Orange is the New Black: Low Self Esteem City

"You violating an unspoken social contract, bitch."

Does that mysticism stuff actually work?

This episode's flashbacks were about Gloria, a single mother who worked at a convenience store with her psychic sister, or possibly just a friend, named Lourdes. Gloria told her staff in the kitchen that it was the faith you put into the mystic stuff that counts, but after all, it was an unsatisfied customer that got Gloria arrested. The despicable girlfriend-beating Arturo might have died horribly because Lourdes cursed him, but early in the flashbacks, Gloria mentioned that the locks in her apartment were useless. When Arturo stole the food stamp money and went through the apartment, a couple of brand new locks on the doors closed behind him. Did Lourdes set that up, hoping that Arturo would die for beating Gloria? But how could she know the candle would fall?

For me, the Gloria flashbacks were just a backdrop to Vee (whose last name is probably Machiavelli) starting a war with the Spanish for reasons of her own. Which were what? Depriving "her girls" of semi-decent plumbing so that she could get two of them on janitorial? Getting them to bond and act like a team? I couldn't believe Vee sucked in Gloria with those crocodile tears. Wow. Red knows what Vee is doing, but no one else does. And that includes us, the audience.

I was also intrigued by the interaction between Healy and Caputo, two characters that I have disliked pretty much forever. Caputo is deeply angry that Fig won't let him have the plumbing fixed. "The least we should do is keep these women safe and clean." Healy not only agreed, but appeared to be sincere about it. Really?

Caputo enjoys playing bass in a band when he's off work, which immediately made him more likeable. Healy can't connect with his wife and has no friends; the way he jumped at the chance to befriend Caputo was sad and a bit endearing. And then Healy followed up by submitting a furlough request for Piper so that she could see her dying grandmother. Yes, that might have been because of Piper's halfhearted attempt at blackmail, but I'm wondering if I have misjudged both of these guys? Or did the writers decide to change things up with them and go in a different direction?

In other news, I was amused by Nicky and Big Boo's "Bang-off", with Chang as the referee. I thought Nicky had the edge in the cuteness and charm department, but she blew it right off the bat by trying for high-point-value Susan the nice guard. Susan may be the cutest of the female guards, but apparently, she's not bi-curious. Or maybe she is, but unlike Bennett and Pornstache, Susan chose not to break the rules. Why did Susan offer to monitor inmate calls? It felt like she did it because Nicky hit on her, but that doesn't make sense.

Finally, this episode featured what may have been the best Piper visitation scene yet. I loved Piper and Cal doing charades so that he could tell her about their grandmother; I could actually see them as siblings for the first time. And Neri, stuck in the lobby because she couldn't pass the background check, made me laugh as she opined about the similarity of prison to high school to a completely uninterested and mildly freaked fellow visitor.

If OitNB has to follow outside characters, couldn't it be Cal and Neri instead of Larry and Polly?

Bits and pieces:

-- Our African American clique doesn't seem to know that Daya is pregnant, or Janae wouldn't have tried to trip her. I hope. Understandable that Bennett went ballistic.

-- Red has the Golden Girls cleaning up that miserable greenhouse. Still no clue as to what Red is planning.

-- Mauritza has a baby in Massachusetts and can't see her.

-- Caputo's band is called 'Side Boob'.

-- Healy is a fun drunk. I would never have expected that.

-- The woman who always cries on the phone has been talking about wrestling. Wrestling?

-- Chang rated Piper a three because Piper did her worst enemy. I miss Alex.

-- Pennsatucky has changed completely, hasn't she? She actually sat down at the table at lunch and wanted to be part of the group. She just wasn't smart enough to realize they didn't want her.

-- This episode's feminine hygiene product: there was a tampon wick in the candle during that little ceremony at the end. It's sad that all of these women can't see their children.


Nicky: "How about 'all girls must be human'? Or would that be a problem for you, Boo?"
Big Boo: "That happened one time. We were drunk."

Pennsatucky: "Hey, what y'all playing?"
Big Boo: "Nothing."
Nicky: "A game as old as time."
Pennsatucky: "Oh yeah? What's it called?"
Nicky: "Exclusion."
Pennsatucky: "Cool. How d'you play it?"

Red: "Healy, we had an agreement back when I ran the kitchen. You scratched my back, and I told you when it was time to trim your ear hairs."

Arturo: "I don't know what's wrong with me!"
You're an asshole, Arturo. Look it up.

Big Boo: "A boob in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Nicky: "Yeah, well, it's only the bush that counts."

Red: "That's how it happens. It all goes at once, like internal organ dominoes."

Lourdes: "It's hate speech. It's not meant to be accurate. It's meant to be hateful."

Caputo: "Actually, that song is not about workers in a mine. It's a metaphor. Al wrote it about his vasectomy reversal."

Healy: "Behind every strong man is a strong cunt-faced bitch monster."


Healy: "I hate talking about women's issues to women. It's creepy."
Just when you think there's hope for Healy…

Nicky: "I was arrogant. It's a classic story of hubris. I'm like Icarus whose wings melted before he could fuck the sun."
A new and interesting version of a classic Greek myth.

It had its good points, but I didn't think this one was that strong an entry. Two and a half out of four candles,

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


Anonymous said...

Billie, the locks on the door were the ones that Arturo put on himself. Nicely karmic, huh?

Billie Doux said...

Wow. Were they? How did I miss that? (thanks, Anonymous)

Juliette said...

I love the ambiguity in what happened to Arturo. Was some kind of supernatural force at work? Or was he just unlucky, knocking over a candle near a brand new lock? I always like stories that leave the interpretation up to the viewer. Interesting that Gloria believes it though.

I like the fleshing out of Caputo as well. I always thought he was actually a decent guy - slimy as all heck when he - you know - in his office, but genuinely concerned for the inmates nevertheless.

Josie Kafka said...

I love Arturo's demise, too. Ah, karma-by-Santaria.

Anonymous said...

Arturo certainly had it coming. I like that he appeared to be a likable, decent guy for a minute before he took a mood swing, and the fact that he kept 'changing' and apologizing in that grovelling way. It struck a tone of realism in how abusers get their hooks into their victims.

Also, I don't think it's said enough, but I think Michael J Harney gives one of the most consistently great (and underrated) performances on this show. He played a character just as repulsive on Deadwood, and just as he does here, he manages to find a hidden humanity and vulnerability. Healy might be a woman-hating, warped, small-minded oaf but the audience gets a great sense of his loneliness, frustration, fears and self-loathing. It's a hard thing to do, and the show and Harney pull it off wonderfully.

ChrisB said...

Like the rest of you, I really liked the fact that Arturo's death is not exactly explained. However it happened, it was karmic.

I'm pretty sure that Lourdes is Gloria's aunt as Gloria calls her "Tia." If she's not, she is certainly close enough to Gloria to be considered family.

mazephoenix said...

I really liked Caputo in this. Non boring Piper visitation scene-yay.
Liked the thing with Arturo's death being left ambiguous too.
Vee is so scary in general.
I miss Alex, but her and Piper's thing had too much focus last season so it's okay. I like that we're getting the other ladies stories now.

Heather said...

This season I am further blown away by Natasha Lyonne and her portrayal of Nicky. Every time she's on the screen, ever, I am riveted. Also, the writers really get her character.

Anonymous: Agreed about Harney's Healy.

And in that classically unexpected OITNB way, I loved the expansion of Caputo's life.

Finally, I really dug Gloria's story. The circumstances felt authentic.
And Billie, if I were to guess, based soley on the sheer amount of Santaria stores in the 10 blocks on either side if my apartment building, it works!