I know it's been forever since this season came out, but like I said before, I was waiting to watch it with a friend and I thought maybe we can have a fun way to explain what happened this season with characters by playing upgrade, downgrade, same. Here's how you play: we'll judge each character and each character's story-line this season by either saying upgrade, downgrade, or same compared to last season. Let's begin!
Scroll down to the bottom for an overall review of the season!
Piper Chapman -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Downgrade
What the hell happened to Piper this season? I mean yea, people didn't like her before, but damn did she sink to a new low. I didn't mind her the past 2 seasons, but I guess I have to join the hate group now. Things I hate about Piper this season: she lied to Alex about the reason she ended up back in jail (which I can't really blame her for because Alex did the same thing to her in the 1st season), she became a bitch when she started her pantie collection, and she cheated on Alex with some chick she knew for 30s. I really don't get her. In the beginning, she says she rated Alex out because she missed her and even asks Alex to be her girlfriend and then by the end of the season, she's already cheating on her. I came into this season knowing that a girl would kiss Piper, but I didn't expect Piper to kiss her back. I hate the kingpin story for her, it just made her look like a bitch. At first, I thought it was a great idea (even more brilliant when she took all the flavored packets to bribe pantie girls), but she changed so much and not for the better. I know this show focuses on other characters, but Piper is still the main character and I hate watching a show where I hate the main character. I'm hoping next season it becomes Piper vs. Alex and Alex puts her in her place. If anyone deserves to bring Piper down, it's Alex. P.S. I wonder what she tattooed on herself in the end.
Alex Vause -- Character: Same , Story: Upgrade
Alex was a mixture for me and my friend. We both agreed we didn't like Alex as the insecure type and wallowing about how she ended up in jail again, but once Piper confessed, her character went back to being normal. I actually mentioned to my friend that I thought Alex and Piper switched personalities because Alex was more cautious and paranoid this season, while Piper was more relaxed and free spirited (aka not giving a shit). The only difference is Alex had a reason to change her demeanor because she thought someone was after her, unlike Piper. Which leads us to Alex's story-line. Alex's flashback was so-so, but it was necessary so we can see two characters--Alex's boss and her possible killer. What made her story for the season so great is seeing her paranoid and watching possible killers that turned out to be nothing. However, this season it did end with Alex meeting her possible doom, which means Alex could die next season, but I hope that doesn't happen because I really need her to stick around. If someone needs to die, then kill Piper. As much as I thought Piper and Alex belonged together, after this season I've changed my mind and now think Alex deserves better.
Sam Healy -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Same
For the past 2 seasons, we knew Healy was a homophobe and a sexist. Now we can add a racist to the list (an automatic downgrade of the 3rd degree). I did like his flashback of his mother being crazy and Jesus throwing up on him; however, I need more if you want me to have sympathy for him, like Pennsatucky, but we'll get to that later. He still sucks at his job (almost killed Soso), doesn't have any friends, his marriage is in the crapper, and he got rid of my favorite new character, Berdie Rogers. I really hope she comes back next season. Anyway, I hope Red rejects him permanently and his wife leaves him for someone else. This man deserves to end up alone. P.S. He did have one funny moment when he called Vause bitch. Love that scene.
Red -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Downgrade
I was never a big fan of Red and it just got worse when she got her friend burnt, but I have to say that I'm glad she didn't play anyone (other than Healy, who I don't give a shit about) to get her position as head chef in the kitchen back. I know the food was terrible, but I thought it was established that the Hispanics cook better than Red in the 1st season. They aren't consistent about that in the show. However, she gets a huge downgrade for the possibility of Healy as her love interest. That was just all kinds of disgusting.
Crazy Eyes -- Character: Same , Story: Same
I'm glad that the 3rd season didn't shy away from Vee and acted like she never existed. Crazy Eyes had to deal with her "mother" not being there. I hated how CE still defended Vee, but I understood why and it was worth it to see the moment shared between CE and Taystee as they cried together about their mother not being there. Crazy Eyes wasn't as front and center as last season, but her story didn't dwindle either. I loved the long gag of her chronicles that made its way around the prison. That was hilarious. Of course, I have to mention Crazy Eyes' new love interest, Kukudio (not going to lie had to look her name up because I didn't know it), but I think she'll be better known as Sunshine, which is funny since she said that was the character she identified with most in Crazy Eyes' chronicle. By the end of the season, their relationship looked promising. I can't wait to see more of them next season, especially when we find out this season that CE is a virgin, which was surprising to me because she seemed so willing to get with Piper. I think Rogers put it best when she said Crazy Eyes is a perverted six year old. I wonder how old Sunshine is.
Taystee -- Character: Same , Story: Downgrade
You gotta love Taystee! I love her. She's a great friend and now she's the mother hen for the blacks. Now downgrades aren't always bad, at least this one isn't (Healy totally is). Taystee had a much bigger role last season and since her role wasn't as big, it got a downgrade. She played the supportive role and that's not bad to me. It just gave more time for other characters.
