Orange is the New Black: Little Mustachioed Shit

Posted on July 08, 2014

Orange-Is-The-New-Black-Season-2-Episode-10-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLOTaylor Schilling and Laura Prepon in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”

 

No one can protect you in a world where everyone is a criminal.

That’s got to be one of the most depressing one-sentence thematic summations of any television show we’ve ever written about. And yet, it is, as always, to this show’s enormous credit that it can explore such vein-opening sentiments without ever truly being depressing.

Alex can’t quite protect Piper from an angry and violent not-quite-ex-girlfriend. Taystee can’t protect Poussey from Vee’s wrath. Healy can’t even get anyone to take seriously the idea of a “safe space” in this world. Bennett can’t stand up for the mother of his child. Figueroa treats inmate rape as an inconvenience. And the very walls themselves can’t protect Lorna from owning up to the truth about herself. Criminals, it would seem, are dangerous to be around. Who knew?

Sarcasm aside, it’s not the physical dangers of prison that resonate here; it’s the emotional ones. Sure, it was hard to watch Suzanne give Poussey a beatdown in the shitshowers, but not because of the violence; because of the relationships being destroyed by that one act. It’s hard to see how Taystee and Poussey will ever bounce back from something like that. And it worries us that Suzanne’s being turned into a weapon by Vee; one that doesn’t have a safety and can’t always seem to shut itself down. What will happen to Suzanne when her rage gets the better of her? As we saw with Janae getting hauled off to SHU, Vee ignores you the minute you become a liability. And while we fear for Red now that Vee’s made her intentions known regarding the use of the pipeline, we tend to worry more about the power she’ll lose if she lets Vee take this away from her; what will happen to the prison family she just got back. We worry about the introduction of heroin into the prison, less because of the physical dangers, but more because of how it’s clearly tearing Nicky apart.

And yes, this is a world full of criminals, from top to bottom. That’s not exactly a revelation since we’re talking about a jail, but the show has gone out of its way to show two things this season. First, as with Morello’s, Vee’s, Rosa’s and Cindy’s backstories, care was taken to point out that not all of these women are here because of one bad choice in their lives. Many of them are straight-up dangerous. Second, the show is giving us more of the people in charge of the prison this season – and making the point that many of them are as corrupt as the inmates. Figueroa gets more repulsive by the second. Faced with a rape scandal in the prison, she does everything in her power to cover it up or “get out in front of” it. Bennett seems quite happy with sending Mendez to jail for doing the exact same thing he did, convincing himself, like so many do in the Litch, that he’s the good one; the exception to the rule; somehow morally better than those people. In Daya’s eyes, Mendez actually comes off a better than Bennett, simply because he had the balls to say to the world that he loved her and that she was bearing his child. Of course it makes sense why Bennett would be reticent, and maybe Daya’s not being entirely fair about it, but that’s fine by us. The whole situation is fucked up. We can’t say we’re rooting for anyone in that scenario, except for maybe the baby. We shudder to think Mendez will somehow get custody of it. Although that doesn’t seem likely, what with him in jail and all.

But it’s not all terrible in the Litch. Soso finds an ally in Yoga Jones, who reaches her breaking point when she sees Janae hauled off to the SHU for a second time. It was a wonderful character bit, first because, as Brook pointed out, she was one of the most likely to join her, but also because she and Janae had a powerful moment last season and it’s nice to see the show remember these sorts of brief encounters and how they affect people in such a closed environment. But Sister Ingalls is feeling shame. She’s the activist in the group and she should be joining Brook, but as she says, somewhat acidly “It’s not Guantanamo.” It’s possible that Sister Ingalls isn’t quite the radical she wants everyone to think she is.  Brook’s the real deal, but everyone treats her like a naive annoyance – and she is, in a lot of ways – but when you step away and look at what she’s doing, it’s incredibly brave of her. Unlike many of the women in this prison, she still has a high self-regard. Such a thing makes her a target of ridicule, if not violence. But it also gives her the strength to stand up and say that the conditions around her are inhumane. She has enough self worth left to not only stand up, but to inspire other people to stand up with her. That’s no small thing.

