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Orange is the New Black: Bed Bugs and Beyond

"Jesus. What a clusterknuckle."

Just the title of this episode made me cringe. I kept scratching myself as I was watching.

I don't know why it surprised me that it was Bennett's turn for a backstory. No, wait. Yes, I do know. It's because this is a series about women in prison and he's not a woman in prison. Honestly, I was a little pissed off about it. Plus I was truly confused about his experiences as a lipsynching fobbit soldier with very white teeth and a travel iron. Was the grenade scene at the end about how he lost his leg? I thought he got it from an infection in a hot tub?

Bennett's visit to Cesar confused me a bit, too. What did Bennett think he was going to find, an actual living situation where he could dump the baby until Daya got out? A nice home where the patriarch doesn't pull a gun on a child to make him eat leftover fries? At least Cesar was kind enough to offer Bennett a crib that his latest unfortunate baby mama actually needed. And then Bennett rejected the Cesar option by leaving that symbolic gift by the side of the road. (I was thinking practically, couldn't Bennett have said "I'll come by for it later", and never come by? How is Cesar's girlfriend going to manage with a baby and no crib?)

Aleida was also trying to figure out where her grandbaby would go while Daya finished her 37 month sentence, and hey, I get it. Mrs. Mendez (Mary Steenburgen, who is everywhere these days) has the resources, and her heart appears to be in the right place. So what if she's not actually the baby's grandmother? A comfortable room of his or her own and clean towels in a nice bathroom really is important.

Maybe that was the point of the whole metaphorical bedbug plot, since the inmates of Litchfield, who had so little before, now have even less. Lying on a metal tray instead of a mattress is not fun. Neither is walking around in a garbage bag, or a piece of blue paper, or even your bra and panties all day in front of a lot of nasty guards. Or scratching all the time because you know something is biting you, even if you can't feel it.

This episode was also about lying, because Red's anger at her family and at Piper got the Piper-naming-Alex situation out into the open. I'm glad it was already resolved and won't be dragged out for the rest of the season. And hey, at least Piper has learned to appreciate cockroaches.

But poor Red. She went to Healy for help because she needed to express her anger that her husband lied to her about something so very important to her, and Healy yelled at her that her husband's feelings were what counted, not hers. Clearly, Healy was wrapped up in his own marital issues and projecting. And now that I'm thinking about it, the Bennett plot was about Bennett's feelings, not Daya's. Wasn't it?

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, the prison is being closed down, the prisoners will be transferred, and all of the staff are going to lose their jobs. Please tell me that these women won't have to sleep on metal trays for the next two months? (Especially Daya.) It's bad enough that Caputo is burning the books. My second favorite moment in this episode was Taystee forcing herself to eat a bedbug that was most definitely not a muffin crumb in an unsuccessful attempt to save her library. If Caputo doesn't care any more, things could even get worse. Is it a good thing that this filthy, mismanaged prison is going to close, or a bad thing?

Actually, my favorite part of this episode wasn't Bennett's parental crisis or Alex and Piper having hot sex in the library. It was by far and away Black Cindy's dance with the disinfectant. Tits, pits, and naughty bits.
Little spray here, little spray there
Little spray in my underwear
Makes the buggies back off
Makes the buggies piss off
Makes the buggies back way the fuck, way the fuck off
Character bits:

-- Bennett proposed to Daya with a ring made of gum wrappers because gum was how they met. That was sweet.

-- Piper came to the realization that she is manipulative. But she knew that already, and so did we.

-- Suzanne is going to go ballistic when she finds out Vee is dead.

-- Poussey, who made a fashion statement with a shell necklace, is really into the voodoo egg thing. What's up with Poussey? Something serious, I think.

-- Cesar told Bennett that Aleida ruined Daya's quinceanera party by getting drunk, falling on the cake, and catching on fire. Sounds like Aleida.

More bits:

-- Who took the stash that Nicky and Big Boo were going to sell through Luschek? Was it Big Boo? I thought that Luschek would probably sell the dope and not give them their cut anyway, but there is no dope now.

-- More suicide talk, this time with Luschek, Nicky, and car exhaust.

-- Red didn't lose her bunk or Piper as her roomie while she was in the hospital. Why was she in the transition bunk room with Alex and Sister Ingalls, then?

-- Gloria used oatmeal to cure the bedbugs. Soso said they should use bean leaves.

-- This episode's feminine hygiene product was one of the prisoners making a mattress out of maxipads.

-- I wonder how the director decided which actresses got to wear blue paper, which got the garbage bags, and which of them had to go around in bras and panties?


