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S2 : Ep. 7-9

      Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E09_40_OZ_Of_Furlough_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_1977 I’ve come to the realization that V is one “bitch” you do not want to mess with. From her previous status in prison to her current it is obvious that V knows exactly how to play the system. She’s a person who constantly feels the need to be the top dog or be head of the food chain. Which will obviously cause a lot of problems considering each racial group has the exact same need, though it may not be as strong. She is a ruthless person, even using her abilities to take out anyone in her path. This first being the Black woman that was leader before her
and then Red whom used her vendors to bring goods into the prison. It displays that V has a need to be in control of everything and basically dictate others. The fact she was able to betray a friend like Red early on by having her jumped makes one question what other sever actions is she willing to commit to get what she wants.Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E09_40_OZ_Of_Furlough_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_1208

From this comes to the theme of social hierarchy. Currently this is being challenged with each racial group trying to
find a way to get on top. And it seems that the only way to do this is to have means to offer inmates, V selling Cigarettes, Red bringing in goods, or Gloria just supplying the food. Back in Red and V’s day all it took was fear and intimidation to control the prison but now overtime with more lesser crimes bringing people in these women have to find different ways. Kind of portraying the outside world hierarchy in prison in which the people who run the country are actually those who provide the goods for consumers. In which big businesses are the real controllers and these women are just mimicking it.

Now it’s time for our star of the show, Piper. Piper has been granted furlough, something that is rarely if ever seen in prison. As she’s finally gain access to the outside world she’s faced with many of the common views of her. Mainly of previously being a Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E09_40_OZ_Of_Furlough_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_0752wonderful person, child, student and always doing good. And its interesting to see the also drastic
change as people immediately see her as this hard felon, even caringOrange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E09_40_OZ_Of_Furlough_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_0885 more about her imprisonment than the actual funeral they decided to attend. Piper even tells her father who believes she changed that the person in prison is the same person out. Those are Pipers true colors. And it goes to show that either Prison does truly change you, make you tougher or more hostile, or it just brings out the person you always were and didn’t want to admit to being.

Though I did also find it interesting how Healy chose to go above and beyond to help Piper despite his previous dislike and resentment for her. It seems like finally Healy is choosing to put his past feelings and views aside to actually become a helpful Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E09_40_OZ_Of_Furlough_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_1553counselor to these women. Through is own counseling he has realized he must slightly change his ways and fortunately he chooses to do this by being more involved and helping with the inmates. Even choosing to assist Pennsatucky with her similar anger issues, showing an obvious new appreciation and interest towards his job.

Finally I just want to add small details I found interesting in the series that didn’t particularly seem important to the average viewer. In “Appropriately Sized Pots” we see the final transformation of Suzanne and Piper’s relationship. Suzanne no longer feels the need to feel any guilt or feelings Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E08_Appropriately_Sized_Pots_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_1675towards Piper and in a turn of events during Pipers rant about furlough Suzanne responds by throwing her pie at her. A comical conclusion to Suzanne’s, “I threw my pie for you” which doesn’t just so change but also the development of V’s and Suzanne’s parental relationship. Suzanne finally uses V’s words to become more connected with herself and need only herself. In addition we’ve finally seen the tip of the crap iceberg of Larry and Polly, despite being the ex fiance and best friend of Piper Chapman they choose to have sex with each other. Which in all honesty is far worse than what Piper actually did, Piper did have sex with an old lover which is bad enough but Larry decides to sleep with Pipers bestfriend whom is also already married and has a child. So whose the true bad guy? The girl in prison or the guy outside?

 


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S2 : Ep.3-6

Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E03_Hugs_Can_Be_Deceiving_REPACK_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb_0082     After returning from SHU/different prison Piper is profoundly different. We see a dramatic change from the first time she came to Litchfield and the time she returned. The first occurrence she obviously displayed weakness and fear but after returning she shows an undeniable amount hostility but also the ability to provoke fear. A kind of 180 with her character. With the short amount of time she has been sentenced Piper has already let prison life change her profoundly, now she is no longer the scared, timid, white lady. As seen with her short-tolerance with Soso, Piper states, “I am a lone-wolf Brook, and a vicious one, don’t make me rip your throat out with my teeth”. Piper is no longer scared of her actions and doesn’t care so much about the fate of others. This is most likely from the fact of Alex being set free than it is about her time in prison. The fact that she was purely fine with making Soso Boo’s prison wife and practically selling her off demonstrates this.

