Let’s just say I was a little more than excited when the third season of Orange is the New Black was released by Netflix last week! Having binge watched the first two installments within days of their release I wanted to try and pace myself with this one, so I watched it over three days instead of one mega marathon..
For those who don’t know OITNB is set in Litchfield Women’s Prison in upstate New York and follows the daily lives of the women who inhabit the prison, as well as a series of flashbacks to their lives before being sentenced.
The characters in this show are rich, clever, intelligent and this year HILARIOUS. This season has copped a fair bit of shit online for not having a clear story arc. In the first season we followed Piper Chapman (a middle class woman sent in for becoming entangled with rug trafficking) and her personal journey while she got to know the other prisoners and adjusted to life behind bars. The second season saw a villain introduced with “V” and things took a very dramatic turn as things went very dark very quickly.
This year the show returned to it’s comedy genius that we saw in the first season. There is no big all encompassing drama to follow but more personal journeys and struggles within the women of Litchfield, and I have to say I personally loved it!
The writing this season was so on point, every episode had me in fits of laughter while also feeling deep and stirring connections with the more serious story lines. This is a true writing skill, to be able to have someone laughing and crying (simultaneously in the final scenes of the last episode for me) with your characters and truly connecting and caring for them as if they were personal friends.
There are a few arcs throughout the season, one being the business that Chapman begins work on and the other being the story of Norma and her cult following. Red as usual is up to her matriarchal business and has a very interesting story herself but the funniest story followed Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren writing her INSANE novella while the other inmates speculate and obsess about it. And the very touching and dramatic plots of Daya and her final months of pregnancy and Sophia experiencing horrifying trans-phobia threw plenty of heartbreaking moments and tears into the mix.
This season rather than trying to bring all the women together in one big story followed a more realistic path by creating individual plot lines that occasionally intersect but mostly stay within the cliques the women operate in.
As usual there are some stunning performances, this show ALWAYS brings in the awards for the actresses and I think the true standout this year was Selenis Leyva who plays the Hispanic matriarch Gloria Mendoza. She was absolutely brilliant and I thank the writers for creating a story that allowed her to truly shine! And of course I feel it is mandatory to mention the new character Stella who is played by Ruby Rose who it seems, the entire internet is really freaking out over and obsessed with now.
This show has maintained a glorious story an stuck to it’s guns of showing a range of female lead characters of different races, ethnicity’s and class backgrounds. And although it is hands down one of the funniest shows out there it also perfectly addresses the causes and triggers of crime in a realistic and sensitive approach, not an easy task.
Orange is the New Black Season 3 is available to binge on Netflix right now, here’s the trailer!