Recap: Orange is the New Black Episodes 8-10

Written by Dylan Brandsema

Orange is the new Black Episodes 8-10 Review

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EPISODE 308: “Fear, and Other Smells”

There’s a funny sequence towards the middle of “Fear, and Other Smells” in which Piper (Taylor Schilling), stands up on a table outside and, in an effort to convince some of her fellow inmates to join her used underwear scheme. She gives an epic speech (a vagina monologue, if you will) that seems like something right out of Spartacus, or any of those epic battle stories. The orchestral score swells up as she stands atop the table spewing this motivational soliloquy, and for a moment, Orange Is The New Black becomes a totally different show. This moment is very out of place with the rest of the episode, and unbelievably cartoonish, but it works, and it sums up well the approach the writers have taken to this season.

Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix

This new, kind of jump-the-shark storytelling style has both hurt and benefitted this season. Sadly, this episode conforms to ladder of those two, specifically in a desperate storyline involving Soso. Apparently, she’s depressed, and apparently, she felt the need to tell Healy (Michael J. Hearny) about it, and apparently, he’s giving her a prescription. The word “apparently” was used in to describe those actions because that’s how it feels when viewing the episode. You sit, watching the scene play out between the two, and wonder why. To make it even more out of place, this happens in the middle of the episode, and is never mentioned again, treated as if it never happened. Every once and a while in television shows, there’s a story that seems like the writers pulled it out of their ass just to fill up their toilet bowl – this is one of those times. What relevance does this have to any of the other several stories currently playing themselves out? In the scope of this show’s overall landscape, where does Soso get the right to become so important? Who cares?

Two episodes ago, in “Ching Chong Chang,” Litchfield was treated with the arrival of our friend from Chicago, Lolly (Lori Petty). Her purpose at Litchfield, and how she got there, was never adressed, and, in a way, it still isn’t, but here, she provides us with worry. Throughout the episode, she can often be seen staring across the room at Alex (Laura Prepon) – eyeing her, observing. As anybody would, Alex grows concerned, as do we, and, in the episode’s final shot, we see Lolly taking notes. She’s writing down what Alex does with her day – her schedule. What’s she up to and why she’s so obsessed with Alex is for us to ponder in the back of our minds. Something is about to happen.

Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix
Photo Credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix

The highlight of the episode comes with its backstory. While this season has gone out of its way to explore characters (whose true colors we haven’t before seen) this one puts Alex at the helm for the first time in a long time. This also where Laura Prepon gets another chance to shine. Her performance this season has already been levels over the previous two, specifically in this season’s second episode “Bed Bugs and Beyond,” but in this episode’s backstory, which delves delves further into Alex’s time in Kubra’s drug ring, she’s doing exemplary work. The question exists though, do the flashbacks add anything to Alex’s character? Do we learn anything we haven’t already that will be of value to know going forward? Chances are, probably not. Does it matter, given the effort that was put into them? Chances are, probably not.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10

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