Orange is the New Black: Season 2, Eps 1-3

Posted on June 06, 2014

Orange-Is-The-New-Black-Season-Two-Review-Part-1-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO

The good news is that Orange is the New Black has a brand new season for us all to binge-watch. The other good news is that the show is back in fine form, judging by the first three episodes. The bad news is that there is a finite number of episodes to this season and very shortly we will once again be wailing “I have to wait a WHOLE YEAR?!?” At least we hope that’s the bad news.

Let’s dive in!

Season 2, Episode 1: “Thirsty Bird”

“You live on the slippery slope kid, and for some reason, you can’t stop doing rain dances.”

The creators made the surprising choice of spending the entire first episode with Piper, leaving all the Litchfield cast, except Alex, out of the picture. We found this a strange choice at first, since it was clear by the fan and critical reaction to the first season that Piper was always largely considered a story-hog and someone the writers spent too much time on, when there was such a beautifully colorful cast of characters to delve into. And while we still felt frustrated by the lack of other cast members by the end of the episode, we couldn’t deny that we enjoyed the entire hour. That’s in no small part due to Taylor Schilling, who always was good in the role of Piper Chapman, but who now seems to live and breathe the character the way an actor does when they really slip into a role all the way. There’s a comfortable confidence to her performance and we can see why the decision was made to highlight that by giving her the spotlight (again).

In a way, this episode felt like a twisted version of the series opener, as we watched Piper become less and less of a person as she got pushed further and further into a new prison system, get introduced to an entirely new set of prisoners, try to navigate the “culture” of this new group, and then find out that Alex is inside with her. There was something a little depressing about the implication that all prisons are the same prison, with the same characters, power struggles and agendas being reenacted over and over again. Except this time, we can see that Piper knows her way around prison culture and even as she immediately (and literally) steps into it (R.I.P. Yoda) with her new cell mates, she shows a smooth facility in handling angry people getting up in her face. This isn’t the same Piper who surrendered herself to Litchfield. Far from it, in fact. This is a Piper who spends most of the episode thinking she’s a murderer. This has the dual effect of eating her up inside while at the same time giving her a sort of shield against all the women around her.

Having said that, we still quite a bit of the old Piper, with her constant mouthing off and lecturing to people. She can go on all she wants about yellow warblers drinking out of daffodils, or the downy underbelly of emperor penguins, or the statistical likelihood of dying in a plane crash, but everyone around her recognizes a stuck-up bitch who thinks she’s the smartest in the room. Every room. That’s always been her problem. Or one of them, anyway. Honesty is apparently another one and we get an underlining of this point with the return of the flashback. This time, we’re watching little WASPy good girl Piper learn that you should never jump off a moving bus and you should keep uncomfortable truths to yourself. It was something of a clumsy flashback, we have to say; kinda low on the poignancy scale.

But it served a purpose, as we saw Piper once again faced with the kind if intense moral dilemmas she notes only seem to pop up in her life when Alex is around. These two have lost none of their chemistry with each other. Their ride to the courthouse felt like a greatest hits of all their best scenes with each other, their dialogue ping-ponging back and forth, each volley landing harder and harder. Of course things would end as they did, because these two have NEVER been on the same page at the same time, which is why they’ve always been something of a red hot mess.

So Alex is out and Piper keeps finding new and interesting ways to fuck up her life further. We’re off and running for the season.

 

Episode 2: “Looks Blue, Tastes Red”

“Pinterest. I hear that’s a thing.”

The second episode of the season was the one that really got us excited. Like we said, we enjoyed the first one for reiterating some of the major themes and concepts of the show (the loss of power and dignity, the constant clash of agendas and power struggles, the complete fucking disaster that is the Piper and Alex show) in an entertaining and brisk manner, but the minute we saw little Taystee at the Black Adoption Event, we sighed a sigh of relief. Now we’re getting somewhere. And with our favorite character, to boot.

But it wasn’t just the site of Baby Taystee that made us happy. This one really opened things up in the story, introduced a major new player, and established what looks to be two of the major themes for the season: motherhood and racial tension.

In flashback, we meet Vee, who’s a savvy and sarcastic heroin dealer who sees something worth looking into in the young Taystee and winds up becoming a foster mother to her, if unofficially. It’s not a coincidence that Vee is the one who names her Taystee, since that’s what mothers do. Meanwhile, Daya is caught between bio-mom Aleida and her own foster mom, Gloria, as they do something only a mother would do for someone else: obsess over her bowel movements.  Red gets a visit from her son, Vasily, while Polly’s covered in the sweat and tears of an exhausted new mother who doesn’t care if her boobs are hanging out for the UPS man to see. “I’m not your mommy!” screams a stressed-out Figueroa to Taystee’s heartbreakingly reasonable question.

As for racial tension, we admit we could be reading too much into it, but there seems to be a lot of stating as to which groups receive which privileges and who should and shouldn’t have what, whether that’s winning the job fair or getting the best seats at movie night. There’s always resentment along racial lines in a place like Litchfield, but the writing seems to be making more of a point of it, starting with this episode.

But the center of the story this episode is Taystee and we get more confirmation of something that was sadly apparent by the end of last season: she’s probably the person with the most innate intelligence at Litchfield, but never got the chance to have that intelligence trained and nurtured. But it comes out every time she trains herself in something and the ways in which she makes rapid-fire connections and references. As we saw when she came home from the craft store for the first time, Taystee is someone who just eats up new experiences and new information. She is, in our minds, the most tragic character on the show by far.

The show has always had at its center, two somewhat heartbreaking concepts: The high price to pay for poor decisions, and the futility of having dreams when you have no hope or options. We saw them examine the “poor decisions” part of the story again with Piper last episode, but Taystee’s story is almost entirely about someone with dreams, getting them crushed over and over again. This was embodied most perfectly in the VERY aptly named “Mock Job Fair,” which everyone but Taystee realized was merely an exercise to try on clothes and nothing more. In yet another poignant sequence, several of the characters talk about their dream jobs. Poussey just wants a job where she can chill with beautiful people on the beach all day. Morello just wants to get married.  Suzanne wants to work with mentally ill children. Big Boo wants to umpire woman’s softball. We know these things are unlikely to happen, but it’s not clear to us whether the characters know it, despite their attempts to be cynical.

In other news, Pennsatucky makes her triumphantly toothless return and Larry and his father go to a gay bathhouse because they had a Groupon.

 

Episode 3: Hugs Can Be Deceiving”

“You gotta put your head down and keep on buffing those floors.”

And we’re OFF. Piper’s back in Litchfield and suddenly there’s some major power play action going on; enough to upend a lot of the current Litchfield status quo. Even better, we get filled in on a lot of Suzanne’s back story, which is just as heartbreaking as anyone could have guessed.

Just as the first episode of the season slightly mimicked the first episode of last season, that mirror thing continues with the introduction of a brand new Piper Chapman in the form of the equally as irritating Brook Soso, just as the real deal saunters in behind her, looking like death warmed over.  (“Oh, shit! She is risen!” says Black Cindy in awe, as she crosses herself.) Whatever part Piper played in this episode – and it was, thankfully, only a small part in a major “let’s check in on everyone” turn that was sorely welcome – it was mainly to show us how much she’s been changed by her time and experiences. We got some good and funny scenes out of it -especially her threat to rip Soso’s throat out – but we kinda felt like this was ground already covered. 

