gut reactions

Spoiler Post: If You’ve Seen All of Orange Is the New Black Season 2, Let’s Talk It Out

Taryn Manning (center let) and Michael Harney (center right) in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. Photo credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix.
(L-R) Diane Guerrero, Jackie Cruz, Dascha Polanco and Kate Mulgrew (far right) in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. Photo credit: Ali Goldstein for Netflix. Photo: JOJO WHILDEN/Netflix

When Orange Is the New Black’s second season arrived on Netflix on Friday, some of us cleared our schedules and watched all 13 episodes as quickly as possible. This post is for you, fellow marathon-watchers. We’ll continue posting one recap per day, and there will of course be more stories and interviews about the show, but for now, here is a massive idea spill. Spoilers for the entire season from here on out.

* The song has not grown on me at all. I hate the song more now than I did last season, and I really did not care for it last season.

* If we never hear from Larry and Polly again, that will be okay. Larry didn’t bother me much in season one, but Polly is a trixie nightmare I never, ever need to see onscreen ever, ever again. Come for the petulance, stay for the very grating voice! The only redeeming part of this story is the way Pete pronounced “cuckolded.”

* I wanted Lori Petty to be on the whole season, and I wanted that to lead to someone making a wink-wink A League of Their Own joke.

* What if there were spinoffs of OITNB set at other prisons, like the apparently co-ed one in Chicago? I don’t want more CSIs. I want more OITNBs.

* Lauren Lapkus needs to be more famous. She was so so good this season as the eager, ethical guard Fischer, whom Caputo unjustly fires due largely to the fact that she does not reciprocate his romantic advances.

* “Come on Up to the House” as Cal’s wedding song was perfect. (In fact, lots of the music choices this season were really beautiful.) “Does life seem nasty, brutish and short?/Come on up to the house/The seas are stormy, and you can’t find no port/Come on up to the house,” as growled by Tom Waits, is at once romantic and tragic, especially if you remember that Piper described love as “the feeling of coming home.”

* Is there going to be some kind of fallout for Piper lying to Red about Red’s store? Piper was doing the kindest thing she knew how to do, but Red doesn’t really seem like the kind of person who would be amenable to that defense. She’s way more of a “tell me the truth, I can take it” person.

* “It’s like, step one, pick the person to kill. Step two, kill that person.”

* The most unsettling scene of the season was Crazy Eyes beating the crap out of Poussey. I cried.

* Soso’s hunger strike was framed as worthy of ridicule, but the conditions at Litchfield are deplorable. (And the conditions at real New York State prisons are even worse.) If anything, I was impressed. I know we’re supposed to find Soso annoying and ignorant, but when she stood in the (forced) shower weeping, I felt for her.

* What is the deal with Leanne? She’s the Pennsatucky associate with the strongly blonde hair and splotchy skin. What is her crime? Did she and Angie know each other on the outside? What is Angie’s deal, too? Presumably meth-related crimes, but that could be just about anything.

* Angie pleading “I’m just lickin’ iiit!” was a treat.

* “Inspector Gadget was not a good detective. He just had a lot of stuff.”

* We still need more backstory on: Crazy Eyes, Big Boo (we still haven’t had a Boo episode!), Blanca (and her Hagrid-y boyfriend, Diablo) Gloria, Nichols, and Yoga Jones.

* Soso’s Ferris Bueller theory, that Ferris is a figment of Cameron’s imagination, has been making the rounds since 2009. It’s known as the Fight Club Theory, of course.

* We need more Chang! I wanted to see more of her drawings and scoring system for Big Boo and Nichols’s contest.

* I didn’t miss Alex. The focus on Alex and Piper’s romance was never my favorite part of the show (I know I’m in the minority here; I prefer Alex with Nichols), but Laura Prepon’s absence this season was still way less of a “thing” than I expected it to be. I do wish that instead of getting out and being rearrested, she had spent the season in SHU or had been transferred or something. I know people reoffend, and I know rates of reincarceration are very high, but that story is far less interesting to me than Alex either being psychologically damaged by the time she spent in solitary or by her learning a whole new side of the prison system in a different facility.

* Why didn’t Red kill Vee? And why didn’t Vee kill Red? They both had the chance, and they both tried. Red seemed to change her mind, but are we really supposed to think that Vee — a criminal so hardened she seduced her sociological son to help arrange his murder — would stop short of beating Red to death? The lady knows how to take a pulse, no?

* Miss Rosa’s cancer story line was out of sync with the rest of the show. Her character is interesting, and I wish the show gave us more stories about how career criminals still have the skills they honed, but the Fault in Our Stars sidebar felt strange. (And then to call it out with Vee trying to give her TFIOS … it was too much.)

* On top of that, Miss Rosa’s great escape seemed deeply implausible, and then the perfect coincidence of running down Vee felt a bit too tidy.

* Is Vee dead? If she is, then the whole action of this season has put us back to exactly where we were at the end of last season — nothing changed. That’s possibly a commentary on the paralyzing monotony of prison life, but it might also just be a shortcoming in the story.

* O’Neill and his Vitamix vow? Aaawww. (Plus all that knowledge he gleaned from Sophia’s anatomy lecture …)

* What program is this that Fischer is using to listen to recorded phone calls?

Spoilers: Let’s Talk Orange Is the New Black S2