Orange is the New Black: Appropriately Sized Pots

Posted on June 26, 2014

Orange-Is-The-New-Black-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-Review-Television-TV-ShowLaverne Cox, Lin Tucci and Taylor Schilling in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”

 

“No one gives a shit about old ladies. We remind everyone that they’re going to die.”

The twin core themes of privilege and power took center stage with this episode, and we found ourselves surprised to be a little relieved that Vee was sidelined, for the most part. She’s absolutely the most compelling character in the story right now, aided in no small part by Lorraine Toussaint’s buzz-worthy performance, but she’s in danger of overwhelming all the other characters. And besides, it gets depressing watching her set all those friends against each other week in and week out.  “I don’t trust any of you crazy bitches,” Gloria says smartly, effectively shutting this storyline down until the next episode.

Instead we get a much-welcome focus on Rosa, who has no power and no privilege at all in her current situation, the result of which is her impending death. Healy informs her that her cancer has advanced and that the state won’t be paying for her oophorectomy. Then he reprimands her for saying “fuck.” You’re not even allowed to have a normal emotional reaction in prison, even as you’re delivered the news that you will be dying. He impotently tells her that she has to remain positive but she calls him useless, a response that had us clutching our imaginary pearls because he tends to not react well to women cutting him down. But he’s been getting some well-executed character rehab this season. He’s not what we’d truly be able to call a sympathetic character, just because his paranoid ideas about women are so screwed up, but he’s at least someone who’s trying to do good at the moment. This could change at any time, since he’s so petulant, but it’s encouraging that he stood up to being called useless by Rosa and dealt calmly (for the most part) with Piper’s ungratefulness and didn’t wind up punishing someone else because a woman was mean to him. That’s about as much growth as you can expect out of anyone in a place like Litchfield.

Anyway, back to Rosa. Literally. She gets her flashback, which led to claps of glee from us over her perfectly rendered circa 1980 wardrobe. Between Rosa and the Golden Girls, we’re loving the focus on characters that could have been left as nothing but background. It’s to the show creators’ credit that they saw the value in opening this world up a little bit. And it’s no surprise that they’re mining the older women for stories just as well as they did every other group so far. Like Lorna and Cindy, Rosa’s past reveals a true criminality, rather than a victim who made bad choices. On the contrary, Rosa loved being a criminal and got turned on by it. There doesn’t seem to be the slightest hint of regret, except that she was so unprofessional as to wind up in prison. She still misses the thrill of armed robbery and the smell of cash. “I always pictured going out in a blaze of glory,” she says sadly. But she manages to get one last thrill as she and her little chemo buddy mount a heist in the middle of their treatments. It’s a sweet way to not only give this character depth, but to show that an older person and a very young one can sometimes make connections in the unlikeliest of manners and settings. “Enjoy your life, shitpot.” It’s the most heartfelt advice she could’ve given, knowing how much she misses the part of her life she enjoyed the most.

On the privilege side of the aisle, we get Piper, the pretty blonde white girl who once again gets something no one else can ever recall getting in the history of Litchfield: a furlough, to visit her dying grandmother. Healy wound up pushing for it partially because Rosa called him “useless” and partially because he feels he owes Piper for almost getting her killed last season. But let’s face it: the number one motivating factor for Healy was the fact that she’s a pretty white girl, even though he’d never admit it. And while Piper can admit it to her very angry and jealous co-inmates, she does so in such a defiant and begrudging way that we may have cheered a little when Suzanne threw her dessert at her. And we all know how much importance Suzanne places on the act of dessert-throwing.

Brook Soso is turning out to be less of a parody of Piper and more as some sort of a rebuke to her. Annoying she may be, but we’re starting to admire her for having real principles and doing her best not to compromise them. She’s doomed to failure on this front – especially veganism in prison – but it’s impressive how long her attempts at reform, protest, and community-building are still going strong.  “I am demonstrating passive resistance,” she cries when forced to take a shower, not realizing yet she’s no longer a person to these people. It’s a little sad, a little funny, and a little admirable all at the same time. She’s sincere all the way through. Compare that to Piper, who takes up a seconds-long interest in knitting with the Golden Girls, just because she wants to talk about her dying grandmother. Brook, for all her annoyances, is more real than Piper is by a mile.

Of course that doesn’t mean we didn’t laugh out loud at Pennsatucky’s “YOU SMELL LIKE A FUCKING TURTLE TANK.” A true hillbilly poet, that one. Joking aside, ‘Tucky’s finding out that which Red and Vee already know: you have no power in prison if you don’t have people willing to give it to you. None of the other former members of her posse respect her anymore, leaving her to rant somewhat impotently. We’re surprised by how much we feel sorry for her.

