TV Review - Orange is the New Black: Season 3
|Kate Mulgrew (standing) as Red Reznikov|
Taylor Schilling reprises her role as Piper Chapman who's dealing with the aftermath of her ex-girlfriend Alex Vause, played by Laura Prepon, returning to Litchfield women's prison. She also embraces her hated status and villain-like treatment.
Kate Mulgrew co-stars as Red, the Russian immigrant who's dealing with the aftermath of realizing her restaurant has closed and her job of managing the prison's kitchen and being able to cook how she wants has been taken away.
Dascha Polanco plays Daya Diaz, the Latina who's dealing with the aftermath of blaming her pregnancy by a prison guard on someone who didn't actually impregnate her. She's also dealing with the loss of the love of her life, in that the father of her baby is not the man she thought he was.
Uzo Aduba co-stars as Suzanne aka Crazy Eyes, the eccentric inmate who's dealing with the aftermath of losing Vee, formerly played by Lorraine Touissant in the performance of the year. Vee gave Suzanne a purpose and support that she never had. Now, she has to find purpose and support on her own, which might come through writing or unlikely people.
Samira Wiley also co-stars as Poussey, the young black lesbian who's dealing with the aftermath of being shunned by the black girls, especially her best friend Taystee, played by Danielle Brooks. They repaired their friendship but Poussey's brief estrangement revealed an unrequited love and loneliness in her that she needs to fill, which this season she might fill with religion.
|Uzo Aduba (left) and Danielle Brooks|
The cast is so large that each episode can have a flashback on a different person. It's not like Lost, which kept returning to the same characters over and over. This show, however, doesn't really return to the same well. We move on to different person after different person in terms of the flashbacks.
One thing that's unusual this year is that a couple of the flashbacks center on people who aren't inmates, or who aren't women. This is predominantly a female cast. The only male characters are the prison guards. Yet, in Episode 2, the flashbacks are all about John Bennett, played by Matt McGorry who proves for the third or fourth time, if you count his various CollegeHumor videos, that he's good and hilarious at shirtless dancing. In Episode 11, the flashbacks are all about Joe Caputo, played by Nick Sandow whose character has a knack for getting involved with women who are already involved.
Strangely, two characters in particular are eliminated from the cast rather early. John Bennett is eliminated. Nicky Nichols, played by Natasha Lyonne, is also eliminated early. Nicky is the drug addict and drug dealer in league with Officer Joel Luschek, played by Matt Peters, a corrupt and cynical, prison guard. My feeling isn't that TV-show-creator Jenji Kohan and her team of writers tired of these two characters.
|Matt McGorry as John Bennett|
Notable flashbacks are Big Boo, played by Lea DeLaria, in Episode 4, as well as Chang, played by Lori Tan Chinn, in Episode 6 and Pennsatucky aka Tiffany Doggett, played by Taryn Manning, in Episode 10. Big Boo deals with a homophobic assault. Chang deals with assault on her looks and Pennsatucky deals with sexual assault.
This series even has the second reference to Tibetan monks and their mandala sand designs this year. It happened in Episode 9 and it was just a verbal reference. However, there was a reference to those Tibetan monks on another Netflix series, that of House of Cards.
If there are any unifying stories to this season, it's the story about the threat of Litchfield being closed down. The guards and inmates have to deal with the ramifications of that. Ironically, it puts limitations on the guards and opens up opportunities for the inmates.
|Nick Sandow as Joe Caputo|
Five Stars out of Five.
Running Time: 1 hr. / 13 eps.
Available on Netflix Watch Instant.