Lorna, looking out of the window saying good bye.

The cage is full, the day is new.

I, like many others, spent my weekend binge watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black. Season 3 aired on Friday (12th of June) to a huge fan base of Netflix users who have been eagerly anticipating a third season of the  comedy-drama series which is set in  American women’s correctional facility, Litchfield.

After binge watching seasons 1 and 2 last summer, the grueling wait for a third installment into the lives of the ladies of Litchfield was finally over when I began my watch on Friday. Just like old times, the theme tune played, I sang (loudly) and got ready to get as close to prison as I ever want to be.

The season begins with the prison preparing for Mother’s Day. As you can probably guess, the emotions in Litchfield are high and raw but when aren’t they? Despite this, things seem calmer and more peaceful after the bedlam of season 2 but fans of the show know that there’s no such thing as serenity in Litchfield and things are soon thrown into turmoil. This season saw many changes to Litchfield: new inmates, new dynamics and new bosses. With the prison in financial turmoil and threats for closure looming over them, Assistant to the Warden, Joe Caputo brings in a corporate company to make some changes to help save Litchfield. While the women try to amend and adjust to some of the questionable changes in ‘The Litch’, they still have to deal with the in house or cell drama.

For me this season had no real main focus, season 2’s story line with the frightening and evil Vee Parker was heavy and brilliantly written and it drove the season forward. Vee took control of Litchfield and the fear and hate that she caused bonded the women, however this season saw the minorities go back to living their lives with their ‘families’. This separated the show, not many crossovers meant that at times it felt like I was watching 3/4 different shows with nothing, other than the setting, bonding them together. That’s not to say that the crossovers didn’t happen but those that did were few and far between.

As for the characters themselves, it feels like home seeing the same (mostly) loveable delinquents up to their usual tricks. The direction the show has taken since season 1 is a pleasant surprise, especially for an American mainstream show. This season saw more of a focus on the Hispanic ladies in the prison. With Diyanara close to giving birth, her issues with her mother were explored further the closer Diya came to motherhood. It’s been no secret that Diya and her mother have never seen eye to eye but this season we got to see the real torment that Diya faced growing up, making a nice change to her story line with officer Bennet.

Last season saw the black women running the prison under Vee’s control causing some tension between those who didn’t agree with Vee and those that did. The season saw Taystee and Suzanne (Crazy Eyes) form a new, fantastic dynamic. After being manipulated for most of the last season by Vee, Suzanne is still under the impression that Vee will return to the prison and, once again, become that loving mother figure that she so desperately desires, which leaves Taystee to step up not only for Suzanne but for the other girls in her clique too. “Hold up.. am I the mom?” She is exactly the kind of person the prison (and the show) needs.

Taystee, hugging Suzanne and crying.

Taystee and Suzanne both deal with Vee’s death.

It’s easy to lose interest in certain story lines as because there’s so much going on. We got to see round 3 of ‘Vauseman’ with Alex coming back to Litchfield and honestly, I didn’t much care. This season we saw Alex dealing with the paranoia of the drug lord she used to work for finding her and having her killed, which was much more interesting than her relationship with Piper. In season one that was the main focus for the show was Piper’s love triangle with Alex and Larry but with learning more about the other characters in the passed two seasons Piper seems extremely shallow and 2D in comparison this time round. Despite this, Piper alters towards the end of the season and we see the beginnings of a woman who’s turned cold and ruthless. Whether it becomes a major story line for season 4 or brushed off quickly with comedic value is unknown but I certainly hope it’s the former.

As always, the acting this season was brilliant. I could write essays on how Uzo Aduba makes me incredibly happy/sad/excited. She’s a phenomenal actress and Suzanne is a beautiful character that I love to watch.

Overall: ***1/2

Final comments: I enjoyed this season, it kept me entertained and I burst out laughing multiple times. While it wasn’t the strongest season out of the 3, it did maintain the perfect balance between drama and comedy. I just hope the questionable writing choices made this season, with certain characters going certain places, is resolved in season 4.

Litchfield, see you next June.

Thanks for reading,

All the best.

Andrew!

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