by Billie Doux
Finally, an exceptionally strong episode in the "so far, not impressing me" third season. The flashback broke my heart, and the ending made me cry.
Pennsatucky -- you know, this time I'm going to call her by her name, Tiffany -- was taught from the time she got her first period at the age of ten that sex was just a commodity. Her mother compared it to a bee sting. Just let the guy do what he wants and hope he's quick. That's like the redneck version of the Victorian "close your eyes and think of England". As a teenager, Tiffany perfunctorily traded sex for Mountain Dew. When Big Boo jokingly suggested that Tiffany trade sex with Charlie for an ice cream cake, Tiffany said quite seriously that it would be stupid because it would melt before she could eat it.
In one of the flashback scenes, Tiffany's new boyfriend Nathan was smart enough to pick up on what was going on with Tiffany, and he introduced her to the fact that sex can actually feel good. (It was fun that they met because of a bee sting.) It's too bad Nathan didn't stick around, because after one of her former customers raped her, Tiffany just went back to the way she was, treating herself as worthless, seeing sex as a commodity. It explained her odd expression when Charlie kissed her in the previous episode.
At first, when Charlie apologized to Tiffany on the stairs for the odd way he treated her, when he said she didn't have to touch him or flirt with him, I thought, maybe he's not so bad. But like Abe with the Mountain Dew in the flashback, Charlie saw Tiffany as an object, an easy source of sex in exchange for donuts. When Charlie was raping Tiffany in the van, she just accepted it. But unlike when Abe raped her in the flashback, she was quietly crying. The expression on her face made me cry, too.
Tiffany simply has to tell someone. I hope it's Big Boo, actually, because Big Boo will do something about it. Big Boo has obviously realized that there is something in Tiffany worth caring about, and that relationship has been developed all season for a reason.
This episode gave us a lot more of the flashback theme of mothers giving us a feeling of worth or a lack of same. Berdie the counselor, whom I'm starting to love, told Soso not to let the Norma cult and the lack of friends get to her because she is different than most of the other women in Litchfield, and that being different wasn't a bad thing. Red, who can't express her creativity by feeding the entire prison, nurtured her kitchen staff by feeding them fresh vegetable ratatouille.
And Mrs. Mendez indeed went to see her son George so that she could tell him the truth about Daya's baby. In an absolutely adorable performance by Pablo Schreiber in a mullet, Pornstache refused to believe that Daya's baby wasn't his because he was just too emotionally invested in the situation. He even cried, and called Mrs. Mendez "Mommy". I was right that Mrs. Mendez would offer to take Daya's baby anyway, and of course, since Daya cares about the baby she's going to have, she agreed. Touching. But this isn't the season finale. I'm worried that it won't work out, after all.
Gloria and Sophia got stuck with the negative side of the mother theme because they're both trapped in prison when their sons desperately need their love and guidance. It's a shame that they can't be friends and help each other since they have the exact same problem. Sophia losing it and shoving Gloria into the wall probably isn't going to help matters, either.
While Sophia and Gloria were fighting, Alex finally confronted Lolly and realized that Lolly was too paranoid looneytunes to carry out a hit; she thinks she's being bugged by the NSA. I'm still confused about the stalker journal, though. Did Lolly really write the whole thing with different handwriting? Does she have multiple personality disorder, too? I bet I'm right that Stella is Kubra's assassin. Piper, whom I like less in every episode, doesn't feel guilty for cheating, but she just might if Stella manages to kill Alex.
I have really liked Suzanne's story this season, and it just took an amazingly sweet turn. Like Tiffany but at the other end of the spectrum, Suzanne is a virgin who doesn't understand sex at all. The poem Maureen wrote for her was adorable, but I knew that Suzanne wouldn't have the courage to open that closet door to love (a little obvious symbolism there). I hope Maureen tries again, because someone to love might make a huge difference to Suzanne. To both of them.
And finally, I loved the little exchange about virginity between Suzanne and Morello in the hallway. But Geez Louise, did Morello have to sic her new guy Vinnie on the unfortunate Christopher? What has this poor guy ever done to deserve all this?
-- Since Caputo put an end to their screaming what they feel, the Norma cult has decided to try silence. That actually makes sense, since Norma doesn't talk. Poussey said she found the silence powerful.
-- The inmates were so hoping that celebrity chef Judy King would wind up at Litchfield, but she's being sent to Alderson. Oh, come on. You know she's going to wind up at Litchfield.
-- The panty girls have started to realize that Piper is making a fortune and all they're getting is Ramen flavor packets.
-- I loved the little moment in the kitchen where we learned two out of three true things about Blanca. Six toes. Lived in a Greyhound bus for a year. Didn't get a 13th birthday because her mother was superstitious.
-- Black Cindy is trading commissary with a woman named Ginsberg for "Jew 411".
-- The guards aren't in their union any more. I thought this was New York state, not Wisconsin.
-- Ford knows that Luschek got money from selling H. New motorcycle. Not at all subtle, Luschek.
-- Is Sophia doing Stella's unusual hair?
-- Gold acting stars for Taryn Manning (Tiffany). She was terrific.
Tiffany's mother: "This is life coming out of you. Kinda like pee."
Piper: "I've done the whole guilty, whining tortured cheater thing and it's annoying." Good point, Piper.
Pornstache: "... remind her of other star-crossed lovers throughout history who overcame great obstacles to be together. Romeo and Juliet. Lolita and the old guy. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins."
Mrs. Mendez: "Honey, none of those couples ended up together."
Morello: "He had these beady little eyes, like they were glued onto his face. Like a koala, you know? I thought I could get past it, first couple of times."
Suzanne: "Well, koalas are scary."
Poussey: "We're here for Norma because she makes us feel seen."
Soso: "It's hard to avoid condescension when you're literally below me right now."
Genuinely moving. Four out of four six packs of Mountain Dew,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.