Hi guys! We're back to Orange is the New Black after a long hiatus: so much good stuff to watch these days! Rolling S4:E8 after the break:
Oh man. We open with Piper (Taylor Schilling) crying in her bunk, I guess Hapakuka (Jolene Purdy) didn't remember her conscience and stop Maria (Jessica Pimental) from branding Piper with a swastika after all. You know what, Piper? It might not be quite as Othering as I thought last time, after the 2016 presidential election. What happened to her was horrifying and terrifying so I won't further trivialize it but I'm not wrong above.
You know Piper is not my favourite character, but the fact that Hapakuka is just there, sleeping below her and Red (Kate Mulgrew) only cares that her small mirror has gone missing? That's messed up.
CO Stratman (Evan Arthur Hall) comes to collect Red for her kitchen detail, she's not ready, she doesn't have her mirror! Or her lip pencil, it turns out. Who's been going through her things?
It is SUPER hard to care about Red's mirror and lip pencil when Piper was forcibly branded AND betrayed a little while ago.
CO Dixon (Mike Houston) is ogling the women in the shower, how is he allowed in there? Oh, it's worse than that, he's there for Judy King (Blair Brown)'s protection, since her racist puppet show surfaced last episode. Judy calls her protection a knee-jerk overreaction, but Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) wandering by singing a racist song with her sock puppet changes her mind.
Judy doesn't like the isolation, it's perpetuating the idea that she's a racist afraid of black people, but Yoga Jones (Constance Schulman) is thinking more practically: can they get a TV? And maybe stop talking about all your black "friends", Judy, you know, the ones that work for you in your kitchen and in your fields.
Piper's calling Cal (Michael Chernus), he's so happy she received Neri's psychic message! Did it involve edging?
You know, I whine a lot about characters I don't get to see enough on this show, but I should really be counting my blessings: Larry's gone, right?
Neri is pregnant, yay! And they've been doing something misguided involving used clothing and Korea. "Ever since the panties dried up" made me actually laugh out loud because sometimes I am 12.
She gives him a great talk about how much of a better parent he will be than what they were used to and it's just so awesome that she's able to give to him when she is so devastated. She's growing as a person. A miserable, branded person.
Nicky (Natasha Lyonne) is trying to talk Lorna (Yael Stone) into their private shower stall, c'mon, everyone gets lonely! For one thing: a different zip code means it's not cheating and for another, "there's no dick!" *handsweep*. We all looked, right?
Nicky gets a little too real, talking about how impossible Lorna's relationship is with her husband. Lorna checks out right around the time Nicky brings up Lorna's hubs banging the neighbour. But is Lorna SURE he wouldn't get off on hearing about her with another chick?
Desi Piscatella (Brad William Henke) is explaining to the inmates that their jobs have changed: since there was a breach at the Whispers sweatshop (eyes to Piper), they'll now be in vocational training. Welcome to Construction 101, which is like interning in prison.
That is so enraging.
They have to work, they have to take this "class", but they won't be paid. They attack Piper for it, but really, we have the Prison Industrial Complex to thank for that.
Have you watched The 13th? You MUST! I didn't realise until I saw it that the panty-sweatshop on OITNB is based on Victoria's Secret having their goods manufactured in prison: true story.
We have a new instructor and ALL the ladies love cool Mr. McDonald (Quincy Chad - that's a name??). He's there to lecture them on Safety and yeah: none of them have any construction experience, but everyone wants to be his apprentice! I don't think he's any happier having to use a bunch of inexperienced labourers than they are doing manual labour for free. That was Safety Orientation! Be safe, use common sense. And don't do crime because prison is unpleasant.
Watson (Vicky Jeudy - yay, haven't seen her in ages!), Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) and Alison (Amanda Stephen) keep forgetting their language code, but the problem remains the same: they need to charge Alison's phone so they can sell that picture of Cindy chasing Judy.
Nicky is on the prowl today. Being turned down by Lorna has sent her right to Alex (Laura Prepon), who isn't buying. She's not listening to Nicky's tales of Max woe either, it's been stressful 'round here too, what with the body burying, digging up, dismembering, re-burying and Lolly-sitting. Well, she doesn't go into specifics, but it's implied. Oooh and I think she's considering visiting the church with Nicky!
Maria isn't Piper and she isn't about to let ANYONE off the hook in her drug business. Ramos (Diane Guerrero) had a run with a CO earlier and is spooked, but she ain't going NOWHERE. Maria has a different business model than Pipes with her empty threats.
Big Boo (Lea DeLauria) is working on the broken digger in the yard while the women literally use pickaxes to break up the dirt. I believe I heard chain gang music playing in the background, but I may have been imagining it. Big Boo has no idea what she's doing, but Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) is there to learn Boo's "lesbian superpower!" I love 'Tucky (you know, NOW, I did not love 'Tucky in the beginning) and her and Big Boo (whom I have ALWAYS loved) play so well off each other. Considering how Pennsatucky felt about lesbians back in the day, that's AWESOME! Also, Big Boo is awesome and the smartest person on the show and I love her. Did I say that already?
Piper's branding is bleeding, which leads to a conversation about cutting, which is...helpful? I guess? She's crying again and I actually feel bad for her. WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME??
Ohhh Aleida (Elizabeth Rodriguez) has her own practice nail salon in prison! Daya (Dascha Polanco) comes in for a walkin and to completely kill Aleida's buzz. Aleida needs her cosmetology license and money and a place and it just knocks all the wind out of her sails. Daya's right, but there might have been a way to share (with your complete ahole of a mom) that information gently.