Nicky Nichols -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Upgrade
She wasn't in this season for long and when she left I kind of forgot about her, but I will say that during her appearance on season 3 it was essential to her character, so they didn't waste anytime before she left. Nicky is a mess, which is why she gets a downgrade for her character. She is a huge addict, so huge that she'll steal a car and an artifact for her fix, but the worst of it all is that she's a pathological liar, no wonder she's friends with Morello. She'll say anything if the end result is getting high. However, she gets an upgrade for her story as short as it was this season. The flashback was crucial for us to understand her and was better than the previous flashback we got before. In the end, she deserved to be sent to max.
Pennsatucky -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
Who would have thought the annoying girl in season 1, who you wished Piper did kill, would be the one you would root for to kill someone else? Pennsatucky had to be my favorite character this season and if this was a contest, she would win for most improved story-line and character. I just felt bad each time I saw her being raped my man and even worse when she defended them for not knowing any better. Okay I take that back, the worst is when you come to realize she never had an orgasm with anyone until a guy, who finally liked her for her, was set on pleasing her like a woman should be pleased. Sadly, once he left business went back to usual. This season showed Pennsatucky isn't a bad person, but had a bad upbringing and I'm glad we got to see Boo and her connect, so much so that they planned revenge against the rapist guard. God, how I wish they stuck to their plan. Now I'm afraid for Maritza since she will take over for Pennsatucky as driver.
Gloria Mendoza -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
Even though we only got a glimpse of her past that didn't really tell much (I can't even remember what it was about), Gloria had a great season regardless. She chose her son over her job and she put her son in his place. But best of all, she took the high ground when it came to Sophia (something Sophia should learn herself, we'll get to that). This is the most we've come to know Sofia and getting to know our inmates is always a plus in my book.
Black Cindy -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Same
I'm not going to lie to you, I really thought Black Cindy was faking the whole "becoming a jew" thing. I finally realized it wasn't a hoax in the finale. I think the show did itself a disservice by showing BC's flashback at the end of the season. I would have taken her scene with the rabbi more seriously if they had. But in the end, we still got to know more about BC's past and even though it wasn't as strong as finding out her sister is actually her daughter, it still added something to her background story. Mazel tov! P.S. Love that Black Cindy watched Yental, one of my favorite movies when I was little that and I just love Barbra Streisand.
Daya Diaz-- Character: Downgrade , Story: Downgrade
I was kind of frustrated with Daya this whole season. The whole time I just wanted her to make a decision, not her mother or the fake grandmother, but her. I hated the whole fake grandmother wanted to adopt the baby story and am glad that Daya's mother told the fake that the baby died. It didn't help that the baby daddy skipped town. I will say this though, the "what will happen to Daya's baby" story-line is the only non-prison story-line I look forward to next season. Actually it may be the first, non-prison story I've ever looked forward to before. Larry did nothing for me.
Joe Caputo -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
I should have given him a downgrade just for fucking the ex-warden and for fucking over his employees by ruining their union, but instead I give him upgrade for being selfish. This man has cared for a child that wasn't his, married a woman that he loved but wasn't in love with him, gave up his chance to be a rock star and was left because he wasn't one, and he now works at a prison. This man deserved to be selfish and the warden. I can't be mad at him for that. In the end, Caputo is a good guy, who has been taken advantage a lot in his life. Yes, it's by his own doing, but let him just have this one will ya?
Lorna Morello -- Character: Same , Story: Upgrade
I still hate this bitch and she still hasn't changed. She's still a pathological liar, but at least she found her soulmate who is willing to accept her craziness. I'm still upset that she made her new husband beat up Christopher, but what can you do?
Poussey Washington -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Downgrade
Poussey was just a miserable drunk the entire time. Last season, we got to see her heartbroken and distraught because of V and this season we just saw her mope around because she didn't have someone to love. I was just hoping Taystee would just give in and give her a pity fuck, but there's no need now and that's because of Soso. Even though I gave 2 downgrades, I have a lot of hope for next season with Poussey and Soso, who are now dubbed Poussoso (why do the crappy names always go viral? Brookington is so much better!). So she may be down, but she'll be back up next season.
Sophia Burset -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Upgrade
I've always loved Sophia, but it was really hard for me to love her this season when it was her fault to begin with. At first, I was on her side and thought Gloria's son was a bad influence, but that turned out to be totally wrong. It was Sophia's son who became an crazy lunatic. I actually don't understand how that happened. Did the pastor do it, or was it Sophia's advice that started it all, or was that boy evil to begin with? Either way, someone has to put that boy in his place. Why don't they send him to a prison like they did last year with those young girls and the men can scare the crap out of him like Piper did to that girl in the wheelchair. But I can't end this segment without saying that Sophia should have apologized to Gloria. I don't know if it was pride, but she definitely should have put her shit to the side an apologized for her false accusations. Now Sophia is in the shu/box/adseg/solitary confinement (why do I know these terms? I watch a lot of Lockup) for her own protection against man starved women. So will we see her next season? I'm not sure, possibly. It depends on how much time passes between now and then.
