On Friday I was ridiculously excited. After a year of waiting, finally the third series of Orange Is The New Black was being released all in one go on Netflix. I know I wasn’t the only person keeping my weekend schedule free to binge watch, and I’m certain I’m not alone in having watched all thirteen episodes in two and a half days. But was it all worth it? The review will contain spoilers, and thoughts on the final episode. If you decided not to close your curtains, raid the biscuit tin and bingewatch then I’d recommend waiting until you have…
Sadly this is where I sit and ponder at how a once ground breaking, unique and entertaining show has turned into something that I now class as merely OK viewing. Gone are the days of the shocking moments, the ‘what the hell’ scenes and the rooting for Piper as she found herself in the middle of what was her hell on earth. This critically acclaimed show seems to have lost its way.
Series three seemed so promising. From the last series there were a number of possibilities and roads that the characters could have been taken on, yet the writers seemed to have taken the lazy route. There is no main storyline unlike past series, which makes this one seem confusing and almost pointless. Instead we’re given a number of different plots that are, frankly, pretty boring. The most exciting seemed to be that of Alex and new-ish character Lolly, which had so much promise to be the driving force of the series. I was still holding out in the final episode that Lolly would turn out to actually be there to kill Alex, but that moment never came. It seemed to me like the whole storyline was a waste of time. In fact, most storylines seemed to be a waste of time. Piper and Alex got back together, then they broke up. Norma inadvertently started a cult, but then everyone eventually realised it was all rubbish. Red got back her kitchen, only for the food rules to change. What was the point in any of these storylines?! The cherry on top was the early exits from two of the shows best characters, heroin addict Nicky and Dad-to-be Bennett. I don’t know what was worse, Nicky being transferred to another prison for a completely unavoidable/pathetic reason, or Bennett simply disappearing into thin air. Their presence was certainly missed throughout the rest of the series and again I have to ask, what was the point of them leaving?!
The ending. Wow, wow, wow it was terrible. Comparing it to the other series endings, it was like I was watching a different show! A cliff hanger was attempted in the means of Alex in the Greenhouse, but as it wasn’t the final scene then who really cares? And the actual final scene? Sure, it was happy and it was nice to see most of the characters having fun and finding a small opportunity of freedom, but why? Surely this means the start of series four is going to be all of them having an extra few years on their sentences, which makes me question if it was all just a ploy to keep the same cast for a few more years.
It’s not all bad news however. One thing that this show does better than any other is its ability to cope with such a big cast. We’re shown the lives of so many different characters and each one is treated as an individual, all having unique personalities and characteristics that have remained consistent throughout the three series. It’s nice to come back to a show and greet everyone on it as old friends. The show also has some of the best one-liners and laugh out loud moments in anything that’s currently on TV. From an impulsive performance of ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ to the simply magnificent quote “Enjoy nose-f**king your whiskey,” I certainly found myself laughing in most episodes. With barely any darker storylines, the whole series seemed fairly light hearted. The serious storylines however (the transgender bulling which is never concluded and Brooke’s overdose) are handled well. The show is at the forefront of transgender acceptance, and this series only energises the need for more awareness in other shows.
Sadly I can honestly say that this time next year I won’t be freeing up my weekend to binge watch series four. I found myself caring less and less about the characters who I once loved and I’ve now hit a point where I simply don’t care what happens to them within the walls of Litchfield prison. It’s always sad to see one of your favourite shows lose it’s spark, but it can happen and it has happened to Orange Is The New Black.
Orange is the New Black is now available on Netflix.
Contributed by Kay Dekker