This is the final Orange Is the New Black Season 3 recap. You can revisit all previous entries here.
Orange is the New Black Season 3 certainly had flaws, but there’s absolutely no way they’ll define the season after the finale wrapped things up on just an incredibly delightful and satisfying note.
It took nearly three whole seasons, but it finally happened. Daya had her baby! “Don’t Make Me Come Back There” kicks off with Daya having some serious contractions, but she’s still got enough energy to tell her mother off for what she’s done and that paves the way to our very first Aleida flashback. Young Aleida is a fascinating dichotomy between selfish brat and loving mother. On the one hand, she wants to send Daya off to summer camp to have fun, but when Daya appears to be loving camp more than her, she then destroys Daya’s fond memories by throwing away her artwork and talking her into thinking less of the experience.
I’ve been eager to get a reason to trust Aleida for quite a while now. “Don’t Make Me Come Back There” doesn’t deliver that, but the events of the episode do make me understand where she’s coming from, and that makes her choice to lie to Delia terrible but also somewhat justifiable. I still suspect a little part of Aleida genuinely wants a happy life for the baby, but her decision to hand it over to Delia was definitely primarily fueled by money, and she admits it. When Daya completely shuts Aleida out, it’s only natural for her to think that doing the opposite could fix the situation. Plus, in true Aleida fashion, it’s also a very selfish decision. Just like with camp, Aleida craves Daya’s love and attention, and she’s willing to destroy something good in order to get it.
My heart breaks for poor Delia, but after what happens to Cesar in the finale episode, I suspect she’s not gone for good. After Aleida lies to Delia and tells her that the baby didn’t make it so that Cesar could care for her until Daya gets out of prison, Cesar’s home is raided by the DEA and child services is called in. Now that Cesar is completely out of the picture, that baby’s only hope is Delia. And who knows? Maybe Delia will swoop in to save the baby and all of Aleida’s kids, too.
Sophia is going to need a savior of sorts as well because it doesn’t look like Caputo is getting her out of SHU anytime soon. The post-Gloria fight backlash is completely out of hand in “Don’t Make Me Come Back There.” A group of inmates jump Sophia in her salon and even though she is 110% the victim, she’s the one who’s thrown into solitary. MCC insists that it’s for her own safety, but that doesn’t make being hauled off to SHU any less of an unfair punishment.
Even though Pearson’s been adhering to MCC policies all along, Sophia’s situation pushes him over the edge and he finally stands up to his father in “Trust No Bitch.” Trouble is, he doesn’t really hold his composure, throws a tantrum in the middle of a fancy bar, quits and leaves Caputo to deal with his father alone. Just as Danny warned, Caputo walks into the meeting with one agenda and comes out planning to do the exact opposite. Did Caputo’s past experiences, Fig’s prodding and Danny’s father’s “magical, manipulative wizard” ways completely turn him? I have a hard time believing Caputo would completely do away with his morals and good intentions, but for the time being, he’s clearly abandoning what he knows is best for his guards and inmates in exchange for MCC’s short-term agenda.
It’s a good thing Poussey found Brook before a guard did because with the way Caputo’s running things, there’s no doubt she’d end up in psych for a very, very long time. Berdie’s leave of absence hits Brook especially hard. She finally built up a little confidence from their chats together, but then she gets carried away and tells team magic Norma that she’s better than them, isolating herself even further. Making matters even worse, then Berdie is suspended over the whole Time Hump Saga predicament, leaving Brook with absolutely no one to talk to. Desperate for a quick fix, she turns to Healy and agrees to take the anti-depressants he recommended earlier. She goes in for an evaluation and in another act of MCC negligence, the doctor turns his back just long enough for Brook to snag a hefty supply of Benadryl. She overdoses, but Taystee, Poussey and Suzanne swoop in to do what they think is best for her, take care of her themselves and keep the guards out of it.
It’s a great clique crossover that sparks some very satisfying payoffs for the issues that Taystee, Poussey and Brook have been struggling with all season long. There’s been hints of Taystee taking control in each and every episode so when she finally comes to realize that she’s the mom, we know she’s earned the title. Then we might have a little something brewing between Poussey and Brook. I never really considered the possibility until the lake scene, but they are both looking for the same things.
Meanwhile, Piper’s getting meaner and more delusional by the minute. The whole thing with Cal and Neri is a solid foil, but I suspect it would have been more effective if the episode made it more about Piper rather than Cal and Neri’s living situation. However, perhaps this could be setting up an even lower low for Piper in Season 4. Imagine if she went after her own brother like she did with Flaca and Stella?
And speaking of Stella, I feel absolutely awful for her. Yes, she stole money from Piper, but based on all the character development we got this season, I definitely got the impression that she’s loyal and really would have paid Piper back. And who knows what the repercussions are for what Piper just did. I don’t know much about how sentencing works, but could you imagine having your sentenced extended just when you were about to get your freedom back? Yes, Piper’s been toughening up all season long, but she’s dug herself one heck of a hole and Taylor Schilling doesn’t really play ruthless crime boss very well. I’ve enjoyed the ups and downs of the panty scheme, but there’s something about Schilling playing mean that just isn’t appealing.
Laura Prepon, on the other hand, has been far more successful taking Alex from a strong inmate you don’t want to mess with to someone super vulnerable who’s fearing for her life. Turns out, someone really is at Litchfield to kill Alex and, as expected, it’s someone who popped up out of the blue rather than a suspicious character we’ve seen in past episodes. After finishing up work for the day, Alex volunteers to sweep the greenhouse. The moment the other inmates and the supervising guard leave, the assassin comes in – CO Aydin (Juri Henley-Cohn), aka, the toothpick guard. It is nice to know that there’s really someone after her and that we haven’t been focusing on a predicament that merely exists in Alex’s head, but it’s a little disappointing that the reveal essentially means nothing because we know little to nothing about Aydin minus the fact that he’s the guy who put a bullet in Fahri’s head in episode 8. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the scene will pay off when things pick back up in Season 4, like perhaps with Lolly coming back into the greenhouse and stopping Aydin herself.
Even though I’m dying to find out what happens to Alex, see what crazy move Piper makes next and how the inmates react when they learn that there’s a boatload of new women coming in, the Season 3 finale has left me especially satisfied. Turns out, the storyline I’ve complained about most got the best conclusion. When the guards decide to quit right when the perimeter fence is being repaired, it’s Norma who opts to seize the opportunity and make a run for it. However, no one is escaping and they know it, rather, Norma leads the charge to an absolutely idyllic romp at the “freedom lake.” The sequence wraps up so many storylines in the most beautiful, heartwarming way. We get to see Norma make a slow motion run for it, Flaca have her moment with Gloria, Poussey float up to Brook and grab her hand, Aleida hug Daya, Cindy have her mikvah – and I could go on and on. It’s the ultimate feel-good sequence for a show that’s packed with characters I’ve come to adore. It’s brimming with heart, had me laughing and tearing up, and left me with something super joyful to hold onto until the show returns.
Episode 12 Rating: ★★★★ Very Good
Episode 13 Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent
- “I’m not freaking out because she needs me. I’m freaking out because I need her.” – Ruiz
- “How you feel is what ruins it. I loved you. I wanted you around me. And now here you are, doing the same stupid shit I did.” – Aleida
- “I made three best friends and six regular friends.” – Young Daya
- “I don’t have rage. I’m just sad.” – Tucky
- “If only we had an invisibility cloak. Or an extremely deep and wide belly button.” – Suzanne