iTunes PODCAST – Forever (Officially Canceled; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on October 28, 2015, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Amie, and Sherryl–is Around the Water Cooler and taking a First Look at the one and only season of canceled series Forever. If you have not watched Forever, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Around the Water Cooler – “Forever” (Officially Canceled; MAJOR SPOILERS)

forever_u-s-_tv_series_title_card

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Forever” is a fantasy crime drama that aired on ABC during the 2014-2015 television season.

What: “Forever,” a drama centered on a forensic medical examiner, Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), who is immortal and who has lived for over 200 years, and on the mysteries that follow him.

When: The first and only season of Forever aired on ABC from September 22, 2014, through May 5, 2015, when the series finale aired. One full season of 22 episodes was ordered and aired in its entirety.

Where: The action is set in and around New York City, primarily in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, though flashbacks to periods in Henry’s long life occasionally take the action to other places around the globe.

Why: I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“While this show may tread closely toward procedural territory, the spin of having the principal character be immortal is intriguing. How the creators choose to vector the story will indicate how long the show will last (i.e. how many people will watch).  I do enjoy Ioan Gruffudd and Judd Hirsch as well.

While said vector was largely enjoyable and created an entertaining and touching story that repeatedly drew this viewer as well as the podcast panel in and spurred the need to see more, not enough viewers, apparently, caught on to this intelligent and unusual serial that might have been derivative of other TV fare but presented its derivation in a unique and heartfelt way.  I watched the show’s one and only season despite its cancellation because there was quite a large groundswell of fan support for this show, culminating in the #SaveForever fan campaign following its cancellation, and friends of mine, some of which appear on this podcast, watched it and loved it.  I courted the known but nonetheless painful sting of network axing by watching Forever on Hulu following its cancellation.  The podcast panel and I agree: cancellation was a mistake, and one that may never be rectified.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING.  HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing.  I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens.  There are things I like, and things I don’t.  We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes.  Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together.  No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys.  It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Forever = 4.8 – average of the podcast panel

SYNOPSIS

Forever centers on the character of Dr. Henry Morgan (Gruffudd), who is an immortal New York City medical examiner.  He uses his extensive knowledge and Sherlock-like powers of deduction to assist the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in solving crimes and to discover a way to end his immortality. Flashbacks within each episode reveal various details of Henry’s life and mete out some of the mysterious circumstances behind his immortality, as well as describe the many lifetimes he’s lived. Since his first death by point blank shooting, while trying to free slaves as a doctor aboard a ship involved in the African slave trade in the eighteenth century, Henry disappears each time he dies and returns to life, naked, in a nearby body of water (most often the East River while in New York City) without aging a day. Henry’s long life has afforded him encyclopedic knowledge and remarkable observation skills which impress most people he encounters, including Detective Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza). Only antiquarian Abe (Judd Hirsch), whom Henry and his now-deceased wife Abigail found as a newborn in a German concentration camp during World War II, and who Henry regards as a son, despite the fact that Abe has surpassed his surrogate father in age, knows that he is immortal. Henry is stalked throughout the series by “Adam,” who is also an immortal, and claims to have been alive for two millennia.

THOUGHTS

The cancellation of Forever was something of a surprise to this viewer, particularly given how many people, according to the interwebs and this viewer’s own inner circle, seemed to like it.  Normally, CPU! would (likely) not podcast a canceled show; however, the passion is strong for Forever, and we at CPU! thought we might offer our own earnest if belated plea to #SaveForever.  So, I invited a few fellow Forever followers to discuss our devotion to this short-lived series and our pangs of betrayal and disappointment regarding its untimely demise.

Fair warning: the recording location and logistics were a bit trickier than normal, so the recording almost sounds as if we were sitting in a tunnel near a large air vent.  Being somewhat of an intermediate sound mixer, I can vouch that the final product is better than the initial rough cut.  You can hear us, but pay no attention to the “atmosphere.” Television podcasting is somewhat of a mobile art for us right now.

Anyway, give this brand new podcast episode a listen, and comment on what you think below!

