Orange is the New Black: A Whole Other Hole

"I always thought it was one pooter hole and a couple of different holes off of it, like a cave system or something."

This episode completely changed the way I see Lorna Morello.

Morello's backstory was framed by Poussay's invention of something that already exists -- a device that allows women to pee standing up -- and included a lot of hilarious but ultimately sad discussion of how ignorant most women are of the details of their own anatomy. I wonder if the whole hole thing was supposed to illustrate a basic lack of knowledge about oneself? Morello certainly doesn't seem to realize what is wrong with her relationship with Christopher.

Most of the previous flashbacks have shown us the person we pretty much thought we'd find, but not this time. Morello is freaking looney tunes. She sees herself as the suffering star of a romantic movie who will wind up living happily ever after in the end. Why did she become fixated on that poor schmuck Christopher? Because he looked exactly like the guy in the cardigan that she had on her "wall of weird" wedding collage? Because they "met cute" like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill?

Christopher made the mistake of asking a pretty woman out for a cup of coffee, and ended up with a lunatic stalker who tried to blow up his fiancee's car. I was actually a bit freaked by the scene in the courtroom where Morello, wearing a blouse with a chain motif (Most Obvious Symbolism there) stared adoringly at Christopher, who was testifying about all the terrible things she'd done to him. And then she ransacked Christopher's house while wandering around in a wedding veil like Miss Havisham. All I could think of was that Nicky was lucky that Morello dropped her.

The unwanted lover theme continued when we discovered that Poussey is in love with Taystee, who doesn't reciprocate. When Poussey refused to line up with Vee's demand to brew hooch for profit, Vee went to work turning Taystee against Poussey. Vee was revolted by the "hole" discussion in the mess hall; is she a prude, or a homophobe, or both? Or was it just revenge? I guess it doesn't matter. The important thing was that I just hated seeing Taystee shutting out Poussey. So wrong.

And then we had Piper trying to sell Soso to Big Boo for Miss Claudette's blanket. That turned out funny instead of sad, since Soso couldn't stop talking even while having sex with Nicky, who is now actively competing with Big Boo for sexual conquests.

Piper was understandably horrified at the possibility of having Soso as a roomie. Fortunately, she got Red, who hasn't had a roommate in twelve years. It was sweet how quickly the two of them bonded. Piper is feeling abandoned by Larry and her family. Red is strongly feeling her lack of status and the loss of Gina and Norma, so she's trying to figure out how to get it all back. She saw an old, ratty greenhouse as a window of opportunity. What is Red up to? Smuggling, or escape?

Bits:

-- Why is Morello in prison? Was it the mail fraud or the explosives?

-- Morello called herself Cinderella, went to see Twilight repeatedly, and had a West Side Story poster on her wall.

-- Miss Rosa was bank robber. How delightful. She was married twice and thinks she's cursed, and resigned to the fact that she's going to die in prison. Chemo is bad enough, but doing it as a prisoner must be double the misery.

-- Susan the nice guard didn't even notice that Morello was damp around the edges and acting guilty. Maybe Susan isn't that good a CO, after all.

-- When Piper returned to the dorms, she was outraged that all of her stuff had been appropriated. What did she think would happen?

-- Larry and Polly are acting all couple-y. Maybe they're made for each other. "I loved playing house with you today." Ick.

-- I loved Sophia in this episode. When she was pointing out the highlights of her diagram, check out O'Neill's stunned face. Hilarious.

-- One of the Golden Girls, Jimmie, appears to have dementia. What happens to the elderly in prison? I honestly never thought about it before.

-- I particularly liked how Red played Caputo like a fiddle, using his interest in plants to get what she wanted.

-- Suzanne has a new do. It's more flattering, but I miss the knobs.

Quotes:

Vee: "Hooch, huh?"
Suzanne: "Yeah. Shit tastes nasty. It's like vomit wine coolers. You got Kool-Aid, old fruit, ketchup and moldy bread."
Yum.

Taystee: "I thought you said it was a whole other hole."
Poussey: "It's a hole in a hole."
Sophia: "For the love of god, girls, the hole is not inside the hole."

Sophia: "I designed one myself. Had plans drawn up and everything. I've seen some funky punani in my time. I wasn't going to leave that shit to chance."
She designed her own genitalia. Why not?

Big Boo: "Enough with the cliterference."

Nicky: "Some people collect buttons or Taco Bell chihuahuas. I collect orgasms."

Soso: "Wow. I didn't expect the bunks to feel so dormy. Kinda reminds me of camp, you know, except without the gimp bracelets and the archery and kinda sad…"

Piper: (to new roomie Red) "What are you gonna do? Not feed me?"

Black Cindy: "Fine, Inspector Gadget."
Piper: "Inspector Gadget was not a good detective. He just had a lot of stuff. Plus he had Penny and the Brain helping him."
You just don't expect stuff like this to come out of Piper's mouth, and that makes it funnier.

Kid: "I thought those were like comfy old lady chemo clothes."

Red: "People are fickle fucks."

