what i watched last week
blu-ray series #13: strangers on a train (alfred hitchcock, 1951)

orange is the new black, season two

We’ve watched the first three episodes of this “Netflix Wants You to Binge Watch” series. There’s no drop in quality … if anything, Season Two looks better, at least so far. They have enough confidence in the cast that the central character didn’t even appear in the second episode. Laura Prepon hasn’t completely disappeared, happily, and Lori Petty was in the first episode (whether she’s going to turn up again is anyone’s guess … well, people who have already binged to the end know).

The strengths of Orange are still there, primarily the diverse and talented cast. Since we now know these characters, it’s a pleasure learning more about them, and each episode takes the time to flesh out one or more of them via flashbacks. So far, they’ve used these flashbacks effectively.

I can’t single out anyone in the cast, but I already loved Natasha Lyonne before the series began, so I’m very glad to see her here. Taylor Schilling as Piper is still self-absorbed, but the privileged act is pretty much gone now … she turned a corner at the end of last season when she dished out a king hell beating to one of her prison mates. Schilling’s face looks harder in Season Two.

If you liked Season One, you’ll like Season Two. If you loved Season One, you’ve probably already finished bingeing on Season Two. Most of your favorite characters are back, as well as a couple of new ones that look intriguing, in particular Lorraine Toussaint as a woman who knows more than one of the inmates from the past.

There’s nothing new to say about Season Two, except to assure fans that the series is still very good. Grade for first three episodes of Season Two: A-.