Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Breaking Bad - Confessions Recap

Oh Todd, so polite but so deadly.  He calls “Mr. White” from a cell phone outside a diner, at an unidentified time in the desert.  Todd sweetly mumbles his way through a message to his former employer.  He says, “management has changed” due to “differences in opinion” between him and Declan. 

(Side note – it’s pretty funny that Walt directed the two people he schooled in the art of blue crystal to call him “Mr. White”, like cooking quality meth is something as innocuous as learning high school chemistry.)

Cut to Todd animatedly telling his uncle about the “great train robbery” from the fantastically tense Dead Freight episode from last year.  He’s pretty spot on in his retelling of the story, and in doing so reminds us that Heisenberg is on his way to becoming the stuff of legend – stories passed down from generation to generation.  One big mistake though, he’s using Walt’s real name.  “Mr. White”, not “Heisenberg”.

Todd finishes his story, but strategically leaves out the part where he murdered an innocent eight year old in cold blood.  Guess even professional hitmen Nazis aren’t cool with child casualties.  His uncle looks very pleased and asks Todd if he’s ready, because they’re going to make a lot of money.  Um, yeah, no kidding.  Todd’s already seen that money from the ole Heisenberg days.  If he made even a fraction of what Walt did, he should be sitting pretty right now.  Where’d all that cash go?  But I guess that’s beside the point.

In the restroom, Uncle and his henchman engage in some truly Tarantino worthy mobster banter.  The lament the loss of ‘American things’, like cigarette lighters on airplanes and requiring children to wear bike helmets.  As Uncle reaches down to wipe an errant daub of blood off his shoe, we are reminded of two things.  One – these men are careless.  They are not meticulous about their work like Gus Fring or Walter White.  They are loose cannons.  And Two – let’s remember that these are the guys who actually orchestrated the hit on 9 guys in prison in the span of 2 minutes.  Them.  Not Walt.  Walt was the bankroll, but these Nazi mofos got the job done. 

Apparently the Loose Cannon Gang is headed to New Mexico.  For some reason I’m getting a feeling that these scenes with Todd and Co. are flash forwards, but I could definitely be wrong.

Back in New Mexico, Jesse rolls his eyes to partial attention as Hank enters the room and turns off the camera. Even after Hank reveals what he knows about Walt, Jesse says he won’t talk.  In fact, he has some choice words for Hank, which include “eat me” and taunts regarding the time Hank massacred his face.  Saul busts in and takes control, making a call and getting Jesse out of there. 

Walt, as usual, is on the other end of Saul’s frantic call.  Walt barks “make it happen” and then hangs up, because he hears Junior come in the door.  Walt lunges for Skyler’s makeup drawer, and like a pro he rapidly shakes it with a finger over the top.  He has a few issues with the application though, and gives up on the operation altogether when Junior states he’s going to help Aunt Marie.  Walt stops him in his tracks with an atomic guilt bomb.  His cancer is back. Poor Junior hasn’t had much time in these past few episodes, and I’m starting to wonder what his reaction is going to be when he finds out what his dad is really up to.  Crisis averted, and cancer used to Walt’s benefit yet again.  (Cancer Excuse: 1, Marie: 0).

Later that evening, Walt sits in front of a camera, and Skyler says “are you sure about this?”.  He responds,  “It’s the only way.”  He sits to record his confession, which begins in a very similar manner to his confession at the beginning of the first episode.  I wonder if it’s the same video camera?  I hope he recorded over the one from the desert. 

Walt and Skyler sit in wait for Hank and Marie at a Mexican restaurant, looking ready to pounce.  Marie and Hank enter.  Marie is no longer in her traditional purple, but has switched to an all-black ensemble.  Recently, BB creator Vince Gilligan hinted in his interview on the Nerdist podcast that Marie might be ‘changing’ before the end of the series, and I feel that this is definitely an indication of what’s to come with her character. 

When everyone is settled at the table, mourners on one side, khaki casual on the other, Walt asks in no uncertain terms for Hank to leave the family alone.  The abnormally cheery waiter keeps interjecting, failing to notice the gravity at the table. Marie calmly suggests that Walt kill himself, but Hank cant accept that.  Hank grits his teeth and growls threats at both Walt and Skyler. Then, in a move only fitting the man he has become, Walt slaps down the blue cased DVD in response and walks out. 

