Orange is the New Black 204: Let’s Talk About Lorna “Holy Sh*t” Morello

Okay, let’s do it. Let’s talk about Lorna “Holy Shit” Morello. Y’all thought she was a cutie with the voice of a cartoon animal and that whimsical childlike heart for which Nicky secretly harbored a deep love. When it comes to realistic relationships, though, let’s just say that Morello has a few too many circuits in her motherboard. For those of you who have never played whatever sport involves a motherboard, a transportation metaphor: Morello’s train has passed the Healthy Relationship station and careened out of control over the cliff of Crazy Dangerous Stalker. Christopher isn’t Morello’s fiancé, kids. He is some guy who she went on a date with once — literally one time — and then proceeded to stalk. For those of you who are like, oh, stalking isn’t totally dangerous and crazy, first of all, no, and second of all, stalking is an incredibly uncomfortable gross thing and Morello tried to MURDER CHRISTOPHER’S REAL FIANCEÉ WITH A CAR BOMB. Yikes. Yikety yike yikes.

This is you when you saw Morello last season.

This is you when you see Morello this season.

Let’s back it up, though, because this episode certainly starts out innocently enough. It’s all fun and games when Morello picks up Rosa for her chemo treatment. Even the flashback just makes us sigh a little — Morello living with her sister, taking up a cramped room that she’s decorated like a 14 year old girl. She’s passing her time harboring unrealistic concepts of romance and sexuality and playing around with some credit card fraud. She’s clearly a person who is still very immature in some ways, maybe even in a defensive way, and we ain’t faulting her for it yet. YET.

Back at Ye Olde Litchfield, Vee is up to some No Good All Bad Absolutely Terrible Shit, as goddamned usual. But what you’re all here for is Poussey’s device that allows you to pee stand up, which is technically already a thing, but I think we’d buy spoons if Poussey said she invented them. I think Poussey could say she’s invented the toilet brush and y’all would buy yourselves at least six toilet brushes, you would have a room in your house just for toilet brushes.

500,000 lesbians around the world mouth the words "stand and deliver" while staring at their computer screens.

500,000 lesbians around the world mouth the words “stand and deliver” while staring at their computer screens.

Poussey tries to explain how the pee device works only to discover that no one actually knows how their built-in pee device works, and by built-in pee device, I mean the urethra. No one actually understands where the urethra is or how it relates to the vagina, despite certain individuals’ experience with the vagina.

*violent coughing and sputtering*

*violent coughing and sputtering*

Sophia, whose presence has been seriously lacking in the season thus far and will be seriously lacking for the rest of the season, leading to a feeling of deep depression, takes it upon herself to personally educate these children on how the downstairs parts actually work. A noble calling, darlin, and a worthy cause. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one laughing hysterically during her instructive lesson, complete with diagram. A nice respite from some otherwise yicky shit in this episode.

And this is that smooth wet thingie that your girlfriend likes so much.

And this is that smooth wet thingie that your girlfriend likes so much.

Vee continues to stir her gigantic crockpot of shit by proposing that she and Poussey go into the craft beer business together, or at least the prison version of the craft beer business. Poussey, not one to jump on hipster trend bullshit and dedicated to her friends, turns her down. Every time someone turns Vee down, I do a dance. A dance, I tell you! Do not enable this bitch! Red’s not allowed with her cronies anymore because her lame gang wars almost killed them, so she goes to sit with the Golden Girls. They’re not as slow and quiet as they seem, but a few bolts may be missing.

Yicky shit, you say? Yes, the yicky shit. The already yicky shit gets yickier when Nicky and Boo decide to have a contest to see how many girls they can fuck. Maybe we all love Nicky because we see her as a grown-up Megan from But I’m A Cheerleader, but she still shares a lot of things in common with that lesbro you used to date who almost made you swear off women to join a celibate commune.

And how, honey!

And how, honey!

