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Orange Is the New Black Season 2, Episode 12 Recap: What Are We, Pirates?

Adrienne C. Moore (L) and Vicky Jeudy (R) in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. Photo credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix.

Are you still with me on this, our penultimate episode? Did you finish this show weeks ago, and you’re just waiting for Grandma to catch up? Am I hyperventilating about the end of this episode on my own?

Here’s what I know about grandmas based on mine alone: They love horror movies and The Walking Dead, but stay strong on that Wheel of Fortune grind; that baking cookies thing is a sham; and they need their glasses on or near them at all times to do anything at all. This botched Vee killing could very easily go into “Taslitz thinks all black people look the same!” territory, but everyone is going to get merc'd because she forgot her specs. 

Red cannot abide by this mistake, even though Taslitz is in the SHU as a result. (“Vision is a basic requirement. It’s like, step one, pick a person to kill; step two, kill THAT person.”) Everyone is in danger now! Vee, which stands for “vindictive fuck,” would absolutely lay out these grannies to prove a point. The Girl With the Octopus Tattoo suggests a pirate-style parlay, just to flip the script and pretend it was a warning shot. Sure! I did that once with a bully at school when I accidentally tripped into her at the lockers; I acted like I meant to beat her ass and then stopped myself, and she thought I was too pathetic to bother with ever again. Success! Vee shows up to the greenhouse with a little less forgiveness; when Red jokes about her finding the other end of the pipeline in the woods, Vee starts talking about her son’s name and describing his house. Red goes slightly psycho at the prospect of her kid being hurt, but I bet if Piper had told her about the store, she would’ve let her kill him! The emergency weather alarm cuts their discussion short, but Red spitting in Vee’s eye while they were down on the ground was the warning shot needed to signal the upcoming war.

Poussey, firmly in the midst of a drinking problem, is drunk at work again and getting into it with Janae, who is still using the library to deal for Vee. Janae internalizes her pain; she refuses to let Vee take responsibility for her getting tossed in the SHU, and she wonders why Poussey is fighting her so hard. Well, maybe because she stole all of her friends, made her life hell, and then had her mercilessly beaten? Once Poussey is good and drunk, she heads to the warehouse and demolishes Vee’s stash, crushing the tobacco beneath her boots and then pouring bleach on it. I am legitimately surprised it didn’t result in a new drug for Vee to sell — Smash Tabacky or Bleach-Burned Crack or something — and it only made Vee super pissed off. So pissed off, in fact, that she tells Taystee smell ya later — smell ya later forever. Thankfully, she and Poussey make up in the library when they’re sent to rescue the books from the flood. Way to drag that out that heartache all season, guys. I rejoiced by having a cupcake for lunch.

Litchfield is held together with quick-melting cement and wishes, so Tropical Storm Wanda is set to rip it from its foundation. Caputo is doing his best to keep it together, but all of the inmates have to move upstairs with their bedrolls thanks to the overflowing lake and the flood situation it’s causing. Chapman, still brutally bummed out about her upcoming transfer, is wading in the basement with Nicky and Luschek, trying to turn on the pumps for the generators. Surprise! There are no pumps. Thanks, Figueroa! You also have Figueroa to thank for the fact that the plumbing stopped working, and everyone is using honey buckets to piss. And piss only! I know from my years in Alaska that it’s already hard enough to shit in a bucket with a centralized hole in the cover, but hundreds of people shitting in a bucket is a goddamn apocalypse. 

Fig is too busy wining and dining people at her husband’s fund-raiser to give a rip about Litchfield, and she’s also entertaining the accountant, Hoffman, who is starting to find her “overlapping funds.” He’s easily bought off by the promise of Tiki Barber talking about Foucault at the party, which is garbage. Fig finally has sex with her husband only to have him denigrate her job and responsibilities, then she catches him kissing his aide at the party. I TOLD YOU THEY WERE FUCKIN’! I told you. This isn’t really a “poor Fig” situation; they were both using each other for personal gain, and theirs seemed like a marriage made out of opportunity, but there’s no way she’s going to handle this well. 

