Orange is the New Black: We Can Be Heroes

"You can't spend your whole life holding the door open for people and then being angry when they don't thank you."

Orange is the New Black is a story about women, and honestly, I was pissed when I realized that this was the second episode this season centered around one of the male characters. But this episode did make me like Joe Caputo a little more. He keeps trying to do the right thing, even if he's angry and resentful about it the whole time. And even if he does have a disgusting use for the hand lotion in his desk.

His good-guy-ness and accompanying resentment was perfectly encapsulated in this episode. In the flashbacks, Joe lost his chance at his dream wrestling career because he tried to fulfill someone else's dream, a kid with Downs. He lost his chance at fame with the band he himself started in order to take care of the pregnant Lisa, who then promptly dumped him for the feckless father of her baby. And yet, as Lisa herself pointed out, Joe made all of these decisions himself. These were his choices. Just like MCC taking over Litchfield was Joe's choice. Okay, it was either that or shutting down, but still.

Joe hasn't changed. He just saved Danny Pearson's job by quietly getting Angie back, when it was MCC's screw-up that accidentally released her. (And of course, while Joe was out saving the day, Danny was busy suspending Berdie for being a good counselor.) Joe is even having an affair with Fig, and pardon me a moment while I throw up a little in my mouth. And that is charitable on Joe's part, too, because she desperately needs some physical affection while trapped in an unhappy and publicly visible marriage. (Although not completely charitable, since Joe is still getting his rocks off every Tuesday.)

Which brings me to Joe's decision to lead his guards in their attempt to organize a union. I like him for doing it, for caring enough about his staff to do it. But it seems obvious to me that, like the parallel panty business story with Flaca, Joe is going to lose his job over this.

A lot of OitNB fans hate Piper, our lead character, and it appears that this season, the writers want us to hate her even more. As Alex pointed out, Piper's panty brigade is made up of poor women who are desperate for money, and Piper's joy in firing Flaca was outright cruel. Piper is on a power trip and sick with greed, which makes no sense for a woman with a short sentence and no real criminal background. I'm not surprised that Alex has dropped both Piper and the panty business like a hot potato.

Although I've pretty much had it with Piper, I enjoyed her discussion with Red about organized crime (8%, Red? Really? I thought you were going straight?) and Piper's truly disgusting search for a hidden cell phone. A shank made out of Jolly Ranchers? Who thinks of these things? (And you know we're going to see that shank again.)

There were lots of other continuing subplots (see below), but I spent the entire episode frustrated with Joe Caputo and waiting to find out what happened with Tiffany. And I was right -- Big Boo noticed the cheap bracelet and the bruises, and when she couldn't make Tiffany acknowledge that Charlie had raped her, Boo chose an effective bit of reverse psychology. You're for sale, so I'm purchasing your services. Tiffany cried. And so did I.


-- Suzanne apologized to Poussey for beating her up last season. Way overdue, and very sweet. Nicely done, the way they've slowly brought down the barriers between them with the Time Hump Chronicles.

-- I also liked that Angie apologized to Tiffany for treating her so badly. And that Tiffany would have covered for Angie anyway.

-- I'm starting to love it when O'Neill does something unexpected, like making up poems about nuns, or going on a rant about donuts. This time, he burst into song. "Do You Hear the People Sing?" is from Les Miserables.

-- I am so enjoying Lori Petty as Lolly. She belongs on this show. That scene in the bathroom with Alex, the CIA and the Vagisil was a hoot.

-- CO Donaldson discovered that he was Suzanne's muse. That was funny. At least until it led to Berdie getting into trouble. Berdie verbally taking down Healy was great, though.

-- The Soso versus Leanne story has now reached nasty high school levels. Soso confronted the cult about their lack of kindness, and Leanne responded by cutting off Soso's beautiful hair. I don't like where this is going, especially since Soso is fighting depression, Berdie has been suspended, and suicide has been mentioned so often this season.

-- Like Tiffany, Gloria has visible bruises, and Sophia has now lost all of her salon business.

-- Daya is a lot more pregnant all of a sudden. Maria understandably took it personally when Daya told her she was giving her baby away.

-- Red was reading a book entitled We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I read a synopsis that said it was a coming of age story with an animal experimentation theme.

-- I still haven't seen the last two episodes, but I'm willing to bet that if one of the employees turns Joe Caputo in to MCC, it'll be the morally bankrupt Luschek.