RECOMMENDATION

Forever is recommended to viewers who enjoy crime dramas, such as Bones or Castle, but also to viewers who like fantasy added to their television mix. The podcast panel felt that Forever might appeal to fans of Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow as well as to fans of Ringer (due to Gruffudd) or fans of Judd Hirsch, as he has a lovable role as Henry’s “son” Abe.  Fans of Orange is the New Black may recognize the actress who played Vee, Lorraine Toussaint.  In all honesty, though, Forever has something for everyone, and it’s disappointing that not enough of “everyone” found it.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:

Canceled!  ABC canceled Forever in May 2015 as one of the few of the shows canceled by the alphabet network. There is no word yet on whether any other network–general, cable, or streaming–plans to pick it up, and the show has not yet been made available for purchase or rental via most sites.  There is a mystery in the hold-up surrounding home video release – maybe we’ll be surprised again as many of us were by the cancellation.  It’s worth the watch, even though most of the podcast panel did not feel an immediate need to watch it repeatedly (as it was only one season and our questions will, seemingly, never be answered).

#SaveForever!

iTunes PODCAST – Game of Thrones Season 5 (INCREDIBLY MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on August 17, 2015, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Amanda, Jay, Chelsea, and Rob–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing season 5 of Game of Thrones. If you are not caught up on Thrones, be aware that there are THE MOST MAJOR SPOILERS OF ALL THE SPOILERS in this particular podcast episode! Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler – Game of Thrones – The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Game of Thrones,” airs on premium cable TV, specifically on HBO, Spring Sundays at 9:00 PM.

What: “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama based on the series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, which tells the tale of the land of Westeros and the various families and factions vying for the Iron Throne, i.e. rule of all of the seven kingdoms in a world of magic, dragons, swordplay, and death (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here).

When: The season five finale aired on HBO, Sunday, June 14, 2015, at 9:00 PM.

Where: The show is set the fictional land of Westeros, a world that could be Europe, could be Middle Earth, or could be most fantasy/epic realms.  Westeros is divided into Seven Kingdoms, but rule of all kingdoms hails from the Iron Throne, in King’s Landing. The show follows key characters across most realms.

Why: A friend basically said I had to watch it and for good reason.  I gravitate toward fantasy and science fiction most frequently; fantasy is also my favorite genre to read.  I haven’t read Martin’s currently-in-progress series, which has become something of a cultural watershed not unlike the Harry Potter novels, though I plan to do so.  Anything with magic and dragons and elaborate fictional worlds is going to appeal to me, considering my favorite books of all time are The Lord of the Rings series. Thus, an obsession with Game of Thrones was born.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

For a recap of season 4, read here.

It’s been a few months since the latest season of Game of Thrones bowed with its epic fifth season finale, but it took at least that amount of time to digest everything that occurred in what has been one of the most exciting and jam-packed seasons of the series.  Also, believe it or not, this viewer wanted to take a step back from the flurry of wild speculation that has ensued since the finale aired – after all, an event of such magnitude occurred, while normally it would not be seen as a cliffhanger on other shows and in other fictional universes, in Game of Thrones and in Westeros, there is enough uncertainty about the event that the internet has been broken about a thousand times over since the finale’s airing, as fan theories and guesses fly.

Of course, the finale was not the only episode to present some cataclysmic plot developments, as the television series has finally caught up to George R.R. Martin’s unfinished book series and, in some ways, even surpassed it, though clearly entrenched in the saga’s middle act. In fact, the thought of writing an entire recap about Game of Thrones’ fifth season proved to be too daunting a task to conceive, so, naturally, I invited a panel of the fellow GoT obsessed to sit “around the water cooler” and to chat and theorize all things season five as well as what season six might look like, now that the books won’t give us as many clues (unless rumors are true and Martin publishes the next installment before the premiere). Not surprisingly, this scholarly bunch had much to say, so this CPU! episode is a bit longer than normal; however, we cover quite a bit of territory, including speculations about Jon Snow’s parentage, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons, and Melisandre’s much sought after savior, who is likely not Stannis Baratheon.

