Heartwarming and satisfying. Okay, not terribly realistic. Can't have everything.
An important theme of this series and this season in particular is prison families. Everyone took care of everyone else in this episode, because all they have is each other. Yes, in real life, Miss Rosa would die miserably in prison, and Vee would be around forever, dealing drugs and sparking violence while turning inmates against each other. But hey, we had an escalating violence cliffhanger last season, so I'm okay with it.
Morello: "You can feel it when you're around her. Her bad seed-iness."
I complained in my previous review that Vee was just too evil, and that certainly held true in this finale. Convincing Suzanne that she was the one that had slocked Red and then forgotten she'd done it was beyond despicable and cruel. Fortunately, it was the final straw that turned Vee's "family" against her. The four of them turning Vee out was just lovely -- satisfying, as I said. I also enjoyed the way they enthusiastically snitched on Vee in order to save Suzanne.
Gold acting stars for Uzo Aduba. Suzanne's confusion and guilt, the way she sobbed while clutching her pack of Uno cards (this episode's Most Obvious Symbolism) just tugged at my heartstrings. Aduba deserved her Emmy. (Although every time Uno is mentioned, I hear in my head, "The sinister yet addictive card game".)
I also loved the return of the Taystee/Poussey show as they were shelving in the library, especially the discussion of Outlander and Back to the Future. Taystee and Poussey are my favorite pair in the series, and there are a lot of great pairings in this series. I've hated seeing Taystee acting so damned evil. Yes, she was a drug dealer, but it felt out of character because we know she loves Poussey. Was it racist for OitNB to make the African American clique the bad guys this season?
Red's girls did their part to take Vee down, too. Nicky started it by stealing Vee's stash, which could have had dire consequences, but didn't. (Not yet, anyway, since our only real cliffhanger was Nicky eyeing that hidden stash.) Norma actually began working on a recipe for arsenic, and I loved how Gloria sidetracked her with that wonderful cake pan voodoo. Even Big Boo redeemed herself somewhat by returning to the fold.
But what Morello did for Miss Rosa gave a whole new meaning to the term "compassionate release". It was a kindness of the first magnitude. Even if she was captured a few hours later, Miss Rosa the bank robber got to experience outlaw freedom one more time. The offhand way she killed Vee was laugh out loud funny, and permanently removing Vee as threat was like a final gift from Miss Rosa to her prison family.
I also absolutely loved the bizarre discussion in the van about little people in the radio, dolls that move when you're not looking, and Morello describing the plot of Toy Story as if it were about real people. The CO singing to "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was fun, too, even though he was a jerk about not leaving Miss Rosa alone with her doctor. It's these character bits that make Orange is the New Black such a compelling series.
"O'Neill! Scatter the nuns!"
Like O'Neill. He's been pretty much of a nothing character until now, a love interest for CO Bell and an opportunity for weight loss jokes. But his musical attempt to convey his belief that nuns are crueler than marauding leopards was priceless.
This is a little song about the nuns
Fiercer, meaner, crueler, ruder than the Huns
I am forced to babysit them
When I thought that I had quit them
I kinda hope that they all get the runs
I also loved Red and Sister Ingalls sharing a hospital room and talking truth about sex, life and revenge. They're both tough women who abide by their own personal set of principles, but they were willing to abandon those principles for the welfare of their prison family. They make me want to cut my hair and dye it a flaming red. I almost mean that.
Soso: "What's with all this name calling?"
Pennsatucky: "We're expressing our feelings in lieu of physical violence."
Healy has made great progress in his journey to redemption, and has taken Pennsatucky along with him. The failure of Safe Place actually made me feel bad, especially after Healy falsified documents in order to save Suzanne. It would probably be a mistake to hope that Healy will ever completely overcome his misogynism and homophobia (he was upset about Pennsatucky getting a butch haircut for Big Boo), but hey, small steps.
Fig and Caputo's power struggle ended with Caputo in charge, and I have to say that their sex scene made me uncomfortable. Okay, Caputo didn't ask for it, and I totally get that he went with it because it was a perfect way to get revenge. But it cheapened his victory, and for me, it pretty much ruined all of the good things Caputo did in the rest of the episode while he was acting like Santa Claus in a good mood: letting Bennett be the hero with Ruiz, showing consideration for Diaz, making a deal with Piper.
