It was nice to get a bit of a break from Piper being the focus of the episode on Orange is the New Black Season 1 Episode 3, and Sophia's story was told in a very compelling way.
It was recently announced that Orange is the New Black will be submitted for awards season as a drama and not a comedy, and that doesn't surprise me at all. Ordinarily dramas are submitted as comedies when they think the writing won't stand up against other dramas. That's not the case here.
I'm still completely engrossed by the fact the program is about women in prison, and wonder why it has taken so long to get to here. It's absolutely fascinating to watch the interactions between the characters and learn how they wound up in prison and how they are surviving there.
I'm enjoying the slow reveal of the relationship between Piper and Alex. Alex has taken her time with Piper, not pushing things, but also not backing away from her. She obviously wants to be in Piper's life and that becomes even more clear after she tells Piper that, despite her broken heart, she was not the person to bring Piper down.
It bothered Piper enough to bring Larry into that mysterious part of her life by asking him find a way to get into Alex's sealed court transcripts to see whether Alex was telling the truth or not. If Piper and Alex are going to be in close quarters, it would be a lot easier to have an old friend and lover in your corner. Even better knowing she wasn't the person who got you there.
Alex made it sound like that one bag might not have been Piper's only foray into the world of big drugs, and that's going to be interesting to learn, as well. One step at a time is fine with me.
Piper hasn't told Larry about Alex, and something tells me she won't. He's driven to phone sex while talking about heirloom tomatoes. It doesn't seem like he would be able to remain faithful knowing she was locked up with one of her former lovers. He still seems to be drifting on the edge of understanding the reality of Piper's situation and what 18 months looks like.
The atmosphere of the prison landscape that is filled with women of all types - straight, gay, transgendered and in between - was also well developed in this episode. Crazy Eyes continued her plan to make Piper her wife, and it almost seemed as though Sam Healy was on Piper's side to keep them apart with his "lesbian request denied' argument - until Piper got her dorm assignment in the same place as Crazy Eyes, who promptly squatted in front of her area and peed on the floor.
How fortuitous for Laverne Cox to have a twin brother who could play Sophia pre-surgery. Absolutely brilliant acting on both their parts as they worked through the pain of wanting to become a woman from a man who had a manly man's job as a firefighter and a wife and child. It was one of the most honest and brutal depictions of a transgender's journey I've seen, and there was nothing comical about it.
I was so proud of Sophia for standing by her moral code and ignoring Pornstache's offer to get her what she wanted in exchange for doing something nasty. Instead she silently suffered as she plucked the beginnings of her returning facial hair in the bathroom mirror. Will she always be that strong? Time will tell.
This is probably the first Netflix program I haven't felt compelled to watch back to back in a marathon. Not because I am not drawn to it, but because I am. I like taking time to think about what I have seen and really absorb what has happened between the episodes and when I'm ready, I know the next one is there.
I'm sorry I waited so long to watch, but I already feel like this mismatched band of women are my my friends.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.