Aww, yes. It’s finally here — Season 2 of Orange is the New Black. Caution — there be spoilers below!
Season 1 left off with this:
and Mr. Healy ostensibly leaving Piper to die,
followed by this:
We’ve all spent the past 11 months wondering what became of Pennsatucky (Tiffany Doggett). Did Piper kill her, and will she end up doing more time?
The first episode of this season doesn’t answer many questions. In fact, it creates a whole lot more.
We find Piper in seg (segregated housing), where she has been since she beat the living daylights out of Pennsatucky. It’s obvious that she’s been in here for quite a while, judging by her “artwork” on the walls.
She is then whisked away in the middle of the night, and put on a bus with a mystery destination, and none of the guards will tell her where they are headed. We see a flash back to a young Piper, who won’t jump off the back of the bus when her friends do. To be honest, I wouldn’t have jumped either— you could break something jumping out of a moving vehicle, you guys. She sits on the bus for five hours with a full bladder, which is some serious determination. I got stuck in a four-hour traffic jam on the M6 once, and I was actually crying with frustration by the time we reached and exit. It’s the closest I ever got to peeing myself after the age of 2. They reach an airfield with a plane standing by, which is full of other inmates. A merciful U.S. Marshal allows Piper to pee before takeoff, but he complains that she’s peeing too slowly — so she tries harder.
They land in Chicago, and it was at this point that I started panicking that we’d left all our faves back at Litchfield and we were now doomed to watch The Piper Chapman Show, and effectively rehash all of last season’s privileged-woman-in-prison tropes, except in freezing temperatures this time. I turned to my wife:
Me: I swear to everything, if we don’t see the other characters anymore, I am never watching this show again!
Wife: Ssshhh. I’m watching.
Me: I’m serious — Piper is boring white bread next to the rest of these characters and—
Piper is assigned to a room, where she immediately stomps on a massive cockroach that was acting as a cigarette courier for the inmates. Oops. They tell her that she must deliver a new bug, or face the consequences. She also learns that this is no low-security prison — they are to remain in the room at all times except for meals and one hour of yard time per day. Yikes.
We still don’t know why Piper is there — she thinks she’s been transferred because she killed Pennsatucky, which seems to make sense after last season’s brutal beat-down.
In the yard, Piper causes a fight to break out by being clueless, as usual. We are all shocked to see Alex on the yard as well. Why on Earth is she there as well?
Me: Okay, this is ridiculous writing. Why would they both get transferred halfway across the United States? No.
Wife: Hush, I can’t hear.
Piper ends up trading her worn panties (uh, gross) to get a note delivered to Alex. She meets with her and discovers that Pennsatucky is not dead, and they’ve both been transferred to testify against Kubra, Alex’s drug lord boss.
Me: …Okay, fine.
Alex tells Piper that she can’t tell the truth on the stand — that Kubra has ways of paying back people who rat on him. Piper struggles with the decision to tell the truth or not, and we get to see another flashback to little!Piper, who is skipping school to see an R-rated movie, and sees her father carousing with a woman who is not her mother. Piper tells her mother, who promptly grounds her for seeing the movie and totally disregards the information about her cheating scum husband.
Piper lies on the stand, protecting herself against Kubra’s wrath. Later, in a cell, the attorney lambastes her for lying on the stand, telling her that she may face more time for committing another crime. Immediately after, Piper sees Alex being freed from prison because she did tell the truth on the stand, implicating Kubra in his crimes. Piper screams at her through the bars of her cell.
This episode was an interesting re-imagining of episode 1 from the first season, with Piper being thrust into an unfamiliar environment with aggressive inmates. It was an interesting angle, but I spent most of the episode annoyed that we weren’t getting to see everyone back at Litchfield.
My hope for the next episode: more backstories from the women, less Piper, and can we please get Miss Claudette out of Max?