As for Suzanne, one of the big surprises of last season was the reveal of her white parents. With this episode, there’s a subtle – 0r maybe not so subtle – rebuke of cross-racial adoption. The show doesn’t imply that her white parents are the source of Suzanne’s mental health issues, but it does seem to imply that their whiteness made it harder for them to understand her and what she was going through. That’s a fairly bold thing for the show to say and we’re not sure what to think of it. Another aspect of the story that made us squirm a little was the revelation that Suzanne, in a rage, mistook Piper for her own mother and started beating the crap out of her. It wasn’t until that exact moment that we realized the two actresses resembled each other a good deal and wondered just what they were trying to say about Suzanne’s aggressive come-ons to Piper last season. Maybe not quite as icky as the fate of Little Boo revealed last episode, but still. That’s a LOT of psychosexual drama, racial issues, and mommy stuff to packing into one character.

Thanks to a trip to Sophia, Red’s got her mojo back. We’re partially thrilled, because we found her weary resignation as to being accepted into the Golden Girls group a little depressing last week. But we’re also partially scared, because Vee’s coming in and upsetting the apple cart – and this is all playing out along racial lines. Vee and Red were a given, but once Gloria figured out she been played by someone who stashed those cigarettes 30 years before, the last time she was in Litchfield, it was ON. It looks to us like Vee, Red and Gloria will all be going to war over control of Litchfield this season. We feel bad rooting for anyone, although we suppose that’s the point. We’ll say this: Vee is a fantastic new character. We’re not so sure Taystee’s the smartest person at Litchfield anymore – and Vee’s scary, to boot.

In other news, Morello gets the news the entire rest of the universe knew already (that Christopher isn’t marrying her) and has a rather epic and frightening meltdown before pulling herself more or less together. Also, Nicky seems to be fucking her way through the inmate population, but takes enough time out to tell Piper she missed her, and Larry’s a gigantic asshole,

Not that that last point is shocking in anyway.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Netflix]

    • Rika

      Fabulous summary … to paraphrase you, not that its fabulosity is shocking in any way!

      I was thrilled that we got the backstories for Taystee and Suzanne, my two favorite characters. I’m worried about poor Suzanne: Vee is obviously skilled at using her charm to manipulate people, and although right now Suzanne is basking in Vee’s attention, you just know things are going to go south.

      I wish Miss Claudette could come back (very unlikely, I know). She may have known Vee from before, and it would be interesting to see which point of the power-struggle triangle she would join. She’s too distant and solitary to be likely to turn it into a rectangle, but she would make an interesting ally for someone (Red?).

      • Susan Velazquez

        The only option I see is Gloria and Red setting aside their differences to go against Vee.

        • lbl

          That’s a good idea. And I wonder what side Poussey’s going to take. She didn’t too taken with Vee during that cake scene.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        I miss Miss Claudette, too… she’d have something to say about this nonsense.

      • Kristin McNamara

        I think my favorite moment of the first three episodes (because that’s all I’ve watched so far) was that game of Celebrity. Taystee and Poussey SLAY ME. “The white Michelle Williams!”

        • P M

          I didn’t even know there was a white one! :S

    • snarkykitten

      I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what’s happening to Larry. He takes up way too much screen time. Suzanne’s story arc made me cry.

      • StelledelMare

        I’m only on episode 4 but so far I have skipped through most of his scenes because they’re just not interesting.

        • decormaven

          And from what I have seen so far, he’s going to be set up for a major plot point. Not my pick, either.

      • demidaemon

        The only part of his storyline I liked was the gay bathhouse, mostly because his dad was checking out what was going on in bemused interest.

      • KateWo

        I hope by the end if the season there’s some kind of (good) reason/payoff for Larry being around.

        • Rhonda Shore

          I could live w/less of him.

      • ConnieBV

        I thought that insinuating himself into the journalist’s exposé on Litchfield was the ultimate dick move. I felt bad for him last season, but this was straight-up character assassination. Yeah, fast forwarding sounds like a plan.

      • Introspective

        i was so sad at her graduation scene. the actress who plays suzanne is *incredible* for capturing a sweet personality that shines through mental health troubles.

      • P M

        Larry is my Megan. I have no wish to ever see him on screen.

    • butterflysunita

      So far I’m enjoying season 2 even more than season 1–season 1 had too much of Piper and of her family and friends, who were all quite tiresome. Season 2 has so far been focusing more on the other characters, who are all so much more interesting.

    • mimi

      Taystee and Suzanne, ugh. My heart. They’re such great characters, I’m so glad we’re seeing more of them. Vee is so fucking scary. She’s bad news. I just have this *feeling* that she’s going to mess everything up.

      • Susan Velazquez

        UGH I hate Vee so much! I do not trust her AT ALL. I cried at Taystee’s episode.

        • Sarah

          I would hazard that that is another theme of the show. “You can’t trust ANYONE (especially in prison).

          • Glammie

            But that’s not really the case–there do seem to be genuine friendships in the prison. Taystee and Poussey; the Latina women seem to have one another’s backs and I’d completely trust the nun.

            But presumably you’d have some bad sociopathic types in a prison because, after all, it’s a prison.

            • Sarah

              People are subject to manipulation by personalities more forceful than their own. The Latina women have displayed infighting, and Taystee is not entirely faithful to her friendships (forgive me if that’s a spoiler – I’m up to #5) either. Even the nun would save her own ass, if the situation called for it, I’m sure. So perhaps, better to say “You can’t trust anyone to be CONSISTENT in prison.”

            • Glammie

              I’d agree with that–and say the show points out that this is also true outside of prison. People can and do betray one another under pressure. I think this is the point of continuing to feature scenes from Piper’s other privileged life. In many ways, Larry, Polly and co. are no better than the women in Litchfield–it’s not virtue that keeps them on the right side of the law, but advantages and a certain meekness. (Did love Polly spilling out post-partum.)

              But I’d still trust the nun–will see what the show does with her character–though I would never presume that she’d place friendship over her moral code. If they model her after the real nun, she’ll be in there for an illegal nuclear bomb protest.

      • LJCdoc

        I think Vee is really complex (which is what I love about this show – most of the characters are). I think there’s a LOT more we’re likely to see of her back story, how Taystee ended up in prison while she stayed out, etc. I have to say that even though she’s scary, I’m finding the character to be fascinating, & I want to see where it goes.

    • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

      Just got through the first three episodes!

      Good points, gentlemen. I think they tried to do some repairs to Larry’s character in the second episode, when he was really adorable with Polly’s baby and not a jerk about her nipples on display. But yeah, he’s back to his old douchiness in the third ep.

      Omg, the way he and Polly kept saying, “Piper hates deep dish” when they heard she was in Chicago. SO TYPICAL.

      Oooooer, I hadn’t thought of the mommy issues with Suzanne and Chapman until you pointed it out. That…is uncomfortable, indeed. And honestly, as to what happened with Little Boo — I was relieved they implied Big Boo got rid of him because it got weird. I was really afraid at first the peanut butter would be used…deliberately. But that would have been a pretty hardcore line to cross.

