Things are about to get real at Litchfield Federal Corrections Facility, and it looks like a class and race war might be in the cards on this season of Orange is the New Black.
While the premiere, “Work That Body For Me” was a strong opening, “Power Suit” introduces new blood into the population and shifts the dynamics between the inmates in more ways than one.
Season 3 ended with the installation of new beds in the dorms. Instead of each cube holding two inmates, they will now hold four and Caputo states that there has been an influx of over 100 new inmates.
The new inmates are mostly Hispanic, and Flores immediately realizes that this means the tide has turned in their favor and tries to get Maria Ruiz to see what this means for them.
What is particularly interesting about this episode is that it isn’t just the Hispanics banding together; the Dominicans are also rising to power. This is set against the backdrop of Maria’s backstory and her struggle to identify as a Dominican woman.
Maria finds her Dominican Pride again when she comes to Flores’ rescue. She persuades two of the new Dominican inmates to cool their heels and wait while they can plan their revenge.
The thing about Orange is the New Black is that often times, things get resolved through irony. Maria doesn’t like that her dad spends his time dealing drugs and yet she is now arranging beatings.
Although Maria doesn’t accept her father’s brand of Dominican pride, she is accepting a similar brand in prison. It feels a little out of character for someone who spent Seasons 2 and 3 wanting to be with her daughter, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about Maria, so it may not be as out of character as it seems.
While the tides have turned and the new inmates start fighting for control, celebrity inmate Judy King is also making waves.
Caputo wants to keep Judy King happy so he gives her a room. While most inmates live in the cubes, Judy has a whole room to herself; a setup that Caputo calls “business class.”
Judy King reminds me of Piper in the first season. She’s bright and cheerful and trying to make the most of her stay.
Piper was also determined to make her time in Litchfield matter. She wants to do something with it. In the first episode, she talks about wanting to read everything on her Amazon wishlist and get ripped, but now she seems more involved with running her dirty panty business.
The difference is that Piper didn’t have a choice of prison, and she certainly didn’t get the treatment that Judy gets in this episode.
The situation is perfectly summarized when Healy assigns Yoga Jones to be her roommates. Understandably, Jones is now being given a luxury while the rest of the inmates are dealing with a crowded prison where bodies are more important than personhood. She says:
JONES: I was living a regular prison life in my regular prison bunk, and now I’m the one percent.
Of course, for someone who has spent her time trying to bring about peace and serenity, this would breed resentment amongst the other inmates.
Being Judy King’s roommate also makes her a target, something that is made all too clear when Taystee looks into their room and sees the space that is luxurious compared to their cube.
Let the class war begin.
- Some of the new bunkmate issues are so hilarious. Anyone who has ever had a roommate could relate. Piper’s roommate using her bunk as a leg press and Red trying to deal with her bunkmates snoring were gems.
- Watching Caputo in the board meeting is insightful, but we’re struggling with how easy it is to hate him now that his motive has shifted to profit and making money. I mean, come on, did he really think he could ease the inmates anger over their new crowded spaces with earplugs? Can he go back to trying to care about the inmates and doing like getting Sophia out of the SHU!
- Dayanara and Aleida’s mother-daughter moments over the course of this episode were great. When Cesar got arrested at the end of last season it put her baby in danger. Now Aleida and Dayanara have to figure out how they will fend for themselves once they get out.
- Suzanne’s talk with Cyndi over her soul mate is the cutest moment. I especially love how Suzanne ended the conversation with: “I hope she speaks English.”
- Poussey and Brook are adorable together. Can we please get more of them?
What did you think of this episode of Orange is the New Black? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Orange is the New Black Season 4 is currently available for streaming on Netflix.