Orange is the New Black 201 Recap: Oops, I Did It Again

Guess who’s back, back again?! Congratulations for surviving a year of your Netflix subscription without new episodes of Orange is the New Black. The wait is over. The time is nigh. The lesbians are streaming.

This episode was directed by Jodie Foster. I don’t even need to follow that up with a quip about lesbianism and Jodie Foster because Jodie Foster speaks for herself. Although I should mention that the last thing I saw directed by Jodie Foster was that movie where Mel Gibson ran around with a beaver puppet on his hand. You know what’s weird about Mel Gibson? Do you know any other man whose name is Mel? If you do, he’s in his 70s and owns a diner or an instrument repair shop, right? Is Mel Gibson the only man who could make it big as a Hollywood stud-turned-crazy with a name like Mel? Is this thanks to Jodie Foster’s infallible and inexplicable friendship? Maybe.

This is a thing. A thing that happened. A real thing.

This is a thing. A thing that happened. A real thing.

Anyway, you don’t care about Mel Gibson. You care about hilarious inmates with hearts of gold who sometimes bang each other and sometimes try to murder each other.


 

The episode opens on Piper in her solitary confinement cell (Ye Olde SHU). Now, let’s recall what happened the last time we saw Piper: Piper was beating the everlovin’ patooty out of Pennsatucky. We worried that she might have lost herself in the violence and in the climactic tension that led to the confrontation. Watching her using her food to paint a picture of “Thirsty Bird” — to me, the first embarrassingly loud snort of the season — might just confirm our suspicions that our girl is three stations past With It on the Unhinged Express.

By the way, who else saw Laura Prepon listed as a special guest star and made this face:

bbgirlyouareamazing

I knew she wasn’t coming back this season but I think I had selectively forgotten that fact? Anyway.

Before we have a chance to get cozy at Litchfield, possibly the coziest prison on television with high concentrations of race and class after-school specials, Piper is loaded onto a bus and then a prisoner transport plane without any explanation. Confused? Me, too. Not that I was expecting the season to kick off with a Disneyland-style parade led by Sophia in a Svarovski-encrusted gown, but a girl can hope.

Fun fact: Connecticut is a strange and terrifying place that I have never understood and probably never will. Pastels with tiny whale patterns confuse me as a homosexual and I can’t fuck with it, you know? Anyway, we finally get our flashback into Piper’s childhood and why she is the way she is, although it’s probably the least surprising flashback on the show thus far. We know Piper’s background from the superb way she’s written, and I think we could have guessed at the fact that she was the type of kid who was not seen as “fun.” When the other cool kids jump off the bus and she doesn’t, she says that her father has always taught her to “not be a lemming.”

Future alternative lifestyle signs: turtleneck sweater.

Future alternative lifestyle signs: turtleneck sweater.

Piper ends up on a plane which I am 99.9% sure is the same plane I flew on a red eye to Ireland that was delayed for three hours because someone forgot to close a fueling cap or something. Shoutout to US Airways, thank you for being consistently late and making me watch episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond for 7 hours. Piper is seated next to an OLDER BUTCH with an AWESOME HAIRCUT played by Lori Petty and I love her. Her name is Lolly, which is one of my favorite Justin Bieber songs because I have no soul. I also love the spitter in the Hannibal mask who calls herself a cinnamon queen. I love everyone. I’m just glad to be here in this plane with everyone because I missed this well-written show so damn much.

Besides ye olde episodic flashbacks and the Exciting Adventures of Larry, we haven’t really left Litchfield. We’ve been busy seeing the way life within its walls has built all of the show’s relationships, its saddest and funniest moments, even the love affairs we knew were bad news bears. We definitely haven’t seen anything like this very dramatic situation involving a plane. But change is good, right? Change is the reason Shane got over that shriveled husk of a human named Cherry Jaffey and found our beloved Saint Carmen. Change is also the reason Shane eventually got with Jenny, though, so tread carefully, Narrative Turns that Involve Planes. We don’t want you making any terrible decisions for the sake of unhealthy relationships.

Piper breaks down because she thinks she might have killed Pennsatucky, and that’s why they’re sending her away. Trust a Seven Sisters graduate to spend a lot of energy and introspective thought power on articulating the “darkness within.” Was Piper an English major? I feel like she should be an English major.*

Like some deep Butlerian shit about how your feminine frailty was just a presentation, a shell, and in playing with your new sense of self you were dallying with all of the people you are, right?

