overnights

Orange Is the New Black Recap: Nobody Wants to Feel This

Orange Is the New Black

Break The String
Season 6 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****

Orange Is the New Black

Break The String
Season 6 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: JoJo Whilden / Netflix

While I understand that Orange Is the New Black is set in prison and that sometimes what seems tediously repetitive to the viewer is constructed that way intentionally, that we may feel a fraction of what incarcerated persons experience … seriously, enough with Piper’s kickball campaign. Alas, my wishing it to be over cannot make it so. Piper starts the episode making a respectful appeal for Carol’s blessing, in deference to her position as boss of the block, and while Carol tells Piper she doesn’t care, she privately expresses to Badison her disgust at Piper for thinking she can start something: “I’m the starter,” Carol declares.

Determined to collect the signatures Luschek has ordered, Piper accompanies Hoefler to Bible study, where Piper is surprised to see Ruiz; for her part, Ruiz is unconvinced by the teachings, but keeping an open mind. Piper convinces Ruiz to support the kickball bid, and she does: the inmate with the commissary cart later delivers Piper a book containing her kickball petition, with all the signatures she needs, thanks to Ruiz’s signing up all the “church ladies,” as Hoefler puts it. Badison snatches it away for Carol’s inspection; Carol notes, “You didn’t get kickball, you got D-block kickball … If Barb’s bitches are playing, we’ve got to have our own team.” Carol drafts several of her girls to a C-block team and puts Badison in charge. If Piper were, as she’s claimed, just trying to spearhead an initiative that would benefit the whole population, surely she won’t mind being displaced!

Photo: Netflix

But of course Piper, whatever she said, was primarily trying to aggrandize herself, and is thus disappointed.

Since their proper date, Fig and Caputo have been spending a lot of time together, Caputo noting that even as she bitches about how inconvenient it is to live out of boxes in his mostly packed house, she’s made herself comfortable there: “Binge-watching Younger. Reading Nordic noir in bed. You take your bra off the second you walk in the door.” She tells him not to read into it and exposits that he was supposed to leave today, but he says he has one more thing to do before he leaves town …

… and we find out, when Taystee tells Black Cindy, that it’s a deposition: Caputo’s agreed to be a character witness on Taystee’s behalf. Black Cindy winces in pain so debilitating that she later has to lie down on the floor for her radio show. Flaca encourages her to think of the show as Confession, “except no one is going to molest you,” and when they later add an advice segment called “Asking for a Friend” (and I’ll forgive the fact that they’re ripping off the name of a segment of Michelle Buteau’s podcast Late Night Whenever — which itself ripped off the name of a segment from Viceland’s Trixie & Katya — only because Black Cindy and Flaca have no access to pop culture; the writers of Orange Is the New Black, however, have no such excuse), Black Cindy reads a letter from someone afraid that her guilt about betraying a friend has given her an ulcer. Hey, I think I know who wrote it!!! Flaca is savage in her reply: “She’s a traitor and a hater … Now her stomach acid is punishing her because she’s a selfish bitch.”

Caputo, in the deposition, is warm and honest about Taystee, stating that he never feared for his life during the riot, even though MCC’s lawyer forces him to corroborate another MCC employee’s testimony about witnessing Taystee punching Caputo in the face. When Taystee returns to Max to tell Black Cindy about the deposition and what a “good egg” Caputo was, Black Cindy winces in pain again and anxiously says there’s something she needs to tell Taystee, but then loses her nerve and confesses only to the existence of her daughter, who thinks Black Cindy is her sister, and whose father still doesn’t know about her. “I’m not a good person, T,” Black Cindy repeats. Taystee reassures her: “No. No! You are a good egg, too.” Not as good an egg as Caputo, though: When Linda shows up at his door to yell at him for testifying on Taystee’s behalf and selling out MCC, Caputo refuses to accept her assertion that MCC’s dirt is his dirt, and quits on the spot. Fig had likened her relaxation at chez Caputo to “last day of camp” sentimental attachment; will that dissipate now that he’s sticking around?

Mendoza, still leading the dancercise class, uses Luschek to demonstrate technique, while he uses her hip to grind his boner. A jealous Zirconia notices, and in order to drive a wedge between them, suggests to Badison that Mendoza is trying to horn in on the phone business. Easily manipulated, Badison gets Mendoza alone and warns her never to return to Luschek’s class.

In the absence of flashbacks, the main story line running through the episode revolves around the D-block drug pipeline. Daddy delivers Barb a dose of something in powder form, saying she had to get creative under the circumstances; Barb is suspicious but takes it anyway, and immediately starts hallucinating that she’s being attacked by flies. When Daya later finds Daddy hiding drugs in the shower and tries to mooch some, we learn that what Daddy had given Barb was an old batch of bath salts that had caused several inmates to OD years before; Daddy knew Barb had a high enough tolerance not to die, but she needed to get her sent to the infirmary so Daddy would have time to strategize: “Druggie Barb wants to have me killed. Sober Barb will do it.” To this end, Barb had apparently already sent a girl to tamper with Daddy’s toothpaste.

Aleida comes to visit a subdued Daya, who suggests that Aleida could make enough money to move into the three-bedroom apartment required to get all the kids out of foster care if she would just … use her vagina to smuggle drugs into the prison. Aleida claims she doesn’t need to, since she’s made enough money on Nutri-Health to earn a cruise as a bonus, but Daya doesn’t believe her — and rightly so, as we later see Aleida tricking Hopper into buying a bunch of product so that instead of selling it she can spend the day with him. This windfall comes a little late: when he drops her at her building, she sees that Margarita’s been evicted, and while Margarita’s going to live with her mother, Aleida’s not invited.

In the infirmary, Nicky talks Barb down from her ongoing fly hallucination by claiming there’s a huge frog in the corner that will save her by eating them. Once Barb is back in her right mind, she and Nicky bond by sharing junkie stories, Barb claiming she never used her own supply until Frieda screwed her over. Nicky encourages Barb to kick, though Barb’s not sure: “What’s the point of being sober in here? I mean, nobody wants to feel this.” However, when the nurse says she’s been approved for meds, she refuses them — for which Nicky chides her, on the grounds that she could have squirreled them out and sold them.

It’s going to be bad for Daddy if Barb is serious about her sobriety, but neither Daya nor Daddy knows that as the former brings the latter a bag of chips by way of apology for failing to convince Aleida to be their drug connect on the outside. Daddy warns Daya away from her for the sake of Daya’s safety, but Daya says she doesn’t want to be alone, which ends in their fooling around.

Also fooling around are Aleida and Hopper, in his kitchen, among the boxes and canisters of Nutri-Health product — though not for long, as Hopper finishes almost immediately. Aleida tries to salvage the encounter by getting him to start selling Nutri-Health to his fellow COs; he thinks that could get her as many as three new customers, and when she snits that it’s not enough to get her a place of her own, he tells her she can stay with him. Aleida says it’s too small for her to move her kids in, besides which his grandma lives there too. “Yeah, but she never comes out,” Hopper claims. He heads out for a few hours, strongly hinting that he’d like her to make dinner while he’s gone — but not in a blender (so: not Nutri-Health smoothies), and nothing too spicy: “That aggravates Nana’s night reflux.”

Hopper probably didn’t intend to make Aleida such an unappealing offer that she’d return to Daya ready to start smuggling narcotics, but: he did, and she is.

Orange Is The New Black Recap: Nobody Wants to Feel This