The first episode of the third season of Orange Is The New Black was amazing. It bridged the glory of the first two seasons of the show into another round of amazing potential.
Then the rest of the season happened.
About three episodes in, OINTB gets obnoxiously contrived, even to the point of schtick. If there is anything that can kill an excellent series like this one, it's schtick. Halfway through the 13 new episodes, I wanted to go ahead and toss the whole thing. I'm glad I didn't, but that is how I felt halfway through.
I straight up do not like Prison Piper. Her pre-prison personality was irritating, as she was a spoiled brat who had really never known suffering. That was all balanced out by the struggles she encountered when she first entered prison, though. Facing the reality of not only her own situation, but those of many other women, made her much more likable.
By season three, Piper's humility is gone, and she's a power-drunk fruit loop. She becomes less attractive, physically and personally, as the season goes on.
The other characters' story lines, though, really redeem season three. Sophia is faced with adversity only transgender women have to experience; Daya struggles with the tragedy that is having a baby in prison; the general theme of so much of life being completely out of one's control keeps this season on par with the previous ones.
The background story of each character is a peek into her past. It explains what made her the person she is on the show, how she got there, and why she handles certain things in certain ways. It is heartbreaking, and triumphant, and sad, and despite what Beatrice Codianni says, it is FUNNY.
Finding the joy in tragedy, the beauty in darkness, and the light at the end of any tunnel (genuinely, no pun intended) is why OITNB is so incredibly good. It's a never-ending carousel of the most successful type of plot line: the plight of the underdog. The underdogs on this show don't always win, but when they do, it is glorious.
The bottom line is, if you can see what Orange Is the New Black is trying to show you, it is a divine portrait of life, well worth consuming within your own, blissful timeline (thank you, Netflix).
If not, you probably shouldn't even bother watching it, as you will be bored and perplexed, and then probably bitch about it and ruin it for everyone else.