Why Is Janae Watson In Prison On 'Orange Is The New Black'? Three Little Words Were Basically Her Undoing
No matter how much I loved Season 3 of Orange Is The New Black , I always find myself looking back to the good ol' days of Season 1. Piper wasn't as freakin' annoying, Bennett and Daya were still beyond precious, and no one was jaded by Vee and her antics just yet. In fact, one of my favorite characters had a whole lot more screen time in Season 1 than she's had since, and that character is Janae Watson, played by the glorious Vicky Jeudy. She's been known to make an appearance every now and again in Seasons 2 and 3, but people have really forgotten about her in favor of (admittedly excellent) rising stars like Samira Wiley's Poussey, Jackie Cruz's Flaca, and, of course, Ruby Rose's Stella. So, in the interest of respecting our roots, let's take a few steps back and remember Watson's back story, because I'd be willing to bet that a lot of you don't even remember how she wound up in Litchfield in the first place.
It all came out in Episode 7 of Season 1, "Blood Donut." You may remember this as the episode during which Watson punched Yoga Jones in the face after coming back from two weeks in solitary, Piper turned in Flores's hidden cell phone with all of Diablo's dick pics, and Taystee had the hearing that eventually got her out of jail, if only for a short time. It also happened to be the episode during which we learned all about Watson's childhood and her athletic abilities. There was less of a focus on the flashback than usual (flashbacks take up most of the episode's run time in the cases of Poussey, Pennsatucky, and Big Boo), but it was sad nonetheless. Long story short, Watson landed in jail after committing armed robbery with her then-scumbag boyfriend, but it's so much more than that.
The Early Years
We begin Watson's flashback on a playground, when Watson was probably around 10 years old. She and a few friends were playing a game called "Boys Chase Girls," where, you guessed it, the boys were supposed to chase the girls. Little Watson easily outran the boys, and when it became clear that she didn't really understand that the whole point of the game was to let the boys catch the girls, one of the boys told her to "stop showing off," a command that would eventually be her undoing.
The High School Years
Cut to high school. Watson just broke a high school record for track and field, and there were college scouts waiting to talk to her about scholarships. Her excitement made it pretty clear that those scholarships were the only real way to get her into a good school. However, even though she was proud of herself and her abilities, it was clear that she knew that focusing on her running had made it difficult for her to have a normal teenage social life, boyfriends and all. That's why she wound up at some party, where a very nice self-proclaimed thug told her to go home, stay in school, don't do drugs, all that good stuff. He even offered to buy her a new pair of sneakers. Honestly, he seemed like a gangster with a heart of gold, and he probably deserves his own spin-off. It was at this party where she met the aforementioned scumbag boyfriend who was all, "Girl, I can show you the world of felonious behavior."
And Then The Bad Thing Happened
It was with him that Watson committed armed robbery of a bank. She and her boyfriend were running from the cops when her skill took over and she clearly began to outrun him. He yelled after to slow down and "stop showing off," at which point she stopped just in time to turn around and face an armed officer who promptly arrested her, only after the scumbag boyfriend ran off into the night with a plastic bag full of money. Moral of the story: Don't date guys in pigtails.
There you have it — Watson's current stay in Litchfield isn't due to her being a bad person, it's all because she wanted to be accepted and fit into what she believed were the social norms of her situation. So, when you see her with Taystee, Poussey, Suzanne, Black Cindy, and all, just remember that, even though she's in jail, she's still pretty much one of the good guys.
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