Orange Is the New Black: 40 oz. of Furlough

Posted on July 01, 2014

Orange-Is-The-New-Black-Season-2-Episode-9-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLOMichael Chernus and Taylor Schilling in Netflix’ s “Orange is the New Black”

Let’s just skip to the chase and call this the worst episode of Orange is the New Black, okay? Because it was. We don’t know if it was by design or if the writers are starting to get tired, but almost every character was seriously annoying in this episode. And to lead that brigade of annoying characters, here’s their queen, Piper, getting the spotlight. Again.

We don’t hate Piper the way so many OitNB fans seem to. Yes, she’s the pampered white lady amongst the exotic colored, and that’s a horribly boring and overdone trope (not to mention racist, if it’s handled incorrectly, as it so often is). But the fact of the matter is, this story starts and ends as Piper’s story, whether we want to accept that or not. Red didn’t write a memoir that got turned into a TV series, nor did Taystee, Suzanne, Flaca, Gloria, Nicky or Rosa. Piper Kernan wrote one, which allowed for the creation of this series with her doppelganger Piper Chapman at the center of it. We don’t see how that’s avoidable unless the creators simply shrug their shoulders and ditch the source material completely. They’re halfway there already, as anyone who’s read the book knows, but we doubt they’ll ditch it entirely. Piper makes too good and too convenient a hook for the viewer. And Taylor Schilling, when given the chance, gives one of the finer performances in a show full of fine performances. She’s given one of those chances here; to once again flesh out Piper both as a comic figure and a deeply irritating tragic one. We may not love the focus on her or the things they do with her, but that shot of her drinking a 40 and eating a burger while contemplating her life was one of the best wordless bits of acting on television in the last year.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Piper’s something of an asshole – and still seems to be completely unaware of that fact, even as the story has her facing up to a lot of unpleasant truths about herself. At her grandmother’s funeral, it’s extremely telling that her eulogy is essentially a story about how her grandmother glossed over her mistakes and told Piper that everything she does is fine and will work out for the best. Similarly, she’s faced with a whole room of people (including her own father) who still think of her as that perfect little girl and consider her current situation an unfortunate aberration on an otherwise perfect life. It’s not, of course. And Piper understands that very well now. But we question whether we needed to spend this much time on such a banal revelation as “I’m not the princess you thought I was, Daddy.”

Anyone who saw Piper beating all the teeth out of Pennsatucky’s head last season figured out already that Piper is not the Good Girl from a Fine Family her background wants her to be. We get it: rich, pretty white girl is no different from the thugs and criminals she’s incarcerated with. Except the story wants to have it both ways. If she’s no different from the other women in the Litch, then why does the story spend so much time depicting Piper’s parents, sibling, sibling’s girlfriend, grandmother, best friend, best friend’s husband, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s parents? One of the best things about season 2 of this show is that they took the focus off Piper and have allowed the central storyline of the season (Vee’s takeover) to progress entirely independent of her. We should be okay with letting her have this one episode, but nothing of interest happened (unless you consider Larry’s limp dick and the official end of a relationship that clearly already ended to be scintillating stuff) and no character revelations were forthcoming. Piper is lost. We knew that already.

Similarly, we got a flashback that should have been interesting but fell kind of flat. We knew that Vee and Red have known each other from a long time past, and we knew that there was some bad blood and that Red is scared of her (although she won’t admit it). We didn’t hate having the details filled in, but they weren’t particularly revelatory. The only thing the flashback accomplished was to contrast Red’s former cockiness with her current attempts to rebuild her family. Maybe we’re just cranky over the whole Piper business, but even the scene in the greenhouse annoyed us. It’s stretching credulity that they’d all even be allowed in there to congregate – at dinnertime, no less – and it snaps believability in two to have Red somehow cook a meal for them in there.

And why is Boo acting like such a dick all of the sudden? Simply because the story needs her to. That really bugs. It’s not that we ever considered Boo to be any sort of paragon of virtue or morality (a lot of her “flirting” comes awfully close to sexual assault), but this sudden need to get back at Red comes out of nowhere. We realize there are too many characters on this show for all of them to be fully fleshed out, but if you’re going to hang a plot point on Boo being upset with Red, then you need to explain how she got upset in the first place.

Also, that damn drain pipe is turning into the worst sort of MacGuffin. It sat there undiscovered for years, but now it seems that any time an inmate walks into that shed she discovers it within seconds.

