Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Orange is the New Black Season 3, Episodes 7-9.
“But how can there be, uh, this many Jews in here? I mean, who are the Jews?” — Pearson
“I know. It’s confusing, right? We used to have them wear the Stars of David, but we had to stop doing that after World War II. I don’t remember why.” — Caputo
As I make my way through the third season of Orange is the New Black, I keep coming up blank on what to write about in these reviews. Because, on the surface, it doesn’t seem like that much is happening. Mostly, these women are going about their daily lives in prison. And while that is endlessly entertaining, it doesn’t leave much to comment upon other than, “I loved when blah blah happened.”
But then I realized this apparent lack of an overarching plot is OITNB’s greatest strength. Last season, the driving plot of the rising racial tensions and Vee’s dominance was great. But so are dispersant storylines involving a panty sniffing enterprise and sci-fi erotica. Especially, when those lighter plots are balanced by Daya’s internal struggle over what to do with her baby and Poussey’s descent back into alcohol addiction.
But perhaps the best example of OITNB’s balancing expertise is Norma’s growing number of followers. While it may be funny to watch Angie invent commandments, people in a bad situation needing to believe in a higher power speaks to a fundamental truth about human nature. Their bad situation may be federal prison, but that doesn’t make it any less relatable.
And, as random as this season may feel, shit is definitely going down. Alex’s paranoia looks like it might not be completely unfounded (unless Lolly just has a Crazy Eyes style crush on her) and, thanks to said paranoia, Piper has turned her attention to a new tattooed lesbian hottie. Because Piper is kinda the worst. Your girlfriend is justifiably scared for her life and you find that annoying enough to cheat on her? Never change, Pipes, never change.
And, in less frustrating developments, Sophia and Gloria’s feud continues to heat up. Even though Sophia knows she was in the wrong, she’s too stubborn to apologize. Meanwhile, Pennsatucky’s mild flirtation with Doughnut Boy went from cute to scary real quick. That does not look like its going to end well for anyone.
So no, there’s no one aspect of this season to point to and say, “this is what its all about.” But perhaps all these tenuously connected storylines is what it’s been about all along.
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