Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Orange is the New Black 6x01 Recap: "Who Knows Better Than I" (We're Not in Gen Pop Anymore) [Contributor: Chelsea Cruz]

(Image credit: Netflix)

"Who Knows Better Than I"
Original Airdate: July 27, 2018

Finally, after a year of waiting, our favorite incarcerated girls are back. Where are they now? Maximum security, as if they weren’t already in enough hot water. Following the riot, all Litchfield inmates have been separated. Our sweet, yet crazy Suzanne fantasizes about her comrades in metaphorically on-the-nose situations; each elaborate scenario exploits the repercussions of their incarcerated state. The illusion is shattered once Suzanne — who imagines her own fantasy where she is Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz — clicks her red bedazzled sneakers together and finds that this is her new home: Max. It is a harsh living condition consisting of watching her “friends” get beaten, go missing, turn against one another and even attempt suicide.

With the death of CO Pescatella and CO Hopper, the F.B.I launches a full investigation interrogating each inmate from Litchfield. Considering her condition, Suzanne won’t do well in isolation... which causes her lawyer and mother to fight that she goes back to Gen Pop. You might think that correctional officers should consider this as an improvement, but remember: it’s still prison.

Our femme fatales — although we are missing some of the fun characters in this episode — seem to be the “focus group” for the F.B.I trying to figure out who to blame for the riot. Daya’s “Guard Killer” persona makes her quite the candidate for all the blame, as recalled by inmate Daddy’s (Vicci Martinez) generosity, while Taystee was the one on the news who was actively speaking out against the system that had Poussey murdered and CO Bayley given a slap on the wrist.

Taystee just wants to be left alone so she can rest after being awake for three days straight toward the end of the riot. But who knew declining a phone call would end up in a beating? In Medical, Lolly Whitehill makes her return, recognizing both Suzanne and Frieda (who is recovering from attempting suicide). Suzanne, meanwhile, begins to picture everyone doing the popular line dance the Casper Slide Part 2 — a uncomfortable party classic. This phase of hallucination disappears when she explains to the doctor that it is all part of a chemical imbalance.

Despite being on the same playing field, Gloria and Maria are still at each other’s throats and, as a result, Gloria tackles Maria which lands them both in hot water. Literally. From what we can tell, CO Hellman is going to be terror –– first beating Taystee, now forcing Gloria and Maria to make out in the shower as he hoses them down. He’s painting a target on himself, and it’s only the first episode.

Childhood friends Taystee and CO Ward discuss each side of the system — we never get justice for Pousey’s murder and the riot caused two COs to lose their lives. They both question which side justice is on when the system is screwing them both over.

Red’s new bunkmate, Badison (Amanda Fuller) is here to shake up our Litchfield “cookies.” Seemingly friendly but with an obvious bad news vibe, Badison is here to show the Max newbies who’s boss. With the additions of Badison and Daddy, we get a sense of who is the mastermind and who is the muscle. But the question is who will come out on top.

(This review is starting to sound like an ad for the newest Super Smash Bros.)

Suzanne’s final illusion in the episode is shattered; once she can finally differentiate between the secret and a straight story, it is revealed that her mother was actually never there but just a hallucination. This was a nice touch the show added that ultimately changed the game for her character. Throughout the series, she has always done what her mommy said. Now she has become self-aware and recognizes that she’s not in a metaphorical Kansas anymore.


While it’s fun to meet and see the backstories of new characters, this episode’s true purpose dealt with change and how it raises the stakes for the inmates. It seems as though the officers trying to pin the murder of CO Pescatella on the women will be a big part of the season ahead, possibly making us yell at the screen along the way.

Litchfield crashed and burned, everything was out of control, and Max intends to put everything back into place with much more control to prevent if from happening again. Which, unfortunately, means hell for the inmates.

Questions of right and wrong will be floating through our heads for sure, but what we’re all really wondering is, where are Pennsatucky, Boo, Angelica, Brooke, Flaca, Maritza, Leanne, Angie, and — most importantly — Alex?

What did you think of the first episode? How do you feel about the state of our girls? Did you also dance along to the Casper (a.ka Cha Cha) Slide? Did this episode spark a binge-watching session or did you need to take a break? If it did, wait for me!


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