Taystee’s mother figure. At midseason Vee is enacting a plan to bring the black side of the prison into power. Oh, and Pennsatucky is alive and FINALLY got new, nice-looking teeth!
But instead of going on and on about what happened, I figured it would be better to say the best parts of the new season, and what Jenji Kohan is doing right.
For one, the continuing flashbacks of inmates gives even more insight to the characters. One character’s flashback was, in my opinion the best part of the show so far.
Morello is known to be the sweet and most trusted inmate in Litchfield. She’s been counting down the days until she can get out and marry the love of her life, Chris. But her flashback showed their real relationship.
Morello was committing fraud, buying things online and pretending she never received them to get refunded. While picking up boxes of goods she bought, she bumps into Chris. Who, she had already had a photo of on her wall. They go on one date. That’s it. It’s later shown that Chris had actually filed a restraining order against her, saying she was a stalker.
Then, to make matters creepier, things get weird in the present day. She breaks into Christopher’s home by force and puts on his fiance’s wedding veil to take a bath in! Somehow, in one episode, the views on Morello shifted from adorable-crazy to actual crazy.
The second part of this season that was fantastic is a new character named Brook Soso. Her character is actually really innocent, smart and much like Piper when she first arrived. This similarity was on purpose. They juxtapose her arrival, by mimicking Piper’s arrival. In the same scene, we see Piper as she is current day and remember how much she’s changed. With all the drama going on, the characterization is so good, it’s easy to forget.
And let me give credit where credit is due, Lorraine Toussaint is a spectacular actress. Her power and dominance over Litchfield are enough to make you both fear and respect her. She brings just the right amount of creepy to this season’s new villain. The more you watch, the more you hate her.
Plus, we must remember some old characters that were given the spotlight and stole the show. Last season Poussey and Miss Rosa did not do much at all. This season, I felt myself more connected to them than any of the other main characters. Miss Rosa’s trips to the hospital for chemo were always humorous, and her story were just plain genius.
Samira Wiley (Poussey) also blew it out of the park. Every time people turned on her, I felt worse for her. Her character was a strong force this season, and through all the tears she shed, I pitied her more than anyone this season.
This is the rare show where every character draws you in, and builds on itself enough to keep you inching further and further into your seat.
The final point I’ll address is Jenji Kohan’s ability to balance multiple storylines and characters with ease. At the same time we’re dealing with: The black side against the white side, Piper trying to reconnect with her family, Daya’s pregnancy and relationship with her mother and Red adjusting to life without power. All these storylines are also tied together so perfectly that you feel transported to the prison. These storylines never have a dull moment, only bigger climaxes.
So, if you haven’t started to binge watch this, get on over to Netflix and watch!