In other news, Healy is seeing a therapist. A female therapist. As you can imagine, she gets called a cunt within the first 3 minutes of the session. But it’s hard to hate Healy too much, because, as damaged as he is, and as unaware as he is of how damaged he is, he keeps trying to do better, using whatever bits of information he can pick up along the way. It’s not a surprise that he’s terrible when it comes to talking about his feeling, but it’s a wonderful turn of character to have him take the basic idea of talking it out and applying it to the people he’s charged with helping. Like almost all of Healy’s attempts at betterment, it’s likely to be doomed to fail because his understanding of people (let alone therapeutic techniques) is so paper-thin, but it’s at least admirable that he’s trying. We kind of love the idea that Pennsatucky and Healy have both been spending this entire season paying for the sins they committed out in that prison yard in the snow and coming to some sort of understanding of their own shortcomings.

If there’s a theme to this season, that’s it: forming your own family, either because you don’t have one or you don’t have one that understands you. Healy and Pennsatucky don’t have one. Piper doesn’t have a family she fits in anymore. Daya and Bennett can’t figure out how to keep theirs together. Red needs her family around her as protection, and Vee needs hers to give her power. All of these ersatz families have slightly different (to very different) goals, which gives the entire season an ominous feel to it. Shit is going to go down. And soon.

Oh, and we haven’t mentioned Mendez’s return because he’s easily the worst written and worst performed character on the show. He’s so broadly played he makes Figueroa look like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice. 




[Photo credit: Linda Kallerus for Netflix]

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  • Kate Andrews

    Oh, and the funeral wedding made me cringe. I totally agree that this was the worst episode of the season!

    • Leah Elzinga

      In hindsight I do think it serves to illustrate that it’s not just Piper that’s come out of that family with an “can do no wrong” attitude. The brother’s just as entitled in his own way. We bitch about it being “All about Piper”, but holy crap, I was straight up yelling “THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!” at the screen during that wedding.

  • ivfive

    And, the whole nonsense of the wedding at the funeral. I agree- worst episode ever.

    • ivfive

      Okay, Kate- we both posted the same comment simultaneously. It’s unanimous.

      • Kate Andrews

        Channeling In Living Color: HATED IT!

  • RussellH88

    The funeral stuff was pretty bad, but one of the things about marathoning a show is that it all kind of bleeds together so a weaker episode kinda goes by unnoticed.

    • This is why binge watching is awesome – the memory banks have limited space.

      I basically wiped out all memories of this episode by filling the memory banks with the good stuff but wow this was an absolutely terrible episode. I wanted to smack the wedding couple in their foreheads, hard.

      • Glammie

        Oh, the parts where she sees Red’s shop has closed and sitting alone drinking Colt 40 and eating a burger stuck with me.

  • teensmom99

    Gotta disagree on hating the episode. Perhaps my favorite thing that Schilling has done was her being on the receiving line . . . and doing the whole gracious WASPy receiving line thing and telling people that no, she is that granddaughter in that ur-wasp way while knowing that she really is a Litchfield resident (though the only one to get a furlough).

    • demidaemon

      Agreed. If we have to have a couple of overly Piper-centric episodes a season, I don’t mind the ones we were given this season. The first episode is well done, and this episode really serves to show us Piper’s utter displacement from her biological family. I had no problems with this episode. I understand what the uncles are saying, of course, but, with every piece of fiction, some willing suspension of disbelief is necessary. This episoade has one of those moments, and I actually really liked Red’s flashback, because it has shown how much she has changed (and not changed) all at once.

    • Kent Roby

      And her line to Larry “you’re telling me that now, with your flaccid dick in my mouth?” is priceless!

  • Sobaika

    Taylor Schilling is excellent in her role, no question. But my one complaint about this season was that there was too much Larry, that friend with the accent, family, outside world, etc. that defined Piper’s scenes. The character is at her best when in prison and stripped of all her WASPiness, ready to punch Soso in the face.

    • teensmom99

      I actually felt that this was the episode when I fell in love with Schilling’s performance–both for the reasons cited by TLo but also with her brilliant performance at the funeral itself–her self-awareness as she put on the WASPy act as expected and then the dealing with her insane family. The highs and the lows of her behavior were a little wacky (sort of playing for comedy since that’s what OITNB claims to be) and she pulled off the wackiness and gave it depth.

    • Verascity

      Agreed. I’ve come around on Piper solely because of how much I love her when she’s embracing her own awfulness.

      • teensmom99

        Actually, I am not sure if I”ve come around on Piper though I do like her embracing her awfulness (and will comment further when TLo have seen the whole season)–but I have definitely come around re Taylor as an actor.

  • AnnaleighBelle

    I don’t hate Piper as a character, there are just more interesting characters and scenarios than hers, as you’ve pointed out.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that this show paints Piper as just as bad as the other inmates, but worse. She’s had everything and still had to get her thrills by being a bad girl and participating in the drug trade, which creates real damage to real people. She didn’t chose the life because she had few other options but because she didn’t want to be boring. It has always been All About Piper and that hasn’t changed one bit. She doesn’t seem to be evolving at all, just getting the paint peeled off and exposing what she is.

