So, are you a binger or have you been pacing yourself? Have you been healthily snacking on Orange is the New Black or are you woozy from 13 course banquet of prison, lesbians and wholesome writing?
I’m guessing that most people have been sat there, frothing at the mouth and overcome by the awesomeness that is Orange is the New Black. Season Three has come with a lot of promise after two stellar seasons before it, so it’s natural that there was a lot of pressure. After an emotional pilot episode, exploring motherhood whilst stuck in prison, and the new emotions that come boiling over with visits from loved ones that are so fleeting.
So let’s have a look at those epic storylines in a show so totally unforgettable.
It’s an interesting parallel and shows incredible development and writing for the series that we despise Piper so much yet have warmed to her Season One antagonist Doggett. Showcasing that you can have an enemy and transform them into something new because of humanity and humility, Tiffany has become an understandable character that connects with us through her new friendship with unapologetic Big Boo. And this is prior to her rape in episode ten, which isn’t used as an immediate plot device to sympathise with her. In fact, they developed her enough for her to flesh out away from religion and into her own character that our sorrow at her attack from new guard Coates is real and non-manipulated. Unlike a certain show, rape isn’t used lightly in Orange is the New Black. Doggett’s backstory is rife with men using her, and she accepts her position because of how they degraded her. In the prison, the act itself is cold, unjust and ripples away into the following episodes that will help people understand the act and the effect. It concentrates on her journey with it, rather than anyone else's view and it is engaging with the aftermath.
Another major theme is motherhood and womanhood and how they mix. With the opening episode focusing on the new dynamics the women have with their children, the show lifted off into questions of parenting when Gloria and Sophia were at loggerheads over their son’s new friendship and the subsequent criminal fall out. Interesting enough, whilst both women were in prison, they still argued about class and it is nice to have everyday prejudice linger over the pair as though they were women on a playground. These established mother’s and their different handles on their children contrasted with Daya’s pregnancy and impending child rearing that had her question her fitness and qualities in becoming one. This kinetic worry that charges these particular arcs reminded us all that motherhood never ends, despite being behind bars and children are instantly affected by the repercussion of the mothers in prison. On this note, however, it would be better to have more of Maria’s struggle with being refused access to her child after episode one.
This season is not without surprises though. We said goodbye to Natasha Lyonne’s Nicols in episode three. It was more distressing to learn that, whilst we trusted her mostly in the show, a lot of her character traits were self-serving and ultimately, it was her own destruction that saw her sent away. Healy and Red are somehow romantically involved or fancy each other and Alex became paranoid and deluded when the arrival of Lolly made her believe her ex-drug boss is out to kill her which brought a nice energy to the mix, especially when Lolly’s true nature was revealed. On top of this, the only decent male, Bennett, in the entire show absconded when he found out he couldn’t handle fatherhood and nobody knows what happened to him, leaving Daya and her child’s fate unknown.
That being said Orange is the New Black is one of the best shows of the moment and strives to give voices to its women of all backgrounds. The tagline “every sentence is a story” should mar the series by giving us too many characters to invest in. Instead, it is done in such a way that is evolving, developed and divine. There's also new series characters including everyone's new favourite Ruby Rose as Piper's love interest Stella - a welcome addition. This season was enthralling, hilarious and interesting, we’ll look forward to Season Four when it comes out next year.