Orange is the New Black: Tit Punch

"The second you're perceived as weak, you already are."

Do you remember how Lost used to do flashbacks about one particular character in nearly every episode? Do you think maybe Jenji Kohan was paying attention?

What did we learn? That Piper Chapman is smarter, tougher and more resourceful than we thought. And that Red isn't a monster -- she's a sensitive woman who can't help lashing out at people who hurt her feelings. Gold acting stars for Kate Mulgrew. She can do more than stand on the bridge of a starship looking resolute.

The flashbacks showed how hard Red tried to fit in with the mob ladies, and how upset she was when they continually rejected her. Her speech about the people who serve the bread and the people who eat the bread was touching, because Red was and still is the one serving the bread. Why is Red in prison? Did it have something to do with the body parts that the mob guy was storing in her walk-in freezer? I've already noticed that Piper and Red and the rest of the inmates just don't feel like they belong in prison. Is that the ultimate point of this series?

Piper used to be someone who eats the bread, but not any more. She even tossed out the corn bread that Alex surrepticiously gave her (some obvious symbolism there). Piper did that because she finally understood her situation, internalized the "rules", and realized that no one could help her but herself. I can't even imagine how it must feel to chew up and spit out hot peppers when you haven't eaten for days. It showed a strength of will I wasn't expecting from a cupcake like Piper.

The Piper/Larry flashback about the lemon juice cleanse was an interesting way to illustrate how frivolous Piper's choices were before, and how serious her current predicament is. Another similar bit involved Taystee ratting out Piper and fighting another inmate for, of all things, an ice cream cone. The stakes are different in prison. An ice cream cone is worth fighting for in prison. It's another world.

And back in the "real world", Larry was watching Mad Men without Piper. This is the first time we saw anything resembling a rift between Piper and Larry, but he can't remain in suspended animation while she's in prison. We also saw a rift between them in the flashbacks, when Piper cheated on the cleanse and Larry didn't. Pork rinds. They smell so good.

Finally, there is Crazy Eyes, a.k.a Suzanne. We thought she was just doing Piper a favor out of kindness, but no. I loved Crazy Eyes giving Piper one of her ear buds; it reminded me of Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti. Crazy Eyes wants Piper to be her honey.

So Piper just got herself out of one serious situation, and now she's in another.

Character bits:

-- Pornstache the guard was mean to Piper because she was crying. What a prince.

-- Alex, with a visiting girlfriend, saw Piper visiting with Larry. Alex is still into Piper, isn't she?

-- Healy is so obsessed with lesbian sex that he didn't even consider that Piper might have another problem. Piper was wise not to confide in him.

-- Natalie Figueroa, assistant to the warden. Ask me anything, but wait, no, I don't have time for questions. A brief moment that told us everything we needed to know about her.

-- Diaz's mom has another "daughter". I assume not an actual daughter.

-- Taystee described Red's food for Piper as "Egg McTampon, rare."

-- Bennett, the nice guard, left Diaz a stick of gum under her pillow. It was like a tiny, sweet love letter.

-- Big Boo kept an ear of corn and a salt shaker in her bra so that she would have a snack for the movie. This show keeps making me go "Ick." At least it wasn't yak cheese.

-- Alex didn't follow the rules, and now she gets no food. I don't know yet how I feel about Alex. Will I like her when I get to know her better? She did apparently railroad Piper. Didn't she?

Bits:

-- The orientation video showed prison pretty much the way Piper was imagining it.

-- Betty the freezer died. Again, a parallel to the dead body parts in the flashback freezer. Except I don't think we got the flashback freezer's name.

-- Another flashback showed how Piper and Polly happened upon their new business. I liked that it was about how food smells, since their soaps and lotions are inedible. It worked with the rest of the episode.

-- Piper traded a couple of locks of her hair for cocoa butter. I thought Taystee's hair looked cute.

-- Red's hair is of course, red. But there was a character in The Shawshank Redemption named Red who could get you anything. Shawshank's Red was played by Morgan Freeman, who should have gotten an Oscar for that role and didn't.

-- Blockading the vending machines, too. That was low.

-- I loved the Red as Queen scene, getting her legs and toes shaved by her minion while opera played in the background. A perfect little character moment.

Quotes:

Minion: "We got to train someone new on the feed slicer."
Red: "Look into little Sara. Make sure she never stabbed people."

Piper: "I just didn't expect to be punished… while I was getting punished."

Miss Rosa: "Thank god I got cancer. No one fucks with cancer."

Piper: "Promise me you're not watching Mad Men without me."
That reminded me of "The Zeppo". "Whoah! Walker, Texas Ranger! You been taping 'em?" (Does everything remind me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Probably.)

Red: "Now march your yuppie ass out of my kitchen. Slowly, so you don't burn too many calories."

Piper: "What did she say to you?"
Nicky: "Not a word. I just know dyke drama when I see it."
Nicky helped Piper. Foul mouth, but a good heart?

P.A.: "Tonight's movie will be the airplane edit of Good Luck Chuck, which Roger Ebert gives one star."
That reminded me of the P.A. in M*A*S*H.

Red's husband: "He loved those tits!"
Red: "He'll get them back! There's plenty more of them at the tit store!"

Four out of four hot peppers,

Billie
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

1 comment:

ChrisB said...

While I understand a bit better where Red is coming from, I am still puzzled by her behavior. If Piper had not come up with the lotion, would Red really have allowed the poor woman to starve? How much longer would that have gone on? It seems an extreme reaction to what is, finally, a relatively innocent slight.

Having said that, I was interested in the fact that Alex is now the one in trouble. She seems much less passive than Piper. I'll be interested to see where this goes.