What’s the one thing that tops prison dramas? That’s right. Lesbian prison dramas.
Returning tomorrow (June 17) for its fourth season, Orange is the New Black promises to bring whole lot of colour back to the small screen.
Binge-enthusiasts will remember the endearing final scene of season three, where hundreds of escaped inmates enjoyed a rejuvenating dip in a nearby lake. Picking up where the last episode left off, season four takes a darker turn. Competently putting a stop to the most well-behaved prison break in television history, the guards make sure the women’s joy is short-lived. It’s back to business as usual for Piper and pals—which means viewers can expect riveting scenes of smuggling contraband, bunk disputes, and trying to figure out who keeps taking a shit in the showers.
But season four has plenty of new material to keep long-time OITNB fans glued to their laptops. Remember that huge influx of inmates the show promised? They’re here. Unsettling the power balance created by the prison’s racial divides, the new prisoners bulk out one particular group—the Dominicans—with unsettling effects. That’s bad news for everyone’s favourite good-girl-gone-bad, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling). Finding out the hard way that you can’t patent an idea, Chapman’s monopoly on the soiled-panty business (yes, you read that right) comes under threat from some unlikely Latin rivals—and the stage is set for some intense prison conflict.
Chapman is not the only one whose life behind bars takes a turn for the worse. Remember Alex Vause’s (Laura Prepon) dramatic strangling at the end of last season? No spoilers, (but, spoiler) she’s still alive. A shared secret pushes Vause and Lolly Whitehill (Lori Petty) into an uneasy alliance, and threatens to put them both away for life if the truth is discovered. Now that’s intrigue.
Making sure the show’s format doesn’t become tired, the new season of OITNB rewards viewers with a host of new characters—and none more engaging than Litchfield’s new celebrity, Judy King (Blair Brown). Granted, she might only be a small-time chef from daytime TV. But King charms the inmates, leaving Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) tongue-tied, councillor Sam Healy (Michael Harney) smitten, and a whole lot of people angry at her special treatment.
OITNB might be entering its fourth season, but it still has plenty left in the tank. Make sure you buy enough chips, because this is well worth the binge.
Orange is the New Black is out on Netflix Friday (June 17)