Orange is the New Black: Tongue-Tied

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"

Norma isn't a witch at all. She just wasted her life on a worthless man because she made the mistake of believing his bullshit about transformation and meditation. And now she is the guru. The inmates are seeing magic in Norma because that's what they want to see. It's also what she wants them to see.

When they met in the flashbacks, Guru Mack told Norma, who has a bad stutter, "I hear you. You don't have to talk." What he was actually saying was, "I don't want to deal with helping you actually talk, so I'll project my own needs and wishes on you and make you into nothing." That backfired on him when he pushed her just a bit too far and she pushed him off a cliff. (That was pretty funny, although I saw it coming.) Why is Norma in federal prison? Did she kill Guru Mack in a national park? Or was it something to do with the polygamy or the tithing?

Is Norma seeing Red the way she saw Guru Mack, as someone who controls her and doesn't have any interest in listening to her? There are no cliffs in Litchfield, but the kitchen is full of sharp objects. (Maritza just lost the tip of her pinky). Red sees Norma as a friend who is willing to rub her back and paint her nails, but Norma could be pushed too far again, couldn't she?

Red got her kitchen back already because Gloria is understandably preoccupied with her son Benito. Sad that Red already lost any chance at creative cookery and importance by the arrival of prepackaged meals in bags that reminded me of the fermenting garbage Poussey was burying outside the library. Somehow I think Red will make something out of her kitchen assignment, anyway.

Speaking of making something out of nothing, Piper has decided to become a pantie-preneur with the help of her brother Cal. Selling dirty panties is certainly less violent and dangerous than last season's drug smuggling operation, and it's sort of empower... no. It's icky. Sort of funny, but cringe-worthy.

The danger seems to be coming from a whole other place this season, and that's in the form of unqualified, untrained part-time guards who can harm the inmates as well as themselves, comically demonstrated by Bayley, a.k.a. Baby Huey, pepper-spraying a woman who was cheating at Uno, the sinister yet addictive card game. Caputo has only just realized that Danny Pearson, who makes me uncomfortable, is effectively the new warden and doesn't have any idea how to run a prison. Danny's title is Director of Human Activity, like God. Like Guru Mack was God. This won't end well.

I didn't care much for Norma's backstory. What I enjoyed most in this episode was what happened with Suzanne and Poussey, Black Cindy, and Diaz's difficult relationship with her mother.

Suzanne is creating a magnum opus, a kinky sex fantasy set in space that Berdie understandably won't allow her to perform in drama class. What was hilarious was that Poussey really liked it, and even found it a turn-on. Maybe with the current state of the library, Poussey is just desperate for something to read.

Adrienne C. Moore's delivery of Black Cindy's lines has become a major highlight for me. Her description of weirdos finding each other on the internet was pretty much perfect. And now she's interested in Jewish culture because she's smart enough to know that the kosher meals will eventually come with a price. I'm betting Seinfeld and Woody Allen movies won't be enough.

I'm also starting to get emotionally involved in Daya's predicament. Daya is playing the MASH game for real. She must decide whether or not her baby is raised in a mansion or a shack -- or more accurately, either a half-bath off the playroom, or love and attention. When Daya told Aleida that her favorite moment in childhood was when they spent her seventeenth birthday at a day spa, Aleida looked away so that Daya couldn't see the tears in her eyes. For Daya, that day was special because Aleida showed her love for Daya. Wow, that got to me.

Bits and pieces:

-- Piper apologized to Lolly for abandoning her in the prison yard in Chicago. Lolly doesn't appear to hold a grudge.

-- Stella, who seems to know a lot about fetishes, is still flirting with Piper.

-- Cal knows a lot about panty sniffing, but says he's a "generalist".

-- Sophia has demanded that Benito clean up his language, or no more "hitch-hiking".

-- Piper told Daya about a study that concluded that money does buy happiness, but only up to about 75K a year. That actually makes sense. If you have enough, you feel secure, but real money seems to twist a lot of people.

-- Alex wanted Bayley to be their panty mule. Maybe the pepper-spray incident changed her mind.

-- Morello's absorption with her new pen pals has given her an emotional lift. She's wearing make-up again.

-- Along with a burgeoning interest in Jewish culture, Black Cindy has a new hair-do. I miss the Mickey Mouse look.

-- Why does Caputo love plants so much?


Danny: "You wouldn't believe some of the cases we've had. Employees sexting, porn on their work computers, masturbating in the office, just disgusting."
Caputo: "Disgusting."

Freida: "One of my old boyfriends was obsessed with noses. He was always trying to suck on mine. It left a very confusing hickey."

Black Cindy: "See, that's the thing with the internet. Nobody's a freak no more. See, it used to be all these weirdos sitting alone in their houses, jerking it to bugs or falling in love with their toasters, feeling all creepy and sad. Now all they got to do is log on, find their same minded toaster-loving people, and like bam, suddenly shit be perfectly normal."

Berdie: "I don't even know what a pangolin is."
Me, either. So I looked it up. Sadly, they're exploited and endangered.

Suzanne: "It's not just sex. It's love. It's two people connecting… with four other people and aliens."

Piper: "We are sitting on a gold mine. We have captive women, and we have underwear. All we need is to recruit a bunch of girls with super stinky tutus and then figure out a way to get the used goods out there to the freaks who want them."

Maritza: "My mother taught me to pluck my eyebrows and duct-tape my tits together."

Gina: "My Wiccan circle is getting weird. Protchnick keeps rubbing the energy ball on her cooter, and who wants to touch that after that?"
Wasn't the energy ball imaginary? Somehow, that's even funnier.

Taystee: "Suzanne's erotica, it's worse than Fifty Shades."
Poussey: "Not possible. How many times she use the word 'jeez'?"
Thankfully, that comment was lost on me. I couldn't get through the first chapter of Fifty Shades.

Poussey: "'The Admiral thrust his pork sword into her squish mitten'? Oh, shit!"

Black Cindy: "I need some, like Seinfeld episodes. Ooh, ka-ching! Check it out. Woody fucking Allen. That's some Jew shit right there."

I'm not sure I'm feeling this season like I did the first two. Two out of four endangered pangolins,

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


Juliette said...

And now we add Norma to last week's list of murderers in this minimum security prison. I saw it coming too - I think they need a new thing to spice up the backstories. (I assume Norma's in prison for whatever the guru was talking about in the van, which I didn't understand).

My favourite thing about this entire season is Suzanne's story. It's awesome. (I kept picturing Callisto from Supernatural saying 'there's alien... and space').

I can't hear about people loving toasters without thinking of Battlestar Galactica.

sunbunny said...

More evidence that Piper Chapman and I are the same person: I use the study she cited all the time in conversation. Although I do think the amount should be adjusted for living expenses. 75k in Idaho is a whole different life than the same amount in Southern California.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm enjoying this season, but more for the smaller moments and stories, rather than the overarching things. I particularly like the new connections and interactions we're getting between various characters. And I'm liking the slow but steady development of the Soso story. Some of the season's plot threads seem to appear or disappear at random from episode to episode, but her story has had a steady presence, even if only for a scene or two. Poussey's journey this season seems to be following the same steady development.

I laughed quite a bit at this episode. It had lots of funny little moments. But I'm concerned about the development with Norma. While it was nice to see her standing up for herself, her subsequently setting herself up as a new cult leader was disturbing. Pride goeth before a fall, and all that. Maybe she genuinely just wants to help people, but it didn't feel that way at the end. It felt more about her wanting people's respect and devotion.

Josie Kafka said...

Director of Human Activity, like God.

This is Sam T. Cat's official title, too.