      I loved getting the whole Taystee backstory. She’s one of my favorites, for sure, and I’m so glad they spent so much time on her. Vee is bad news, yeah, but I was kinda touched by her maternal side…baking whole-wheat flax seed bread, seriously.

      Sophia seriously outdid herself with Red’s hair! I wonder what Red’s history is with Vee.

      ETA: Oh, and I also really liked the scene between Red and one of her sons. Also the representation of domestic violence towards men — less rare, yeah, but it still happens. And that exchange they had cracked my heart:

      “You’re a good son. Not great. But pretty good.”

      “I’ll take it.”

      • demidaemon

        So many quotable lines, but that was one of my favorites.

      • P M

        I couldn’t help but cringe at Suzanne’s childhood scenes, because I
        kept seeing red flag after red flag after red flag…. Poor Suzanne. I wonder if the adoption thing and the race thing intersected in that I have to ask why on earth her mother didn’t get her assessed. It seems so clear that she has cognitive and development issues. Mind you, I thought she was 12 and still wetting her bed. Still, so many small things that I’m surprised her mother didn’t pick up on / chose not to pick up on.

    • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

      Also, as for the racial commentary: the rivalry breaking down along racial lines was kinda inevitable, wasn’t it?

      And I don’t know if the show is criticizing interracial adoption — since it’s simultaneously showing what happened to Taystee, who was never adopted at all. Suzanne’s mother seems well intentioned, if misguided — a flaw in many mothers, including biological or of the same race. Plus there were bound to be pitfalls with Suzanne’s mental issues.

      • demidaemon

        I agree. I feel like her mental issues just keep her from processing those emotions, which is why they come out in big, uncomfortable (sometimes dangerous) bursts. But I, too, am worried about what Vee will do to her, as it seems her parents do genuinely love her, despite everything that has gone on.

      • TritoneTelephone

        I also didn’t think they were criticizing cross-racial adoption at first, but I re-watched the episode after reading TLo’s interpretation. I concluded that if they wanted to harshly criticize the practice, they wouldn’t have included that scene where her mom stands up to that other mom over Suzanne’s race. But they also included the scene where the Black nurse calms Suzanne and fixes her hair (into the style she later says she’s “always had”, presumably) when her sister is born.

        So they are setting up Suzanne’s need for a maternal connection with another Black woman, but they’re also able to show that her parents cared deeply for her, despite their mistakes. Combined with Taystee’s scene at the “Black Adoption Festival” (yes, those really exist), I think they’re making a statement about the structural inequalities that play out in the adoption world but aren’t the fault of the (often white) adoptive parents as individuals. Not exactly the same thing as a rebuke of cross-racial adoption itself, but could be the same thing that TLo was getting at.

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          Good points. I also took note that the black nurse gave Suzanne the hairstyle she apparently hasn’t changed since she was 4. It’s a sweet, sad moment. Yeah, Suzanne definitely yearned for a mother who looked like her.

          • TritoneTelephone

            And not just one who looked like her – knowing how to handle Black women’s hair is a big deal in the cross-racial adoption world. Another connection Suzanne had with Vee. :)

            • MilaXX

              That’s one reason why I hate the soul sucking scenes with Piper/Alex/Larry & family. It feels much like MadMen’s endless cycle of Don and his drinking womanizing ways. I’d rather get more background info on characters like Suzanne, Poussay & Morello. In Suzzane’s case you’re left questioning if her parents did try therapy, or if they ever exposed her to anything about AA culture.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Considering Suzanne has been sporting the one hairstyle taught to her by a black woman for the last 25 years, I’m thinking her parents did absolutely nothing to expose her to AA culture. It was far more important to them that the white community they lived in accepted her.

            • MilaXX

              I agree. Perhaps I’m over thinking things but in my mind a social worker/adoption agency would have provided info on cultural events and support groups. I just don’t quite understand why it would be more important that she be accepted into their community. Was she a status symbol to them? That back history just feels incomplete to me.

            • Glammie

              Late to the party here–but I just saw the episode. I live in an affluent liberal area and have seen some black/white adoptions. (I work with kids.) My honest take is that in many cases, the parents are unfamiliar with black culture and, frankly, don’t really approve of it–or maybe distrust it might be a better way to put it. So, no I don’t think most of them would, say, go out of their way to attend a black church. Or do anything that would take them out of “white” culture. I think too many of them think the child will be better off if he or she is brought up as culturally white–an Oreo. But in doing so, they’re denying part of the child’s core identity. And I know of some unhappy outcomes, including, in one case, prison. :(

              I don’t oppose IR adoptions by any means (and I know some terrific parents), but it’s interesting to see this critique on television, from my personal observation it’s a fair one. It’s not enough to mean well. As for social workers/adoption agencies–they’re not keeping that close tabs on affluent white couples. And the difference between a terrific parent and one who fails their child in an unexpected way isn’t always going to be obvious from an interview and a house inspection.

            • P M

              I don’t know about Black culture, but Brahmin culture (Brahmins are priests in the Hindu caste system) has traditionally been quite different from that of the lower castes. I can see the point of view, mistaken as it is, that one culture is ‘better’ or whatever than another. It would take some (major?) identity-adjustment on the part of the white parents to realize that they are the parents of a non-white child, rather than the black child being assimilated into whiteness.

          • P M

            I am very confused about her age. In her princess costume, she looks 6-ish. At the party, she looks 12.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              It might have been a casting thing — the birthday girl’s mom points out that Suzanne is a ten-year-old attending a party for six-year-olds, so we can assume there’s a four-year difference between them.

        • MilaXX

          I don’t get it as a dig against cross racial adoption. I do see mother/maternal/nurturing issues as a theme. Taystee bonds with Vee, a Fangin like character who scopes her out a an adoption fair, Piper learns denial, and we see Suzanne’s parents missing red flags about their child. I think the reason we see an AA nurse is to establish how she got her signature hair style, and also show that her parents may not have bothered to learn enough about her culture to even know how to manage her hair.

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          I feel that Suzanne’s parents were so focused on making their daughters feel “equal” in regards to race (“Is it because she’s black?!?”), that they didn’t take her mental/emotional issues as seriously as they should have, in spite of their best intentions.
          Her Mother LOVES her, but SUPPORT becomes PUSHING when a parent doesn’t give a child the TOOLS they need to deal with The World.

          • P M

            Exactly. I think she had some underlying issues from the beginning, that her parents badly missed.

      • Tina M.

        I too don’t think the show is lambasting trans-racial adoption, but rather the idea that race doesn’t matter if adopted by loving parents. Suzanne’s parents are heartbreakingly well-intentioned, but she’s *not* exactly the same as everyone else in the neighborhood, and I think the show is implying that “colorblindness” can be damaging—those flashbacks centered on incidents where Suzanne was made to feel broken or messed up because of things she can’t control, like her skin color or size or even her erratic social development (there’s no way her mother should have pressed her to perform to “prove it” to the other students! She clearly couldn’t handle the anxiety!).

        Now, she’s fallen in deep platonic infatuation with the first (or second, if you consider the nurse who did her hair in the hospital who looked like/might have been? Vee) black woman to acknowledge her for who she is. Unfortunately, that woman is a stone cold shark who demands loyalty but promises none.

