In 'Orange is the New Black' Season 2 Background Players Take the Forefront
The thrilling second season of Orange is the New Black (BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD!) was a binge-watchers dream this weekend and reunited us with characters we already know and love or love to hate — Piper, Pennsatucky, Dayanara, Pornstache, Crazy Eyes, Sophia, and Alex, among others. We were also introduced us to some new ones including the incessantly chatty Soso and the terrifying, vicious villain Vee. But Season 2 of Netflix's mega-successful OITNB is all about making "old" characters brand new. Characters who only got minor play — or were quite literally pushed into the background on Season 1 — finally got their moment(s) to shine this time around and the show became richer and more well-rounded because of it.
While OITNB's "main" characters definitely had some incredible story lines in the new season (Red's power struggle with Vee, Larry's affair with Polly, Poussey and Taystee's friendship woes), Season 2 was all about the women we barely knew in Season 1. We picked our favorite OITNB characters who got their first real shot at the spotlight this season. But again we must warn you: In case you haven't gotten around to watching yet, there are even more major, major spoilers ahead.
Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler) had her share of nice moments in Season 1, particularly her friendship with Sophia, but Season 2 not only gave her some backbone (she takes part in a hunger strike in protest of older prisoners' rights) but more light was shed on her backstory. As it turns out, Sister Ingalls was a radical nun whose actions and ego found her excommunicated from the church. (Still, when other nuns heard about her strife, they came to her defense and protested the prison for her.) Sister Ingalls is still one of the most likable prisoners at Litchfield, but she was way more of a badass and a holier-than-thou figure than we previously imagined.
Without a doubt, the most heartbreaking, harrowing storyline in Season 2, Jimmy (Pat Squire) was one of Red's previously neglected "Golden Girls" crew who suffered from what appeared to be Alzheimer's disease. Jimmy, who desperately needs round-the-clock care, roams the halls of Litchfield looking for a man named Jack and confusing Piper with someone she knew named Roberta. Jimmy walks out of Litchfield and, hilariously enough, winds up at the bar where Caputo's band Side Boob is playing. But the laughs end very abruptly when, after jumping off the church stage, Jimmy is given "compassionate release" and put on a bus to fend for herself out in the real world. It's too awful to even consider what happened to her outside of the prison's grounds.
Before Season 2, Black Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) wasn't much more than a sidekick to Poussey and Taystee, throwing out hilarious one-liners and jabs. While Black Cindy still had some incredible zingers in Season 2, more importantly we learned her backstory for the first time. Cindy was, in addition to being one of the world's worst TSA agents, a mother who had her own mother raise her daughter. Cindy was not only a thief, but someone who was in and out of her daughter's life. Still, when the shit hit the fan with Vee, we wanted Cindy to get out of the mess alive and, in turn, get out one day and make things right with her family.
Miss Rosa (the incredible Barbara Rosenblat) went from the woman with cancer from Piper's bunk in Season 1 to having, arguably, the best story line of Season 2. Miss Rosa, as we learned through flashbacks, was serving time for robbing banks, the great love of her life. (We also found out how her two husbands died, something she attributed to her bad luck with the men in her life.) But it wasn't just Miss Rosa's backstory that was fascinating, but how she had to come face-to-face with her own mortality behind prison walls. Season 2 chronicled Miss Rosa's trips to get chemotherapy (and the unlikely friend she found in a foul-mouthed teenage boy also receiving treatment) and her losing the battle with the disease. But as sad as Miss Rosa's story could be, it ended with a happy cry moment on par with The Shawshank Redemption . Lorna (more on her in a bit) gives Rosa the prison van so she can make an escape and not have to die in prison. As if that's not wonderful enough, Miss Rosa gets to be the hero and kill Season 2's villain Vee by running her over on her way to freedom. Let's just pretend that Miss Rosa and Jesse Pinkman crossed paths and are having one helluva ride out there.
Compared to the other women, it might not be fair to call Lorna Morello (Yael Stone) a background player considering she was in just about every episode of Season 1. But still, in Season 1 Lorna wasn't much more than the squeaky-voiced bride-to-be who drove the prison van and was one of Nicky's playthings. In Season 2, however, we learned Lorna's tragic and terrifying backstory that her "fiancé" Christopher isn't actually her fiancé, rather a man she relentlessly and violently stalked. Now whether it's a testament to the show's writers or Stone's talents or the part of you that felt undeniable empathy for her actions, we still loved Lorna even after we learned what she did (including mail fraud). We'll chalk it up to all three of those things, plus her hilarious description of the plot of Toy Story.