In the continuing saga of abuse constantly begetting more abuse in this world, Figueroa gets gum on her Louboutins, notices all the contraband floating around, and tears into Caputo, who goes on a week-long rampage of shot quotas, accusations, pot-throwing (literally) and ultimately, firing Fischer for having the bad taste to date Luzchek. We’re supposed to feel sorry for him, or like he’s being pulled in all directions, but he’s starting to become as bad as the ever-worsening Figueroa, in terms of weirdly broad characterization that almost doesn’t fit in the show. We can’t roll our eyes hard enough at the idea of an assistant warden walking through a prison in a pair of 700-dollar shoes and then complaining she got gum on them. We’re not asking for hard realism here, but that’s just straight-up cartoon character silliness. As for Caputo, they just keeping hammering home the same points of sexual frustration and pressure from above causing him to make all these dick moves, but it’s just not working all that well. They already have the frustrated, emasculated, power-abusing male character in Healy. And they don’t let that guy make any decision – down to what color dress to buy his wife – without agonizing over it, explaining the reasons for it, and exploring the consequences of it. Why are they trying to repeat these concepts in another character when they’ve already beaten them to death in the first one? There’s got to be more to Caputo and Healy than just being sexually frustrated middle-aged white guys who hate their bosses; especially if you’re going to have their actions and decisions resonate so much. Or maybe there’s nothing more interesting to say about them than that, but we wouldn’t want to hang a whole season on exploring such themes in a show like this. Give us more stories about women of every shape and color. Leave the white-guy angst for … practically every other television show ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein for Netflix]

    • Danielle

      Raise your hand if you totally thought Rosa was Russian until this episode.

      • ErikaM812

        Yep! I didn’t know who the flashback was about because she was Latina. I thought she was the crazy lady with the secret cell phone, that that’s how she looked with plucked eyebrows and tamed hair.

        • Kathy_Marlow

          I did too!

        • mandalala

          100% thought it was the cell phone lady too!

        • Faerie Nuff

          I totally thought that, too. I didn’t even notice all the old cars because I’m so used to seeing them in Supernatural. It didn’t occur to me that ALL the cars in the flashback were old cars, so it must have been the 70′s or 80′s.

          • demidaemon

            I do really appreciate how well they set the time periods in these flashbacks, despite not giving us exact times. The wardrobe and set designers are doing great work this season.

        • PaintingChef

          ME TOO! And then I felt like SUCH an idiot. It didn’t hit me until she smelled the money. I felt like such a moron but I am seriously relieved to know it wasn’t just me.

        • silvertreese

          I did too!

      • ShaoLinKitten

        I didn’t think she was Latina. Italian, maybe. But I guess her name is Cisneros (according to the OitNB wiki). Huh.

        • Gatto Nero

          Wouldn’t Cisneros be Greek?

          • ShaoLinKitten

            No. Cisneros is a Mexican name AFAIK.

            • Gatto Nero

              Ah — thank you.
              They were clearly speaking Spanish, but I didn’t connect that with the name.

            • KinoEye

              Seconded. My high school was overwhelmingly Hispanic, and I can’t tell you how many Cisneroses (Cisneri?) I knew.

            • CKMia

              It’s Spanish, from Spain. (There really is no such thing as a “Mexican” surname.) There is a town in Spain called Cisneros (from the word “cisne” which means “swan” in Spanish). #TheMoreYouKnow

            • ShaoLinKitten

              I should have said, “The Cisneroses I knew were Mexican.”

      • Andrew Schroeder

        Many people online still seem to think she’s latina, despite the fact that they were clearly speaking Italian.

        • ShaoLinKitten

          No, it’s definitely Spanish. I thought Rosa was Italian right up until this ep, when she and her boyfriend were talking in the car.

          • KinoEye

            Argggh, you’re right. To the untrained ear (mine), Spanish and Italian can sound very similar if you’re not listening closely.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              I grew up living with an Italian grandma, so I was able to suss it out. Also, the young Rosa is clearly speaking with a Latina accent, though the older Rosa’s accent is far more ambiguous, and definitely could be mistaken for Russian, Italian, or something else entirely.

            • Sarah

              I think her spanish sounds very South American. Like, Argentina.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              Funny you should say that– just looked up the actress. Her name is Stephanie Andujar. She’s American, but Andujar is the last name of the goal keeper for the Argentinian World Cup soccer team.

            • Sarah

              I have spent some time in south-South America, and Their Spanish is spoken in that rolling sort of way – less clipped – than Central American Spanish. That’s what made me think that.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              I bow down to the excellence of your ear. The best I could do was realize that it was Spanish and not Italian.