        • P M

          Vee scares the daylights out of me.

      • NinjaCate

        I don’t think it was criticizing the adoption itself so much as the “colour blind” ideology behind it. Suzanne’s mom very clearly loved her and fought for her and tried hard to help her fit in, but I also think she was one of those parents who never took the time to expose her to people who looked like her or to teach her about her culture. She seemed well intentioned, but she also seemed to think that “love was enough” and it never is with trans-racial adoptions. There is a very real phenomenon of racial isolation that happens, and I get the sense that her parents never addressed that because they were so busy dealing with her being “weird.”

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          Yeah! It was actually a very subtle portrayal of the issues with trans-racial adoption. The parents can be well-intentioned as it’s possible to be, but there’s still a likelihood of cultural gaps that cause damage.

        • KateWo

          I agree, I think they were trying to show another viewpoint that things aren’t necessarily perfect because you are adopted by white parents. Contrast this with Parenthood’s Victor. They had a brief storyline dealing with his agression issues, then he fixes a car with Grandpa and everything was okay.

        • egurl

          Besides the scene at the hospital, we saw young Suzanne in all-white spaces. It was very uncomfortable.

          • snarkykitten

            and you could see how important her interaction with the black nurse was: she modeled her hair after the way the nurse styled it.

        • enuma

          Agreed. I think the show is savvy enough to stay away from a blanket condemnation of trans-racial adoption, but colorblindness can be its own kind of racism. When you refuse to see someone’s racial identity, you are also refusing to see the unique challenges and difficulties and accompany that identity, which can range from isolation in a sea of people who don’t look like you to something as simple as different needs in hair care.

          Suzanne’s parents were so bent on assimilating her that they were incapable of seeing (aspects of) her for her who she really was. It was all about adapting Suzanne to their world, and never adapting themselves and their world to Suzanne. It wasn’t damage done maliciously, but it was still damage.

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          Much deeper questions & issues than we are used to facing in a television show….
          I’M GLAD!!!!!

    • lbl

      I agree that the show implied that there were things her parents couldn’t or didn’t understand about her, but I didn’t feel the show was rebuking cross-racial adoptions. From what I recall last season, they were loving towards one another. It looked more like it was depicting the realities of that adoption. Most of the issues in Suzanne’s childhood seemed to stem from possibly poor handling of her mental illness.

      Morello’s payphone scene was great.

      I did not like that final scene between Piper and Brook. It was sad and Piper’s reaction seemed a direct result of Suzanne’s rejection earlier. She may have fresh baked bread and Funfetti (!!!), but you should never trust people who can manipulate that well. And I still find Daya and Bennett boring and lacking in any chemistry for the most part.

      • Sobaika

        I don’t think it was necessarily a rebuke of cross-racial adoption but the writers were making a point of it – most clearly in the scene with the nurse. It’s not a coincidence that Suzanne’s new mother figure is about black female empowerment.

        • MilaXX

          Agreed. It seemed to imply that Suzanne’s parents were the sort to pretend everything was normal. I’d even say the nurse’s intervention was more about them not bothering to learn about AA culture. Even something as simple as how to maintain her child’s hair. Notice Suzanne is an adult still wearing the same hairdo the nurse showed her parents when she was 6.

          • KinoEye

            I thought that was a sad and lovely touch — the same hairstyle. That nurse was probably one of the few (if not only) female AA role models poor Suzanne had in her life. It’s no wonder she’s so close with Vee.

          • P M

            I’m confused: how does AA relate to Suzanne as a child?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              African-American.

            • P M

              Ah – that’s the first time I’ve heard that abbreviation; thank you :)

            • MilaXX

              AA = African American

            • P M

              Oh my lord, I kept thinking Alcoholics Anonymous :D

      • nancymae

        I didn’t see Suzanne’s backstory as a rebuke of cross racial adoption either but I did find her mother’s insistence that she be allowed to attend the sleepover to be really unsettling. Race and adoption aside, she was just wrong to push that. Nevertheless, this episode was amazing. This story, combined with Vee’s emotional exploitation, broke my heart.

        Vee scares the bejesus out of me but I am hooked and can’t wait for more. Lorraine Toussaint and Uzo Oduba are so wonderful to watch.

        • demidaemon

          I see your point, but, as a parent, I could easily see myself doing something similar, though perhaps not as soapboxy as she did.

          • ShaoLinKitten

            Parents do stuff like that ALL the TIME when they don’t want to recognize their child’s issues. Suzanne’s parents did not want to believe their child had psychological issues. The scenes before graduation were ambiguous enough that it was hard to tell what was going on with her. Of course in retrospect you can see the impulse control issues and the anxiety, but when it’s your kid, you want to blame everything else. I didn’t see it as a rebuke of cross-racial adoption either. I saw it as a rebuke of maternal denial and delusion, which is a huge theme this season from what I’ve seen.

            • demidaemon

              True. But I can understand the motivations of the character and the difficult area she was in. We can only go off from what we see, but I think it’s a fair analysis that her mother knew there were psychological problems and chose to ignore them and just wanted her child to fit in, even though it was probably not in the cards for multiple reasons.

            • Beardslee

              Or chose to deal with her psychological problems by having her do the same thing other kids did, including going to a school that was probably the last place someone with her problems belonged. I think her mom thought she was empowering her though of course it just increased her isolation.

              There are so many ways to be wrong as as parent and I see Suzanne’s parents as loving and caring but in over their heads and in need of guidance that they never got or looked for.

            • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

              Yes, it would definitely suit her to claim “IT’S RACISM” rather than that her adopted daughter has serious mental/psychological issues that would handicap her from managing an independent adult life or, I don’t know, might land her in prison one day.

        • Denise Alden

          Pennsatucky scares the bejesus out of me. Vee is . . . like a benevolent dictator, an evil queen, a majestic sociopath. I love her against all reason.

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          As much as Suzanne’s Mother loves her, it was irresponsible for her to leave her unsupervised with those little girls.
          I was afraid something would happen.

    • decormaven

      Trying to hold back from drinking in the entire season this weekend, but it’s definitely being set up as a chess board, with power plays aplenty. Vee has definitely added a fresh dynamic, and I’m enjoying watching how she interacts with Gloria and Red.

    • Jay

      The first episode had me slightly worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this season. After what she’s been through at Litchfield, I find it hard to believe that Piper would be so eager to run off at the mouth and irritate the prison guards and inmates. She’s incredibly, frustratingly obtuse, and at this point I can only take the character in limited doses. Taylor Schilling does a great job playing her, though.

      Episodes two and three were very strong. Taystee and Crazy Eyes are among the most captivating characters on the show, so it was nice to see them get so much screentime. I’m also very happy that Lorraine Toussaint has joined the cast. She was brilliant in ‘Any Day Now’ and ‘Middle of Nowhere,’ so I knew she would deliver if given a juicy role, and Vee appears to be one. I’m excited to see how her storyline progresses.

      I wish that we didn’t have to check in on Larry and Piper’s annoying friend.

      Does anyone else think that Ms. Figueroa, the warden, is a poorly written character? She’s like a mustache-twirling villain in a cartoon.

