Note: Only read this review if you finished the season. I’ll be spoiling everything!
I didn’t exactly love season three.
That’s not to say it was a bad season (I still gave it a B+), but after the incredible highs of the show’s first two years (especially that stellar sophomore season), it did feel like somewhat of a letdown due to a lack of narrative focus. Thankfully, this was rectified in season four which did a terrific job of giving the year a cohesive theme: race.
It was positively fascinating to watch all the ladies take sides as the tensions between the different ethnicities gradually escalated throughout the season. The violence itself was particularly harsh, with Piper getting forcefully branded in one of the most traumatic scenes I’ve seen all year (those screams will haunt me forever), and the brutal death of Poussey in the penultimate episode. There were actual consequences this season, and the show was all the better for it.
Surprisingly, the highlight of the season for me was the Judy King storyline. Blair Brown was just exceptional in the role of the TV-chef-turned-inmate. Watching her share a room with Yoga Jones and slowly seduce her with her special treatment was a hoot, and her “relationship” with Black Cindy was even more hysterical. Here’s hoping Miss King stays on the show for a long time to come, because the character is a standout in every single way.
Now let’s take a moment to praise Lorri Petty for her outstanding turn as the schizophrenic Lolly Whitehill. It’s not easy to portray a character with mental illness, but Lorri did a splendid job of bringing the inmate and her supremely tragic story to life. Everything from the homeless flashbacks to her saving Alex (by killing the guard , bonding with an equally-disturbed Healy and finally being carted off to the psychiatric ward was just perfect. We better see a ton more of her going forward!The season’s final sequence was especially gripping: Judy finding herself surrounded by the different ethnicities attacking from every side. I’m not sure what to make of Daya holding a gun to Humphrey’s head, but I guess it’s somewhat believable seeing as how Aeida was worried all season long about her daughter succumbing to the dark side. All I can say is… bring on season five!
The season’s final sequence was especially gripping: Judy finding herself surrounded by the different ethnicities attacking from every side. I’m not sure what to make of Daya holding a gun to Humphrey’s head, but I guess it’s somewhat believable seeing as how Aeida was worried all season long about her daughter succumbing to the dark side. All I can say is… bring on season five!
Bits Behind Bars
– Props to the show for taking a humorous subplot with Stephanie as Chapman’s bodyguard, and giving it a serious twist when she betrays Piper. It’s interesting to note that Piper has taken such a backseat after being the show’s main driving force in season one. I’m not complaining.
– Taystee as Caputo’s assistant was a comedic goldmine. Too funny!
– I hated Ruiz for quite a while when she started her own panty business. Actually, I kind of rooted for her too, and that’s the beauty of the show. There are no bad guys (well except for Humphrey).
– Gross-out moment: Nichols giving the female-guard oral sex in exchange for drugs.
– Very touching moment with Red comforting a broken Piper and then wisely reshaping her tattoo.
– Nasty sequence: Humphrey forcing Maritza to eat the dead baby mouse. I can’t remember the last time I hated a character more.
– Sister Ingalls in the SHU wasn’t the most thrilling of subplots, and I’m surprised that Sophia got so little screen-time this season.
– I really enjoyed Aeida’s adventures on the outside since she’s such a mess. Never expected her to leave so soon!
– Most shocking moment of the season: Yoga Jones, Judy and Luschek smoking molly and having a THREESOME. There are no words!
– How badass is Red standing up to Piscatella during the investigation?- I don’t think I ever loved Alex more than I did this season!
– I don’t think I ever loved Alex more than I did this season!- It was extremely uncomfortable watching Humphrey force Suzan
– It was extremely uncomfortable watching Humphrey force Suzan to beat up Maureen. Brutal! Speaking of Crazy Eyes, her flashback with the little boy Dylan who died was absolutely gut-wrenching.
– One of the finest moments this show’s ever done: all the women standing up on the table after Red is pushed down. It’s amazing to see them all in solidarity. And Taystee sobbing over Poussey’s dead body? Heartbreaking.
– How unexpected was Alison’s bright red hair underneath that veil? Loved her joining the cast.
– Special mention goes to Pennsatucky, and the captivating way the writers tackled her subplot this year. The manner in which they explored the aftermath of her rape was full of dimension: Pennsa actually kissed her rapist by the end of the season and forgave him.
– I know I always reiterate this but there’s no finer cast on television. Astounding performances all around!
Cindy: Can’t we have a race war? It’ll be fun!
Lolly: What’s your friend’s name again? Spout? Cylinder?
Alex: What? Piper?
Frieda: I slept on it like you said, took a nice cold shower, did some of those breathing exercises.