    • Glammie

      Yep, there are some who are worse, but many who are better. Piper’s still got a long ways to go. She’s still more sorry that she got caught than that she did wrong.

  • teensmom99

    Just thinking that maybe we should rate episodes by how much Taystee there is in them.

    • AnnaleighBelle

      Sounds dirty. So yes.

  • decormaven

    I loved this episode for two things: Taylor Schilling’s wordless acting at the end with the 40 oz’er and the burger and hearing Tom Waits’ excellent “Come On Up to the House.” “”Come down off the cross/we can use the wood…”

  • Kitten Mittons

    I didn’t hate this episode, but it certainly wasn’t the best so far this season.

    Agreed entirely that some of the stuff with Red and the pipeline is getting really difficult to believe. I’ve found suspending reality fairly easy with this show, though, because I love the characters so much. I give them a pass on a lot of things that would otherwise bug me.

    I did have to openly laugh at the scene in the bathroom. “You decide to tell me that with your flaccid dick in my mouth?” Because of course Larry would do that. And of course he was flaccid.

    • sugarkane105

      I feel like “flaccid” is the perfect descriptor of Larry’s character as a whole.

      • Kitten Mittons

        Indeed, no arguments here.

        I didn’t mind him at first, but I really could do without him at this point. That’s probably why the above scene was so satisfying for me. Pun totally intended.

    • gracedarling

      It was a semi!

    • demidaemon

      True. I think the important thing to remember too, about Boo, is that at her core, she is an opportunist, which is what made all of her actions so believable. She isn’t necessarily doing it because she hates Red (but perhaps, is a little annoyed with her lording over everyone) but because she sees what she thinks is a great opportunity and goes for it.

      • Kitten Mittons

        That’s a valid point. That I can believe more readily than the dinner itself. Or that the girls can walk in and spot the pipeline, but Caputo walks in, tears the place apart, and finds nothing. It’s a stretch. But, I do give most of it a pass because I’m just so entertained every episode.

        • demidaemon

          Good point on Caputo. But he was looking for contraband (which he already knew Red shipped in and let go because of some deal they had worked out when she was head of the kitchen), not where it was coming from. I am with you on the pass, though.

          • Kitten Mittons

            True, I guess his comment earlier about her using too big of a pot was meant to infer that he thought she had a scam with moving goods in the plant pots, so that was his focus. A stretch, but I can live with it. 🙂

            Edited for words because tired. So much tired.

  • msdamselfly

    I agree with this analysis. I loved Piper last season but this season, she makes no sense. She’s either completely hardened or she’s whining. Even the old-timers show more humanity than Piper this season. It’s become hard to empathize with her as a protagonist of the story.

    • Gatto Nero

      Interesting — I had the opposite reaction, though “like” is too strong a term. I guess I empathize with Piper more this season because her descent into resignation and bitterness feels like a genuine response to her surroundings. In season one her selfishness and insensitivity — her genuine lack of understanding or even curiosity about her new situation and the people around her — made me crazy. The beating that ended season one was a profound psychological turning point. Now, finally, the truth is dawning on the golden girl, and it is ugly.

  • sugarkane105

    Pornstache is the worst-performed character on the show? I gotta disagree and go with Daya on that one. Her and Bennett’s scenes are particularly cringe-worthy.

    • mmebam

      I’m inclined to agree. Especially since dude is practically typecast as pornstache villain, so I’d imagine he’s gotten pretty good at it.

      • Sarah

        He was a really excellent villain without the pornstache on SVU. Horrifying!

        • jay

          He is SUPER CUTE without the stache, I recently discovered. (I don’t watch a lot of tv so I don’t think I’d ever seen him before.)

          • Sarah

            He is good lookin’. Pablo Schreiber. Check his IMDB – it’s fascinating.

        • Kitten Mittons

          Also The Wire, where he was excellent, and stache-less.

    • EveEve

      Written or performed? IMO Pornstache’s are the worst performed. Please God do not give that character a back story, it isn’t deserving.

      • Kristin McNamara

        I LOVE that man though. He was so hot in Weeds, it’s been weird for me to hate him as much as I find myself hating him in OITNB!
        ETA: If you haven’t seen it already, google “Is it OK to think Pornstache is hot in real life?” Hilarious post. Hottie Mc-Hottiepants pictures.

        • sweetlilvoice

          His half mullet is pretty amazing, the mustache just adds to the effect.

