Litchfield is starting to get weird. Structurally, culturally. Things are starting to brew in prison, and I’m here to watch the fallout. So let’s get started.
Ep. 4 “Doctor Psycho”
We start off with episode 4 with…
Yes!! I missed her so much. She’s not looking in the best shape…SHU can do that to you, considering past results…but at least Laverne Cox blesses us with her presence and instantly makes this season more enjoyable, although I’m not sure that’s the word for it. Even better, she has a plan to quite literally flush herself out of there and get placed back into minimum. And she’s not alone…
Lolly is still on Frieda’s chopping block, and Alex tries to stop her or slow her down as much as possible. She gets Red involved, begging her to call it off somehow. Red does, as she doesn’t want any more bodies in or around her garden.
Meanwhile, Luschek and Judy King bond over bondage and mock Healy, comparing him to Doctor Psycho-the woman hating nemesis of Wonder Woman.
And here lies our backstory for this episode. We’re taken back to Healy’s past, where we learn that he was mostly raised by his father, as his mother was taken in to a mental health facility for delusions. She later runs away from him, and we see Mr. Healy constantly try to mix social work with pleasure, which never bodes well for him. One failure on top of another parallels his Litchfield life, because even though his cooking class headed up by Judy is a “success”, she calls him out on his power issues and refuses to be counseled by him any longer. Judy has pull, she knows it, and she’s not to be fucked with.
However, Healy gets one more chance to prove that he can help people, which comes in the form of Lolly. She snaps at the drones once more, and causes a scene. Just as she is about to be put in Psych, Healy…saves her? He takes the time to listen to why she’s freaking out at the drones, and while he may be right about Lolly’s schizophrenia (which he calls “delusions”), he lets the whole “I killed a man and stuffed him in the garden” thing go completely unacknowledged. Good job there, man.
In other parts of Litchfield, we’re tuning in to Maria formally putting herself into the panty ring. She promises to give Piper a run for her money, and Piper takes her seriously, to the point of stalking Ouija on one of her delivery runs. Piper ends up getting caught shit-handed, but retaliates by sending Hapakuka after Ouija to take back her product.
Aleida’s getting out early, and is none too happy about it, since she knows that the system doesn’t accept ex-cons too easily. But Mendoza pep talks her as much as possible to get her butt in gear and go after her children.
And in a fantastically acted scene, Pennsatucky finally, finally gets to talk to Donuts about what he did. And she breaks my heart, because she has to relive her pain for his sake. She has to EXPLAIN to him what rape is, and convince him that he did so. I get that most rapists do not think they have done said deed, like ever, but Donuts is especially delusional in regards to his actions.
We end the episode with Lolly, convinced that she actually did not kill Aydin, walking happily away from Alex. Problem solved?
Ep 5. “We’ll Always Have Baltimore”
So, it looks like it’s field trip time! Linda and Caputo are off to a…prison…convention? CorrectiCon, apparently.
I don’t have much to say about it other than it sounds really convoluted. The booths and displays are weird, and Linda seems too good with a gun. One little first glance detail struck me though. The super-brief scene with the maxi pads vs cups. Why? I don’t know, but the camera staying with that booth while the woman tells the audience- and not Caputo, who has already run away due to discomfort- that menstrual cups vs pads are just more cost efficient for prisoners and prisons alike seems to hold a bit of importance, especially since one of the first scenes shows the prison running out entirely. Caputo knowingly runs a women’s prison. Why would he not hop on that opportunity to save money and living conditions? Maybe it’s commentary on how periods are seen as extraneous issues that don’t need to be addressed? Or maybe he’s just not giving a fuck, and it’s becoming more evident.
And after a quick guard vs inmate harassment scene (have I mentioned how much these COs SUCK??) we are given Maritza’s backstory! Which is pretty well crafted, I must say. I could do without a few lines that make her seem dumber than she is (because she definitely isn’t), but I admire the technique of her chosen side hustle.