Daya and Bennett, ghosts (R.I.P.), are still having the same tense, awkward interaction, but this time she told him that she felt the baby. Even though we made a pact to stay barren and drunk well into our 50s, most of my friends are pregnant right now, so I know that this event is called the quickening, which makes it sound like you’re about to give birth to an immortal warrior instead of a cute little bag of bones. Daya thinks she’s having a boy because one of her boobs is bigger than the other, and Bennett wants to name it Frank. Like, you guys can barely look each other in the eye right now. Maybe calm down on the baby names for a minute.

Everyone is sucking down Ensure and wiping up with Wet-Naps, but there’s still high drama happening all around them — Taystee has no friends anymore, Daya is having a panic attack, Red is trying to stay with her family and stay alive, and Soso is leading a tone-deaf sing-along of the hottest hits of the '90s. When I’m retired, I’ll write long essays about how both songs set back both the feminist movement and my enjoyment of karaoke forever, but in this instance, it was just perfectly Soso to want to sing these songs specifically. To top it all off, Leanne and Angie are getting high on an industrial-size container of nutmeg. I sort of love them — they’re the Shaggy and Scooby of the show. 

In the flashbacks we learn that Vee has always been a total motherfucker, and she had her adopted son RJ killed after she fucked him. Take your time unpacking that sentence! The cop she has on payroll told her that RJ was about to start his own business, so she had him legally assassinated. She was also going through menopause at the time, which makes me think anyone who gets a period should get one legal murder. This is the Obama’s America that I voted for! Taystee doesn’t know about this, right? She would have killed Vee a long time ago.

Healy and Tucky are still in the middle of their warped buddy-cop movie, but now he has her thinking about the lesbian agenda like it’s an actual directive. Healy explaining the lesbian agenda is AMAZING to behold (“That’s how they get you — being cool, doing cool things, before you know it, you’re part of their agenda!”). He’s reading Hannah Rosin’s The End of Men like it’s a manual, and when Tucky says “Men being in charge has never done me any good,” he points to the free cookies he gave her as proof that the patriarchy is a benevolent force. I would trade that cookie for equal pay and a legislative arm that let me decide the bylaws of my own body faster than Healy could join the MRA. Boo’s fucking with Tucky was pretty great, though. 

Chapman is on the warpath; she’s seen too many rats today, she hates Figueroa for vindictively sending her away, and Yoga Jones tells her how awesome the prison she’s about to be sent to is (Craft shop! Volleyball!). She’s fed up! And in that spirit, she does the thing she said she wouldn’t — she sneaks into Fig’s office and steals the Fitzcorp file for that City Post reporter. She runs into Caputo on the way out; are they going to form an alliance and take Figueroa down?

Gloria wasn’t foolish enough to give Red a knife from the kitchen, so she stole some plastic wrap and tried to choke Vee while they were emptying their honey buckets. She stopped choking her when Vee says “go ahead,” and they laugh about the fact that prison has made them both want to kill each other just to sell mascara to inmates, and they shake on Vee’s suggestion that they each keep the businesses they have. DO NOT TRUST THIS BITCH, RED. And she really shouldn’t have — when the storm is over and Red is in the greenhouse, Vee sneaks in and beats her mercilessly with what looks like the world’s worst Dr. Seuss book, A Lock in a Sock. 

Is Red dead? 


OUT IN THE YARD

  • How many times can the greenhouse be demolished? We get it, it’s a metaphor for how prison keeps messing with your life and nothing can grow in that environment, but seeing those beautiful plants overturned is starting to bum me out, man.
  • Ruiz has a tearful good-bye with her boyfriend and baby, who looks adorable in jeggings. Chapman only thought about herself when she found out she was being transferred, but Ruiz’s story is the heartbreaking one. She knows that her baby won’t know her when she gets out, and she can’t trust that her silent boyfriend will take care of her in the same way. Watching her tell him to read to her, talk to her, was gut-wrenching. 

Rosa has one pressing concern: “It’s not the dying; it’s that I gotta do it HERE. The last thing I’m going to see is YOU assholes.” I wish she was going out in a blaze of glory. Rosa is this entire season for me.
  • During a game of Fuck, Marry, Kill, everyone gets it wrong. You fuck Caputo, marry O’Neill, and kill Bennett (made easier by the fact that he’s already dead).
  • 
Leanne: “Do you ever think about why we wear clothes all the time? 

    Angie: “I feel trapped inside my face.” 
I had no idea you could get that high on nutmeg.
Photo: JOJO WHILDEN