        • prisma

          The actor, Pablo Schrieber, is Liev Schrieber’s brother. For some reason that thrilled me and I’m really into him now.

          • Denise Alden

            OMG. I am amazed. I . . . I . . . I’m going to IMDB now!

      • Angela_the_Librarian

        I think I read recently that Mary Steenburgen is in the cast for season 3 as Pornstache’s it sounds like there will be some sort of back story (or at least they’re not entirely done with his character)

        • Tina M.

          It will be interesting if she’s fighting for custody of Daya’s baby. Don’t know why the hell she would want to, but that might finally make the pregnancy worthwhile.

        • PeaceBang

          I’m really hoping for Nicky’s back story in season 3.

  • enuma

    As relationships between prison staff and inmates go, Bennett and Daya are doomed and awful and will never work as a couple. But… I’m kinda ‘shipping Healy and Pennsatucky now. I can’t stand them individually, but together they’re almost cute.

    • PeaceBang

      Yea, because she has those new teeth and all!

  • Gatto Nero

    I’ve been relieved overall this season that the focus has shifted to inmates other than Piper, since I find her and everyone in her personal orbit irritating and self-absorbed. The dialogue reinforces this: in the first episode, the repetition of “She hates deep dish!” nearly drove me away for good. (Is this what passes for good writing in a “gritty” show about women in prison? It’s so facile, sitcom ready. At other times it veers dangerously close to “afterschool special” territory. Or you can see plot twists coming a mile away.) So this episode was not my favorite.
    Healy, on the other hand, is compelling — equal parts repellant and pitiable. Figueragoa, Mendez, etc. are mostly caricatures. Suzanne, on the other hand — amazing.

    • MilaXX

      Last season I really hated Piper both real and fictional. I suspected and it was later confirmed by Jenji in an interview that they sold this show as being about Piper and her life of discovery of these unique characters. *BARF* I realize that that’s often the way the world works. but lord love a duck am I sick of it. The only thing that made me stick with it was the shows wonderful casting. I read the article the real Larry wrote and knew then and there that I didn’t want to read the book. I was happy to see this season expansion into the lives of the other inmates. It’s even lessened the annoyed I feel with Piper. Larry on the other hand feels even more unnecessary. it doesn’t help that I can’t stand Jason Biggs. Overall I find myself liking this season a whole lot more than last season.

      • Sarah

        Yay, fellow Biggs hater. I just can’t with that guy.

  • Danielle

    It was so shitty because there was so much Larry.

    • Kristin McNamara

      Agreed. “Amount of Larry” is directly proportional to “Amount of suck” when it comes to OITNB episodes. (Pun very much intended.)

      • Danielle

        Jason Biggs did an interview where he said there were at least two people on Team Larry: himself and his mother. His wife was Team Alex.

  • In_Stitches

    I love Piper. Her descent from optimist to selfish struggler, all shaded by her very selfish attitude has been both funny and tragic. Larry and whatsherface with the baby I can do without. They belong on a different show…one that wouldn’t be renewed after it’s first season.

  • ashtangajunkie

    Yep. The worst. I actually really like Piper – but the stuff with Larry, the funeral wedding, and her “I’m not a princess, Daddy” bit was lame. Pornstache served a purpose in the first season, but I was neither happy with nor interested in his return. Terrible. Like you, there were a few plot points (the drain pipe, the people in Piper’s life who aren’t in prison, etc) that I didn’t like. I still absolutely love the show though – I think its strengths greatly outweigh its weaknesses.

    • Sarah

      Dude, if that drainpipe is a McGuffin, so is Pornstache, to an absurd degree. No way in heck they would bring back a guard that was supposed to have impregnated a prisoner!! Come ON.

      • ashtangajunkie


  • Sarah

    Y’know, this episode was weird for me in a very specific way. I agree completely that I really could not care less about the satellite characters having to do with Piper, and that wedding/funeral was just silly. First let me say I don’t hate Piper. I do think she’s insufferably self-centered, there’s no getting around that. I don’t hate her, though, because I had a very similar life arc to hers, in that I came from a similar background, was the “princess,” and turned out to be the blackest of sheep. I would in fact hazard that the pressure of being considered the apple of literally everyone in your world’s eye is hard on a person’s self esteem, and can actually lead to the kind of misguided choices that make one fall from grace.
    Now, that is not saying there’s any excuse. A lot of folks have that same background, and turn out to be well adjusted, ambitious, and productive members of society. My problem with this episode is that it bothers me that it took so long (you’re in PRISON, girl) for Piper to figure out that she’s not the person others see her as/wanted her to be, and that she doesn’t seem to think that there’s any way to be who she is now and still have a relationship with those she cares about most (except Alex, and she is woefully blinded in that regard, so much so that it is nauseating to behold.) I get it – I mean, if you are being judged/betrayed by your “friends” then why keep them, but she is really shutting herself off, like she doesn’t deserve to be a person. Prison probably does that to you, but if I was in there with her, I would tell her that just because you’re the black sheep, it doesn’t mean you can’t be accepted. All the black sheep is is the one who’s not like the others. It took a considerable amount of pain for me, and for everyone else who goes through this, to figure that out, but I find it just alarming as hell that a woman of her age could be so incredibly obtuse in this regard, and that she is still this bad so far into the situation.