Frieda: I still think we should kill her.
Frieda: Well, that’s dumb. Haven’t you ever killed someone before?
Alex: No. Have you?
Frieda: That’s personal. But if I had, I’d know better than to waste my time diggin’ one 6-foot hole, when I could dig six 1-foot holes. That’s just murder math.
Judy: You are a straight, white man. You don’t get to be the victim, sweetie.
Lolly: Ooh, what’s that?
Lolly: They got more of those?
Alex: Hmm, yeah. I mean, there’s all kinds.
Lolly: Oh, I like the kitty with the heart eyes. And the alien! But that’s not how aliens really look.
Leanne: There’s so many Mexicans now. It’s like a Home Depot parkin’ lot in here.
Angie: Dominicans. If you’re gonna be racist, you gotta be accurate, or you just look dumb.
Leanne: Is Dominicans the ones that wear gold chains and smoke cigars and swim to Florida?
Leanne: Is it the coffee and the coke and the “Hips Don’t Lie”?
Angie: No, they talk a lot and play baseball, and they’re always like, “I’m super not black,” even though Haiti is the exact same island.
Leanne: That’s right. Yeah, I hate them.
Alison: You really wanna go there with me?
Cindy: Oh, went there, bought a house, moved in, bitch. And now I’m remodelling the kitchen.
Red: I like to check on my food. That’s when I put the love in.
Gloria: There’s no love in baking. It’s about following instructions…resisting the urge to poke. It’s an exercise in trust.
Red: Poison is beneath you, Frieda. It’s for witches and bored housewives, not badass biker chicks with octopus tattoos.
Maritza: If I hadn’t buried my feelings so deep that they only come up when I watch Stepmom, I would totally be tearing up right now.
Nicky: (to Pennsatucky) Did your mother put the whiskey in the baby bottle, or did she just mix it in with the dog food she fed you?
Pennsatucky: Boo, I am so tired of walking around feeling shitty every day.
Big Boo: Fine, but guess what? He gets to feel shitty for the rest of his natural life. Oh, and beyond, when he’s a tandoori skewer in hell.
Piper: Rosa snored, didn’t she?
Red: Like a spoon in the garbage disposal.
Piper: So, what did you do about it?
Red: Mostly, I just waited for her to die of cancer.
Piper: Interesting. (Red tries to choke her) Red! No.
Red: But she’d be so quiet if she were dead.
Red: My papa called me solnyshko. It means little sun. But I’ve grown bigger and hotter since then, and he’s dead.
Taystee: Man, if George R. R. Martin wrote about prisons, I’d be, like… the Hand of the Warden.
Poussey: Yo, don’t the Hand always die in them books?
Taystee: Man, whatever, okay? Winter is coming, bitches.
Nicky: Hey, next time, do me a favor, right, just do it the old-fashioned way and cum all over my face and then leave, okay?
CO: No more hugs. You’re maxed out.
Nicky: What about, uh, pussy licking? Is that an option? Just to… get reacquainted.
Piper: I just want you to know that this… that this isn’t what it looks like.
Nicky: Of course not, but, uh, real talk. Sometimes, what it looks like is all anybody can see.
Lolly: Hey, I know they’re not real, but it don’t mean that they don’t have nothing to say.
Nicky: (to PIper) You had other things on your mind. Being a panty kingpin took a lot of work.
Red: When God gives you a swastika, he opens a window. And then you remember… there is no God.
Flaca: Do you run over an old lady, or do you turn the wheel and crash yourself into a wall?
Maritza: How old is the old lady?
Flaca: Seventy-six… No, seventy-two.
Maritza: How’s her health?
Flaca: You know, it’s been better.
Flaca: But she’s all there in her head. You know, she does puzzles and shit.
Maritza: I think I mow her down.
Flaca: Me, too.
Jennifer: We should host our own film festival that celebrates the accomplishments of white people But that’ll be hard though, because Morgan Freeman’s in, like, everything.
Helen: Fucking Morgan Freeman!
Freida: Heck, I killed a cop with his own gun. Oh. Wait… Did I get caught for that? (sighs) I’m getting old.
Sankey: And what are you doing here, anyway?
Hapakuka: I’m representing the “others.”
Sankey: Like on Lost?
Hapakuka: No, like the brown people who aren’t really brown.
Sankey: Oh, like yellow.
Maria: (to Hapakuka) Whose side are you on, husky hula doll?
Taystee: Man, what you gotta say about eight years of Obama, you racist Nazi ho?
Nicky: (to Lolly) What kind contortions are your brain acrobats doing up there in your head circus?
A definite return to form after a somewhat weaker season three. The ladies are back and better than ever!