Orange Is the New Black: Friends in Low Places – Branded Pt 2 (Review)

Judy King kissing Cindy OITNB

In the previous episode of Orange Is the New Black, Piper was branded by Maria and her gang.  “Friends in Low Places” sees Chapman get a new brand and Judy has her picture taken kissing Cindy.  Nichols puts the make on her old girlfriend while stealing from Red to finance her reawakened drug habit.

Caputo is upset that his education initiative has been turned into “Cool Hand Luke” and Linda pulls a gun on Sophia Burset’s wife.  She turns up at Caputo’s house demanding to know how Sophia (Laverne Coxis doing. MCC  is stonewalling the woman and using their private status to withhold information.  Somewhat bizarrely Mrs. Burset is accompanied by her boyfriend.

At the start of “Friends in Low Places” Judy King is still terrified of being attacked for her 1980s racist videos.  A corrections officer even has to watch over the celebrity prisoner in the showers.

Standout Moment of the Episode:

Suzanne “Crazy Eyes”  Warren (played by two-time Emmy winning actress Uzo Aduba) steals the entire episode.  As King returns to her cell with the CO escort, Suzanne swans by with a long white sock on her left hand and arm. Using the sock as a puppet she sings a song from King’s ’80s “racist” video. A truly hysterical moment that shows all too well why Uzo won two Emmy’s for this show.

King later speaks to her biggest fan, Poussey and asks why her fellow inmates want to hurt her. She learns that the “attack” was actually a “paparazzi” moment.  Judy decides to help the enterprising Cindy, Taystee and Alison. She grabs Cindy and gives her a big kiss. Cindy is nonplussed at the action and muses that her mother will see her kiss a white woman.

The former employees of Whispers are called out to the yard for “vocational training” which turns into a behind the walls chain gang. The woman are very impressed with the construction foreman instructor (what a mouthful) who asks if anyone  has experience.

Standout Moment of the Episode Part Two:

Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) makes a reference to the iconic film “All About Eve” to Doggett (Taryn Manning) and the younger inmate goes off on a  riff about Adam and Eve. The expression on Boo’s face is priceless.

Back to the new construction site: No one has prior experience. Then the instructor reveals he needs an  an apprentice is needed all the women, sans Piper, volunteer. The backhoe (digger) breaks down and all the women are handed shovels and hardhats.

Maritza  (Diane Guerrero) is almost caught with contraband and later tries to quit. Maria refuses to let Ramos go. 

After failing to reconnect with her old girlfriend Nicky puts the make on Alex who also turns her down. She does agree to partake in some recreational drugs with Nichols.

Piper is in agony and her brand is bleeding.  Later she joins Alex and Nicky in the cornfield and shares a crack pipe with them. Chapman and Vause then reveal each other’s secrets.   Alex admits to killing her assassin, who is buried under the corn,  and Piper shows them swastika burned onto her forearm.

Later Red helps Chapman out, taking her into the kitchen and changing the swastika to a windows logo.

Honorable Mention:

Nicky Nichols was all wide-eyed in the corn patch.  The eyeliner around her peepers helped emphasis her wild facial expression. She  looked quite mad throughout the big revelatory  crack scene.

Lorna (Yael Stone)is convinced her husband is cheating on her, after her conversation with Nicky earlier. She asks her sister to check on him. Nichols stops by the salon to buy drugs and Aleida  (Elizabeth Rodriguez) is annoyed that Maria is selling drugs in the salon.  

At Caputo’s house Linda proves that she knows nothing about cooking and that she has no problem pulling a gun on someone.  After she threatens Mrs. Burset with the weapon, Linda and Joe presumably have sex.

This episode of Orange Is the New Black has a lot of humor. It also built up future plots by showing that Red  (Kate Mulgrew) knows   Nicky is stealing from her.

Despite the amusing highlights in this episode, the end of “Friends in Low Places” was quite emotional.  Donuts apologies to Doggett and it is a moving moment . As Piper is held down, this time voluntarily,  Red adapts the swastika.  Chapman tearfully says “I’m so  sorry” twice.

Cue viewers reaching for tissue boxes in unison.

With less attention spent on procedures the show was able to spend more time on the inmates.  It served to bring us that bit closer to these prisoners and their lives. Well done OITNB.

Orange Is the New Black is streaming on Netflix. Binge it,  or parcel out the episodes sparingly, but however you do it, watch this show.


Orange is the New Black: We’re Going to Have to Kill Her (Review)

Poussey and Judy King in OITNB

Having come late to Orange Is the New Black has made it difficult  to catch up without binging. Regardless of needing a score card sometimes to learn who is who OItNB is cracking television. This is an addictive show with writing that takes the viewer through the daily highs and lows of the female inmates in Litchfield.  Lolly is a favorite and one worries for her safety after the three “body in the garden” group declared, “We’re going to have to kill her.”

All the characters in the show are fascinating and the use of flashbacks to provide backstory for the main group is compelling. Thus far in season four Lolly is a firm favorite, the fact that the uber talented Lori Petty plays her helps, and she provides a combination of comic relief and tragedy combined.

Of course most of the characters have a good bit of tragedy in their lives, as is shown in the flashback sequences.  This is, after all, prison even if it is a minimum security facility. Episode two was not as exciting as episode one but it did establish more of the characters in the show.

The new captain of the guard man-mountain Piscatella (Brad William Henke) for example is now an established character. The storyline this season has Maria organizing the Dominican population and encroaching  on Piper’s underwear business.  

Lolly keeps freaking out about the dead body in the garden and Frieda (Dale Soules) is the first to mention killing poor Lolly (Petty) to Alex (Laura Prepon). It was Lolly who saved Alex’s life by almost killing the hitman who Alex later had to finish off. 

Piper (Taylor Shilling) is still a legend in her own mind and is setting herself up for a massive fall.

Episode three sees a drone hovering over the prison and Lolly clocks it. Believing that one of the many governmental agencies has found her, Lolly freaks out again.  Soso (Kimiko Glennand Poussey (Samira Wiley) are having a few growing pains with their relationship. 

Poussey is starstruck with Judy King and Soso has a talk with the celebrity chef lying about her lover’s background. The two make up later on and Lolly has the death sentence passed on her again, this time from Kate Mulgrew‘s character.

Doggett  (Taryn Manning) is positive that Coates (James McMenamin) is raping the  new van driver Maritza (Diane Guerrero) like he raped her. Although the CO does not know that Pennastucky considers it rape. 

Another favorite Orange Is the New Black  character, who featured pretty heavily in episode one of season four is Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba).  Aduba has the polish and delivery of a Whoopi Goldberg and her eccentric character is a show stopper. 

Show creator Jenji Kohan has taken the memoirs of Piper Kerman and brought the world of a privatized minimal prison for women to living breathing life.  The issue of overcrowding and private correction facilities cutting  corners and leaving the inmates feeling unsafe is not glossed over and it adds a sense of realism to this splendid dramedy. 

Orange Is the New Black streams on Netflix and all episodes can be watched at one sitting.  It is addictive viewing and not to be missed.