Like some deep Butlerian shit about how your feminine frailty was just a presentation, a shell, and in playing with your new sense of self you were dallying with all of the people you are, right?

*I can make this joke because I was an English major. If you’re not an English major, you can’t make English major jokes, or so help me lesbian Satan, I will go on a rant about the fluid values of my degree and the necessity of the humanities in contemporary education. Bah, humbug.

Further flashbacks are meant to teach us that Piper was a goody-two-shoes. Past Piper would be horrified that future Piper is on a plane with prisoners, and now there are male prisoners, too! To sum up all this, it is uncomfortable. But it’s another moment when the show gets to use humor and anecdote to take a common theme from the last season – race and class – and add gender to the mix. Writers, write on.

Are your friends bad, too? Do they have that swag sauce? Are they dripping Swagu?

Are your friends bad, too?

Piper pulls up to Chicago and we get a nice “driving through the city” scene subverted by the fact it’s not a hopeful and inspirational character coming into her own in a new town — it’s a prisoner being transferred to an even worse prison with little hope of getting out. In this new prison, everyone has bitching haircuts and I’m excited to see how many queers will be getting inspired ‘dos this season. Prison internment montage! Isn’t it cute how we are now used to these? This show’s a trip, man.

Piper makes the grave mistake of stepping on a cockroach upon entering her new cell, and pissing off everyone because said roach was their pet. His name was Yoda.

Let me tell you something about cockroaches: One time I was working in Philadelphia in retail hell and we had cockroaches in the dressing rooms (along with chronic masturbators, lots of shoplifters, disposed weaves, pills, needles, and dirty diapers). If you killed a cockroach in the dressing room, you got a spot reward, as it was called. Spot rewards were like, here is a $5 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts, please enjoy one iced coffee from a company that pays you minimum wage to be supervised by people who are younger and have less experience than you. One day, I’m on dressing room duty and a cockroach the size of a small horse appears in one of the stalls. We have big velvety curtains in front of each stall, and the homie is perched on that curtain like he’s waiting for a steak delivery. He hisses at me with raptor-like volume and does not budge an inch. The beauty of constant dressing room duty like my own is that anytime there is anything to be done that involves human feces, splooge, pornography, possibly infected needles, etc, my ass has to go in there and take it out. It’s a terrible job with no perks that barely pays my rent. So of course, this St. Bernard-sized cockroach is my job. I use insect spray that is technically illegal to use indoors. I spray this thing until I literally run out of insect spray. I use all the cleaning products we have. I soak this motherfucker in a deadly cocktail that could probably make a nuclear warhead or a lifetime supply of meth if combined correctly, and this cockroach is unfazed. He crawls down the curtain covered in chemicals and looks like he’s sauntering downstairs to get his mail. I am trying not to make a scene but here I am, attacking this cockroach with a series of things that have probably just given me breast cancer, panting slightly, wearing a shirt around my mouth so I don’t die from inhalation. When I trap him in a plastic cup, I feel as if I have accomplished a Herculean task. I put him in a Tupperware container that still has chicken curry in it and I spray him with more chemicals. Then I seal the container. I name him Spot Reward and leave him in my manager’s office. I write the words “Spot Reward” on the Tupperware to make it perfectly clear. I do not receive a Spot Reward.

Anyway, RIP Yoda. I already fear and respect these inmates because they have fantastic Star Wars references.

And I don't care if your name is Piper. I'm gonna call you Greedo because you shot first, you piece of shit.

And I don’t care if your name is Piper. I’m gonna call you Greedo because you shot first, you piece of shit.

Loving the lesbian who loves astrology because, cough, I fucking love astrology. Piper as a Gemini is not at all a surprise, even if I’d initially assumed from her behavior that she was more of a Virgo/Scorpio cusp. You lose some, you win some, you know? She also thinks Piper might be Lindsay Lohan which is inaccurate because every gaymo knows who Lindsay Lohan is because we will go to our graves wishing that Lilo and SamRo would just get their shit together, you know? Her name is Mozall but I think I will call her Warby Parker.

But more Herbie Fully Loaded era Lohan, less Mean Girls era Lohan. Like you're not at your peak anymore but you're not totally shit, you know?

But more Herbie Fully Loaded era Lohan, less Mean Girls era Lohan. Like you’re not at your peak anymore but you’re not totally shit, you know?

