Orange is the New Black, Season 5 (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 Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Amanda, and Andrew–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.  This episode was recorded in October 2017, and if you haven’t seen OITNB through the fifth season, 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/podcast covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black” 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. 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 (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. 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 show her no mercy. 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 time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: All 13 Season 5 episodes became available for viewing on June 9, 2017.

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: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

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

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-4 below:

Orange is the New Black, Season Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part One

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Four

Our OITNB Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, Amanda, and Andrew – triumphantly return to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season Five of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  We engaged in our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge in the tightly entertaining and engaging fifth season. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of the fifth season’s cliffhangers going into season six?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in October 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season Five. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, schedule permitting, our DCTU/Arrowverse panel will return to the Water Cooler after a brief absence to round-up reactions to all four CW/Arrowverse shows so far this season, just in time for the end of the mid-season hiatus (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).

ANSWER: Piper hasn’t been released yet, so…still a question.

2) Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback this season provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

ANSWER: Unclear.  OITNB does not revisit Suzanne’s back story at any point during Season Five.

3) Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

ANSWER: Panelist Krista believes, if the source book on which the show is based still provides any kind of story framework, that Piper has two to three months maximum left to her original sentence; however, the show does not focus on time passing in Season Five, as it picks up right after the events of Season Four and transpires over the course of a few days.

4) Will we see Healy (Michael Harney) again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

ANSWER: Healy does not make an appearance in Season Five…will he appear in future seasons?  Unknown.

5) Will Laverne Cox/Sophia be in Season Five, given that Cox is part of a show that has been picked up by CBS for the new TV season?  How will the prison or the show deal with the controversy of leaving Sophia in solitary for her “protection.”

ANSWER: Well, Laverne’s CBS show (“Doubt”) was quickly canceled after only a couple of episodes; however, she appears in one episode this season.  Because she only appears in one episode, the show bypasses Sophia’s time in solitary and related controversy with little explanation regarding the experience’s effects on her.  Sophia returns to doing hair while the prisoners riot, as of the final moments of the Season Four finale and throughout Season Five.  Perhaps some of the rioters break Sophia out of solitary?  The show offers no explanation for her appearance, but she definitely looks worse for wear when she does appear.

6) Where will Season Five pick up given the end of the season?  Will it pick up right from the moment at which season four ended, or will time of any significance pass?

ANSWER: Season Five picks up at the literal second when Season Four ends.

7) Will Daya (Dascha Polanco) shoot Humps?  Or, will another prisoner intervene?  Or, if she does shoot him, will someone go to bat and take the fall for her?  Will Humps survive this riot?  If he does, will anyone find out about what he did to Maritza, Suzanne, and others?

ANSWER: Daya shoots Humps – in the leg.  She then proceeds to lose the gun for a while, and the only prisoner who seems to care about her welfare and the potential ramifications of her actions is surrogate mama Gloria (Selenis Levya).  Humps is taken to the infirmary to recover; however, Suzanne’s former paramour Maureen decides to exact revenge for his merciless treatment of the prisoners (and for him inciting said present riot) by blowing air bubbles into his breathing tubes.  As a result, Humps suffers a stroke and, subsequently and quietly, dies.  

8) Will Judy King (Blair Brown) make it out of prison?  Will she grab the gun from Daya? Will she be a casualty of that final riot?

ANSWER: Judy King makes it out of prison, with a little help from the white supremacists, who wear hoods, are caught on camera, and are mistaken for Muslim terrorists.  Ah, irony.  Judy then proceeds to try to sell her prison story in an exploitative way by appearing on a prime time news talk show hosted by Meredith Vieira (really?), without much thought about or consideration of the consequences or the potential effect her choices may have on others.  Judy King is kind of The Worst.

9) Will Litchfield continue to run after all of the chaos at the end of Season Four?  Will the prisoners be split up?  Or, is that a way the series might end?