This podcast was recorded on August 17, 2015.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, and/or our iTunes channel to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) How is it that Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has these powers?  Who is that dead looking guy on that throne? What are these beings in this macabre cave?  And how will their story intersect with the rest?

Answer: We haven’t been given much of Bran’s story or any of these answers (other than that the throned dead guy is the human form of the many eyed raven), as the character was benched during season five, but he’s slated to reappear in season six.  Along with Hodor, which should please panelist Rob.

2) Where is Arya (Maisie Williams) going?

Answer: She was seeking Ja’qen Ha’qar, who resides in the House of Black and White across the Narrow Sea.  The House of Black and White has been erected in homage to the Many Faced God.  She had many adventures there.

3) When is Dany (Emilia Clarke) going to sail for King’s Landing?  How long is she going to remain in Slaver’s Bay?  And will she be able to find Drogon and control him?

Answer: It doesn’t look like Dany’s heading back across the sea anytime soon, since Drogon found his mama, as she was threatened by the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen.  He whisked her away to the countryside, where she found herself surrounded by a swarm of horse bound Dothraki tribesmen.  Also, while Drogon responds to his mom, she is not really “controlling” him as much as communicating with him.  Her time in Slaver’s Bay feels a bit indefinite about now.

4) Why do we care about Ramsay Snow/Bolton (Iwan Rheon), other than the fact that he completely screwed up Theon (Alfie Allen)?

Answer: Well, as it turns out, he’s not only a sadistic bastard but an ambitious snot.  His dad, Roose, made him all legitimate and stuff, the Boltons marched on Winterfell and took it over, and, in this season, Littlefinger made a deal with the Boltons to produce Sansa, who would otherwise be Queen in the North (since Bran’s fate is not known), as Ramsay’s wife, to further legitimize the Bolton’s tenuous but fitful hold on this icy region.  And, as it turns out, he raped Sansa on their wedding night and made Theon/Reek watch.  It was painful and broke the internet.  So, we care about seeing this little shit get what’s coming to him.  He’s like Joffrey Junior, without the power.

5) What is Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) going to do with Sansa (Sophie Turner)?  Is he expecting to make her the new Catelyn?

Answer: Of sorts.  He does seem to have an unhealthy fixation upon Sansa, much as he did with Catelyn.  Littlefinger dropped Sansa off in Winterfell and made a deal with the Boltons, with the secret aim of taking on whomever would lose the imminent battle, as Stannis Baratheon planned to march his army toward Winterfell and take the North from the Boltons.  He then traveled to King’s Landing at Cersei’s behest.  We haven’t heard much from him since, but Sansa was further used as a pawn in Littlefinger’s schemes.  He loves himself the most.

6) Where will Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) end up, and how will he survive? Will there be a manhunt commissioned by Cersei (Lena Headey)? How will King’s Landing be affected by the loss of Tywin Lannister?

Answer: A definite “yes” on the manhunt.  Cersei sent bounty hunters after her younger brother.  In the meantime, shortly after Tommen was crowned king, Cersei took over the King’s Small Council, attempting to rule the Iron Throne behind her meeker middle son.  Margery Tyrell, a schemer like Cersei, a widow after Joffrey’s death in season four, manipulated Tommen into requesting her hand in marriage, however, and Margery became legitimately queen.  Cersei countered by sending the zealot septon, the head of the church in King’s Landing, after Loras Tyrell, Cersei’s latest betrothed, who prefers the company of men, causing Margery to perjure herself in a kangaroo court run by the septon in an attempt to cover up his apparently offensive ways.  The problem is, Cersei’s plan backfired when the septon turned his attention on Cersei and her many sins, forcing her confession and naked walk of penance from the sept to the Red Keep in an attempt by the show to elicit sympathy for her character (listen to the podcast for the panel’s reactions).

