What’s in Store for ‘Orange Is the New Black’ This Season?

Kate Voss

 

The past few years have not only brought about excellent new TV shows, but also a changing landscape for television distribution. Some of the best shows today aren’t even available on ordinary or cableTV channels, but instead can be found only online. Internet-only access to shows is a system that appears to be growing rapidly, especially when considering Yahoo’s recent announcement that it, too, will be producing a series soon.

 

Of course, the reigning king of online Web series is still Netflix. With a power portfolio of critically adored shows such as House of Cards, Arrested Development, and, of course, Orange Is The New Black, the streaming giant has suddenly become poised to compete against previous power players like HBO.

 

Perhaps Netflix’s most vocally admired show is the aforementioned Orange Is The New Black. Critics love the off-kilter dark comedy, a main factor which likely secured the show the TV Program of the Year award this past year from the American Film Institute. The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever also sang the show’s praises, particularly for allowing its largely female cast to explore multiple characters and personas that have otherwise been kept off limits on traditional television series.

 

As Stuever said in his review of the first season, “Watching the show, one begins to realize that all the good parts for women truly have been kept locked up somewhere; now, here they all are, free (in at least one sense) to be portrayed.” He’s not alone in his praise of the strong female cast, with the Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert also declaring, “Schilling is surrounded by uniformly strong performances. [Laura] Prepon is a revelation as Piper’s ex, and [Uzo] Aduba masterfully balances humor and terror as the woman who falls for Piper and calls her ‘Dandelion.’ As Red, [Kate] Mulgrew is a top dog who only needs to be scratched in the right spots to relax a bit.”

 

Even now, almost a year after the first season was released, the series is still being discussed by fans on social media, as evidenced by scores of tweets compiled by social media tracking tool Viral Heat. Even a few celebrities are getting in on the action as well.

 

With the second season of OISTB set to be released on June 6th, many fans are practically panting with anticipation for the new episodes (which are all released at once, making it prime binge-watching material). Of course, speculation about where the second season will go has run rampant since last summer, and Netflix has been good at keeping a lid on all the show’s secrets. However, there are a few major theories out there that seem to have lots of logic and support behind them. Let’s take a look at a few directions this next season could go:

 

Piper & Alex: What’s Next?

 

To say that Piper and Alex have a complicated relationship is like saying the Empire State Building is just an office building. The amount of resentment, tension, love, and anger between these two women is enough to exhaust anyone. Despite rekindling their romance while in prison, Piper still blames Alex for her being there in the first place. There is also the ever-growing strain in Piper’s relationship with her fiance, who broke up with her because of her relationship with Alex during the season finale.

 

 

What we do know is that Laura Prepon, who plays Alex, won’t be returning as a series regular this season. Despite the initial reports stating she would only appear in one episode, the word currently is that she’s actually set to come back for four episodes. This likely means Alex and Piper will go their separate ways and the plot will revolve less on Piper’s romantic life.

 

Will Piper Get Some Street Cred?

 

Season one saw Piper catching flack from her fellow prisoners for being an educated, rich, slightly entitled white girl. While she used her strengths for her own benefit, and helped others as well, she still didn’t get much respect, and spent most of her time being mocked. However, in the last moments of the season finale, we saw Piper finally stand up to Pennsatucky, and the two were in the midst of a full-on brawl before the final credits rolled.

Beating up Pennsatucky (something many of us have likely wanted to do) may just get Piper some respect from her fellow inmates. We’ll see her less as a victim and more as a seasoned inmate this time around.

 

More Sophia

Sophia, played by Laverne Cox, has become the breakout star of the series for her accurate portrayal of a transgendered woman, something regular television series have yet to capture. Cox has emerged as one of the biggest faces for trans rights, and continues to lead an emotional and brave fight for visibility and respect for those in her community.

Cox’s ever-increasing popularity will likely be reflected this season. We expect her to take on more of a lead role, especially since characters like Alex and Tricia are likely to be less prominent this season.

 

 

Red Will Be Back in Power

Red is a character of whom you’re simultaneously terrified and also rooting for. While at first Red is difficult to like, when you learn her backstory you can’t help but understand her actions. Plus, Kate Mulgrew is a dynamic force when it comes to her portrayal of Red, which means the show’s creators would be silly not to showcase it. When Red lost control of the kitchen it was akin to cutting off one of her limbs, and we know she’s going to do everything within her power to get it back (as we have already seen after the fire incident).

 

With so many unique characters and stories to tell, season two is sure to be just as eventful as the first. Many are wary of becoming too involved with such an acclaimed series, due to the knowledge that for every highly praised show that continues its trail of excellence, there are two that buckle under the pressure (looking at you, Homeland). The creative team behind OITNB, which includes the real-life Piper, Piper Kerman, and WeedsJenji Kohan, have no shortage of talent, so we can hope that the series will continue in its success.

 

Season two of Orange Is The New Black season two premieres exclusively on NetFlix on Friday, June 6th.

 

Author Bio:

Kate Voss is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

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