Marie and Hank watch the entirety of the video standing.  Walt drops his bombshell early on in the video.  He has no qualms about framing Hank for his own crimes, (with the exception of the flawless chemistry of course).  And he has the goods to prove it.  Walt uses real life examples as points of reference for his story.  Hank was there from the get go, taking him on the ride-along, dealing with the Mexican cousins, and taking trips to Gus’s laundry.  But the real bombshell is the 177k in medical bills that can be traced to Walt’s drug money, directly incriminating the Schraders.  

Naïve Marie still thinks that Hank should show the video to the DEA.  Hank is floored by the money, with a look of pure shock on his face.  Marie crumples into a chair.  She must’ve known this was coming since her conversation with Skyler.  Hank realizes that he has no recourse.  He is a defeated man. 

Jesse and Saul wait for Walt in the desert.  A tarantula squiggles by.  Walt arrives and checks Saul’s car for a tracker.  Saul lets Walt know what’s up and shows him a tracker-detecting contraption.  Walt sends Saul on a walk while he talks to Jesse.  Jesse lets Walt know what he knows about Hank.  He doesn’t think Hank told the DEA.  The two partners talk, and Jesse lets Walt know he’s onto the “concerned dad thing”.  Jesse separates himself from Walt, and confronts him with what he knows to be true - Walt killed Mike, and if Jesse doesn’t follow through with what he’s asking, he knows he’s headed that way too.  Walt slowly saunters over to Jesse and hugs him, another entry in the running for Most Awkward Hug in BB History.  Jesse sobs, and Walt has an unreadable expression on his face. 

At the car wash, Skyler tells Walt that they are in the clear.  She looks like she is lit by angels, while Walt lurks in the dark shadows of the office. 

Hank is back at the office and Gomie gives him a hard time about a tail he had put on Jesse Pinkman.  Hank says to take the guys off the case, and then leaves for a walk. 

Saul and Jesse agree to make the call for a very specific vacuum part.  Saul indicates – “Specialty.  Pick up.  Hot but not too hot.  Currently out on bail.”  That’s no vacuum I’ve ever heard of.  He tells Jesse to get ready, and Jesse lights a joint.  Saul stresses about the doobie, and Jesse puts it out.  Jesse squeezes past Huell as he leaves, and those lightning fast sausage fingers go into action.

Jesse waits at some odd but beautiful concrete structure at the side of the highway, waiting for his ride to a new life as an Eskimo in Alaska who says ‘bitch’ a lot.  He notices his joint and his stash are both gone, and goes mental with the sudden realization that Huell had taken the ricin all those months ago.  Walt had played him for a fool, and he had believed it.  He shakes with rage as he walks away from the promise of a new life and towards a showdown. 

Jesse tears into Saul’s office, bypassing Huell and giving Saul a swift beating.  He grabs the gun and brandishes it like a wild man with nothing to lose.  His face is a ball of raw emotion, shaking with rage, eyes bulging with fury.  For a moment, Jesse appears to almost pull the trigger on Saul, but instead steals Saul’s car.  He leaves the duffle of cash behind him.  Even while gushing blood, Saul notifies Walt.  Now that’s a lawyer. 

At the car wash, Walt screeches up to the door, saying he wants to check the soda machine.  He lies to Skyler, grabbing the frozen gun hidden in the soda machine.  As usual, Skyler knows something is up.  Why doesn’t he just tell her the truth?  Does he think it will take too much time? Because obviously there’s nothing to hide from her anymore. 

Apparently Walt didn’t get to the gun fast enough.  Jesse’s rampage brings him to the Walt household.  He grabs a can of gasoline out of the trunk and kicks in the door, splashing gas all over the knick knacks and dated furniture…..

Five episodes left. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breaking Bad - Buried Recap

In the ABQ, the early bird is about to get very lucky.  An older bearded man leaves his house before sunrise and goes to crank up his old cherry red Ford truck. He spies something on his driveway.  It’s not the morning paper, that’s for sure.  Beardy gingerly picks up the stack of cash.  He spies another stack, and another, and just as he accrues enough to never need to wake up before the crack of dawn ever again, he spies a red light.  He tentatively makes his way down the hill and finds the owner of the car.  Jesse is slowly pushing himself in circles on a merry go round in desperate need of some WD-40.  He appears to have lost his mind grapes.

Back to the Schrader household.  Walt slowly backs out of Hanks garage.  He gets into his car and peels away, almost smashing into the neighbor kids yellow remote control car.  (Once again, WTF is up with this yellow car?  Is there symbolism here or am I just reaching?)  Walt gets on the phone to reach Skyler, but Hank has already beaten him to it.    

