Orange is the New Black (Season 4)

NOTE: This post contains SPOILERS for the latest season of the Netflix original series.

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The promo poster for Season 4

What Piper does is try on identities. -Taylor Schilling 

In Season 3, Piper (sometimes dubbed “a clueless white girl”) was using the Whispers work assignment to her advantage; she got a big ego (as we see at the start of THIS season). Well, Maria is NOT going to put up w/ that attitude! Also, the Dominican (who was disowned by her gang leader dad for falling in love w/ a Mexican man) has plans of her own to profit HER girls, the latinas. The numbers work in her advantage, as the prison (now managed by MCC, a private corp.) gets an addition of MOSTLY latina women. 

It’s all grounded in the reality that they DO love each other… -Laura Prepon (Alex) on the (love-hate; complicated; manipulative) relationship between her character and Piper

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Maria (who starts running drugs) gets in Piper’s face in the Season premiere.
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The latinas hold down Piper before Maria brands her with a swastika.

What did YOU think of Piper’s comeuppance (for joining w/ the White Power women)? Yes, she needed allies, BUT (as she often does) Piper didn’t realize the consequences of such an (unholy) alliance! 

When you know something [drug addiction] firsthand, there’s a sort of responsibility, which (for me) can often feel like… you know… too much pressure. -Natasha Lyonne (Nicky)

The relationship between Red and Nicky has been fraught w/ tension b/c of Nicky’s reluctance to get (and stay) sober. As we know from real-life statistics, MANY women (and men) are in jail b/c of drug-related issues; others get into drugs while imprisoned. 

I have my “daughters.” That is my way of surviving w/ my morality- and what I hope to consider- my integrity- intact. The tough side is, there’s a line. If you cross it, you are out. And that costs me as much as it costs them, but there has to be a moral compass. And I adhere to it very strongly. -Kate Mulgrew on the maternal and tough sides of her character (Red)

Red has been one of my favorites from the start; she doesn’t have much to do until later in the season. She’s back in charge of the kitchen- good to see. Mr. Healy seems to have fallen in love w/ her (yeah, we saw that coming); she sternly tells him that “no relationship between a prisoner and a guard is consensual”).

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Pennsatucky/Doggett and Big Boo have one of the most interesting friendships on the show.

Season four has some of the most explicit and complex discussions of consent I’ve ever seen on television. And in a time when there is still so much confusion surrounding consent and anger when it’s violated.

It’s significant that OITNB doesn’t just show Pennsatucky’s reaction to her rape. Instead, it forces Coates to reconsider everything he thought was true, to confront the ugliness inside him and surrounding him that pushed him to a place where he could ignore a woman’s needs for his own basic pleasure. He didn’t think he was raping her, but that doesn’t matter.

And now he knows it.

-Caroline Famke, Vox 

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Lolly and Alex in the greenhouse
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Lolly and Mr. Healy have a talk in the yard.

We see what Alex is capable of when she kills the man (disguised as a new guard) in the greenhouse. Lolly (who becomes more and more unhinged in S4) and Frida (a convicted murderer) knows about this crime; they handle it in VERY different ways. Frida helps Alex bury the dead body in the garden. Alex has trouble sleeping, goes to hang out w/ Piper, and (in time)- they are a couple again. 

Mr. Healy tries to help Lolly, who starts spouting paranoid stories. We learn more re: his backstory; his mother had mental problems when he was a young boy, then was put in a psychiatric hospital. THAT gets to the root of WHY Mr. Healy want to help troubled women. He falls short (of course)!

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Three of the new guards: Dixon, Humphrey, and Capt. Pescatella
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Bayley and his high school friend in jail (flashback)- talk about white privilege.

The new guards (former war vets) are NOT only working at Litchfield, they’re also living in the (built by prison labor) cabins on the property. They have issues and secrets of their own! Humphrey  forced Maritza, at gunpoint, to swallow a live baby mouse and pushed Crazy Eyes/Suzanne into a bloody brawl with Kukudio.

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Poussey (RIP) assists Judy King, her TV idol, during a cooking class.

When I heard that Judy was a cooking show celebrity and she was going to prison for some financial mischief, you think of Martha Stewart right away. [In the book on which it’s based, author Piper Kerman said Stewart was almost sent to Danbury, the inspiration for Litchfield.] She’s Paula Deen-like, because she’s Southern, but Judy King is another entity altogether. It’s just that those two are the ones that spring to mind.” -Blair Brown, Hollywood Reporter

We see how Judy King (veteran actress Blair Brown) is treated better, given her own room, etc. (being a rich and powerful celeb). I esp. liked her friendships w/ Poussey and Cindy. Do YOU think that these were real friendships? 

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Alison (a Muslim) and Cindy (a Jew) are roommates.