Nicky and Boo are going to see how many of their fellow prisoners they can use for a sex contest, complete with a points system based on availability and conventional attractiveness. It’s something that you’d expect from that fraternity that almost gets kicked off your campus every year, not people who should know the fuck better. But if OITNB is good at anything, it’s taking characters we care about and making them complicated and dark and not good individuals. These aren’t anti-heroes so much as they’re occasionally really bad people, and this is a show that wants you to become really attached to the lives of occasionally really bad people in order to think about all the ways society is occasionally really bad to people.

yep pretty much

Essentially my feelings on all this.

Look, here’s what I want you take away from all this: I don’t want you to feel like an unforgiveable horrible person because you laughed at the scene where Nicky had sex with Soso to shut her up. That material was carefully crafted for you to laugh at it. The show is designed in order for you to find it funny. Don’t hate yourself because something created to evoke laughter has done its job. What’s important is that you take some time to think about what it means to find shit like that funny. That’s the basic point of consuming media that will never be completely free of problematic concepts: know that shit is fucked up, know that the fucked up shit may not be punished in the world of the fiction, and know that when you see that shit in real life, you’re gonna punish its ass twice over on behalf of the unpunished shit of the media you enjoy consuming. It’s okay to enjoy things that aren’t 100% perfect if you recognize where they go wrong, especially because you recognizing what makes it wrong in the show will make you more likely to spot it in real life, and shut that shit down.

Youthful Morello of the long tresses is at the post office, retrieving her spoils of epic fraudery when lo and behold, a man of below average to average attractiveness runs into her wearing her dreamboat’s sweater. For those of you who haven’t watched every romantic comedy in existence (and you know what, good for you, my life is sad and I’ll freely admit that) that is called a meet-cute and you better believe Morello is ready to Bridget Jones all over this guy’s ass. Christopher thinks she’s cute because she’s Morello, she’s fucking cute, okay? Sure, she’s already committing a serious crime and she’s later gonna try to murder your girlfriend, but she’s cute. Christopher asks her out for coffee, not realizing this is going to be the most insane thing that ever happened to him.

Ohmigod, you're so cute! I want to go on a date and kiss your face and ruin your life!

Wow you’re so handsome! I want to go on a date and kiss your face and ruin your life!

During Rosa’s treatment, Morello has a lot of time to kill in the van. Morello has really snapped since she heard the news about Christopher’s wedding date, and decides to do something very, very bad and very, very stupid, which is to go to Christopher’s house, break in, and do uncomfortable stalker things.

I’ve got to give it to OITNB, though. In this moment where we’ve found out that Morello is a batshit wouldbe-murderer, we’re still gasping and biting our nails the moment we think she might be caught. We still associate the stalker attempted murderer with the cute inmate who just wants to be loved, and there’s a little part of us that’s still rooting for her. I know I say it every single recap, but it’s the goshdarn truth: this show is so damn good at getting you to root for the least likely folks.

Piper has to regather her things because everyone took them when she left, and like, good, fine, I’d do the same damn thing. Girl goes away for life, or so we think, and heck yeah I’m getting her copy of Orange Isn’t The Only Fruit. Boo notices that Piper and Soso are on speaking terms and decides that’s enough of a connection for her to exploit. If Piper wants her blanket back, she’ll have to sell Soso to Boo. Yeah, this isn’t getting any better, is it?

literallydonotbiboo

Taystee and Poussey share a moment when they have a tickle fight. We’ve all “tickled” our “friends,” right? Actually, why am I downplaying this like you weren’t all crying and sobbing and waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care? They kiss. Poussey looks at Taystee like the whole world just imploded and the only thing left in the universe is this girl in this bed staring into her eyes, and they kiss. Taystee tells Poussey that she doesn’t like her like that, and just like you’d already thought, it’s a thing they’ve discussed in the past. Still, Taystee lets Poussey cuddle her and it’s adorable and it hurts.

