Orange is the New Black may not be the most expressive show visually, but it may just be the most humanistic, and when you feature the best and most diverse ensemble cast in all of television, you don't need any artificial showiness to throw about. The show hardly needs any fussiness what with the vivid, beautifully multi-dimensional women at its center. It lies in the sharp writing, wonderfully realized black comedic/lightly tragic tone and the pitch perfect performances of it's expertly realized cast. Their faces, in all their diverse wonder, are expressive enough.
Which is why my favorite shot of Season Two is such an incredibly simple one. It comes from Episode 8 ("Appropriately Sized Pots") and features my Season Two MVP-- Miss Rosa (majestically and gracefully played by Barbara Rosenblat.) It's a bullish claim, since the spark of Orange of the New Black has from the very beginning been its generosity with its rich ensemble, so much so that best-in-show honors change sometimes within scenes. For now, I stick with it. Miss Rosa was merely on the periphery of the first season, but in heartbreaking and joyous fashion, embodies the spirit and fire that makes Orange is the New Black so special in the first place. An older woman dying of cancer and stuck in prison for what she knows will only be a short time left. Rosa is a crank, a truth-teller, and yet so full of life and love and joie de vivre that it spills out in unexpected and beautifully modulated moments. Episode 8 tells her story-- flashing back to when she was a fiery and beautiful spitball turned on by the lure of robbing banks and sharing kisses with her partners. The shot above sees Rosa in the happy throes of nostalgia. It's short, but sweet.
More on Orange is the New Black soon.