Even so, Caputo is without doubt a much better admin than Fig. I hope that he doesn't lose his new job because Vee and Miss Rosa both escaped during his second day.
Piper: "I like your sweater. It's soft. Like your resolve when you're offered a plea deal."
Again, Piper was almost an afterthought. Maybe that's because she wasn't that involved in the major story lines this season. I did enjoy the careful and concise way she verbally destroyed Larry and Polly in the visitation room, and I liked how Polly simply accepted that she deserved it. (Of course, Larry did not. Please let this be the end of Larry. This series does not need him.)
I was confused about why Piper turned Alex in, though. Did she do it to keep Alex safe from Kubra (whose name, I just realized, sounds like 'cobra') or to prevent her from skipping town? Or was it just to get Alex back in Litchfield? Probably all three. Piper does love Alex; she didn't keep all of those letters for nothing. And I certainly want Alex back in the story, because Alex makes Piper a lot more interesting.
Let me finish by apologizing for how long it took me to finish my second season reviews. Netflix's practice of releasing an entire season at once is great for the viewer, but terrible for the reviewer. Maybe next season I'll manage to resist the binge-watch and finish each review before watching the next episode. And maybe I'll flap my arms and fly to Niagara Falls, too.
Bits and pieces:
-- Bennett confessed to Caputo, just as Diaz wanted. And Caputo pointed out that if he acted on that confession, Diaz would give birth tied to a bed in max. So far, it's all been about what would happen to Bennett, but Diaz would have suffered just as much, if not more.
-- The visitation room scenes with Ruiz and her silent baby daddy were capped with him talking a mile a minute to the baby when he learned Ruiz wouldn't be transferred. Adorable.
-- It's too bad Fig got away with stealing all that money.
-- Banjoleles. Who knew.
-- Soso said that she needed a friend, and no one volunteered. That was sad. But isn't she friends with Yoga Jones and Sister Ingalls now?
-- Suzanne called her padlock "Lady Loxley", whom Google tells me is a character in a British drama called Mr Selfridge. By the way, I didn't quite get the word "slock" until this episode. It's a lock in a sock. I'm sure everyone knew that but me.
-- This week's feminine hygiene product was the tampon candle in the voodoo "cake".
-- We've still never seen the Warden. Maybe next season.
Black Cindy: "Paulie in Goodfellas had the joint wired. The big ass dinners every night."
Watson: "Italians have weird shit with their mothers. They, like, live with them for way too long."
Black Cindy: "We all got weird shit with our mamas."
Black Cindy: "I know she Fruity Pebbles, but man, that's cold."
Vee: "Is it, really? Is it cold for Amazon to underprice books just to capture market share?"
Fig: (sobbing) "I used to be so … hot. Now I'm… hard and … wrinkled."
Caputo: "You're still hot, Fig. I mean, you're a horrible person, but you're sexy as hell."
Fig: (hopefully) "Really?"
O'Neill: "Like a murder of crows, there's a gaggle of nuns."
Alex: "I thought you were going to tell the truth."
Piper: "And I thought you were gonna lie!"
Alex: "Jesus. We are like a fucking O. Henry story."
Nicky: "It's time to start scrubbing that dirty little soul of yours."
Big Boo: "Well, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'm slowly killing myself with corn syrup."
Suzanne: "I am not crazy. I am unique."
Red: "Did you ever…"
Sister Ingalls: "I've masturbated. There's this statue of Jesus on the cross that was especially ripped. He was my guy."
Red: "Before Dmitri, there was this man named Pavel. Even talking about him now… there's a tightening."
Red: "Here. We can sandwich toast to orgasms and do our time in peace."
Suzanne: "I thought I was mopping in the warehouse, turns out I was slocking in the greenhouse. I must have mixed up ware and green or mop and slock. That could happen, right?"
Suzanne: "I always liked her. She's scary, but her hair is like the Heat Miser in that Christmas special, don't you think?"
Vee: "You break my heart."
Taystee: "Might be true. If you had one."
Soso: "This is the loneliest place I've ever been, and I lived alone in a tree for eight months."
Caputo: "Jesus tits! It's my second day. I can't. I can't have this."
Four out of four banjoleles,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.