            • Sarah

              Ha. I’m the only person in my family (Dad: 4, Mom: 4, Sister: TWELVE, Brother: 2) who doesn’t have a second language. I can speak/read enough Spanish to get by, but I am not a language master. I was SO proud of myself when I managed to say “Another water, please” to a waiter in Peru, all by myself :)

            • ShaoLinKitten

              I can understand Italian kinda, and enough Spanish to keep up with a foreign movie, but can only speak rudimentarily. I wish I were more fluent.

            • Sarah

              Definitely on my bucket list. I’m not trying to beat my sis – she worked as an interpreter at NASA, so that’s how she got all those. Spanish, though, I feel like another few months of immersion and I’d have it.

            • Lucía Gavello

              Well, I am Argentinian and she sure doesn’t sound Argentinian to me. It’s definitely spanish though ;)

            • Sarah

              Ha, ruined my theory. Good to know. Glad somebody who knows what’s up was able to weigh in!

            • Andrew Schroeder

              Lol, so did I. It definitely sounded more Italian than Spanish to me, but I guess not.

            • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

              To the trained ear they sound pretty similar! They are very close linguistically, and phonetically with the rolled “r.” Once you’ve learned one of the romance languages, it’s a cinch to pick up another.

            • Sarah

              That’s why my sister has so many languages. She learned French as a baby, then did Latin in H.S. From that, she was able to pick up Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese. She also majored in Russian in college, so she has a bunch of eastern European languages as well. It’s like she’s a human translating machine.

            • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ Alicia

              My Italian comprehension is OK – I can generally understand what people are saying and can read it well enough to cook from Italian cookbooks – but I do not understand spoken Spanish at all.

      • KinoEye

        I… thought she was speaking Italian?

      • schadenfreudelicious

        I didnt think Russian (her accent was wrong, and there would have been a more obvious connection with Red), but it was difficult to place till the flashbacks..

      • French_Swede

        Yeah, I think her accent changes all the time but I definitely got a Russian/Eastern European vibe from Rosa.

        • Kristin McNamara

          Eastern European is what I thought too. My mother’s family is Hungarian and Yugoslavian (well, Serbian now) and when her relatives speak English, they sound like older Rosa (to my ears).

      • CKMia

        Rosa is Cuban. The fact that a non-Spanish speaking actress plays her may account for the ambiguous accent. (See Pacino, Al, in Scarface.)

        • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

          I agree–I heard younger-Rosa’s Spanish as being the rapid-fire/rolled r’s Cuban Spanish I heard in Miami when I was in high school there (I’d spent a few years in Honduras beforehand, and the dialect and delivery of Honduran Spanish are quite different.)

          ETA: The New York Daily News writes that Stephanie Andujar (young Rosa) is a “young nuyorican actress”, then, in the article, says she’s Puerto Rican. She was born in NYC.

      • tamsta99

        Yes, I was so confused by the accents. Her present-day accent and her flashback accent are so different. Not to mention, they really missed the mark in casting the young Rosa. That woman doesn’t look like Rosa at all. It was worse than how young Piper looks nothing like present-day Piper.

        The discrepancy *almost* ruined the thrill of Rosa the bank robbery and her string of sexy lovahs! Almost…

        • Tina M.

          Wow, I disagree about the casting. I thought the two actresses had nearly identical eyes and smiles, which helped bridge a 30-year gap. What I did see was how the life seemed to be out of modern-Rosa until the heist and then at the end where she smells her cash, you got little hints of the younger actress’ performance.

          The accents are still noticeably different, and I like most of you was shocked to find out she was Cuban, but I think you can hear Barbara Rosenblat massaging her performance to sound more Hispanic.

          • demidaemon

            We also have to take into the account the fact that, unlike someone like Miss Claudette (who has been in prison for a relatively short time and was arrested in her later years), Miss Rosa has been in prison for a long time and, no doubt, cancer and chemotherapy are going to affect her physical features greatly.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        I didn’t notice the discrepancy — I was spellbound by how they cast a younger actress who had exactly her face shape.

        • JaneG

          Agree. Which will be proven in a later ep.

      • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

        That was a misstep, but the intention is SO GOOD that I’m happy to just roll with it.

    • MilaXX

      I’m beginning to wonder if that’s my issue with the Healy character. Maybe it’s the one two combo of Healy and Caputo being useless man 1 & 2. On to Rosa. I loved her backstory and her ongoing issues with in present day. It only makes sense that a prison story would have those who actually made bad choices on purpose as well as those who were victims of circumstance

    • ShaoLinKitten

      Nitpick: it’s spelled Luschek. Pronounced “loose check.” Like a… loose check.

    • lecoffeeaddict

      Definitely have a new obsession with Rosa. Like full-blown obsession. The bitch rocks.

      • Sobaika

        Absolutely agree about Rosa. I feel about her the way white millennial men feel about Walrer White.

        • Fay Dearing

          I just gotta say A++++++ comment. I never understood my (now ex) boyfriend’s obsession with Walter White until just now. It finally makes sense!

