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Orange is the New Black returns to its roots


It’s been nearly two weeks since Orange is the New Black released it’s third season on Netflix, and unlike many die-hard fans we wanted to stretch out the episodes. After all, the show only comes out once a year and rushing through it is a disservice. I

Diving into the third season, OITNB lost some of the stamina and fan base it had leaving the first season. It’s not that the second season was bad, but it was definitely high drama, and a bit too unrealistic in a lot of places. Season three, which can be a bit slow at times, plants the series back on the ground and gets back into what made the first season great.

Throughout the season, we watched the characters grow and become more realistic. This was a necessity. It was a build up to the final episode where everything came together. The storylines came to an emotional ending, with more room to grow. Giving the series the longevity it needed.

The first two seasons focused on one big fued. The first being focused on the main character Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and what seemed like the entire prison, while the second season focused on Red (Kate Mulgrew) and Vee (Lorraine Toussaint). But this season, there wasn’t a major villain. The characters this season had their own battles with other inmates, guards or the corporate man. Some storylines were more interesting, but there wasn’t a main plot focused on one character.

This format also gave the writers the opportunity to dive into the characters inner battles. Their weaknesses, their strengths, their sorrows. This made it worth watching episode after episode.

Even when inmates butted heads, it was often driven by their own struggles. Struggles that they reflect on as the prison system makes them continually feel dehumanized. Especially this season, as a major corporation takes over the prison and starts dishing out worse living conditions to save money. It’s a harsh reality for the inmates, and for the audience. We get to see the cut corners. We see the perception of these inmates from an outside point of view.

This season also became one of the most political. Although each of the storylines are separate, a lot of them focused on a few common themes. One of which being motherhood showing how these women are raising their children, and how their mothers raised them. This theme causes a lot of tension for a lot of the characters, especially when Gloria (Selenis Levya) and Sophia (Laverne Cox) start butting heads about their sons who ride up to Litchfield for weekly visitations. The battle eventually ends with Sophia in solitary confinement, which is not an uncommon occurrence for trans people in prison.

Another theme riddled throughout the season is religion. We have people taking advantage of religion to get better meals, women latching on to any kind of hope, which eventually turns into a cult, and characters converting. The scene where Black Cindy converts to Judaism is one of the series most emotional, real moments.

This season may not have been the most exiting, but it was the realest. Go check it out on Netflix.

Orange is the New Black returns to its roots

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