Many things happened within the span of the last four episodes. We Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E03_Hugs_Can_Be_Deceiving_REPACK_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb_1327saw more and more of V’s true character and her ulterior motives. Though she is fairly new to the prison she immediately was able to establish a dominance there, even use her cunning abilities to put all the black women under her wing. The way she first used Suzanne to infiltrate the group was to act as a mother figure, I think this was huge because Suzanne constantly presents a kind of innocence and childish nature and V knew how to use that to her advantage. She was able to easily impression Suzanne by telling her what she always Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E03_Hugs_Can_Be_Deceiving_REPACK_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb_1384wanted that she “sees” her and that she doesn’t underestimate her. Even using her gift of cake to Suzanne as a way to lure the black girls to her. V is a very smart and cunning woman, even pretending to be weak in front of Gloria so she can get her girls in custodial jobs, from this it is obvious that V had a much bigger plan. She is using these new positions as a way to smuggle in contraband and in turn help herself, and the black girls, to climb the social hierarchy. It’s obvious that V has a need to in charge, to have control, so slowly but surely she’s going to make sure she’s the top dog in prison. But it makes you wonder what else will V do to make sure this happens.

We also begin to see a new, or already present, strong relationship between Poussey and Taystee. Poussey obviously has deep feelings for Taystee, whom she can only return with small gestures or cuddling though Poussey wants much Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E04_A_Whole_Other_Hole_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb5Brarbg5D_0952more. It’s interesting though that despite this constant want from Poussey, Taystee doesn’t feel the need to end their friendship or distance herself. Yet when V makes a comment about them, and its lesbian relationship likeness, is the moment that Taystee begins to feel uncomfortable and further herself from Poussey. This not only shows V’s strong influence but the constant issue brought up about the prejudice and distaste for gay, or bisexual, women. V doesn’t like this type of relationship so she does in her power to make Taystee feel bad about herself or weak so she can turn her anger towards Poussey.

Now I’ll address Larry and his new-found idiocy. In the past four episodes Larry and Polly’s relationship has progressed Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E06_You_Also_Have_A_Pizza_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_1793they are much closer friends before and seem to be much more comfortable around one another. And in “You Also Have Pizza” when Larry kisses Polly this relationship will soon drastically change. Though I find it very humorous, in a dark sense kind of way, that Larry chooses to kiss Polly. Basically compromise her relationship with her husband right on the spot. And it’s interesting how his actions are no different from Pipers. Larry had so much anger pent up towards Piper after her affair and ultimately broke of their engagement. He’s so angry with Pipers actions yet why does he decide to do the same thing with Polly? Larry’s priorities and morals are completely out of wack and Pipers sentence possibly doesn’t just affect her but the actions of those around her.


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S2 : Ep.1-2

orange_is_the_new_black_s02e01_looks_blue_tastes_red_720p_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_NET_1334   In the second season we once again see the harmful side effects of Alex and Pipers relationship. Piper came from a wealthy privilege background and grew up always following rules and was basically you’re classic goody-two-shoes. But after ratting out her fathers affair she was told by her grandmother that its is better to live with your secrets than to speak the truth. And from her father and grandmothers actions we can see why Piper possibly decided to live a more dangerous and adventurous life for a short time since technically it didn’t matter all that much to her family if you did the right thing. Piper finally decides to change this, to actually do some good by confessing on the witness stand of her knowledge of Kubra. For us we see this as a great improvement for Piper, she’s finally trying to do right after her crimes and her actions against Pennsatucky. But once Piper is with Alex and hears her words she suddenly decides to do as she says and forget her whole concept of right and wrong. Piper orange_is_the_new_black_s02e01_looks_blue_tastes_red_720p_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_NET_1506and Alex are both harmful for each other and bring out the worst and the ability to lose any logic or reasoning.