Tyrion, on the other hand, was first captured by Varys for the purpose of saving his life as well as of escorting him away from King’s Landing and across the Narrow Sea toward Dany, who Varys believes is the true ruler of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms. Varys felt that Tyrion was smart enough and experienced enough to be Dany’s hand or adviser. Unfortunately, Tyrion’s proclivity for drink allowed him to be captured by the exiled Ser Jorah, who sought the dwarf as a bargaining chip to get himself back into Dany’s good graces.  Tyrion and Jorah had an odd coupling for a time; they sailed through Valyria, with the Stonemen affected by Greyscale, who infected Jorah.  They were captured by slavers and then introduced into the Meereen fighting pits, which Dany agreed to reopen to placate some of her new subjects. Eventually, Tyrion and Dany were able to meet in one of the best scenes of the season, which has not previously appeared in the books.  Tyrion was left in charge of Meereen by Jorah and Daario after Drogon took Dany away from her attackers at the end of the season.

7) Will Tyrion ever find Sansa again?

Answer: I don’t think he wants to or cares at this point.  He and Sansa are now on different paths.

8) Why did Stannis (Stephen Dillane) march toward the Night’s Watch first?

Answer: He planned to come at Winterfell from the North, rather than the more predictable South.  Also, Castle Black might have been a resting place for his men.

9) Is Jon Snow (Kit Harington) going to fight for Stannis?  What will he do in light of this new development?

Answer: Jon Snow, newly made Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, elected not to go with Stannis.  He remained true to his duty as Lord Commander and, instead, advocated for alliance with the Wildlings in the face of an onslaught of White Walkers.  Yet, these attempts led to the first major battle with the White Walkers and their ever multiplying army of wights, as well as the Night’s King, a blue eyed Walker that can only be defeated by Dragon’s Fire or perhaps Valyrian steel.  His decisions also lead to what looked like his death (listen to the podcast).

10) Is the Night’s Watch something that still exists at this point?

Answer: It still exists, though it’s in something of a tatter after battles with both the Wildlings and the White Walkers.

11) Where are those pesky White Walkers?

Answer: Winter is here.  They are just north of the Wall.

12) Where did Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) go?

Answer: He was exiled and remained in Slaver’s Bay but found Tyrion and headed back for Meereen to try to re-curry favor with Dany.

13) Can Melisandre (Carice van Houten) die?  For that matter, can Cersei?

Answer: They both continue to live.  The audience weeps.

14) Where did Rickon go?!  I know he’s but a babe, but he’s lost or something.

Answer: Still a question.  He has to be like 15 about now.

15) Will Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) ever find Arya again?  Or, will she make for the Vale and Sansa?  Or, will she finally acknowledge her love of Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and turn back toward King’s Landing?

Answer: Brienne lost Arya to the sea, but she temporarily found Sansa in the company of Littlefinger in a country tavern; however, Sansa refused to go with her, preferring to trust who she knew in Lord Baelish.  Brienne never stopped tailing Sansa, though, which led to her discovery of Stannis and the keeping of one of her oaths.  I don’t think Jaime is a thought on her brain right now.

New Questions

1) What will we find out about Bran and his exploits since last we saw him?

2) Panelist Kristen says: “What the hell is Hodor (Kristian Nairn)?”

3) Arya was blinded when she angered the Many Faced God by using one of the faces in the House of Black and White to her advantage in slaying one of the men on her revenge list.  Is this permanent blindness?  What will happen to her now?  Why did Ja’quen (Tom Wlaschiha) encourage this revenge list to begin with, only to take issue with her adherence to it now?

4) Stannis’ forces were decimated by the Boltons’.  House Baratheon appears to be teetering on the brink of being eliminated from the Game of Thrones, but for the fact that Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is a Baratheon in name only.  Will Littlefinger go after the Boltons?  Will anyone unseat the Boltons?  Who?

5) Sansa and Theon/Reek “escaped” Winterfell by jumping over the guard wall to flee Ramsay’s sadism.  Did they survive the jump?  Will they get away?  Where will they go?

6) What will happen to Dany?  She dropped her wedding ring: to break with her queenliness or to leave a bread crumb for Jorah and Daario (Michael Huisman)?  Will they find her?  Will Drogon find her?  What will this new Dothraki horde do?  Do they know that she was the Khaleesi?