ANSWER: “Continue to run” is a relative turn of phrase, considering that the prisoners are controlling the prison, and mass chaos not only continues but increases as Season Five progresses.  As for the prisoners splitting up…well, when SWAT units enter the building to regain control by force, Leanne and Angie, in a final blaze of glory, decide to burn the prisoner’s paper records and, as a result, start a fire in the prison offices.  As a result, Litchfield is engulfed in flames, and, while prisoners are brought to safety, outside and in the yard, by SWAT team units, two buses appear to ship prisoners, seemingly, to two different alternative prisons.  Where and how will we start Season Six given this information?  Stay tuned.

10) How will Soso and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) deal with their particular grief about Poussey?  Will they come to bond more?  Will Soso remain a part of P’s “family?”

ANSWER: Soso spends most of the season consumed by grief and depression in the wake of Poussey’s death, with minimal support from Poussey’s prison family (the African American girls), though Soso kind of becomes a de facto member of their group.  She does not regain some stability until she decides, in tribute to Poussey, to make an interactive, living, artistic tribute to P, with books from the library where P worked strung from the ceilings throughout the prisoner-controlled Litchfield halls.  In the meantime, Taystee, who is unimpressed by Soso’s methods of dealing with her loss, decides to take matters into her own hands to attempt to achieve justice for her best friend.  She forces Caputo (Nick Sandow) to record a video statement apologizing for Poussey’s death, which she proceeds to upload to the internet.  She also takes on the company allegedly overseeing the prison by entering into hostage negotiations with the company/with negotiator Fig, after the prisoners capture the remaining guards, declare them hostages, and cage them up in a locked guard booth, where many prisoners proceed to torture and to humiliate them.  Unfortunately, Taystee’s efforts are not always successful.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) Will Sister get out of solitary, or will she be left there?

ANSWER: The show, apparently (according to panelists Krista and Nick but escaping the notice of panelists Kylie and Kristen), explains that Sister contracted pneumonia while in solitary and was, therefore, given compassionate release from prison.  So, I guess Sister is gone for good, and at least two of us missed the explanation behind her departure!

12) Will Red (Kate Mulgrew) have a better story line next season?

ANSWER: If getting high on speed pills and becoming the sole object of dishonored guard Piscatella’s ire comprises a better story line, then I would say that Red does alright.

13) Do we still care about Piper and Alex as a couple?  Did Piper miss any of Alex’s written “confessions” that she hid around the prison in an effort to assuage her guilt?

ANSWER: Piper and Alex do everything they can to lay low this season; in fact, Alex makes it her own personal mission to stay out of the fray because she thinks that Piper often sticks her nose where it does not belong and, often, in sacrifice or to the detriment of the stability of their relationship, a subject of much conflict and debate between the two women this season.  Piper, probably for the first genuine time since the beginning of this show, obtains some self-awareness this season.  While she cannot promise Alex that she will always stay out of situations that seem to matter to her, because doing so is not in her nature, she at least promises that she will listen to Alex if Alex expresses unhappiness with Piper’s meddling and mischief.  Piper also proposes marriage to Alex, who accepts the proposal.  So, the panel believes we are sort of stuck caring about them for awhile longer.  As for Alex’s written confessions – either Piper found them all in Season Four or is too distracted to keep looking for them in Season Five, what with all the rioting and such.

14) How long will Nicky remain clean?  Have she and Tuckey (Taryn Manning) just become friends, given Tuckey’s willingness to nurse Nicky through a cold turkey withdrawal from heroin during the prison lock down?

ANSWER: Nicky, though tempted many times by an unguarded prison pharmacy and prisoners’ various stashes, manages to make it through the whole fifth season (which, in reality, transpires over about one to two weeks) without falling off the wagon.  Presumably, she and Tuckey have an understanding, but I would not characterize this understanding as friendship.  Tuckey, further, is distracted by other matters this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) Will we see the young, nice guard Bailey again?  Will the old Litchfield guards return in light of all that has happened?  And what exactly did Piscatella do to which Caputo hinted at the end of the season?

