Orange Is the New Black—Season 3

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still loaded with great stories and actors

Less of a central theme, more need for streamlining Piper's course


Spend a day with the girls

There’s a new power at Litchfield.  Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) is now in charge, but he learns that there are new plans for the prison.  Under new management, changes are coming to Litchfield and no one can stop them.  Daya (Dascha Polanco) prepares for birth, Red (Kate Mulgrew) tries to get back to the kitchen, and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) could be finding herself in a new position of power with the void left by Vee.  Piper (Taylor Schilling) might have Alex (Laura Prepon) back, but she’s got asparations of her own…and prison could be the place to make her rich.

Orange Is the New Black—Season 3 was released on Netflix on June 11, 2015.  The series was dropped earlier than expected with a Thursday release date instead of the planned Friday release.


Chapman wants you!!! (for some inane plan that really seems out of character)

Orange Is the New Black follows a strange path and often toes more drama than comedy.  This season as opposed to the previous season is less arc driven.  While last season had Vee as the villain with substories springing from this, Orange Is the New Black—Season 3 kind of lacks a central theme.

You could argue the theme of the season is about sin, redemption, and purification (as shown in the holy candle themes of the promotional material).  While this is a decent thing to explore in a prison drama, I fish that the idea had sprung from more of a central plot.  There doesn’t seem to be the cohesion of previous seasons.


Gee…I just can’t decide if I love or hate Alex

That being said, Orange Is the New Black continues to be an extremely watchable series.  With focus episodes, it keeps the viewer watching by questioning who will be the focus of the next episode.  The writers also do a good job picking their focus right when you need (and expect) it.  With so many good characters, the storytelling is almost limitless…almost.

Part of the problem I’m starting to have with the show is I think Piper is a bit of a question mark.  I feel Taylor Schilling is struggling to get where her character is going, what her goal is, and the wide swings in her personality.  I think the writers really need to focus on her character and decide on her path next season, or it could really be a problem…the on-again-off-again relationship between Alex and Piper is getting old.


Seriously, Chapman is driving me crazy!

Fortunately, the other actors in the series do hold it up and continue to make it very watchable.  You feel like you know them all and you feel that the series could continue even without Piper (which I don’t know would be a bad thing).  There just needs to be a bit more method to their madness (and red herrings that are a little less obvious).

I will say that I like that this season left the prison more.  Some of the stories and storylines had the characters leaving the prison grounds.  We get to see a bit more into the life of the guards and if they continue to make them characters in the story, it is necessary since they are the least developed part of the series.

Orange Is the New Black can be pounded out quickly because it is addictive.  It is good, but it has shown that it can be better.  I look forward to season 4 to see where the story goes, but I would like a better direction for the show and less of a “prisoner of the week” type storyline.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Orange, but want a bit more.

Orange Is the New Black—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:


“Mother’s Day”

3.1       Mother’s Day Airdate:  06/11/15

It is Mother’s Day and the prison is opening up for the children of the prisoners.  With their families coming, the prisoners are throwing a field day under the new reign of Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow).  Daya (Dascha Polanco) and Bennett (Matt McGorry) continue to argue about the future of their child and their relationship.  Red (Kate Mulgrew) learns the truth about her restaurant from her family.  Piper (Taylor Schilling) finds Alex (Laura Prepon) is back in prison but can’t tell her that she’s the reason.


“Bed Bugs and Beyond”

3.2       Bed Bugs and Beyond Airdate:  06/11/15

The prison has been infested with bed bugs.  The arrival of Mendez’s mother (Mary Steenburgen) causes problems for Bennett, Daya, and her mother Maria (Elizabeth Rodriguez).  Alex learns how she ended up back in prison and faces off against Piper.  Bennett decides to visit Daya’s home to determine if the baby can grow up there and remembers how he lost his leg in the war.  Caputo gets bad news on the prison’s future.


“Empathy Is a Boner Killer”

3.3       Empathy Is a Boner Killer Airdate:  06/11/15

Piper and Alex begin a complex power struggle in their sex relationship.  The guards try to get Caputo to reveal the truth about the jail’s closing.  Sam Healy (Michael J. Harney) finds himself in a power struggle with the new counsellor Berdie Rogers (Marsha Stephanie Blake) whose improve class is proving to be popular.  Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) and Luschek (Matt Peters) try to get the drugs out of the prison but run into a hitch when they are stolen by Leanne (Emma Myles) and Angie (Julie Lake)…but getting the drugs back might just be the beginning of the problems.


“Finger In the Dyke”

3.4       Finger in the Dyke Airdate:  06/11/15

Caputo tries to sell the prison to different managers through a tour.  Piper has an uncomfortable visit from her family on her birthday.  Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) recalls her past and prepares to face off against a Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) supporter who preaches hate in order to get him to send money as convert.  Taystee (Danielle Brooks) tries to get Crazy Eyes (Azo Aduba) over Vee’s death.


“Fake It Till You Fake It Some More”

3.5       Fake It Till You Fake It Some More Airdate:  06/11/15

Red and Healy take a mutual interest in each other.  Gloria (Selenis Leyva) finds Norma (Annie Golden) is practicing Santeria without her.  Poussey discovers her hooch is disappearing and sets out to protect it.  Alex worries about the arrival of a new inmate who could be a plant.  The new management moves in and offers high paying jobs for the workers…but a test to determine eligibility leaves the prisoners scratching their heads.  Daya finds Bennett is gone and meets with Pornstache’s mother.  Flaca (Jackie Cruz) remembers how she ended up in the prison and tries to leave the kitchen.