Flaca -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
We learned a lot this season about Flaca, which is why she gets 2 upgrades. Flaca didn't want knockoffs that her mom made, she wanted the real deal merchandise and so she sold fake drugs and for some damn reason people who take it think they're feeling some effect of it and someone ends up walking off a rooftop. Turns out you can still go to jail even when you sell fake drugs. Flaca was a panty girl for despicable Piper, but was fired when she started a union, but then rehired after telling Piper her mom has cancer and needs the money. Big ups to Flaca for starting a union. She's not as dumb as I once thought.
Big Boo -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
Oh how I come to love Boo. We got see her flashback and her parents weren't so great about her lifestyle or her being gay. Her father wouldn't even let her seeing her dying mother. We still don't know how Boo ended up in jail, but what we did find out is she has a temper. Although, Nicky needs lessons in learning how to be a friend (she schemed Boo out of her cut for the drugs), Boo has no problem in that department. She helped Pennsatucky get revenge on that rapist guard and even though the broom up the ass wasn't carried out, it's the thought that counts.
Sister Jane -- Character: Same , Story: Downgrade
Sister Jane is nice as ever still, she even reconnects with Sophia again (I don't remember them being friends, but apparently they were in season 1). I only gave her a downgrade in story because she didn't really have a huge part this season, unlike last season.
Norma -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Upgrade
I hate this bitch. I wish I could have ended it there, but I can't I have to explain even though it pains me to talk about her because I hate her so much. Let me start off with a positive and say I love her backstory. It explained so much this season. Norma has a stuttering problem, which is why she remains silent. She met a guy and fell in love sadly the guy was a wannabe Charles Manson. The cult didn't last forever, but Norma stuck by the wannabe's side. However, eventually the wannabe had enough and told Norma to fuck off. Norma snapped and pushed him over a cliff that instantly killed him. The flashback was great, but what I didn't like was Norma becoming exactly like the wannabe. You would think she would know better, but nope. She became the worst character on the show for me and I thought Morello would always hold that title. This is not a downgrade, but a plummet to the floor.
Blanca -- Character: Same , Story: Same
She still looks crazy and speaks more Spanish than English. Maybe next season we'll learn more about her.
Maritza -- Character: Same , Story: Same
Nothing has changed for Maritza. I guess she's still the village idiot for Hispanics and now we know for sure she's dumber than Flaca. It was debatable before.
Watson -- Character: Same , Story: Same
Watson hasn't been front and center since the 1st season, but I still like her and maybe she will be next season.
Angie -- Character: Same , Story: Upgrade
Angie gets a bit of time this season, which is why I thought she deserved an upgrade. It didn't change my opinion of her, but we did find out that she's the dumb one out of the whites. When she got out of jail, she didn't go anywhere and now that we know Leanne's background, it confirms she's the village idiot.
Leanne -- Character: Downgrade , Story: Upgrade
I never cared for dumb and dumber (Leanne and Angie), but I did appreciate Leanne's backstory. I couldn't believe she was Amish. What she did was noble (leaving her family so they wouldn't feel the blunt force of her turning in the children of the other Amish to the police because they were selling drugs) and I'm guessing that she ended up back on drugs, which eventually led her back to jail, but I would love to see it played out on screen. Her being Amish explained why she knew German when Poussey spoke it. However, she gets a total downgrade for the way she treated Soso. Yes, Soso shouldn't have laughed at her about being Amish, but some people laugh in horrible situations. I had a friend once that laughed at one of our other friend's admitting that her father had cancer. She laughs at horrible situations, but at least we know that about her. Anyway, Leanne was a straight up bitch, who was a bully and even though I appreciate her for pushing everyone away from Norma because she was so controlling about the religion having rules (I get it, she missed her own family and religion), she still sucked as a character.
Maria Ruiz -- Character: Same , Story: Same
My friend had to remind me her story about her child. I know when we met her she was the pregnant girl locked up and my friend helped remind me that her baby daddy acted like he didn't want to be there visiting her and that it also seemed as though he didn't even want to be the baby daddy. But Ruiz set him straight and now we know because of this season she set him up too straight because now the baby daddy doesn't think the baby should be visiting her mother in jail. So Ruiz is rightfully mopey the rest of the season because she can't see her kid. The story is still the same because it still deals with her child and I really don't know, nor care so much about her character. Yes, I feel bad about her not being able to see her kid, but I need to know more about her for me to care about her as a character.
