OITNB 3.1-3: Mother’s Day, Bed Bugs and Beyond, Empathy Is a Boner Killer

Season 3 of Orange is the New Black starts on a lovely day in February, Mother’s Day. The main theme of this episode is certainly the idea of being a mother and the character’s relationships with their mothers or their children. This includes Sophia Burset’s character who was once a father but is now a mother.

The show starts off with Pennsatucky’s humoring two of the officers in the van. It was very green and bright in the van, and this episode’s setting reiterates this environment. I think this created a happy and warm atmosphere like a mother’s love. I also think this episode’s joyful setting and theme of love brought a fresh face to this season, a rebirth if you will. Last season’s finale, and overall theme of the season, was dark. The audience needed a fresh start. Alex is back, Red and Ingalls are back, Caputo is in charge now; everything seems to be going back to normal.

I can’t quite grasp how this episode tried to explain motherhood. This show tends to be multifaceted, hence the multiple mother/child relationship backstories. However, overall it seemed to point out that parenting plays a vital role in a child’s life. I say it was definitely highlighting the issue of child abuse and the importance of motherly love.

A recurring theme between episode one and two is childcare and parenting. It seems as though it is the mother that is more caring and must take care of children, since the parental guidance of Alaida’s old sweetheart seems a bit harsh. Cesar even explains what a woman must do and their role in society and makes his new love take care of the kids. Piper also realizes that she is “manipulative” like her mother. The past two episodes have talked about parents having an influence on their kids. I would argue that it is their parents that must be blamed for them being in jail, but then again Poussey had a nice motherly figure according to the flashback.

I also think that Soso has been very witty these two episodes. She says that the fact that they are washing clothes due to bed bugs makes them “stuck in [their] own spin cycle.” Although this was on the side, I think Soso is secretly saying what needs to be heard. Although stuck in her own world at times, she’s smart.

The idea of family is also presented in episode three. For example, Flaca tells Daya that people only get married “once or twice”. Maria talks about how Daya will not be together with Bennett anymore once she is out of jail. Nicky’s flashbacks also talk about family when Mrs. Nichols is shown as trying to help her daughter out, but she eventually has to let Nicky save herself once she goes to jail.

These episodes have been really funny, especially the scene of the book funeral, but they have gone in depth with the idea of mother figures, parenting, and family relationships.

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