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Orange is the New Black: Finger in the Dyke

"You need to decide whether your costume is worth what it's costing you."

This episode had a way obvious theme: the cost of pretense.

For her entire life, people have been treating Big Boo like she has no right to be who she is, and yet she has refused to be invisible, refused to pretend to be something she's not. Tempted by Pennsatucky's Eastberg Baptist money, Big Boo got a serious Sophia makeover and pretended to "walk the path of decency", but in the end, she just couldn't do it. Predictable? Of course. I didn't think she would go through with it. Maybe it would have been interesting if she had.

Big Boo's backstory was a bit predictable, too, although I enjoyed it more than Bennett's and Nicky's. At least she was lucky enough to have a good father who mostly loved his daughter just as she was, wearing boy's clothes and spouting obscenities. He acted as a buffer between Boo/Carrie and the mother who never accepted her, but he still kept trying to get Boo to behave and wear a "costume" every now and then -- like on picture-taking day at school, or when Boo's mother was dying. Of course, what Boo wears and how she looks isn't a "costume". It's who she is, and she should be accepted for who she is. Although it's too bad Boo didn't say goodbye to her mother.

Pennsatucky doesn't seem to have any problem accepting Boo as she is. Losing Angie and Leanne as best buds and followers has done Pennsatucky a lot of good, hasn't it? Of all the unlikely but somehow adorable pairings this show has given us, Big Boo and Pennsatucky are probably the unlikeliest, and possibly the most adorable. I particularly liked the way Boo showed she truly cared about Pennsatucky with, of all things, toothpaste. "Tomorrow we'll talk about flossing."

Caputo went full-on pretense as he took the MCC prison people through Litchfield and implied that everything was running fine and it all cost a lot less than it actually does. Yes, actually, there are no pregnant women here, ignore that pregnant woman who just accosted me. I get the feeling that MCC running things isn't going to be as wonderful as Caputo thinks it will be. But he did save the prison, and the guards all still have jobs. It's something, I guess.

But did he have to yell at Daya, who is trying to adjust to the idea that Bennett isn't coming back? Bennett isn't coming back, is he? What about Nicky? Is she gone forever, too? Natasha Lyonne is out of the opening credits (nooooo!) and poor Morello was crying constantly. (I swear I didn't recognize Morello at first without her perfect make-up and hairdo.)

The best part of the episode, mostly a reflection of Big Boo not saying goodbye to her mother, was Suzanne and Taystee. I hadn't realized that Suzanne knew Vee was dead, but chose not to believe it. Suzanne and Taystee hugging and crying as they finally accepted that the "mom" who treated them terribly was truly dead and gone was the best scene in the episode. (Also loved Suzanne wearing the mop, and nearly stripping in front of the MCC people.)

Of course, now Suzanne is fixated on Taystee. It has to be someone. And I was right about Healy fixating on Red. He's following her around, gifting her with rose seeds and wheelbarrows of dirt, touching her shoulder and calling her 'Galina'. Red did not look happy, and she shouldn't be. Healy's new devotion could be a major complication, and Red has no power in this situation.

Finally, I don't have much to say about our main character, Piper, who decided it was time to stop the pretense and tell her parents and brother that she has a girlfriend. For some reason, that seemed to require that she pull a When Harry Met Sally orgasm in the visiting room. Hey. At least Piper still has a mother.

Bits and pieces:

-- Piper's birthday is June 7. She's 32. I think that in Orange-land it's still the same year she was incarcerated, as in a couple of years ago. Alex made a mix tape list for Piper because she couldn't make her a real mix tape. That was sort of sweet.

-- Caputo and the MCC people talked about the "codified national meal schedule". I bet we're going to hear more about that.

-- A very upset Daya bummed a cigarette from Gloria. Let's hope it's just the one.

-- Are Cal and Neri actually going to open a meat-flavored ice cream parlor?

-- Nicky told Red that the little baggie was indeed Nicky's. That's sad. So was Red sniffing Nicky's hairbrush.

-- There are still no mattresses. Loved the Boo, Pennsatucky and Sister Ingalls scene at the dumpster with the cardboard, probably my second favorite scene in the episode.

