Orange is the New Black: Trust No Bitch

"You're not Walter White yet. You're Walter White... ink."

Am I falling out of love with this series? Maybe I'm just having trouble writing reviews in a vacuum. Curse you, Netflix binge-watcher business model, you.

Although I enjoyed this episode for the most part, the ending with the bright sunshine and the joyous baptism in the lake didn't quite work for me. It should have made me feel good, but it was too sweet and artificial, and it went on too long. And I'm saying that even though Black Cindy's conversion to Judaism was one of the best things about the season, and I loved that she got mikvahed, even if was so completely and utterly unlikely.

There were seven -- seven! -- flashbacks to our characters having a negative experience related to religion, and each very in character:

-- Soso forced to practice piano and told that there is no heaven or hell;
-- Morello taking first communion, and deciding it was all about the white dress;
-- Janae being told she couldn't race because her Muslim father wouldn't let her wear revealing clothing;
-- Gloria's Tia doing something mystical so that Gloria would be pregnant with a boy, which I assume turned out to be the very problematic Benito;
-- Black Cindy being screamed at and told she was going to hell for eating instead of praying;
-- Big Boo getting shocked and brought back, and saying, "There's no God. There's nothing";
-- And the most hilarious one, Healy praying for his mother and getting thrown up on by a guy who looked like Jesus.

I loved that Black Cindy, who is taking the name 'Tova', realized that Judaism was for her because it was about asking questions, about learning, about God as a verb instead of rote obedience and the fear of hell. Adrienne C. Moore absolutely touched me during that scene with the Rabbi. Especially when you compare it to Leanne making a cult centered around exclusion and intimidation. I hope that this is the end of the Norma cult. Enough already.

Motherhood, and the search for love

After three seasons of pregnancy, Daya finally gave birth and her mother completely screwed up Daya's courageous choice to give her baby a better chance at life. Even though I was touched by Aleida's genuine love for Daya and the way they reconnected at the lake, it's awful that Aleida took Daya's choices away, and even worse, that Daya allowed it to happen.

But I did enjoy the natural evolution of Taystee into the mom of her group, just in time to save poor Soso from Psych. Soso has a family now, and she and Poussey were actually gazing at each other and holding hands in the water. Lovely. Suzanne and Maureen coming together was sweet, too. With this turtle I thee... something. Poor turtle. Getting tossed not once but twice couldn't have been pleasant. I hope they brought in a stunt turtle.

I was less pleased with the Morello/Muccio nuptials. They might just make it work, although Vinnie's disappointment about conjugal visits was obvious, and won't he eventually find out the truth about Christopher? Actually, my favorite thing about the wedding, other than the toilet paper veil and Lorna reading the lyrics of "I Want to Know What Love Is", was Wanda so touched she was crying. She and O'Neill have become my favorite guards, mostly because they're such a strangely fun couple.

The Healy/Red "romance" this season has been creeping me out. At least it ended well with him choosing his wife's leftover Olive Garden lasagne over Red's paper flowers. Nice performance by Michael Harney there. He was just sitting at his desk eating, but I could feel his sadness and conflict.

But the best relationship this season was the friendship between Big Boo and Tiffany. I particularly liked that when Tiffany couldn't take revenge on Charlie, Big Boo accepted Tiffany's choice instead of making it all about herself. And then she helped Tiffany get out of van duty and proximity to Charlie. Although that won't help the next inmate that Charlie rapes, which might very well be the beautiful Maritza.

Evil, corporate and non-corporate

While I loved some of the character arcs this season, like Black Cindy's conversion and Big Boo helping Tiffany cope with rape, the big plot arcs left me cold.

Although it started out as lighthearted skanky panty fun, I was disgusted by Piper this season. Why did the powers that be decide to turn their main character into a villain? What she did to Stella was unbelievably vicious and vindictive. Piper has isolated herself and alienated everyone; as the rest of the women were joyously splashing in the lake, Piper was tattooing herself with a badly drawn infinity symbol.

And what happened to Alex and her totally justified paranoia? Will the new guard with the toothpick kill her?

