After the long awaited debut of season three of "Orange is the New Black" on June 12, I felt it was time to reminisce a little bit. I've been anxiously and excitedly longing for this day since my 24 hour binge on the debut day of season two, and this couldn't come at a better time, as my current television situation is basically limited to "The Bachelorette." So, as I celebrate the return of my (and let's face it, EVERYBODY'S) favorite Netflix Original prison dramedy, I would like to share with you my ten favorite moments, filled with laughter, tears, shock, and lots of sass:
10. Miss Claudette's story line
OitNB has this incredible way of making you want to hate a character, then throwing their backstory at you like, "Hey, we create complex characters like real people who all have depth and a story, so take a second to chill and understand them." Except Vee. I still hate Vee. But I digress. Miss Claudette came off as harsh and frigid, and I was turned off by the way she treated Piper. The episode that went deeper into Claudette's back story both opened my eyes and broke my heart. I began to ache for her lost (and rediscovered!) love. I Identified with her motherliness, and I would be lying if I said I didn't cheer when I realized why she was in prison. Miss Claudette is most definitely not an abuse sympathizer. In fact, she doesn't put up with junk from anybody; not Tricia, not Piper, not Taystee, not anybody. She is tough, to say the least, but if you search hard enough, you'll find that soft underbelly.
9. The Chicken
I absolutely loved this because it was one of the most ridiculous story lines to appear on the show and because it gave greater insight to Red, the all powerful kitchen queen. In this episode, we begin to learn more about Red's past and the reasons behind her initially cold attitude. Maybe I'm just partial because this episode is where I really began to see Red for the total boss she is, and love her to death for it.
8. Yoga Jones' backstory
Ok, you guys, let's get real. I'm a glutton for emotion, and if I wasn't hooked before, I most definitely was after this scene. I had always loved Yoga Jones, Litchfield's resident positive-vibing Buddhist. I was, however, disappointed at the lack of screen time and character depth she was receiving in the beginning of the first season. before long, that all changed. tears abounding, it is revealed that Yoga Jones is in prison for shooting, what she thought was a deer, but turned out to be an eight year old child. Again, the writer's blew me away with the cold, hard truth that everyone has a story, and it's not usually what you expect. To watch such a difficult, honest moment from a character who had represented nothing but kindness and light was raw, heartbreaking, and authentic.
7. Suzanne's backstory
Suzanne, known most likely to many of you as "Crazy Eyes," is, without a doubt, one of my favorite characters, and she holds a special place in my heart. She begins in season one as the butt of every joke. "She's insane!" It's hilarious and slightly terrifying. Then, yet again, the writers flip the script on us (pun totally not intended). They show us a softer, more vulnerable side of Suzanne through an exchange she shares with Piper, and you begin to question why any of this was funny. You begin to see her as human, rather than a living joke. She is a fantastic depiction of mental illness, and her situation is, unfortunately, also an accurate depiction of the way mental illness is treated in prison and in society as a whole. I was going crazy waiting to learn more about her life before we met her, and finally, in season two, my wish was granted. It showed Suzanne, as a child, with the white family who adopted her and, obviously, does not understand much about her or her disease. In fact, the way her adoptive mother seems to act as if Suzanne is crimping her style disgusts me. This backstory helped explain so much about Suzanne, and, once more, I was left tear soaked.
6. Tricia's suicide
I had a soft spot for Tricia. She was a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who made a mistake and got into drugs, but she wasn't a bad person. She wasn't a mean person. She was an addict, and it ruled her life. She had a good heart, though, and her relationship with Mercy was always so sweet. Her suicide was the saddest moment in the show, bar none, and the way the prison staff handled it was unsettlingly real. I will never forgive Mendez for a lot of things, but bringing drugs in to Tricia is number one on my list. Though I would never say that her suicide was a "good moment," I believe it was one of the most important moments in the show and definitely helped to set a serious tone in the show while addressing a huge issue.
5. The Valentine's episode
Oh man. This episode. This is my favorite episode in the series, and definitely the best in season two. My favorite thing about this episode is that the writers take the opportunity, again, to emphasize that, though these women are imprisoned, they have not lost their humanity. The question is, "What is love?" and the answers are all too real, and they show the universal link between these woman, the prison guards, and, you, the audience viewing the show: love. These are experiences with which every person who has been in love can identify.
It also says a lot about each character in her answer to the question. Suzanne's was one of my favorites. She has been treated, all of her life, like she is a freak, and you know that, at some point, someone loved her and remedied, if only for a time, these feelings. I found myself in tears with each new response to the question.
I especially identified with Poussey's definition of love. My heart ached as I watched a plethora of emotion wash over her face in a matter of seconds.
4. Morello's backstory
Lorna Morello is Litchfield's "crazy girlfriend." From the very beginning, Morello is known for her constant wedding planning for a ceremony with her beloved Christopher, which is planned to take place when she leaves prison. It isn't until later, when she is left alone while taking Rosa to the doctor one day, that it is revealed that she and Christopher are not betrothed -- in fact, he has a restraining order against her. This broke my heart. While, yes, Morello obviously has some big issues, can we not all identify with the longing for love? She didn't go about it the right way, that's for sure, but I felt so deeply for Morello's desire to be loved as much as she loved another.
3. Rosa and Vee
Greatest season finale of all time.
Rosa knew she was about to die due to her cancer, and everyone's favorite bank robber was not going to go out without a bang. Can we say satisfying?
2. Poussey's backstory
There is so much I could say about my favorite army brat turned inmate. She won me over immediately with her quick wit and her take-no-crap attitude. When Poussey's backstory was told (in the Valentine's episode, no less!), I felt for her even more. Poussey grew up most of her life without a mother, and she traveled with her military father, who was an amazing dad and loved her very much. He was accepting of her sexuality. When they moved to Germany, she fell for a girl whose father was not quite so accepting, and their love was doomed. This hurt me so much. To see the funny girl who always lit up the room have her heart broken over her sexuality and one man's ignorance was so difficult to witness. She was destroyed, and I was right there, tears streaming down my face, with her. Suddenly, everything about Poussey began to make sense. Everyone has a story.
1. Poussey and Taystee do "white politics"
These girls are my all time favorite hilarious BFF duo, rich with sass galore. The funniest moment in the show is when Taystee and Poussey give their demonstration of "white people politics," and it's spot on. You just need to see it for yourself.
So, to all of you out there, like me, who are binge watching season three, for probably the second time by now, enjoy this tiny recap and my favorite moments from seasons one and two. To those who haven't seen the show yet, you're missing out on massive amounts of laughter, emotion, and characters who will pull at your heartstrings, surprise you, and make you see the humanity in all of us.
Watch all three seasons on Netflix now!