        • KinoEye

          I’m a huge fan of Breaking Bad, but I always saw Walter for what he was: Totally self-serving, greedy, cowardly, and at times, pure, unadulterated evil. A lot of people in that demographic you mention didn’t seem to understand that, if anything, that show was a critique/indictment of hypermasculinity — NOT an endorsement of it. Ugh.

          • http://armchairauthor.wordpress.com/ LesYeuxHiboux

            KinoEye this is why I dig your comments. You have a keen…eye.

            • KinoEye

              Haha, thanks! You made my morning. You’re always a good read, too! :-)

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        I love her conversations with the teenage punk. “We sit here for three hours, and you’re not that interesting.”

      • JaneG

        Lets petition for a Rosa spinoff, where a young Rosa rob banks everyday with her posse.

    • Gerry Coleman

      What’s interesting to me about Caputo and Healy is not so much where they have ended up (as you say, sexually frustrated middle-aged guys), but that they got there from such different places. Caputo admits to being an ex-hippie do-gooder type who “thought he could make a difference” but got stuck in a dead-end position because he doesn’t have political connections. Versus Healy, who seems to come from a more blue-collar background and worked his way up through the ranks. Another (and ultimately a literal) take on the sportcoat-and-tie college boy vs. the uniformed townie.

    • ShaoLinKitten

      I think you’re right about Healy and Caputo replicating similar roles. I am far more invested in Healy. “Petulant” is the perfect word for him. It’s obvious why he went into women’s corrections. It’s positively Freudian. He’s a nicely drawn character who I vacillate between pitying and hating. I am glad to see him trying to raise his consciousness, but I’m sure he’s doomed to fail. It’s sad that what he wants most is female approval, but sabotages himself at every turn with his pettiness and anger. I’m not really sure what Caputo’s deeper motivations are. I was sure after the first episode he was going to be a sexual predator, but I guess he contents himself with masturbating and chasing after women who aren’t interested in him. Overall, the character is rather pointless.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        WOW, I never realized the significance of Healy taking a job counseling wayward women. WOW.

      • demidaemon

        The sexual predator role was clearly taken (Pornstache), and I think the writers really struggled to define both him and Fig, as they fulfill similar roles. As Fig is obviously the bureaucrat everyone loves to hate, Caputo, right low, lacks development. He just needs to be defined better.

      • oldscrumby

        I think they’re trying to make him a once decent guy ultimately broken by his job with most of the pressure coming from above. It plays into why he was so attracted to Fischer who was still a young, idealistic person who just wanted to do the best by her charges; she was what he once was and maybe saw himself as still kinda being; harder and a little more cynical than he started out but still a good steward who ultimately gives a damn. But that’s really not the case, as evidenced by his willingness to snap to whatever FIg wants. Fischer getting fired for protesting the quotas was less about her talking back to a superior than Caputo’s own sense of failure.

    • KinoEye

      Rosa was my favorite character of the season. As mentioned in the review, she’s another one of those inmates who isn’t a victim of circumstance — she LOVED what she did, and would still be doing it if she could. Once again, how refreshing to see a female character who’s bad because she wants to be. She’s a character with true agency, at least in her past. Which makes her current situation kind of tragic. It’s the mark of great writing when you sympathize with a bank-robbing murderer: Rotting from the inside out in a jail cell is the worst possible end-life scenario for a person like Rosa. I can’t help it — I want her to get her “blaze of glory” in the end.

      • semirose

        Yes! I loved that about her. I mean I love that the show shows how people who aren’t necessarily bad end up in prison and how the system is broken etc but there are plenty of people who wanted to commit the crimes they did because that’s what they wanted to do. It’s what I liked about Alex in the first season when she was talking with Nikki about how she was good at selling drugs and loved it. Rosa was the true star of the season to me (with Poussey in a close second).

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        I love it too! Especially with her string (or a couple) of men who die dramatically in her wake. :) Just like a male hero! It brings a tear to my eye.

        • demidaemon

          She is a great gender switch of a very old trope.

      • JaneG

        This is my favorite episode because of exactly that. Thanks for fixing the words in my head into a coherent thought. :)

    • Dino Bonačić

      Rosa is one hell of a character, not only because of the last episode (woot woot for ones who watched it already) but for her really smooth style in prison life.

      Is it weird I hope being that kind of an old person one day? :3

      • KinoEye

        I’m right there with ya. If I’m anything like Rosa in old age, I’ll consider myself a success. Apart from the murdering and robbing. But then again, she found something she really loved and excelled at it. This is something to aspire to. Sans murder and robbery, of course.

        • Dino Bonačić

          Absolutely !! I also think the fact that we can watch a criminal-driven TV show and have a need to personalize and compassionate the characters is a big bundle of kudos for the writers, producers & actresses!