ANSWER: We see Bailey, and he is, rightfully, a mess.  Piper helps him escape the Litchfield prisoner regime, but he spends the entire season wracked with justifiable guilt over his involuntary manslaughter of Poussey; he also spends the entire season searching for some sort of redemption or forgiveness of his sin(s), even tracking down Poussey’s father, who can only tell Bailey that he will have to live with what he did to P for the rest of his life.  The old Litchfield guards mostly stay away, smartly, as the prison is overrun, but the show checks in with most of them.  As for Piscatella, it turns out that, at his prior prison job, he slaughtered another prisoner by scalding him in hot shower water after this prisoner brutally beat and killed a different prisoner with whom Piscatella was carrying on an inappropriate relationship in his position as a guard.  Piscatella was also exploring his newfound homosexuality in said relationship, so these dark incidents left Piscatella in a dark place, causing him to be the man we see in Seasons Four and Five.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Will we see Lolly (Lori Petty) again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

ANSWER: Lolly does not emerge from the psych ward during the riots of Season Five.

New Questions

1) Where and when will Season 6 begin?  Will there be a time jump? Will the Litchfield inmates be in various other prisons?  Will they return to a rebuilt prison?  Will we see all of the inmates we saw at the end of Season 5?  Will the inmates hiding by the old swimming pool, including Piper, Alex, Red, Frieda, Blanca, and others, be subjected to more stringent punishment?  Will they all survive?  Will they be captured?

2) What will happen to the guards originally left in the prison and captured by the prisoners?  What fallout, if anything, will they receive?

3) Will Piper and Alex marry in prison, and will this proposed marriage make Piper a more likable character?  Is that even possible?

4) Is this the end of Litchfield?

5) What will the fallout of the Litchfield riots be related to the company, the state, and the figureheads?  Will the company be assessed any consequences for its incompetent management of Litchfield?

6) Will there be additional crossovers with other original Netflix series – or additional crossovers with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  Some of the panelists support this idea; some are less enthused with both this concept and with the crossover that occurred in Season Five.

7) Are there any prisoners, especially prisoners that the viewer has known since the beginning, for which we have not seen flashback stories?  What flashback stories will see next season?

8) What was Freida’s crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

9) Will the company or anyone else discover Linda, the company woman playing prisoner who is also The Worst, among the prisoners?

10) Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and Maritza, be reunited?  Will Nicky and Morello (Yael Stone)?

11) Will Daya ever get to see her baby again?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel proved much more enthusiastic about the fifth season than about some of the seasons preceding it.  Some panelists even labeled this season their favorite, or one of their favorites, indicative of a fine return to form for the show.  In fact, the entire panel was both favorable and complimentary about OITNB Season Five.  The panel also, ever so slightly, continued to warm to Piper, believing that she continues to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  All in all, though, the panel reached a rare consensus of opinion, in that all panelists noted that the story trajectory, aside from a slower season beginning that appeared to lose some of the tension marking the fourth season finale, remained successful and compelling and regained the seemingly lost tension to almost “horror movie” proportions by season’s end, despite the absence of a fan and panel favorite character in Poussey.  The entire panel plans to continue to watch the show and Season Six to find out what happens, particularly in the wake of the emptying of Litchfield and the two buses that arrived to separate our formerly (and mostly) rioting characters.  Of course, the panel continues to acknowledge that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch but suggests that this season’s direction and pacing allow for better binge-watching in Season Five than in Season Four.  The panel further continues to maintain high hopes and expectations that Season Six will continue the overarching, excellent quality of storytelling that has characterized Orange is the New Black since its premiere.

LOOKING AHEAD

Orange is the New Black was renewed for a sixth (as well as a seventh) season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2018.  Until then!

CPU! LIVE!: CPU! Turns 100! Plus Our “Top 5” Current TV Recommendations!

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LIVE PODCAST! – Inspired by the movie High Fidelity, and CPU!’s very own Nick, today’s episode returns to our LIVE! format with our Top 5 feature.  Top 5 channels panel members’ best Rob Gordons by asking them to come up with their own top 5 TV shows or TV-related items around a painstakingly chosen theme.  Then, as a group, the panelists are forced to come up with a consensus, using their individual lists as starting points, that represents the panel at large.  It makes for some feisty discussion, depending upon the topic.  The consensus top 5 will be presented in the podcast description, which is kind of a big spoiler, but then you’re here to listen to the podcast episode and all of the meaty, juicy discussion (and potential arguments)….right?