Skyler meets Hank at a diner, and they share a super awkward hug.  Once seated, Hank leans across the table, arms outstretched, and Skyler huddles on her side of the booth. In all likelihood she’s probably still creeped out by that hug.   Hank is way too excited and moves too fast into ASAC Schrader mode, whipping out a tape recorder to make it all official-like.  Skyler asks for a lawyer, which throws Hank off guard, and then shocks him by throwing a tantrum.  She repeatedly shrieks “Am I under arrest?!?!?!?!” with increasing intensity until Hank releases her.  I love the height disparity in this scene, with Skyler having not only the crafty bitch advantage over Hank, but the height advantage to boot.

Meanwhile, Huell and Kuby go to the storage locker, picking the lock easily.  With a ‘woosh’  the sheet is off, and the lackeys are treated to an eyeball popping view of the money bed.  It takes Huell less than three seconds to decide he wants to snuggle up on the cash, moaning with satisfaction.  Kuby quickly follows suit.  It’s an impressive pile of cash that can support two grown men, especially if one of them is Huell.  I adore these moments of levity in BB.  The guys are there to move the cash for their client, but Huell tosses out “Mexico” as an option.  Kuby won’t hear of it.  Heisenberg is everywhere.  

Back at the Parthenon of shady law practices, Walt and Saul commiserate over what their next move should be.  Walt listens to Saul.  He needs Saul.  And when he responds to Saul’s comment that they should send Hank “on a trip to Belize”, Walt almost playfully retorts “I’ll send you to Belize”.  (Side note – With the exception of Jesse, it seems of very little consequence to Walt that everyone knows he offed Mike.  It’s almost as if he counts it as another notch in the ole Heisenberg belt, another reason for people to fear and respect him.  But where would he be without Saul?  No one to launder his money or do his dirty paperwork.  Even without the potential spin off rumors, I give Saul a fighting chance at surviving through the series finale.)

Huell and Kuby arrive with the cash, and exchange a giddy glance as Walt notes that the piles are “close enough”.  Walt takes the keys to the van and gives one last directive: “Find Jesse”. 

(Side note – Why does Walt want Jesse at this point?  To save his own hide, or to save Jesses?  A bit of both?  Walt certainly must feel a sense of responsibility, as it was his hubris that led to Hank’s discovery of the book.  Yet on the other hand Walt’s instinct has been leaning more towards self-preservation than rectifying wrongs, so what could he possibly want Saul to do with Jesse once he locates him?)

Walt travels to the scorching desert, a van stuffed with fortune gently bobbing among the cacti.  He stops at a bare patch of land and begins to dig.

While her husband toils in the desert, Skyler paces at home.  This time, Marie gets to be the one who knocks.  Skyler lets her in, and they sit down in the bedroom to talk.  The room is tense, and Marie does most of the talking.  She slowly recalls every questionable story from the past year, reading the answers clearly on her sisters stricken face.  When she gets to the part where she realizes Skyler knew about the money for Hank’s health care, it’s just all too much.  Marie wings her palm at Skylers crumpled face, and makes a grand exit.  But not before she snatches the baby. Marie pounds on the window for Hank’s help, but he ends up siding with Skyler, aware that they have no grounds to take Holly. 

More digging from Walt.  Montage time!  Walt is creating a ginormous hole.  Usually people bury bodies in the desert, but this is a way larger hole, with at least eight tubs full of money to stash.  For some odd reason, he doesn’t seem to have brought any water.  Guess he didn’t learn his lesson from the RV days.  Walt is meticulous about covering his tracks and then finds the coordinates with a GPS.   He memorizes the numbers, not even bothering to write them down, and then smashes the device. 

Returning home, Walt hangs a lotto ticket with the coordinates on the fridge.  Wouldn’t it be a hoot if they won? Walt slowly goes into the bedroom.  Skyler is worried, concerned.  Walt gets undressed, showcasing those tighty whities for the second time in as many episodes.  Then he promptly collapses on the floor. 

Time passes, and when Walt comes to Skyler is doting on him with a washcloth compress.  I feel like it’s of note that Walt is still wearing his wedding ring while Skyler is not.  It’s clear that Walt still loves Skyler.  And when she says “The cancers back”, he confronts the reality that he might lose her, asking “Does that make you happy?”.  Her answer is not great, but it’s what Walt needs to continue.  He opens up emotionally to Skyler, and admits that Hank finding out was solely his fault.  Walt appears to be genuine and serious when he tells Skyler to turn him in, but keep the money.  Surprising the men in her life for the second time that day, Skyler responds to Walt’s request with her own calculated move.  This time she’s the one who refuses to give in.  She tells Walt that Hank has no definitive proof, and tastes her words carefully as she says “Maybe our best move here would be to stay quiet”.  Ladies and Gentlemen please join me in welcoming for the first time, as a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Heisenberg. 