    • Sarah

      Rosa’s story was awesome. I liked this episode a lot. The passion she showed as a young woman was acted so well and so poignantly that the older version of her was that much more heartbreaking. It’s as if her aplomb in prison was that much more profound because she knows she won’t be leaving, ever, and it doesn’t matter because as soon as she lost the ability to be free to commit those acts which gave her life, she didn’t care anymore.

    • julnyes

      that Turtle Tank line was one of the best of the season. Soso is aggressively naive about her own importance, but she is deeply sincere which is deserving of respect.

    • SophiaPehawkins

      I love the actress they chose to play young Rosa. It’s hard to see at a quick glance, because she doesn’t have hair, but the similarities between the two actresses is striking.

      I adore Rosa’s bad ass-ness. She owns who she is and was without regrets, except for the dying boyfriends and getting caught thing.

      • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

        It is SO striking. My jaw was dropped. They did an amazing job casting all the younger selves of characters.

        • SophiaPehawkins

          Have you watched the entire season?

          • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

            Yes, a couple of times. :) I know what you’re thinking about, but we mustn’t spoil.

            • SophiaPehawkins

              Mums the word. I will say though, that’s when the resemblance really hit home.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Pretty odd how subdued Pennsatucky is this season. They added her as a regular and then she got a lot less screen time. Didn’t really do anything but befriend Healy. But kudos, I suppose, for not turning her into a one-dimensional “always on” villain.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        She got new teeth and lost her “teeth.”

      • Dino Bonačić

        We can thank Piper for that one I think…

      • semirose

        Yeah I liked that they weren’t afraid to subdue her and it definitely makes sense since she really played to her “followers” and once they left she didn’t really have anyone to playup for or back her up with others.

        • Sarah

          Kind of fun to watch the other two stand up to her and see her responses. She is, after all, the genius of that bunch.

          • demidaemon

            It’s true. the other two….are not bright. Tucky has a weird sort of genius that shows in her wordsmith ways and lightning charisma.

            • Sarah

              It is interesting – if you really pay attention to their convos, there is an inconsistency in what they do and don’t know. I mean, I wouldn’t expect someone who is as clearly “not bright” as Leanne to know some of the vocabulary words she uses, and on the other hand, Tucky shows some real insight at times while others she’s just as dense as the other two, seemingly for the convenience of plot development.

            • demidaemon

              True. Somehow, it fits, though, especially as Tucky varies between being a true “hillbilly” and a religious pundit. If you think about it, it totally gels with how the religious right works and how they use knowledge only when it suits them.

            • Sarah

              You are so right! Here I was thinking the show might be a tad inconsistent in that area, and now you’ve made me realize that they are omniscient in their grasp of American culture and the nuances thereof. Sigh. How totally kickass.

            • demidaemon

              :)

            • andcoh

              But Tusky wasn’t actually religious. She just bought into it when they came to her legal defense.

            • snarkykitten

              Everyone seems to forget that Tucky’s hardcore anti-abortion stance was just being played up for her legal defense. Hello, did we all forget what landed her in prison in the first place??

            • Cheryl

              Which I think points even more to her being a quick study. She was handed a gift, and ran with it, and guess we are to assume that she did the studying to actually pull off her bible thumper routine. The oddest thing is not only is she fooling most people, it almost seems like she’s fooled HERSELF into believing that she didn’t shoot the clinic nurse for being rude, but because she was an anti-abortion zealot. What I wonder about Penstucky is there anyone that knows the truth of the matter?

            • oldscrumby

              The thing is Leanna’s “not brightness” is probably as much a matter of ignorance as it is lack of mental ability. It would explain why her knowledge is so patchy; it’s a few things she has to know, a few thing she was forced to learn, and then whatever odds and ends she’s picked up over the years. If she’d had Piper’s background she’d probably come off a lot brighter because that ability to make connections and expand upon a pool of knowledge is something that can be taught to a certain extent, but that’s a hard thing to do on your own. Tucky does it a bit as evidenced by her occasional bouts of perceptiveness and the knowledge she amassed about the bible when the forced-birthers made her a standard bearer; Tastee even more so which is part of why you know she’s hella smart. I’m wouldn’t be surprised if Tucky was on level with Piper if she’d had the same background, and Tastee would have run laps around them both.

            • Logo Girl

              Taystee is for sure the brightest one in there. She’d probably already be running a technology company under different circumstances.

            • Glammie

              I think Taystee’s bright, but I don’t know that she’s the brightest one in there. There’s a lot she doesn’t see about people–and that’s not a lack of education. She’s poor at thinking long-term–she didn’t make any plans, for example, about what to do and how to survive when she got out on parole. Other characters, like Red, seem to think on their feet better.