MCC taking over the prison was a massive bummer, bad for the prisoners and bad for the guards. Danny Pearson turned out to be the one with the moral fortitude to take a stand and quit, and now Caputo, inspired by Fig's example, is a lying corporate mouthpiece. I hate that the season ended with none of this crap resolved. The food is still inedible, and the brand new bunkbeds and influx of many new prisoners will make life even worse for the women of Litchfield.

Finally, I have a request. Could they please not show Caputo and Fig having sex ever, ever again? Seriously. I mean that.


-- I loved Red's first woman in space story, mostly because for Star Trek fans, Kate Mulgrew was our first female starship captain. I bet that was deliberate.

-- Flaca's mother has cancer. That explains why Flaca has been looking so sad for the past couple of episodes. I'm glad she reconnected with Gloria, her prison mother.

-- Maybe Stella and Nicky will find each other in Max. They'd make a cute couple. And maybe Stella will rat on Piper. I'd like that even better.

-- Judy King arrived, and no one was there to accept her surrender.

-- Absolutely loved Soso, still zoned on Benadryl, telling Healy off in a way that would hit him where he lived. Although I doubt it will make a difference.

-- The white ink tattoo was very obvious symbolism for what has happened to Piper. You can't see it, but the evil is there.

-- Sophia is still in the SHU, which is just so wrong.


Tiffany: "Face it. We ain't Swedish enough to be splitting his starfish."

Big Boo: "God! There's no fucking justice!"
Tiffany: "Yeah. And I really don't like tea."

Poussey: "What we gonna do with her?"
Suzanne: "If only we had an invisibility cloak. Or an extremely deep and wide bellybutton."

Angie: "I ruined my miracle by getting thrown in the SHU, which was seriously the worst thing that's ever happened to me. Even counting that time I smoked crack thinking it was meth, then took four shots of Everclear and ate cat poop."

Tiffany: "Something's really wrong. Like my Nancy Grace ears catnip. It's like my Nancy Grace ears catnip bluegrass funeral."

I wish I were happier with this season, and especially with how it ended. Three out of four shots of Everclear,

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


Rory said...

I was a bit bummed out with the direction in which they took Piper (sorry, crappy sentence, but you get what I'm saying...)

I'm hoping beyond all hope that she's the one who rides in and clocks toothpick guy before he can kill Alex, but I get the feeling it's going to be Lolly.

I might have to make peace with Piper being the series bad guy - the writers have got themselves in to a we-don't-want-the-rich-white-bitch-to-make-good loop.

Anonymous said...

This was the first time I liked Black Cindy, even if it was only a little bit. She's a borderline sociopath at other times, but here she showed some actual humanity.

I'm fine with no more Caputo/Fig sex scenes as long as we never have to suffer through future Crazy Eyes sex scenes. Let's just...keep the sex between attractive people. I like shows to be realistic, but not that realistic.

Juliette said...

I love the Caputo/Fig scenes, their hate sex is really funny!

This season felt very much like the middle part of a trilogy, with everything still up in the air, waiting to be resolved. Morello's story definitely looks like set-up for next season - all she's cared about for years was the dress, the wedding etc., now she has to deal with the reality of being married (albeit at a distance). Alex ended on a cliff hanger and Piper will need to either go full Walter White or be redeemed, one or the other. Charlie is an unpleasantly hanging thread, though I loved the stuff between Boo and Pennsatucky. I wonder if Bennet was got rid of in order to develop the relationship between Aleida and Daya, which sort of worked except I hate Aleida - but whether or not he reappears, Daya's not going to be happy about her baby being taken away by social services. And Sophia's still in the SHU. I often think we need to think of episodes of OitNB more like chapters of a novel and not TV episodes - we shouldn't expect immediate resolution and we can't be sure where they're heading until we get there. But this whole series did feel a bit like a slow middle novel in between the one that kicks everything off and the resolution.

I did love the lake scene though, which was beautiful in all its ridiculousness and a much needed emotional release. I loved Lubcheck's (can't spell his name!) reaction to it as well!

Miguel said...

Sad to hear you are falling out of love with the series Billie. Even though I didn't think this season lived up to last season (I don't know how it possibly could though), overall I still love the series and thoroughly enjoyed this season.

The lake scene was super touching to me. I loved how none of the inmate even thought about trying to escape; it was just about a glimpse of what freedom felt like again - and then to contrast that blissful moment with the truckload of inmates coming in and bunkbeds being installed in each room was very effective and left me eager for next season.

