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Orange is the New Black: Fear, and Other Smells

"We all process in our own way."

Have we ever gotten Alex flashbacks without Piper before? I don't think we have. It gave us a little insight into her character. Although I think we already knew that Alex had a hidden marshmallow center.

Tough girl Alex was deeply shaken when her mother died, so upset that she made a stupid mistake and got Fahri, one of her co-workers, killed. Kubra said it was because Fahri didn't buy the burners, but we all know that it was to scare the crap out of his remaining employees and specifically, Alex. Whom he then sent to rehab. Wow, Alex was lucky.

But she's not any more. Lolly is definitely watching Alex for a reason. And I doubt that it's loooove. Maybe Alex's paranoia has been right on target all along.

In the flashbacks, Alex's mother Diane got a lousy pre-packaged funeral, which reminded me of the lousy pre-packaged food that the inmates are now getting. And that gave Piper the hook she needed in the form of Ramen flavor packets (gag) to rope in some inmates to... how to phrase this delicately... make the panties marketable? Piper's inspirational speech to the inmates may have been my favorite Piper moment ever. I was actually thinking that all her speech needed was inspirational music, just as inspirational music started to swell in the background. "Make a reek to last a thousand years!" Laugh out loud.

Funny how this situation with the kosher meals happened right before the food became inedible, and of course, Danny Pearson has noticed the increased demand and added expense, which he took to his meeting in Utica. We learned that Danny works for his father, which makes a lot of sense. Caputo is blaming Danny for everything and singing nasty songs at a Side Boob rehearsal about Danny being the Warden, but Danny actually did try to get books for the library and a job training program, and failed because the company is cheap and nasty and even has executives who tell insensitive Nazi jokes. It's sad that the indecisive and easily led Danny might be the most decent executive they have. Especially for the inmates, because of course, it's only going to get worse.

Again, Suzanne's magnum porn opus, "Time Hump Chronicles", was a big highlight of this episode for me. Suzanne was confused about her newfound popularity, but she's going with it and acquiring friends and admirers, which might even help her emotionally. I'm more worried about Suzanne's biggest fan, Poussey, who is still drinking, and who just joined Norma's cult. Poussey needs love and attention and probably good psychotherapy, not a cult.

And again, Poussey the alcoholic and Soso the blabbermouth have so much in common. Wouldn't it be nice if they found each other? At least Berdie, whom I'm starting to like, was able to get Soso away from Healy. I mean, really. Soso is deeply depressed, and a trained counselor writes a prescription and tells her that the secret of depression is that it's all in your head? And that misogynistic rant to Berdie? Healy is such a see-saw character. All we saw this time was his down side.

Finally, the baby situation took a surprising turn when Daya discovered that Aleida was shaking down "Lady 'Stache" for cash, and decided to tell Ms. Mendez the truth. I wonder if she'll go to the authorities and try to get her son George out of prison? Won't Daya get in even worse trouble? George did commit the crime, though; he did have sex with an inmate, which is rape whether it's consensual or not. Maybe Lady 'Stache will go the other way and offer to adopt the baby, anyway. No, that would be too good to be true.

Bits and pieces:

-- Piper is working on Bayley, her prospective panty mule. She literally batted her eyelashes at him. I hope she wasn't serious about sexual favors.

-- Black Cindy is studying Jewish culture and is obviously getting into it. This is another subplot that I'm very much enjoying.

-- Pennsatucky and Charlie the donut guy went on a donut adventure together and discussed pastry self-awareness, slave-trading and suicide. Very funny. And then they fed donuts to the ducks.

-- Healy still has a thing for Red.

-- Benito and Michael have become friends. Gloria and Sophia aren't wildly happy about it. Crystal also wasn't all that happy that Michael tried to sneak a girl into his room.

-- Lolly approached Alex in the yard while waving a branch of poison ivy. (See photo top right.) I love the symbolism on this show. Absolutely love it.