And Sophia got a cute moment with her son, even though it wasn’t the moment she figured she was going to get. In some ways, it’s probably harder for her. An angry blowup might have made it easier for her to move on. Instead, she’s going to have to deal with emotional change the way most people do: in increments. Slowly. And not always directly. After all, it’s not a coincidence that Michael kicked her ass in cards. Aggression comes in many forms. Still, it’s growth, and it’s good.

As for Piper – OH GOD WHO CARES. LARRY POLLY WHATEVER. The only fun part was Piper’s new sister-in-law, who apparently is the kind of person you can call up from prison and say, “Hey, could you do me a favor and leave a flaming bag of shit on someone’s doorstep?” Don’t we all need someone like that?

We’re worried what’s going to happen when Red finds out Piper lied, though. Red’s not the most ligical person in the world and she’s likely to figure out a way to blame piper for her family’s failings. She’ll be humiliated to know Piper pitied her. See what we mean? It’s never about the threat of violence with this group. It’s always about the fear that someone’s going to get truly hurt.

And speaking of getting hurt, Lorna had a heartbreaking reunion with Christopher. As much as we feel for her and her realization that she has some serious mental health issues, we really couldn’t blame Christopher for the way he acted. It must have been terrifying to think the woman who threatened to kill your wife broke out of prison, broke into your home, and stole her wedding veil. That is BEYOND creepy. It’s to the show’s credit that it so expertly toys with the viewer’s emotions this way. Of course Christopher’s right to be mad. Of course she’s dangerous and mentally unstable. But wow, was it sad to see her world fall apart like that, right in front of her eyes.

 

If you want to hear more of our thoughts on OitNB than you ever thought possible, you can check out this podcast Tom did with Mo Ryan of the Huffington Post and Ryan McGee of HitFix here. Settle in. It’s a looooong one.

 

[Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein for Netflix]

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      I really like seeing the point of view of the prison workers because the lower staff? Treat their job just like any other person who doesn’t care about their job. I think too often, workplace shows – unless the work is truly glamorous in the eyes of the viewer (Mad Men) – never get that point of just how much people do not care about the place they collect a paycheck from. They’re not good, not bad – but they have dental. I don’t know…the characterization kind of spooks me.

      Also, the extensions used in the Piper flashback were terrible.

    • Jarethee

      Yeah…I mean, I know Lorna/Morello is in the wrong, but the way the actress plays her and the character is shown, I just feel so bad for her and want to give her a hug. It’s kinda brilliantly played thus.

      True story, when I watched this episode, I just fast-forwarded through all of the Piper and Alex scenes (and read the recaps online) and screamed because I wanted to see ANYONE ELSE’S back story rather than ANOTHER bit of Alex or Piper’s. UGH.

      • Vanessa

        I know — but I was glad we saw Christopher’s anger. That break in was truly scary and I can totally see his POV.

        • http://www.chifleschips.com Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

          I was glad to see it sink in to Morello that indeed, A. It’s over with where Christopher was concerned, and B. she finally understands she’s got a problem.

          What I don’t understand why, aside from that it wouldn’t make great TV, is that Christopher knew who did it. Why didn’t he call the authorities?

          • Candy Kane

            In the scene he said he did call the police, but they didn’t believe him.

          • Katherine Dickens

            I might be wrong but I think he said that he did go to the authorities about it and they told him it couldn’t have possibly been her since she was locked up. He tells her he doesn’t know how she did it and no one believes him but he knew it was her.

            • http://www.chifleschips.com Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

              Ah…ok…something I missed. Thank you.

          • your face

            What I want to know is why the prison guard doesn’t take the van keys at the hospital.

            • http://www.chifleschips.com Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

              When Morello took the van, it was Fischer who was with her. She didn’t take the keys, nor did she come back to check on her. When the male guard went to the hospital with Miss Rosa and Morello in a subsequent episode, he did not take the keys, but he did check back very regularly.

            • your face

              Right, I know. My point is that it would make a lot of sense for the guard to take the keys. I know it’s fiction and you must suspend your disbelief, but that detail is wildly unrealistic and a little distracting.

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

              Apparently in Piper Kernan’s book, she tells of incidents where the guards were shockingly lax about leaving them unguarded. I’m ready to believe such incompetence exists.

