At first, I couldn't understand the hype with Orange Is The New Black. Ok, it's just another show on Netflix that has to do with prison. I was wrong. Netflix created something I had never imagined. A funny, inspiring, yet serious painted picture of what women's prison is. I watched 10 minutes of a random episode at a friends house and was hooked. I finished the first three seasons in two days....and yes I pulled all-nighters to do so. This was exactly one year ago. I then waited impatiently like everyone else for the 4th season and I was honestly not all that impressed.
My first initial disappointment was with Piscatella. When we first met him in "Work that body for me", I thought I would like him. I thought he would be just like O'Neill, Ford or even Donaldson. Once I realized he wasn't all that night, I thought he would grow on me, maybe they needed someone to be a little strict. Then came the rest of the new guards, the veterans MCC decided to hire because they would get paid for it. Humphrey, in particular, is also a reason I didn't like this season. While I know its just a show, after a month, I'm still really mad he made Crazy Eyes (Suzanne) fight Kukudio.
Burset. My girl Sophia (once again, bravo Laverne Cox). I understand she was in the SHU for "her protection" but Caputo knew damn well she shouldn't have been there for so long. I waited almost the whole season to make sure she didn't kill herself down there. Sister and Gloria were really putting in that work to get her back, and Danny, he just confuses me sometimes but I'm glad he pulled through.
I really began to feel bad for Lolly in this season. What she did for Vause was good and all, but I was really upset by Healy's commitment to getting her help. Healy tries too hard to be in control of everyone and let his personal life be the deciding factor in everything. He fails to realize that when he lets his personal life determine his care of his inmates, worsening the situation. He knew Lolly was schizophrenic but he wasn't committed enough to getting her the help she needed until it was almost too late. I'm looking forward to see if season five shows anything of him now that he checked himself into a facility.
Baxter Bayley. He never seized to make me laugh because he was just so clueless all the time. The new COs could see right through him. They knew he didn't really understand his job and that made him vulnerable. This vulnerability is what led to the death of Poussey. She was going to get out soon.
She was my favorite. I'm beyond upset at the COs lack of regard for the inmates. Here is why: the largest amount of their lack of regard began in episode 12. CO Humphrey (as mentioned before) forced Kukudio and Crazy Eyes to fight. Kukudio wanted to fight because she already had hurt feelings do to Crazy Eyes leaving her on different occasions, (remember where *This next sentence may not be suitable for children* they met a second time in the closet and Kukudio gave Crazy Eyes the female version of blue balls, I guess that wasn't payback enough) but Crazy Eyes didn't want to fight. Can we please address that Crazy Eyes is a little different from everyone else and no one but Taystee ever seems to acknowledge or care about that. Kukudio gets in Crazy Eyes face and ends up getting her ass handed to her (for the sole reason to Crazy Eyes didn't want to fight her but her mental health was disregarded). This leads Crazy Eyes to become distraught because she is unable to comprehend that it wasn't her fault, the COs who were supposed to keep her safe caused it.
Now, jump forward to the cafeteria in the next episode where they are holding a PEACEFUL protest in an attempt to have something change regarding the COs. During this, the COs try to detain the inmates causing Crazy Eyes to think she did something wrong again. As Poussey tries to calm her down, she is taken down, it is said that she is resisting, Bayley puts all his weight on her back, and she dies. However, what the creators did with her death was in a way, a reminder to all of us.
Now before I even start this next sentence, let me make myself very clear. I DO NOT believe all law enforcement officials are bad, I DO NOT believe all law enforcement officials are racist or don't care about African Americans.
After doing some research, I found that the creators did this to give light and support to the #BlackLivesMatterMovement. Poussey's death "nods towards several high-profile killings of Black Americans by those in law enforcement, as well as the aftermath". If you did not see how this was done, here is an explanation: 1) Poussey was suffocated due to excessive weight on her back - Eric Garner, NYC. 2) She was then left on the floor for hours - Michael Brown, Ferguson. 3) When the statement was released on her death, they focused on Bayley's innocence rather than the event itself, leading to Taystee saying that they didn't even "Say her name" - Sandra Bland, Waller County. Also, while they were trying to peaceful protest, the COs decisions to detain them, even when they weren't doing anything wrong shines a light on peaceful protesters being detained and arrested for protesting acts of police brutality. While these inmates had 'no right' to peacefully assemble, we as civilians do have the right to peacefully assemble due to the first amendment.
In light of current events, I have been thinking a lot about how Healy, Caputo and the COs, acknowledged and dealt with mental health in the prison. Inmates like Crazy Eyes and Lolly aren't being given the care they need or deserve in order to, one day when they are released, be back in the civilian world in a healthy manner.
This made me question the shooter in the recent #Dallas tragedy. I wonder if we are really doing all we can to care for our Military Veterans when they come back to civilian life in regards to their healthcare, not just physically but mostly mentally.
Of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 (20 percent) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression (RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, Invisible Wounds of War, 2008). The shooter in Dallas served in the U.S. Army Reserve from March 2009 to April 2015, and was deployed for about seven months in Afghanistan, from late 2013, and received an honorable discharge. Sadly, 5 officers lost their lives while another 6 were injured. Where was he at mentally? How stable was he? Was his mental health questioned? My prayers are with Dallas and the families affected.
While I wasn't a fan of this season, as always, the light and knowledge OITNB give to women's prisons and other issues in America is much needed. I really hope season 5 can change my mind and pull me back in.