Orange Is The New Black Season 4 Overview: Best Season Yet - GMonsterTV

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Orange Is The New Black Season 4 Overview: Best Season Yet

After a ho hum season 3, I must confess that I wasnt particularly jazzed for more. What a pleasant surprise! Season 4 may be the best yet. What makes it so good? For lack of a better term, this season is "real". There's less humor and more violence. Racial tensions are higher than ever. The prison is severely overcrowded. The MCC (the private company that runs the facility) is stacking inmates in to make as much profit as possible. A new batch of guards abuses the inmates (in more ways than one). Several prisoners face life altering (and in some cases life ending) events. But more on that later. 

The season opens with Alex trapped in the greenhouse with a hitman (paid for by drug boss Kubra whom she narced on to get out of jail). All the other prisoners have escaped the yard and are frolicking in the lake. The situation appears dire until Lolly walks in. Her extreme paranoia comes in handy. She beats the guy the death... or so we think. Alex later finds he's still alive but paralyzed. She holds his nose and mouth to finish the deed. That was a powerful scene but very hard to watch. Yes, Alex was excellent at selling drugs but she's never been violent. This is going to have a lasting effect on her.  

Where can they hide the body? Frieda happens by. She knows WAY too much about corpse disposable. They cut up the body (very gnarly) and bury him in several spots in the garden. Eeeew!  Eventually Red finds out. They are all worried that Lolly will blab the secret (and thus contemplate killing her). Luckily the guards wont believe Lolly without evidence. She continually thinks the government is spying on her. 

I had hoped Suzanne would find a girlfriend this year. Unfortunately Kukudio is even crazier---so best to stay away from her. The guards make the prisoners fight for their entertainment. Kukudio volunteers (and is beaten to a bloody pulp by Crazy Eyes who cannot control  herself). 

We see a flashback of pre-prison Suzanne. She is working at a Walmart-knockoff as a greeter. She is good at her job (despite her autism) and is named Employee Of The Month. At least I think she's autistic. Correct me if I'm wrong. 

Suzanne's sister goes away for the weekend. This leaves Suzanne alone for what may be the first time. She runs into a boy she knows from the store. Suzanne invites him home to play games. The boy eventually wants to leave. She doesnt understand and becomes loud. This scares the child who calls 911 and climbs a fire escape to get away from Suzanne. He falls backwards and I assume dies. Poor Crazy Eyes. My heart breaks for her.  

In other news, Piper reluctantly gives up the "dirty pantie" business after its taken over by the Dominicans. Maria later expands into a drug smuggling business and uses Maritza and the prison van as a way to get the items in and out. Piper has no one (since she and Alex are having a time out) so joins a group of women. She doesnt realize until its too late that it's really a white power group.

I've never liked Piper that much. I always viewed her as a spoiled little rich girl. However when Ruiz's crew corners her and brands her arm with a swastika, it's rough. This is payback for Chapman's part in having Ruiz's sentence extended by 3-5 years. Now she'll be away from Pepa (the baby she gave birth to in season 1) even longer. I hope we see more of Ruiz next year. She's a compelling character. Red, Norma and Alex later help Piper by turning the swastika tattoo into a window (by rebranding her). Again, very hard to watch. 

A new Martha Stewart/Paula Dean type character arrives at Litchfield. Judy King gets special treatment from the start. She has a private room (no dorm living for Judy), a hand picked roomie (Yoga Jones) and lots of other perks. Judy is full or surprises. She has a boyfriend and a husband. She quickly beds Luschek and later her roommate when they're all strung out on Molly. While I could have done without seeing that, I'm glad the older ladies are still getting their groove on. Older people still have sex. Get used to it!  

Judy turns out to be bigot. She did a racist video back in the 80s. The other prisoners find out and are none too happy. When she kisses Black Cindy to make money from a tabloid, things go off the rails. I really enjoyed the two of them trying to convince Caputo they are a couple. 

Speaking of Cindy (who is one of my absolute favorites), she has a tense situation with a Muslim prisoner. Remember Cindy converted to Judaism last season. Her Jewish name is Tovah. The two later put their differences aside when Abdullah reveals she's hiding a phone in her hijab.  

Other characters include:

Lorna married Vinny in a prison ceremony but she grows suspicious of him. He moves back in with his parents. She sends her sister to keep an eye on him. They may or may not have hooked up. Lorna goes crazy and pushes both away. From what we know of her backstory, this is a pattern. Lorna has serious mental issues. Nicky returns from Max and is addicted to heroin again. Red tries to help her by threatening the suppliers. Nicky eventually goes cold turkey. Who knows how long she'll stay sober though.  

Sophia's character is seriously wasted by being stuck in Max almost all season. Her wife (Crystal) continues to corner Caputo for answers but gets none. Crystal eventually gets the help of Danny Pearson (his father is the head of MCC) to rattle everyone's cages. Ingalls (the nun) gets herself sent to Max so she can get a picture of Sophia (with a camera smuggled in her nether regions). Joe gives this to Danny. Sophia is FINALLY moved back to Litchfield. She and Mendoza make up. Remember, it was a fight between the two over their children that led to Sophia being sent to the SHU.   