After seeing some graffiti on the walls, Piscatella freaks out and declares how much he likes Rudy Giuliani. Literally, nobody I know from New York likes Giuliani so I guess we know where he stands. He’s essentially a gay republican. Good luck there friend. With Piscatella’s fear of “gang activity” happening as a result of these drawings, we see Piper forming a (probably bad) idea.
Meanwhile, the Latinas brainstorm ways to get the panties out of prison. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of if everyone underestimates her, but they easily overlook Maritza and her van until she has to suggest it. And we’re taken back to Maritza’s grand theft auto training, once again manipulating men in the process. Again, I could do with some of the gratuitous “dumbed down” lines, but I guess it reflects her quirky nature.
After a quick scene about the mysterious “shower pooper” making Morello and Suzanne’s job more difficult, Piper continues to do The Most™ and attempts to out the Latinas by reporting “gang activity” to Piscatella. Her innocent white girl act makes my blood boil, and for someone saying that Latinas are from a noble heritage, Piper sure likes treating anyone other than her own like shit. I wonder if Piper Kerman ever has to be like, “no, I’m not really like this”, or is this just more real than I want it to be?
Of course, gross strip searches commence due to Piper’s “tip”, especially for Mendoza, who is relatively out of this skirmish, but is Latina anyway, and is sexualized as such. One of the guards, who I’ll talk about later, suggests a cavity search, which (I guess, thankfully) commences under the female guard’s watch instead.
This dirty scene is again juxtaposed by the pristine layout of the convention. Caputo and Linda joke about different afflictions that plague minority communities, like “the war on drugs” and immigration arrests being gold mines to for-profit prisons. Because that’s so funny…
During Linda’s panel that nobody cares about, Danny from last season intervenes, now a rebel against what MCC stands for. Caputo tries to mediate and…well… ends up talking shit and also getting hit. At the end of it all, Linda finds it “chivalrous” and they hook up. Um. Yay?
While we learn earlier that grand theft was Maritza’s game, it translates well to panty pilfering in prison. But one botched job on the outside makes her learn from her mistakes and ultimately turns her into an even better manipulator. She fools almost every CO into thinking Alonso, their outside source, is the gardener for the apartment grounds. One guard named Humphrey, or “Humps”, however, is unfooled. This is the same guard that talked about a cavity search for Mendoza. If you don’t know, he’s the creepy one-I mean, really creepy- and basically sees right through Maritza’s plan. And, he’s bilingual, which somehow makes it worse. So now almost nobody in that prison is safe from his ear.
Unbeknownst to Piper, she just started a race war for real. Seriously, she gathered a bunch of white supremacists in a room, mixed with characters who actually want to “care” about their prison community. I almost got sick from hearing one of the most prolific phrases of 2015/16 turned into a parody, although I’ve heard real people utter “white lives matter” way too many times before. The general reactions?
But Piper’s face at the end? A true indicator that she doesn’t know what she’s started.
Ep. 6 “Piece of Shit”
Not gonna lie, this was one of the least intriguing openers to an episode yet. But, OITNB usually does focus on its endings, so there’s that.
To summarize: Luschek is being a Grade-A piece of shit to one of his friends right before heading into work. This scene highlights what we already know: Luschek gets high a lot, gets drunk a lot, is generally terrible. But Bayley points out that Luschek’s inbox is flooded with mail, specifically of the hate variety. Can’t say he doesn’t deserve it, after all, this episode is practically named after him.
He tells Judy it’s from a former inmate sending him all the love, which brings us to a shot of…
Nicky Nichols, our resident smart ass, in group therapy! She’s hit her 3 years sober mark, and greets it with some well-missed cynicism. Then immediately gets her chip taken away, because of course, that’s considered contraband in prison. Ouch. She’s also seemed to ally herself with Stella, although the latter is a blatant drug user.