The moment Alex confesses to Piper that she went back on her word and told the court the truth this causes a storm of anger for Piper. Because, unfortunately, Piper stupidly decided to put her faith into Alex and in return was screwed over. Once again. Now that Alex has been given her freedom back it puts to mind how this will drastically effect Pipers actions in the future. I believe at this point Piper is just continuing to spiral out of control, but with Alex possibly out of the picture how will Prison be for her now?

Now we move on to the character I have the most distaste for, Healy. I’m not surprised that he attempted to convince Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E02_Looks_Blue_Tastes_Red_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb_0782Pennsatucky that he never actually saw anything and therefor could have never known what events would transcribe. Even threatening her stating, “No one will ever believe a meth-addled hillbilly over me.” Just goes to show that despite his convincing nature to others Healy only cares about saving himself. Though Pennsatucky is an extreme religious supporter and actions are totally insane I have to give her props for blackmailing Healy into giving her new teeth. Demonstrates she’s a very smart women and knows how to make her way around the system. And well Healy really had it coming.

I’m glad the second episode began to address Taystee’s backstory and how said it was. She was never able to have a Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S02E02_Looks_Blue_Tastes_Red_1080p_NF_WEBRip_DD5_1_x264-NTb_1531nice childhood or have a great family to come home to. We even see that Taystee is a very intelligent women not only from her profound book smarts but her ability to do calculate numbers on the spot. Though it’s sad that Taystee was able to use her intelligence to help out a drug dealer you can see that Taystee gained a new found happiness with V. And despite running an illegal business Taystee had more of a family with V, the drug dealer, than in her group homes. Shows how some people stick with illegal activities or with the wrong crowd specifically because of the connections and relationships they formed around it. And this concept pertains to a lot of the inmates in Litchfield.


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S1 : EP. 12-13

Sadly the first season has come to an end but we are once again left with anticipation to what lays ahead for piper and the other inmates. A lot of events happened in the final two episode that to say the least showed how unsuspecting at Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E12_KissThemGoodbye_net_0832times the series can be. Who knew after Claudette’s appeal crashed she would almost choke the life out of CO Fisher?     Truly sad that a seemingly sweet woman like Miss Claudette will be sent to Maximum Security.

In “Can’t Fix Crazy” Piper and Alex’s affair and relationship have come to an end, to which Alex assures Piper that she may never come back to her, no matter what. Forty Minutes later we see that once Larry has halted his and Pipers Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E13_KissThemGoodbye_net_0922relations Piper once again comes running back to Alex. Though some may believe it is Alex whom draws Piper further away from her reality and changes the way Piper is however in contrast I believe Piper is the one who solely craves Alex. Piper has been the one to start the affair, Piper is the one to send Pennsatucky to Psych, and Piper is the one to run back to Alex despite previously in the day breaking her heart.

Another previous theme that arises again is the common dehumanization of the inmates. This was clearly evident when Caputo talks with Fisher to get her to be more reserved and harsh towards the inmates. He states that these women “aren’t really people” and even shows that he doesn’t know what crimes the inmates have committed but just sees them all as killers especially the nun whom Fisher retorted that she was in for completely different and minor charges. Caputo exemplifies the common society views of criminals that they are all just dangerous criminals, that they don’t deserve to be treated like humans that they don’t even deserve to be given a name but “inmate”.

Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E12_KissThemGoodbye_net_0918Once Taystee comes back I was obviously saddened to see a good girl like her return to prison but after her moment with Poussey in the library her actions seemed reasonable. Once these woman leave prison they are no longer labeled inmates, but despite being free they only get another label of “convicted felon”. Taystee’s experiencing after prison
portrays the common story of many ex-inmates, how once they leave they aren’t truly given their freedom back. They have to commit constant check ins, tests, and even pay several hundred dollars in fees to the prison. Taystee shows that leaving prison is the easy part but living out of prison is the hardest thing of all. Being a convicted felon leaves one ultimately with no home to sleep under, no job to provide oneself for, and no freedom one dreamed of so much.