            • tereliz

              That they left the keys with her is unrealistic at best, but what made me think that Lorna must have just been busted for mail fraud, and that the stalking stuff was just to call her character into question, was that they trusted A WOMAN SUFFERING FROM MAJOR DELUSIONS (medicated? not medicated? either way, bad idea) to drive the van at all, much less leave the prison grounds. That was the real kicker for me.

            • demidaemon

              Fischer was pretty trustworthy of the inmates, so that’s probably why. The new guard assigned to their trips is a little less so.

      • Kent Roby

        I enjoyed Piper last week (at funeral, dealing w conflict between who she is and how family/friends see her), but I hate the flashbacks w Alex. The fact that Piper was assaulted by Alex’s girlfriend on their VERY FIRST DATE , yet ended up in a relationship and eventual partner in crime makes me want to scream at her (Piper).

    • R. L.

      Amazing episode! I felt awful for Lorna, being publicly humiliated like that.

    • Vanessa

      Yes–Brook turns out to be much more than just a “new Piper” as she appeared in the first episode. She isn’t the most interesting character and still subject to much manipulation by the more sophisticated inmates, but her level of conviction is consistent and strong which makes her a much more interesting addition to the ensemble.

      • ShaoLinKitten

        My conclusion was that Brook has a hell of a lot more integrity than Piper. They’re both spoiled brats, but Brook has principles than really mean something to her. Piper’s just a narcissist.

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

          Its also The Enthusiasm, Earnestness & Optimism of Youth.

          • ShaoLinKitten

            True, though as TLo said, Brook displayed a great deal of courage in standing by her principles. She led a meaningful movement, not simply self-aggrandizing, like Pennsatucky’s in the first season. She had every reason to be terrified, and to cower behind a stronger person and keep her head down for the duration of her sentence. I grew to grudgingly admire her in a way that I doubt I ever will Piper.

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

              You’re right, thats awfully cynical of me.

            • Glammie

              Do we know why Brook’s in prison? I mean, it seems like she’s there for political activism, whereas Piper’s in there for laundering drug money. In a basic way, they’re very different.

            • ShaoLinKitten

              I remember something about her being arrested for some sort of protesting. She mentioned chaining herself to a tree. So yeah, I agree that definitely points to a fundamental difference in the characters’ priorities and values.

            • Glammie

              Sounds right to me. There’s no reason, really, to think that she’s not a better person than Piper is.

              A lot of the women are in there for drug-related offenses, but I don’t think the show’s going to let everyone off the hook as far as drugs go. In some ways, Piper’s worse than some of the others because she was in the drug trade without being an addict. Well, I suppose she’s a bit addicted to Alex.

            • Mary Nease

              Yeah, the real!Piper talks a lot in her book about how shitty she felt about herself and what she did after witnessing first hand the effects that the drug trade has on people’s lives. I hope they go more into that next season and actually start redeeming her, because the real!Piper seems like a genuinely good person who became better for her stay in prison. If I recall, I think she’s now serving on some prison advisory board, trying to use her influence to improve conditions.

            • Glammie

              I think it’s being set up, given what happens in the second season and also a major hanging plot thread that’s there at the end. Piper’s only seen the pretty side of the drug trade. We saw some dark stuff last season and some really dark stuff this season, but none of it’s touched Piper much. She’s always been set up for a fall–I think, in some ways, we’re supposed to kind of identify with her (white middle-class, as are a lot of viewers), but not necessarily like her.

        • NinjaCate

          Exactly. Brook is annoying as hell, but she has her beliefs and she’s willing to stand by them even if it means things get more difficult for her. Piper talks a good game but it totally will to kind of make a deal here and there if it means she gets to stay comfortable.

    • butterflysunita

      Suzanne showed in the bathroom scene that she does have the ability to restrain herself–at first she only held Poussey’s arms and prevented her from hitting Vee. But then Vee gave that little diabolical nod–and Suzanne beat up Poussey. Suzanne has tried so hard to reign in her violent tendencies–it’s scary how Vee is manipulating her into unleashing them.

    • IraKi

      I would so jump the fence for Alex. Heck I would jump a building! Anyway, I think it is wonderfully weird how I couldn’t care less about Christopher and I really empathized with Lorna. Or should it be upsetting?