We finally get some back story on Blanca. She's one tough bird. She'll do whatever it takes to survive. This includes not bathing and making herself smell horrible to keep from being searched by the guards. She previously acted crazy so everyone would stay away from her. We still dont know exactly how she got to prison. I assume her boyfriend killed the old woman she was taking care of in the flashback.  

The good news (if you can call it that) is that the guards brutality brings the black, hispanic and white prisoners together. Blanca is forced to stand on a table as punishment (since Max is full). She is later joined by Piper and other prisoners. They want Piscatella to resign. Piscatella says he's not going anywhere. He previously told Caputo that Humps should not be punished for making the prisoners fight. If so, all the guards will walk out. 

Diaz is released from prison but finds life outside worse than inside. She has no one to trust, no money and no place to live. Is she ever going to be able to see her children and grandchild again? Daughter Back in Litchfield, Daya falls in with the Dominicans even though Mendoza tries to warn her. 

Big Boo and Pennsatucky continue to be buds but their relationship is impacted when Penn forgives CO Coates (Donuts) for raping him. It seems he finally understands the extent of what he's done. I'm not sure how I feel about this story line but it's definitely thought provoking.  

Maritza gets her own flashback. We see her running a scam in a club. She later steals a car to hilarious effect. What is not hilarious is how CO Humphrey treats her. That guy is seriously sadistic. He overheard Maritza and Flaca talking about which would be worse to eat--  dead flies or a baby mouse. He then holds a gun to her head until she eats something.  
Hapakuka is a new Hawaiian inmate. She bunks with Piper (who initially uses her as "muscle"). Later Piper turns on Stephanie when he joins the white gang. Hapakuku retaliates by giving Piper up to the Dominicans. Hopefully Steph's character will be expanded next year. I'd like to learn more about her.  

There are also several stories about the staff. We learn that Healy's mother was mentally ill. Healy develops a tender relationship with Lolly (although he cant do much to help her). Caputo visits a correctional facilities conference (called CorrectiCon). He hooks up with "Linda from Purchasing". She turns out to be as dangerous as any of the prisoners. While these stories are interesting, the show does it's best work when it focuses on the inmates. 

Now back to the final episodes. Aydin's body is discovered when the MCC starts construction classes in the yard (free labor disguised as training). The guards have no idea who the man is. Head CO Piscatella interrogates everyone. He focuses on Red and wont let her sleep. Does Healy finally turn Lolly in? I wasnt sure. Either way, she goes down for the crime. Lolly doesnt know if she actually killed anyone or not due to her delusions. This at least saves Alex (who still feels tremendous guilt). Healy checks himself into a mental hospital. He has his own demons to fight.  

Poussey and Soso try to navigate their relationship. Washington is close to the end of her sentence and is making plans. She even gets a job offer from Judy King. We see a flashback of why Poussey is in jail. She got SIX years for nothing... trespassing and a few joints. 

Poussey is killed when Baxter Bayley attempts to apprehend her but is distracted by a crazed Suzanne. He has Poussey on the ground with a knee on her back so she cant breath. We also see a flashback of Bayley. He was arrested for the EXACT SAME THING as Pouseey but got a slap on the wrist. There is no justice. Taystee crying over her body was a very powerful scene. Washingon was one of the kindest characters on "OITNB". She deserved better. RIP Poussey.    

The MCC continues to disrespect her after death. They leave her body in the cafeteria floor until they figure out how to spin the story. Did she have a medical condition? No. Was she violent? No. They finally decide to blame Bayley. Caputo holds a press conference but deviates from what they told him to say. He says Bayley will be suspended but can return. He doesnt even mention Poussey by name. Bad move.. especially since Taystee heard the whole thing. 

The final scene has Judy leaving the prison when everyone converges from separate hallways. Tensions are VERY high because Taystee spreads the word about the press conference. 

Humps has been hiding a gun in an ankle strap. It gets taken away from him and Daya ends up pointing it at his head. The others urge her to shoot Humphrey (i'm with them cause he's a first class A-hole). Will Daya pull the trigger? If so, will she ever get out of prison and see her daughter again?   


Grade: 5 Monsters (out of 5). A stellar season-- probably the best to date. Litchfield gets a reality check as the harsh effects of prison hit home. There's overcrowding, scarcity of resources (tampons are NOT a luxury) and sadistic abuse by guards.   

"OITNB" continues to make us think about diversity in all it's forms. No other show has so effectively highlighted women of different ethnicities, sizes, gender identities and economic groups. There are so many excellent performances its hard to choose from. Standouts include: Lori Petty (Lolly), Taylor Schilling (Piper), Uzo Aduba (who is BRILLIANT as Suzanne), Adrienne Moore (Black Cindy) and Danielle Brooks (Taystee). Natasha Lyonne also knocks it out of the park in several scenes (including when Luschek visits Nicky in Max. That girl can seriously turn on the emotions.  

"Orange" has been renewed for three season already. Hopefully that will give us time to learn lots more about Blanca, Ruiz, Frieda, Hapakuku and the others.

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July 23, 2016
Orange Is The New Black Season 4 Overview: Best Season Yet Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 1:17 PM Rating: 5 After a ho hum season 3, I must confess that I wasnt particularly jazzed for more. What a pleasant surprise! Season 4 may be the best ye...

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