by Billie Doux
How can I not like an episode that features two flaming bags of dog shit?
Alex is back, and there was a whole lot of flashback lovemaking going on. Laura Prepon's long absence from season two also made me realize that Piper as a character is sooo much better when Alex Vause is around. Of course, their relationship is far from perfect. When their affair began, Alex was cheating on her live-in girlfriend Sylvie, and of course there was that international drug dealer thing, too. (Yes, I know what time it is in Amsterdam off the top of my head, don't you?)
The flashback opener featured Alex and Piper making love for the first time, and Piper's "the light has dawned" reaction made me wonder why Larry was ever part of Piper's life at all. The present day Piper immediately picked up on Polly's guilt about Larry, and asking Neri for a flaming dog shit favor was pretty darned cool. So was Polly knowing exactly what it was and just accepting that she deserved it.
Piper may no longer have a best friend in Polly, but Red was certainly there for her with sympathy and advice. I get why Piper lied to Red about her shop in Queens. It's possible that Piper was being selfish and avoiding confrontation, but I think she genuinely cares about Red and just didn't see the point in hurting her with a sad truth that Red could do nothing about.
Who really loves us? Who are our real friends? Red and her prison family genuinely care about each other, which was beautifully exemplified by Gina noticing Nicky's behavior and following her around until Nicky went to Red with the truth about her little secret package. That scene was just lovely. So was Nicky comforting Morello after Christopher visited in order to scream threats and obscenities at her for breaking into his house. Everything Christopher said to Morello was true, but it was awful watching Morello's face just dissolve. Let's hope it was finally enough to end her obsession with the poor guy.
Are Nicky and Morello going to be an item again? At least Nicky knows who Morello really is. That felt a little like it might be a parallel to Piper and Alex. Are they going to be an item again, too? Where is Alex now? Since Piper finally opened a letter from Alex, I'm sure we'll find out.
While Red was holding her family together with love, Vee was using manipulation and fear. I have to give Lorraine Toussaint a lot of credit for an excellent performance, because I've grown to hate her character Vee with a passion. Vee's girls were all so thrilled with their extra goodies and attention, but when Janae got caught with the cigarettes and was taken to the SHU, Vee didn't even glance in her direction. And poor Poussey. Suzanne battered Poussey as ordered (so hard to watch), but then was so upset that she started to hit herself, too. (Black Cindy was also obviously upset.) I despise the way Vee is corrupting them all -- especially Suzanne. And Taystee, who again treated Poussey unforgivably.
Meanwhile on the Pornstache front, I think Bennett should have been the recipient of a flaming bag of dog shit, too. Mendez is an appalling human being, but I admired his courage for yelling to the world that he loved Daya as they were dragging him away. I was also proud of Daya for telling Fig at least part of the truth, that the liaison was consensual. Mendez did exactly what Daya was hoping Bennett would do. I doubt that she'll name the baby "Stan", though.
Finally, there just hasn't been enough Sophia in this season for me. But we got a sweet little reconciliation scene in the visitor's room with Sophia and Crystal and Mike playing cards. How lovely for Sophia. It says a lot about her that she long ago forgave Mike for turning her in.
Bits and pieces:
-- Suzanne made Miss Rosa move from her table in the cafeteria, and ruined her food. That was almost as bad as beating Poussey.
-- Soso, who looked terrible, kept trying to get other inmates to join in her hunger strike. Yoga Jones was upset about Janae going to the SHU and stood up for Soso. I get the feeling Yoga and Sister Ingalls might be considering a little striking themselves.
-- Psychopaths Healy and Pennsatucky tried to start a "safe place" support group. Unsurprisingly, nobody came. But I have to give Healy an A for effort. He's trying. And apparently, so is his shrink.
-- Fig was smart enough to figure out who the cartoon pig in high heels was, so she has decided there is to be no more "Big House Bugle." She also saw Andrew the reporter leaving after visiting Piper. Uh oh.
-- Nicky did a great impression of Alex.
-- The oatmeal tasting like snot reminded me of the cereal scene in The Matrix.
-- Bell was looking forward to the opportunity to perform rectal searches. She seems to enjoy searching Piper, too.
-- In this week's hair report, Sophia cut her own because her son was coming to visit. And did anyone else notice that the length and coverage of Daya's blonde streaks changed back and forth during the episode?
Alex: "What kind of a lesbian are you?"
Piper: "The boob-touching kind."
Bell: "I put almond extract behind my ears sometimes. Makes me smell like a cookie."
Piper: "I'm still processing, you know. Awkward conversations with old people, bad cheese plates, a funeral, a wedding, malt liquor…"
Red: "A whole life in forty-eight hours."
Sophia: "I'm gonna sit back, let him vent, you know, get it all out."
Red: "If it were me, I'd kick him to death. But we all have our own ways of parenting."
Polly: "Lesbians are insane."
Red: "Honey, you don't drink poison and wait for it to kill your enemy. Stop hitting walls and plot your revenge."
Vee: "A tunnel, Red? That is so Bugs Bunny."
The last time Vee told Red they were going to share, it turned out badly. I'm worried for Red.
Caputo: (to Mendez) "Your ass. It haunts me."
Strong episode. Three out of four packages of hidden pantyhose,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.