We're closing in on the end of the fourth season of Orange is the New Black now, a paltry 14 or so months behind (you should see how far behind I am on Orphan Black!!). Let's find out why my sister swears this season is worth finishing and everyone else is mad. Rolling OITNB S4:E12 The Animals after the break!
We open with correctional officer Baxter "Gerber" Bayley (Alan Aisenberger) getting arrested for climbing a water tower with his friends on grad night, since when do we get guard backstory? Well, I guess we gotta little bitta Healey (Michael Harney), didn't we? So I'll let it pass this once.
He's waiting outside the prison in present time when Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) pulls up, CO Humphrey (Michael Torpey) really freaked him out when he was forcing the inmates to fight during interrogations. WHAT INTERROGATIONS? asks Caputo and THAT is why he should have stayed in the prison last night instead of smushing wobblies with Linda (Beth Dover) who is Satan in a pencil skirt.
One of the gladiators unwillingly fighting in that arena during Interrogations was Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, who beat the ever-luving shite out of her ex-almost-girlfriend Maureen Kukudio (Emily Althaus). The White Power brigade pops up into Taystee (Danielle Brooks) bunk then where she's confederating with Poussey (Samira Wiley!! From The Handmaid's Tale!!), Kasey Sankey (Kelly Larbacz) and Brandy (Asia Kate Dillon - from Billions! I love them on Billions!) are there to make a deal. Yeah, they kiiiiinda hate black people but they hate CO Humphrey more and they'll put reinstating slavery on the backburner if Taystee and Poussey help them take out his sadistic arse.
That would be a lot funnier if Charlottesville in August of 2017 hadn't just happened.
Poussey grabs Brook SoSo (Kimiko Glenn) and pulls her into Lotty's time machine for some private time, Litchfield-style. No, not like the chapel, more slow dancing and reminiscing about their childhoods and thinking to the future. Plus snuggling.
Taystee and Sankey hit their next stop on their Unification Tour: the Dominicans. Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) is initially reluctant (but with more threats and profanity) but reminds them to think big: Head of Guards Desi Piscatella (Brad WIlliam Henke) is the real problem.
Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox) is back!! Oh and her skin is glorious! She looks stunned though, her time in Solitary must have taken her mind on a vacation. She looks into her old salon, now held by the Dominican drug ring with "BURSET HAS A D*CK" on the wall and I don't think they understand anything there.
Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) wakes Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) up with an arm hug, another cuddly vignette with one of the most famous lesbian couples on TV.
Onto Caputo suspending Humphrey, or will he?? Piscatella jumps in to throw his dick on the table and threatens to walk with his whole staff. I, for one, am ECSTATIC, but I can barely believe what happens next. Piscatella backs Caputo down right off his jock in front of all the guards and now we have a sadist running all the guards in Litchfied prison.
Piscatella compared his tactics to protecting his guards and avenging the one murdered (yeah, the guy that was so new nobody noticed he was missing), not sympathising with a bunch of criminals. Wow. I'd slow clap but I still believe in one tiny part of Caputo so it was hard to watch him be annihilated like that. He truly did care about the inmates.
This is just so much of what is going on in the world right now!
Gerber watched all of that and he's lost: Caputo is losing whatever control he had over decency in the prison and Gerber doesn't wanna hang with the psycho guards, so what's he to do?
We're back in time with him in the jail cell with two policeman teasing him and his friends, forcible sodomy threats are high-larry-us. They're just joshing after all, returning to release the kids almost immediately. Gerber's "are you sure? We had pot too" shows me that I am actually Gerber. And shouldn't be left on my own too long. I argued about paying for firewood this weekend: don't tell me it's not on my bill, I got it!
The coalition starts off murdery, Red (Kate Mulgrew) is too tired to think of anything complicated for getting rid of Piscatella, why not kill him? Hapakuka (Jolene Purdy) finally gets some screen time, wut wut! She suggests a peaceful protest as her and the inmates did in Hawaii, everybody agrees but they can't decide who is going to lead. It doesn't help that Sankey is still openly racist and Maria is so mistrustful. Red bails at "commie bitch" and the peaceful protest is OVAH. I don't think that would work with this gang anyway, you know? These guards are straight up horror-movie bad guys, they lack subtlety.
Judy King (Blair Brown) is having the best morning ever! If only she wasn't so thirsty...Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman) is wracked with guilt over her drugged threesome with her roomie and CO Luschek (Matt Peters) but Judy tells her to just give it a month. Her serotonin levels will even out. A MONTH?? See, drugs were just never my thing, but I can't see willingly going into a month of feeling like shite for one night of weird sex with people I don't like very much.
Yoga thinks she's sold out everything she believes in and carries on about it at great length while Judy and I hold our heads. People like stuff. They like nice stuff. Anybody who says they don't like stuff is lying to both themselves and you. You can tell them I said that.
Poussey interrupts the self-flagellation to ask Judy for a job reference, Poussey's getting out soon? Woo hoo! I didn't realise.
Gloria Mendoza (Selenis Leyva) finds Sophia staring at herself in the funhouse bathroom mirrors and tries to make up to her, but Sophia is still very much out of it.
Oh oy, Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne) is bringing Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) over to the table! Big / Medium Boo (Lea Delaria) does not appreciate, so we get lots of references to Donuts (James McMenamin) being a violent rapist, but nothing clear. They all wanna talk about getting rid of Piscatella anyway, and The Movement, which is over before it started.
Over at Taystee's table, Janae Watson (Vicky Jeudy) and Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) are ready to throw down, let's go!
You know Blanca (Laura Gomez) is in no matter what, she's our original freedom gangster, but Maria isn't interested in working with all these other groups.
In NaziTown, Brandy has a complicated theory about sneaker colour equaling productivity? Or something? But Sankey speaks up for the women, surprising everyone.
