Monday, June 9, 2014

REVIEW: 'Orange Is the New Black' - Vee Tries to Shake Things Up & Suzzanne Gets Some Appreciation in 'Hugs Can Be Deceiving'

Netflix's Orange Is the New Black - Episode 2.03 "Hugs Can Be Deceiving"

Piper is challenged by her Soso experience. Morello gets her heart broken. A figure from Taystee's past arrives to disturb the status quo.

Suzanne is one of the most sympathetic figures on Orange Is the New Black. She's not crazy. She's just often misunderstood. That has lead to a couple of great comedic moments - look no further than episode two's discussion of what she wants to do in life. But she's also an outcast. She has been an outcast for her entire life. We all love her because she is different. But in a sociological hierarchy environment, she's often shunned and mistreated. Even when she is finally accepted into a group, it's only because Vee is manipulating her. Vee treats her much better than her fellow inmates but she's also just using her in order to retake control of the prison. That's so devastating for the audience. It's gonna lead to a massive emotional letdown later on. But right now, it's very uplifting for Suzanne. For once, she feels important and special. Only she can retrieve the cigarettes for Vee. And once she does, she is appreciated much more than she has ever been in her entire life.

Heading into the second season, I'm positive the flashbacks we were most interested in seeing were Suzanne's. She's a great character but one that doesn't necessarily need a ton of explanation. We see a lifetime of pain in her all the time. What Uzo Aduba has done with the role is simply amazing because it could really easily become a cartoonish character. So it's not completely necessary to physically see her in pain and struggling before her time in jail. And yet, I didn't mind the sequences at all here. They helped showcase how she has always been different but had supportive parents pushing her to do things anyway. And then, there was the thematic circle of life of learning how she got her signature hairstyle just in time for Vee to change it up for her. Additionally, we don't learn how she ended up in Litchfield at all. That reveal wasn't necessary here and yet I'm still so intrigued to learn what happened.

But more importantly, we learn that Suzanne was also there the night of the Christmas Pageant when Piper was beating up Pennsatucky. It's because of her that they are both out of solitary. And Piper is so appreciative of that fact once the two finally interact again. Suzanne is scared of her but Vee has given her the confidence to stand up to the girl she was once infatuated with. She really is a Garden Rose no matter what Vee or Piper's actions really say.

But trouble is brewing all over Litchfield. Nicky and Big Boo are having fun but everyone else's lives are in turmoil. Red is frightened into bringing herself together after learning that Vee is back in. And Vee is really trying to shake up the dynamics of the prison. Right now, the Latinas seem to be in charge. They run the kitchen so they control a vital component of everyone's lives. And those girls seem to be more carefree. When Suzanne is having that brief moment of happiness that she sang in front of people - albeit as part of a group - it's the Latinas that bring her crashing down to reality. The race lines are being drawn - with Vee forming an alliance of strong independent Black women. This shakeup is going to be major and I can't wait to see what the fallout will be.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Hugs Can Be Deceiving" was written by Lauren Morelli and directed by Michael Trim.
  • Black Cindy's reaction to first seeing Piper: "Oh shit, she has risen."
  • There's growing dissension amongst Pennsatucky and her former crew. Hmm, that should be important later.
  • But I loved Pennsatucky trying to get people to notice and talk about her new teeth.
  • Larry's gonna help the guy looking into fraud of the prison's money and he's also starting to date again. Okay, still don't care.
  • I still really don't care for the Bennet-Daya relationship. Maybe it will get interesting once she starts showing and they have to deal with those consequences.
  • Also, Christopher is getting married to someone else and that wrecks Morello to her core. Planning for that wedding has been her core characteristic since the very beginning. It's a profoundly emotional moment that shows that she is so much more than a stereotypical accent.
  • I'm kinda really digging all the flashback sequences this year starting with the focus character when they were just a child. It showcases that they largely are the same people they have been throughout their entire lives.
  • Not sure what to make of Soso so far.