Our Top 5 du jour? In honor of our 100th episode, CPU! provides a brief but heady debate surrounding five of our most frequent panelists’ Top 5 TV recommendations, courtesy of Moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Krista.  The debate was spicy – we have a diverse bunch of panelists, some nerdier than others, with different preferences.  How’d we fare?  Take a listen!

This podcast was live streamed on October 2, 2017, with associated video as part of Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater; this is the audio recording of the event! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, and, naturally, our website, couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com!

Editor: Kylie Piette
Social Media Graphics: Krista Pennington
Episode Sponsored By: Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater

PODCAST! – CPU! LIVE!: THE 100th EPISODE!!! – Top 5 Current TV Recommendations of a Frequent Five CPU! Panelists

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! SPONSORED BY:

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: Frequent CPU! panelists Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Krista!

What: CPU!’s Top 5 Current TV Recommendations!

When: CPU! went LIVE! and live streamed at its Facebook page on October 2, 2017!

Where: CPU! went live with our friends at Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Cool City Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Why:  Because we like you!  Because we’re all hams!  Because we turned 100 in the space of two and approximately one half short years!  So, now we think we’re experts.  For the record, we already know we’re silly.

How – as in How’d It Go?

To remind our listeners new and old, inspired by the movie High Fidelity, and CPU!’s very own Nick, today’s episode returns to our LIVE! format with our Top 5 feature.  Top 5 channels panel members’ best Rob Gordons by asking them to come up with their own top 5 TV shows or TV-related items around a painstakingly chosen theme.  Then, as a group, the panelists are forced to come up with a consensus, using their individual lists as starting points, that represents the panel at large.  It makes for some feisty discussion, depending upon the topic.  The consensus top 5 will be presented in the podcast description, which is kind of a big spoiler, but then you’re here to listen to the podcast episode and all of the meaty, juicy discussion (and potential arguments)….right?

Our Top 5 du jour? In honor of our 100th episode, CPU! provides a brief but heady debate surrounding five of our most frequent panelists’ Top 5 TV recommendations.  The debate was spicy – we have a diverse bunch of panelists, some nerdier than others, with different preferences.  How’d we fare?  Take a listen!  This podcast was live streamed on October 2, 2017, and is embedded here and uploaded to our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, schedules and health permitting, our DCTU panel will finally make its triumphant return to the proverbial Water Cooler, starting with what I am sure will be a spicy discussion about Season 2 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, in the first of four revisits to the Arrowverse in advance of and overlapping the new season premieres of the four shows comprising said TV universe.  If you’ve been following this series, or if you are a DC fan in general, you won’t want to miss it!  Stay tuned!

(The following embedded video also contains other segments of COM, to give you a flavor of the weekly improv and sketch comedy night).

CPU!S TOP 5 CURRENT TV RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The X-Files – “Season 11 to premiere in 2018.”
  2. Sherlock – “It’s not canceled yet!”
  3. Game of Thrones – “Billions watch it.”
  4. Orange is the New Black – “It’s so good. For most people.”
  5. Stranger Things – “One season dynamite.”

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! is returning to Grand Rapids Comic Con!  On October 21, 2017, at 4:00 PM we will be in Grand Gallery D in DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan, to launch another new feature in the general oeuvre of “Celebrity Death Match” in honor of two of the headlining guests at Con – our fan panel is entitled “Star Trek v. Star Wars: Battle of the Stars,” and will feature frequent and nerdy CPU! panelists Kristen, Nick, Kyle, Hilary, Sarah, and Spencer!  Stay tuned for all the details and marketing!

PANELIST PROFILES

Credits:

Editor: Kylie Piette
Social Media Marketing: Krista Pennington

Orange is the New Black, Season 4 (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 Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Amanda, and new panelist Andrew–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 4 of Orange is the New Black. This episode was recorded in October 2016, and if you haven’t seen OITNB through the fourth season, 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/podcast covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” The Season 4 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black” 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. 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 (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. 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 (Kate 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.