*internal screaming*

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

Meanwhile at Christopher’s house, Morello is breaking about a hundred laws in ten minutes or less. And here’s where Morello takes a left turn from cute inmate to Lifetime Original Movie villain. Homegirl is breaking and entering, trying on the bridal veil, she is goddamned taking a bath in it. Wouldn’t be surprised if she was gathering toenails to grind up and inhale, to be honest. That’s where we’re at on the Lifetime Original Movie “The Stalker Next Door” villain level.

Next on Lifetime, there's nothing she wouldn't do for...THE WRONG KIND OF LOVE. 7/8PM EST.

Next on Lifetime, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for…THE WRONG KIND OF LOVE. 7/8PM EST.

Piper and Red start talking about chin hair. I don’t… I just… okay. Red asks about Larry and Piper says that she made bad decisions in prison and told her guy anyway because secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone. Meanwhile in things slightly related to Piper that must be relevant at some point because they’re forcing us to goddamned watch them, Polly and the mayonnaise jar do some things. I think Polly is kind of hot in a “I Have Mommy Issues and a Slightly Older Woman Thing” way so I’m not completely objecting to Polly being onscreen and being flirty. It’s just that she keeps flirting with this jar of mayonnaise and it’s weird, right? Like why did they cast this jar of mayonnaise?

Actual scene from this episode of Polly and Larry.

Actual scene from this episode of Polly and Larry.

Flashback to Morello in court wearing her TJ Maxx finest, and honestly, I will always have a soft spot for a woman who enjoys a good chain print article of clothing. The trial reveals that Morello only went for coffee with Christopher once, and then she just stalked the shit out of him until he had to take out multiple restraining orders. She planted a homemade bomb under his girlfriend’s car. Let me repeat: a homemade fucking bomb under his girlfriend’s car. Lord Jesus our Savior, deliver us from the most shocking turn on this show since ever.

That hair is on point though.

Next on Lifetime, she was on trial for love, but was it THE MOST DANGEROUS KIND OF LOVE? 9/8 EST.

Red spots an opportunity in the greenhouse and tells Caputo she’s finally found a hobby. She uses that sucker and his sad love of plants to get her way. Yeaaaahhhh. Girl has found herself a pipe under the floorboards and she will be using it for the good of all. Or just Red, it doesn’t really matter. We’re cheering for her anyway.

The Big Boo/Piper/Soso situation escalates when Big Boo spots the other two sitting together in the cafeteria. Obviously this doesn’t go well because Piper tries to straight up trade Soso for a blanket and Big Boo confirms that Piper is indeed a terrible person now. I think this show means to prove that she was always a terrible person because we are all terrible people while also being good people, driven people, hopeful people, inspired people, kind people, passionate people, and loving people.

This meeting of "the characters found the most irritating by the audience" club is now in session.

This meeting of “the characters found the most irritating by the audience” club is now in session.

Vee is spitting absolute poison in Taystee’s direction. If you didn’t want to straight up murder her, you are a stronger human than me. She accuses Taystee of being “gay for the stay,” which I guess is the prison equivalent of “bisexual until graduation.” Then she tells Taystee that Poussey is just using her and not her friend at all which is the worst thing I have ever heard in my entire life, and I have heard multiple people tell me that they’re out of the ricotta cannoli, is the mascarpone okay? First of all, no, it is not fucking okay, it’s like telling me that Celine Dion tickets are all sold out, would I like to see Nickelback instead? Secondly, Vee can get the heck out of here.

Polly does some more things with the mayonnaise jar. Whatever.

It's so great seeing so many sides of Larry!

It’s so great seeing so many sides of Larry!

As usual, the drama is laid out for all to see at movie night, where Soso and Nicky are post-coital cuddling, not that Nicky gives a shit, and Big Boo is pissed at Nicky and takes it out on Piper, who is pissed that she isn’t getting her blanket back. Taystee doesn’t save Poussey a seat, and Vee is pleased at this shitty terrible fucking development. Morello sobs hysterically after narrowly escaping. All I have to say is “yooooooo”.