-- Soso's friend Meadow seems to think prison is cool. Soso told her it wasn't, blew her off, and told her not to come back. I wonder if we're getting a Soso backstory this season?

-- Gloria's son Benito is out of control, and Gloria can't be a parent long distance. How awful for her.


Suzanne: "Vee's in trouble. I gotta tell her about the dragon that's coming."
Maybe Suzanne watches Game of Thrones.

Young Carrie: "I look like a thumb in a dress."

Piper: "I have a headache."
Alex: "What are you, a fifties housewife? We haven't had sex in a week."
Piper: "Lesbian bed death. It's a thing. Look it up."

Big Boo: "Leviticus 24601."
Sister Ingalls: "23:13, 20. Not Jean Valjean's prison number."
Big Boo: "Good catch."
Sister Ingalls: "Thou shalt not make musical references."

Big Boo: "Black and white. That's for zebras and Michael Jackson."
Pennsatucky: "Ain't he dead?"
Big Boo: "Exactly."

Flaca: "You got your period?"
Maritza: "Yes."
Flaca: "Me too."
Maritza: "It all makes sense now."

Luschek: "Am I at least allowed to ask what a vole is?"

MCC guy: "And you can fix that by yourself, honey?" (Caputo cringes)
Piper: "Ah sure can. If I concentrate extra hard with my lady brain."

Poussey: (re Judy King) "Presentation is everything."
Black Cindy: "Did you just say 'sprig'?"

MCC guy: "Great thing about men. They don't have uteruses."

I don't know. What would you guys give this one? How many voles out of four?

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


  1. The easiest way to keep track of time is Daya's pregnancy. She got pregnant early in the series, and, as she is still pregnant, it's safe to assume we're well within a year of Piper's incarceration. Hopefully we'll have a new metric to keep track of time once she has the baby.

  2. It does look like both Bennett and Nicky are gone - I was hoping we'd actually get to see Nicky in Max, but with Lyonne out of the credits I guess that's not gonna happen. And Bennett's flashback makes more sense now - he's a bit of a coward - but I still miss him, and mostly I blame Matt McGorry for presumably being too busy on How To Get Away With Murder!

    I didn't recognise Morello either, she looks so different!

  3. We are very much in sync on this one, Billie. I really like the friendship that's building between Boo and Pennsatuckey. And I loved the toothpaste as a sign of the genuine care developing between them. I also agree that this privatization thing probably isn't the godsend that Caputo thinks it is. To quote Star Wars: "I have a bad feeling about this." Much like I do about the Healy and Red situation. It is entirely inappropriate, and I feel really bad for Red. Healy can be a vengeful prick.

    Taystee and Suzanne mourning together was definitely the moment that affected me the most this week. I think it was seeing the pain on Taystee's face as she started to break down that got to me. I cried, too.

    Even though this one still had too much Piper and Alex couple crap, I would give it three voles out of four. Mostly because (1) it made me cry, (2) I did like getting a bit more on Boo's history, and (3) Daya start to face painful reality a bit. But I'm not liking Healy's increased attention on Red.

  4. OMG!!! Bennet is on How to Get Away With Murder!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I didn't realize that.

    Boo and Pensatucky are adorable. The new Taystee and Poussey for me. I enjoy every one of their scenes together.

  5. Ditto on the Boo and Pensatucky affection. They've done a great job of humanizing both of those characters.

  6. If you'd told me back in season one I would care about Pennsatucky AT ALL, I'd have said you were flat out crazy, but sure enough... I love the way this show writes its characters (particularly the supporting ones). They're not evil, not good, not heartless criminals, not innocent victims of the system. They're all so real and so different. Best part of the show.

  7. I really liked this episode. It was really nice overall as well as having several amazing moments. I thought it was really funny when the CO whose name I don't know told the MCC people that all the women's periods sync up so they just have a bad couple of days each month. It sounded sexist, but then Flaca and Maritza proved he was right with their conversation.

    I also liked when Piper talked about her "lady brain" the one woman in the MCC group seemed to stifle a smile.


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