‘Orange is the New Black’ season 2 pre-cap: Standing still is hard

Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series from the brilliant Jenji Kohan and based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, was released today. Chances are you’ve heard of it. This show is so important for so many reasons, not least because it’s hilarious, so for those needing a reminder to cancel weekend plans and scour Eat24 for delivery deals, here’s my non-exhaustive though no less shameless flattering of a S2 pre-cap.

The show left off on the night of the Christmas play. Tiffany Doggett (Taryn Manning), or Pennsatucky as she’s affectionately called, had followed Piper (Taylor Schilling) through the back door, spotting her chance to make good on God’s will and carry out the exorcism of Piper Chapman. Manning, a usual casting suspect in these more distressed types of roles (Hustle and Flow), is a force of a half-pint and owns the seductive, charismatic piece of walking white trash effortlessly.

Ms. Tucky is many things: A leader, a visionary, a pugnacious jailhouse messiah, a Bible-thumping gnarl-toothed maniac who puts the Westboro clan to shame. But to Piper, she’s a both a pariah and a massive existential threat, physically, spiritually and psychologically. Because the things she’s not — codependent, insecure, at the mercy of a WASP complex — are all Piper trademarks, the culmination of which are coming home to roost. Try as she might to dismiss Doggett as crazy, Tucky truth is stranger than fiction.

Only days had passed since Larry's (Jason Biggs) Hail Mary proposal to tie the knot with Piper before she’d served her sentence, and she was settling into this recently hedged bet when a call to him had thwarted the whole thing.

His secret rendezvous with Alex, Piper’s ex-girlfriend-in-residency (played by a punked-out sexpot Laura Prepon — who, after some threatening contractual issues, is back for part of Season 2 and most of the presumed Season 3), laid painful cement on ground he knew in the most vulnerable corners of his heart was far from unpaved. Pipes was not blameless in her infidelity after all, and he’s tired of treading her emotional wave pool. The wedding is off, indefinitley. Alex won’t look at her — “Never Again” still singeing her ears and searing her heart. Piper is completely derailed.

“You’re not worthy of God’s love. You’re not worthy of nobody’s love,” Pennsatucky declares. It’s when Tucky delivers these words from on high that Piper goes full Pacquiao on her, the symbolic sounds of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” closing out the season finale.

An overarching theme of the show deals with the painful process of intimate self-reflection, coming face to face with who you really are when the distractions of free citizenry are left on the other side of the bars and fellow inmates see right through your charades, mastered though they may be. Self-deception is comfortable and Piper is having a tough time with these new rules, and how Season 2 explores the consequences of aforementioned roosting will further drive home the show’s societal and individual relevancy.

Keeping in mind that much of Orange’s rich soul is born from first disarming then flipping our preconceived/misconceived realities on their heads, is the Pornstache report. Officer George “Pornstache” Mendez, played by a deliciously barbaric Pablo Schreiber, wound up a favorite antihero toward the later half of 2013’s Orange craze. He’s a sadistic clown looking out for No. 1., evidenced by more than just his closet-hosed cover-up of Tricia’s (Madeline Brewer) tragic overdose and what’s become of poor Red (Kate Mulgrew). He wears his mustache namesake proud and his misogynistic loneliness on his sleeve, and given our especially ” target=”_blank”>epitome of class and elegance, and women everywhere should strive to be half the woman she is. 

There’s a scene in the Season 1 episode “Blood Donut,” where Piper takes it upon herself to ” target=”_blank”>@meldoinwell.