Netflix audiences were first introduced to Laura Gómez’s character Blanca Flores in Season 1 of “Orange Is the New Black.” However, little was divulged about Litchfield Penitentiary’s most erratic inmate during the freshman installment of the prison dramedy — you know, other than that Blanca had a disheveled-style and was secretly sexting a mysterious man named Diablo.
But as the award-winning series continued, so did the unraveling of Blanca’s character. Audiences began to learn more and more about the bold and hilarious Dominican prisoner — especially in Season 4, which is when Blanca’s jaw-dropping backstory was finally unveiled. Gómez spoke to International Business Times to discuss Blanca’s wild past and explain what it was like to watch her character evolve with each passing season.
“It’s fascinating to me because every [season] I am more in awe of our writers of how they are able to humanize characters that originally might have seemed like a little bit of a caricature and kind of a comic relief,” Gómez told IBT, adding that the writers have the ability to flip the script — or better yet, turn the table — giving audiences a new perspective on a situation or character. “Ironically that’s the name of my episode, ‘Turn Table Turn,’” she stated.
In Season 4, audiences were given a peek at what Blanca’s life looked like before she was hauled off to Litchfield. And, to say the least, it was utterly surprising — not just for viewers, but for Gómez as well. “I was shocked at what Blanca’s backstory was,” she said, elaborating that she was “pleasantly surprised to see it.”
Although Gómez dished that she was clueless as to what the writers of “Orange Is the New Black” had up their sleeves when it came to cultivating Blanca’s past, she knew it was going to be something eye-widening. After all, that’s what Blanca is … an eye-widening character. “I had no preconception whatsoever. I figured it would be something out of the box. But it really, really was something shocking. I never expected kind of a revolutionary movement from Blanca,” she admitted.
In episode 9, audiences uncovered that Blanca was working as a caretaker for an elderly woman named Millie (Mary Louise Wilson) before she was incarcerated. Millie was a wealthy and unpleasant woman who would call Blanca “Bianca” just because she preferred it. While working for the woman, Blanca started to befriend Millie’s gardener, Dario, who teased that his nickname was Diablo. But Blanca soon learned her employer had fired Dario due to the gardener allegedly distracting Blanca from her duties.
“That was his job that’s how he earns his living. He’s a person. I’m a person. I don’t just live to work for you,” Blanca responded to the news of Dario being let go. Millie’s employee then decided to seek revenge ... by having midnight sex with Dario in Millie’s bedroom.
“I thought it exposed Blanca’s temperamental nature. In a way its rebelling against the oppressor and kind of mirroring what the entire season is about. I think that the show has been very actively mirroring society right now and what’s going on,” Gómez spoke of awareness Season 4 has raised.
Another Season 4 storyline that has echoed a real-life issue was Poussey’s (Samira Wiley) heartbreaking death, which mirrored the real-life killing of Eric Garner in 2014. In fact, it was this particular plot that sparked Season 4’s massive cliffhanger where Daya (Dascha Polanco) was left holding a gun at Correction Officer Humphrey’s (Michael Torpey) head.
Gómez told IBTimes that she’s looking forward to see whether Daya pulls the trigger in the forthcoming season, which is currently being filmed. But that’s not the only Season 5 storyline the actress is excited to see play out when the show returns next summer. “I would love to know more about Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman) and perhaps Humphrey, that insane guard who forced Maritza (Diane Guerrero) to eat a baby mouse. How on earth did he make it through the system as a Law Enforcement Officer?”