A touching Christmas pageant is such a trope, but this one worked. The auditions were very funny and the Nativity scene was endearingly awkward. But the real standout was the singing. Silent Norma's performance of "I Saw the Light" was nearly as touching as Poussey's impromptu, heartfelt rendition of "Amazing Grace", which was so powerful that it made me cry.
And of course, it ended with Piper beating the Christmas angel to death. Or nearly to death -- I guess we'll find out in the season two premiere. I actually couldn't believe the depth of evil in what Healy did, just leaving Piper to be killed by Pennsatucky, as if Piper deserved it for being a lesbian and rejecting his friendship.
But I loved that Big Boo gave Piper back the screwdriver at the perfect moment, because a sharpened cross versus screwdriver fight isn't something you see every day. Pennsatucky was holding the cross like Piper was a vampire. "You're the devil and I'm the angel of good. I mean, look at my dress!" I also loved that Piper kicked Pennsatucky in the crotch as Black Cindy had told her to do, because it worked.
Piper would never have been able to do that at the beginning of the series. She's come a long way. Not that that's a good thing. Will the fight affect Piper's sentence? Larry's father even brought up that possibility with Larry.
Larry and Piper and Alex and Nicky
After Piper went through all that effort with the marriage request form (I enjoyed her blackmailing Figueroa and ratting on Healy), Larry made the monumental mistake of meeting Alex to warn her away from "his girl". Alex turned the tables and made Larry look like a fool in a cardigan, which is what he is.
Going to Alex may have opened Larry's eyes, but it was yet another betrayal of Piper. And I'm not saying Piper didn't deserve it. She played Larry and Alex against each other and kept changing her mind about who and what she wanted. But I don't think Piper did it intentionally. Piper is seriously flawed, just like every other character on this show.
Now that Larry has dumped Piper again, could I make a request? It just feels like Larry is a token outside character as well as a token male love interest. Please write him out of the show. I don't want to see him in season two. This show would be richer without him.
And now that Alex has dumped Piper, Nicky has made her move. I was thinking before that Alex and Nicky could make a cute couple. They've always been upfront and truthful with each other, a great basis for a genuine relationship. Except I don't think Alex is going to stop loving Piper.
Meanwhile, there's a war in the kitchen
Pornstache had his revenge, and Red lost her queen bee kitchen job. So when Red couldn't get Norma and Gina to sabotage Gloria's kitchen, Red did it herself -- and ended up seriously burning Gina. A furious Norma tearing up Red's Secret Santa token and throwing it at her pretty much said it all. It was sad that Gloria and her girls made better food than Red did, and even sadder that Red has lost everything that mattered to her. She's even being starved like she starved Piper at the beginning of the season. Full circle.
I was afraid the pregnant Daya would be the one who got hurt. Bennett was acting like he didn't care any more, but when the fire exploded out of the oven, the first thing Bennett did was yank Daya away from the flames and protect her with his body.
I think Caputo saw Bennett touch Daya's cheek. Caputo might not do anything about Bennett and Daya if Bennett fills out that drug report and gives it to Caputo to file. Which will infuriate Figueroa. But that might be fun.
The message rat
Piper was fortunate that Taystee broke her parole because as I suspected, they ended up roomies. Taystee got Black Cindy to tell Piper the truth about the message rat. And when Pennsatucky and her religious minions trapped Piper in the shower, Taystee went for a guard, bless her heart. Taystee may have saved Piper's life, if not from some serious injury.
That shower razor scene creeped me out. Piper was naked and wet, which made her appear terribly vulnerable, which she was. Pennsatucky did the hand thing with the razor and smeared Piper with blood, which just emphasized how totally nuts she is. Great set-up for the final scene, because it made us expect the worst to happen.
All in all, this has been a fabulous first season. This series is something special. I've grown to love so many of these women, and I can't wait for season two. Fortunately, it's available starting today.
Bits and pieces:
-- Sophia and Sister Ingalls ran the pageant together. I just love them together. And Sophia got a Christmas card from her son. That was nice.
-- Even though we've been shown how "tribal" prison is, Piper was eating her meals with the African Americans. And they were the ones who gave her survival and fighting advice.
-- The guards reading all of the inmate mail just felt dirty somehow. Mostly because they were sharing them and gossiping about the inmates.
-- Even Fig is hot for Bennett. Her body language when she was telling him not to file a report about the drugs was so obvious that it was hilarious.
-- Nicky did a Bora Bora (Bora) honeymoon collage for Morello. Almost everything Nicky says is obscene, but she is surprisingly sweet. Even if she did replace the groom photo with herself.
-- Susan the guard is out of the hospital and looks much cuter in real clothes. Poor Caputo and his crush, though. Susan has a boyfriend.
-- I liked Suzanne's ice skating exhibition the best of all of the auditions. Too bad she had a major case of stage fright during the pageant.
-- Black Cindy comes from a religious family and knows the Bible. I'm becoming fond of Black Cindy.
-- Feminine hygiene products are a thing. Is it in every episode? This time I noticed that Lorna's sheep headdress was made of tampons and tampon applicators. I'll have to watch more closely next season.
Sister Ingalls: "Where in the nativity story are we supposed to fit the juggler?"
Nicky: "So the penguin said, dude, he's not an eggplant, he's retarded."
Sister Ingalls: "It lost me at the umbrellas."
Nicky told the eggplant joke and we still didn't hear it all. Although we did get the beginning: "So a penguin and a farmer walk into a bar…"
Chapel supervisor: "I assume by your choice of material you're interested in the part of the angel?"
Pennsatucky: "Yes, ma'am, that's correct, because last year I was up on the stage as the ox, and the year before that I was the ass, so I don't know about y'all but I feel like you're trying to assassinate my character."
Larry's father: "You read about this Google Glass thing? We're gonna all look like cybergs."
Larry: "Cybergs? Aren't those your neighbors down in Florida?"
Piper: "I love you too. But we both know I don't have the balls to free fall through life with you."
Alex: "No, you don't."
Pornstache: "I feel like she could be the one. I see myself buying sheets with her, taking trips to Mount Rushmore…"
Nicky: "Come on, Red, you love Christmas. Your sons come up with their big-haired wives. I can't wait to see what Sparkle Tits wears this year."
Nicky: (to Red) "None of this is how it's supposed to go. You're tougher than woodpecker lips. You'll be okay."
Tougher than woodpecker lips. Wonderful.
Black Cindy: (about the Amalekites) "They so bad their cows had to die."
Piper: "She's a weird girl."
Poussey: "Yeah, 'you're gonna die' was really vague. Totally open to interpretation."
Sister Ingalls: "Have faith, dear. Your voice resonates."
Suzanne: "Yeah. You right. I should just put the past behind me. No way that could happen again."
Fig: "Healy, if you ever call an inmate's family again with your lesbian witch hunt shit, I will destroy you, your mail order bride will leave you, and you will never work again. Get some fucking therapy, man."
That was satisfying. Sometimes I really like Fig. Except that she's evil.
Four out of four woodpecker lips,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.
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