Jackson Ball reviews the eighth episode of Orange Is the New Black Season 2 …
We are well into the second season now, and things are beginning to move pretty quickly in Litchfield Penitentiary. Alliances are being formed, broken, and formed again, while the tension between the inmates and the guards reaches boiling point…
Warning! Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!
For anyone who’s watched up until this point, it is now fundamentally clear that season two is not ’about’ Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), the show’s lead protagonist. Yes, she still gets the meatier chunk of screen-time, and in many cases she is still the audience’s relatable storyteller. However, this season she has taken a back-seat; her story becoming the background scenery for other characters to take the limelight.
The real, stand-out narrative of this season so far has been the collapse of Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) empire at the hands on new queen-bitch Vee (Lorraine Toussaint). Vee’s ascension to power has been as rapid as it has sinister, made all the more upsetting by the resulting alienation of fan-favourite Red.
In Episode 8 though, another dramatic twist is thrown into the Vee vs Red saga, in the form of an unlikely ally for Red. Now she’s finally found her feet with her new gang, the hilarious group of elderly inmates, Red has set her eyes back on the contraband market, using her new greenhouse to sneak in the goods. Everything’s looking up, until Caputo (Nick Sandow) comes snooping around that is. Convinced that he has once again been duped by Red, he trashes the greenhouse in search of the banned items. It looks as though Red is doomed, and yet Caputo comes up empty handed. It is later revealed that Red had foresaw such a search, and so sought the help of another power-player in the prison, and her successor as kitchen-matriarch, Mendoza (Selenis Leyva).
It’s an unlikely alliance to say the least, given the frosty reception Red gave Mendoza when she replaced her in the cafeteria (and given the frosty reception Mendoza gives everyone), and it’s likely to give Vee a real cause for concern. It’ll be interesting to see if this team-up is a one-off, or if they will look to bring about Vee’s demise as a collaborative effort.
Elsewhere in this episode we get to learn more about Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat), who has easily won the title of most bad-ass inmate in the entire prison. Still battling cancer, Rosa brings a zero-tolerance of bullshit to proceedings which refreshingly funny, given the amount of it being spouted at Litchfield.
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