    Which is all to say, I felt extremely uncomfortable with all of her behavior on the outside. Including the 40. She’s not that girl. Be WHO you are, no matter WHERE you are, and stop playing around with your life. You only have one. Although I definitely would have enjoyed the heck outta that burger.

    • KinoEye

      Yep. Piper definitely tends to co-opt the behavior of people she’s close to, even if it doesn’t line up with how she would behave on her own. Like her relationship with Alex. Or her relationship with Larry. Or Polly. I guess that’s what that awkward flashback scene was trying to get across to us — she learned long ago that not being part of a crowd was a bad thing, I guess. She doesn’t really know who she is, so she takes pieces of other people’s personalities to try and make one of her own. FrankenPiper. I think this is the root of most of her problems.

      • Sarah

        OH, excellent analysis. I was having such a hard time understanding why someone would behave this way, but the co-opting is certainly a mechanism I’ve seen some folks use to function, and well into adulthood. I guess that’s what bothered me about it, now that you mention it. I find inconsistency in a personality to be extremely distasteful.

      • …. And she tries to BE whatever she THINKS the person immediately in front of her WANTS.

    • shopgirl716

      Great insight. I’ve known a few Pipers and the biggest hurdle is them accepting themselves once they have shed the perfect princess skin. Yes, she is self centered, but so is everyone in her family. She doesn’t know how else to be.

      • Sarah

        That’s a good point. Nobody taught her introspection and self criticism, which she is now having to learn in the worst, hardest way.

  • KinoEye

    “He makes Figueroa look like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice.”
    Ohhh, BURN. Yeah. The fuedding sucked. I’ve watched season 2 twice now, and I’m still not clear on Boo’s motives for betrayal. Healy is an ass. As if we didn’t already know.

    That drain pipe drives me crazy. We’re really expected to believe that in all the years that drainpipe has been there, no guards, wardens, or anyone else in charge has found it yet? I don’t know much about how prisons work, but I’m almost positive they have people who inspect the property and infrastructure at least once a year. SOMEONE would have noticed before Red just happened to wander in there and find it when the plot required her to. It’s a glaring MacGuffin, and it’s lazy writing.

    Yep. I agree on the 40 and the burger — best moment of a convoluted and very silly episode.

    • Sarah

      Also, once they know about the pipe, WHY wouldn’t they leave from it? Since they’re clearly allowed to run out to the greenhouse at all hours unattended? It is just preposterous.

      • boweryboy

        RIght? My thoughts exactly.

      • Lurker

        The one fanwank I read about the Deus ex Drainpipe is that the younger prisoners would be risking significant extensions to their sentences by an escape attempt, and the older ones might not have anywhere to go. Of course, if they had the foresight to consider either of those, it seems less likely that they would have ended up in prison in the first place.

        • Sarah

          That’s what I meant. In that, of course there’re reasons why they wouldn’t do it- and good ones – but lack of freedom does weird stuff to people, and these are not the most assiduously perspicacious women.

        • Miss Disco

          years in prison though might give you more time to think about that and have foresight. More than a few are probably in a Taystee situation, where prison is better than the life they mgiht have outside

      • Where would they go?

        • Sarah

          That’s a good question. I thought and thought about it, and I realize it would be unrealistic to think that there would be a mass exodus, for the very reason that they’d surely be caught. I was thinking more that if Red’s son can sneak in the tunnel, then someone else could probably sneak out – at least for an assignation of some sort. But then, it would have to be only one of Red’s family, or else everyone in the prison would be trying to go.

      • Tina M.

        Enh, it’s federal minimum security prison. I don’t think these prisoners would be at this facility if they posed significant flight risk—I believe the actual prison Kerman stayed in doesn’t even have a barbed wire fence. Most of these women are there for relatively short drug sentences of a few years. At the very least, the risk of getting caught escaping from prison is a far greater offense than anything that got them into prison in the first place.

        Actually, Red would probably be the only person who would benefit from an escape, because she has a family she’s in contact with, still maintains criminal connections on the outside, she’s got what looks like a pretty long sentence and, duh, she found the pipe. And we know she clearly has no interest in escaping—she wants to control Litchfield instead.