We are then treated to the answer of the age-old question - Who wears Louboutins to a meth lab?  Answer - It’s Lydia! She meets up with Declan and makes her case to see the lab, which is ‘buried’ (hey, that’s the name of this episode!)  and it’s filthy.  Lydia rolls her eyes at Declan’s lack of Heisenbergness (Heisenbergity?) and asserts herself.  Why didn’t they use Todd?  Because Todd started a fire.  Whoops.  Still, potential exploding meth labs appear to be a risk Lydia’s willing to take if it bumps up the purity of her product a few percentage points.  Declan’s guys spot a car, and Lydia goes to her phone, beeping in a message.  She hunkers down as men above are massacred on what appears to be her command. Todd carefully and politely extracts her from the lab, guiding her around the maze of felled bodies.  For a drug lord, Lydia certainly has her hang ups. 

Hank and Marie talk in the kitchen.  We find out why Hank doesn’t want to go back to work.  Marie ends up making a solid point, convincing Hank to return. (Side note – Hank’s comment “At least I can be the guy who caught him” recalls a moment from a few seasons ago where Junior shows Walt a book Hank had given him about the man who caught Pablo Escobar.  Walt unwittingly handed Hank this glory, to be the man who caught a drug king pin.  Yet Hank still knows that Walt will get the recognition and live in infamy if he is apprehended.)

Hank goes back to work and gamely banters with his old friend. He requests to set up a conference call with his boss to “get back up to speed”.  But then good ole Gomie drops the bombshell -“you hear about that money thing?” 

Jesse doesn’t speak at all in this episode.  The cops have him in custody, but he isn’t offering any explanations, and isn’t requesting anything.  Hank goes down, almost jumping out of his skin with excitement and gets the cops to agree to let him “keep an eye on their suspect”.  Hank walks in and…..


This is why I love you BB.  Always keeping me on my toes.  Six episodes remaining.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Breaking Bad - Blood Money Recap

Breaking Bad.  It’s back.  And I am way too excited.  And sad.  And anxious.  I have a lot of emotions going on right now.  Yes, I get way too attached to television shows.  But this is BREAKING BAD!  One of the best television shows ever in history.  All I know is I want to squeeze every bit of time that I can out of the remaining eight episodes of this magnificent show, so its recap time.

Season 5B opens on yet another use of the White swimming pool to ominously foreshadow the future. Stuffed bear eyeball, a despondent Skyler, and now what appear to be relatively talented skateboarders have populated the concrete walls of the pool in the past two years.  Is it just me, or is it odd that we have never once actually seen a person actually swim in that pool?  I guess not, given that the White household hasn’t been a bastion of happiness over the course of the series.

Walt sneaks into the house, and takes pause at a large “Heisenberg” sprayed on the wall.  He must be thinking that the addition of electric yellow spray paint is definitely an improvement over the 1970’s wood paneling in the entry way.  Now that I think about it, Walt was a man that had given up on life to such an extent that he couldn’t bother to slap a coat of paint on that sucker.  C’mon man, it’s the first thing people see when they walk in.  Well, now the yellow “Heisenberg” is.  Like I said.  Improvement. 

Walt wanders down the hallway to the bedroom and takes some change out of his pocket to make a phone call.  No, wait….makeshift screwdriver.  He extracts the vial of ricin from its hidey hole.  He saunters back outside and runs into his neighbor Carol.  She promptly drops her groceries in shock.  It must be because she hasn’t seen Walt with hair in almost two years.  That’s totally it.

Back to the present, in the modestly appointed White homestead.  The shot slowly tracks in on the bathroom door, and oh baby it’s viewer payoff time.  The scene we’ve been waiting for since last summer.  Hank’s reaction.  And it’s a doozy.  He is in the middle of what appears to be the worst panic attack ever.  I think I would be rattled too if I found out my mild mannered brother in law was a drug kingpin whilst mid-poop.   I hope he flushed.  Hank flies home in a blur, plowing directly into a mailbox. 