-- Speaking of Lolly, Lori Petty is doing a terrific job with the character. You know something huge is going on with her, but not exactly what it is. I think she really loves Litchfield because as awful as it is, it's so much better than what she had. If she is indeed Kubra's assassin, maybe the possibility of losing Litchfield will keep her from carrying it out?


Black Cindy: "Count your blessings. You could be eating poop Wellington with the rest of the gentiles."

Black Cindy: "I just want to say I'm also on team Rodcocker, but I like that dude you introduced in chapter three who was made of Vaseline. Ooh, that shit was hot. But also tragic."

Big Boo: "Pawns are called pawns for a reason, hmm? They're minesweepers, uneducated militants with suicide vests. You must protect your important people."
Maybe Kubra considered Alex to be one of his important people. Which would make Fahri the pawn, right?

Piper: "Perhaps you've noticed the food is inedible now."
Big Boo: "If you took a shit, then your shit took a shit and became mayor of Detroit, that wouldn't even come close to the level of shittiness of that food."

Piper: "I'm like American Apparel with less implied statutory rape."

Suzanne: "Don't blame me. I'm but a lowly instrument to the muses."

Poussey: "Love is just sex without the money shot."

Two out of four suicidal donuts,

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


  1. Well, even though I paced my viewing reasonably well this season, I got ahead of you, Billie. I just finished the season yesterday. But I took notes on my reactions along the way, so hopefully I can still provide some commentary free of future knowledge.

    I was very much in sync with you on this episode. I thought the flashbacks did a nice job of showing us that Alex's deep paranoia had a solid basis, helping us to understand her perspective. And I was surprised by the reveals with Danny. I had thought he was just shining Caputo on all along this season, and was shocked to learn that while he doesn't know what he's doing, he is trying.

    Piper's recruitment speech was really, really hilarious. I loved the way her audience got into it, but then they capped the scene with "You had me at flavor packets." So funny.

    On the other hand, the Healy/Red thing is the worst. From my notes: "Well, hell. Perhaps she has turned him on even more. Dammit." I don't know what the writers are thinking with this. Do they want us to find this appealing? Or more evidence of how horrible and inappropriate he is?

    I also had the same thoughts about Daya's subplot. I was so glad she told the truth, but was incredibly concerned about the potential blow back. From my notes: "Any chance this has a happy ending where Mama Stache adopts the baby anyway? But with no lies and payouts involved?"

  2. I completely understand why you finished the season ahead of me, Jess. If I weren't reviewing it, I would have finished it by now, too. :)

    Maybe the writers are just alternating seasons with Healy. Season one bad, season two good, season three bad again. I don't think that Red will get romantically involved with him because the viewers would probably revolt, but I've most certainly been wrong before. OMG, do I hope not.

  3. I never know how to process assorted romantic developments on this show. Often the show treats pairings that I find deeply disturbing as though they are sweet and romantic. As though we are supposed to root for certain couples and find their connection sweet, when everything about the situation is deeply f***ed up. Whereas other times, they seem to recognize how messed up it is. So when they start hinting at potential romances --- especially between inmates and guards/counselors --- it tends to make me nervous. Do they think this is somehow sweet, or do they realize that it is all kinds of messed up? Should I get preemptively angry, or can I trust that they'll play it out in a satisfying way? They've got a shaky track record with me.

  4. I loved Piper's speech for all the reasons already mentioned, but also because of the contrast between that and Alex's flashbacks. Piper is refusing to take Alex's fear seriously because at bottom, she's still a sheltered woman whose life, while full of emotional issues, hadn't included much in the way of actual physical threat before she ended up in prison. Alex was in deeper and saw how bad things can get, which gives her an awareness, and therefore a fear, Piper doesn't share while she's reveling in her new business plan.

  5. With all the issues about the guards all getting their hours cut, I keep thinking "Don't they have a union?" I'm fairly certain there is a national union for corrections officers, and the union would throw a fit if their members were all reduced to part-time.


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