Judy is getting REALLY frustrated with CO Gerber (Alan Aisenberg) who doesn't want to leave her with Poussey (Samira Wiley) because he thinks he's her shadow. Sigh. Poussey doesn't want to see Judy anyhow, Judy's racist puppet show set their relations back a piece. Judy's attempt to point out the good part about them using fresh food does not help the conversation.
I don't know if her explanation of doing a lot of blow back in the 80s helps, either but I love this one sentence: "maybe I am a racist and I'm just too stupid to know it." She's trying, Poussey! Does she get a participation trophy for that? She wants Poussey to advocate on her behalf, which Poussey agrees to, if she just stops talking
Oh I had that wrong, Nicky was offering Alex drugs, and that's what Alex agreed to earlier. They're high AF from smoking crack in the field, it's the first time I've seen Alex smile in two entire seasons! Piper thinks they're crazy but freaks us all out when she takes a hit. Well. Pipes has had a bad week. She shows them the branding, she thinks it's because she always goes too far. Always goes too far.
Alex takes a hit and admits to killing Toothpick. Nicky can't believe what's going on here! Piper's the only one who understands.
I get you, OITNB, but showing smoking crack as cathartic and some kind of sharing circle? Dafuq?
Poussey has to settle the argument of whose job is harder (not Taystee's (Danielle Brooks)) before asking about Judy King: it's all about a picture, P.
Construction continues out in the hot sun, they actually did a pretty good excavating job! And talk about Hitler which: AGAIN, could not be more topical right now in November of 2016. Hapakuka wants to go back and nurture Herr Hitler as a child, encourage his artistic endeavors and tamp down his violence. One of the Aryan nationals would have advised Hitler to take the Suez Canal earlier on, so. You know. Choices
Pennsatucky asks Donuts (James McMenamin) where he would go back in time and he DOESN'T say anything about pre-raping 'Tucky, just some shite about missing a Judas Priest concert, so whatever.
Angie (Julie Kale) is getting her usual drug shipment through her belly, nice lippy Coco! Lorna's visit with her sister Annie is marred by the fact that Nicky's missile struck true: Lorna's worried that Vinnie is cheating on her. We know from the past that Lorna errs on the side of the complete batshit obsessive, so. Annie agrees to go hang out with Vinnie with an eye to seeing if he's "using some other housewife's oven mitt" and I don't even know what that means. She knows they come in pairs, right?
Maria is running drugs through the salon, and I just now realised this is Sophia's salon. The new stylist is A-Rod (Jennifer Brito) and all she does is stick drugs into ponytails. Oh Nicky, she stole Red's mirror and a bunch of other stuff too, it looks like.
Aleida asks if Maria could just please do it somewhere else? She only has two more days inside, can't Maria do it somewhere else for two days? No.
A mechanic comes in and fixes the backhoe in about 30 seconds, it lifts more dirt in the next 30 seconds than alllll those women did in 8 hours. They don't know how to take that.
Judy has a plan! And Poussey's a part of it! Judy runs over and plants one on Cindy, Poussey takes the photograph and BOOM! Friends again, right?
Cindy's worried her mama's gonna see her kissing a white woman.
Blanca (Laura Gomez) is using Red's mirror in the kitchen; where did she get that? And yeah, fix the unibrow, but only if you want. Damn those narrow and rigid beauty standards! But yeah: fix.it. Now everyone knows that the salon is doing, and Red knows it was Nicky too and why.
Red and Piper have a heart to heart about Alex's murdering, ohh and Red notices the blood on Piper's arm and makes her show her the branding. Aw thank goodness, finally someone cares about Piper and how horrible that was.
Donuts stops Pennsatucky in the hallway to make up for earlier, and before. He gives her a heartfelt apology, which while it didn't always ring true, was a really nice change from what actually happens in the world. You know, the "prove it." The "20 minutes of action", the "consensual rough sex" or the "she consented while asleep" sayings, this: this is better.
Linda (Beth Dover) is over for supper, Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) doesn't want to cuddle, fanks. He let all the women down and he's upset. Linda is an ahole, yes? The doorbell rings, ohhhhh it's Crystal Burset (Tanya Wright) and she's MAD. She's been here before, how is he dealing with this? Not well. He yells at Linda, because MCC MADE him put Sophia in a box, MADE him put her in inhumane captivity and Crystal keeps coming back.
Linda pushes back and I like her in this moment. She's his girlfriend and there for supper and NOT the company they both work for. Joe's not handling this well.
My liking Linda lasts about 10 seconds until she pulls a gun on a distraught but completely rational Crystal. She has a registered gun and I guess where they live, you can threaten the life of someone because you don't want them on your property. They don't even have to threaten you or make you feel unsafe: you can just not want them there. Wow
If Joe doesn't throw her out right now..oh, no, as usual I have it wrong: he thinks that was really hot.
Red's plan for fixing Piper's swastika involves more pain, more burning and "when God gives you a swastika, he opens a window" (and I am NOT giffing that) "then you remember there is no God" and I love Red. We're out.
Things got real in a hurr-ay on OITNB, I understand how they're showing that Piper meant well and is over her head, but I'm distracted by Maria's complete 180. She went from flexing to Top Dog in a heartbeat, I just don't know about that abrupt transition. This show mixes the mundane with the overarching messages of inequity and the prison industrial complex and I get that, but sometimes...it's too far of a reach. I understand that the comedy is to ease us into the Big Ideas; sometimes you can still see the joins. Like Red hilariously freaking out about her mirror while scarred for life Piper cries silently in her bunk. I don't know if I'm the most objective person to gauge how well they handle sexual assault, but I think it's important. They're erring on the side of Afterschool Special, but there are worse ways to do it, I guess. Until next time, you lot! Cheers