Home from a three hour hospital visit, Marie refrigerates things that were sitting in a car in New Mexico during a three hour hospital visit.  Marie, I think you can throw that stuff away honey.  Maybe pay attention to what your husband is doing in the garage instead.  Hank matches the handwriting, and validates what he already knew.

The next morning at the car wash, the new uniform of A1A management appears to be khaki casual.  Walt mentions buying another car wash, and Skyler seems into it.

Lydia drives up and requests a standard car wash, immune to Skyler’s upsell.  I mean, why would she care about water spots?  She has a rental car!  Seriously?  How on earth Lydia can be the mastermind of an international drug ring, but neglect details such as removing an incriminating rental tag from her keys is beyond me.  She goes inside to whine to Walt about her problem.  68% and falling. 

Lydia is a dangerously anxious ball of crazy, and she twitches her way through this conversation with Walt, her black outfit starkly contrasting with Walt’s head-to-toe Gap ensemble.  After getting sharply rebuffed she shoves her sunglasses back on, and man this woman is in desperate need of some Xanax.  She shuffles out of the building and is confronted by an unwavering Skyler with lips pursed in a determined line.  Props to Skyler because she’s come a long way since shakily confronting Jesse in season one, but it feels like a big mistake.   One shouldn’t poke crazy.

Hank calls out of work to shuffle through boxes of evidence.  Fun montage ensues.  Even more fun – lyrics to the song can be found here and weirdly include they're geeks biting chicken-heads off with their witty / rejoinders they ain't nothing but greasy fast food”.  Hank squints at the footage of two shadowy figures stealing the methylamine, and flips through shots of familiar faces, all of who have been casualties of Heisenberg’s reign.  Hank takes pause at the crude sketch of Heisenberg, but must realize that a drawing isn’t actual concrete proof, right?

Following the montage, we are treated to a refreshing stoner scene.  Skinny Pete and Badger engage in some amusing banter about Star Trek while Jesse has an existential crisis backlit by wavy screensaver.   Just as I start daydreaming about how amazing a sitcom spin off with these three might be, Jesse abruptly leaves the house, duffle bags in tow. 

Jesse stomps into Saul’s office, otherwise known as the DMV waiting room of my nightmares.  Huell is chillin like a blob, and watches as Jesse takes a doobie out of his pack and takes a deep defiant drag.  (Side Note – As Huell eyes Jesse’s cigarette pack, I can’t help but think back to when he frisked Jesse to get the ricin back in season 4.  How his sausage fingers did the job that quickly remains a mystery for the BB ages.) Saul’s arm beckons.  Jesse enters and sets out his terms.  Saul placates Jesse, and then runs to his drawer full of bat phones, which for some odd reason includes a phone with a glittery Hello Kitty case. 

Walt’s on the other end of Saul’s call.  In stark contrast to Jesse smoking in a waiting room, Walt is getting treatment for his cancer.  It’s back.  But Walt has no time to wallow in his illness.  He has 5 million dollars to return.  

Walt hauls the money in to Jesse’s house, tossing it around it as if it were a bag of clothing for donation to Goodwill.  Apparently 5 million dollars of blood money is really heavy.  Walt pleads with Jesse to believe him, and Jesse stares blankly into the distance, broken by the trauma he can’t bring himself to suppress any longer.   This is most certainly set up for the inevitable Jesse/Walt confrontation, and I expect that future scenes between these two will have a bit more intrigue. 

As the days pass, the White family appears to be getting back to normalcy.  In the middle of happy family time, Walt scuttles to the bathroom to yak.  He notices that Leaves of Grass is missing and a wave of non-chemo induced nausea overtakes him.  Later he sneaks out to his car and finds a tracker.  He stands at the curb like a weirdo in his robe and undies.  If Junior had come home from his late curfew right at that moment, Walt would totally have some explaining to do. 

Later that night, in a decidedly non-family friendly part of town, a homeless guy searches for cans and rouses Jesse who is napping in his car for some reason.  Jesse rubs the sleep out of his eyes and then quickly offers the guy a fat stack of cash.  Homeless dude looks wary, like “Should I trust this guy who still has to manually roll down his car windows?” but ends up taking the stack.  Jesse then goes all deranged paperboy, making it rain hundies all up over the ABQ ghetto.  

The next morning Walt pays a visit to his brother in law.  Oh thank you dear sweet BB writers for this scene so soon into the season.  While Hank is not a good actor, Dean Norris certainly is.  The range of emotion he expresses during this scene is Emmy worthy.  When Walt enters the garage, Hank initially tries to act nonchalant, but just ends up looking agitated.  Walt quickly tires of the banter and turns to leave but then slowly pivots back to ask about the tracker. 