Sister Ingalls: "What's she in for?"
Piper: "Some kind of political protest. You know, the two of you might have a lot to talk about."
Sister Ingalls: "I doubt that these bogus Bohemian babies have any idea what a nonviolent direct action is. Dirty fake hippies."
Wow. That was harsh, Sister.

Soso: "Everyone in here is in such a bad mood all the time."
Yeah. I can't imagine why.

Soso: "You tried to sell me for a blanket?"
Piper: "Well, when you put it that way…"

Best one so far this season. Four out of four cave systems,

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.

18 comments:

Juliette said...

I think I had two basic reactions to this episode:

Like Billie, whew, that changes how I see Morello. I suspect it's a tiny bit of a retcon too, but it's a good one, so that's cool. Her wandering around in the wedding veil was so creepy and yet sad.

Vee came between Taystee and Poussey. She CAME BETWEEN TAYSTEE AND POUSSEY. She is pure evil in human form.

lisa menaster said...

I think Morello is in jail for mail fraud because last season, Big Boo said that it would be "ironic" if Morello was scammed by someone else.

sunbunny said...

I'm pretty sure it's the mail fraud, considering that Litchfield is a federal prison. I actually really like that so many of the flashbacks aren't focused on 'ooh what did so and so do to get locked up.' In so many cases, that's the least important thing about these women.

mazephoenix said...

The thing with Soso and the blanket was kinda fun, though it proves how far Piper is prepared to go to get what she wants..ehh, she's scary.
So is Lorna of course. That was an interesting and disturbing backstory.
Larry and Polly can go fall down a well.

lisa menaster said...

Some of the prisoners have committed state crimes but are in Litchfield, a federal prison. Watson robbed a convience store, which is a state crime and Yoga Jones killed someone, which is also a state crime. Technically, they should be in a state prison.

Juliette said...

I think it's interesting how ambiguous some of the crimes are. Like, a lot of people online seem to think Miss Claudette was imprisoned for the murder of her client, whereas I thought it was supposed to be the human trafficking she was arrested for, and she covered up the murder. Morello's crime seems similarly unclear (I took from this that she was imprisoned for stalking). And then there's the Golden Girls, who I think I remember might have been moved from a higher security prison for good behaviour and due to age? So may have committed more serious crimes than the others?

(Obviously, being non-American makes the whole thing even harder to follow, as I've no idea what state or federal crimes might be and only the vaguest sense of what the difference is!)

ChrisB said...

I haven’t decided yet if this show is about the fact that prison changes people or about the fact that prison brings out a person’s true personality. Either way, I saw this episode as an interesting contrast between Morello and Piper.

If prison changes people, Morello has changed for the better while Piper has become much harder and crueler. Morello has real issues, that much is clear. What she did to Christopher and Angela is beyond the pale, yet some part of her completely believes that Christopher and she are destined to be together. While that fact doesn’t excuse what she did, it does explain it. In prison, however, Morello is kind to new inmates and she is sweet to the people around her.

Piper, on the other hand, fell so low in my estimation this episode I’m not sure she will come back. Pimping out Soso for a blanket was contemptuous, yet she seemed to do it without blinking. Even when Soso called her out, Piper seemed unfazed by her actions.

Which leads me to wonder if the show is about prison bringing out a person’s true personality. Is the Piper we are seeing now the real one? The hard, cruel woman who fell in love with another woman and cheated to be with her. The Piper we saw at the beginning has disappeared. Was she, in fact, just acting all those years she was with Larry?

I understand that prison requires a certain toughness to survive; we’ve seen it in all of the women we watch. Piper’s actions this week, however, upset me much more than Morello’s. The cruel things that Morello did were based on some twisted logic in her own mind; she is unaware of how removed from reality she is. Piper, on the other hand, knows exactly what she’s doing.

Billie Doux said...

Great comments, everyone.

Juliette, I think Taystee and Poussey may be my favorite pair, and I don't mean romantically. They fill so many needs in each other. I found myself wishing Taystee wasn't straight in this episode.

Lisa, I think you're probably right that it's mail fraud, although I think using explosives is federal, too. Hey, I don't know. :)

sunbunny, you're right that knowing exactly how these women ended up in prison isn't the point. This series is about the characters. And that's why I love it.

mazephoenix, I'm with you regarding the well.

ChrisB, I hadn't thought of it that way. I always thought of Morello as a sweetie because she was so kind to Piper in the van as she was entering prison. Maybe prison has changed her for the better, as you say. Although the B&E and vandalism she just committed is a bit of a contradiction. If Morello got out tomorrow, don't you think she'd be back to stalking Christopher pretty much immediately?

LaureMack said...

ChrisB- Your commentary, more often than not, aligns with the feelings I have about an episode.
In this case, I couldn't really put words to how I felt until I ready your above comment.

I watched this episode with a few people and everyone expressed so much shock and awe over Morello's actions. Someone walked into the room at almost the end of the episode and everyone wanted to catch him up on the revelations of her insanity, but absolutely no one mentioned Piper new pimp status.

