How wise, in retrospect, that the first season of OITNB withheld the backstory of so many fan favorite characters. It's turned the highly anticipated second season into a roll call of extremely meaningful histories of people we already love, avoiding the usual sophomore season mistake of throwing dozens of new characters at the audience.
Suzanne has always been a favorite, and while her backstory on its own was agonizingly good, it also was a brilliant way to incorporate Vee, the big new character, into the current storyline and stitch up season one's shocking ending.
We found out last season Suzanne was adopted by well-meaning white people, but it was not until "Hugs Can Be Deceiving" that we learned they were sort of assholes. From her mom foisting her into birthday parties with six-year-olds at age ten and pressuring her to sing at graduation to prove she wasn't weird, we learned Suzanne's been a victim of her parents utterly neglecting her needs as an individual, as if the vastness of their own privilege could cancel out her personal reality of mental illness and alienation.
Vee, looking for an "in," once again played the mother card. She corrected Suzanne gently rather than blocking out her eccentricities and treated her with motherly kindness, prompting Suzanne to essentially do all her bidding. In return Vee paved the way for Suzanne to play "Celebrity" with a slab of funfetti cake for the group.
Up until then, Suzanne's placeholder for her mother had been the similarly blonde and uptight Piper, and the reveal that it had been Suzanne who snapped and beat up Piper after she knocked out Pennsatucky was woven skillfully into the backstory (inadvertently saving Piper from assault charges).
Also amazing this episode was Taylor Schilling as Piper returned to Litchfield. Her eyes have several more coats of glaze now and she clearly has no fucks to give. And now she's bunking with exactly the kind of noob she used to be, the wide-eyed Brook Soso, who's just as squeamish and tearful as Piper will never be again.
What is the most egregious example of the "White Savior" trope? Yes you can include Avatar.
[Images via Netflix]