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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Orange Is The New Black Review: Hugs Can Be Deceiving

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix), Episode 3 of Season 2
"Hugs Can Be Deceiving"
Written By: Lauren Morelli
Directed By: Michael Trim
Flashback Of: Crazy Eyes


Brief Description: Yes! We finally get a flashback episode of Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren. Yet, at the same time, the flashbacks felt somewhat of a let down. It's possible that we as Orange Is The New Black fans, myself included, anticipated a Crazy Eyes flash back episode too much that frankly anything was going to be disappointing. However, I think the real reason it felt like a let down was because there's so much more in Suzanne's background, that what we got in this episode was only the teeny-tiny tip of the iceberg. Similar to the flashbacks that we saw of Piper in Episode 1 of Season 2, we only saw a little bit of what makes this character tick in general, and not what got her into prison to begin with. We knew that Suzanne actually has a legitimate mental disorder, but that wasn't really explored too much in this episode. Some of the reason Suzanne is the way she is is because she was a black girl growing up in white suburbia, but as we see with Litchfield itself in a sense, race isn't the only factor. I wished we got a little bit more about who Suzanne really is, and the flashbacks here seemed so sparse, that there feels like there's a plethora more material to cover.

Crazy Eyes is probably the only person in Litchfield who will do favors because she wants to, and not because it's a means to an end. We saw that in Season 1 when Crazy Eyes gave Piper materials to make Red's special cream when Piper was getting starved out. Others like Sophia and Taystee needed to actually be bartered with, but Suzanne did it just for the HOPES to become Piper's prison wife and to get affection in return. Not even for the guarantee of it. When the powerful Vee gives that affection to Suzanne, Crazy Eyes goes into the warehouse to pick up a pack of smokes Vee left behind many, many years ago.

Vee, on the other hand, is absolutely the type of person who barters and trades in order to gain power, and solely for self-interest. Vee uses her power of seduction as a building block, and at first, the only person she's able to suck in is Suzanne. However, getting to Suzanne gets her cigarettes back which in turns buys her a cake which in turn buys back not only Taystee's loyalty, but the loyalty of Taystee's crew. By the very end of the episode, Vee seemingly has replaced Red as the new Mother Hen of Litchfield.

The trailers made Vee out to be the new Big Bad of Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black, and we certainly seemed to be heading in that direction before Red and Vee finally meet. But, like with everything OITNB does, our expectations are averted and Vee and Red act as if they're life long friends. There certainly seems to be an undercurrent of animosity between the two, but Vee doesn't seem poised to become the mafia boss of the prison, just maybe something to like what Red was last year. Powerful, but not violent.

Vee is there to make trouble for Piper though through Crazy Eyes. Having a Suzanne-centric episode allows the viewer to see a little bit more as to what happened after the camera faded to orange at the very, very end of Season 1 last year. Taking out her frustrations on freezing up during the Christmas pageant and being reminded of the pressure her white mother put on her, Suzanne punches Piper in the face in the middle of the Pennsatucky/Piper fight. Not only did Suzanne save Piper by making the fight appear to be a fair one and thus allowing Piper to be removed from SHU, but probably Pennsatucky's life as well. After an awkward encounter earlier in the episode, Crazy Eyes and Piper appear to make amends at the very end, until Vee's words come into Suzanne's head and she realizes that Piper is just a weed standing in her way.

Lastly, speaking of Piper, she's now back from Chicago and out of SHU in Litchfield. I wish the show had spent just a tad more time about the aftermath of her decision to lie on the stand in Chicago and what happened at the end of her stay in the mixed-gender Chicago prison, but we'll either get that later in the season/series or it's just not important enough to the plot. No matter, Piper gets a dose of how she comes across to the other inmates as she's forced to bunk with Brook Soso, an annoying know-it-all who sits in Piper's bed and forced bad-ass Piper, one of her better sides, to come out. "I am a lone wolf, and a vicious one. Don't make me rip your throat out" seethes to Soso.

"Hugs Can Be Deceiving" was an excellent showcase for how people seem nice on the outside, but are really lions waiting to be released on the inside. Piper appeared nice to Brook until Soso immediately rubbed Piper the wrong way. I'm sure the hug between Red and Vee seems nice and hunky dory to the viewer now, but we'll see how long that lasts as Red glares at Vee at the end of the episode.


*The camaraderie between Taystee and Poussey continue to be the funniest parts of the show. Last year, we had the two pretend to be white and discuss politics. In this episode, having the two on the same team during a game of Celebrity is just comedy gold. Frankly, that entire crew is just fun to watch no matter what they're doing.

*I loved the little moment of Piper slamming her hands on the table in the cafeteria and immediately getting scolded for it. "Watch it, Chapman!"

*I'm glad that we have Piper back in Litchfield and that this happened so quickly after she left to go to Chicago. Yet even though Piper turned herself in months ago, I'm pretty sure the only person we see her voluntarily interacting with in this episode is Nichols. As Piper found out herself, prison dislikes uppity bitches.

*Yael Stone gets a shit ton to do in this episode as the show actually explores what Nichols told Morello last season- that her fiance Christopher is not going to marry her. Not being able to hear Morello's sister voice took me out of that initial scene, but Stone's facial expressions throughout this episode are superb. I'm sure Yael Stone will finally be one of the many contenders who gets her name thrown into the Emmy eligibility ring next year. Hearing about Christopher's marriage and how it will occur on *her* date drives her right back into the arms of Nichols.

*PORNSTACHE UPDATE: It's been three episodes without Pablo Schreiber. This is very upsetting.

*We're moving ever so slowly seeing Natalie end up in Litchfield as the reporter recruits Larry to help him get his story.

*Oh, are Daya and Bennett having a baby together? I honestly didn't know because I fall asleep during those scenes.

Click here for my thoughts on Episode 1, "Thirsty Bird"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 2, "Looks Blue, Tastes Red"


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