Meanwhile, Piper is being followed…by white pride. Literally, inmate Sankey from her carer group keeps following her everywhere and calling her “sister”. She avoids it by trying to talk to Alex, who is justifiably still pissed at her for not believing her paranoia and leaving her high and dry. It’s easy to tell where this may go but lord knows I don’t want any. But, back to the carers. They break up a Latina “gathering” that has been going on for a while, and throw some slurs in there while they’re at it. Gross. Moving on.
I wonder if the writers of OITNB cringed or even batted an eye when writing ANY of these “carer” group scenes. It’s…a pretty disgusting turn for this show, not gonna lie. Racist characters already existed in this show, but now we have to take them seriously. Frankly, I do enough of that in my daily life.
But in that same scene, Piper’s shit is out in the open now! The panty business has been exposed from her own doing. But it doesn’t seem like the newbies know that the leader is even in the same room. Of course the kingpin herself won’t go down, as Piper seems to have a weird kind of plot armor where only select things go wrong for her and then it unfolds 10x worse for the people around her. Hapakuka is the victim this time, as she gets caught wearing Piper’s underwear because, to no surprise, the guards are racist too.
During another construction scene, Donuts tells Luschek off for being a general shithead to Gina and refusing to even get up for her accidentally bloodied hand. His outburst towards Luschek makes me curious, considering how oblivious he was before Pennsatucky talked to him. Really, where is the rapists’ mind nowadays? Like, you have this one talk with Pennsatucky and you’re rehabilitated? You want to treat women like people NOW?! Where was that last season??
Luschek’s new BFF Judy tries to give him advice on how to rectify the situation between him and Nichols, which starts with an apology (duh). My question is, How do you put the N-Word and the line “You are a straight white man. You don’t get to be the victim” in the same episode? How, sway???
Anyway, when he attempts to do so, he keeps trying to say it isn’t his fault, even though he essentially framed someone for his own bad habits. Yes, Nicky had the drugs, but no, she did not need to go down for it. Especially with how corrupt these COs already are, and the condition of the prison at the time, I feel like Luschek would have only received a slap on the wrist. As a result of him literally not being able to say sorry like a normal person, Nichols curses him out. Because she should.
The next scene that we see Nichols, she’s cleaning a blood-stained room…that used to be Sophia’s. Excuse me writers, but I’m gonna need much more than that. What happened to her?? Where is she????
The Lolly and Healy scenes are actually very endearing, probably because they can really relate on a level nobody else can. Is it the blind leading the blind, so to speak? Possibly, but at least she isn’t in Psych. Someone is actually paying attention to Lolly, and I think she may be becoming better for it.
Boo and Piper discuss some pretty well known facts- one, the panty party is going to be found out. No matter what. Two, someone will try to rat her out, especially if they find out that she STARTED the strip searches. Three, everyone hates her, and are more than willing to let her go down than them. And since she’s the priority fundraiser and giver, it will not be a pretty sight once it happens. Piper simply retorts, “If they are coming for me, I will be here”. Well, where else would you be? The real guarantee here is, they are coming.
Except, when it’s Maria’s word against Pipers, guess who wins? Piscatella thinks he’s so smart, but can’t seem to spot a cover up right under his nose. Maria gets more years added to her sentence, and is set as a classic “example” to the other inmates. And that is where we get this wonderful display of anger:
Damn. Watch out, Piper. Maria seems to actually keep her promises.
One last thing? Despite Judy pulling a slick move and getting Nichols out of Max, this whole scene between her and Luschek seems really…ew. She coerces him, for lack of a better term, into sleeping with her in exchange for Nichols’ freedom. Lines are definitely blurred here, even though an inmate sleeping with a CO is old news to longtime viewers. Once again, Judy shows that she is a force to be reckoned with…but not in a good way, at all.
Bonus: We get a few more Pousoso scenes, and my heart is warmed every single time. Poussey adores Soso, and it’s just great to see this little victory for two characters who were practically suicidal last year.
So, you may think that I’m going super slow guys, but I will do my best to pump this into overdrive. Comments? Opinions? Lay em on me. See you next week!
Images courtesy of Netflix