    • another_laura

      So very over Piper / Alex / Larry / Polly. And Suzanne and Lorna are breaking my heart every time they’re on screen. The mentally ill girls always get me, as opposed to those who are “merely” sociopaths.

      I can’t wait to read what T Lo thought of the final epi of Season 2.

    • ShaoLinKitten

      Larry + Polly is less interesting than they were separately… do show runners read blogs and reader comments? Any chance they will realize that no one cares about these characters and make them disappear in S3?

      • Mary Nease

        What’s sad is that they’re not even that way in real life. The real life!Larry is actually an awesome human being, but I guess that doesn’t create the kind of *drama* that the writers want. So instead they made fictional!Larry a piece of shit.

    • gracedarling

      Watching the hold that Vee has on Suzanne develop into a full-blown Stockholm Syndrome manipulation in the last few episodes has just been heartbreaking. One of the most intriguing themes of the show has been Suzanne’s need for a strong black role model in her life, someone who won’t condescend and who, unlike her actual mother, won’t conflate her blackness in with her general ‘otherness’.

      That she’ll do anything to keep Vee’s approval is terrifying, but mostly terrifying for her – she’s so close to losing who she is as a person, her innate sweetness and poetry, for the respect of a woman who can mother her in the way she feels she needs. OH SUZANNE. This can only end one way.

      • NinjaCate

        “someone who won’t condescend and who, unlike her actual mother, won’t conflate her blackness in with her general ‘otherness’.”

        EXPERTLY SAID. So much of Suzanne’s issue I think has to do with the fact that her adoptive parents really kind of treated her mental illness as part and parcel of her blackness. And Vee, sociopath that she is, really exploited her need to have a role model who looked like her, empathized with her and took the time to build her up emotionally.

    • snarkykitten

      Genuinely curious: are you guys actually pacing yourselves or have you watched all the episodes and are carefully writing the recaps as if you haven’t?

      • mmebam

        I believe they said in the beginning that they had already watched the entire season but chose to pace the reviews because there’s a lot to say and they don’t know how quickly everyone else had seen the show.

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

        I just now listened to the bit of the podcast where Tom mentions his technique! – he’s pacing himself and re-watching an episode before writing.

    • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

      I believe this is the episode where I thought that Samira Wiley went from being a good actress to ridiculously amazing. My heart broke for Poussey.
      Also, I have to say casting did a stupendous job with the ex-boyfriends on this show. Between Christopher, Rosa’s 3 lovers, and Gloria’s abusive baby daddy, there’s just so much eye candy.. (shame we’ll probably never get to see any of them ever again.)

      • demidaemon

        True on that. Christopher is probably the only one who could make a reoccurring appearance, seeing as, in the rest of that list, we’ve seen all but one bite the bullet.

      • H2olovngrl

        My favorite would be Maria’s strong silent gangbanger baby daddy, Yadriel. More of him, please!

        • Glammie

          I hope that little storyline continues.

        • Ali2044

          Yep. Mmhm.

          • H2olovngrl

            And how cute was it in the last episode when he was all cheerful and chatty and talking to the baby? I loved it.

    • prisma

      I started watching this show strictly because of TLo. And having binge watched both seasons so rapidly, it’s weird to be done before the second season recaps are done. It’s like I sailed through a time warp.

      There’s some truly great acting on this show. I’m impressed.

    • demidaemon

      I think this is the episode that sets up many of the “what ifs” that will carry both into the rest of the season and the next. In that way, it is good plot and world building, and, in another, incredibly frustrating for a viewer, though I do like the idea that every action has multiple ramifications, and, 95% of the time, you know why someone has done something, even when you either sympathize with the wrong side or wish they wouldn’t. For instance, why Piper lied to Red. We all know exactly why she did it, even though, until the words left her mouth, you didn’t know what she was going to say. Red’s reaction just makes it that much more bittersweet.

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

        I felt Red, on some level, knew she was being lied to, but CHOSE to believe.
        Something in Mulgrew’s eyes…

        • demidaemon

          Hmmm, maybe. I would have to go and rewatch the episode to be sure. It has been a while. :)

          Not like I need an excuse.

    • mmebam

      Oh my goodness, Morello. Objectively, I knew Christopher was 100% justified, but my heart was with her.

