Fresh From Prison. Again!
While the first season of Orange Is the New Black serves as an appetizer for this women prison drama-comedy, the second season tries to be its main course. The first episode of the second season takes place few weeks after the she-hulk fight between Piper and ‘Pennsatucky’, where we see Piper getting transferred to a prison in Chicago for her and Alex’s drug hearing. For the season premiere, the first episode felt fresh and different, as if we are heading to a new direction. But alas, the main plot of the second season doesn’t stay long on new beginning, instead the 13-episodes focuses on the new “evil” character named Vee.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the idea of a new character creating havoc among the inmates because after all OITNB is a drama show, right? But dedicating almost third quarter of the season to Vee and her nasty tricks to divide the inmates, while playing race cards and doing illegal stuffs inside the prison feels repetitive and unoriginal to me.
When I saw the teaser trailer of the second season and Vee being the central figure, I was actually eager to see her because Piper is an annoying character and she got on my nerves in the first season. However, once I have finished watching the second season I wished to see Piper’s foolish drama, tantrums and obsessing over her sexuality once again. Because that is more fun than watching the black inmates in a thug-like gang following Vee all day long and Red being paranoid of her old nemesis and yada yada yada. *stretching arms and falling asleep while writing*
Is the second season that bad, then? Fortunately it’s not. Creator Jenji Kohan (known for Weeds) salvage this season by giving us an inside look to the lives of several inmates before their prison time. I personally love the old inmate Rosa’s storyline: a fierce bank robber in her prime days who loves the smell of money. Also, it’s nice to finally see the back story of ‘Tasytee’ and ‘Crazy Eyes’, because I remembered enjoying watching Sophia’s back story in season 1. I also like the way the writers handle Caputo vs Figueroa feud – the last time you see Mrs Figueroa, she will be performing unspeakable things to Caputo! The infamous one-liners jokes of OITNB has also improved, or else going stable, providing many crude and obscene memorable lines for you to used after.
I don’t really get the hoopla around Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman. I don’t think she is a bad actress, but her character is so one-dimensional that I don’t really care whether she is there or not. Nonetheless, I appreciate the effort on making Piper more “mature” and independent this season (although judging from the last episode, Piper still got few tricks up her sleeves!). I’m also quite disappointed by the lack of Laura Prepon as Alex Vause (was she filming at the time? what happened?!). I hope to see her back as the regular character next season, because she is the my favourite character. The rest of the cast fit nicely in their characters shoes. Whether it’s Natasha Lyonne as the pot headed Nicky, Dascha Polanco as the pregnant Diaz or the talented Uzo Aduba as the mentally unstable Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren – these ladies sure know how to entertain.
The second season of Orange Is the New Black is not bad by all means, but it’s not fantastic either. Despite focusing on Vee and ignoring the other characters development, this season have several good and funny episodes that will make you laugh, cringe and appalled as always. Now let us hope to see a better and improved third season!