        ETA: That in no way excuses the lazy writing that leaves the other side of the pipe unguarded, unmonitored, and outside the prison perimeter, which strains credulity.

        • Sarah

          I see your points, and they’re of course quite valid. I also think there are plenty of characters on the show that would really think about and possibly try to escape if they could – for drugs, for glory, for freedom, etc. I mean, even a few days in the county lockup is really, really depressing and hard to deal with. It is Not Fun to be be incarcerated.

    • boweryboy

      The only conclusion I can come to why Boo betrayed Red is that Red had something nice to say about everyone at the table except for Boo, even when Boo fished for a compliment. It’s kind of like a kid saying to their parent: “I’ll fix you,” and then they do something bad to get even.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        Boo didn’t seem quite that pathetic to me. That small a slight would lead to such a huge betrayal? With such high stakes? That’s what struck me most. Maybe Boo didn’t think Red would ever find out (and to be fair, she did accuse someone else first), but she had to realize just how much she stood to lose if Red and the white girls cut her out. There is no way Vee ever would have accepted her into their clique considering her temperament and the racially divisive party line she was spouting, and Boo is no naif, yet she still seemed to think she was actually switching to Vee’s team. The writers made Boo dumber than she is to serve a plot point, and that is my most hated sort of bad writing.

      • It felt like there was a scene MISSING, something that would PRIME us for Boo’s Betrayal.

    • The drainpipe IS a little too HOGAN’S HEROES.

    • demidaemon

      Boo’s motive is that she is an opportunist. It’s basically how she has each and every one of her “romances.” Also, you can tell she gets kind of annoyed with Red’s self-importance, as Boo likes to think she is HBIC, when she may not be.

    • Miss Disco

      what got me was when Red’s son is using some machinery to break it open. How does no one anywhere hear that?

      no one knowing the infrastructure seems plausible though, given the convo between caputo and fischer about how they don’t have all cameras working or check phone calls.

  • Inspector_Gidget

    I think part of the reason Piper is always so insufferable whenever she’s not in prison is because she’s surrounded by insufferable people. That whole funeral and everyone in it… just ugh. And enough Larry already! It’s no accident that her best moments were when she left them all behind to go find Red’s store and get drunk. The sheer absence of all those other boring, half-fleshed-out people was lovely.

    • MilaXX

      YES! I actually am at the point where I can tolerate Piper, but Larry? and even worse Larry & Polly. Chalk on a blackboard. A good 50% of his scenes could be done away with and I wouldn’t miss them one bit. I suspect part of the reason we have Larry is because he’s one of the bigger “name” actor in the cast.

      • oat327

        I agree–Jason Biggs is a name, and he’s a starring character, and Jenji had to give him something to do–so she defaulted into full soap opera mode, where he’s sleeping with Piper’s longtime best friend, who’s married with a newborn (and was never presented as unhappy until her husband conveniently walked offstage).

        Really, Larry should be a minor supporting character, only appearing when he’s needed in Piper’s plotline. A stable, loving, confident Larry, who appears less frequently and remains a mostly-unseen beacon of hope for the future for Piper, would have been so much more interesting than this awful person.

        • MarkH_CA

          The whole Larry thing is due for a pruning (B-bye Jason!), along with at least one employee (Fig or Caputo), one or two prisoners (at least one of each primary ethnicity), and for good measure Piper’s whole family. The show has too many characters. A lot of longtime programs started off with too many actors, figured out which ones were engaging, and then gave layoff notices to 2-4 of the others. Remember Barney Miller’s wife? Chuck Cunningham? There are just too many relationships and plot points for a show like this.

          And as far as sticking with the book, we know that’s out the window. The producers can pull a Caddyshack (where the Danny Noonan going to law school storyline was supposed to be the main plot but then was almost completely discarded due to extremely strong performances from Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Chevy Chase) and do whatever they want to keep it the great television that it is.

  • Virginia Lee

    I agree that decentralizing storylines from Piper is a good choice and should’ve been the natural progression of this show. BUT, Piper the character’s purpose as a hook for shining a light on underrepresented race/cultures, was never its only function. This show, watched/beloved by so many yuppies, myself very much included in that category, does the one thing that no other show does- dissect Piper’s elite status in society and everything that comes with it including the privileges and the resentments in an objective way, and that’s why the focus on Piper is necessary.

  • cabom

    Guys, you need to do a post, or a series of posts on “the best wordless bits of acting on television in the last year.”

