Orange is the New Black: Empathy is a Boner Killer

"I'm like a bloodhound for oblivion."

Nicky is probably my favorite character on this show. But what a broken human being she is.

I was so happy when I realized we were getting a Nicky flashback, but this one wasn't what you'd call fun. Nicky is a classic addict on the far end of the scale, stealing anything and using people to get her fix. She stole money from her mother to bail out her friends, but then she used that money for drugs instead. She even stole a cab and crashed it, and was planning a heist of first editions to feed her habit.

Nicky's mother Marka mentioned multiple rehabs, and their financial situation is such that Nicky should have gotten the best of care. Why isn't Nicky in a good hospital instead of a prison? Nicky is one big, constant cry for help, and she and her mother both knew it. Marka said to Nicky, "You have an unquenchable thirst to self-destruct." She also told Nicky, "Only you can save yourself." That's the key, isn't it?

The thing is, as horrible as it is, Litchfield sort of has worked for Nicky, mostly because of Red and her circle of friends. But it's like fate (and the OitNB writers) unfairly threw this huge stash of heroin in Nicky's path to deliberately bring her down. Nicky couldn't let go of it, couldn't give it away to sell, couldn't stop obsessing about it, and she lied to Big Boo about it. She even hid the stash in a light fixture (some obvious symbolism there). Dope literally stopped Nicky's heart before, and in this episode, Nicky talked about using it to commit suicide. She's like a drowning woman who is barely keeping her head above water, and Luschek just threw her an anvil instead of a life preserver. What will Maximum do to her?

I'm keeping my word not to binge-watch and to finish a review before moving on to the next episode, so I don't know if Nicky is out of the narrative for awhile or if we're going to follow her to Max. Honestly, if Nicky is out of the series for any length of time, it's a problem for me. (And if you know, don't tell me! No spoilers in the comments!)

Luschek, who says that women suck at crime, is funny, but also despicable. He didn't have to blame Nicky for the little packet in his desk, but he did -- probably because he doesn't want to share the money that he already made plans to gamble away. Who planted that packet? Did Nicky do it after all because she couldn't bear to let go of it all? Was it Angie or Leanne trying to get Luschek? (And how hilarious was it that the two of them believed heroin falling from the sky was a magical gift?)

Luschek may be an ass, but new counselor Berdie Rogers could very possibly be cool. The inmates were enjoying the heck out of that drama class, and Piper and Alex managed to work out their anger problems in front of everyone with the help of a lot of double entendres and bruised fruit metaphors. (Did Berdie put them together on purpose? I think she did.)

Healy, who was all upset that everyone went to drama class after blowing off "Safe Place", sort of apologized to Red -- mostly because he wanted her services as translator and marriage counselor because his Russian mail order bride won't sleep with him. (Apparently there's drool.) Does Red really see Healy as good husband material? Seriously? I honestly started wondering this time if Red and Healy are hovering around a possible romantic relationship. Please tell me I'm imagining it.

There were several developments in the prison-closing-down subplot. Even though their interaction was sort of viciously fond, Caputo made a serious attempt to blackmail Fig, whose gay husband indeed won the election for state senator. Fig told Caputo that a for-profit prison company had been interested in acquiring a women's prison. (Is that where this is going? Will that be what keeps the prison open?) And the guards found out the truth, and were understandably pissed.

And by the way, no Bennett. He stopped coming to work. Did he just abandon Daya and his baby? Could he be that horrible, deep down?

Since the Nicky flashbacks and subplot were totally depressing, my favorite scene in the episode was Taystee and Poussey leading a memorial service for their beloved books, and returning the ashes to the trees from whence they came. "The ultimate book return." I'm a librarian and it makes me sad to see the prison library empty and only being used by Piper and Alex having angry sex.

But least the inmates have clothes again. Although there are still no mattresses.

Bits and pieces:

-- Nicky's mother Marka has been previously portrayed as keeping Nicky literally at arm's reach. Here, Nicky said she wouldn't wish being her mother on anyone. It's a complicated relationship. Don't we all have issues with our moms, though?

-- I'm really enjoying the subplot about Norma having magical powers.

-- COs Bell and O'Neill are underwater financially and may lose their home if they lose their jobs. It's hard for me to have sympathy for them, though. Although they do make me laugh.

-- Maria is deeply depressed, and who can blame her? She denigrated her friendships with the other inmates, even though that's all she has left.

-- Luschek feeling up Leanne and Angie made me uncomfortable, even though the two of them are so slimey.

-- The golden girls were talking about renting out their new cornfield for sex. Maybe Piper and Alex could use that as an alternative to the library.

-- Alex is actively waiting for Kubra to have her killed.

-- It was sort of appropriate that Pennsatucky was the one who drove Nicky to Max. Pennsatucky kept staring at Nicky in the rearview mirror. A little more symbolism there.

Quotes:

Luschek: "You can get back to your flower bondage in a second. And quit topping from the bottom."
He's an ass, but he's funny.

Nicky: "People are praying for rain and mattresses."

Caputo: "There are many reasons why a person may choose to panic. Sharks, school shootings, bee extinction… "

Alex: "I have my own quilt of lies to sew."

Sister Ingalls: "You're saying our mouths evolved to give blowjobs?"
Piper: "That's assuming you believe in evolution in the first place."
Sister Ingalls: "I'm thinking about it."

Morello: "I took acting in high school and we learned about masks, musicals and chlamydia dell'arte. And that is from Europe."

Berdie: "Let's work on empathy and then we'll worry about free clothes."

Luschek: "I will fucking kill you! With murder!"

Fig: "So long, Beer Can."
Caputo: "See you, Fangs."

I'm not sure I'm feeling this season yet, but of course, I'll hang in there. Three out of four bruised fruits,

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.

2 comments:

Juliette said...

I'm assuming Bennett has run off for a purpose - probably not a good one, but a purpose of some kind possibly involving Pornstache's mother - and will be back at some point. But then, I'm frequently wrong!

Jess Lynde said...

I'm pretty sure it was Nicky that hid the packet. (And no spoilers here, because this is as far as I've seen.) It was attached with gum, and we pointedly saw her smacking her gum earlier in the episode. I think in the scene where she tried to steal a small packet from Luschek at his desk. And her overall reaction after the fact seemed to me like her accepting her own hand in her downfall. But I guess we'll see.

I so hope you are imagining any potential romantic developments between Red and Healy. Ew, ew, ew! That might be worse than Piper and Alex! I really can't stand those two at this point. More time with other characters, please. Or at least more time with those two not together. I don't mind them so much interacting with everyone else. Alex's downer speech in Berdie's office was fun.

I really loved the book memorial service, too. Returning the books' ashes to the trees from whence they came was particularly nice. And Blanca's comments about liking the stories more than her life was a great way to reflect on the loss this represents for the inmates.