Orange Is the New Black—Season 2

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still a slick show with laughs

Sometimes unbalanced, takes a while for the season to get going


It is a fight for the starring role!

Litchfield Penitentiary has a new problem.  Yvonne “Vee” Parker (Lorraine Toussaint) is in the house and out to reclaim control from her first stint there.  Her old enemy Red (Kate Mulgrew) is trying to rebuild her power with the loss of the kitchen to Mendoza (Selenis Leyva) and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) finds herself torn between her friendship with Poussey and her surrogate mother.  As Daya (Dascha Polanco) and Bennett (Matt McGorry) deal with Daya’s pregnancy, the power struggle for the prison is beginning.  Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) has her own problems in her relationship with Larry (Jason Biggs) and Polly (Maria Dizzia)…plus, a plot to bring down the prison once and for all is forming.

Orange Is the New Black—Season 2 was released on June 6, 2014.  The sophomore year for the season was met with a little more mixed reviews than the previous season.

There was much debate about season 2 of Orange Is the New Black due to a slow start and less Piper-centric storyline.  While sometimes Piper’s storyline gets a bit tedious, I love the background story of the prisoners…and season 2 delivers that.


Don’t mess with Vee

I sometimes find Orange Is the New Black is a bit unbalanced.  The humor is sometimes a little too slapstick and not smart enough (especially on the guard side).  The show works best with the unspoken humor and I think there is a little less unspoken humor this season.  When the humor hits it right, however, it nails it.

The cast is great however.  Lorraine Toussaint became the star of this season due to being the heavy villain (though I don’t see all the girls falling for her act).  I think Samira Wiley shows some real chops as her Poussey character evolves.  I sometimes feel Taylor Schilling can’t decide if she’s in a comedy or drama and Laura Prepon left for most of this season so that dynamic was shattered (I was done with Jason Biggs and the friend Maria Dizzia this season as well).  It was good to see Pornstache back for a moment, and Kate Mulgrew’s Red continues to be a scene stealer.  I loved Uzo Aduba’s Crazy Eyes first season and ditto for Taryn Manning’s Pennsatucky but felt they were both misused in this season’s storylines.


Pennsatucky has a new life coming up…it just isn’t as interesting

The show does however still look great.  The prison feels real…though I have to think that half the prison’s problems would be solved by a working camera system.  I guess that is the hazards of collapse of the U.S. prison system.

Orange Is the New Black is a great show.  My complaints about the season are minor and merely observations about slight weaknesses.  I do hope that these weaknesses don’t become real problems for the series as it progresses…though I am anxious to see where the show goes down the line.

Orange Is the New Black—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:


“Thirsty Bird”

2.1       Thirsty Bird Airdate:  06/06/14

Piper (Taylor Schilling) finds herself pulled out of the Shoe after her fight with Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning).  Put on a plane, Piper discovers herself in Chicago where she is going to have to face the court and make a decision on turning on her employer…but Alex (Laura Prepon) makes her question her future.


“Looks Blue, Tastes Red”

2.2       Looks Blue, Tastes Red Airdate:  06/06/14

Pennsatucky is back and has Healy (Michael J. Harney) running scared about his involvement in the attack.  Daya (Dascha Polanco) deals with constipation as her mother (Elizabeth Rodriguez) tries to get involved in her life.  Red (Kate Mulgrew) discovers herself cut-off from the outside funds but makes new friends.  Taystee (Danielle Brooks) competes to win Career Day at the prison in hopes that it will lead to work…while remembering her past as a dealer with his foster mother Vee (Lorraine Toussaint).


“Hugs Can Be Deceiving”

2.3       Hugs Can Be Deceiving Airdate:  06/06/14

Vee reinserts herself into prison life and reconnects with her friend Red.  Daya worries about the health of her child and pushes Bennett (Matt McGorry) to try to get prenatal vitamins into the prison for her.  Lorna Morello (Yael Stone) learns her boyfriend Christopher has different plans outside of prison.  Larry meets with a journalist trying to do an expose on prison corruption.  Piper is back in prison and learns that she has a reputation now.  Crazy-Eyes (Uzo Aduba) tries to befriend Vee and the events of the night of the Christmas pageant are revealed.


“A Whole Other Hole”

2.4       A Whole Other Hole Airdate:  06/06/14

The discussion of going to bathroom leads the women to learn more about their body.  Red goes to the greenhouse and makes a discovery to Morello is assigned to take Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) to chemotherapy and uses it as a chance to find Christopher (Stephen O’Reilly) which reveals their true relationship.  Big Boo and Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) have a “bang-off” to see who can bag the most inmates.  Vee tries to befriend Poussey (Samira Wiley) for her hooch operation and tries to turn Taystee against her.  Larry (Jason Biggs) spends more time with Polly (Maria Dizzia) and starts to grow close to her.  Piper gets assigned to Red’s dorm and tries to collect her belongings…leading her to sell out new inmate Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn) to Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) for her blanket.


