Season 3 pulls some of the focus from Piper (Taylor Schilling) and delves even more into the complicated and fascinating back stories of the other characters with some seriously well-done flashback sequences. One thing OitNB does so well is its flashbacks. The casting is impeccable and we never have to question who’s younger self we are looking at, even when the jump in time is drastic and that’s pretty hard to achieve.
Several interesting characters are given more of a chance in the spotlight in season 3, and the series is constantly forcing you to question and reevaluate your opinions on not just the characters but on many issues as well. The development of Sophia’s character, portrayed by transgender actress Laverne Cox, is one of the most poignant in the series. A character who was previously respected by her fellow inmates finds herself isolated and bullied after things go awry with Gloria (Selenis Leyva) and we are forced to question our own attitudes and the attitudes of society in general towards gender and sexuality, particularly when Sophia is the one who receives the punishment ‘for her own good’ despite being the victim. It’s good fun, gritty entertainment but at the same time has a lot of depth to it although there is so much going on it’s often hard to keep up. So many stories, so many characters, all of which are interesting and complex in their own right. It’s partly what makes OitNB such an interesting and absorbing watch and partly what makes it difficult to keep up with.
Despite it being quite hard to keep up with everything that’s going on, OitNB is a kick ass show that explores so many different types of women and their strengths and weaknesses. It explores power relationships, the comparisons and differences between rich and poor and the affect of corporations on its workers as seen when Piper chimes in with an idea to make Whispers merchandise even better and gets her idea completely shot down. There is so much going on, it’s more than just entertainment it’s a cleverly written series that uses a prison setting as a confined, condensed version of the world in which to explore ideas about society and its ills. Of course you can also simply watch it as a prison drama and you’re still bound to enjoy it because the characters have so much depth, the relationships are so interesting and there is oh so much drama going on to keep you interested.
Piper and Alex’s relationship is constantly up and down and this series throws a huge spanner in the works for the pair of them. Several huge spanners in fact. Piper is getting more and more power hungry with her new illicit business enterprise selling used panties to pervy men online while Alex’s fears about her old boss/drug kingpin Kubra sending someone to come after her as punishment for ratting him out become more and more likely. Both of these things, plus the sexy and mysterious new lesbian on the block Stella (Ruby Rose) drive a huge wedge between Alex and Piper and leave their relationship in turmoil. With so many questions left unanswered at the end of the series, fans I’m sure will be eagerly anticipating the fourth season.
There are so many interesting stories going on in OitNB that it is so difficult to formulate a good, general review. Daya’s story gets increasingly interesting as she has her baby. Her mother, who had previously been a bit of a bitch about ‘selling’ the baby to pornstache’s mother finally comes around and calls it all off by lying that the baby died during birth, when in fact Daya gives birth to a healthy baby girl. Just when all seems to be going OK, well…as OK as it can be going for a woman who’s baby daddy and fiancé has just disappeared for no apparent reason, her step fathers house is infiltrated by officials and the children are taken away. The plot thickens. Daya’s story has never really been that interesting, but season 3 has opened up the limelight to indulge a little more in characters other than Piper and Alex so finally we are seeing more to it and shit just got very real. This show sure knows how to leave its audience hanging!
The third series of Orange is the New Black does not disappoint and the series just continues to get better and better. With a fourth season confirmed, you can now eagerly await answers to all the questions that the third season has inevitably left you with and in the meantime feel free to discuss your theories and thoughts in the comments below.