When you start binge-watching Orange Is the New Black’s third season (now streaming on Netflix), you might have a few questions -- hey, it’s been a full year since season two. We have answers. This isn’t everything important that happened in last season, just everything you’ll need to know for season three.
1. Why *is* Alex (Laura Prepon) back at Litchfield?
First, you have to know how Alex got out: In the premiere of season two, Piper (Taylor Schilling) was brought to Chicago to testify against Alex’s former employer, drug dealer Kubra Balik. Alex begs Piper to lie, and Piper does. Then Alex reneges, tells the truth, and gets herself out.
Later in the season, Alex finds out Balik won’t be going to prison because of a technicality. She gets paranoid that he going to come after her and tells Piper she’s planning to skip town. Piper has Alex’s parole officer called, who shows up and finds Alex with a gun. That’s a no-no on parole.
(Sidebar: Alex is the reason Piper is in Litchfield in the first place, and she's also the reason Piper perjured herself. So Alex has no room to be pissed that Piper got her thrown back in prison.)
2. Is Vee (Korraine Toussaint) actually dead?
It appears that way. Vee, the big bad of season two and Taystee’s surrogate mom, managed to escape Litchfield in the finale. She didn’t know that Miss Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) had also made her escape, stealing a prison van after finding out she only had weeks left to live.
“I always pictured myself going out in a blaze of glory. Hail of gunfire, screech of tires,” Miss Rosa said in a foreshadowing moment. “This kind of death, this slow, invisible disappearing into nothing, it’s terrifying.” In the end, it wasn’t a hail of gunfire, but she did run Vee down with the van.
3. Are Taystee and Poussey friends again? What about “Crazy Eyes”?
After a torturous season that tore apart our favorite BFFs, Taystee (Danielle Brooks) and Poussey (Samira Wiley) find their way back to each other, after Poussey trashes Vee’s tobacco stash, causing Vee to turn on Taystee. As for those unrequited romantic feelings Poussey has for Taystee? We’ll see if those bubble up again.
Meanwhile, Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) -- and it is Suzanne, thank you very much -- was taken under Vee’s wing and brainwashed into doing Vee’s bidding. Like the time Suzanne beat Poussey up in the showers, which is still too heartbreaking to think about. Suzanne likely has some lingering PTSD/Stockholm syndrome to deal with.
4. How did Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) get all that heroin?
That’s connected to Vee’s drug ring. What started off as cigarettes smuggled in via tampons quickly escalated to the hard stuff. When Taystee gives Nicky -- a recovering heroin addict -- a free sample to get her hooked again, Nicky resists the urge. Instead, she steals Vee’s entire stash and hides it in the laundry room. The only other person who knows about it is Big Boo (Lea DeLaria).
5. What was Red (Kate Mulgrew) doing with that tunnel?
After Red is kicked out of the kitchen, she befriends the more mature inmates and starts a “garden club.” Really she uses the green house -- and the tunnel conveniently running under it -- to continue smuggling things into the prison. When Vee finds out about the tunnel, and for a number of other reasons, she beats Red with a sock full of locks. Hence, Red’s battle scars.
6. When did Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) and Big Boo become friends?
During that storm. But why did they become friends? Lack of options, really. Tucky had been ostracized by the hillbilly meth girls (to which she responded, “Pardon my French, but you can eat my sh*t, whore.”) and Boo was blacklisted by Red when Red found out that Boo was the one who snitched to Vee about the tunnel. Tucky and Boo bonded over the “lesbian agenda” and women taking over the world.
7. What’s the deal with Daya and Bennett? And both of them and Aleida?
Mostly just a lot of whining for the former. Daya (Dascha Polanco) suddenly decided she needed to do the right thing and turns on Officer Bennett (Matt McGorry) because he has the power in their relationship and because he let someone take the fall for him re: committing a crime by having sex with an inmate. She tells him to confess, which he does, but Caputo won’t hear it.
As for the latter, mother of the year Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) spent the first half of the season just feeling generally butt hurt over Gloria’s (Selenis Leyva) more maternal connection to Daya. Then the latter half of the season, she spent blackmailing Bennett into smuggling contraband into prison through his fake leg.
8. How is Daya still pregnant?
WE HONESTLY HAVE NO IDEA. IT’S BEEN THREE SEASONS.
9. Why is Morello (Yael Stone) cleaning toilets now?
Her involvement with Miss Rosa’s aforementioned grand theft prison van (Morello was the one who encouraged Miss Rosa to escape) is the real reason she has been relieved from driving duties. But it’s probably for the best, as we also learned in season two that Morello’s fiancé Christopher (“Christo-fuh”) is actually a man she had been stalking after going on one date, and she used the prison van to go on a little joy ride to his house when she found out that he was getting married to someone else.
10. Why is Caputo (Nick Sandow) in charge now?
Because of Piper’s newsletter. Kind of. Piper started investigating misallocated funds at the prison and discovered Assistant Warden Fig (Alysia Reiner) had been laundering money. Piper turns the evidence over to Caputo, who passes it up the chain to the warden. But not before getting a sort-of blackmailed blowjob from Fig. And now he’s in charge.
11. Where did Pornstache (Pablo Schreiber) go?
To jail. Pornstache (aka George Mendez) made a brief return to Litchfield to torment the inmates with SHOTS and garden variety sexual harassment. But when news of Daya’s pregnancy got out, it was pinned on Mendez, who was subsequently arrested for rape. As he was being dragged out of Litchfield, he professed his love for Daya and his (but not really) unborn baby. This season, Mary Steenburgen plays Pornstache’s mom!
12. Who’s that new girl who never stops talking?
That’s Soso (Kimiko Glenn). She showed up in season two and quickly got on everyone’s nerves (prompting Piper’s best line, “Don’t make me rip your throat out with my teeth.”). Then she started a hunger strike to protest prison abuse, sang some 90s music, and was told that she smells like a “f**king turtle tank.” That’s basically all you need to know about her.
13. Who does Lori Petty play in this again?
Lolly, who we only met the one time met back in the season two premiere. She was another inmate being transferred to Chicago and befriended Piper on the plane. But when Lolly got jumped in the prison yard and yelled for help, Piper was nowhere to be found. Now, Lolly’s apparently transferring to Litchfield, which is good for us because, yay! Lori Petty! But probably not great for Piper.
14. Where is Larry (Jason Biggs)?
Ugh, why did you have to bring Larry into this? Larry and Piper’s best friend, Polly (Maria Dizzia), started having an affair, engaged in the grossest sex scene we've ever not wanted to see, then had the nerve to ask Piper for her blessing. Piper finally realized it was truly over. Good riddance.
And now you know everything you need to know. Go forth and binge.
Speaking of season two, the Orange Is the New Black cast told ET about filming that intense fight scene and more: