Orange is the New Black Review: Chasing the Chicken

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There are times in life when you just need to learn to keep your mouth shut, and it appears being in prison is one of those times.

In Orange is the New Black Season 1 Episode 5, Piper saw a chicken in the prison yard, which seemed a rather random event to her and she mentioned it in passing. When all you have is time, nothing is a random event.

It's only been three weeks and Piper is getting wrapped up in the fishbowl life of being inside the walls of prison. 

Confronting Piper

"The Chickening" was so bizarre that by the end I started wondering if Piper saw the chicken at all. I suppose she could have heard of the myth of the prison yard chicken in the three weeks since she arrived and just imagined it in her head, but it seemed more like a fight club kind of thing. Talking about the chicken lead to hell breaking out, so it was best to keep it silent.

Nobody ever said there was anything inside the chicken, but just that Red wanted it created a chain reaction that had inmates running all over the place trying to hunt it down for reward money. The reward? A package of Biore strips. The lore had it that there might be drugs worth a thousand bucks smuggled in its butt. Anything to pass the time.

It's hard to believe only three weeks have passed because Piper seems to comfortable in the prison atmosphere. Larry cautions her not to get too wrapped up in there, but it's her life. it's the only one she has for 15 more months. Well, that's not true. The reality is that with prison overcrowding she would likely do much less time, but as this is entertainment she could do her full sentence.

Piper's not afraid to speak up against the guards, and asks for face masks when they are forced to repair the church ceiling after Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett tried to hang her cross on a light fixture, tearing the whole thing down. Yet Piper still cries "new girl" when she might get punished for spreading the chicken rumor, and while others take their licks, she keeps on ticking. That won't last.

Larry took bad advice from his father, although it was given in good faith. That will likely become the defining moment in their relationship somewhere down the road. Piper doesn't have her life outside to hold on to, as Polly is struggling with her pregnancy and its difficult running the business alone to try to keep Poppy afloat. And then that damn chicken took precedence over a conference call. It's not looking good from here.

It's interesting how the series keeps so many secrets to itself. While we have gotten some insight into why characters are in prison, such as Sophia and Red, with others the show is not so forthcoming. Watching the mother/daughter story of Daya and Aleida unfold, I would have thought Aleida was in prison because of the drugs in the kitchen, but her boyfriend remained behind carrying on business as usual, and Dayanara got involved with him to get back at her mom.

Something tells me that's all I'm going to get. The understanding that they were involved with drugs somehow and there was a man involved and one by one they wound up in the joint.

Their hurtful relationship is difficult to watch. Daya and Bennett have something that I'm sure is rare in prison. It seems to me that Pornstache's way might be more the norm, or perhaps just those guards who stick to themselves. When there was no drawing on Bennett's note, it was obvious to me it wasn't from Daya. What happens next won't be pretty.

Sophia's journey with Sister Ingalls and the friendship that was forged despite her initial intentions was a pleasant surprise. Even when she's only thinking about herself, Sophia doesn't act out of malice. She maintains her sweetness. It's as if it took her so long to become the person she wanted to be she won't forsake her essence for anything. 

I'm really enjoying my journey through Litchfield Penitentiary, but I still don't want to pay a real prison a visit any time soon.

In between the time I've watched episodes four and five, my friend watched the entirety of Orange Is the New Black. Am I driving you crazy with the pacing of this yet? Fingers crossed it picks up a bit over the coming weeks! 

The Chickening Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Orange is the New Black Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

First girl who bags that bird gets a box of Biore strips.


I had my tea, it was almost hot. I had my book, it was almost good. And I saw a chicken. How random is that?