Written by Christian James
Ever since Netflix became a household service, it’s only found ways to knock out its competitors and keep itself at the top of the food chain when it comes to streaming content. One of the very successful parts Netflix was the brilliant idea to create its own original content. Their first two shows, “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” received such great reviews from critics and subscribers for their first seasons, and even today Netflix is still managing to keep their original content entertaining.
Although Netflix can’t always keep up with this glorified reputation, and the third season of “Orange Is the New Black” is a perfect example of this. They’re still able to produce good shows, such as the recent releases of “Sense8” and “Daredevil,” which were released earlier this summer. Not to mention the third season of “House of Cards” was just as entertaining as the first two seasons. It’s expected that “Orange Is the New Black” creator, Jenji Kohan, would create yet another season of her beloved show for the urging fans that placed the show’s title on the social media trending list after it was released only six hours early.
The first two seasons weren’t just entertainment, but they were a form of art, the acting, the writing and the camera work were all done perfectly. With the first season introducing Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, as she turned herself in for her very small involvement in the transportation of illegal drugs across international borders ten years ago. The storyline followed Piper, and it was interesting to see her transformation from an engaged woman from New York City to an inmate in a federal prison.
The second season took a different approach to the storytelling, as Piper was the main focus throughout the first season, the other inmates became a large part of the story throughout the second. Which was fantastic because the other inmates had such interesting stories. Slowly the viewers were not only given a look at others within the prison but they also saw flashbacks to how they got into prison, which really added to their characters and allowed for the show to grow even after its successful first season.
While the third season has been the worst that Kohan has created so far, it did have its high moments. Similar to the second season, the third season told the stories of Piper as well as other inmates in Litchfield. They also gave more flashbacks that didn’t pertain to how they were arrested, but instead explained how they were shaped into the people they’ve become. Viewers may disagree about certain decisions made by different characters, but the flashbacks allow for an explanation of why they are the type of person to make that decision, and even though the viewer doesn’t agree with it, they understand it. That can be incredibly hard to do within a show, especially one with the amount of characters that “Orange Is the New Black” has. For that reason, even with the shows faults, it’s still an interesting season that adds to the character development within the show.
That still leaves the problems found within the show, and there are a lot that can’t be ignored. Starting with Piper becoming extremely annoying throughout this season, she’s now trying to become a mob-boss-type of person where people shouldn’t want to mess with her, but it’s too out of the ordinary for Piper. Instead of her coming off as a badass, she comes off as an annoying blonde who thinks everyone needs to treat her like a princess. For a show’s main character to become as annoying as Piper does throughout a season is not good, no matter how many characters are within the show, the main character should always have some sort of appeal to the audience, and within this season Piper’s appeal completely diminishes.
The entirety of “Orange Is the New Black” is based off of Piper Kerman’s memoir titled Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, and while the first two seasons remained to have a somewhat of a realistic approach, the third one does not. As every fan of the show knows, throughout the first two seasons there was a romantic relationship between a guard, John Bennet, played by Matt McGorry, and a prisoner, Dayanara Diaz, played by Dascha Polanco, and that relationship accidently led to Dayanara getting pregnant. John’s character was completely ready to be a dad, so ready in fact that within the second episode of the third season he secretly proposed to Dayanara, but by the end of the episode he disappears due to fear he has of taking care of his own child. John’s decision to leave is completely off character, and throughout the entire season fans will be expecting him to come back, but he doesn’t. Leaving a completely dissatisfied feeling towards that storyline.
In order to replace that inmate-guard relationship, Kohan has another inmate and guard find a connection with each other. Instead of it feeling like the sweet relationship between John and Dayanara, it feels forced and leaves viewers to wonder what kind of guards this prison hires. Two of them fell for inmates, one of them rapes an inmate, another one is a drug addict, and none of them seem like they can keep it in their pants. For a television show that is based off of a true story, at this point it doesn’t seem at all realistic.
The third season of “Orange Is the New Black” has its ups and downs. Entertainment can be found with the comedic relief and the characters stories, but ultimately this season tears the show down from the excellent high standard that it has worked so hard to build up. The fourth season has been greenlit by Netflix and will be streaming by June of 2016, hopefully Netflix will learn from their mistakes of this past season to once again create an enjoyable season of “Orange Is the New Black.”