7) What will we see of Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill) in Meereen?  Will Tyrion and Dany be reunited?

8) Is Jon Snow really dead?  If so, is he coming back to life?  How?  Will he Warg into his direwolf, as Bran has been able to do, per the Starks’ traditional magical power established by the novels?  Will Melisandre resurrect him as she did Dondarrion in Season Three?

9) Who is Jon’s mother?  Is Jon, in fact, the product of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen? Is the Song of Ice and Fire about him?

10) Does Melisandre, who seems to have forsaken Stannis Baratheon, now believe that Jon is the Azor A’hai?  The savior of all?

11) Is the Azor A’hai the same as the Prince of Promise?  Is the Azor A’hai one person? If so, is it Jon or Dany or someone else?  Or, is it the combination of three people who can ride Dany’s dragons?  And who are those three people…? Jon? Dany? Tyrion? Anyone else?

12) With Jon Snow apparently dead, and Sam Tarly (John Bradley) heading toward the Citadel with Gilly (Hannah Murray), will we have to spend anymore time at the Night’s Watch?  Alternatively, will the Watchmen need to battle the White Walkers anew? Will the wall hold?  Will peace be kept between the Watchmen and the Wildlings who have taken refuge there?

13) How will Cersei recover from her penance?

14) What is the resurrected Mountain going to do, or how does he figure into anyone’s plans, the Lannisters included?

15) With Myrcella dying by poison on the ship back from Dorn, will Cersei and/or Jaime retaliate again Ilaria Sand (Indira Varma) or Dorn?

16) Will Tommen be able to hold his rule?

17) What happened to the Tyrells?  Are Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras rotting in prison?

18) How long will the new religion have its hold on King’s Landing?  Will their evangelism spread?

19) Is Rickon and Osha returning anytime soon?

20) Is Stannis Baratheon really dead? If so, what will Brienne of Tarth do now?

21) Can we never see Dorn again, even if Prince Martell (Alexander Siddig) is played by Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?  Panelist Jay votes yes on never seeing Dorn again.

PARTING SHOTS:

Game of Thrones remains, possibly more than ever, simply one of the most exciting programs on television right now, bolstered by the fact that, when in season, it is one of the primary water cooler shows on television today.  The fact that the show has caught up with the books is admirable in and of itself.  Though each episode metes out a fraction of story for most of the major point-of-view characters, a majority of the episodes are fraught with tension and grand spectacle, with excellent visual effects, stellar writing and pacing, and some of the most superb acting currently on the small screen.  The panelists, though they had somewhat mixed views of season five, are generally quite obsessed with the show and its current trajectory and positive about most plot developments.  They had many theories and observations but all are excited for the next season and to keep watching!  Listen to their reactions and see if you agree.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Game of Thrones was renewed for a sixth season slated to premiere in spring 2016, though it might be somewhat delayed compared to past seasons, according to the latest reports.  Until then, Game of Thrones fans, remember: you play, or you die.

iTunes PODCAST – Orange is the New Black Season 3 Part 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Eddie, and Amanda–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 3 of Orange is the New Black – this is the second part of our discussion (the first part was published last week). If you haven’t seen the series through the third season, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! For now, tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals – Orange is the New Black – The Season 3 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS) – Part Two

THE SPECS:

Who: The show is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps who just became engaged to be married to Larry Bloom, her unemployed but wholly supportive writer boyfriend. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted.  Piper’s wild and adventurous past, including her ambiguous sexual orientation, becomes a secret revealed not only to Larry and his family but to her family as well.

What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others, like kitchen head Red (Mulgrew) in the first season, show her no mercy, particularly after Piper accidentally criticizes the cooking.  In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.  In the meantime, Larry attempts to make the best of his temporary separation from Piper, though he is less than comfortable with the news that Piper and Alex are doing time together.

When: All 13 third season episodes became available for viewing on June 12, 2015.