Alison (who is Cindy’s bunk mate) wears a hijab (black scarf in this case) as a sign of modesty, due to her being Muslim. She also uses her hijab to hide a cell, which she uses to secretly communicate with her child via text. Cindy (a convert to Judaism) is suspicious of Alison at first, BUT in time, they get to know each other and become allies.

Speaking of unlikely allies… Figueroa dropped a sly bomb on Caputo when she asked him if he knew re: more inmates coming to his prison when he visited her house. Caputo, my the middle of the season, knows that his girlfriend (Linda) does NOT want the best for his inmates. Were YOU a bit shocked to learn that Linda had NEVER even visited Litchfield (though she worked for MCC)? 

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Daya points a gun at Humphrey while the other inmates look on (some cheering).

It’s war. Taystee has nothing to lose; she’s lost everything that she cared so deeply about. It’s time to fight. I think that’s where we will see Taystee go. -Danielle Brooks on what she sees next for her character

The season four finale of Netflix’s prison dramedy OITNB capped a season that explored the Black Lives Matter movement and the injustice that exists in the prison system. 

The final moments of the season see Daya picking up CO Humphrey’s loose gun and aiming it back at him during a prison-wide riot, Attica-style. …After being abandoned by fiance Bennett, losing her daughter and seeing her mom released from prison, Daya has so much pent-up anger and frustration, she might just shoot.  -Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter

Short/petite Poussey is killed by baby-faced guard, Bayley- VERY unexpected/shocking scene! Taystee, who was probably her closest friend, is heartbroken. Soso tries to drink away some of her sadness. Judy King has the star power to right at least some of the wrongs she witnessed in prison. Will she tell the truth about Poussey’s murder?

 

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Shots Fired (FOX): March 22, 8PM EST

This 10-part series examines the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small North Carolina town. It was produced by the successful/critically-acclaimed husband-wife team of Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball) and Reggie Rock Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, Notorious). Aside from the timely/controversial topic, the supporting cast could be a big draw (incl. Oscar winners Richard Dreyfuss and Helen Hunt, as well as Law and Order‘s Jill Hennessey). The leads are two black actors- film veteran Sanaa Lathan (who plays investigator Ashe Akino) and up-and-comer Stephan James (federal prosecutor Preston Terry). James hails from Canada and notably played the young John Lewis in Selma. 

First Look: A Murder Myster (FOX)

 

Actors Sanaa Lathan and Mack Wilds on The View (ABC)

 

Deadwood (Season 2): Episodes 5 & 6

Episode 5: Complications

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General and the blacksmith- two African-Americans in the camp

A short black man wearing an Union Army cap is in the camp; he refers to himself as N****er General (yup, the N-word is used throughout this ep by BOTH black and white characters). The other black man (older/taller) is the blacksmith who owns/operates his own business; we saw him a BIT in S1.

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General and Jane chat and drink.

General is surprised when Jane offers him a drink, then sits and chats w/ him outside the jail. Jane is a good person deep down, though she puts on that tough/cranky persona and drinks way TOO much. After General is tarred (on his shoulder) by an angry mob, led by Steve (Michael Harney- who’d later be on Orange is the New Black), Jane helps him out.

Deadwood (TV) Timothy Olyphant,Ian McShane,Molly Parker,Brad Dourif,W. Earl Brown,John Hawkes,Paula Malcomson,Dayton Callie,Leon Rippy,William Sanderson,Robin Weigert,Sean Bridgers,Bree Seanna Wall,Jim Beaver,Kim Dickens,Powers Boothe,Anna Gunn [dvdbash]
Doc, Dan, and Johnny watch over Al in his bedroom.
Al is on the mend, though Doc (privately) tells him that he has suffered a mild stroke. Al looks VERY serious, telling Doc that NO ONE should know about that fact! This reminded me of how maybe a king (or other type of leader) would’ve hidden their health issues. Later on, Bullock brings Al news of what’s happening in the camp. Now, don’t look for a bromance- they are merely civil to each other.

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Al gets the latest news from Bullock.

Now the BIG news: Alma has been throwing up in the mornings. Uh oh, we know what THAT means (at least in TV world)! She steels herself, gets a male escort (Richardson, the grungy/loyal old cook at E.B.’s hotel), and goes to The Gem. Since Trixie isn’t there, Alma (looking pale and nervous) heads to the hardware store. Bullock and Sol are there working; Trixie is learning the books. Alma calmly asks to speak privately w/ Trixie.

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Alma talks with Trixie re: her predicament and fears.

When they get out in the alley, Trixie instantly knows what’s up (or could be up). Talk about street smarts! Trixie suggests she drink a tea w/ certain ingredients; she also confides that she’s taken it 7 times (w/ laudanum). Alma admits that she’s esp. scared b/c she’d heard from doctors that she couldn’t have children, or if it happened, she could die. 

