EXT: City street — cannons firing, fireworks exploding, frenzied parties and impromptu parades fill the streets, fire hydrants bursting, confetti floats out of open windows, all of the High School Musical backup dancers do the conga.
PIPER AND LARRY BROKE UP.
This isn’t a tease, right? They don’t get back together in the next episode? There are no teary visiting-room confessions about a love that lasts forever, or Piper running to his door for a kiss-filled make-up before she has to go back to the Litch? It’s my birthday next week, and I feel like this is already the only present that matters.
I was trying to envision how Piper’s furlough would play out; would she make a scene at the funeral? Would she make a break for it? Was she going to try to find Alex and spend two days kicking her absolute ass? It ended up being pretty tame, considering Piper was intent on going to her grandmother’s funeral. She stopped at Larry’s beforehand and was amazed by the smell of coffee and the feel of upholstery, which I totally take for granted in my non-prison life, and then she had to get to the funeral right away. Did you notice how Larry had all of her stuff piled up in front of the door? I get that she wanted her stuff moved to Polly’s, but he knew she was coming home and couldn’t make it slightly more welcoming? I hope a squadron of snakes suffocates him while he sleeps.
The funeral itself was a sweet, Wasp-y affair. Piper said some kind words about her grandmother making Christmas cookies, and then Cal shocked everyone in attendance by deciding to marry his “little wood hen,” Neri, right there at the funeral, taking full advantage of the free food and flowers. Piper isn’t supposed to drink, but she starts necking glasses of wine as soon as she’s in the door, made all the more tasty by the crunchy vegetables she’s missed so much. After a quick argument with her dad about his not wanting to visit her in prison, Piper moves down the hallway to the bathroom and tries to have sex with Larry, but he chooses that exact moment to tell her that he had sex with someone she knows. (“And this is how you choose to tell me, with your flaccid dick in my mouth?”) They both finally realize it’s over, and a fleet of doves flew out of the heating vent and filled the room with rainbows.
After a tense conversation with some older family members had Piper insisting that she is not eager to return to her former self, she decides to cash in the favor to Red, skip the rest of the celebration, and head to Queens to see how things are going. The very saddest news is that Red’s store is now closed, and no one in her family thought it would be a good idea to tell her. Will Piper tell Red the truth? If she does, is Red going to beat her with a sock full of quarters and literally kill the messenger? Piper grabs a burger and a Colt 45, then sits down to eat a burger on a pier, the NYC skyline glinting at her back. The malt liquor threw me — was she making a point, brought up by her dad and relatives at the funeral, about who she really thinks she is now? Or did she just realize that Champagne and burgers is a horrible combination? In any case, she seems settled, but contemplative and a little sad.
Did you know that the Golden Girls are basically a murder squad? Red got some spices from the commissary and is putting together a big family dinner to make amends with her crew, but when Gloria doesn’t deliver on some kitchen items, Red sends the Golden Girls and their shivs to terrorize the products out of the staff. Like a classic painting sprung to life, the Lady With the Octopus Tattoo regaled Flaca with the tale of how she cut off her husband’s penis with a dull butcher knife while she held a shiv to her neck. Grandmas: Whether they’re forcing you to do your homework or chopping off dicks, don’t fuck with them. After they leave with Red’s stuff, she makes a great feast in the garden shed and apologizes for, well, everything. Gina and Norma get a special toast, and Boo gets extremely salty about the fact that she doesn’t. But she also saw the drain in the floor when she dropped her napkin, so Boo gets back at Red by selling her out to Vee for 10 percent of cigarette sales.
Vee and Red have a complicated history, it turns out. We learn in a series of flashbacks that Red was petrified when she first came to prison, and Vee extended some kindness to her; after Red reveals in a conversation that she knows some of the vendors for the kitchen (“They’re here because of me, and I’m here because of them”), she sets up shop and starts importing contraband. One day Vee decides to take it from her, and she has her girls mercilessly beat Red. How was Red able to hug Vee when they first met if this is their history? It was also interesting to see how hardcore prison has made Red, and how adept Kate Mulgrew is at acting that vulnerability. Vee told Red her first mistake was not having backup, so it’s easy to see why family is so important to Red now.
Healy is in therapy, which is going about as great as you think it would go. He’s calling his therapist a “condescending cunt” and challenging her hourly rate within minutes of arrival, but it seems like she succeeds in giving him some tips about anger management, because he later uses them to help Pennsatucky after she slammed Leanne’s head into a dryer. I feel for Healy, because he’s an idealist who’s had the life crushed out of him, but then I remember that he’s a homophobic pain in the cock and I’m resigned to thinking that he just sucks. Healy offers to counsel Pennsatucky about her anger, partially to help her turn over a new leaf but mostly to reinforce that he’s “a nice guy.” Thou dost protest, etc.
After someone approached Poussey in the library about buying “special stuff,” Poussey confronts Taystee about Vee selling drugs. Taystee, drunk on allllll the Vee Kool-Aid, not only defends Vee, but also gets physically rough with Poussey when she tells her to back off. I’m really nervous that their friendship is permanently damaged, and I will spend the rest of her time on the show hoping Vee gets shanked if this is actually happening. The drugs are, in fact, back in Litchfield; after Nicky poured her heart out at an AA meeting about heroin being her main squeeze, Taystee gives her a “first one’s free” bag of it.
Finally, much to the chagrin of every person alive and in a ten-mile radius, Pornstache “Like a D-List Burt Reynolds But More Rapey” Mendez is back, and he could not be happier, handing out shots left and right and generally being a menace. He made fun of Soso so much that she started a hunger strike, and then he gave her extra work duty. His new mullet is fiercely ‘80s and highly distracting, and he still looks like an undulating human oil-slick.
The ghost of Daya gave the ghost of Bennett a tug job in a broom closet, where they primarily discussed Mendez. Daya feels guilty saying the baby belongs to Mendez, but Bennett wants him to go to jail and suffer. In the meantime, Bennett is trying to be a real hardass after Caputo told him Mendez was the only one who could keep the girls in line. After he gives Red a shot for being in the kitchen, she tells Bennett he’s going to be a good father, and he freaks out that she knows. Daya tells him not to worry; Red is on their side. When he sees a cigarette stub on the ground, he loses his mind and starts tossing cells in a frenzy (“I’m in control! I’m in charge!) until Mendez calms him down. When he goes to see Caputo, Bennett breaks and tells him that Daya is pregnant and Mendez is the father; Caputo has never looked happier, knowing that Mendez is about to go down for good.
OUT IN THE YARD
- You have to pay for your own urinalysis in prison?
- C.O. O’Neill is growing on me as the funniest guard, this time using a Lady Gaga tune to remember his script for discharge.
- Vee is reading The Fault in Our Stars, but tells Rosa “this sick fuck is writing about kids with cancer.”
- “No, she doesn’t have another granddaughter, just me, the felon.”
- Kitten heels — the boiled carrots of footwear
- Props to Caputo for mentioning Coach Taylor, the moral compass of us all.