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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Orange Is The New Black Review: Comic Sans

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix), Episode 7 of Season 2
"Comic Sans"
Written By: Sara Hess
Directed By: Andrew McCarthy
Flashback Of: Black Cindy


Brief Description: We are most certainly heading for a Vee vs. Red showdown as both make huge power strides in "Comic Sans". Vee and Taystee's crew starting using the tobacco Vee sneaks in to roll cigarettes and their business explodes immediately. Vee uses Taystee, Watson, and Black Cindy as salesmen while Suzanne handles the grunt work. Outside of the prison, Red's greenhouse pipeline is back in full force. Now that she's completed her good will tour, it's time to start making money. We still don't know where she stands with her prison family just yet, but she's certainly on her way to becoming Mama Bird again. Both Vee and Red show that you don't need the kitchen to gain power, as the Hispanics are clearly third tier during this power struggle right now. Gloria, the leader of the Hispanics has to come to Red to barter, and Flaca, Maritza, Maria ( I still need IMDB to look up the Hispanic inmates' names despite the show doing a better job actually telling the audience their names) and the other Hispanic girls can't get enough cigarettes.

The guards also look to regain their power as Caputo issues a five shot minimum (six for Fischer) after the prisoner with Alzheimer's (whom the internet tells me is named Jimmy) ends up walking right out of prison and into a local bar last episode. While we really haven't seen the full extent to the consequences this brings outside of people complaining, it does cause the guards to toughen up, even Fischer who gives the Nun a shot. Some of this is Caputo's frustration with not being able to hook up with Fischer, and some of this is Caputo making a power play for Figueroa's job. I imagine getting Natalie's job will be easier than Caputo thought, as her husband's campaign is in need of an influx of money, and I imagine Natalie getting that money with the reporter snooping around will cause her to end up in Litchfield by season's end.

In "Comic Sans" the guard who really takes full advantage of the shot minimum is Bennett, who ends up locking Maritza in SHU as a power play to being blackmailed. In the trailer for Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, Bennett screams, "You scared? Because you fucking should be!" which led me to believe he was going to be the new Pornstache this season. So far, that hasn't held true at all, although smuggling in contraband though his fake leg and sending girls to the SHU for no reason means Bennett is on his way. With Fischer finding out that Daya is pregnant by episode's end, I'm hopeful that spending all this time on Daya's pregnancy will be worth it. In Season 1, the pregnancy was used wonderfully as a play in the Red versus Pornstache feud. But now that that dynamic is off the table, the Bennett/Daya scenes have been pretty drab through the early goings of Season 2.

The flashbacks this week center around Black Cindy, a character who was nothing more than background furniture before this week. She was always a part of Taystee's crew, but you never knew anything about her. Although her back story is nothing Earth-shattering or really anything that special, Black Cindy now becomes a three-dimensional character as opposed to someone who is easily replaceable. While in Litchfield, Cindy uses her newfound power as a cigarette distributor to get what she personally wants, as that's just the way Cindy is. However, Cindy learns the cold hard truth about how things really work (both from her Mother in the flashbacks and from Vee) and she ends up taking her medicine and working from the bottom of Vee's gang pulling out used tampons from the garbage to make amends.

Piper gets the short end of the stick this episode as her newsletter is now in full swing. She enlists the help of Morella, Daya, and Flaca as well as some forced help from Caputo to create and distribute her first issue. This story line isn't going anywhere right now, but you have to imagine Piper will heed the reporter's request and find out that Figueroa's the one embezzling the money.


* Part of creating your own show, and one of the drawbacks to a "pre-written show" like Game of Thrones, is that you can create scenes with characters you wouldn't normally see together just to see if there's something there. That's what Jenji Kohan and company seemed to have done by putting Nichols and Poussey together at the library. It's a great little monologue Natasha Lyonne got to give that will bring Poussey and Taystee back together.

* "It is a mystery how you people ever lost The Cold War"

* Scott and Wanda, the obese and elderly prison guards, get a nice moment this week as they make up and decide to try and stick it out for the long haul after their huge fight at the bar. Each only seem to get five lines per week, but I enjoy every minute of them.

* It's a heart-wrenching moment when the prison essentially sends Jimmy packing to the curb because they don't want to deal with her or her illness, but that moment would have been far more effective if this episode spent the flashbacks on her as opposed to Black Cindy. There are about a million different characters on this show, that it's tough to keep track and feel empathy for all of them.

* In the game of chess that Vee and Suzanne play at the end, Vee lets Suzanne take her pawn because Vee is quote "playing the long game". Not only is this a callback to Pouseey's rant about Vee this episode that when one of her girls takes the fall, Vee will be nowhere to be found, but I can't help but think this is also an homage to The Wire.

* On Grantland's Hollywood Prospectus podcast, Chris Ryan stated a few weeks ago that the reason he's not all in on this show is because of the "Showtime-ization" of the show, by that he means that there's just too many subplots. I get where he's coming from, but it's the wide array of characters that's the reason I love this show. But with that being said, after seeing the Larry/Polly stuff, even in the week where they finally fuck, I do agree there's WAY too many subplots. I have no way why I should care if Larry interacts with anybody who isn't Piper.

*PORNSTACHE UPDATE: It's now seven episodes in a row without Mendez. At this point I shouldn't even be mad. I don't know why I keep expecting him to show up.

Click here for my thoughts on Episode 1 - "Thirsty Bird"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 2 - "Looks Blue, Tastes Red"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 3 - "Hugs Can Be Deceiving"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 4 - "A Whole Other Hole"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 5 - "Low Self Esteem City"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 6 - "You Also Have A Pizza"


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