            • Logo Girl

              You make a good point, you may be right. I tend to think Taystee’s issues are more on the PTSD level, executive functioning inhibited due to the trauma of instability. Red probably comes from a solid family. That has a huge bearing on ability to “do”, and is a lot of the tragedy of Taystee.

            • Glammie

              Yes, I do think Taystee has the most tragic back story in the sense that she’s just never had a chance and it seems unlikely that she will ever get a chance. She really is a story of wasted potential. You do think, well, even if she had had Cynthia’s job with the TSA, she’d have made a decent go of it, maybe even got some sort of management position. If she’d met the positive version of Vee, she’d have been encouraged to seek out more of an education, a positive path for herself.

      • Logo Girl

        I think she is supposed to be on her meds.

    • gracedarling

      I couldn’t have been the only one deeply relieved when at the end of the show, Rosa reached into her bra and pulled out… a wad of money. After her ‘blaze of glory’ comment I was so prepared to see that she’d taken control of the situation and lifted a bunch of hardcore narcotics. Thank God she will live to be tremendously funny and awesome another day!

    • Eva_baby

      Another flashback this season where a younger actress is cast to play an inmate. I have to say they are doing a fantastic job of casting these younger actresses, they not only physically resemble their older counterpart but they are getting the vibe of them right. I was blown away by the two young Suzannes and the young Piper was no slouch either. And now the young Rosa has dimples just like the older Rosa.

      The accent thing is strange though. It is way too obvious. Barbara Rosenblat who plays Rosa is a gifted voice actress. She is a narrator for a ton of audio-books and she does a fantastic job. I wonder if she didn’t find out that Rosa was Latina til this season and it was too late to change up?

      • Logo Girl

        I agree about the chance that the actress may not have known her backstory until later. Or the people creating the show encourage the actresses to have ambiguous accents. See: Morello, Lorna; “Boston, Brooklyn or New Jersey?”

        • andcoh

          I think Yael Stone (Morello) said in an interview that the accent came about from some girl she met in Boston while trying to figure out the accent and basically just ended up trying to imitate this one girls distinct voice.

      • susu

        My favorite of the “young” versions is the little girl who played Suzanne in the hospital room. I thought she totally nailed Suzanne’s mannerisms (including the “crazy eyes”) – really impressive for such a young actress. I enjoyed young Rosa as well, even with the accent discrepancy. Didn’t care for young Piper (the acting or the characterization). The other young versions didn’t leave much of an impression either way (Alex, nun, Claudette). Young Taystee was adorable but didn’t really look like her.

        • rkdgal

          I so agree; I loved her energy and thought she was really channeling the adult Suzanne.

        • demidaemon

          For me, Miss Claudette’s did, especially when you see how the history played itself out almost the exact same way. It’s pivotal to her character and, I think, to one of the themes of the show: the more the world changes, the less the people in it do.

      • http://unbornunicorn.wordpress.com/ Amanda Gun

        I justified it to myself by thinking that maybe because she’s been in prison for that long that she’s lost the accent, especially if she’s not hanging out with the other Latinas.

    • demidaemon

      You know, I like the white guy angst just because it is so inappropriate. In showing it (especially in contrast to Rosa’s situation), they show just how unimportant it is. My two cents.

      Anyways, one of my favorite scenes in this episode is when Fischer walks in on Nikki smoking and no longer gives two shits. I really love that moment of final connection, when Fischer is leaving, and Nikki tells her to go and don’t look back.

      I understand the points about Piper’s position, but I do like that she took ownership of her position at Litchfield as “the hated one.” She’s not trying to fight it anymore.

      I do understand the points about Soso, but, what’s more interesting is how all the inmates could give two shits about her situation because they are tired of the smell as well. For everything that she does, she still embodies that same stubbornness as Piper.

      • Sarah

        Yeah that Fischer scene was good. I love how Nicky has that charisma that makes people listen to her/take her advice regardless of who they are and who she is to them.

        • Fay Dearing

          Agreed. It really goes to show that Fischer may have been the only one that really thought of the inmates as actually people. I mean she had the worst time remembering to not call the women by their names and let people like the Sister bend the rules. Not to mention being unable to just hand out shots just because there was a quota. Of all the guards she was the one who saw the women’s humanity.

          • ShaoLinKitten

            And consequently was not long for that job (and hopefully not long for a relationship with Luschek).

        • http://redheadedwolf.wordpress.com/ Laura Renee

          Nicky is AMAZING, omg. She can give incredible pep-talks and takedowns — just telling Fischer all the things she could do after this, none of which she could herself do.

