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Orange Is the New Black “Looks Blue, Tastes Red” Review (2×02)

6 Jun

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After the dark and unsettling season premiere, it’s refreshing to see the rest of the inmates at Litchfield being their usual endearing selves, and it’s a joy to be able to experience some of the most well-realized and well-written women in any form of media.

The focus of this episode’s flashbacks revolve around Taystee, quite possibly my favorite Orange Is the New Black character. It’s a fascinating backstory for her, one that starts with her at the Black Adoption Festival, later making its way toward a dark conclusion in which she laments the loss of her “brother” and the fact that they won’t be able to visit the Statue of Liberty. I say “brother” because that’s essentially what he is, a brother to Taystee much like Vee is like a mother to her. Out of a pile of perpetual movement and unfulfillment rises some form of connection, some semblance of a family.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the world they live in isn’t harsh. Vee deals in the drug business, and she attempts to bring Taystee down to Earth by telling her that there are no careers in this world, only jobs. Figueroa and the Mock Job Fair are manifestations of the limitations of the real world, and while operating under the pretense of a form of support for the inmates, they kick the inmates in the gut.

The frustrating part for Taystee is the fact that she knows she’s gifted. We see how intelligent she is and how driven she can be, both in the past and the present, but at the end of it all, she’s forced to settle for a $10 credit. It’s great that she can find a bit of temporary solace, but it’s also emblematic of her entire life: untapped potential. She hasn’t exactly squandered it away; she’s just been forced to scrape by in an unforgiving world. Here, her last stint out of jail–that didn’t last long at all–is very much on her mind, and she’s using that as a cautionary tale and a form of motivation for her current goals.

However, the system is fine with drawing the line at cautionary tales. To them, that’s all she’s useful for, but we know that that view is so very wrong.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-The episode doesn’t move quite that fluidly, but it does what it needs to get done: reintroduce us to these characters and their current states. I won’t touch on all the characters, but family seems to be a common thread throughout the hour.

-It seems like Polly is portrayed as a bit of a polar opposite to Taystee in this episode; she’s exhausted and doesn’t give a crap, with potential–symbolized by the baby, of course–bogging her down.

-Daya is very constipated.

-Nice work by the production team on Pennsa’s teeth.

-Oh, Healy. Last season, he became the series villain, and I look forward to seeing what the show does with his character. It’s evident that he doesn’t have as much power as he wishes he had.

-Lorraine Toussaint: fantastic work.

-Next up: Piper returns!

Photo credit: Orange Is the New Black, Netflix

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One Response to “Orange Is the New Black “Looks Blue, Tastes Red” Review (2×02)”

  1. Pop Eye June 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Great review, PB! I actually powered through the entire season to write a season review and… I wasn’t all that impressed with the season. Some moments are absolutely great, but there’s also always something that holds the episodes back for me. Anyway: looking forward to the rest of your reviews!

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