-- In this episode's hair report, bad wigs and big hair everywhere! Joe's flashback wigs were ridiculous. But I loved seeing Miss Rosa again, and with hair.


Fig: "Eww."
Caputo: "Gross."
Fig: "Your place depresses me. The walls are sticky with loneliness."

Alex: "I completely convinced myself that you were hooking up with that Stella chick."
Piper: "She has a Ninja Turtle tattoo."
Alex: "I know! And that annoying dingo-fucker accent."

Red: "Hardcore? I worked with the Russian mafia. We make the Italians look like guppies."

Red: "Don't fuck where you eat, or shit where you fuck. It's bad business."

Caputo: "The fish stinks from the head. And I am not the head. I am actually down by the gills somewhere."
Best line in the episode. Laugh out loud.

Wanda: "Poor Russell Crowe. The guy sings like a dead carp getting a blowjob."

Suzanne: "Vee treated me like a person. Everybody else thinks I'm a joke. She loved me. People need love."
Poussey: "I know."

Berdie: (to Healy) "I can't pin down whether you're a misogynist, or a racist, or a winning combination of the two."
That third one, Berdie.

A decent episode, but I'm still pissed that it was about one of the guys. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered me if we hadn't gotten the Bennett episode this season, too.

Two out of four gills,

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


Juliette said...

I like seeing episodes about the prison officers, including the male ones, as well as about the prisoners. I don't want to end up with shows about women that aren't interested in male characters to go with shows about men that aren't interested in female characters, and Caputo is such an essential part of the show I thought it was really important to get a better look at him and see what makes him tick (even if the backstory itself wasn't all that thrilling).

I loved the scene between Caputo and Angie, and the resigned way Angie said she had to try, even though she knew she wasn't likely to get away with it.

I actually liked Piper up until this season, but she's becoming increasingly unlikeable now, which is odd!

Logan Cox said...

They humanize the bitchy women so much on this show, I'd say it's fair to finally humanize some of the bitchy men who are responsible for them like Bennett, Healy and Caputo. OZ was a show about a men's prison and didn't shy away from examining the female staff working at the prison. Not sure I'd dig an episode exclusively about Cal, Luschek or Pornstache, though. As long as we aren't dealing with Jason Biggs's character again, I'm fine.

And yes, Piper is SO horrible. Someone needs to crush that ego of hers next season.

wendy m said...

the comment about tuesday wasn't about when joe and fig would hook up next. i didn't know this big of slang, but a friend pointed it out to me:

which makes fig's response, "I see what you did there." make much more sense.

mazephoenix said...

Absolutely agree about Oz and its female characters. They were important and treated as such. Especially loved Rita Moreno's tough nun and Edie Falco's (pre-Sopranos) CO.
One thing both shows have in common is: sometimes soapy predictable plots, but exceptionally rich layered characters.

Jess Lynde said...

For me, the best parts of this episode (and this season, in general) were the hugs and gestures of kindness between inmates. Suzanne and Poussey coming to a sort of understanding about everyone needing love, and reaching out to each other with a handshake was a really nice moment. A case of someone apologizing and the apology being accepted, which was a nice contrast to the "high school" stuff going on between Soso and Leanne. And to the assorted near misses with Sofia and Gloria.

And, of course, the comforting hug that Boo gave to Tiffany had me crying, too. Boo quickly recognizing what had happened and trying to find a way to get her friend to acknowledge her pain was pretty touching all around. And I really appreciated the attempt to address some of the victim (and self) blaming stuff that often happens with rape. It was so awful to hear Tiffany saying those things about how she led Coates on and it was all her fault that it happened. It's bad enough when outsiders say those kinds of things about a woman who's been raped, but to hear a victim saying it like she believed it was truly painful. And a wonderful demonstration of how damaging that line of thinking can be. I was so glad when Boo refused to buy into any of it and kept pushing to help Tiffany.

Healy sucks. A vengeful little man, indeed. And Piper really sucks now, too. I was thoroughly delighted when Alex gave her the boot.

martha.mcr said...

I don't have a lot of love or hatred or Joe Caputo; I'm pretty much neutral towards him, so this episode wasn't terribly interesting for me, but I was relieved to see that Big Boo came to Tiffany's rescue. She needed that so badly. And Berdie taking down Healy was long overdue. Healy is so slimy. No wonder he was interested in Piper at first. They're two of a kind. Kudos to Alex for dumping Piper, as well. However, Stella is almost certainly bad news.