“Ching Chang Chong”

3.6       Ching Chong Chang Airdate:  06/11/15

Piper’s old friend Lolly (Lori Petty) from Chicago arrives at the prison.  Lorna (Yael Stone) meets with prison penpals and tries to play up her relationships with them.  Cutbacks in hours means Caputo must hire new guards against the other guards’ wishes.  The prisoners adjust to their new job of making bras and panties.  The mysteries of Chang (Lori Tan Chinn) are revealed.



3.7       Tongue-Tied Airdate:  06/11/15

Red is back in the kitchen and working to take over it.  Caputo learns that the new management’s idea of training doesn’t match his.  Piper has a new idea on how to make money.  Word of Norma’s miracles is spreading as she remembers her past as a flower child in a cult.


“Fear and Other Smells”

3.8       Fear, and Other Smells Airdate:  06/11/15

The new standardized kitchen food is not sitting well with everyone.  Piper is tries to find a way to make money from flavoring it while Taystee and the girls try to keep their kosher route.  Crazy Eye works on her book Time Hump Chronicles but finds that it is becoming popular among the inmates.  Pennsatucky befriends the new guard “Donuts” (James McMenamin) as Piper tries to seduce a guard to smuggle her contraband underwear.  Caputo butts heads with his new “boss” Danny (Mike Birbiglia).  Alex recalls her first escape from death from Kubra Balik (Eyas Younis).


“Where My Dreidel At?”

3.9       Where My Dreidel At Airdate:  06/11/15

Alex continues to question if Lolly is there to assassinate her.  Danny brings in a rabbi to help ferret out which prisoners are pretending to be Jewish for the kosher meals.  Piper finds Stella Carlin (Ruby Rose) seems to have an interest in her.  Sophia (Laverne Cox) gets bad news from home and blames Gloria’s son for the problem.  The followers of Norma try to get recognized as a religion, but Soso (Kimiko Glenn) is rejected.  Leanne recalls her past and how she ended up in prison.  Piper’s first shipment of panties go out.  Pennsatucky’s relationship with Donuts takes a twist.


“A Tittin’ and a Hairin'”

3.10     A Tittin’ and a Hairin’ Airdate:  06/11/15

Red tries to make the packaged food edible.  Pennsatucky work on her relationship with Donuts.  Alex confronts Lolly about stalking her but also finds out about Piper’s changing relationship with Stella.  Crazy Eye finds an admirer in Maureen (Emily Althaus) but reveals a big secret.  Daya makes a big decision about her child.  Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) tries to work on converting to Judaism to get the kosher meals.  Mendez (Pablo Schreiber) gets the bad news about Daya’s baby from his mother.  Lorna asks her new penpal boyfriend Vince Muccio (John Magaro) for a favor.  Sophia’s fight with Gloria boils over.


“We Can Be Heroes”

3.11     We Can Be Heroes Airdate:  06/11/15

The guards debate forming a union…which gives Flaca an idea.  Angie gets released early due to a clerical mix-up leading to more belief in Norma.  Crazy Eyes’ book is found by the security and Healy realizes he can use it against Berdie.  Piper decides to step up her contraband game against Alex’s warnings.  Big Boo learns about the assault on Pennsatucky.  Caputo remembers how he got to the prison as he tries to bring Angie back before it becomes an issue.


“Don’t Make Me Come Back There”

3.12     Don’t Make Me Come Back There Airdate:  06/11/15

Daya finds herself close to birth and at odds with her mother.  Berdie is out while she is investigated, and Soso decides to try medication.  Sophia’s fight with Gloria has led to rumors that she is still intact…and an attempt by prisoners to find out leading for problems for the prison.  Big Boo and Pennsatucky plot revenge on Donuts.  Black Cindy steals corn from the garden and faces off against Red who is trying to plan a meal.  Piper finds her source out of the prison might be having second thoughts as her brother tries to increase orders.  Caputo and O’Neill (Joel Marsh Garland) discover Chang’s secret entrance to the prison.  Taystee finds she has new place in the prison hierarchy.  Daya goes to the hospital with complications.


“Trust No Bitch”

3.13     Trust No Bitch Airdate:  06/11/15

Soso has attempted suicide, and it is up to Poussey, Taystee, and Crazy Eyes to keep her from dying or going to psych.  Angie’s recapture causes Norma’s followers to doubt her.  Morello makes a jump with her boyfriend and gets a commitment.  A miracle occurs at breakfast to restore Norma’s followers.  Daya returns to the hospital to confront her mother about her decision not to give the child to Mendez’s mother, but her decision to send the baby to her family might backfire.  Danny and Caputo and confront Danny’s father about Sophia and the prison conditions…leaving an opportunity for Caputo.  Big Cindy works to confirm her conversion to Judaism but learns she must be bathed to do it.  The decision on the union forces Caputo into a difficult situation.  Celebrity chef Judy King (Blair Brown) arrives at Litchfield.  As Piper finds she must get hard if she wants to continue her illegal ring, Alex discovers her past might come back to haunt her.  The repairing of the prison fence could mean a big moment for the prisoners.

Related Links:

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

Orange Is the New Black—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

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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