          • Sarah

            To me, she’s the character of all of them that I wish I was the most like. Meaning that: Red and Lorna and Claudette and Sophia and Yoga Jones (probably others I’m not thinking of) are people that you can really understand three-dimensionally. As in, they obviously made mistakes, but are so filled with redeeming qualities that it is hard to deny their appeal. Most poignant take: those of us who are considered “criminals” by the justice system are not necessarily irredeemable people. And often, probably not the worst people anyone has met.

      • cowper

        So fun to see the Nicky/Fischer exchange…how characters broke out of their “official” roles and were talking just like friends. I thought the part where Fischer talks about how if she were into women she would be tempted by Nicky to be a little too pat, but the rest of the exchange was very cool.

        • demidaemon

          I don’t know….I could see her being tempted by Nicky. She has that Je ne sais quoi. Or, maybe, Fischer was just being nice, as fits her character.

          • Sarah

            I totes thought she would go for it. Kinda disappointed that she didn’t!

            • demidaemon

              Me too! But I was kind of glad she didn’t, too. I’m conflicted.

            • Sarah

              Yah, it would’ve been too pat if she had, but such is the power of Nicky that I kinda wanted to see her get what she wanted!

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          If ★I★ was into women, I’d be ALL UP in Nicky’s biznizz, too!!!!

      • Glammie

        I think the thing about the white-guy angst is that they don’t have it as bad as the prisoners, but, nonetheless, they’re genuinely and believably unhappy. Everyone feels trapped and a bit powerless; it’s a difference of degrees and the ability to cope. I don’t think Healy’s and Caputo’s angst is being made to be more important than that of the women’s–more like it’s being compared and, also, we’re seeing how their unhappinness impacts the women.

        I think that kind of plays into the Piper storyline too–yeah, she’s getting white-girl benefits here, but her grandmother *is* dying and she does hurt. That the situation is worse and more unfair doesn’t mean there’s no legitimate pain in her own situation.

        I kind of love Nikki–but then it’s Natasha Lyonne, who has that genuine star quality and genuinely fucked up a bigger career with drugs. I watch her hoping both the character and the actress stay clean.

        “Stubbornness”–i.e. privilege. Both Piper and Brook think what they do should matter, are used to having it matter because that’s what their privilege has given them. They’re both from the class of people who “matter.”

        Hmmm, wouldn’t it be a kick to get a VIP type, a Martha-Stewart-type, in for a financial crime? Well, it would probably undo the balance of the show, but someday it could be kind of interesting.

        • demidaemon

          Lots of good points here and I agree with every single one. I think a VIP type would be interesting, as well, to see how the status quo would change.

        • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

          We’re seeing how this system hurts EVERYONE.

    • Fay Dearing

      Annnnd Pornstache is back! I honestly could believe Figueroa brought him back. I mean I could understand them not prosecuting him for having sex with Daya (not wanting the scandal) bur bringing him back to the same prison when the same inmate he had sex with is still there!? That just seems like a really stupid idea.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        I wondered about that. Is it possible for the prison to choose to forgo prosecution for rape in a situation like that? Wouldn’t they be afraid she’d leak to the press, or at least tell her lawyer? Or a family member? I mean, it strained credibility to me that Mendez not only got away with the sex, but also got reinstated. Goes to TLo’s point about Fig being a caricature.

        • Sarah

          Yeah, pretty far-fetched. Such a credit to the show that as a watcher, it was nothing but fascinating to see how his return would stir things up.

          • demidaemon

            I agree. But, I also think it shows another aspects of Fig’s corruption and how pissed she was at Caputo’s seeming incapability to punish the inmates.

            • Sarah

              Definitely. It certainly seemed like a fairly punitive measure on her part; as if she gained a certain amount of glee in the squirming of all the other CO’s at his return.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      This was one of my favorite episodes of the season. I loved seeing Rosa’s back story, and her current struggles with cancer are so heartbreaking (and infuriating due to the lack of care for her condition).

      • http://unbornunicorn.wordpress.com/ Amanda Gun

        I didn’t mind that so much considering that she’s in a dangerous line of work, and I think she was just unlucky and then tried to justify it to herself with that superstition, rather than the show saying her lips are literally cursed.

        • demidaemon

          Her cultural background may play into this. As we’ve seen with Gloria, superstition is still a major part of many cultures, perhaps even more so decades ago.

    • robin-m

      I don’t agree that Soso is more real than Piper. Soso is more single-note than Piper, but that (to me) makes her much more annoying. She’s written like a lefty comic book heroine: “Super Comrade!” Yech.

      • demidaemon

        Maybe. I think Soso is just entirely less jaded than Piper. Piper’s been betrayed left and right; Soso hasn’t. That sort of life experience is going to leak into all your interactions.

        • Sarah

          I think Soso’s thing is that in Piper’s eyes, she is not nearly as criminal. Meaning, that what Piper went in for (organized drug running) is not as bad as Soso’s probable idealistic mistake in they eyes of the law. She’s just a babe in the woods who hasn’t really had the hard times that others have had, Piper or anyone else. She’s like a political prisoner, compared to those who have been immoral/cruel/sociopathic.