Caputo sees Gerber assisting an inmate and tells him to make a run for it. No, really, get out and work anywhere else, Gerber Bayley, Litchfield crushes anything good. And you're good right now, Gerber, but so was Caputo, once: "working here changes who you are." Or exposes who you are, right Fig and Linda from Purchasing?
We see Gerber get fired in the past for two reasons: he's too stupid to know that giving ice cream to cute girls is stealing and 2) he's too stupid to know he's on camera.
Awwww, 'Tucky and Big Boo make up! 'Tucky talks her into it by selling forgiveness and I will say: that is one thing Christianity has going for it.
Poussey can't wait to tell SoSo about the job offer from Judy King, but SoSo's working on getting Piscatella fired and one of those things is real and important to Poussey and one is not. SoSo gets angrier and angrier at Poussey's condescension, until Poussey decides to calm everything down with "your privilege makes you naive." Aaannnnnd Brook SoSo is oot.
Uh oh, it seems Vincent (John Magaro) missed visitation to go to the 30th birthday party of a friend (we're not kids any more, he says from his room in his mom's house) and somehow (don't ask) this leads to Lorna (Yael Stone) accusing him of screwing her sister. The other penny finally drops for Vincent, she's legit full tilt boogie on the side and he's only just realised it now.
Vincent is the New Christopher
Red is ecstatic to find Sam in his office, can she nap here? Then she notices his stunned affect and uses the last little bit of her energy to berate him into movement. "You don't get to have a crisis right now. We need you."
Tough or no, Sam only makes it as far as another chair; we can't plan our breakdowns in life.
Big Boo decides to forgive Donuts too, with a slap across the face and a warning to never hurt 'Tucky again. He guesses he knows what that's about.
Alex and Piper fck in Lolly's time machine while Dumb and Dumber sit watch outside. Leann (Emma Myles) and Angie (Julie Lake) want four dollars: that's two dollars per vagina!
Gloria finds Sophia frozen outside her former salon, she moves in and kicks out all the drug dealers so Sophia can put her hairpiece back on in peace. I cried through that whole scene, Sophia looked completely traumatized.
Healey heads into the Eastern Psychiatric Institute while Gerber sits in the Chapel to be joined by Donuts. Does he think this place changes people? Nah, and he's never been tempted to dip into the prison honeypot either.
I'll just leave that right there.
Back again with Gerber in the past getting back at his boss for firing him with a carton of eggs IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. I mean. They finish up with hitting...my adored Freida (Dale Soules) who screams "I'M A PERSON" after them, wrecking Gerber's buzz and makes me cry again. I wish I'd had the courage to yell that at people when they would yell at me and throw stuff when I was really, really, really big.
Ohhh Caputo's gone back in the past himself, going over to see former flame Fig (Alysia Reiner) to apologize for giving her such a hard time: this is an impossible job. She invites him in, he resists until she mentions there is a SECOND wave of inmates headed his way. Just to talk. She's a great talker.
G'wan with your bad self, Beer Can. Damnit, Fig, now I'm trying to see the front of Beer Can's pants.
In the Lunch Room, Morello doubles down on her skewed perspective (let's call it that) and announces she and Vincent are going to try for a baby! Nicky figures out pretty quick that Piper and Alex are humping again and then all of a sudden instead of us riding out the last few minutes of the penultimate episode of season 4, we're right fucking to it.
Piscatella drags a sleeping Red out into the Lunch Room to be extra cruel in front of everyone; these criminals have had enough. Blanca (Laura Gomez)leads the charge of getting up on tables again, Piper following close behind and then Hapakuka and everyone else.
They're not getting down until Piscatella resigns. He responds by calling for more guards, who are only too happy to clear the inmates.
While being roughly removed, Suzanne is triggered into an violent episode.
(I know people like to make fun of people who use that term, or that ARE triggered and there's some kind of snowflake allusion usually but hear me now: it's real, it happens and it's scary af for the person having the episode and everyone around. I'm not talking about someone who gets upset because someone's an asshole, I mean the actual definition of someone who is pushed into a traumatic state by an externally applied trigger.)
Suzanne flips out, attacking the guards. Poussey tries to help her and is thrown to the ground by Gerber, who puts his knee on her neck while he fights off Suzanne. For far, far too long.
In amidst all the chaos, it's suddenly clear that Poussey isn't moving and just like that, she is gone and Taystee and I are inconsolable.
I just scream-cried "whatwhatwhatwhutttttt????? WHAT???? what" that whole time.
I had known the Poussey would die this season because I was spoiled ages ago (I still love you, OAD) but I thought I had another episode yet and somehow I thought there would be shooting so I was paying attention to the gun but not the knee on the neck and I don't know if there is a better metaphor for the problem with society.
I'm reading the most fascinating book right now, called "Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are" by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz and it explains SO MUCH. It essentially explains the whole Trump presidency, you should read it, honestly.
I feel like I lost a friend and I don't know how to reconcile with the fact I will never see Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington again. I am so glad I get to see her in The Handmaid's Tale, but so, so sad she met her end in Orange is the New Black. For Poussey to die as a symbol of bureaucratic lack of care, as a symbol of the inhumanity inherent in how we treat people in the legal system (watch Ava Duvernay's 13th), and very much a symbol of how people of colour are treated in and out of the system just feels like an irreconcilable tragedy.
Here is Samira Wiley in real life; she married her wife Lauren Morelli, a writer on the show!
Confession: I had to walk a few laps, wash dishes and pull my clothing in uncomfortable ways before I could stop BEING SO EMOTIONAL GAH and finish writing the end. Goodbye Poussey, you haven't been written with care for at least a season and a half, but I am so sad to see you go. Until next time.