Monday, October 15, 2018

What I’m Watching: Orange is the New Black (Season Premiere)

Orange is the New Black: Season 6, Episode 1 “Who Knows Better Than I?” (B)

I’m getting a start on this show only two and a half months after its premiere, and I also think that I’m one of the few who very much liked the riot-centric fifth season. I’ve read that this is a return to form for the show, one that I don’t feel is necessary given the quality I’ve seen consistently since it started. This hour, on the other hand, takes everything in a dark new direction, one that I’m not sure I like. This show has always lived in a weird place somewhere between comedy and drama, and even with Sophia being in solitary and both Humphrey and Piscatella being horrible to the inmates, it never really crossed a line into truly disturbing territory before. That was on full display here, with Taystee being beaten, the guards making Gloria and Maria make out as a punishment, and the two least villainous guards playing “fantasy inmate.” I know this show was never supposed to make prison look glamorous; I think I had just gotten used to the deplorable guards we already knew, all of whom are completely absent now. Providing plot updates through game show and musical hallucination numbers from Crazy Eyes was creative if nothing else, and Piper answering “Where is Alex?” to each of Alex Trebek’s question was the most entertaining - and informative - part. I hope that we’ll soon get back to some semblance of (relative) normalcy for these inmates and another superb season of this great show.

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