When: All 13 fourth season episodes became available for viewing on June 17, 2016.

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: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

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

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons Two and Three below:

Orange is the New Black, Season Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part One

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part Two

This particular panel of fellow Couch Potatoes and Orange enthusiasts experienced a bit of change, not unlike our beloved inmates themselves, as we sat down to talk all things season four of the wildly popular Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode, including moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, and Amanda, as well as new panelist Andrew.  We engaged in heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge in the dramatic and heartbreaking fourth 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 the fourth season’s cliffhangers going into season five?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in October 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season Four. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next episode will resume our American Horror Story retrospective series with a discussion about Season Four: Freak Show, just in time for Halloween!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old 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)?

ANSWER: Alex is alive.  Even though this viewer recalls a shot being fired at the end of season three, Alex was able to fend off her attacker thanks to, as Kristen predicted, the help of Lolly, who cold-cocked the fake guard.  Unfortunately, this move did not kill the guard outright.  They hid an unconscious but alive fake guard under tarp and plastic in the gardening shed, but when Alex returned to check on the body during lights out and found the man breathing, she made the decision to suffocate him to death.  What’s more, she enlisted Red and Freida, one of Red’s gardening compatriots, to hide the body, which they elected to do by chopping it up and burying the bits in the garden, when Lolly couldn’t get her story straight (or keep her mouth shut).  Listen to the podcast for more details.

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

ANSWER: It turns out that the guard who raped Tuckey didn’t realize that he raped her. He sincerely believed that she liked him as much as he liked her, and that he had the go-ahead to do the business, adding timely commentary to the systemic rape culture dialogue.  Because his feelings for Tuckey were based in some kernel of sincerity, he showed no interest in Maritza, who had other concerns, such as smuggling drugs for Maria and the Dominicans via her role as new prison van driver.  In the meantime, Tuckey found herself conflicted about forgiving the guard for his male idiocy, while Boo railed against her acquiescence, thinking that it was a mistake to give the guard any inch. This dialogue dominated Boo and Tuckey’s odd couple friendship, but they remained friends nevertheless.

3) How can Caputo (Nick Sandow) 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?

ANSWER: Caputo was forced to hire any guards available to fill the void of those who walked out, but the prison was overcrowded and, as a result, still understaffed.  The fallout mounted all season, with panelist Kristen’s famous dominoes being set up and toppling over, culminating with a prison protest, a prison riot, a death, and the threat of one prisoner shooting one of the more sadistic guards.  Listen to the podcast for details.

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?”

ANSWER: Most of the max influx served as backdrop, though we met a few new characters, including Abdullah, who had ongoing conflict with Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore); Piper’s new Hawaiian bunk mate; Red’s snoring upper bunk neighbor; and a number of new white supremacists.  Sometimes, the new prisoners made friends. Mostly, there was ongoing tension between the two groups.  Listen to the podcast for details.

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

ANSWER: Nicky came back to Litchfield minimum after a period of good behavior and being clean from her heroin addiction for some weeks.  Before she returned, Stella (Ruby Rose) tried hitting on her, but Nicky shut her down, being fully aware of her antics involving Piper and Alex and the theft of Piper’s commissary (Nicky was on maintenance detail, and word traveled).

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

ANSWER: After the prisoners broke through the fence and enjoyed a swim in the lake, Suzanne and her paramour tried to make a break for it, but Suzanne was disturbed by her admirer’s request to live independently in an imaginary fantasy kingdom of freedom; Suzanne seemed to think her friend was crazier than her and to balk at the idea of not being cared for by anyone, including the prison system.  So, Suzanne returned to prison and left her new love in the woods.  Her paramour was rebuffed. They tried to reconnect, especially because Suzanne felt the need for sexual contact, but her admirer used it as an excuse to get her hot and leave her hanging as revenge for dumping her in the woods behind the prison. At the end of the season, however, one of the more sadistic guards, “Humps,” threatened both women, instigating them to fight each other, seeding a riot that later flowed over into the cafeteria.  Listen to the podcast for details.