      • demidaemon

        I don’t think she is a poorly written character. In fact, she represents the perfect bureaucratic, self-serving sort of social climber that is a nice contrast to the rest of the cast. Besides, I would not be surprised if we see another side of her character later on.

        • NinjaCate

          You will. This season really explores the stories of a lot of the characters who were kind of B-cast last season. The choices they make as to who to feature are surprising sometimes, they ALL pay off big time.

          • demidaemon

            CAN”T WAIT!

      • MilaXX

        I do. Everything about the character both this season and last season are telescoped from the minute she walks on screen.

    • bailey

      everything suzanne-related pulls at my heartstrings unbearably hard

      • Sobaika

        I was weeping when she said she wanted to work with mentally ill children.

      • MilaXX

        She reminds me of kids I worked with that had detachment disorders. So sad.

      • dschubba

        Seeing Suzanne cry is such a gut-punch.

    • ashtangajunkie

      I missed Taystee and Poussey. They have such fantastic chemistry – all of their exchanges become my favourite as soon as they happen. And Sophia squeezing herself into that glittery cocktail dress was delightful. I think Vee is a fantastic new element to the story – she’s smart and scary and interesting on her own, as well as serving to further develop Taystee’s storyline. I am loving her, and I can’t wait to see her next steps. Just in the two episodes at Litchfield, you can see the racial tension deepening. And Red, Gloria, and maybe Poussey know it. I’ve only watched the first three because I’m trying to pace myself, but it’s extremely difficult!

      • LJCdoc

        I will be thrilled if Poussey gets the next episode (also trying to pace myself). I love her at least as much as Taystee and Suzanne, and I feel like there’s more to her story. I think she’s also pretty smart.

        • rei

          Poussey’s episode is probably one of the best of the season and Samira Wiley deserves an award for her performance.

        • Beardslee

          Yeah, I really like her a lot.

      • Denise Alden

        Agreed on loving Vee and those two brilliant clowns, Taystee and Poussey. And I mean clowns in the sense of an old Royal Court Jester, poking fun and dropping truth. Those two are so delightful.

    • Maggie

      The whole mock job fair was really infuriating and heartbreaking. But it was also a great writing device, because we got to see the ladies discussing their plans and dreams, as well as what they perceive to be their best qualities and strengths. It was a great way to reintroduce characters after the show’s hiatus. I loved the scenes where they met with the resume consultant to spin their skills (many of which were learned on the streets or behind bars) into resume points, there was some comedic gold in those scenes for sure.

      I also loved seeing Taystee transform herself into a completely believable corporate job candidate, totally owning the interview and then impressing the “employer” with additional research about the company. But it was heartbreaking that as the viewer, we know that despite her innate intelligence and drive to succeed, such a path is probably not in the cards, and everyone seems to know this but her. I hated seeing her accept $10 of commissary money as her only prize, “well, that’s something.” It was such a harsh jerk back into reality for her, but she seemed to be trying to hold on to that poised, professional persona she’d slipped into for the interview, and accept this blow with grace. I was both proud of her for hanging in there, and kind of bummed that she didn’t blow up at Fig for offering such a paltry reward after this sham of a contest. I am in the middle of a job search myself right now, so maybe that’s why this whole story struck a nerve. Anyone who’s been through the job hunt can relate to the cycle of hope and disappointment, only it’s about a hundred times worse for the ladies of Litchfield.

      I was so angry that the “Dress for Success” lady ripped the contestants apart onstage after her organization provided the clothes (and she even suggested the peach ensamble to one inmate and then criticized it). But writing-wise, I found it a little inconsistent that this woman would volunteer her time to Dress for Success, volunteer to come down to the prison and work with inmates (something your typical socialite charity chairwoman would probably balk at), and then turn around and be so insulting to the contestants. I guess the writers were trying to show how everyone, even supposed do-gooder volunteers, treats these ladies like crap, but this character didn’t feel true-to-life to me.

      I’ve already watched 6 episodes! I am trying to force myself to slow down, but it’s so hard!

      • TritoneTelephone

        I agree with everything except the “dress for success” woman’s inconsistencies. Dress for Success is a real organization, and everything from Flaca’s realization that the clothes they provide don’t match the jobs they’re qualified for, to the middle class white woman playing the part of an “expert” on looking professional and giving out condescending advice, was VERY true what I’ve read about them. She thinks she’s helping them and probably feels really good about herself for it. The writers did their homework, thoroughly.

      • NVioleta

        The Job Fair struck a chord with me, as someone who’s worked for a company that provided shallow, ineffective programs for at risk teens just so the photographer can snap some photos and post it on the company’s website as proof of its altruism.

    • ali meowmeow

      I will say that I was glad to see some more aspects of the original book brought in this season, because stuff like being sent off on mysterious and uncertain trips to testify in court made for some of the more interesting reading.
      Taystee and Suzanne are completely heartbreaking, and it’s really interesting to unpack their stories together, since they likely started from similar places but even after wildly different childhoods, they have now wound up in not only the same place, but as roommates.
      I confess I’ve already marathoned the whole season, but it just made me want to turn around and watch it again.

    • MilaXX

      I debated for half a second on watching this season. I detest the entire Piper storyline, Larry & Alex included. I’m glad I did turn in because I liked this season much more than last. I was saddened but not surprised at Taystee and Suzanne’s back stories, although I question why Suzanne’s parents didn’t have her in therapy. I have to say a large part of my enjoyment came from watching Vee manipulate Eveyone around her. I love Lorraine Toussaint. No one plays a baddie like her. She a fabulous and much under rated character actress. Speaking of which I was excited to see Lori Petty pop up. I was hoping to see more of her. Did she piss off someone in Hollywood? She seemed to have a pretty decent looking career that suddenly fizzled.

      • Sobaika

        My assumption is that they attributed her behavior to social awkwardness and racism rather than serious development issues until her breakdown onstage.

        • MilaXX

          If they did then that’s even sadder. That melt down in the hospital looked liked something they had seen before. They had to be under serious denial to not see that behavior as extreme. And what 9 year old has no friends and wants to go to the friend of her 6 year old little sister’s slumber party. Even the little sister begged her “not to act weird again.” All red flags that were clearly being overlooked.

          • Tina M.

            Yeah, and it’s layered in there as what I think is a pretty smart critique—when you’re so determined to not notice any of your child’s differences to keep them safe from discrimination, you can end up ignoring things that are pretty damn important, like caring properly for their hair, or their impulse control, or their mental health.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              That’s how we read it – and why we took it as a subtle rebuke against cross-racial adoptions. They were so determined to have Suzanne seen as normal by the white community she was raised in that they missed the warning signs that she had either mental health or developmental issues from the time of childhood.

            • NinjaCate

              You know, now that you’ve phrased it like that, it’s made me think of something else.

              Re: “They were so determined to have Suzanne seen as normal by the white community she was raised in that they missed the warning signs that she had either mental health or developmental issues from the time of childhood.”

              I think too, than in their desperation to have her fit in, they refused to acknowledge that on some level, she’ll always be different. And I think that scene with the mom at the slumber party shows that on some level, she associated Suzanne’s “difficulties” as innate to her blackness and so it never occurred to her that there was something more at play that she could have received help for.

