Orange is the New Black was my third favorite show (and favorite NEW show) last year with one of the most diverse and talented ensemble ever put together for TV. Its second season was released on Netflix just a few days ago and I'm already through most of it (episode 9). With the caveat that I can still change my mind depending on what happens in the rest of the season, I'm going to say now that season 2 has been better than its already great freshman season--darker storylines, deeper characterizations, and more expert handling of the aforementioned ensemble. With regards to the latter, I do like that Piper and her story aren't in the forefront like the first season and yet Taylor Schilling has also never been better. Many examples abound, but her breakdown scene in the first episode "Thirsty Bird" and subsequent reaction from her seatmate (played by Lori Petty) was perfection:
"That's some shit, man."
And while that would have been a fine "best shot" pick, especially with its deft balance of tragedy and hilarity, a skill the show has so far excelled at, I decided to pick from the the third episode "Hugs Can Be Deceiving." First, because while it's IMPOSSIBLE to pick a favorite character, Suzanne as played by Uzo Aduba would be my gun-to-my-head choice. And second, there's a fun shot (my pick for best) of this season's MVP Lorraine Toussaint playing new character Vee.
First, a couple shots of Suzanne showing her sad and happy:
I wish I could make gifs, because the first shot is more heartbreaking in movement as her face goes from cheerful to dejected as she counts down. The second shot just brings me too much joy with young Suzanne all dressed up with wings doting on her new little sister. Just... look at that face! But my pick for best shot is this:
My Best Shot
Suzanne's head is hanging upside down beside her bed because of course it is and thus this shot is us seeing Vee through Suzanne's eyes. It's effectively unsettling, disorienting, and somehow fitting this would be how Suzanne sees Vee for the first time. After all, the prison will be turned upside down as Vee tries to get back to power. This shot happens right after she barks "Don't interrupt" to Suzanne and it just sent chills all over me. Toussaint is just scarily brilliant in this role amidst an ensemble that's already one of the best in TV.