Sunday, 19 June 2016

Orange Is The New Black, Season 4: Ep 1

This show is great. I binge-watched the previous seasons last year, and fell in love. I felt bad I had not jumped on this gravy train when it started, that's how much I liked this show.

After the cracker final moments saved an otherwise middling Season 3, can Season 4 return OITNB to the heights of Season 2's Vee storyline?

Let's jump in.

Episode One: 'Work That Body For Me'

The last time we saw the inmates, they had used a temporary break in the perimeter fence to have a dip in the nearby lake. It was a chance for characters to make up, make out, make over or just chill out. It felt like a sweet ending to the season. 

But this being OITNB, the next and final sequence shows buses of new inmates arriving and bunks being installed in the cell blocks. Litchfield's new corporate overlords were making their presence felt. It was a great, bittersweet cliffhanger. 

When we pick up, the inmates are still frolicking at the lake. Intercut with the hijinks of the guards trying to round up the inmates (not to mention the arrival of Blair Brown's Martha Stewart-like celebrity inmate), we get the sequence of Lolly (Lori Petty) and Alex (Laura Prepon) kill the hitman sent by her former boss in the gardening shed. 

Piper (Taylor Schilling) is riding high after she sent her traitorous girlfriend/business partner Stella Carlin (Ruby Rose) to super-max, although, as with all of Piper's schemes, that new-found sense of superiority may soon get punctured. 

Final thoughts: This first episode is basically scene setting, with a few look-ins from the key players but no major plot moves. The major action is the disposal of the guard's body, which is played for black comedy. It's early days yet, but there are some interesting strands (Piper's shaky status as big cheese) being set up here. A solid return/intro.

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