Spoiler Warning: This review contains mild spoilers that pertain to the first season of Orange is the new Black (But why would you be reading this review of the second season without seeing the first?)
Since the last season of Orange is the New Black ended, I have – along with a whole ton of other people, have been patiently waiting for Season Two to begin. Well let me tell you all something, the wait… was worth it.
Creator: Jenji Kohan
Staring: Taylor Schilling, Michael J. Harney, Kate Mulgrew, Jason Biggs, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne & Taryn Manning
Run Time: 51–90 minutes
When we last left the gang at Litchfield Correctional Facility, Piper (Taylor Schilling) was beating the ever-loving c**p out of Pennsetucky (Taryn Manning), who had made it her crazy life mission to kill Miss Chapman after feeling she had been disrespected. We pick up with Piper in solitary confinement, where she has been making wall art out of cooked egg yolks – which of course she despises. As the first episode unfolds, she is then transferred from a bus to a plane and sets us up for the talents of special guest star Lori Petty (of Tank Girl fame). I won’t spoil the reveal of where they are all being transported, but it does have something to do with Alex.
Speaking of Alex (Laura Prepon), her smouldering sexuality and husky voice were very much missed. Unfortunately she only appears in a handful of episodes this season but good news, she’s back full time next year.
First episode largely deals with the Piper/Alex storyline and it’s not until the second episode that we are finally reunited with the rest of the prisoners from Litchfield. Red (Kate Mulgrew) is still getting the cold shoulder from her ‘family’ after losing control of the kitchen and her mind. Taystee (Danielle Brooks) is still fabulous as she and several select prisoners prepare for a career day. Daya (Dascha Polanco) is still pregnant with CO Bennett’s (Matt McGorry) baby and they are desperate to find a solution to their situation, whilst making moon eyes at each other. Morello (Yael Stone) is still keeping her eye on her wedding day with Christopher.
Things seem to be going as well as they could be, until Vee shows up. Vee (Lorraine Toussaint), is every bit as cunning and charming as she is manipulative and terrifying. She has a personal and complicated history with both Tastee and Red, which stirs up all kinds of drama. Vee takes on Suzanne ‘Crazy-eyes’ (Uzo Aduba) as sort of a Renfield and uses her to do her bidding.
As the season unfolds, more is revealed into several of the prisoner’s histories. Then as we continue to learn more, their lives and struggles become more real. In times of desperation, people can be forced to make bad decisions and we learn that this doesn’t mean they are bad people. That’s one of the things I Love so much about this show – It makes no apologies. These people did wrong and they deserve to be where they are but it gives so much more insight. Your heart breaks for people you wouldn’t look twice at if you saw them on the street. Everyone has their own stories, but there is so much heart at the core. I want to tell you more but I’m afraid that I’d be giving something vital away and it’s so much more exciting to discover it on your own.
All of the performances are (as usual) on point, but more impressive is Uzo Aduba – who is just extraordinary to watch as she tries to control her crazy mind. However, I have to say that I am continuously impressed at the raw depth Natasha Lyonne brings to her character of Nicky. I could single out everyone and their performances but then this review would be several pages long and I don’t want to bore you with my gushing fandom.
[tabgroup][tab title=”The Good“]
Amazing and unflinching performances
All episodes are available (no waiting from one to the next)
[/tab][tab title=”The Bad“]
Left on a slightly underwhelming Cliffhanger
If you’re turned off by Nudity, this may not be for you