    • Kristin McNamara


  • snarkykitten

    THANK YOU for saying how WTF Big Boo’s behavior is. It’s almost like Joan being a dick to Don. There’s no reason for it. As far as I can tell, Boo was never “family” like Nicky, Norma, and Gina, and she wasn’t burned [quite literally in Gina’s case] by Red. I hope they explain her behavior in s3.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Yeah, I was also hoping that they would show some of Boo’s background story. Maybe next season!

      • Sarah

        Ha was typing the same thing. She’s definitely enough of a character that they should go there.

  • Eva_baby

    I kinda of forgot this one in my binge haze. For me the biggest stand-out is the mind-scratching actions of Big Boo. I really needed some motivation there. I wondered if I’d forgotten some piece of nasty Red had done Boo last season and this is payback?

    Vee and Red really are good together on screen. And once again Toussaint’s control of Vee is a pleasure to watch. But yeah, the seemingly sudden turn by Vee on Red felt OOC for the MO they have been giving Vee so far. She’s far more insidious than that.

    And finally, I really hated Piper at first, but I have really come to enjoy her for what she is. She isn’t my favorite character but her place in the narrative is necessary, imo. But yeah, her family is getting the screen time that should be going to someone like Sophia.

    Daya and Bennet are still the worst.

    Well maybe not. There is Larry after all.

    Ok, maybe not, Pornstache’s return feels like a cartoony misstep and rather unworthy of the show.

    • AnnaleighBelle

      Maybe the bit fleshing out Boo and Red falling out got cut?

    • demidaemon

      Are you talking about the turn in the past or the turn in the present? Because, knowing everything we know about Vee, both turns I found completely believable, because Vee only cares about Vee, and everything Vee does is to help herself out. Total manipulative sociopath.

  • I was still entertained by this episode. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it the worst but compared to other episodes this season, it’s definitely the weakest. Would I like to see less Piper and her family? Sure. But even if they do appear on screen, it’s not going to ruin my mood. Just gonna roll with it and patiently wait for the next episode when it puts the focus back in the prison.

    Boo has always had some level of dick-ness to me. So the way she’s acting towards Red didn’t make me raise an eyebrow.

    Mendez, for his character, is protrayed pretty darn well. He’s meant to be unlikeable; I don’t like him. Win-win. If I had to choose, I’d go with Daya.

    • demidaemon

      Total agreement on your read of Boo.

  • Glory Ten

    There’s a scene of Mendez swaggering down the hallway that is positively eye-roll worthy. And I couldn’t help thinking during the funeral-wedding, “Someone’s been watching too much 30Rock.” I was actually annoyed by Piper’s furlough adventures and was impatient through the entire flaccid bathroom scene. Even Daya and Bennett are wearing thin. Right now, for me, (I am still slowly watching my way through the series,) it’s all about watching the growing tension between Red and Vee, and all the fallout. Thanks so much for being my go-to place to enjoy the show after I’ve seen it. It’s so hard to get decent discussion anywhere else! You guys are so great.

    • sweetlilvoice

      I especially agree about the decent discussion part….Bitter Kittens are the best. I really miss Television without Pity at times like this. I’m still sad the site is gone.

  • Man Dala

    I totally agree, this was the worst episode of the whole series so far. Luckily it bounces back and picks up in the next one straightaway,

  • Hermitage

    I kind of like the scenes dedicated to Piper’s real life because it’s kind of Batman-esque. It’s always been a running theme that Bruce Wayne, the dashing millionaire playboy, is simply a mask and Batman, the brooding homicidal vigilante, is the ‘real’ man underneath. If you want to be extreme, he is a monster who found outlet and focus in his parents’ murder. Piper is an entertaining low-key version of that. She’s been shackled with this WASP persona her whole life, when really she’s the person who was ready to bash Pennsatucky’s brains out. She’s the person ready to sell out Soso for a blanket, and abandoned Alex when her mother died. She’s slowly on the cusp of realizing it, and using either ‘face’ to her advantage depending on her situation. I find it quite fun to watch.

    Big Boo joked that she was a terrible person, but she actually kind of is and could be just about as terrifying as Vee if she just embraced it and ran with it. Of course, Piper will never go full bad guy, but it’ll be fun watching her flirt with that line.

    The flashbacks with Vee and Red just made me wonder how the heck Red thought she was going to survive round 2 running almost the exact same operation as got her ribs crushed the first time. Homegirl needed to be out running laps in the yard and weightlifting, ‘Double Jeopardy’ style.

    • Glory Ten

      By the time Big Boo said that Piper was a horrible person, I was laughing, not because even Boo was saying it, but because she was, like, the 80 billionth person to say it. By this point, it really should just be a drinking game.

  • NinjaCate

    “And why is Boo acting like such a dick all of the sudden? Simply because the story needs her to. That really bugs.”

