It’s nearly here; the moment we’ve been waiting for since we all binged ourselves silly last summer on a little Netflix show called Orange is the New Black. Orange is back. The second season premieres this Friday and has been met with excitement from fans and critics alike. For a show that debuted last year with little preliminary fanfare, it became an overnight phenomenon. “Have you seen Orange?” became the rallying cry from brunch tables in NYC to family dinner tables in Tuscaloosa. Even your grandma watches Orange is the New Black and she fucking loves it. Deal with it. (Also, why can’t you find a nice girl like that Poussey, she’d like to know.)
I’ve seen the first six episodes, and I can tell you that there is no sign of a sophomore slump here. The writing is still dynamic, and the cast is at the top of their game. Orange is the New Black has been tasked with the nearly impossible; deliver an even more captivating story than its first season. It certainly succeeds and manages to find new ways to make you root for these women. Just when you think you know a character, you find a whole new layer hidden just beneath the surface. Where Season 1 had the immense job of setting up the narrative, Season 2 takes its time, allowing the viewers to really immerse themselves in the Orange universe. Without giving too much away, here are a few of the many things to look forward to as Season 2 debuts later this week.
*Warning: Some mild spoilers ahead*
Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
Photo credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix
Piper isn’t the dandelion she once was: Sure, Piper Chapman will always be the selfish and neurotic anti-heroine we’ve grown to love, but prison life has changed our girl. When we catch up with Piper, she’s spent close to a month in solitary for her part in the Great Pennsatucky Smackdown. To say that Piper is hanging by a thread would be an understatement. When she finally arrives back at Litchfield, she’s harder and a hell of a lot smarter.
Yael Stone (L) as Morello and Uzo Aduba (R) as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes”
Photo credit: K.C. Bailey for Netflix
Wider scope: The first season of Orange is the New Black focused much of its energy on Piper’s story—her adjustment to prison and ever so complicated love life. The second season pans out to include more in depth exploration of OITNB‘s incredible ensemble. Characters once on the periphery like Leanne, Gloria, and Big Boo find their voices this season. Fan favorites including Taystee, Suzanne (Crazy Eyes), and Morello have their stories expanded, deepening our understanding and connection to their characters.
Samira Wiley (L) as Poussey and Danielle Brooks (R) as Taystee Photo
Photo credit: Jessica Miglio for Netflix
Poussey, baby!: Oh Poussey, how we clamor for Poussey! If you’ve been crossing your fingers for Poussey’s backstory in Season 2, then you will not be disappointed. Her episode, which happens about halfway through the season, is one of the finest in the series, let alone Season 2. Expect to see a lot more interaction between Poussey and Taystee as shifting loyalties put a strain on their friendship.
Selenis Leyva (L) as Gloria and Lorraine Toussaint (R) as Vee Photo credit: Jessica Miglio for Netflix
Vee is a force of nature: Newcomer Vee, played by the remarkable Lorraine Toussaint, shakes everything up when she arrives at Litchfield. From day one, she sets her sights on the position of HBIC, gathering “allies” to do her bidding. Her previous connection to Taystee and Red soon becomes clear, and forces everyone to choose a side. She’s at once nurturing and terrifying, with a gift for sniffing out weaknesses.