Orange is the New Black: Looks Blue, Tastes Red

Nicky: "According to this aptitude test, I should be a professional athlete, a park ranger or a correctional officer."

At one point, Taystee said sarcastically, "I'm a child of the system. No one ever taught me right from wrong." But in a way, that's true. Taystee is one of the most likeable characters on this show, as well as one of the saddest. Now we know that she's also one of the smartest. Imagine what her life could have been like if she'd had a "forever" home with parents who loved her, and a real chance in life.

That was obviously not why new character Vee "adopted" her, though. Vee occasionally came across as sympathetic in those flashbacks. She cared for her "family", and I have genuine sympathy for people living in situations where their only viable means of support is illegal. I especially liked the scene where Vee was making soup, salad and homemade whole grain bread for Taystee and R.J., a far cry from the stereotypical filthy dealer apartment with guns, fast food and drug makings on the table.

But at the same time, Vee's continued efforts to recruit the young Taystee, especially at the Black Adoption Festival, felt sinister. I kept waiting for Vee to hurt Taystee, although we didn't see it happen. And where was Vee when Taystee got out last season? What sort of mother was Vee to Taystee, really? One with conditions? Like Aleida, who started caring for Daya only after Daya got pregnant? Like Fig, who allowed her "children" to have a job fair only because she's trying to cover her embezzlement tracks? I guess we'll find out, since Vee just arrived at Litchfield.

At least the mock job fair had its fun moments, and Taystee, who deserved to win, actually did -- but the rumored prize was a fantasy and got Taystee nowhere, much like the Black Adoption Festival in the flashbacks. All it did was show that Taystee needs a "real" job, and that she had the skills to hold one down. (Well, that and Nicky never combs her wild girl hair, even for a "job interview".)

The inappropriate mothering theme continued with Aleida versus Gloria, who were both trying to help Daya with an embarrassing physical problem. Not only was poor Daya seriously constipated, she had to put up with a lot of bad shit jokes. Aleida remembering what happened when Daya was a baby and stealing yogurt for her was a bit touching. Although she lost points by talking about Daya's situation in front of Bennett.

No Piper in this episode (well, she got pretty much the entire premiere), but Pennsatucky returned with even more terrible teeth and an appetite for blackmailing Healy. Okay, I'm being a bit unfair because I don't think Pennsatucky actually went into Healy's office intending to blackmail him, and he certainly deserved it. What I found interesting was that Pennsatucky never once mentioned God or Jesus. And her minion Leanne noticed, and articulated, how nice things were while Pennsatucky was gone. I wonder if that friendship is kaput?

Speaking of people who are better off gone, did we really need a scene with Larry and his father in a gay bathhouse? What father takes his son to a gay bathhouse, even with a "groupon"? Was all that full frontal male nudity there to offset all the female nudity in the last episode?

At least Larry was kind enough to stop by and help Polly, who was temporarily abandoned by Pete and not coping well with motherhood. Polly has a mouth on her and I don't dislike her as a character, but you know, when my son was an infant, I never once felt the need to flash the UPS guy. It made me wonder if maybe Polly was coming on to Larry, perhaps without consciously realizing it. Larry, who isn't quite ready to move on from Piper. Please move on, Larry. Leave the show, Larry. Please.

Finally, our dear Red started the episode living on Cup o' Noodles from the commissary. I thought it was kind of Gloria to let Red eat in the cafeteria again, because I doubt Red would have done the same if the situation had been reversed. It was also lovely of the Golden Girls to offer Red their friendship. I so wanted her not to reject them. Not that Kate Mulgrew is old. According to IMdb, she turned 59 in April. Sixty is the new forty, or something like that. Isn't it?

Bits and pieces:

-- The "dress for success" woman felt a bit like Fig, since she set up some of the contestants just to mock them later on.

-- Does Philip Morris really sponsor stuff like this? Or was that Jenji Kohan being sarcastic?

-- Maria's baby daddy doesn't seem to be coping well with single fatherhood. He had this expressionless face. It's so sad that Maria wants to be out before the baby is old enough to remember her not being there.

-- Luscheck has tried ecstacy. Loved the butt crack. Which has nothing to do with ecstacy.

-- Boo is no longer in the puppy program. I'm glad for the puppy.

-- Suzanne wants to work with mentally ill children. That made me go "Awwww."

-- "I protect my babies. This one got away. I swear that I'll die before I see that happening again." Vee certainly sounded sincere. Poor R.J.

-- Healy is trying to learn Russian. I'd think that was cool if he was doing it because he wants to talk to his wife Katya in her own language. But I think it's more that he wants to know what his wife and mother-in-law are saying about him.

-- Fig has a husband named Jason who is running for state senate. No wonder she's in a panic to cover her tracks.

-- Red's son Vasily was beaten up. Was he telling the truth that it was his live-in girlfriend?

-- Red's hair is showing roots and isn't that red any more. Interestingly, Fig's hair was showing roots, too.


Taystee: "Man, you gave it to Franken-cha-cha? This is some bull shit. Shit to the bull."

Sister Ingalls: "I went from wearing a habit to wearing a prison uniform. I don't think the fashion industry would be a viable option for me."

Suzanne: "I would also like to work with roouuunnd objects. Yeah. Round things are very pleasing to me."

Big Boo: "Maybe I could umpire women's softball. Then I could get laid."

Red: "You're a good son. Not great, but pretty good."
Vasily: "I'll take it."

Larry: "Polly, you're, um, your breast is kind of…"
Polly: "Please. They're always out. I'm the UPS guy's new favorite stop."

Polly: "I know you broke up, and I know she freaked out and got sent to live in a shoe or something, and now she's in Chicago. She fucking hates deep dish."
Like a prisoner could just step out to get deep dish.

Poussey: "Man, I thought special guest meant like Mo'Nique or Wesley Snipes or something, not some cigarette hawking fucknut reminding us that the only people want to hire felons are already hated by everybody else."

Three out of four loaves of homemade whole grain bread,

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


ChrisB said...

What struck me as I finished watching this episode is the fact that Piper didn't appear once. I didn't miss her.

Loved Taystee at the "job interview." She is a seriously intelligent young woman.

mazephoenix said...

What is Larry still doing in the series? I could care less about him and his issues. Dito Polly.
No, more Red and all the others please. And finally a background story for Taystee. Way overdue.

Josie Kafka said...

Sixty is the new forty, or something like that. Isn't it?

Does that mean 33 is the new 13?

Heather said...

It's surprising that this episode endeared me _even more_ to Taystee since I already love her so much!
I feel like she's represented from almost every angle as exactly what you pointed out here, Billie--a glaring result of how broken our "systems" are, especially for kids. And amazingly they avoid showing it in clich├ęd ways.