The second season of Orange is the New Black is significantly darker than the first season, but not so much as to change the total feeling of the show. In the first episode, “Thirsty Bird,” Piper awakens in the infamous SHU (solitary housing unit) and is confused as she is wrangled by a correctional officer and boards a prisoner transport bus. Prison transformed Piper from an artisanal soap maker to someone harder, but she still acts like she is not a prisoner, but a woman ordering at a bistro. Just as they did when she was first processed at Litchfield in the first season, the correctional officers enjoy pushing her around. She continually asks where she is being taken, but the COs either do not respond or say they cannot tell her. She has to pee the entire time she is transported by bus and then by plane to another prison in Chicago. This very first episode is one of my favorites of the season. Lori Petty guest stars as an inmate Piper meets on the plane. Petty has put a goop of Vaseline in her ear canal because she heard that the air on the plane is dry. Not only does she use the ear Vaseline on her own lips, but she is also eager to share. Piper has to pee and finally gets to on the plane. Her misery reminded me of countless, endless car rides. I must say, when I used the bathroom after watching this episode (because watching Piper squirm will make you have to pee) I was much more thankful for my hot pink sanctuary than I ever had been! As Piper realizes she has been moved to another prison, I instantly longed for my “friends” from Litchfield. “They can’t move Piper!” I feared the show was going to jump the shark already. It was just like when Zack Morris and company left Bayside High for college. The beloved main character was still there, but it did not feel the same. This prison has its own society and characters. Piper must be cursed because no matter how hard she strives to go unnoticed, she is instantly creating chaos. First, poor Lori Petty gets whatever Vaseline was left in her ear knocked out of her as another inmate attacks her because her voice was annoying! Petty looks up and pleadingly cries out for Piper who channels Mr. Healy from last season and walks away. Wait a minute! Who was that tall brunette in sexy librarian glasses? Of course, Alex just so happens to be transported to the same prison in Chicago! Piper had thought she was transferred because she had beaten Pennsatucky to death, but Alex informs her she was not killed and just put in the psychiatric ward. The head of the drug cartel had been extradited from Europe and Alex and Piper were brought to Chicago to testify. Alex is certain that the drug boss will get off and urges Piper to lie. Throughout the entire episode, Piper struggles and eventually perjures herself claiming that she did not know him. Of course, Alex gets a plea deal for testifying against her former boss and is released from prison. Piper also manages to cause problems for herself with her new cellmates by stepping on a cockroach that delivers cigarettes from cell to cell. She must either provide an even better cockroach or pay the penalties and make up for their loss. Luckily, there is one cellmate who is happy to show Piper the ropes of her new home and she seems as though she may be a good ally for Piper. Over the next few days, Piper quickly discovers that her new friend, Mazell, is utterly and completely nuts. She is obsessed with creating Piper’s astrological chart. Piper wakes up at night to find Mazell on top of her, demanding to know her birth date and time. She even licks Piper’s cheek and it is revealed that Mazell bit off her girlfriend’s tongue! My only wish is that Mazell would be transported to Litchfield. She would make Big Boo look tame and provide an interesting foil for her. It is hard to find a bigger psychohoesbeast than Big Boo, but Mazell is a great start! Just as quickly and mysteriously as Piper was taken to Chicago, she returns to Litchfield. She has earned a new respect from the other inmates who now view her as strong, tough, and as one of their own. Rumors of the fight are loose on everyone’s tongues and Piper is welcomed back with open arms. The power shift from last season continues. Red is still out of the kitchen and has lost all of her power over the other inmates. Last season, she had sabotaged an oven by smearing it with grease, but it backfired. The fire burned Gina, one of the most loyal members of her gang, who quickly turned on her. Red is now weak and has nothing to barter. She attempts to alienate herself, but the “others” (the elderly and misfits) welcome her to their fold. Gone is her fierce, Heat Miser, spikey red hair and it is replaced with softer, unkempt hair with a streak of gray roots. She has been humbled and is now quiet and meek. At the height of her power last season, she was stretched out in the bathroom as one of her minions shaved her legs. She was prison royalty. In this season, her fall from power is shown visually as she strains to shave her legs at the sink in an empty bathroom, gripping her aching back. This season continues with the formula of explaining the back stories of its supporting characters. Piper is still the main character, but she takes a back seat to her fellow inmates at times. She is barely seen on some episodes. This departure keeps the show fresh and keeps Piper from seeming whiny and self-indulgent. The show seamlessly shifts from comedic scenes to dramatic story telling when it depicts the history of characters like Taystee and Crazy Eyes. Other characters that I would have considered to be even below the supporting characters in the plot’s hierarchy are also explored. We discover that Sister Ingalls is in prison for trespassing during a