Oh Mother! A Look at the First Half of Season 3 of "Orange is the New Black"

Well, thank the lord, we're all locked up in Litchfield again for the summer. The fabulous women of Orange is the New Black are back for a whole new season of prison goodness. I've watched the first half of the season and so far, I'm totally digging it. Here's what's got me excited.

What I'm Loving

Our main characters are established, as is our world, and we're going deeper into characters we've only scratched the surface of (hello Chang-centric episode!).

But one of the most interesting things I've noticed about this season thus far (up until episode 6, that is) is the continual discussion and theme of mothers. The season starts off on Mother's Day, when the inmates get to have a full carnival day with their children. This starts off the different relationships we'll examine between mothers and their daughters. 

From the closest and most loving, like Poussey and her mom, to neglect, like Nicky and her mom, to psychotic, to selfish, to trying, to caring, to unaccepting, to cold, to scary, to kind... basically any kind of mother you can imagine has been represented thus far.

The reason all of this resonates so much is that these women have become a family even though they're not related by blood. A heartbreaking scene between Red, Nicky and Morello says it all when (SPOILER ALERT!) Nikki is dragged off to maximum security when she's accused of having heroin. 

So far, I think I'm enjoying this season the most of all three. We're not dealing with introducing all of the characters and setting up backgrounds and setting like in the first season and we're FINALLY rid of that awful V from the second season. The third season feels like the show has really hit its stride. It's a bit softer around the edges (there's less drama but the show, in no way, suffers from it) and everything seems so much more organic. Everyone and everything is feeling more real and more authentic which each passing episode.

What I'm Not

My one concern is the Piper/Alex relationship. IT'S SO TOXIC and we're supposed to think it's... cute? I don't know, Alex is so abusive, manipulative, and just plain horrible and Piper just brings her back into her arms like Alex didn't completely fuck her over (then again, Piper fucked Alex over too, so what am I supposed to think, that they're even or something?).

What I'm Surprised By

We meet Stella, an inmate that's apparently not new, by the colour of her prison garb. Played by Ruby Rose, the most beautiful creature I've ever seen, she is actually super enjoyable and I can't wait to see how her character develops. I wasn't expecting much with her, to be totally honest, considering the hype that surrounded her being added to the cast. But... she's actually super awesome, so that makes me happy.

Also, I now somehow like Pensatucky. That's something I never expected.

I barreled through these episodes but I think I'll take the next half a little more slowly. This is a show worth savoring.