Orange Is the New Black
Lorna’s breakdown in the last episode finally comes to fruition in a terrifyingly dangerous way.
She’s been holding on to her fiancé, Christopher, as a bastion of normalcy throughout her incarceration. Last season people started giving her shit about him never coming to visit, and in the last episode we learned that he had moved on and is getting married. What we didn’t know until today was that Lorna is a straight-up stalker, and their entire relationship never existed.
She has a little bit of freedom in her role as van driver; when she and Fisher escorted Rosa to her chemo treatment, Lorna, fueled by a sad song on the radio, short-circuited and drove to Christopher’s house during the three-hour lag to take a bath with his fiancée’s veil. Her backstory was revealed in small chunks as she broke into and then walked around his house: She’s in jail for mail fraud, the kind where you lie about never receiving a pricey item and urge the vendor to credit the sale to your credit card, and met Christopher in the post office. As he testified at her trial, they went on one date, it didn’t work out, and she started a campaign of terror against him and his fiancée Angela, including but not limited to threatening voice-mails, showing up on their vacation in Atlantic City, and leaving a homemade bomb under Angela’s car. LORNA. DAMN.
What this show continues to do well is showcase the complicated private lives of undervalued women, and Lorna fits the bill to a T. She lives in a chaotic house with most of her family, has very little mental and emotional space of her own, and seems stuck in a juvenile fantasy version of life, as evidenced by the huge collage of models and magazine-perfect lifestyle images on her wall. She’s still tragic in that way — childlike bordering on childish — but now we can add a new layer of intense danger to her repertoire. At her core, she just wants to love and be loved; why are some people automatically excluded from that possibility? And when you follow the prescription for love that you’ve been spoon-fed culturally and it doesn’t work, why wouldn’t you snap? When she fell asleep in the tub and heard Christopher come home, Lorna made a hasty escape out of the window, snatching a stuffed animal from their bed on the way out and getting back to the hospital just in time, visibly shaken but eerily deceptive.
In less depressing news, Poussey set off a Vagina Hole Revolution™ when she developed a contraption to stand up and pee (the Stand and Deliver, brilliant). It turns out most of Litchfield is clueless about what’s happening with their vaginas! Taystee is confused until she takes a mirror to the bathroom, Leanne thinks there might be “one hole with different holes off it, like a cave system,” and one person even thinks hers is like a showerhead, spraying off in all different directions. Not even Piper fully understands her vagina (but that doesn’t stop her from approaching the topic with extreme self-righteousness at first)! Sophia to the rescue! She designed her own vagina (“Had the plans drawn up and everything; I’ve seen some funky punani”) and has no problem drawing models and describing a map of the entire business. It’s a second-wave-feminist-style revolution from within that was simultaneously hilarious and a little peek-behind-the-curtain-ish; if we’re sticking with the theme of forgotten and undervalued women, how else would they learn about their bodies? Who else would care to teach them?
Speaking of your sex holes, Boo and Nicky are now engaged in a full-fledged Orgasm-Off, a competitive game to see who can gain the most points for making the most women come. Nicky is defensive at first when Boo sees her book and attaches it as an extension of Nicky’s addiction (“I collect orgasms!”), but then the two sexual alphas decide to make it fun. It all comes to a head when Piper tries to pimp out Soso to Boo to get her blanket back and it fails spectacularly, but in the wake of Soso figuring out what’s up, Nicky swoops in to “comfort” her. Soso never stops talking, even during sex, and spews out a series of generational non-sequiturs like, “I had sex at Bonnaroo with a girl who peed on my breasts” and “We were wearing headdresses and the String Cheese Incident was playing.” Nicky basically shoved her crotch in Soso’s face just to get some peace and quiet, and to take a minute to figure out whether to be scared of or impressed by the sexual abandon of millennials.
Piper and Red are now roommates, which is fraught from the minute Piper rounds the corner with her bag of belongings. Red hasn’t had a roommate in ages, but the effects of her fall from the top are still reverberating throughout her life. When she complains to Caputo, he tells her she got too big for her britches, which is the first thing you say if you want Red to jump to action and start fucking shit up, Berserker-style. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, CAPUTO. Red decides to plead for a gardening program for the Golden Girls, masterfully manipulating Caputo based on his personal interest in gardening and drawing attention to the age-based disparity in programming, and starts making plans for the storm drain she finds buried beneath the floorboards of the greenhouse. Is she going to escape? She and Piper find some common ground as roommates in the meantime, agreeing that “people are fickle fucks” and chin hairs are the bane of every woman’s existence.
There was a really tender scene with Poussey and Taystee that is absolutely ruined by Vee by the end of the episode. Poussey knows that Taystee isn’t gay, but they have an affectionate connection that they’ve been able to negotiate in their own way. They end up kissing in this scene, with Taystee reaffirming that she’s not gay and Poussey struggling to figure out how to parse out her feelings. Taystee doesn’t leave her alone, though; she gently offers to cuddle with Poussey, trying to make her friend feel good even if she doesn’t have romantic feelings about her. She’s generous and loving, and by the end of the episode Vee finds a way to make that shameful. I fucking hate Vee right now for messing with the Litchfield dynamic so dangerously. It’s fun to watch her manipulate everyone, but she’s a snake.
Larry continues his Parade of Suckage, this time indulging in a little too much Polly time. Pete is away on a vision quest, and he and Polly are traversing the city together, having people tell them they are a cute couple. Polly laughs it off, but Larry clearly loves it, being the attention-seeking shit monster he’s always been. Are they going to have an affair? If I have to watch Larry try to justify to Piper his reason for fucking her best friend, my head might melt off my body. When he said, “I loved playing house with you today,” I immediately wished my computer came with Slap-O-Vision.
OUT IN THE YARD
- “Are you sure Rosa’s cancer isn’t alopecia?” Far be it for me to want to silence a woman, but Soso is working everyone’s last nerve.
- That was a sweet moment with Rosa during her chemo treatment, when the kid next to her realized she was an inmate. She’s so resigned to her fate, both as a prisoner and a person who is sick, but her sense of humor is relentlessly good.
- “No way! I have a mons pubis!”
- O’Neill lurking in the background to pay close attention to Sophia’s vagina-hole symposium was hilarious.
- Vee is really stoking the fires of a race war between the Spanish and African-American inmates.
- “Don’t put Tiger Balm on your lips! OR YOUR EYEBALLS.”
- Red is reading We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt, a book about sisterhood and secrets, so add that to your book-club list.
- Piper keeps trying to get her stuff back from the “vultures” that picked apart her bunk when she left, but my favorite was Suzanne, who took her engagement picture and put it on her wall. “It’s not about you — I just really like the beach.”
- Big Boo laughing at Piper while saying “You really are a horrible person” is pretty much the thesis for this show, right?
- Red is my new feminist hero. I can see her sayings stitched onto miles-long pieces of fabric and hung from skyscrapers, like “Selfish is how you survive” and “Husbands are as useless and children.” I will not rest until there is a statue of Galina “Red” Reznikov in every town.