It’s been almost an entire year since the last season of Orange is the New Black aired on Netflix and now our prison regulation panties are starting to itch with impatience. Don’t worry too much though, Season Four is lurking just around the corner and if you really can’t wait that long Season Three is being released on DVD Monday! And if you REALLY can’t wait until Monday here’s a little recap of what happened in Season Three.
In true OITNB fashion, Season Three tackles more than ever before, with themes of motherhood and religion central to the season, which opens with a Mother’s Day event hosted by the prison. Flashbacks in each episode provide us with a richer understanding of all our favourite characters, their families, and what led them down the path to serving time at Litchfield. Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) continues to advise Daya (Dascha Polcano) on how to be a mother, despite her own maternal failings, Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) deals with the guilt of her six abortions, and Gloria (Selenis Leyva) and Sophia (Laverne Cox) go head-to-head in Mother Wars, ultimately resulting in Sophia being thrown in the SHU ‘for her own protection,’ a regular occurrence for transgender prisoners and highlighting the very current issue of transphobia within the prison system.
Trying to fill an internal void since the departure from her Amish family, Leanne (Emma Myles) forms a religious group (or cult) based around silent hippy Norma (Annie Golden) which takes her to a darker place than we’ve seen her go before, Black Sindy (Adrienne C. Moore) fakes turning Jewish in order to get more broccoli, only to discover something she may have been missing all her life, and Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler) starts to question her entire religious life.
Alex (Laura Prepon) is back in Litchfield creating more sparks and drama between herself and Piper (Taylor Schilling) than ever before, but there are other relationships this season which are even more enjoyable to watch. Red and Healy start to form a bond, whilst Soso (Kimiko Glenn) struggles to connect to anyone resulting in her attempted suicide. Piper can’t resist the advances of beautiful newbie Stella (Ruby Rose) as Morello (Yael Stone) endeavours to find love using the prison version of speed-dating, writing to and meeting strangers. But the most gratifying relationship this season is the one that forms between self-identifying ‘stone butch’ Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) and racist, homophobic redneck Pennsatucky. Big Boo helps Pennsatucky find the strength to escape the sexually abusive relationship she’s found herself in with one of the new correctional officers.
Whilst there is no one villainous antagonist in this series after the wicked Vee (maybe the only character in the show that was truly just evil) was mowed down by an escaping inmate, there is a threat hanging over Litchfield and it’s one we’re all too familiar with. Budget cuts and the constant threat of closure is hanging over the head of Caputo (Nick Sandow) and making it harder for him to play the good guy whilst trying to keep his head above water.
The season finale shows one of the most beautiful scenes of entire series, a gap in the fence grants the unsupervised inmates access to the lake and although they know it’s not a means of escape the inmates come together to enjoy this sudden miracle of freedom. Laughing and joking in the crystal waters or just feeling the sand between their toes they are oblivious to the fact that the Litchfield they will be returning to is a very different one than the one they know. Bunk beds are being brought in to house the bus loads of new inmates that have just arrived, massively reducing their living space and changing the dynamics of the whole prison. Instead of joining everyone at the lake a new, hardened Piper is inside alone, giving herself a brand new tattoo, Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) has been sent to max, and an isolated Alex finally comes face to face with one of Balik’s henchmen providing us with the biggest cliffhanger of the series.
Created by: Jenji Kohan
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Jason Biggs, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning
Number of Episodes: 13
Episode Run time: 60mins
Orange is the New Black Season 3 is out on DVD and Blu-Ray 16th March.
And as a little sneaky treat for you, here’s the brand new Season 4 trailer.