With a blank stare Hank puts the garage door down and Walt responds with a cheeky “I don’t like the way you’re looking at me right now.”  Hank punches Walt square in the eyeglass, and then begins to confront him with the laundry list of infractions that Walt has committed.  They sound almost comical all listed together, and I am ashamed to admit that when Hank screamed “You bombed a nursing home!” I uncontrollably laughed out loud.  Walt responds by admitting to Hank that his cancer is back, and Hank’s expression is so confused for an instant.  In a stroke of brilliance by the show writers, Walt never admits to any of the claims Hank is making, but outlines a pretty compelling case as to why Hank should not continue to pursue his investigation.

Hanks jaw is agape but he visibly relaxes.  He still thinks he has the upper hand as he calmly tells Walt to bring the kids and Skyler to the house.  Hank says with some sadness, “I don’t even know who I’m talking to.”  Walt responds with what is sure to be one of the most quotable lines of the series.  “If that’s true…if you don’t know who I am then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.”  Hank has no response and stares blankly, with a scared look in his eyes. 

I can’t believe there are only seven episodes left.  My questions for now are the following:  What on earth is going to be the fall out of Jesse’s Robin Hood drive by?  Is the White family going to take that trip to Europe sooner rather than later?  Also, WTF was the symbolism of that yellow remote control car on Hank’s street?  If someone can tell me I would love you forever because quite frankly it’s driving me mad. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Orange Is The New Black - 5 Reasons Why

You haven’t watched Orange Is The New Black yet?!  I know you totally have Netflix. Or someone who will let you hack into their Netflix.  And, uh, if you don’t here’s a link to a one-month free trial.  So no excuses.

I’m here to tell you it’s going to happen.  You’re going to give in and spend twelve-odd hours with the ladies of OITNB.  In all likelihood you’ll lose control, forego sleep and all other leisure activities and tear through all the episodes in about a week. 

And it’s totally worth it. 

If you don’t believe me, here are five compelling reasons why -

One - The best TV isn’t predictable, but it certainly doesn’t have to be devastating.  All too often, shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones use shock and awe techniques, suddenly killing off main characters in the interest of being ‘unpredictable’ and ‘edgy’.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore WD and GoT, but OITNB surprises in small and often delightful ways. I won’t give anything away, but the way in which the main character Piper deals with her first prison conflict totally sold me on the show.  I had very little idea of what Piper was aiming for as she solicited various items throughout the second episode.  When the reveal finally occurred I felt a tiny bulb of happiness light up in my heart.  OITNB is chock full of these unexpected moments. 

Two – Kate Freaking Mulgrew.  This woman is a bad ass.  It’s damn near impossible to choose a favorite character on this show, but Mulgrew’s portrayal of the sharp and tough Russian prison momma ‘Red’ wins my vote.  Her performance is so compelling that I was six or seven episodes deep before I realized that Red used to be the Captain on Star Trek Voyager in the 90's.
The Borg have got nothin’ on either of these ladies.  Although I'm not too sure how the one on the left would do in prison….

Three – It’s a show that is tackling daringly original topics.  Maybe the topic of untreated mental health issues leading to a life of criminal activity isn't a fresh idea, but the OITNB writers present it from a different angle. The character Crazy Eyes (Suzanne) is initially portrayed as an 'insane' person, but the show shrewdly and gradually reveals glimpses of her world that suggest a life of tortured genius.  In addition, it's definitely the first time I have ever seen the story of a transgendered male to female.  Especially a story addressing all the struggle and sacrifice that transformation entails.  I watch a lot of TV, and the majority of this show feels new and relevant.

Four – Feel something.   I cried all sorts of tears – sadness, joy, laughter - and enjoyed every minute as I snuffled my way through a box of tissues.  Even if you’re not prone to emotional eye leakage like me, I guarantee the show will make you feel feelings of all sorts.   And you’ll hate when it’s over, and kind of want to move into a prison.  What?  Not really….well…maybe…..

Five – Binge watching.  I LOVE binge watching.  This show begs to be binge watched.  All the episodes are there.  Waiting.  To be viewed in a row.  That means absolutely no commercials, no overproduced ‘Next Week On…’ teasers, and no manipulative cliffhangers.  Because the next episode is actually next.  And they’re all just a click away. 

So what are you still waiting for?