And I actually LOVE what the writers are doing with Piper. I find her so much more interesting as a cold b*tch then as the whiner who constantly sees herself as a victim. And I think it's very realistic that prison would turn someone in a selfish and cold individual who is only looking out for their best interests. I would love it if the writers continued to explore Piper as the villain.

Even though this season wasn't as exciting and some episodes dragged a bit for me, I think it was a wise choice of the writers to slow down the plot this season and focus on character relationships. There was no way to top the action of last season and have a villain as evil as V - it would be too repetitive anyway. I"m looking forward to where the writers continue to take the show.

mazephoenix said...

I loved the Boo-Tucky friendship and the way Tucky's ordeal was handled.
I did wonder why Poussey didn't take Soso to see a doctor? Does Lichfield not have any medical staff? They should. Oh well MCC might have ruined that.
I hope Alex lives, gah what a cliffhanger. Would be hilarious if Lolly saves her. She and Stella should set Piper up. I applaud the idea of Nicky and Stella being an item.
As for Piper..I don't mind morally grey characthers or villains, but she is no Walter White, she is just too dull and one dimensional. Unlike say the Tarrs from "Defiance" who are out and out villians when it suits them she is no fun to watch. Whereas Jaime Murray is a blast as Stahma Tarr. Oh well. I did enjoy this season so I will be back, hoping Piper gets interesting with her villainy or redeemed.
I laughed at the Caputo/Fig sex..not sure if they need to show more of it.

Jess Lynde said...

I had a very similar reaction to this finale, Billie. I wrote down very few notes, and you managed hit all of them in your review. Weirdly unresolved in many respects? Check. Lake stuff didn't quite click, despite great material with Black Cindy conversion arc? Check. Liking the Boo and Tiffany stuff this season? Check. Glad to see Poussey and Soso connecting? Check. Hating Piper? Check. (Although I don't really mind them making Piper so hate-worthy.) Really disliking the creepy Healy and Red stuff? Check.

I also didn't care for the Lorna nuptials. Yet another thing that the show treats like a cute romance when it is actually very messed up. I'm hoping we get some follow up and fallout for what she had him do to Christopher. Sigh. At least the O'Neill and Wanda pairing is genuinely nice, as you say.

Overall, I think I liked this season better than you did, but I, too, wish I felt happier with how it ended. Ah, well. There's always next year. :)

Marianna said...

I liked the ending, but I can be a sap. (I thought the implication was that Alex is dead, but I could be wrong.)

I think Piper's character has actually been this way for a while, ever since she came back from Chicago and tried to pimp Soso out for a blanket. Honestly I've never been that interested in Piper as a character. I've always thought she was not a good person so it's almost a relief that she's embracing her ruthless side rather than keep pretending she's a good person while hurting people around her on a regular basis. One of the things I've liked about this season is there has been less focus on Piper and more on the dynamics of the show in general. The also don't have a problem with shining the spotlight on third-string characters, which I like. Lost gets credit for creating this style of show where each episode focuses on a different character, but if it were Lost we would be having more Jack, Kate, Locke, and Sayyid episodes instead of bothering to look at background characters.

I like that Big Boo and Tiffany found a solution to get Tiffany out of danger, but it still bothers me that they didn't report it to Healy or Caputo. (I know Healy can be a jerk, but I think he would have really done his job in this case.) While what Big Boo said about Mendez was true, that's not necessarily what would happen in this case considering Fig was in charge then, and she always wanted to push things under the rug. It also seems that Caputo has been looking for a reason to fire Coates. If nothing else, I think it would be good to have her complaint on the record in case he does it again to her or someone else.

One more thing was that we actually got a timeline clue. Piper said she had 6-12 months left, which I guess means the series has been going on for 9 months of TV Land. That doesn't totally make sense since the first season began in autumn, the second season had a hurricane at the end of it, which usually happens in summer, and the third season started in May. I supposed I should stop thinking about it and accept that it doesn't make sense.

mazephoenix, they actually answered your question about taking Soso to see a doctor. If they had done that, she would have been thrown in psych and stuck there forever.

mazephoenix said...

Thanks Marianne, missed that. Makes sense, plus the MCC would have screwed it up.

mazephoenix said...

Sorry, meant Marianna.