Now we comeback to my obvious distaste I have presented for Healy. In the final episodes we get a clear view of whom Healy is, a real asshole. Telling Piper that “marriage is a privilege and you are not entitled to it. And to use one of your delightful phrases go fuck yourself.” Now i’m unsure if his response was because of Pipers sexuality, her being an Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E13_KissThemGoodbye_net_1083inmate, or simply because of his anger towards her at the moment. Maybe all of the above. However towards the end of the final episode when Healy stumbles upon Pennsatucky ambushing Piper with a sharp pointed cross and he chooses to do nothing and walk away makes one wonder do the CO’s, prison, or society really even care what happens to these inmates behind those barbed wire fences. I really liked Healy when I first watched the series but re-watching Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E13_KissThemGoodbye_net_1089the first season I come to question how I ever did considering how uncaring he is of the lives of these women. From this conclusion one wonders, does society even care?


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S1 : Ep. 9-11

The moment Piper is thrown into SHU we finally gain insight to what that part of prison is like and why inmates are severely different when they return to minimal security. From the cold emptiness of the rooms to the chained shower Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E09_KissThemGoodbye_net_0377supervisions it is quite obvious how SHU can be horrible to go through. The person in the room next to her even stating “it’s not living, I mean yeah your breathing, but you aint a person no more. You start to hear voices”. Afterward I began to question if Piper truly had a neighbor or if the psychology effects of solitary confinement already had her hallucinating and hearing a voice that was not there, possibly her subconscious. I believe there was never a neighbor and it was a way for Piper to communicate to herself how surreal prison really is, and that no matter what they decide if Pipers time in prison is bittersweet or literal insanity.

After Piper is rightfully taken out of SHU and brought back to “civilization” her experience was the tipping point of Alex and Pipers relationship and essentially beginning it all again. Healy’s drastic efforts in trying to prevent this was the entire reason it happened. I’m not sure what Healy’s reason for being overly infatuated with Piper, possibly because she resembles his uninterested wife or because in the beginning she was a beautiful woman whom actually acted kindly Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E11_KissThemGoodbye_net_0169toward him. Either or it builds the reason I dislike Healy.

In “Bora Bora Bora” we even see the nature of what the prisons psych ward is like. Susan telling Piper that it is 10x worse than anything in solitary confinement and that you can come back from SHU but you will never come back from Psych. This brings back to Piper and Alex’s actions, practically causing Pennsatucky to be sent to Pysch not only messing with her actual sanity but causing others to perceive her as completely and utterly crazy (which for the most part isn’t entirely false). But through SHU and Psych we see how dehumanizing those places are, even literally  caging Pennsatucky like an animal during an evaluation and stripping her down to a bed. Not to mention the previous chained shower supervision Piper experienced.

By the end of episode 10 a huge issue is arisen with the death of Tricia Miller, it not only brings up the issue of suicide but also the constant pressure one is under in prison (due to drug-douche-dealer Mendez). The very contrasting reactions of the death between inmates and officers is both interesting and sorrowful. The CO’s showed lack of sympathy especially coming from Mendez even making light jokes about the girls suicide. This has huge contrast with the inmates whom get together in memory of Miller, the racial barriers between groups is brought down shortly just to Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E11_KissThemGoodbye_net_0580help the other inmates in time of need. Which further shows the close relationship that is brought on the inmates once they go to prison. Just a great big old prison family.
Lastly I wanted to point out mainly Larry’s choice of words in response to the inmates at the end of “Tall Men with Feelings”. When Piper tells him that “These are people Larry, actual people. you made them sound like, like…” “What? Criminals?” Obviously the inmates are criminals and Larry was right in this terminology but Pipers point that these women were people really stuck with me. I’ve learned that there is no one perspective that everything is multi dimensional.The officers and public only see these women for their crimes, even when they have no idea what crime that actually committed. Essentially they are define by their crimes. And Piper Kerman and the producers are trying to point out that this is false, you can’t just degrade someone and define them as only one thing that’s happened. And this is seen throughout the series with these women’s backstories. Proving to the audience and public that these women are real, they have their stories, they are not defined by their crimes, that their crimes do not rid them of their stories.


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S1 : Ep.6-8

Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E06_KissThemGoodbye_net_0130 It’s quite interesting that only after Piper is told that Alex “didn’t” mention her in the drug bust that she actually begins to take responsibility for her actions. As though Alex’s involvement was the only reason Piper felt she needed to push the blame forcefully onto her. As Piper states to her mother, “I made bad choices, I committed a crime, and being in here is no one fault but my own” we immediately see some character development. Though since the information Larry gave her was false we have no idea if these new realizations or feelings will play out for the better or worse.

