With few days left to go before the Season Two premiere of 'Orange is the New Black', here are some highlights from the previous season. For viewers planning to binge-watch the entire 13 episodes of Season One before the upcoming release date, turn away for there are spoilers ahead!
Season Two spoilers have begun emerging on the web, due to a number of early reviewers whom have had the good fortune to have seen the previews for the Netflix original series. Last week, we covered what some of these reviewers had to say.
This week, we will focus more on the events leading up to Season One's cliffhanger ending - with main-character Piper Chapman beating "Pensatucky" into a bloody mess. Keep in mind that this will not be an episode-by-episode synopsis guide, and such resources are already available on the internet. Instead, we will go over key moments that drive the series.
As a word of warning, the show does feature explicitly mature subject matter, scenes of violence, and graphic nudity. The show is clearly not for children, so parental discretion is strongly advised.
Season One Recap:
Episode One of 'Orange is the New Black' begins with Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a pampered upper-middle class lady, who is putting her life on hold to serve a 15-month sentence at a women's prison for a crime she committed ten years ago. Chapman tearfully leaves behind her supportive fiancé Larry, who promises to marry her at the end of her prison term.
Piper initially struggles to adapt to prison life such as sharing communal showers, and having to sleep on top of her blankets, prison-style. When she complains about the food, Chapman gets on the wrong side of 'Red' Reznikov (Kate Mulgrew) - Russian mob wife and ruthless matron of the prison kitchen. In an iconic scene that defines the series, 'Red' serves Chapman a bloody tampon wedged between a sandwich at breakfast.
Seen in flashback, the bisexual Chapman naively carries drug money for her former lesbian lover Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), who was running an international drug cartel at the time. As it turns out, Vause and Chapman are staying in the same prison. In later episodes, the viewer learns that it was in fact Alex who had ratted Piper out to the FBI - in an effort to get a lighter sentence. This event creates tension between the two characters throughout the series.
Besides radical lifestyle adjustments, Chapman has to contend with unwanted romantic-advances from fellow inmate Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren (Uzo Aduba 'Crazy Eyes' does many things to get Piper's attention, but is rejected each time. This action however further encourages 'Crazy Eyes' to pursue Chapman. An absurdly dysfunctional love-triangle ensues when Alex starts making advances on Piper as well. Larry eventually finds out that Chapman still has feelings for Alex, and ultimately breaks up the marriage engagement -- leaving Chapman heartbroken.
During a prison lockdown for a misplaced screwdriver, Chapman is molested by "Pornstache" Mendez (Pablo Schreiber), the abusive corrections officer who is used to getting his way in prison. Mendez coerces 'Red' into helping him smuggle drugs, and often trades drugs for sexual favors from drug-addicted inmates. He inadvertently causes the death of 19-year-old inmate Tricia Miller (Madeline Brewer), who overdoses on his drugs. 'Pornstache' gets his comeuppance, after he is caught having sex with Dayanara Diaz (Dascha Polanco), and is suspended-without-pay by the prison warden. It is later revealed that Diaz and the other women inmates had orchestrated Mendez's suspension as an act of revenge for his many abuses. Mendez is unaware of this, and ironically falls in love with Diaz.
Piper Chapman faces the greatest danger to her life from mentally-disturbed Tiffany 'Pensatucky' Doggett, a drug-addict who goes to prison after shooting a nurse at an abortion clinic. Doggett apparently "finds" religion in prison, and believes herself to be a messenger from God. In the tenth episode of the series, Pensatucky starts a 'faith healing ministry', but ends up under psychiatric care after she forces a wheelchair-bound juvenile delinquent to walk.
Chapman eventually confesses that she was the one who got Doggett thrown into psych, creating the first round of tensions. In an effort to reconcile, Piper initially agrees to be baptized by 'Pensatucky'. During the baptism, however, Chapman changes her mind - ending all chances of reconciliation between the two characters. Doggett decides that she must kill Chapman for 'disrespecting' her.
Tensions come to head during the Season One finale when Pensatucky threatens Chapman with a razor blade in the shower room. At the Christmas pageant, Chapman is suddenly overcome with emotions and walks outside for fresh air. Doggett, dressed as an angel for the prison nativity, follows Chapman. Now in the form of a deranged angel-of-death, Doggett pulls out a sharpened cross - ostensibly to stab Chapman. Chapman then kicks Doggett in the groin, and punches Doggett repeatedly. The scene fades to orange, and the series ends on a cliffhanger.
Season Two Update:
Fans of the series will be happy to know that Nexflix is going to release Season Two in its entirety, the same way Season One premiered. This is in large part thanks to Netflix's bulk distribution system for its online streaming service. So, viewers have the option to binge-watch the entire 13-episode season without relying on weekly recaps that can be somewhat annoying.
Most of the original cast is coming back for Season Two, minus Tricia Miller (Madeline Brewer) who dies from a drug-overdose. Recently, Netflix ordered an additional season for the series -- meaning 'Orange is the New Black' is coming back for both Season Two and Three in the foreseeable future.
'Orange is the New Black' Season Two is set to premiere on Friday June 6, and will be available on Netflix's online video streaming site.