Piper calls Larry asking for his father’s legal help. We’ll see how that works.

Piper Flashback! Piper sees her father kissing another woman at the movies, even though he’s always telling her about integrity and she’s always idolizing him for it. She tells her mother what she’s seen, and her mother grounds her. Clearly she knows, and clearly she doesn’t want to hear it, and clearly Piper’s learned her first lesson in the slippery nature of the truth and how people feel about it.

This is the gayest image I've ever seen.

This is the gayest image I’ve ever seen.

Piper sees Alex and there might as well be “womp womp” music playing, because we all know how this is going to end. (Badly. It’s going to end very badly because no matter how conventionally attractive they look together, chemistry is not enough to make a bad thing go good.) She trades dirty panties with a hitman to meet up with Alex, who tells her that she’s in Chicago for the trial and very explicitly instructs her to pretend she never met Kubra and knows nothing. For those of you who at this point were like, hey, this is probably a set-up, ding ding ding!

Larry’s father tells her that she needs to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me Mariah Carey circa-1996. Obviously Piper will not follow this advice because smart decisions don’t make a plotline, honey. This will spiral into Piper lying under oath and Larry’s father giving up on her once and for all. But, this lends us a flashback of lesbianism, which is important to us because lesbianism.

You can steal my family jewels anytime.

You can steal my family jewels anytime.

In classic Alex style, it turns out Alex legitimately told the truth and set Piper up to stay in while she got out. We all knew Alex wasn’t coming back for this season, but we didn’t know exactly how that would work. We were also upset because seriously, hot glasses? Main romance? Why kill that off so quickly, y’all? I was torn because while I don’t want to lose a character who has driven so much of the plot, I’m also excited to find out how this tears Piper asunder. So far, we’ve seen her sacrificing everything for Alex, time and time again, even when Alex is very clearly not reciprocating. Stripping Piper of the ability to fall back on old habits, her final comfort when she was still drifting at Litchfield, means she’s about as fish out of water as she’s ever been. Finally showing her in the plainest way possible that Alex is more than capable of betraying her, leaving her behind, and not giving too many fucks about it might be Piper’s harshest wake-up call yet.

We hate to tell you, Dorothy, but you ain’t in Kansas High Security Prison anymore, and Toto’s only looking out for Toto.

So, what do we think of the second season thus far? Does anyone else think it’s the tightest writing yet, even if we didn’t get to see any of our faves? How excited are you going to be when Poussey is on your screen again? Hit me.

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Hard-lovin' butch made of tears, sweat, and spit, in that order. Professional lonesome polecat. Kate is living proof that you can take the hillperson out of the mountains, but she's still probably going to run back to the mountains anyway. Kate prefers the trashy to the classy, and the tender to everything else. Full-time writer, part-time lover. Heart got so big and soggy that she had to cut off all her sleeves.

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36 Comments

  1. Thumb up 2

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    Yo kade this recap is fucking perf and hilarious I’m so glad you got this up so soon and that you are gonna be recapping this season!!! Fuck ya!!!!

    Also yo this episode was so well written and i think they probably have a higher budget this season. So ready to binge watch the rest of this bitch!!!!

  2. Thumb up 3

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    Your cockroach story is hilarious but will also give me nightmares.
    I’m so excited for season 2, but disappointed that Alex is leaving so soon! Now I can’t watch her sex scenes and wish that I was Piper.

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    The only thing keeping me from being sad about Alex leaving the show is the fact that Laura Prepon is a Scientologist and therefore probably insane.

    Also I’m seriously impressed that this recap is up already.

  4. Thumb up 21

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    So I feel like maybe Alex was offered a deal after Piper testified, like she was gonna say she didn’t know the guy but then piper testified and alex was all they had to close it, like I don’t think she orchestrated it at all or anything and I feel like Piper would’ve done the same thing had she been offered the chance to get out after Alex testified I mean how can you say no to getting out, well I think like, I could, but I don’t think Piper could or Alex could so I feel like that’s what happened I think but maybe that’s just because i don’t want to think people do things like that to each other

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      is it weird that i like it better if alex tells piper knowing it will fuck piper up because alex is still made at piper and alex being vindictive and selfish is something i want her to be?

      like, i am 100% here for female characters who are not nice people but still hot because my television is 99% male characters who are terrible people but hot and looooved for it. and i think we have this tendency to need female characters to be more compassionate and good and i used to kind of feel that way about alex but now i’m like nope, let her be terrible, let her suck all happiness from the world, for her limited appearances on this season let her just be the worst. let her don draper the shit out of this show

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      That would make sense with the way that they appeared to immediately release her. I could see it being Alex just fucking with Piper. But as soon as Piper said she was going to tell the truth and Alex told her not too, I knew this was what was going to happen.

