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Monday, May 26, 2014

10 Questions For Season 2 Of Orange Is The New Black

Every episode of Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black gets released on Netflix on June 6th. I just re-watched Season 1 (again) in preparation for the upcoming season, which is only 10 days away. The first season got me psyched up for more episodes. It also purposefully left a lot of things open-ended in preparation for its second season. Here are 10 Questions For Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black:

10) What will the main cast look like in Season 2?

Last year, there were only six actors that were considered part of the main cast (slash were in the opening credits). They were Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman), Laura Prepon (Alex Vause), Michael Harney (C.O. Healy), Michelle Hurst (Miss Claudette), Kate Mulgrew (Red), and Jason Biggs (Larry). However, the actual cast is so damn huge and full of characters we love, that I have to imagine more actors like Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes), and Danielle Brooks (Taystee) get a promotion this year. Plus, actors from last season might get a demotion. Laura Prepon is only signed on to do four episodes this season, Jason Biggs is a terrible human being and plays a character we don't give a shit about, and for Michelle Hurst...

9) Will we ever see Miss Claudette again?

The last we saw of Miss Claudette she was choking prison guard Susan Fischer, almost to death. Fischer had the unfortunate timing of yelling at Miss Claudette in order to "toughen up" right after the moment Miss Claudette found out her murder appeal had been denied. Taystee makes the off hand remark that if you attack a prison guard you get sent to Maximum Security and out of Litchfield. Maybe Miss Claudette will return, maybe she won't. Either way, Taystee is Piper's new roommate now.

8) Will Natalie be joining the inmates in Litchfield?

The last time we saw Natalie she was getting a phone call from the police about cutbacks on the prison that clearly didn't exist because she was embezzling funds. She hoped to rectify the situation by actually putting money into the prison (like where the money was supposed to go in the first place), but it seems very doubtful that plan will work. There are clearly going to be some new inmates joining Litchfield, and it seems very possible Natalie becomes one of them.

7) Will Bennett become the new guard to fear?

Part of the charm of Orange Is The New Black is that it doesn't (for the most part) use prison cliches to tell an interesting and engaging story. Part of that is the prison guards in OITNB are not corrupt, evil dicks. The guards, like the prisoners themselves, are just human beings going about their everyday life. That being said, the one cliche prison guard in Season 1, Pornstache (more to come on him later), was one sadistic sonuvabitch. With him possibly being gone for some or all of Season 2, will Bennett now become the guard to fear? The trailer sure makes him out that way. Maybe he's just angry that he won't get to be a part of Daya's baby's life, or maybe Season 1 was just a giant set up for a new Big Bad. Or maybe there will be another Big Bad entirely...

6) Will Vee be the next great TV villain? 

"A woman I knew a *long* time ago came back in yesterday" Red trembles in the trailer. Going back to prison cliches, another one OITNB seemed to buck is the notion that prison is a dangerous Wild West where you're almost guaranteed to get shanked. Sure, we have the episode where Red starves Piper out and the later half introduces Pennsatucky as the de facto villain, but really for the most part, prison is just a place where differences are easily worked out. However, that seems to change when Vee comes into the prison. She certainly seems like a whirlwind force to be reckoned with that is going to shake things up.

5) How powerful will Red be next season?

The power struggle of Red vs. Pornstache made them both losers. When it seemed that Red had the upper hand, Mendez made one last move and had the drugs he was smuggling in blamed on Red. She therefore lost her role as the Head Chef of the prison and seemingly lost all her power. But she's still considered The Mother to most of the girls in "The Suburbs" and Red appears to at least still be integral to the plot. Kate Mulgrew's character was one of the best parts of Season 1, so let's hope she can still be on top in Season 2.

4) Will Laura Prepon's absence improve Season 2?

As mentioned earlier, Laura Prepon is only signed on to do 4 episodes this season. I'm conflicted on this notion because as charisma-free as Prepon was in Season 1, she still played an important character integral to the plot. Prepon is signed on to do every episode of Season 3, and her Instagram account was how Netflix told the world that a Season 3 was officially greenlit. Prepon is clearly not going anywhere, but will her absence this season affect the status quo in a positive way?

3) Will we get to see Crazy Eyes' back story? 

Part of the reason Orange Is The New Black was able to give us a world full of fascinating three-dimensional characters was they told the back story of how a handful of inmates got arrested in the first place. Season 1 gave us flashbacks of Sophia Burset, Janae Watson, Aleida (and Daya) Diaz, and Miss Claudette along with of course Red, Alex, and Piper. But one of the characters they didn't give us a back story on is Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, and she's the one we want most of all. Crazy Eyes was first introduced to us as an actual insane almost villain to Piper, but then she became more than that as we found out who she really was. She loves to act and quote Shakespeare, she does seem to have some sort of mental condition that she's working on, and she has white parents. Crazy Eyes seems to have the most alluring and appealing back story of anyone in Litchfield, so it was a huge disappointment when we didn't see any flashbacks from her in Season 1. Here's hoping we get at least one Crazy Eyes flashback in Season 2.

2) How much will Pornstache be in this upcoming season?

By far and away, my favorite character is Mendez a.k.a. Pornstache played by the incredible Pablo Schreiber. He started off as a cliche and morphed into one of the most interesting parts of Orange Is The New Black. However, after getting caught having sex with Daya in order for Daya to cover up the fact she was having Bennett's baby, Pornstache was suspended. Mendez's job is up in the air. His co-workers say at one point that Daya will be transferred and Mendez will be reinstated while the prisoners believe because he legally raped Daya, that he's done for good. It worries me that Pornstache is barely in the Season 2 trailer, because I fear he will no longer will be a prison guard anymore. For storytelling's sake, I really want Pornstache to get reinstated (and I wouldn't mind if Daya was transferred considering her story line is the weakest on the show).

1) What happens to Piper Chapman?

"I am a lone wolf, and a vicious one. Don't make me rip your throat out" Piper threatens in the Season 2 trailer. At the very end of Season 1, we see Piper Chapman beating the ever-loving snot out of Pennsatucky. We see Pennsatucky's blood and teeth flying everywhere, leaving whether she's dead or alive up in the air. It's obvious that Piper is punished for her actions as the first thing the Season 2 trailer shows us is Caputo visiting Chapman in SHU, but how much did she get punished? Orange Is The New Black is guaranteed to be around for 3 seasons which seems incongruent with Piper only serving a 15 month sentence. As just a practical matter, any punishment Piper receives will extend the life of the show. Having Pennsatucky dead could theoretically mean the show could last for decades if Netflix and Jenji Kohan wanted it to.

But aside from Piper's punishment, how does she handle prison now? Piper was a fish out of water in Season 1, even after being in Litchfield for a couple of months. By the last episode, Chapman still wasn't considered family to Red's group, as Nicky practically had to beg the others to let her in to their Secret Santa. It will be interesting to see Piper fully entrenched into this world in Season 2 and going forward.

And speaking of Secret Santa, how much would it suck to be the recipient of Chapman's Secret Santa gift? She beat up Pennsatucky before she gave her recipient their gift! Talk about a shitty Christmas, in prison AND no gift.


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