In one case someone may say it to be for the better as Piper is seen through the episodes trying to find small ways to connect with Alex and apologize for the rudeness she has been displaying. In “Moscow Mule” we see that it is for the better after Piper and Alex are able to connect again on an emotional level through fixing the washing machine.Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E08_KissThemGoodbye_net_0588

However another would say that its obviously for the worst because Larry has possibly caused his fiance to resurrect her past emotions for her ex lover. Another point one might add that Larry has lied to Piper and the events resulting if Piper were to ever find out may be detrimental not only for the relationship between Alex and Piper but also between Piper and Larry. It will be interesting to see how this conflict will play out through the series and how it will affect Pipers actions to come.

Another underlying theme that has been playing is the obvious abuse of power from the CO’s and Healy. Porn Stache (I should really learn his name) repeatedly abuses his power not only by molesting the inmates or using them to complete his own sexual endeavors but also to commit his own illegal actions. Porn Stache uses his power to threaten Red into allowing him to smuggle his drugs through her and again Morello in the prison van.

The abuse of power is also evident in our “favorite” sympathetic counselor, Healy, when he tricks all the prison inmates into thinking they can actually have a say in how things are. And again when his attitude drastically changes with Piper Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E07_KissThemGoodbye_net_1085after she hands over the phone but refuses to really state who it belonged to. Obvious karma is portrayed after Penssatucky comments to Piper “You selling us out? For what,” and a few scenes later the only bathroom door is kicked in by another inmate when she can’t find the phone Piper turned in. Since the show is based, for the most part, on a true story it causes you to think how much of the worlds authority figures repeatedly abuse their power. This then relates to today with the repeated abuse of white power given to police who use it to continually shoot and kill black children and adults. And in turn most are never fired or charged and in fact get sympathy from thousands of people.


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S1 : Episode 3

tumblr_mr77ddpkZV1sefjw2o1_500This episode is one of my favorites among the series because it addressed the important social issues towards transgenders through Sophia Burset’s backstory and stay in Litchfield Penitentiary.

Through out the episode we even see the majority of society’s views towards trans people portrayed through the shows characters. Revealing the over all confusement or distaste towards trans individuals. A major example of this is seen with the warden who refers to Burset with male pronouns and even states “Why would anyone want to give up being a man? It’s like winning the lottery and giving the ticket back”. Not only does it show that being a man in this world is its own entire privilege but also how the general public cannot understand why transgenders are the way they are so they decide to resent them for it instead.

Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E03_KissThemGoodbye_net_0632We also gain an understanding of the discontent the inmates have towards Burset just because she’s a trans
woman. 
Often calling her a “he-she” or “tranny” all degrading terms for a trans person of color.  During Chapman’s visitation she even mistakenly uses “transexual” rather than transgender, another term that is usually very uncomfortable for the community. Red even states how she cant understand Burset and would even amputate her sons hands if they were to ever get rid of their “baby makers”.

As we begin to see Burset’s backstory, her transition stages and finally being out, we also see the great lengths she went
to to Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E03_KissThemGoodbye_net_0926become who she wanted to be. Even going to great lengths to steal others credit information like when she was on the job and taking pictures of the “damage”. When she was taken off her hormone pills and asked her wife to sneak them in she stated “Please, or else this was all for nothing.” Signifying she doesn’t have much regret over her actions because it allowed her to become the women she always wanted to be, which sadly turned out for the worst. Her wife displayed a lot of anger in reaction to her request even retaliating with degrading comments like “be a father to your son” and “man up“.

Even in Burset’s backstory it presented a lot of the continuing distaste towards trans people for example when she runs in to her old colleague and all he can respond when seeing her is “Oh shit..”. Orange_Is_The_New_Black_S01E03_KissThemGoodbye_net_1060And her sons obvious embarrassment that his father is now a “woman” even going so far as to turn his own parent in to the police.  I did find interesting that despite Porn Stauche’s immoral ways and abuse of power he of all people still understood in a way that Burset was in fact a woman now, “I live in the present not the past”.

Overall I found the episode to be very interesting and highly informative because it allowed the viewer to become aware of the many concerns faced by trans people, especially trans women of color.