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Orange Is the New Black Episode Two Recap: Jalapeño Peppers

Piper — miserable, hungry, and hanging on to her yuppie tendencies — tries to use her ingenuity and resolves to survive the newly hostile Litch as Red tries to starve her out.

She has no commissary, no one willing to give her food for fear of Red retaliating against them, and Healy is no help (forever only concerned with who’s trying to have sex with whom). Piper gets skipped in the lunch line, sits forlornly in the cafeteria, and turns down food from Alex, but ultimately gets her food privileges reinstated when she makes an “artisanal” lotion for Red’s back with jalapeño peppers Suzy gifts to her. Her forced starvation is nicely juxtaposed with a flashback to her excitedly trying the Master Cleanse with Larry, which she fails after five days, and it turns out the artisanal soap business is a combination of Polly’s talent and Piper’s business sense; the tiny reveals in these two scenes make you think that she’s still searching for her own thing, something to set her apart but help her ultimately live up to the earnest ideals she so desperately wants to follow. Is this new, naggingly healthy life some sort of penance for her dalliance with drugs? 

We start to get a peek into the backstory of the other inmates, starting with Red. She and her husband owned a restaurant, and she reluctantly agrees to befriend the wives of some very powerful, very mean Russian men at his request. She tries to join them on their walk around the park, but doesn’t fit in, and after a few rude jokes, the women decide to continue on without her. She confronts the crew when she sees them the next day and knows she’s been left out, resulting in a tit punch that deflates an implant of the main mean girl. The husbands decide to use Red’s restaurant for contraband storage in lieu of the $60,000 they want from her; does this connection ultimately land her in jail?

It will be interesting to see the relationship between Dayanara and her mother develop, especially after her mother threatens that “from here on out, this place will hit you for me.” What happened with these two?

Larry comes for a visit, only to be confronted with the slow-moving bureaucracy of the federal penitentiary system when his name isn’t on the first list the officer grabs. He eventually makes his way in, but the short visit is mostly consumed by Piper’s attempt to get food out of (intentionally) broken vending machines. How long will he keep this up? He’s a good guy, but this is just the beginning.

Nicky (already a goldmine of one-liners and sarcasm) catches on to the drama between Piper and Alex, but doesn’t push it too much. So far she’s the gentle comic relief in an every-man-for-themselves way, but I wonder if she can be the true friend Piper seems to need.

A Freon leak causes the freezer to die, and Healy wonders if he’s been played by Red. Even if he was, would he dare step up to do anything about it? He seems to have a tentative hold on these inmates. Who runs this joint?

In the end, when Piper shows up to movie night without headphones, Suzy shares her earbuds and gently caresses Piper’s hand; finally free of Red, the woman the other inmates call “Crazy Eyes” looks like she’s about to bring Piper a whole new set of problems.

High Highs:

  • Claudette pulling a dead cat from the busted freezer, and Red saying “don’t ask.”
  • Big Boo tucking corn on the cob and salt into her bra after finally getting Red the board for her back.
  • Pornstache miming castration by shiv. Yikes.
  • Healy’s main commerce is Good n’ Plenty.
  • Red’s personal bathroom spa setup is dope!  
  • Weave-snatching fight over a King Cone, which Piper considers eating from the ground.
  • Luschek almost electrocuting himself. He’s hilarious, but how does this guy have a job?
  • Larry’s mom calls eucalyptus “dirty trees.”
  • When Piper fails to make any headway with her traditional methods of apology, Red breaks it down – “I can’t do shit with I’m sorry, not in here.” She further breaks it down when Piper wants to fight her — you’re not getting hazed or harassed, you’re getting starved to death.

Best lines:

  • “How am I supposed to prison fight an old Russian lady with back problems?”
  • “Tory’s getting out next week so we have to train someone new on the feed slicer.”  “Look into Little Sara; make sure she never stabbed people.”
  • “No baggy hip-hop pants — yes, I’m talking to you.” Caputo STAYS a bastard.  
  • “Well, I just didn’t expect to be punished while I was getting punished.”
  • “The second you’re perceived as weak, you already are.”
  • “Your face looks all cheekboney!” Larry to an emaciated Piper.
  • “The Spanish ladies are calling you La Llorona — the wailing lady”
  • “This feels awesome — my senses are heightened. I’m like a fucking werewolf.”

Verdict still out:

  • Dayanara starts flirting with CO Bennett, which looks like it could ultimately be destructive or tender. All of the men associated with this prison seem to have some major personality quirk — is Bennett really that naïve and innocent?
  • Again Sophia is presented in one-dimensional context. I hope she gets a good backstory, at least, if they aren’t able to develop her character in context with the other inmates.