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

ANSWER: The corporation, via Caputo, managed to keep the escape quiet, rounding up every last prisoner, and quickly patching the hole in the fence.  It helped that the inmates had nowhere to go unless they were excellent swimmers.

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

ANSWER: No, Red and Healy did not become romantically involved, and it’s better that they didn’t.  Healy’s issues with women reached a peak this season, as we discovered in flashback that Healy’s mother abandoned him after suffering profound mental illness, a similar affliction which seemed to affect Healy by season’s end.  He tried to channel this pain and sadness into helping Lolly, who demonstrated similar traits of paranoia as those experienced by his mother, but when Lolly seemed too far gone, confessing to murdering the guard that threatened Alex even though she did not deal the fatal blow, Healy found he had no choice but to commit Lolly to the psych ward, not being able to figure out if she was telling the truth or not.  His apparent failure with her and with others under his charge, in addition to his ongoing inability to relate to his Russian ex-wife, resulted in Healy voluntarily admitting himself into an institution in the season finale.

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

ANSWER: Pornstache’s mom stayed away.  So far, she appears to believe Aleida’s tale, that her grandchild had died.  Still, Daya’s (Dascha Polanco) daughter is lost to the foster care system, given Cesar’s arrest in the third season finale.  Aleida was released from prison in the fourth season, paroled early for good behavior. She vowed to find her children and her grandchild for Daya but was momentarily derailed by the season ending events (listen to the podcast for details).

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?

ANSWER: The baby is in the system.  Bennett is getting away with murder and has not yet returned.  Daya was distraught to learn of Cesar’s arrest but took heart when Aleida announced that she planned to fight for her daughter, until Aleida started to think of life after prison and consider ambitions for herself, including opening a nail salon. After Aleida was released, Daya was also wooed to the Dominican gang by Maria, who looked to shore up her numbers while also watching after a fellow Latina, against the wishes of Daya’s surrogate mom, Gloria (Selenis Levya).  This alignment set up the end of the season in a big way (listen to the podcast for details).

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 (Samira Wiley) invite her into the family that also now includes Soso, since P is her biggest fan?

ANSWER: Judy King, the fake Martha Stewart, was afforded all sorts of special treatment.  She was given a private cell (a converted conference room), a begrudging Yoga Jones as her roommate, and all the amenities her charms could win her.  She was also the local celebrity, and while some, like Red, were unimpressed, others, like Poussey, were star-struck.  That is, until the prisoners learned of Judy’s one-time racist puppet show for kids, which aired on fictional Southern TV.  Her star tarnished, particularly in P’s eyes, but was never lost.  Ms. King also taught a cooking class at Healy’s insistence and invited Poussey to apply for a job with her company, upon P’s release, after P served as her classroom assistant.  Sadly, we’ll never know what may come of that… Also, Judy agreed to be part of a scheme to pose as Black Cindy’s interracial lesbian celebrity May-December lover in exchange for the cut of selling a black market photograph, courtesy of a cell phone smuggled into prison via Abdullah’s hajib, to the tabloids.

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

ANSWER: Kristen and Nick were right.  They were awkward but adorable…

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

ANSWER: No one found out about the assault on Christopher.  Morello continues to luck out in this regard.  The only effect her new husband had was to give her an excuse to gush about her wedding all season, relishing her position as center of attention, but also to become jealous and quasi-stalker-y again when she asked her sister to check up on her husband, thinking that he was stepping out on her with another woman (her sister included), only to discover that he was merely being cagey about living with his mom.

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

ANSWER: The Norma religion lost its steam this season.  The character of Norma barely appeared, in fact.  Perhaps, she decided the religious life wasn’t for her after all.

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

ANSWER: They quit.  They all quit.  Piper tried to stay in the game, but she was kind of an asshole to her workers, which drove them away, despite Piper’s best attempts to be a bad-ass gangsta’.  Flaca and Maritza defected to Maria when she decided to start poaching the panty business (and then when she converted said business to drug running and sales).

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

ANSWER: Her family was largely fine until max transplant Abdullah arrived on the scene, a professed member of the Nation of Islam, which also drew Janae into some family conflict (as she was a member of the same religion).  Mostly, it was bunk turf war, but religious observations were spicily made by Black Cindy, because she spicily comments about everything.