              We the audience know how off the rocker Suzanne’s behaviour can be by now, and that’s why I thought it stranger that her mom would insist she attend a slumber party for 6 year olds she wasn’t invited to. I don’t think any parent would want to deal with a difficult child prone to violent outbursts while also taking care of other children. But I think it’s really telling that when the other mom balks, Suzanne’s mom doesn’t say “I know she’s difficult, could you give her a chance” which is likely the most obvious reason people avoided her, but “It is because she’s black?” And while racism probably played a huge role in the ostracism she dealt with all her life until prison, I find it hard to believe that even a young white child with such a noticeable developmental issue would have been treated much better without receiving help. But it’s also notable that a white child probably WOULD have gotten help. I really think that part of the neglect that Suzanne faced with her mental health was directly related to her parents just thinking that her behaviour was innate to her blackness, and therefore couldn’t be fixed.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              And it was impossible for the other kid’s mom to stick to her guns when she’s been accused of being racist.

              I’m not sure it’s fair to say that Suzanne’s parents were being racist towards her by failing to see her issues clearly. I’m not positive a white child would have received help either. Parents who are in denial refuse psychiatric treatment for their kids all the time. Suzanne’s parents had a convenient scapegoat in racism to blame for Suzanne’s social issues. The scenes before the graduation were ambiguous enough that the parents could attribute the events to other things– “she’s just a unique thinker. She had a rough infancy. Everyone’s racist.”

              It’s tough to admit your child is damaged, for any parent, adoptive or bio. The truth is, parents find all kinds of reasons to dodge the harsh reality. Suzanne’s mother latched onto the (probably very real) racism of others as her form of denial. I don’t think they thought Suzanne was weird because she was black. They thought other people were overreacting to her weirdness because she was black. Race was such a potent distractor that Suzanne made it all the way to graduation without it being recognized.

            • MilaXX

              Never thought about it that way, but I can see what you’re saying now. That’s a pretty broad stroke to paint cross racial adoptions with since most parents do endeavor to learn at least the bare minimum about caring for a child of another race. It makes Suzanne parents look simple.

      • LJCdoc

        They may have had her in therapy; that doesn’t necessarily mean everything would be perfect for her. Maybe she could have had even bigger problems. & we don’t know her very early history. There’s a lot that even the best therapy can only dent.

        • MilaXX

          We can only guess but I get the impression that she wasn’t in therapy simply because there would have been coping tools in place as to how to handle her tantrums. Every time we saw her having a tantrum, they seemed bewildered as to what to do. Therapy isn’t a cure all, but it beats not trying at all.

          • Jasmaree

            I kind of question it too. They seemed to have the means for it and I doubt Suzanne’s mother is the type to deny the helpfulness of a good therapist. The only explanation I can think of is that maybe Suzanne’s mother insisted that Suzanne was just like everyone else (or would be if people gave her the chance) so much that the thought of therapy seems like an admission that she isn’t.

      • NinjaCate

        Lorraine is so terrifyingly amazing. Her acting is spectacular and by the end of the season I really really despised Vee for her actions. She kind of replaces Pornstache as the big bad this season and to amazing effect. I can’t wait to see what happens with her storyline.

        One thing that Suzanne’s storyline made me wonder is whether or not she’s actually mentally ill at all. We’ve been calling her “Crazy Eyes” and her behaviour is so bizarre that we kind of wrote her off as having some kind of undiagnosed mental disease, but now I’m wondering if she just has a developmental issue? As in, someone who could conceivably operated perfectly fine in society with the right amount of coaching/directed learning. Knowing her back story makes me think she might just be on Aspie scale rather than mentally ill. Either way, she’s clearly not getting the care she needs and it breaks my heart. That actually ends up being a theme this season.

        • MilaXX

          ITA. I wouldn’t put Suzzane on the ASD spectrum, but there are definite developmental delays/MH issues. Inmates not getting the care they need is another underlying theme of this season.

      • rei
    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      I got to episode two and began to bawl my eyes out. Damn this show.

      • Tina M.

        I just finished ep 10 and trust me it does not get any better. I don’t think I could handle this much emotional whiplash more than once a year

    • BobStPaul

      Frankly, I was a little disappointed the way season 2 began. The writing simply didn’t seem as sharp as season one. But OMG. Every episode is better than the previous one (I’m up to episode 8 as I write this). This truly is one of the all time best television series. I am amazed that they are taking what first appeared to be totally ancillary characters and providing background stories for them. Simply amazing and the acting is superb.

    • andreawey

      I would just like to say that Suzanne has mental issues because of her childhood, she was always different in every way growing up but everyone around her, including herself, just wanted her to fit in. She couldn’t possibly be what everyone wanted her to be, so the constant feeling of never being good enough or “normal” enough in the community she was raised in obviously took its tole. She wasn’t mentally ill as a child, she was just different and in some communities, different is bad.

      • MilaXX

        I’d disagree. That tantrum in the hospital was a little extreme. That’s a possible indicator of a child with poor impulse control and coping skills.

        • ShaoLinKitten

          I have to disagree with your disagreement. I’ve seen kids react very badly to the addition of a new sibling. Suzanne was only 4 if my math serves. I’ve heard of kids doing some fairly murderous things to their new baby siblings. Add to that the whole adoption issue, and knowing that Grace was her parents’ “little miracle,” made from their own bodies, and you could set any kid off.

          I didn’t see any really troublesome mental health-related behavior until Suzanne’s meltdown at graduation. Yes, she was odd, and probably that indicated some burgeoning problem. Definitely some serious anxiety. Not sure what her diagnosis is supposed to be, though it must be pretty severe if she makes periodic trips to Psych, as she mentioned in Season 1. In any case, Vee is playing her like a fiddle.

          • MilaXX

            But the parents reaction seemed to indicate they had seen that particular melt down before.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              Yeah, probably, but at the age of 4, temper tantrums aren’t outside the norm, esp. vis a vis a new baby. I think, in retrospect, you can see that Suzanne has major issues. It’s very hard when you’re right there in it to admit it, as a parent.

            • MilaXX

              Perhaps it’s me but I didn’t see a temper tantrum. I saw a child unable to self regulate. That read much more extreme.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              Maybe I’m having trouble distinguishing between the two. I think four is when most kids start to develop self-control, and you’re right, the parents probably had seen that sort of freak out before. But it’s easy to attribute it to the stress of a new baby, esp. a bio baby for an adoptive kid. What I’m saying is, Suzanne’s parents had lots of ways of rationalizing her behavior. It’s only in hindsight that such events seem indicative of a greater problem. Denial–not just a river in Egypt.

            • andreawey

              It’s almost certain that her parents had seen this behavior before but they didn’t have the first clue how to deal with it. The nurse wasn’t some magical wise woman, all she did was distract the child and validate her feelings, probably one of the few times in her life that had happened, hence the enduring hairdo. If you live your whole life feeling like a complete freak it’s bound to cause some problems.

        • andreawey

          Poor impulse control and coping skills do not equal mental health issues, children learn these skills from the adults in their lives. My own daughter had poor impulse control at that age (many children do) and we worked through it, now she’s a healthy adult with a college degree and she works with autism and mental health issues. It’s pretty weird, now that I think of it, she was also much more interested in dinosaurs that pretty princesses when she was little as well. I guess I just see the potential for creativity in a child like that and the many ways it can be beaten down.

