What’s Worth Watching: Back Behind Bars

Orange Is The New Black
JoJo Whilden/Netflix
Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is the New Black (Season 3, available Friday, June 11, Netflix)

“These are complicated ladies in a complicated place,” assistant warden Caputo (Nick Sandow) understates as we embark on a third cycle of pungent prison purgatory in Orange Is the New Black, arguably Netflix’s finest, freshest and boldest series. The new batch of 13 episodes—six were available for preview—digs even deeper into the colorful Gen Pop with provocative and often painfully moving flashbacks into the inmates’ prior lives. (One of the strongest, in hour 4, involves Lea DeLaria’s bull dyke Big Boo and her complicated relationship with her disapproving family, played out against a subplot in which Boo plots to squeeze money out of religious bigots by disguising her true self, and good luck with that.)

This is an especially eventful season for the series’ central figure Piper (Taylor Schilling), who passionately reunites with ex-girlfriend Alex (Laura Prepon), the woman responsible for her incarceration and none too happy to be back in Litchfield. Their story plays out against an outbreak of bed bugs, a labor dispute and dire rumors about the very future of the prison. But don’t fret. Orange has already been renewed for a fourth season. These women aren’t going anywhere. And for roughly 13 hours over the next few days, neither are we.