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

ANSWER: Piper managed to stay out of the warden’s limelight, but the business dried up when all of her panty-wearing volunteers quit because she was posing as a gang leader. This was especially cemented when she started a “neighborhood watch” type group within the prison, for the purpose of ratting on Maria and company to eliminate her competition, only to attract the attention of the white supremacists, who thought Piper was leading an anti-minority charge.  This resulted in the Dominicans, led by Maria, to brand Piper with a swastika in a scene lifted straight from Oz, though Red came to her aid and turned the swastika brand into a window, to remind Piper of what she went through to CTFD, finally.

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?

ANSWER: According to panelist Krista, the book is all but forgotten at this point.  Piper hasn’t been released yet, so the remainder of this question is still a question.

New Questions

1) Are we to assume that Suzanne’s flashback this season provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child?  Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

2) Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

3) Will we see Healy again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

4) Will Laverne Cox/Sophia be in season five, given that Cox is part of a show that has been picked up by CBS for the new TV season?  How will the prison or the show deal with the controversy of leaving Sophia in solitary for her “protection.”

5) Where will season five pick up given the end of the season?  Will it pick up right from the moment at which season four ended, or will time of any significance pass?

6) Will Daya shoot Humps?  Or, will another prisoner intervene?  Or, if she does shoot him, will someone go to bat and take the fall for her?  Will Humps survive this riot?  If he does, will anyone find out about what he did to Maritza, Suzanne, and others?

7) Will Judy King make it out of prison?  Will she grab the gun from Daya?  Will she be a casualty of that final riot?

8) Will Litchfield continue to run after all of the chaos at the end of season four?  Will the prisoners be split up?  Or, is that a way the series might end?

9) How will Soso and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) deal with their particular grief about Poussey?  Will they come to bond more?  Will Soso remain a part of P’s “family?”

10) Will Sister get out of solitary, or will she be left there?

11) Will Red have a better story line next season?

12) Do we still care about Piper and Alex as a couple?  Did Piper miss any of Alex’s written “confessions” that she hid around the prison in an effort to assuage her guilt?

13) How long will Nicky remain clean?  Have she and Tuckey just become friends, given Tuckey’s willingness to nurse Nicky through a cold turkey withdrawal from heroin during the prison lock down?

14) Will we see the young, nice guard Bailey again?  Will the old Litchfield guards return in light of all that has happened?  And what exactly did Piscatello do to which Caputo hinted at the end of the season?

15) Will we see Lolly again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel, slightly changed thought it was, continued to provide mixed reactions about the fourth season of the Netflix comedy/drama, though overall, the reaction appeared to be more favorable toward season four than season three, given the strong but devastating conclusion of the season.  The panel also started, ever so slightly, to warm up to Piper, believing that she is beginning to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  All in all, consensus was reached by the panel that the story trajectory beginning from the point at which Litchfield received the influx from max, and from the aftermath of the escape to the lake beyond the fence, was successful and compelling, even though season four started slowly but gained steam through its roaring and heartbreaking finale.  The new characters from max were meted out and introduced judiciously, there was not an overwhelming number of new faces and names to learn, and the tensions and conflicts that arose from pitting the two populations against each other were rooted in a calculated gamble that ultimately paid off.  All of the panel plans to continue to watch the show and season five to find out what happens, particularly in the wake of the passing of Poussey and given the fact that Daya, another well liked character, was squaring off against the sadistic guard Humps, pointing his own weapon at him.  At this time, the panel continues to acknowledge that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch, though, as a rule among most panel members, somewhat less “binge” watchable.  The panel also continues to maintain high hopes and expectations that season five will continue the overarching quality of storytelling, though some members are mildly nervous – or more nervous than others – about the current trajectory; at least one panelist feels “shark jumping” potential, while others are concerned about what the show will feel like and how engaging it will be without a beloved character like Poussey.

LOOKING AHEAD

Orange is the New Black was renewed for a fifth (as well as a sixth and a seventh) season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2017.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Orange is the New Black Season 3 Part 2 (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, 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!