          • MilaXX

            and we worked through it
            I’m not saying that it does it equals MH issues. You addressed it.You did not pretend it wasn’t happening. From what we’ve seen Suzanne’s parent did not.

      • rei

        It seems that Suzanne’s behavior is mental illness or perhaps she is on the autistic spectrum, but her parents might’ve been in denial or assumed racism and did not get the help that she needed. Add the pressure of needing to live up to a standard and also being told that she is not different when she is being treated different and is different and you have a powder keg.
        Mental illnesses that seem to fit with Suzanne’s mannerism are typically inborn, but lack of early intervention and environmental issues can exacerbate pre existing conditions.
        one thing is for certain… she shouldn’t be in prison. She should be receiving constant care.

        • andreawey

          Alright, this is not the forum for a serious discussion of mental illness but really…. “Mental illnesses that seem to fit with Suzanne’s mannerism are typically inborn, but lack of early intervention and environmental issues can exacerbate pre existing conditions” that is a load of crap, are you a mental health professional?

          • rei

            No, I have lived with mental disorders since childhood.

    • Candy Kane

      I loved the Lori Petty cameo. When she started talking on the plane I was like, “Is that Tank Girl?! It is Tank Girl!” I know we’ll probably never see Lolly again, but I would love to see her turn up at Litchfield.

      • decormaven

        I know! I was so excited to see Lori Petty; that was a kickass job of casting.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        OMG that was Lori Petty! I couldn’t place the face. I hope we see more of her this season (I’ve only watched eps 1-3).

      • http://smalltownbigwardrobe.com/ Catherine

        Holy crap!! I was watching that episode trying to figure out who that was!! I was SO angry at Piper for not helping her.

        Sidenote: Lori is also in an amazing so-bad-it’s-good Pauly Shore movie (I know) called In the Army Now. If anyone is really really bored after finishing Season 2.

        • Introspective

          its this tendency in piper to be all deer in the headlights when its time to get her big girl panties on that annoys the shit out of me about piper. seriously, i was pissed that she did nothing to help lori petty’s character given how her nerve-wracking plane ride was only bearable because she happened to sit next to her…

        • BmoreKate

          I love that movie and I love you for referencing it, lol! When Lolly popped up on screen I squealed and said, “Cause we’re-a ca-razy boys!”

          • http://smalltownbigwardrobe.com/ Catherine

            Aaaah yes!!! I love it that you love that movie too!! :)

    • Captain_Awkward

      Taystee and Poussey break my heart and remake it over and over again. I want the alternate universe where they & Randy & Mike from the Wire run a Fortune 500 company. I want it bad.

      Ve sets off ALL my alarms. I can see her putting Suzanne and Taystee into some serious harm’s way in a pointless power struggle while she sits back.

      • LuLusLemons

        One of the joys of orange is the new black is simply watching the unadorned, unbotoxed faces of the actors as they act. I’m no fan of Piper, but I could watch Schilling and Petty move those faces around all day.

    • Qitkat

      I wonder what anyone here thinks about starting with the second season. I watched maybe 3 episodes of the first season, but never got as invested in it as most people who love the show. I found it interesting, but it just never became something I just had to watch, so there is a lot of backstory I know nothing about. I respect y’alls’ opinions as I have gone back to to other shows, like Call the Midwife, which did turn into must-watch binge TV, that I loved, so I wonder about giving this show a second chance.

      • decormaven

        Please give the show a second chance. You’ll need to watch S1 to get the nuances of S2, but so far S2 is standing head and shoulders over S1. Less focus on Piper and more on the women who populate the prison. The acting level has moved up a notch as well. The actresses who portray Taystee, Suzanne and Poussey are going to give each other a run for the money at awards time. And the actress who portrays Vee- superb casting.

        • Qitkat

          Thanks decormaven. It sounds worth the effort. I think I’ll wait til July so I can do both seasons at once. I do tend to fall into the super-binge watch mode once I get enthralled with a show, and I’ve got too much to do between now and my vacation in 10 days :)

          • decormaven

            Smart move, because I stayed up way too late last pm to finish S2. It’s too hard to stop when the story really gets rolling.

      • MilaXX

        Honestly I liked season 2 a lot more than season 1. Maybe skim through season 1 so you’re not lost watching season 2.

      • Tina M.

        Season 2 has a HUGE step forward in terms of overarching plot/theme — the whole season really is one big, sprawling story, and I thought it far outpaced the first. But a lot of it plays on what we knew about these characters from S1, so if you went back and watched it after S2, you might find it a little facile in some ways. So I’d recommend going in order when you take the plunge!

      • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

        Its gotten more PRISONER OF CELLBLOCK H and less HOGAN’S HEROES!!!

    • ShaoLinKitten

      I’ve only seen the first three eps, but I’m calling it right now: the theme of Season 2 is Mommy Issues. We see so much maternal denial here, and trying to reclaim the role of mother when its been neglected so long. When there is a wound in the mother/child relationship, it has a ripple effect on the rest of your life. I think we are seeing this play out with almost every character on the show. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the season.

      • B. Garcia

        The hand that rocks the cradle rules Litchfield.

    • jahphotogal

      TLo, I’ve been a follower of your blog since it was Project Rungay, and I just realized one of the things I like most about it: you have the best comments anywhere on the Internet. I generally avoid Internet comments because it’s usually just people shouting at each other. I don’t know if you edit out the trolls or just don’t have any, but what a great discussion below – people considering each others’ points and responding thoughtfully. I didn’t think I know of any other site on the Internet where that’s true. We may be bitter kittens following a couple of bitchy fashion critics, but we’re pretty cool beans, too.

      • Introspective

        agree!! have learned so much and enjoyed the insights of the incredibly witty & yes, respectful folks that TLo has always collected here. for years this has been the best place on the internet to get smarter as you procrastinate…

      • http://www.jaimieteekell.com/ Jaimie

        Apparently they moderate them a bit. Learning that made me appreciate it even more. For the internet is dark and full of terrors.

        • Denise Alden

          I think our uncles monitor them more than a bit. I read somewhere that when they post something on FLOTUS, they can’t leave the house for the trolls. I second Jahphotogal’s sentiment: best forum on the internet!

      • Glammie

        They edit out the trolls. Apparently they read every.single.post–which kind of blows my mind, but it seems to be true. But I’ve seen trolls late at night and then, *poof* they’re gone. But they moderate without closing-off debate.

      • Allie

        I’ve also been reading since Project Rungay and even though I don’t watch Project Runway anymore I still keep coming back, and that’s exactly why. I look forward to reading the comments here as much as I do the posts. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing anything here like the blatant sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. that I see in the comments on pretty much every other similarly-themed website I’ve tried to keep up with. I’m glad our blogfathers work hard to keep that sort of thing off this site; it’s really nice to have a place to go to talk about TV and fashion without having to read the kind of hate that shows up on so many other comment sections.

