'Orange is the New Black' Season 2 premiered Friday at midnight on Netflix's streaming site, and it is clear that the story is taking a darker turn for main character Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling). As a word of warning, there will be spoilers.
Events in the second season follow after the Season One finale, when Piper was last seen pummeling 'Pensatucky' Doggett (Taryn Manning) into a bloody mess. Chapman is quickly placed into solitary confinement. In the dead of night, U.S. Marshals swoop in on Piper, and spirit her away on a prison bus filled with female inmates. The Marshals later load Chapman and the other prisoners on a charter airplane, without informing anyone of the destination.
Chapman believes that she has killed Doggett, and is possibly facing retrial. Roughly the first half hour of the episode is devoted to Piper's transfer from the all-women Litchfield Prison to the much larger maximum security penitentiary in Chicago, Illinois.
Piper struggles to deal with the uncertainty of her situation, and she finds herself having to readjust to yet another entirely new environment. This time, she encounters leering male inmates who are held in a different wing, but occasionally cross into the female side of the prison.
Chapman no longer faces unwanted attention from 'Crazy Eyes' (Uzo Aduba), but now has to deal with the affection of another crazed inmate who is obsessed with finding the perfect soul mate via horoscope.
Just like in the first season, Piper's awkwardness lands her in trouble when she literally steps in the wrong direction. This time, she accidentally crushes a trained cockroach that her bunkmates use to smuggle cigarettes to solitary confinement as part of an illicit enterprise. The enraged inmates claim lost profits, and demand that Piper find them a replacement. The cockroach chase that ensues mirrors the equally ludicrous chicken-hunt of the first season. It is hard to say exactly which character is mentally off-kilter.
At about thirty minutes into the episode, the story returns to the main plot involving Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), the manipulative drug smuggler who got Piper into prison. Formerly lovers, Chapman and Alex have been maintaining an uneasy truce after events in the first season. Piper discovers that she has actually been transferred, albeit temporarily, to Chicago to testify again Alex's former druglord employer.
It turns out that Doggett survived the beating, but suffers serious injuries. Ironically, Chapman's prison-credentials are established after word of the incident reaches the women inmates at the Chicago facility, and she is treated with a little more respect.
Alex convinces Piper to join her in lying to the grand jury, for fear of reprisals. Against her lawyer's best advice, Chapman naively acquiesces to Alex's plea, and lies to the judge and jury. Near the end of the episode, Piper is shocked to see Alex leaving prison in plainclothes. Piper quickly realizes that she has been betrayed again, and that Alex has struck yet another deal with the authorities.
It is implied that Alex is entering the witness-protection program after changing her mind to testify against the druglord. Meanwhile, Piper is left to rot in prison. That is the last of Chapman's worries though, for she still faces the consequences of having lied under oath during trial. Now, Piper is in deeper trouble and is more alone than ever before. In future episodes, the story will shift back to the women at Litchfield Prison.
All thirteen episodes of 'Orange is the New Black' Season Two is now available on the Netflix.com online streaming site. First time subscribers get the first month free, but will need to pay $7.99 a month afterwards.
The series does contain explicitly mature subject matter, scenes of violence, and graphic nudity. This show is clearly not intended for the younger audience, so parental discretion is still very much strongly advised.