This post was put up by a banned user. The Avocado does not condone their actions and preserves their threads for the sake of the conversations in the comments.
As a kid, watching a movie is a simpler process. There’s a hero and a bad guy and you root for the hero and against the villain.
But what happens to that dichotomy in adulthood? Once you understand that Silence of the Lambs’ Anthony Hopkins is actually a pretty pleasant guy in real life and not a consumer of human livers, it’s no longer convention for adult viewers to judge a movie’s merits based on whether the bad guy or good guy wins.
I’d argue that rooting for good and against evil is still a part of the moviegoing/tv watching experience, even if we’ve been conditioned not to look at plots in that dichotomy. Otherwise, how could the movie’s emotional core have meaning?
It’s a longer discussion I’d be interested in taking part of, but the point is some of the most memorable moments in my TV/movie watching has been the catharsis of seeing the good guy win.
“Orange is the New Black” has done a great job of eliciting that catharsis and the high point was this week when Piper finally stood up to Healey. Was Healey the sole perpetrator of her injustices? No, but he was wrong to lock her up and she did something about it.
From a standpoint of wanting to see the good guys win, I’m hoping Piper can take this new confidence and do something with it. Her “oh s— what have I done?” tantrum had me worried, which made it all the sweeter that she gets her groove back when released by prison in a moment that doubled as the series’ next shocker: Piper is having sex with Alex.
This is certainly an earned moment of “WTF?!” and if you were marginally invested in the series, you’re definitely invested now.
And how about Healey? He just made a run to displace Mendez as biggest bastard among the prison staff. An argument can be made that Healey is more hateable than Mendez on the grounds that at least Mendez knows he’s rotten.
In terms of both these bad apples, the episode was also significant because it marked the first time any sense of checks and balances were present in the system. Apparently someone like Mendez and Healy can be called out on it if they do something “illegal” and if enough outside attention is brought on something out of the ordinary, Fig and Caputo have incentive to respond to that pressure.
As for the Taystee storyline, I found it a nice counterbalance to the main action. The little highs such as Taystee’s release balances the show’s darker moments, while her arrival back to prison provides for some necessary social commentary.
Why Taystee doesn’t just go back to social services when she discovers her cousin isn’t there is somewhat baffling? One would think she has a transition counselor assigned by the parole board. The show loses a little bit of a lose-wn dichotomy that the prisoners are almost always screwed no matter what they do, but I sometimes have trouble believing things could be that bad in certain situations.
Still, the high of Taystee’s unexpected release, however short-lived, along with Piper’s newfound liberation indicate that this show can reach great dramatic heights similar to a great uplifting prison drama like Shawshank Redemption.