Finally, we can get back to prison! Our new sentence at Litchfield kicked off with a gruesome bang in the season 4 premiere of Orange Is the New Black, full of strict new guards, an overcrowded new cast, and a graphic murder.
The episode kicks off where season 3 ended — all of the inmates are enjoying their brief moment of freedom by frolicking in the nearby lake. All of them, that is, except for Alex, who we see getting strangled in the shed by the hitman that her murderous ex-boss Kubra Balik sent to kill her. Psychotic conspiracy theorist Lolly (who bonded with Alex after the latter lied to say she was a federal agent working an inside job at Litchfield) happens upon the strangulation and attacks the hitman, brutally stomping on his throat until he loses consciousness, then she nonchalantly asks Alex if she’d like to go to the lake as if nothing happened. Now, Alex and Lolly are in cahoots to hide this body and convince Kubra that Alex is dead.
Also not at the lake is Piper, who is so high on power after framing ex-lover Stella and sending her to max in the season 3 finale that she thinks she’s running the prison now. “I’m a gangsta, with an ‘A’ at the end,” she says, laughably convinced that’s a suitable phrase for a “gangsta” to say. Also delusional are (newly appointed warden) Caputo’s prison guards, who childishly squeeze into their riot gear to try to get the prisoner’s back inside, only to be intercepted by a team of clearly much more qualified guards brought over from maximum security.
Surprisingly not delusional is Suzanne. When her new love interest Maureen convinces her to escape into the woods rather than return to prison, Suzanne hesitantly follows, only to be met with the crushing fact that she might have run off with the one person more divorced from reality than herself. When Maureen announces an abandoned shed they happen upon is made of gingerbread, Suzanne plays along by licking it, but when Suzanne breaks from the fairy tale story in search of water, Maureen can’t let go. It seems clear that Maureen is attracted to Suzanne as a fount of outlandish creativity, helping her escape a reality she seems to refuse to come to terms with. When Suzanne realizes this, she runs screaming back to prison, telling the guards that find her “She wanted a fairy tale. I didn’t; I wanted dinner.” Same, Suzanne.
But Suzanne might not have been so eager to get back in Litchfield if she knew about the overcrowded and strict new living conditions. Somewhere around 200 (Caputo’s chronically incompetent guards can’t get an exact count) inmates are now calling Litchfield home, along with an intimidating crop of no-nonsense new guards that would even make Pornstache seem tame in comparison. The new guards are led by a burly man named Dezi Piscatella, who develops a rivalry with Red right off the bat by messing with her kitchen schedule. Word to the wise — don’t get between Red and her kitchen.
Martha Stewart Judy King