Beth Stebner
June 02, 2015 5:26 am

Your favorite ensemble cast of lovable felons is back on June 12th when Netflix will release season 3 in its entirety (at 12:01, for those who are serious about their binge watching). There aren’t a ton of reviews out on the highly-anticipated new season, but we pulled together some of the best to give you some tantalizing hints of what’s to come. So, get psyched, and of course, be warned – mild spoilers ahead.

1. Love is in the air? Alex (Laura Prepon), aka the “Betty Paige of Litchfield” is back in the oh-so-flattering beige prison garb. Expect a lot more interaction between Piper and Alex, and, from what it looks like, some of the new inmates. And speaking of…

2. New freshman class at Litchfield Penitentiary, ya’ll! A new group of menaces to society have been bussed into the prison, with one of the older ladies admonishing the prison’s spick and span walls. There’s also a tatted inmate who looks kind of like a mean Justin Bieber. Another love interest for Piper, perhaps? Or maybe season 3’s new villain now that Vee is out of the picture. (Or is she?)

3. OITNB will make you face some uncomfortable truths Yes, the comedy is often racy but pitch-perfect, and between Taystee, Nicky, Morello et al, there are sure to be plenty of laughs in this season’s drama. But more than anything, it’s a show about incarceration, not just about Piper’s quashed dreams to make bespoke soaps. Expect the writers to explore more issues on the prison system, its privatization, mental health, and how incarceration not only affects those behind bars but those left on the outside.

4. Don’t expect a plot slump like in Game of Thrones or Lost The trick with ensemble casts is to make the stories interesting, and to care about all of the characters’ side stories and flashbacks without getting into a rut. Since we had so much more variation in season 2, learning about Poussey, Taystee, et al, there’s a risk of running out of backstory or dwelling too much on a single character. Creator Jenji Kohan avoids all of this, making season 3 feel much more like a celebration, not a punishment.

5. This one’s for the mothers Episode 1 opens with a Mother’s Day celebration at Litchfield with all of your favorite characters in top form. After some moments of levity, we’re reminded that Dayanara is soon going to be a mother herself and will do so in prison.

6. There may be more New York Times op-eds, but not from Piper’s ex, Larry According to Radio Times, Jason Biggs’ character is out. But if you think about it, it makes total sense. He represented Piper’s shot at a normal upper-class Manhattan life, something that she consciously chose to leave behind as her world is continually shaped by the quirky cast at Litchfield.

7. Keep your expectations high…
Critics for the Hollywood Reporter and Esquire both had rave reviews for the first 6 episodes, praising the pacing and focus on all of the characters, not just the well-meaning yet hopelessly privileged Piper. The best season yet? Let’s hope so.

8. …and get ready for even more OITNB
The Emmy-winning show has already been renewed for its fourth season, due out sometime in 2016. So we’ll be spending at least another year in Litchfield. We’ve got no problem with that.

(Image via Netflix)

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