Orange is the New Black Review: Who's Your Mama?

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Mothers, mothers, everywhere. Freud would have a field day. 

After Jenji Kohan and company promoted Orange is the New Black Season 3 as focusing on motherhood and faith, Orange is the New Black Season 3 Episode 1 and Orange is the New Black Season 3 Episode 2 certainly delivered.

Mother's Day - Orange is the New Black Season 3 Episode 1
Bed Bugs and Beyond - Orange is the New Black Season 3 Episode 2

Mother's Day was a bit of a deviation from a normal episode of OITNB. Instead of flashbacks focusing on just one character, we were shown different characters with their mothers. While this wouldn't work for most episodes, I really liked it in this instance.

Each flashback operated almost like a film version of a six word memoir (a genre created by the real life Piper's husband Larry Smith). In under 30 seconds, I completely understood why Healy went into social work and why Nicky turned to heroin.

One of my favorite things about OITNB is how it humanizes the prison experience, and the first episode had a strong emphasis on how the children of inmates are also punished by their mother's incarceration. 

Oh my god, this is such a metaphor for their lives.


Was anybody not crying when Maria's boyfriend told her that he wouldn't be bringing the baby back? Her utter lack of power tore at me, and had me Googling "parental rights of prisoners."

And when Maritza hands her daughter off to Blanca, calling her an "it'...clearly Litchfield needs to be offering some parenting classes so the women know how to take care of their children upon release. Big Boo's speech about abortion details how bad parenting helps create criminals. 

You only have to look at Taystee to see how parenting, or lack thereof, can impact a child in the long term.

Cindy: I don't like mamas, neither, for that matter. Mine thinks I'm sh*t.
Taystee: Well f*ck her. I'm done with mamas. and stand-ins for mamas. I am parent free, and proud.

Aleida, Aleida, Aleida.  She is always causing trouble. Even when she does the right thing, it feels like it's for completely the wrong reason. 

She managed to at least open Daya and Bennett's mind to the idea of giving up the baby, and after his visit to Cesar, it might legitimately be the best option for the child. If only she wasn't being so sleazy about the money, and hiding it from them, she might be redeemable.

Bed Bugs and Beyond focused on Bennett, who had me squeeing for joy with his proposal. I'm not going to place big money on that wedding actually happening, and I'm sure Daya will have a wake up call, but darn it if deep down I just want those two crazy kids to be happy.

We will probably never be rich...and we'll most likely live in a place that's not that big, but we'll work hard and we'll love each other...and we'll find so much happiness we won't even know what to do with it. We'll share it with our kid. Our kids. Will you marry me?


Bennett got a dose of reality when he went to visit Daya's siblings. At first Cesar seemed like an adequate caregiver, but when he pulled a gun on a thirteen year old for not eating his "vegetables" it was clear that this would not be a viable situation. 

Leaving the crib on the side of the road is not a good sign for his relationship with Daya, but based on his flashbacks, he is a man of character who wants to do the right thing. That may not mean raising the ba, but it also shouldn't mean skipping out completely.

While the storylines about parenting motherhood were at the forefront in the first two episodes, the show built up two other storylines that will come to a head down the pike. 

Most importantly (based on Kohan's comments), is the growing interest in Gloria and Norma, who seemed to have teamed up to form their own brand of voodoo magic. Poussey and the crying inmate (what *is* her story?) are early adopters, and with all the turmoil facing the prison, their religion will spread.

Meanwhile, Nicky and Big Boo are trying to get rid of Vee's heroin. After Red seals the greenhouse tunnel (complete with "RIP Vee" in the concrete), they team up with Luschek, who may be the least likely guard to turn them in, but is most likely to screw it up. 

Other thoughts:

  • The new social worker seems great. Hopefully the two MSW's can create a good working relationship, and maybe Rodger's will help Healy with some of his anger (and discrimination) issues. 
  • Even with the prison shutting down soon, no way would the prisoners have to go without mattresses or blankets for two months. 
  • Who is this new character trying to take off her clothes at the Wiccan ritual?
  • Would somebody please point out to Alex it's hypocritical to be so angry when she a) got Piper put away in the first place, and b) cut a deal for her release that did not include Piper? 

Mother's Day Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (11 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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Orange is the New Black Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Maybe you should stop punishing yourself. I mean, what does a good mother do? A good mother does what's best for her children. And maybe what was best for your children was wipin' 'em out before they had to lead miserable f*cking lives.

Big Boo

Lorna: How does that work, with you being a lady-man and all? Do you and his mother both celebrate the day?
Sophia: You really wanna be callin' me a lady-man when I got a fistful of your hair in my hand?
Lorna: Oh, I just thought it sounded nice. I don't know from these things. That's why I'm askin' questions.