Aleida Diaz -- Character: Same , Story: Downgrade
I've never liked mother Diaz and this season proved no different. She practically sold her grandchild for money and the only reason why I gave her a "same" is because she realized she couldn't let Daya not experience motherhood. I really hated her flashback because it showed how selfish she is. She left Daya at a summer camp (one which Daya didn't want to go to) just so she can go out and sex it up, but when mama bear comes to pick her up, Daya doesn't want to leave. Aleida became jealous and influenced Daya to hate the camp. So messed up! She doesn't want any of her children and when she does, it's only when she doesn't feel loved. I kinda hate her, but Norma is still #1. Aleida is more #3.
Gina Murphy -- Character: Same , Story: Same
AKA Burn girl even though she doesn't want to be known for it that's what she's known for. Nothing has changed since last season. She really hasn't been center stage since season 1. All she did this season was follow Norma around, which I found odd because Gina was very close to Norma and should know that bitch has no powers.
Erica "Yoga" Jones -- Character: Same , Story: Same
Still a follower and as sweet as ever. She was a panty girl and...that's all I got. We still don't know how she got in, maybe next season.
Chang -- Character: Same , Story: Upgrade
I had a hard time thinking of a grade for Chang's character. Clearly, Chang should get an upgrade for her flashback because it shows how she became so cold. She wasn't even ugly. All the guy needed to do is buy her Proactive and she would have been good to go. They probably didn't have Proactive back then, but still. As for her character, I wanted to give her an upgrade because you find out she's so badass being the head boss (mafia?), but simultaneously, I thought it was wrong for her to kill that douche of a guy. There are tons of douches out there, although you would like to kill them, you shouldn't. I think everyone is a douche now and then. Anyway, upgrade + downgrade = same besides, I don't think any differently about Chang so same it is. P.S. girl has some good secret hiding places.
Brook Soso -- Character: Upgrade , Story: Upgrade
Now I know Soso and Poussey basically had the same story this season, so why did I give Poussey 2 downgrades and Soso 2 upgrades? Well I'll tell you. Unlike Poussey, Soso wasn't that great as a character last season and her story of not taking a shower last season sucked. Poussey had a more powerful season last year. Hence, Poussey having 2 downgrades and Soso with 2 upgrades. Soso needed friends. She didn't want to be the Asian and apparently she's not even that Asian. Anyway, Soso tried to be part of the whites last season, but they wanted her to take a shower. She tried to be part of Norma's cult, but Leanne put an end to that. So, Soso went to her counselor the idiot, Healy, who basically put the pills in her hands to swallow. Man is an dumbass. Anyway, Poussey found her and the black gang helped save her. Now Soso is an honorary black person and I can't wait to see her in the group. Like I said before, I can't wait to see Soso and Poussey together. 2 wrongs don't make a right, but maybe 2 sads can make a happy or a suicidal couple. I'm hoping for the former.
SEASON 3 REVIEW -- Story: Downgrade
I'm going to do a sandwich (start with good, then bad, and finish with good again). I'm so glad that even though Vee was a baddie for a season, they didn't forget her this season. She still lingered especially among the blacks and I like that. I kind of wish we had another baddie because it affected everyone in the prison. Maybe Piper will fill that role. Most people don't like her anyway and it seems like she's going down that road.
I hated how the new characters came out of nowhere, as if they were there the whole time. This isn't really directed at the guards, but more of the inmates, like crazy's new love interest and Piper's fling. My friend and I were wondering when Ruby Rose would come on the screen. We knew everyone was talking about her, we just didn't know why. She came in so late, we wondered how Piper and her even get together and by the time that they do get together, both of us weren't feeling any of their chemistry. Just seemed out of nowhere, just like Stella the character. I asked my friend why everyone was talking about Ruby Rose when I absolutely hated her character and she told me it's because she's hot. So now I know people like Ruby Rose and hate Stella. I'm just glad Stella is gone.
I absolutely love how the season ended with everyone jumping in the lake. The best part about it for me was that there was no dialogue, just expressions. Relationships were healed and in a way, everyone had a mikvah. Everyone had a taste of freedom for a moment.
Season 4 Prediction
I can't wait to see more of Blair Brown! When I found out she would be in the show, I was super excited, but after watching this season I see that she wasn't even in it that much, but now that she's coming to the prison, we'll definitely see more of her and I can't wait. Long live Fringe.
I thought it would be pretty cool if season 4 focused on max prison so we could see Nicky, Miss Rosa, and sadly even Stella, but it also means we wouldn't see anyone else and I really want to see what happens to Alex. I don't want to wait until season 5 to find out what happens to her, so maybe it can be just for an episode or something like that. Or maybe they can do what Fringe did in season 3 and alternate between the two. Again, long live Fringe. I'll definitely be back for season 4.