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      I think I agree with this. I mean, Alex has done some super shitty things in the past but I want Piper and Alex to have some kind of… something… in the future and I feel like if Alex fucked her over like that there’s no hope.

  5. Thumb up 5

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    You left out the funniest part ! When astro cunt licks pipers forehead like she’s the last meal! Awesome roach story … When I lived down south for a bit they were big enough to throw a saddle on

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      refer to the first part of her second sentence: “Do you know any other man whose name is Mel? If you do, he’s in his 70s and owns a diner or an instrument repair shop, right?”

      he may not own a diner or an instrument repair shop, but he’s OLLLLD. so… I think (though I’m not sure) that Mr. Brooks falls under that umbrella.

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    My gf has similar dressing room stories…no roaches though…just all the other human grossness.
    This series is amazing. We spent most of the ep going “huh, what, where’s poussey at…” I see your previous point r.e. Alex Don Drapering it up, I still wish Riese was right though.

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    I liked this episode, but missed the rest of the characters. Also I thought the woman on the plane looked familiar but it didn’t click that it was freaking TANK GIRL OMG, so that’s pretty great. Looking forward to the other recaps!

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    I am 100% just as excited about the return of these recaps as I am about the return of the show. This one is just as awesome as before and I can’t wait to relive all the episodes through these recaps the next few weeks since I’m almost done with the season already.

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    Totally agree about the English major thing. Like, sure it’s a bitch degree but it’s MY bitch degree goddammit and I will defend to the death my choice to spend thousands of dollars for the opportunity to read Virginia Woolf as homework. And so help me if you do not have an English degree and try to join me in the bitter jokes, I WILL END YOU.

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    I knew Lori Petty was coming this season and I was still not fully prepared. You can ask anyone that had to endure her scenes with me, I squealed with joy every time she spoke. LORD HELP THIS CHILD. [Ask me about the Tank Girl x OitNB crossover fanfic I wrote where she *really is* Tank Girl in this show and everything is totes canonical.]

  11. Thumb up 0

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    I thought this episode was pretty decent, but I must say I’m less than impressed by the rest of the season. Just one girls’ opinion. I don’t like prison dramas because I’m very involved with my feelings when it comes to any kind of government, law enforcement, etc topic. So I will freely admit I have a personal issue that makes something like this lose points by default. Also, I’ve seen the entire series of OZ, and I feel that they are recycling a LOT of the content from that (not saying intentionally at all, just probably by coincidence). But they seem to be maybe lightly bringing up issues, but not tackling them at all, whereas OZ actually did. Not that OZ is really a fair comparison, it isn’t, but it’s just what I’m thinking.

    Still glad the show exists, and I wasn’t even a huge fan of S1, but I’ll still keep up with it. I think a lot of my disappointment is that I just don’t feel satisfied watching it. It’s very safe and on the surface, and watching people be horrible to each other, and authority being taken advantage of makes me extremely uncomfortable.

    Glad ya’ll are recapping it, and that people are excited by it, and there is some good content here and there; just not my particular flavor. :)

  12. Thumb up 1

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    This episode was my least favourite of both seasons. Why do I care about Piper and Alex when there’s Sophia and Poussey and Crazy Eyes and Red and Taystee and Poussey…. Can we just talk about the Valentines Day episode.

    Please?

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    I live for these recaps! And also: How do you mention astrology lesbian without mentioning that it is Rebecca Drysdale! Known actual lesbian and writer/producer/comedian-type person Rebecca Drysdale! Big Gay Sketch Show and Key and Peele Rebecca Drysdale!

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    I actually don’t think Alex set up Piper at all. The scene right before they testify has Piper saying to Alex that she plans on telling the truth and that Alex can’t keep her safe either way. When Alex sees Piper after being released the first thing she says is it happened so fast (indicating a deal came down right before she testified) and she’ll write to her to explain. As far as she knew Piper was going to tell the truth. So both Piper and Alex ended up doing the opposite of what they said they were going to do. And on a completely shallow note please tell me I’m not the only one who raised their hand high when Alex said “I want to be your prison wife.”

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