    THIS. At first I thought I had missed something, because I couldn’t understand why she hated Red all of a sudden. But then I realized that, no, apparently Boo just randomly switches allegiances… because. It didn’t make ANY sense, and like you said, it made that whole storyline suspect because there was no motivation.

  • ShaoLinKitten

    Can we create a Kickstarter to offer Jenji Kohan a bribe to get rid of Larry and Polly next season? I bet we could raise a ton of cash. Just think what that extra screen time would do–so many interesting characters we haven’t gotten a backstory on. The Larry/Polly thing makes me sick. So lame, so boring, so irrelevant to what I find interesting about the show.

    Agree about Pornstache. Everything about that storyline is ridiculous and wrong. His lawyers would for sure ask for a paternity test, wouldn’t they? How would the Daya/Bennett thing NOT get outed? It’s just so annoyingly implausible.

    • Leah Elzinga

      This is ridiculously petty of me, but as soon as I saw the Lululemon logo on Polly’s hoodie I was like “OF COURSE”. And seriously, sorry for the TMI but no chick with a clogged duck is gonna be down for some rowdy action. That shit HURTS!

      • ShaoLinKitten

        Amen about the clogged ducts. I’m cringing just from the memories. Ugh.

  • gracedarling

    Aw, I’ll defend Pornstache simply because it took me so long to realise that he was Nicky Sobotka. (Although, thinking about it, Pablo Schreiber was also responsible for one of the worst pieces of acting ever to appear on The Wire, in the roundabout scene with the whiskey.)

    I can suspend my disbelief with Boo simple because we don’t know anything about her backstory – I could easily see her trying to be the Mama Bear of the prison and quietly seething that Red had relegated her to just one of the ‘girls’. It seems that she also has a bit of a thing for Vee – I’ll be very curious to see if and when they play out her pre-prison life.

    • MilaXX

      I like Pablo, but I agree with TLo here. His character is too much of a cartoon here to fit in. Moreso this season than last season. This season they seem to be attempting to flesh out more of the other characters so Pablo’s OTT performance as pornstache just doesn’t work. In fact bringing him back only makes the whole pregnancy storyline look even worse.

  • Kaonashi

    It was sad when Piper went to Red’s store on the outside and there was a “for lease” sign in the window. Even sadder was when she lied to Red about it to spare her feelings.

  • prisma

    I watched the entirety of season 2 while I was painting my living room and dining room, so I listened more than I watched. I think that softened my annoyance at this episode.

  • DeMarco’s hairdo in Red’s flashback was one of the funniest visuals of the season for me!

    • demidaemon

      Agreed. That was some fine bad hair.

    • Glory Ten

      It really was such a small part of the episode, but how could you not notice it! I am so thankful for the time and attention they took to throw that laugh in there for those of us who noticed how awful DeMarco looked.

      • Butcha know she thought she looked GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!

  • MaryMcClelland

    One thing that I think the show really does mirror from the book is the portrayal of Piper. If you’ve read the memoir, Piper is so self-obsessed and almost delusional in her self-perception. Real Piper’s entire prison experience is written similarly to how Schilling acts the part. It’s absolutely fascinating. Piper seemingly in real life and in the show needs to surround herself with people that perpetuate her delusion and the entire tone of the book is her realization that Ayn Rand-ian ‘I am not an island’ attitude doesn’t serve her. Anyway, I don’t mind Piper, either. Larry and that friend, on the other hand, need to go. Ugh

  • Anyone who saw Piper beating all the teeth out of Pennsatucky’s head last season figured out already that Piper is not the Good Girl from a Fine Family her background wants her to be.

    I’m not a big Piper fan, which is, I believe, the way the writers want it. But I don’t think her freaking out and beating up Pennsatucky had anything to do with her goodness (or lack thereof) or family background. Pennsatucky, a convicted killer who’d shown plenty of evidence of being unbalanced and dangerous beforehand, came at her with a rigged razor-blade, fully intent on killing her, with Healy’s apparent approval. What was she supposed to do? I think the scene was more about showing the primal survival urges that we’re *all* capable of displaying in the face of deadly threat.

    • I strongly disagree. It was pretty much the entire point of that final scene last season. She didn’t just defend herself from Pennsatucky, she straddled her and kept beating on her even after she was clearly no longer a threat. In fact, she wasn’t even entirely conscious.

  • judybrowni

    Red slapped Boo: not a small thing in even a medium security Litchfield.

  • PinkyK

    I agree such a Blaa episode. I did enjoy hearing “Bitchin Camero” at the end!

  • Orange Girl

    Do we know Boo hates Red? After the flashback of Red getting beaten up by Vee’s crew, I was wondering if maybe Boo is helping Red set up Vee? Red wants revenge.