Orange Is the New Black
I am as liberal as a homosexual member of Occupy Wall Street playing Hacky Sack in an Elizabeth Warren T-shirt at a pro-choice rally on the campus of a Northeastern liberal-arts college that respects everyone’s personhood and demands trigger warnings. Because of that, I love when my politics are reflected in the television I watch. Heck, I still DVR reruns of blue-state nocturnal emission The West Wing just so I can pretend like every day is the Clinton administration. As much as I love my shows to be lefter than left, the only time I hate it is when the politics make for really sloppy storytelling, and that seems to be what happened with this episode of our favorite prison drama.
Because Orange Is the New Black has the same political values of those at a vegan, organic Sarah Lawrence alumni potluck, everything about this episode featuring Big Boo, trying to pretend to be an ex-gay to siphon money out of Christian groups, was so incredibly expected. Of course Boo wasn’t going to be able to pull it off and shout down the hate-spewing minister who came to greet her. As soon as she and Pennsatucky hatched this plan to fill up Boo’s commissary with the spoils of the collection plate, I knew it was going to go south — it was just a matter of time until it happened.
Boo’s backstory was also sadly predictable, like a season-four episode of Glee. It turns out that Boo has always been super butch and her parents hated it. She didn’t get to say good-bye to her ailing mother because she showed up looking like Tegan ate Sarah while watching every episode of Cagney and Lacey simultaneously. Boo is uncompromisingly herself, and we love her for it, but haven’t we seen this story a million times before? The great thing about OITNB is that it always surprises us and defies expectations with what these women’s lives were like before prison. I could have figured this out about Boo without having devoted the better part of an episode to explore her past.
The other super-obvious thing hasn’t even happened yet. Caputo took four members of MCC, a corporation that runs prisons and takes any profits from the federal government, on a tour of the facility, hoping to save it from closing. Naturally, they decide to save the site, mostly because of the number of bodies in the maximum-security facility down the hill (with our girl Nicki as its newest member). Of course this had to happen because, well, without a prison, there isn’t much of a prison drama, is there? Also, based on what we know of OITNB’s general worldview, MCC is going to show up and make everything horrible for all of the inmates. This course is so obvious that we don’t even need Miss Cleo to tell us what is going to happen further down the line.
In other #AhDoy news, Daya is pissed that Bennett has run off on her and her baby, and I feel bad because I kind of don’t care. In fact, I’m a little bit glad that Daya has to be shocked out of her complacency and actually figure out what to do with her life now.
The Mayor of Obvioustown declared that Alex and Piper are now girlfriends after Piper realized she was in love with her when talking to her parents about her new girlfriend. Piper refuses to identify as lesbian, seeing her sexuality as more fluid, but she wasn’t afraid to make both of her parents uncomfortable by acting out some of the girl-on-girl action she’s getting behind bars. While we’re excavating the Chapman family’s basicness, can we talk about Piper’s brother wanting to make an artisanal, olde-tyme ice-cream parlor that solves very modern flavors like “BLT”? This place already exists in New York and there is always a line out the door. God, I hate people.
While we’re getting this all off of our chests, did we need Healy to promise Red a rose garden for us to figure out that he was going to be attracted to her after she’s been so kind to him lately and told his wife what a good boy he is? No, we did not. And man, I really wish he was a little less creepy following Red all around the yard trying to score with her. He looks like a squirrel who just found his first Cheetos bag and is running around with it in his mouth.
This was a pretty bunk episode overall, but there was one blockbuster moment that made all the other nonsense worthwhile. We watched Crazy Eyes lose her cool about Vee for an entire episode — even going so far as to wear a mop for a wig and stalk the corridors taking off her clothing like Cersei Lannister doing the world’s longest walk of shame — and I expected that it would get worse or beaten out of her or lead to some kind of catastrophe. Instead it led to one of the best scenes in the show’s history.
When Taystee sees Crazy Eyes behaving so erratically, she takes her aside so Caputo doesn’t ruin his pitch to his new prospective buyers. That’s when Taystee has to finally get the news through Crazy Eyes’s thick skull. Vee is dead, she tells Crazy Eyes repeatedly. It was just then that Taystee realizes it, too, and she finally lets herself cry at the loss of the thing in this world that is the closest she had to a mother. Crazy Eyes gives her a big hug and finally finds her sanity in their embrace. She finds some power in being wanted and needed by Taystee. Crazy Eyes doesn’t need to be helped; she needs to be the one doing the helping. That’s the only thing that ever seems to center her. It was a very touching and moving scene, and certainly more delicate and nuanced than I ever would have imagined.
Of course, later in the episode, Crazy Eyes tries to climb into Taystee’s bed because she thinks that the two of them are in love now. This is the Obvious Express, after all. I hope we’ve disembarked by next episode.