Gloria: "You hear the one about the pregnant bedbug? She gave birth in the spring."
Maritza: "But these are just pads. We don't got springs."

Red: "Nice is for cowards and Democrats."
So politically incorrect of you, Red.

Ms. Mendez: "I have two other boys. One is in dental school and the other is an art historian."
Aleida: "So you raised a sadist, a dentist and a homo. Two sadists and a homo."
So politically incorrect of you, Aleida.

Caputo: "This is not Three Men and a Baby. You and Mendez are not Guttenberg and Selleck. You are two morons and a ward of the state."

Suzanne: "I will potato her at a future time."

Taystee: "This is like the Titanic of bad ideas. Like we're steering out the way of bedbugs and crashing into an iceberg of chemical burns and shit."
Black Cindy: "Please. My grammy used to douche with disinfectant."

Nicky: "Speaking allegorically..."
Luschek: "You want to talk about Al Gore?"

Alex: "I'm literally garbage."

Red: "I married a pillow. Always soft, lumpy and lying behind my back."

Piper: "You just described my mother. She's a kibun ninja, or whatever the Korean version of ninja is. And then the WASP version of that."
Red: "Awaken your inner Russian."
Piper: "No more bullshit."
Red: "Nostrovia. The world is better in black and white. And red."

Didn't much like this one. Two out of four… what do you think? Potatoes, kibun ninjas, or travel irons? Because it isn't going to be bedbugs,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. And the Google ad beneath my review screams, "Kill Bed Bugs in Seconds!"

  2. I liked this one, but I could see the flaws in it as well. I'm not sure there was a good enough reason to explore the Bennett backstory, besides the fact that this is a show about women, it didn't really give us any meaningful information about him as a character. They could've done a Daya backstory, showing us that likely hilarious birthday cake scene, and kept the stuff about Bennett and Cesar in the present.

    Anyway, I loved Black Cindy and her bug dance.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the prison going under, it doesn't seem like a great place, and probably should shut down. But then our characters will be scattered, and that doesn't sit right with me either.

    I think the under/paper uniform choice was made based on character personality. Big Boo wouldn't have bothered, and neither would Alex (although Alex had enough presence of mind to improvise with a plastic bag). Piper would've naturally been one of the first to grab one, and so would Red. I think it makes sense broken down like that, at least to an extent.

    Piper and Alex seem to have a hate/hate = love/love relationship. They clearly have feelings for each other that aren't entirely healthy, but at the same time they can't deny that there is something deeper there too.

    Great review, and decent episode. I'm looking forward to the next one.

  3. Red: "Nice is for cowards and Democrats."

    Red gets some of the best lines.

    This episode did make me really itchy, though.

  4. The only thing about the Bennett focus that made me happy is that it seemed to reinforce what a disillusioned idiot he is. For me, he and Daya have never been a cute couple trying to overcome circumstances and the odds. The whole relationship was a horrible idea from the jump, and they've created a terrible mess. There is no happily ever after here. There is only suffering and heartbreak, and I'm concerned the baby is the one that will suffer the most. (Can you tell I was less than thrilled with the proposal scene? :) ) Aleida may have been angling for a payday with Grandma Mendez, but she felt like the only one making sense when arguing for the chance to give the kid a better shot and his own room. I hope Daya wakes up and lets go of her romantic fantasies soon.

    I, too, am thrilled that Piper dropping a dime on Alex is out in the open already. The less time spent on their "let's constantly betray each other" dynamic, the better. Those two are just as unhealthy as Daya and Bennett.

    I'm with J.D. on the prison situation: it seems like a place that should maybe be shut down, but I hate the thought of the makeshift "family" being scattered to the winds.

  5. Edit: I meant to call Bennett a "deluded" idiot, not a "disillusioned" one. (Although I guess there's a chance he's just been disillusioned by Cesar.) Ack! I so often wish there was an edit function for the comments. :)

  6. I was really happy to get Bennett's backstory, because I love Bennett, he's one of my favourite characters. I know I'm in the minority on that one! I can't help it, I'm a sucker for sappy love stories, even though I can tell that this one is heading straight for disaster and has been from the beginning. I can't help it, I like characters who are daft, sometimes deeply stupid, but well intentioned.

  7. I don't think Bennet lost his leg in the grenade scene, thanks to the soldier who was a lot braver than he was.

    The crib that Cesar gave Bennet looked like a drop-side crib, which new standards tell us are unsafe, so it's probably for the best that no baby is using it.