Where: The show is set in New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: I saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  I was originally drawn in by the fact that Kate Mulgrew, best known as Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, plays a Russian prisoner and the “mama” of the motley cast of inmates.  I later discovered that Laura Prepon, aka Donna from That ’70s Show, is also a featured regular.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

After branching out from blogging reviews about Orange is the New Black’s first season, to expanding to one of our first ever podcast episodes to discuss the second (listen here), this particular panel of fellow Couch Potatoes and Orange enthusiasts grew as we sat down to talk all things season three of the wildly popular Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  In fact, this episode is the second of two CPU! entries focused entirely upon OITNB’s third season (the first entry can be heard here), as moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, and Nick, newly joined by Eddie and Amanda, engaged in heady discussion about some of the plot lines we saw emerge in this slightly differently structured third season.  What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of some of third season’s cliffhangers going into season four?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, and/or our iTunes channel.  Let us know what you think!

Questions, Predictions, Speculations

Old Questions

1) What will happen when Alex returns to prison, now that Piper has schemed with Polly to ensure that Alex would violate her parole and return to prison, most likely Litchfield, with Piper?

Answer: Alex returned, quite paranoid that the leader of the drug cartel for which she and Piper worked would find her (outside of the confines of witness protection) and kill her.  Her paranoia drove a wedge between her and Piper, although that wedge was arguably already festering since and owing to the events of the second season, when Alex flipped the switch and testified against the cartel leader, while Piper lied on the stand, at Alex’s insistence, and was sent back to prison.  Piper, as a result, canoodled with new inmate Stella (Ruby Rose) and began avoiding Alex. Piper, also, decided to become a product of the system this season and go all “bad-ass” by starting a panty-sniffing online sales business.  Listen to part one of the podcast for more details. 

2) What is Pennsatuckey’s end of season transformation and exploration of the “gay agenda” really about?

Answer: This moderator thinks that Tuckey is really just trying to fit in and belong somewhere because her back story revealed, as the panel noted, that she was always used and abused by men (except for one kind one), and that she was taught by her mother that it would always be this way.  Also, with Tuckey’s lack of friends, owing to the laundry girls’ rejection of her, and with Big Boo finding humor in Tuckey’s attempts to understand someone as out there–and as “out”–as Boo, it may be that Tuckey recognizes that Boo is one of her only friends if not the only one.

3) What’s going to happen to Caputo, given that two prisoners escaped (one of them dying) on the first day of his watch?

Answer: He seemed to suffer no real consequences as a result of the two escapees.  He had bigger fish to fry with the financial insolvency of Litchfield and with his decision to bring in a private corporation to run the prison.

4) Will we see more of Sophia in season three?

Answer: We saw more of Sophia.  She was involved in a nasty feud with Gloria. Listen to part two of the podcast for more details.

5) What will the aftermath be for Crazy Eyes now that Vee has thrown her to the wolves and abandoned her?

Answer: Sweetly, Taystee sort of stepped up and became the mother surrogate that Crazy Eyes/Suzanne craved in Vee.  And whenever Suzanne’s particularly erratic impulses came to fruition, in season three, she devoted her energies to writing alien porn, which became the number one Litchfield best seller.  Listen to part two of the podcast for more details.

6) Will Red ever get the kitchen back?

Answer: Red got the kitchen back, but it was very conditional, since she wasn’t allowed to prepare her own food.  Gloria was only too happy to give it up.

7) Will Nicky escape the lure of the heroin she found?

Answer: If by “escape,” we mean “shipped to max” because Luschek framed her for a small swatch of heroin he was hiding for himself after Nicky attempted to cut him in on selling Vee’s former stash (although he was probably going to use it himself).  We discuss her departure heavily in part one of the podcast, as she was sorely missed, but she may never be fully separated from the lure of the drug and her addiction.

8) Will we get to see back stories of other prisoners, including some of the older prisoners (Red’s friends)?

Answer: Not of Red’s friends, but we did get to see back stories of people like Flaca and Leanne.

9) When will Daya have her baby?

Answer: She had her baby at the end of the third season.  It’s a girl!

10) Will we see Pornstache again?

