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.
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