Going Dark at Litchfield - Reviewing the Second Half of "Orange is the New Black"

We are no longer part of the softer side of Litchfield. Past episode 6, things most certainly started to take a much more dramatic slant. We first started off the season with a lovely Mother's Day celebration, the reunion of Piper and Alexm we get the continuation of Big Boo and Pennsatucky's friendship and it seemed that Caputo was going to get the prison back from under the control of the big bad corporation, MCC. By season's end, our veteran guards have left Litchfield, Sophia has become a target for transphobia and is jumped, Pennsatucky is raped by Officer Coates, Soso attempts suicide and Piper frames Stella for contraband, thereby sending her to Max. 

Whoa.

Here be my thoughts about the last half of season three of Orange is the New Black.

Here's what I loved: 

The Lolly and Alex take-down that revealed that Lolly is in fact crazy, and not trying to kill Alex (whom Lolly believes is NSA). It was totally surprising (and slightly hilarious) and also gave us more Alex vulnerability which I am definitely down for. Alex grew on me as the season progressed, something I didn't think would happen, to the point that I'm actually a bit nervous to see what's going to happen to her next season (will it start out with being murdered??). 

By far the character with the biggest character growth is Pennsatucky. Starting from her newfound bestie-hood with Big Boo (one of the best duos to come out of this season. Each of their scenes was pure gold) to her increased tolerance of those different to her, Pennsatucky became something I never would have expected: likeable. We got a glimpse into her backstory which was just as horrific and tragic as could be expected. 

Poussey bringing Soso into the fold. I was honestly terrified for Soso as the season progressed (and for good reason as girl attempts suicide by ODing on Benadryl). What with her being antagonized by Norma's followers to Healy basically ignoring her cries for help, Soso was on a road going south, fast. I'm looking forward to seeing how her storyline will progress now that she's finally a part of a group that will take care of her.

Suzanne and Maureen's tender love story. It's time that Suzanne got some real love in the prison, not the toxic kind that Vee bestowed upon or the fake attention by many of the inmates just so they could get the next chapter of Suzanne's... interesting erotica.  

The guards rally cry around Caputo to "Do You Hear the People Sing?" 

Taystee is now "the mom" and her reaction to being "the mom." 

We finally find out why getting Kosher meals is so important to Cindy.

The final lake scene. I don't even want to describe it. Just watch it.

Here's what I didn't: 

Healy. Goddamn Healy. I couldn't stand him after a certain point, with his awful advice to Soso, to his vendetta against the actually talented and skilled new counsellor, Berdie, Healy drove me crazy to no end. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be rooting for him and Red to get together, and I sincerely hope the writers don't push Red down that road, she doesn't deserve it.

Officer Coates because he's a disgusting rapist. That's it.  

Alaida and Daya's toxic relationship. It kept going back and forth between love and destruction that it made my head spin. I'm still not sure how I stand on it, despite the fact that they seem to be in a good place with eachother right now. It was particularly hard to sympathize with Alaida, especially because she essentially sent Sophia to the shoo for being an intolerant transphobic (I swear to God, if Sophia gets stuck there because of corporate mis-management, there will be hell to pay!).   

What shocked me:

The downward spiral into pure evil for Piper. Piper was never a good person. She always thought she was and pretended to be, but Piper was, for lack of a better term, a dick. Well, she completely descends into epic dickhood in this season and... it was pretty awesome. Piper completely comes into her own as a prison crime boss and I CANNOT WAIT to see her inevitable downfall (because, just like Icarus, someone is starting to fly a little bit too close to the sun. That never ends well for anyone).  

Here are the questions that we're left with:

What's going to happen to Sophia in solitary? 

Is Alex going to get killed? 

Is Stella going to Max, and if so, will she meet Nicky? 

What will Litchfield do without all of their veteran guards? And will Caputo get corrupted by the system? 

What's going to happen to Elena's beau and Daya's baby? 

Who are the new ladies of Litchfield?

Will Poussey and Judy King become besties? 

What's up with those bunkbeds? 

And, will Cindy finally get her Kosher meals back? 

CAN SEASON FOUR HAPPEN NOW????