protest at a nuclear facility. Sophia, another small and forgettable character in the first season, has a much more prominent role in this season. The viewers not only see a younger version of Sophia rob banks, but also accompany her to chemo treatments. A strong theme in this season is the concept of a mother. Daya is still pregnant, but her storyline with CO Bennett is one of the weakest stories. It seems to be static. They just act immature and do not grow as characters or as a couple. Daya is moody and Bennett acts like a guilty teenager who accidentally knocked up his girlfriend. Daya’s own mother and her mother figure, Medoza (who has been in charge of the kitchen since Red’s fall) struggle back and forth to see who will be chosen to fulfill that role. A new character, a vial character, a villainous character, Vee Parker enters the prison. Vee emerges from Taystee’s backstory. Taystee was an orphan in a group home. Vee introduces herself to Taystee when she is just a little girl. Vee is a neighborhood drug supplier who preys upon the neighborhood children. She watches Taystee grow and lays in wait for her to be weak. She tempts her with money and security. Taystee becomes desperate and finally joins Vee. She becomes enamored with the idea of Vee as a surrogate mother. Vee provides a sort of dysfunctional drug dealing family for Taystee. Vee had been in the prison years before and Red recognizes her. The power has shifted greatly since Vee was incarcerated. Vee said that the black women ran the prison and she is determined to reinstate their power. She wins Taystee back and also preys on Crazy Eyes. Just as Taystee had in the past, Crazy Eyes seeks Vees approval and will do anything to gain that approval. Crazy Eyes had been adopted by a white family who tried to push for her inclusion among her peers. Her mother refuses to allow her to be treated differently based on her race or based on mental developmental delays. In fact, in the season one finale, Crazy Eyes was supposed to sing a solo in the Christmas pageant but chokes on stage. She runs outsides and characteristically smacks her head when she sees Piper beating Pennsatucky. Crazy Eyes attacks Piper mistaking her for her adoptive mother in a mental break. She beats Piper to the point of unconsciousness and flees the scene. When Piper and Pennsatucky are found, the COs believe it was a fair fight. This is the only reason Piper is allowed to return to Litchfield. Taystee, Crazy Eyes, Daya, and Piper all have different types of mothers. Taystee has no mother and becomes an easy mark for a manipulative drug pusher. Crazy Eyes has a loving mother who pushes her so hard to reach a goal of potential that she has set. She becomes so fixated on who Crazy Eyes could be that she ignores who Crazy Eyes is. Daya has a mother who dates drug dealers who then want to move on to the younger Daya. She blames her daughter for stealing her oh so impressive boyfriends. Meanwhile, Piper has a mother who ignores everything. Her mother wants to keep up appearances. She does everything in her power to ignore the fact that her daughter is a bisexual convict instead of the cookie cutter blonde daughter she wants her to be. All four women of varying backgrounds and races desire a mother’s unconditional love and approval. Despite their differences, they all end up in the same prison. When Vee returns, Red watches quietly as she recruits Taystee, Crazy Eyes, and their friends to do her bidding. Vee is able to find places on the maintenance crew for her gang and quickly begins to smuggle tobacco and then heroin into the prison. Red and her new gang of “others” become involved in growing plants in the green house. It is not long until Red discovers a grate in the floor and slowly reinstates her contraband ring. She hosts a dinner in the green house to reach out and apologize to her former crew. The dinner itself is like a bizarre prison version of “The Last Supper” with Red at the head of the table, reaching to her former friends. Sadly, Big Boo becomes a willing Judas when she feels that Red has not properly appreciated her loyalty. Big Boo turns to Vee and tells her that Red is her competition and about access to the tunnel beneath the greenhouse. Vee decides to take over the tunnel, but Red is ready to put up a fight. She refuses to allow Vee to take over and feels it is her duty to fight against the threat of drugs in what she feels is her prison. She must protect her girls. Vee attacks her at night with Crazy Eyes’ combination lock in a sock and leaves her for dead. What makes Vee so disgustingly evil is the fact that every action she takes and every decision she makes is calculated and planned in order to serve her own purposes. She does not care who she destroys in the process. She is cunning and manipulative. She is easily five steps ahead of every character she uses. The best death in the history of television occurs in the season finale. Vee has escaped the prison. Hysteria ensues as sirens scream and COs scatter to secure the inmates and start searching for Vee. Sophia, who has just found out she has mere weeks to live, has returned to the prison in the transport van. She was abandoned in the van in the panic. She refuses to die behind bars and speeds off in the van. She roles down the windows and turns up the radio. She sees a familiar figure on the side of the road and rams the van over Vee! Blue Oyster Cult sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper” as Vee’s stunned, lifeless body bleeds out. I do not consider myself a violent person, but I felt so fulfilled to see Vee’s dead body on my television screen. All Binge... No Purge: Orange is the New Black S24.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.