The third season premiere of Orange is the New Black confirmed every parent’s worst fear: if your child ends up in prison or on drugs, it’s all the mother’s fault.
Caputo’s in charge and he’s trying to create a kinder, gentler Litchfield. He throws a carnival (well the saddest, most pathetic carnival ever) for all the inmates and their children. In flashbacks we get snippets of the inmates with their children, or flashbacks to their own childhood. It was a toss-up for which one was most depressing—Nicky’s wealthy mother ignoring her daughter’s homemade card or Pennsatucky’s mom plying her daughter with gallons of Mountain Dew to get more money from the state. Only Poussey seemed to have a nice mom, but she died and therefore Poussey’s current predicament is still ALL THE MOTHER’S FAULT.
Even worse, the next generation of children are doomed. I mean the mother who smuggled drugs in via her baby’s diaper and then left her baby on the ground while she snorted the drugs in the port-a-potty?
“Mother’s Day” was a great juxtaposition to the second season opener. That episode was all about Piper, but Piper didn’t even show up until 12 minutes into this premiere. The show efficiently updates viewers on the results of last season’s finale. Vee is dead (although poor Crazy Eyes is still in utter denial about this fact). Pennsatucky is now driving a brand new van. A still-recovering Red has turned over a new leaf and closes up her smuggling tunnel. Caputo, who has managed to remain in charge, has hired a new counselor.
The show is truly an ensemble, and thank goodness because Piper becomes a more annoying character with every passing episode. Now a devastated Alex has returned to Litchfield. “How could I have let myself get back here,” she wonders. Of course, it’s Piper’s fault that Alex is back, since Piper had Larry call Alex’s parole officer and report her. Piper finally confesses this to Alex in “Bed Bugs and Beyond” and the two are having angry sex by the end of the second episode. My problem with watching them is that they are both just awful to each other. Alex has betrayed Piper. Piper has betrayed Alex. Their relationship is beyond dysfunctional and at this point, it’s pretty unpleasant to watch. I’m with Red—Piper has to stop buying into her own horseshit.
Mary Steenburgen guests as Pornstache’s wealthy mother. She wants to adopt Daya’s baby and Aleida shakes her down for money. But Bennett has bigger plans. He doesn’t want the woman who raised a “drug dealing rapist named Pornstache” raising their child. He proposes to Daya with an engagement ring made of gum wrappers. He promises her they’ll have a wonderful life together once she’s out of prison.
Then he goes to visit Aleida’s “domestic partner” Cesar. Since Bennett can’t come forward as the father of Diaz’s baby without losing his job and facing criminal charges, Cesar will most likely be the one raising his baby until Diaz gets out of jail. Cesar has a new girlfriend (he bribes the kids with candy and toys so they don’t tell their mom) and his parenting style involves pointing a gun at his son when he refuses to eat his french fries. Good times! Cesar gives Bennett his baby’s crib as a “welcome to the family” gift but a tearful Bennett leaves the crib on the side of the road. In flashbacks, we see Bennett dive away from a grenade instead of for it—protecting himself over the other men in his unit. Will Bennett protect only himself again?
You might recall that he confessed to Caputo in the second season finale but Caputo has brushed the whole thing aside. As Bennett points out, it was to both their benefits if Pornstache continues to be blamed for it. Caputo just warns Bennett to stay away from Diaz.
Bed bugs have invested Litchfield, most likely from Aleida’s daughter who was very itchy when she came to visit her mom. That means all the uniforms need to be washed and many of the inmates are stuck walking around in their bra and underwear. This didn’t quite ring true for me—I mean they have to have more than one uniform for everyone, don’t they? What do the inmates usually wear when laundry is being done?
Also, Nicky and Boo are looking to move heroin they stole from Vee. Luschek agrees to sell it for them but when Boo and Nicky go to get it, it’s gone. The whole Nicky/heroin thing still makes me extremely nervous.
Just when I was thinking, “Hmmm . . . Vee’s dead. Red no longer wants to be in charge. I wonder what’s going to be the big bad this season,” Caputo learns that Litchfield is closing. Everyone at Litchfield will have a lot to fight for.
Other thoughts on “Mother’s Day” and “Bed Bugs and Beyond:”
• Was anyone else worried that Lorna had gone from delusions about marrying Christopher to delusions that she had four children?
• “It’s not all bad. You end up with a baby. It just ruins your life is all.”
• Boo’s speech to Pennsatucky about her abortions is perhaps the preachiest I’ve ever heard the show.
• I am patiently awaiting the return of Taystee and Poussey’s alter egos Mackenzie and Amanda.
• I’m so glad we got to see Sophia in the premiere, but I really want Sophia to have a juicy story arc of her own this season.
• Honestly, isn’t Daya’s pregnancy the longest one EVER?
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.