Answer: Yes, we saw Pornstache again.  His mom (Mary Steenbergen) visited him in prison, as she originally planned to adopt Daya’s baby, thinking Daya was having her grandchild.  When Daya exposed the truth, after Aleida attempted to scam Pornstache’s mom for money, Pornstache was informed that he was not the father, I believe.  We discuss this arc in part one of the podcast.

11) Will the prison improve now that Fig has got her comeuppance?

Answer: Improvement is relative, isn’t it?  Arguably, the prison did not improve and actually worsened under the rule of Caputo and corporate privatization.

New Questions

1) Is Alex dead?  Or, did she survive and how?  Did Lori Petty’s character, Lolly, swoop in and save her, as Kristen predicts in the podcast (part one)?

2) Will the guard who raped Pennsatuckey do the same thing to Maritza now that Boo and Tuckey let him go?  Where will Boo and Tuckey’s new odd couple partnership take them next?

3) How can Caputo save the prison now with the influx of max prisoners seen at the end of the season?  What kind of fallout will there be if the “old guards” walk out?

4) How will the landscape change with the influx of max prisoners?  Will we be introduced to tons of additional new characters, or will they be background/backdrop for our already established characters? Will it be “old characters” versus “new characters?”

5) Does the influx from max mean we will see Nicky again?  How about Stella?

6) What will happen between Suzanne’s new love interest and her?  Will the new love interest calm her down?

7) How will the prison/corporation deal with the aftermath of the lake and the breakout of so many inmates?

8) Will Red and Healy become romantically involved?  Do we want that?

9) Will Pornstache’s mom return?  Will she suspect that Aleida lied about the baby being dead and being a boy?

10) What happened to the baby?!  Where is Bennett?  Will he return?  And not be on How to Get Away with Murder so much?  How will Daya react once she finds out about their fates?  What will Aleida do?

11) How will the already overrun prison deal with the addition of Blair Brown’s fake Martha Stewart character?  Will she be accepted?  Will Poussey invite her into the family that also now includes Soso, since P is her biggest fan?

12) Are Soso and Poussey a couple?  Kristen and Nick think they are.

13) How will Morello’s new husband and his beating of the erstwhile Christopher affect Morello’s continued prison stay?

14) Will the “Norma” religion endure?  Will Red and Norma start season four on more equal footing?

15) If Stella stole Piper’s commissary, where will that leave Flaca and some of the more demanding entrepreneurs involved in the panty-sniffing business?

16) How will Black Cindy’s new religion affect her relationship with the rest of her “family” unit?

17) Will Piper be found out regarding her business?  Will it affect her prison stay?

18) Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).  How much are the producers now relying on Piper Kerman’s original book?

PARTING SHOTS

The podcast panel offered some mixed reactions about season three.  In short, some liked the lack of a galvanizing villain and the plot threads less (Krista, Nick, Edgar), one liked it more (Kristen), while some (Amanda and I) had no strong opinion either way.  The podcast panel’s opinion of main character Piper universally continued to decline, finding her, as depicted, a privileged woman whose own “decline” still feels less than genuine in some respects, not to mention her changeable and somewhat “spoiled brat” behavior toward Alex and Stella, though the panel appreciated the fact that the show spent more time on other characters and less on her overall.  The panel mostly expressed trepidation about what season four might look like with the influx from max – will it mean having to become acclimated to scores of new characters?  What will it mean for our core group?  The panel did feel that the show’s writers and producers have placed the story on a very specific trajectory, though, and all of the panel will continue to watch the show and season four to find out what happens, even as some of the panel find themselves growing a bit more impatient than other panel members.  At this time, though, the panel acknowledges that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch, though, as a rule among most panel members, somewhat less “binge” watchable.  The panel had high hopes and expectations that season four will continue the overarching quality of storytelling, though some members are mildly nervous – or more nervous than the others – about the current trajectory.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Orange is the New Black was renewed for a fourth season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2016.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Orange is the New Black Season 3 Part 1 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on July 12, 2015, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Eddie, and Amanda–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 3 of Orange is the New Black. If you haven’t seen the series through the third season, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Also, stay tuned to the channel. as next week, part two of this discussion will be published. For now, tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below!