Starring: Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley, Taryn Manning, Lea DeLaria, Yael Stone, Michael Harney, Nick Sandow, Selenis Leyva, Vicky Jeudy, Emma Myles, Annie Golden, Jackie Cruz, Adrienne C. Moore, Diane Guerro, Natasha Lyonne, Laverne Cox, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Abigail Savage, Constance Shulman, Beth Fowler, Matt McGorry, Kimiko Glenn, Julie Lake, Matt Peters, Lori Tan Chinn, Lori Petty, Mike Birbiglia, Ruby Rose
Coming off of a very strong Season 2, Season 3 takes a while to get going. Everyone is still reeling from the loss of Vee (Lorraine Toussaint, who is owed an Emmy nomination) and the prison is a little on reboot mode. Caputo (Nick Sandow) is now in charge, and he finds it really hard to even keep the prison open. Eventually, the facility becomes privatized, which fuels the storyline for him and all of the guards for the rest of the season.
Piper’s (Schilling) big arc is that Alex (Prepon) is back. How will that work out? Well, with the introduction of Stella (Rose) and a side gig selling used panties online, Piper’s working on being a top dog.
Red (Mulgrew) is trying to find her way back into the kitchen, still. Her relationship with Healey (Harney) actually became one of my favorite things about Season 4. I hope these two lost souls find themselves together in the end.
Crazy Eyes (Aduba) is lost for a while about V, but takes up writing. Poussey (Wiley) might be an alcoholic. Taystee (Brooks) might be the new V. Cindy (Moore) wants to be Jewish.
Daya (Polanco) is about to pop anytime now, and there are questions about Bennett (Matt McGorry). Spoiler Alert: Matt McGorry is a cast member on How To Get Away With Murder. Just remember that. Oh, and there’s a cult revolving around Norma (Golden). And, Lolly (Petty) is back. There are a bunch of other subplots too, but these are the big ones.
I felt that Season 3 was slow getting going, but eventually found its footing. Each season seems to launch new characters into the spotlight. This season, the standouts are definitely Taryn Manning as Pennsatucky (for reasons I don’t want to spoil), Lea DeLaria as Big Boo, Laverene Cox as Sophia (who got marginalized last season, and remains marginalized until late in the season), Michael Harney, Nick Sandow, and Elizabeth Rodriguez. That’s a lot of standouts. Ruby Rose, total breakout star, but I don’t think she deserves any awards. She’s just really hot, confident, and totally deserves some film roles. If the X-Men are looking for a Domino, they should definitely pick Rose.
Not as good as the first two seasons, but still good for other reasons. I felt like they started to make up ground and get Piper to be an interesting character again. I started liking Alex, finally, as a character. And, if you can make Pennsatucky the character everyone roots for… that’s a huge plus in my book.
Next season it looks like will be nuts. My advice to the producers: You already have a GIANT FUCKING CAST. I know you just put yourself in a situation to potentially double that. Please… god… we like these characters already. It’d be nice to see someone actually get freed, for real. Like, shouldn’t someones time be up already? ANYONE? It’s been three seasons. Also, I’m pro-Red/Healey. Just so you know.
FINAL GRADE: B+