          • demidaemon

            Well said.

    • boweryboy

      Gloria: She’s smart. She’s keeping her head down, her nose clean, and staying far away from the inevitable shitstorm between Red and Vee that’s going to rain down.

      Daya and Bennett: Soooooo over it.

      Figueroa: I actually yelled at my tv, “Who wears Louboutins to a prison!?” Although her reptile print skirt was to die. I’m sooooo hoping for next season she winds up in the Litch for embezzlement. That would make for some good drama.

      Caputo: He’s a shit for firing Fischer not for insubordination but for not being attracted to him. I think a more interesting storyline would have been if Caputo and Luschek became romanitc rivals for Fischer’s attentions. That could have been fun.

      Rosa: Love her story. It was sad and funny although I had no idea she was Latino. I thought she was Czech or something. I would love to see more backstories of the lesser characters.

      I also find Pornstache’s return slightly unbelievable given the circumstances under which he was suspended.

      • Glammie

        I think the actress playing Fischer has another job–I kind of think that’s probably why she was fired. Too bad, I liked her character. I was curious about how much of her innate decency was going to stick over time.

    • snarkykitten

      Soso annoys me, but she is more genuine than Piper for sure. Piper is the person who “likes” all those breast cancer posts, Soso is the one actually donating her time (not just her money!) to the cause.

      • Glammie

        Makes sense, though. Soso seems to be in prison for a political non-self-serving crime. Piper’s in there for laundering drug money. So far, Piper seems to be more sorry for being caught than for doing what she did. Interestingly, I read an interview with the real Piper where she talks about how much she regrets laundering the drug money in part because she saw in prison how much damage drugs had caused. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Piper character beginning to face why her crime is a crime–possibly next season.

        I don’t share the Piper hate, but she’s not a particularly good person.

      • Melissa

        That’s true, but Soso is probably also that girl on Facebook who posts pictures of herself with “native children” to give her ego a boost. What I like about her character is that the brave, caring Soso and the delusional, self-centered Soso are both true parts of her character. It’s subtly done and well-written.

      • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

        Yes; Soso is probably hand-weaving some kind of pink nonsense, but GENUINELY BELIEVING she’s helping cancer patients.

    • Melissa

      I look forward to these recaps every week!

      “There’s got to be more to Caputo and Healy than just being sexually frustrated middle-aged white guys who hate their bosses.”

      In my experience, white straight guys in positions of authority (or even just in the workplace) usually fit that mold in one way or another. Bennett and Pornstache are younger versions of the same, letting their entitlement and feelings of impotence color their actions. I haven’t worked a single job in which 4 out of 5 of my male coworkers weren’t either inappropriately sexual and blaming it on the women around them, largely useless and blaming it on the women around them, or both. And I work in female dominated fields. I have made the mistake of assuming that there is more to those men, that they can overcome ignorance. But in the world we live in, those dudes don’t feel the need to change. So to me, it’s realistic that these are the archetypes that come into play over and over.

      Healy and Caputo are there to represent the white patriarchy more than characters in themselves, just like Fig is there to represent other aspects of the system. Their problems center around not being able to get women to do what they want. They are continuously reminded of their powerlessness, and they don’t cope well with it. But for the women in their lives, being powerless is a 24/7 experience, which is why Caputo and Healy’s backstories come off as so lame and unsympathetic. It’s similar to the way the writers use Piper to show the obstacles facing women who aren’t affluent and white are much larger than her own.

      Totally agree with you on Fig’s backstory being unnecessary and cliche.

    • JaneG

      Rosa is my hero…. Next to Nikki.

    • https://www.facebook.com/NORNCUTSONART Norn Cutson

      “Leave the white-guy angst for … practically every other television show ever.”
      THANK YOU!!
      Any other show would make someone like Ms Rosa or The Golden Girls a punchline, maybe give ‘em five lines at most… CERTAINLY not give them their own personalities/histories/desires/motivations!
      That EACH of The Golden Girls has her OWN INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY… No other show would take the time to give us that,,, or even consider that w WANT TO SEE that!!!!

      That may be what I love about this show the most.

      • Mary Nease

        No other show except the Golden Girls. :D

    • Kristy Sheldon

      While I crave your objective critique as much as I love this series, it hurts me a bit to read the obvious. I admit that I binged watched the entire 2nd season, and I am happy to see that you are posting on this in increments. If you have watched the entire season, I would be amazed, as you have taken this on in appropriate increments. When I got to this point, I could not stop watching. I am so obsessed with this show I downloaded the book online and read the true story of Piper Kerman, which does not play up to the drama of the Netflix series, but really is a great read.