Piper's actions are what freaked me out. You obviously can't be seen as a push over in prison (I've seen Lifetime movies that have imprinted this lesson in my brain), but she has lost all touches of humanity that previously might have been there.

Juliette said...

I was pretty disturbed by Piper pimping out Soso too - I think I filed that under 'I don't think the showrunners meant for that to be as creepy as it came out, so I'm gonna just pretend it didn't happen' (I've, er, had some practice at this lately!).

Billie ITA about Taystee and Poussey - their goodbye was one of the most emotional moments for me last season, and to an extent their reunion as well.

sunbunny said...

I really dislike Piper, but have oddly found myself in the position to defend her… Pimping out Soso or selling her doesn't really accurately described what happened. It does make the line 'You tried to sell me for a blanket' funny though. I look at it as more of a set up than a pimping out. Piper was talking up the idea of having a prison wife to Soso and then talking bout Big Boo in a flattering way, the way people do when asked to set up a friend with another friend. "Pimp" always implies a lack of consent to me. No, Soso doesn't know what's going on but I really don't believe that, had the 'selling' been successful, Big Boo would've forced Soso to do anything she didn't want to do.

Billie Doux said...

Yes, sunbunny, that's pretty much where I was with Piper in this one, too. Piper is now fluctuating between kindness and meanness, and she was just both with Red and Soso. What Piper did was talk about prison wives and introduce Soso to Big Boo. Big Boo has a soft side, too. She's not a rapist. I don't believe Piper is so far gone that she would have set up a rape.

ChrisB said...

Interesting discussion.

Billie -- I do think that Morello would be back to stalking Christopher and Angela the second she got out of prison. I don't mean to imply that what she did was all right; just the opposite. In fact, it is borderline psychotic, which is why I feel for her. The woman has issues and, without the proper help, will not be able to overcome them.

sunbunny -- I am very interested in your definition of "pimping." The word does not imply a lack of consent to me. It implies manipulating a person, in this case Soso, to perform sexual acts for one's own benefit. I used it in the sense that Piper was trying to get Soso to sleep with Boo so that she, Piper, could get her blanket back.

I strongly agree that neither Boo nor Piper would resort to rape, but both were willing to convince Soso to perform a sexual act for their benefit.

I've said it before, but this discussion is yet another example of why I hang out on this site as much as I do. We can all have a discussion; we can all disagree. Everyone involved, however, is treated with respect and there is none of the name calling so prevalent on other sites. Yea us!

:-)

Josie Kafka said...

Since I get the comments via email (and can't help but skim them), but have been avoiding Billie's reviews until I watched the episode, I went into the blanket-pimping predisposed to be horrified, and I sorta was. Piper linked Soso having sex to Soso surviving prison. She implied that if Soso didn't have sex with Big Boo, Soso would wind up injured. But Piper didn't seem to realize just how manipulative it was to set up a "do this or else" scenario, because it wouldn't be her who enacted the "or else" end of things. And, in Piper's mind, all's fair when her stuff is at stake.

I took the Morello situation differently: I assumed, after watching this episode, that Morello was in jail for a combination of stalking-related crimes (like the "explosive device") and mail/credit-card fraud, but that she selectively remembered only the mail fraud. That seems to fit with her near-psychotic romanticizing of her relationship with Christopher.

sunbunny said...

Josie - I guess what makes a difference in my opinion in Piper's actions is that I know what Litchfield is like (aka not particularly dangerous, so long as you don't offend Christian fundamentalists with terrible teeth). If Soso didn't sleep with Big Boo, nothing bad would've happened to her at all. Although, to be fair, Soso didn't know that.

Chris - Pimping definitely implies lack of consent to me. It's not something you can do for yourself, it's something someone else does to you. Generally someone with power over the pimped out party. Your definition, "manipulating a person to perform sexual acts for one's own benefit" just seems too broad to me. For instance, if you set up a mopey, recently dumped friend with someone because you wanted them to quit whining about their ex, wouldn't that be pimping under your definition?

For me, (and I have extensive experience with the subject, having seen Pretty Woman twice) pimping generally carries an implicit threat with it. 'You're doing this whether you like it or not.' Someone who is pimped out doesn't have a say in any of it. Soso still had the opportunity to say no with no negative repercussions for herself or her safety (which she did).

ChrisB said...

You raise a valid point, sunbunny. I would agree that your example would not be pimping.

Thinking about it, and no matter what we agree to call it, what Piper did really bothered me. She was trying to make Soso believe that she was in danger, or at least would be safer, with a wife. She did it, not because she cares the slightest bit about Soso, but because she wanted her blanket back.

Of course, a wonderful irony in all of this is that Soso is annoying everyone by talking too much. Piper, herself, got into a great deal of trouble by running her mouth and saying the wrong thing to the wrong person when she was the new face.

Marianna said...

The quote about Inspector Gadget was "Penny and Brain" not "Pinky and the Brain" Penny was his niece (I think) and Brain was a dog and they were both smarter than Inspector Gadget.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Marianna, I'll fix it. Unlike Piper, I am completely unfamiliar with Inspector Gadget.