    • Cheryl

      Morello pissed me off. If you’ve ever been stalked there is nothing cute or quirky about it. It’s fucking terrifying. I officially hate the character now, where before I just found her merely annoying. I had thought the whole wedding thing was a delusion, including the groom. I was surprised to find out Chwistopher actually existed. Watching that episode, made me start shaking and feel ill, I was glad to see Christopher give her hell. I only wish that her fellow inmates didn’t get to see what lying, evil piece of excrement she is.

      • L’Anne

        And what about her sister, telling her about Christopher’s upcoming wedding? It looked like she sat in court during his testimony and heard what Morello did. How irresponsible to tell her anything about a man she tried to kill.

      • NinjaCate

        See, and I totally get that reaction. I don’t hate Morello now, but after this episode I remember thinking, “holy shit, she’s fucking CRAZY”. And not just delusional, but probably actively dangerous. I felt bad for her, but a little part of me kind of hoped Christopher really got to stick it to her. I can’t even imagine how terrified he must have felt that she GOT OUT OF JAIL to fuck with his family.

        • Cheryl

          Of course my way of seeing it comes from my own twisted filter, of having been stalked, so even watching that set up some PTSD type reactions. Morello went from annoying, delusional woman, to something very frightening.

    • Danielle

      It’s a real testament to Yael Stone’s acting skills that you STILL feel absolutely horrible for her while Christopher publicly berates her for breaking into his house.

    • Glory Ten

      I was so happy for Morello that it was Nicky who was there for her. Nicky was compassionate and sweet, which was just was Morello needed. I really am having a hard time with Daya, though. It’s annoying that a girl who virtually had to raise herself and her siblings has no pragmatism. This is not to say that I think Bennett is great. He’s a flaming ball of insecurity. Who could be attacted to that? Nothing makes me hate Vee more than what she’s done with Suzanne. If only someone less evil could give Suzanne what she craves. But I think I’m more annoyed by Fig than anybody. I feel like her character is drawn too thinly. I mean, Caputo and Healy are shown to have different facets to their characters. But Fig is just all selfish bitch all the time. I wish it was dialed back to at least an 8.

      • MuseofIre

        I honestly don’t know what Daya wants or expects at this point, and I don’t think she does either.

      • Mary Nease

        Who could be attracted to that? He’s easy on the eyes and the nicest man in that prison. It’s not hard to see why she fell for him.

        • Glory Ten

          Without question. But notice, she starts to resent him more and more, because he’s insecure and can’t stand up and say that that baby is his, consequences be damned. I think she wants him to “be a man,” show some machismo, and without that masculine and overt show of passion, she is underwhelmed by Bennett. She’s young and dumb, I guess. Theoretically, there’s plenty of time for that after she gets out, but only if he doesn’t get himself thrown in jail, but she doesn’t seem to grasp that, and for that, I just want to shake her.

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

      I’m impressed with the show, that they had Morello face consequences, not just let her off the hook.

    • ashtangajunkie

      Morello’s combination of terrifying and heartbreaking gets me every scene.

    • Topaz

      My feeling with the Lorna storyline is that, while she’s clearly dangerous, it’s also getting across that people with considerable mental health problems are being left to stew in the prison with no serious effort being made to offer them treatment and support. Even now – has she realised that she was deluded or has she just come to the conclusion that Christopher isn’t very nice, and is liable to latch on to the first guy that’s nice to her as soon as she leaves Litchfield? What efforts her being made to give her some genuine insight into her behaviour and find techniques for making sure this doesn’t happen again? None. Neither Suzanne or Lorna seem like bad people, but clearly they both need help.

      On the other hand, it’s a bit depressing that in the two major depictions of mental illness on the show, that mental illness has manifested in dangerous and violent behaviour. People with mental illness are far, far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. This is a really widespread stereotype that is extremely stigmatising to people with mental health problems. I realise that on a show set in a prison there’s a chance that some people there who are mentally ill may have been or still be violent, but I still find it frustrating. Self harm and other forms of mental illness are extremely widespread in women’s prisons and certainly not exclusive to violent offenders. The show is obviously not a super-gritty drama but it’s still pretty dark and I think they could make an effort to show more of a range, given that the show seems to be all about not settling on the most obvious stereotypes when it comes to characterisation.