    • JynxTheCat

      The only thing this show does even better than write is cast. These very complicated characters are cast to perfection EVEN in flashback to childhood. The only exception being little piper. And I had NO IDEA Boy Sophia was played by her identical twin brother until I watched the little four minute character/actress showcases. I was wondering how they pulled off the prop and post breast scenes. WHO KNEW? Everyone but me likely.

      • Nina B

        Thank you for that bit of information!!! I had no idea and had run out of imaginative possibilities about how that might have worked. But of course it never occurred to me at a time that would have allowed me to do research.

      • Kristin McNamara

        I remember learning that from TLo last season! They mentioned something about how lucky it was for the casting department that this ridiculously-perfect-for-the-role-of-Sophia, real-live transgender woman just HAPPENS to have a twin brother who’s ALSO an actor AND is willing to play Sophia’s pre-transition scenes. You can’t even wish for things like that to happen, it’s just too perfect.

    • JynxTheCat

      Also I Loathe Vee. She got boring for me really quick. The only one dimensional character in the whole ensemble…at least she is so far.

      • Denise Alden

        I’m not surprised by your loathing of Vee (though I adore her as only a sap could) but I don’t think of her as one dimensional at all. In fact, when she’s talking about her whole wheat/flax seed bread for the meal, and Taystee looks so happy just to be eating dinner with her family, I thought that scene showed all kinds of complicated sides of Vee’s character.

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          Toussaint is BRILLIANT.
          I FEAR and LOATHE Vee…. My blood turns to ice water whenever I see her approach a character I care about!

          • Denise Alden

            Now that I’ve seen episode 4 (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here) I hate to find myself starting to agree with you. She’s up to no good, and I’m worried, too.

        • JynxTheCat

          So noted. All part of the same scam/manipulation to me. She’s just greedy and power hungry, there is no empathetic angle…to easy a villain for me.

    • rei

      One thing about the implications between Suzanne’s apparent mental association of Piper and her mother is that it might not be as creepy. As Suzanne’s character is revealed more it’s clear that she’s not emotionally mature and while she is obviously very well educated and intelligent, there seems to be a definite mental delay there as well.
      It makes me wonder how sexually mature she is and makes me wonder if her aims toward Piper… the whole wife thing was an imitation of some of the prison behavior as well as attraction to someone she felt was safe to be intimate with but not in a fully sexualized way.
      This isn’t saying that people with mental disorders aren’t capable of being sexual beings, but that if normal developement is repressed and or denied, it will come across in strange ways.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        She seemed pretty sexually mature when she was mock-fisting Boo on the floor last season.

        • rei

          Ah, haha…
          This is why I should have rewatched last season.

          Still, in interviews Uzo Abuda has said that everything she does comes from a kind of innocent purity.

          I’d have to watch the scene again, but that could still play into an imitation of surroundings and acting out in a way that garners attention.

          I’m not saying that Suzanne doesn’t know what sex is or sexual relationships… I’m just not sure how far her motivations actually went in that direction

          • rei

            Also, I’ve been lurking for years, just started commenting recently and I’m super delighted to get a reply from you even if it was a disagreement!

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Welcome aboard!

        • B. Garcia

          But children often mimic sexual behavior without knowing what they’re doing or understanding the consequences of their behavior. (Some adults do this too, actually.) This may not necessarily describe Suzanne’s specific actions, but she is definitely immature.

    • Mailbtch

      I read the scene with young Suzanne and her parents as not so much knocking cross-racial adoption as rebuking them–they told their adopted daughter that the biological child was their “miracle,” which I thought implied that they invested less time and resources in Suzanne. The black nurse connecting with her while they are at the hospital does support this as a rebuke of cross-racial adoption, but I’m inclined not to generalize on this one.

      • boweryboy

        I didn’t see it as a rebuke. I saw it as good intentions gone wrong. Her parents are so determined to not treat her differently that they’re clueless how to style her hair. Or when the neighbor explains it’s inappropriate for Crazy Eyes to attend the birthday party her mother instantly assumes it’s because of racial differences rather than age differences. I see it as their efforts to be colorblind has, in a sense, blinded them as well.

      • French_Swede

        I read this to mean that they thought (and/or were told) that she could never conceive a child, so they adopted Suzanne. Then, miraculously, they did conceive a child ~ Suzanne’s sister. I didn’t think of it as investing less time and resources in Suzanne at all. JMHO

    • boweryboy

      I didn’t really see the flashbacks to Crazy Eyes’ childhood as a rebuke of cross-racial adoption because that seems a bit harsh. Instead, I saw it as a cautionary tale.

      Whenever I see a white family with an adopted black child my initial reaction every time is I hope they’re not only educating and exposing that child to their racial heritage and culture but also doing the same for theirselves. It’s a noble approach to not treat the child differently but in the long run it can be psychologically and emotionally damaging since the reality is people are treated differently based on the color of their skin. I think that’s the gist of Crazy Eyes’ story – not knowing where she fits in. I didn’t re-watch season one, so I don’t recall if we know why she’s in prison.

      Also, I’m really loving Vee and her machinations. I’m only on episode six so I don’t know what her endgame is or if her character is developed more by the end of the season but right now I’m loving her moustache twiddling evil schemes.

      Also also, I’m beginning to care less and less about Piper’s storyline. The periperhal characters are becoming much more interesting to me than her. I’m kind of hoping as the show progresses it moves into more of a Prisoner: Cell Block H format with a revovling door of inmates and backstories instead of one central character who loosely ties everything together..

      • B. Garcia

        I agree with you. I don’t see it as a rebuke of cross-racial adoption, but as an acknowledgment that cross-racial adoption is often problematic for all parties involved.

        And yes, Piper is the least interesting character in the show!

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      I watched one episode per day over the weekend (too busy to do otherwise) and I agree with most of the comments made thus far. I actually liked the first episode because it alludes to events that happened in the book. Piper was actually flown to Chicago and had to testify at a trial and I think she said that the prison in Chicago was the worst experience she ever had (though I don’t think she actually made it back to Litchfield..I thought she finished up her sentence somewhere in the southwest).

      Vee brings an interesting new power dynamic to the show. I wonder how Red and Vee know each other (from outside of prison perhaps?). I also wonder if there’s going to be a turf war over the kitchen (that seems to be the nexus of power and prestige in the prison).

    • Lydia

      I could’ve sworn that Suzanne’s white parents were mentioned in Season One… maybe even her mother visited??

      • Susan Velazquez

        Yeah, they visited her. They asked her about changing her hair and she said, “Mommy! I LIKE my hair this way”. Her episode gave us a more in depth look at their family life.

    • Dott Fair

      Does anyone know the name of the actress who is playing the ‘golden girl’ who is always knitting? Grey haired, incredible smile, Wow!! She is stunning. Proof if ever there was of the beauty of ageing,

      • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

        I am SO THRILLED and IMPRESSED that they’ve EXPANDED The Golden Girls this year… and made them an integral part of the story!
        No other show would do that, unless it was to play them as a punchline!

    • Guest

      Right, okay, that’s it. Larry, to me anyway, is basically my Megan: I hate the character, and I wish I never had to see him on screen.

    • Guest

      I couldn’t help but cringe at Suzanne’s childhood scenes, because I kept seeing red flag after red flag after red flag…. Poor Suzanne.

    • KT

      Taystee is my favorite character, too!!