[Warning: ‘Orange is the New Black’ season 3 spoilers below]
The stories at Litchfield Penitentiary continue on in Orange is the New Black season 3, and this year it’s about much more than just Piper and Alex, or even some overlord nemesis. This year it really is all about the characters’ stories – which is both a bad and good thing.
Fortunately, you’ll find many great moments contained within these 13 episodes. From Bennett dancing to the most profane Umami reference you’ll hear all year. Orange continues to deliver some of the best standalone character stories in all of television, and these are some of its best moments.
1) “Holla Back Bennett”
In Bennett’s all-too brief appearance this season, his most memorable moment comes in the form of a flashback from when he was in the Army, attempting to film a vial video complete with choreography. With a full music track backing him, and a camera man with a wandering eye, the future father has his platoon perform to Gwen Stefani “Holla Back Girl”. That is, before he makes his exit.
2) “Mr. Rodcocker, My Time Traveler”
Crazy-Eyes may have a 50 Shades of Grey following – even her own fan fiction – but the best thing to come from her sexually explicit tales is the personification of its main character “Admiral Rodcocker” in prison guard Wade. Wade’s been walking the halls of Litchfield for quite some time now, but this is the first time we get to see his character have a “bit of fun” (even if he doesn’t). There’s nothing Caputo likes more than dealing with complaints from his staff, and this is best one so far.
3) “Never Cross Piper”
What happens when the typically friendly Piper is double-crossed by someone close to her? Just about the most shocking level of revenge you can imagine, but will thoroughly enjoy. Piper has been known to “break out her shell” before – Doggett is proof of that – but this time… it’s personal. Fortunately, the only advice she needs is what’s tattooed on her arm.
4) “A Base Note of Umami”
Whenever Piper’s brother Cal makes an appearance on the show, it’s always the highlight of the episode. Thankfully, he shows up throughout this season as one of Piper’s dirty co-conspirators. With Piper’s business booming, Cal and his wife take it upon themselves to expand the brand with a more scientific approach to their famed product. Yes, the stories from the past may not be true – but it’s their dedication to the “art form” that counts, first and foremost.
5) “Sara Rice”
Of all the mistakes that can happen when Litchfield is adjusting to its new inmate computer system, this is perhaps the worst (or best). When a mix-up leads to one of the familiar cast being released from prison early, it poses the all-important question: What’s next? While the “person in question” may not look exactly like Angelina Jolie, it’s her long hair and bangs – as well as a few ill-trained prison guards – which allow her to escape from prison and go… nowhere. There’s no place like (where you call) home.
6) “Piper and Her Panty Brigade”
Everyone has an angle in prison, and Piper is (now) no different. With her money running out, Piper makes use of some of Litchfield’s “industrial waste” and turns it into a dirty, dirty business for herself as well as her fellow inmates. The only thing better than a pocket full of Ramen noodles – which everyone now has – is when “the Godfather” in Ms. Chapman comes out, for better and worst. Above all else: don’t mess with the union.
7) “Can I Be a Jew?”
Cindy is largely an unlikeable character throughout season 3, often starting fights with the other inmates for no reason except “slavery” and “reparations” – but then: someone tries to take her Kosher meals away. After studying for her conversion to Judaism, Cindy sits down with a Rabbi and asks him an important question. When things don’t go her way, she asks again. And again. Finally, Cindy gives an explanation which will leave everyone watching speechless – so much so that when it comes time for the Rabbi to respond, you already know what the answer is going to be.
Soso doesn’t receive her moment in the spotlight until late-on in the series, but that’s alright: When it final does come, it’s one of the best of the season. From telling Healy that he’s bad at his job, with a weight no has before, to ruining movie night with her trip to the library, the character of Soso is able to finally shine and, more importantly, be herself. After all, like Crazy-Eyes says: “It doesn’t matter if your skin is black, as long as your heart is.”
9) “Doggett’s Tear”
This is easily the most emotional moment of the entire season, plain and simple. Everyone’s favorite meth head-turned-evangelical had a bit of her past revealed towards the end of season one. This time, however, a new glimpse at her life before Litchfield reveals something much more painful, that she seemingly can’t escape from. One tear is all it takes. One tear is all that’s needed. Just don’t expect the rest of this story to pay off.
10) “Chicken: The Urban Legend”
The mythical animal makes its return it Litchfield, and this time it’s not the prisoners who see it. In fact, not only does this poultry urban legend become a reality, completely, but it leads to one of the biggest reveals of the season. Freedom Lake be damned; this is a Tangerine town all the way. Just one question: Why hasn’t no one noticed it before?
What is your favorite moment from season 3?
Orange is the New Black season 4 premieres in 2016 on Netflix