Jackson Ball reviews the seventh episode of Orange Is the New Black Season 2 …
We are just over the half-way point now, and it’s becoming very clear what season 2 where Orange is the New Black really comes into its own. No longer does the show need to centre around its central character Piper (Taylor Schilling), instead opting to spend more time with the shows extensive arsenal of interesting supporting characters.
Warning! Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!
Following the unexpected (and unintentional) escape of an elderly inmate, Caputo (Nick Sandow) is out for blood. In his rampage, Caputo raises the guards ‘shot quota’ to 5-a-week, meaning that inmates will be kept under a much stricter set of rules. As you can imagine, the prison’s inhabitants don’t take to kindly to this change, as represented when Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) explodes at the guards when she is given a shot for nearly being late.
Off the back of this confrontation, it is revealed that Black Cindy will be the benefactor of this episode’s flashback segments, taking a look at her life before her time at Litchfield Penitentiary. As you may expect, her big brash personality is not one that has been generated exclusively for her time in prison; her smart-mouth attitude gets her into to all sorts of trouble prior to her conviction.
Cindy’s backstory may not be as rewarding or (dare I say it) entertaining as this season’s previous flashback segments, but it once again highlights the distinct direction the show wants to go in. You may not get the level of humour provided by Taystee’s (Danielle Brooks) flashbacks, or the tragic love-story of Poussey’s (Samira Wiley) backstory in the previous episode, but Cindy’s story does shed some light on a character that you never realised was so mysterious.
Back in the present day, and things are starting to really pick up pace around the prison. Unlike Netflix’s other flagship production, House of Cards, which tends to lull around the seventh episode, OITNB has really kicked into a new gear.
Vee’s (Lorraine Toussaint) tobacco smuggling racket has taken off in tremendous style. Just the faintest rumour of cigarettes has the vast majority of inmates chomping at the bit. Despite her gang’s newfound success though, Vee herself is starting to seem more sinister by the minute (if that’s even possible at this point), as she demonstrates by harshly reprimanded the human-puppy that is Suzanne (Uza Aduba).
Elsewhere, Piper (remember her!?) has turned into a grade-A whistle-blower, meeting with an investigative journalist with the hopes of exposing the corruption that is rife amongst the prison’s administration.
The best line of dialogue in this episode has to go to Mendoza (Selenis Leyva). When hair stylist Sophia (Laverne Cox) suggests to her that a faux hawk would give her a more ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe, her deadpan response is, ‘I mostly use my face for that’.
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