Later on, Trixie goes to the Doc’s house and tells him that Alma needs his expert advice, BUT won’t go to him (b/c how judgmental he was when she was getting off laudanum- see S1). Doc is surprised by Trixie’s blunt manner, BUT he says he’ll go see Alma the next morning. Trixie says to go under another pretense. I think she has a soft spot for Alma, though they’ve lead VERY different lives. Trixie has been though a LOT of hardship and seen much of life; Alma is more sheltered (though has become less so since coming to Deadwood). 

Next, we see Doc finishing up a check-up of Sofia in Alma’s hotel room. As he packs up, he asks her if there is anything ELSE that she is concerned about. Alma is hesitant before she explains her fears. After Doc examines Alma, he concludes that indeed she is pregnant; it will be difficult though (given some childhood illness she had). He says it’s her choice now to decide what to do.    

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Silas Adams (Titus Welliver)
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Mrs. Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson)

One of Al’s men (Silas) quickly) falls under the spell of Mrs. Isringhausen. Before (boldy) hitting on him, she stayed in his room the previous night b/c she feared for her life (at the hands of Alma). Mmmm hmmm, where is she going w/ this? 

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An angry mob confronts County Commissioner Hugo Jarry in the abandoned bank.
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Bullock escorts Jarry to jail for his own protection.

Seth stops a mob (like in the series pilot) and puts the County Commissioner, Hugo Jarry, in jail for his own protection.

Episode 6: Something Very Expensive

Deadwood (TV) Timothy Olyphant,Ian McShane,Molly Parker,Brad Dourif,W. Earl Brown,John Hawkes,Paula Malcomson,Dayton Callie,Leon Rippy,William Sanderson,Robin Weigert,Sean Bridgers,Bree Seanna Wall,Jim Beaver,Kim Dickens,Powers Boothe,Anna Gunn [dvdbash]
Al meets with a newcomer to town- Lee.
There is a new Chinese (or “Celestial”) man, Lee (Philip Moon) in town doing all sorts of business (incl. selling women and drugs). Of course his angers Woo, who demands that Al (as his ally) get to the bottom of it. Woo hides behind the screens of Al’s bedroom while Al meets w/ Lee. He gets two sacks of money from Lee, BUT I don’t know why. Maybe so Al leaved him alone w/ his enterprises? Or was it for drugs? We know that Lee sold some Chinese women to Cy, though this wasn’t the case w/ Al.

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Wolcott learns that Cy knows about his violent temper.

We see EXACTLY what Wolcott is capable of- cold-blooded murder. He kills Doris (who was a spy for Cy) after figuring out that she spilled his secrets to her former boss. Poor, clueless Doris had NO idea what she’d gotten into! We don’t see her being killed, just her lifeless body w/ throat cut. I was MORE shocked when Wolcott (w/o blinking) killed doll-faced Carrie (his favorite girl). Maddie’s death was just- WOW- I was speechless! I wanted to know more about her, BUT not even that tough cookie could handle such a monster! It wasn’t quite like the Red Wedding (Game of Thrones), BUT it was deadly! It’s dangerous it is to be a woman in Deadwood w/o a husband, money, powerful friends, etc. 

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Maddie aims a pistol at Wolcott’s head.

Cy helped Joanie cover up what had happened after she rushed to the Bella Union. I liked how he (sternly) told her to stay away from Chez Amis. Though Joanie was VERY upset, she borrowed money from the bartender, then had Charlie (who she likes/trusts as a pal) bring around his wagon. The pros were hidden under blankets in that wagon, given money, and sent away that night. It’s NOT safe to be a woman in Deadwood. Only Al saw what was up from the balcony of The Gem. 

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Al wonders what Joanie and Charlie are up to late at night.

There were a FEW light moments in this ep, such as Trixie playing matchmaker for Alma and Ellsworth (w/o Alma’s knowing); also, Merrick’s (obvious) crush on the schoolteacher new to town, Ms. Stokes. I LOVED how Trixie explained the importance of such a marriage- it’s all about the appearance of respectability, sparing others shame, and doing the right thing for a woman in trouble. I think she cares about Alma, but ALSO wants to keep the peace in the (fragile) society. We know Trixie hates Bullock; he put Sol in danger. Wasn’t it weird when Trixie went over to check on Al and told him about her relationship w/ Sol?  I’m pretty sure Sol is in love, BUT what about Trixie’s feelings?  We’ll have to wait and see. The character development here is strong, even more so than the other women; Trixie is a survivor making her own way in Deadwood now.

At the end of the ep- we see Merrick’s newspaper office and vandalized (Cy had sent some of his men to break his printing press and make a mess). Merrick got this treatment b/c he refused to run a certain announcement (let’s say “fake news”) in the paper in E5 under the orders of  the County Commissioner.