“Low Self Esteem City”

2.5       Low Self Esteem City Airdate:  06/06/14

A flood in the Spanish bathroom leads to a face-off between Vee and Mendoza (Selenis Leyva).  Piper gets bad news from home when her mother (Deborah Rush) and brother Cal (Michael Chernus) come for a visit.  Nicky tries to bag Fischer (Lauren Lapkus) for her contest but causes Fischer to question phone surveillance.  Piper’s situation gives her the chance to reconnect with Healy and Larry.


“You Also Have a Pizza”

2.6       You Also Have a Pizza Airdate:  06/06/14

It is Valentine’s Day and the prison is ready to party.  Red finds a new source of contraband while Vee’s plans for power are revealed.  Bennett and Daya find their romance has been found out by the kitchen staff.  Poussey remembers being a military child and worries that Vee is using Taystee.  Piper begins to investigate embezzlement at the prison by pretending to start a newsletter.  Pennsatucky faces off against Leanne (Emma Myles) and finds she has lost power.  Larry makes a big move with Polly.  Caputo (Nick Sandow) makes a move on Fischer at a night out but is surprised by more visitors from the prison.


“Comic Sans”

2.7       Comic Sans Airdate:  06/06/14

The escape of an Alzheimer prisoner named Jimmy (Patricia Squire) leads to a crackdown at the prison by Caputo.  Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) butts heads with Vee and remembers her past as an airport security agent.  Piper works on the newsletter and finds herself in charge of a team of Daya, Lorna, and Flaca (Jackie Cruz).  When Danny goes wandering again, Piper learns about compassionate release.


“Appropriately Sized Pots”

2.8       Appropriately Sized Pots Airdate:  06/06/14

Piper is granted furlough for her dying grandmother and finds herself a target of the other prisoners as a result.  Caputo search for contraband continues as Assistant Warden Figueroa (Alysia Reiner) cracks down on him…leading him to set his sights on Red’s greenhouse.  Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) learns her cancer has progressed and recalls her past as a bank robber as she befriends a boy (Ben Konigsberg) at the treatment center.


“40 oz. of Furlough”

2.9       40 oz. of Furlough Airdate:  06/06/14

Piper is released on furlough too late for her grandmother’s death but uses the opportunity to reconnect with Larry and her family.  Red and Vee’s past is revealed as Red’s attempt to win back her friends backfires.  Poussey worries that Vee’s tobacco smuggling ring is getting bigger and that drugs are being brought in.  Mendez aka Pornstache (Pablo Schreiber) is back and causing problems for Bennett…leading Bennett to go to Caputo with a bombshell.


“Little Mustachioed Shit”

2.10     Little Mustachioed Shit Airdate:  06/06/14

Mendez has been accused of impregnating Daya and Figueroa has to decide what to do about him.  Daya finds she isn’t sure she wants to go through accusing Pornstache.  Healy decides he wants to make a difference by reaching out to the prisoners with Pennsatucky in a group called Safe Place.  Piper decides she has to know who Larry slept with.  Red faces off against Vee in her attempt to take over the greenhouse.  Poussey battle with Vee heats up.


“Take a Break from Your Values”

2.11     Take a Break from Your Values Airdate:  06/06/14

Piper decides to talk to Alex and learns that the trial against Kubra didn’t go as planned.  Soso works on the hunger strike but found it overtaken by Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler) who recalls her past as an activist.  Red learns about Big Boo’s betrayal, but Big Boo’s future with Vee lies in question.  Poussey joins Healy’s Safe Place but continues to cause fear for Vee.  The paper is shut down by Assistant Warden Figueroa and Piper gets big news on her future in the prison.  Red’s associates in the greenhouse group decide they have to deal with Vee.


“It Was the Change”

2.12     It Was the Change Airdate:  06/06/14

The storm is moving in and the prison is flooding.  The prisoners are forced into tight quarters as the battle between Vee and Red begins to get serious after the attack on Vee’s people.  Pennsatucky and Healy join up to find out Big Boo’s gay agenda to take over the world.  Taystee finds herself on the outs with Vee due to Poussey’s attack on her supply.  Bennett and Daya wonder if they should continue their relationship.  Figueroa attends a benefit for her husband and learns the truth of why he’s been acting strange.  The order for Piper’s transfer causes Piper to make a drastic move.


“We Have Manners, We’re Polite”

2.13     We Have Manners.  We’re Polite Airdate:  06/06/14

Red has survived Vee’s attack, and Vee is out to frame Crazy-Eyes for the crime.  Piper is forced to tell Caputo about Figeroa’s embezzlement, and Caputo realizes it is the chance to take control.  Bennett decides he must confess his relationship to Daya to Captuo but doesn’t get the result he expect.  Sister Ingalls learns nuns have come to support her but considers ending her hunger strike while Red debates turning on Vee.  Piper makes a decision what she should do about Alex’s growing paranoia.  Rosa gets bad news on the cancer.  Vee loses her girls and her heroin which forces her to make a dangerous decision.

Related Links:

Orange Is the New Black—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Orange Is the New Black—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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