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31 Comments

  1. Thumb up 16

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    I loved the bit with Sophia educating the others about anatomy and wish she could have delivered sex ed lessons at my school. Sophia really was woefully under-used this season, to my great disappointment. Here’s hoping we see lots more from her in Season 3.

    • Thumb up 2

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      To me Yael Stone and Samira Wiley pretty much steal Season 2 of OITNB. They’re both amazing actresses.

      Laverne Cox, much as I love her in all she does, is practically a walk-on in Season 2. Not only is she given little to do, but it’s all trans-focused… everything she says is about her being trans which kind of makes her into being a token. The season is largely about race, power and sexuality yet she’s completely absent from all of those themes in the show. Nor does she have any connection, at this point, to what trans inmates actually experience (long stretches in SHU, humiliation and sexual abuse from guards and transphobia and exploitation from inmates). I also have mixed feelings about her character’s attitude towards her vulva/SRS. As someone who’s been there I feel they have her making it kind of into a joke or materialistic object. Especially considering how paying for her surgery put her in prison and away from her child, to me it should have a much more emotional place in her life. It’s also the only reason she’s not been thrown into a men’s prison. Many trans women don’t especially want SRS for a variety of reasons, but for those who very much do, don’t just want it, they need it. Janet Mock did sex work as a teenager to afford it. I didn’t like Sophia’s line “I designed my own” which is both not true and makes it sound like she’s talking about ordering a car. Yeah, yeah, it’s a joke, but not a joke grounded in emotional truth.

      • Thumb up 3

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        I hear you, and I agree that it would be better to give Sophia more screen time and more opportunity to explore the character’s emotional depths. I could be wrong about this, but I’ve interpreted her flippant jokes as kind of a defensive device (mostly because of how Cox delivers them). Sometimes it seems to me that she’s joking because it’s such a weighted issue for her (in terms of both her past and her position in the prison) so she’s opting to foreground it in a way that keeps her in control. But this may be a too-generous interpretation!

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      She was definitely underused this season. I think they probably thought it would be progressive to have a trans woman schooling the cis women on vulvas they take for granted but I did find ‘I designed my own’ misleading because viewers may actually imagine that trans women sit around with blue prints in real life.

  2. Thumb up 15

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    “Gay for the stay” is apparently genuine prison lingo, so hey, it looks like the writers are doing some of their homework.

    The Poussey/Taystee scene made me cry genuine tears and I still become dangerously emotional whenever that gifset pops up on my Tumblr dash.

  3. Thumb up 12

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    did you see morello’s face when christopher was testifying? so there are suzanne’s levels of unstable wherein you can see that she could be unstable and you have morello who you wouldn’t see coming from a mile away. I’m talking the interviews conducted on the ID channel where someone close to the killer says “i never saw or heard anything bad come out of the accused killer’s mouth, she wouldn’t hurt a fly” and we are all like, yeah right denial street is where you live.Yael Stone and the oitnb writers are amazing, did you know she’s australian?
    morello and nicky were my other fav ship but now I don’t know, i really want nicky to find someone and lastly big boo and nicky help drive in the point of how incredibly misogynistic women can be. awesome recap!

    • Thumb up 2

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      Exactly -it gave me chills, the way she was smiling and nodding like “aw, isn’t he being silly, what an adorable excitable man I have” while he was clearly terrified of her. I can’t believe that some people continued to have sympathy for her after the reveal -if the genders were flipped there’d be no question that Morello is dangerous.

      • Thumb up 3

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        i hear you, i think its yael’s acting to make her a sympathetic character. she makes it easier for people to look past her crazy. but if she has no qualms killing someone i see no reason why she wouldn’t try to kill someone again and succeed, i mean she hasn’t apologized or shown any signs of remorse just sadness for herself.she’s a straight up narcissist

  4. Thumb up 7

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    “All I have to say is “yooooooo””

    literally all i said all season. i’m also really glad that you pointed out that while Morello is supes adorbs she is still batshit and a stalker and that is NOT CUTE

  5. Thumb up 8

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    I had so many feelings about Morello this season. I always go back and forth about how I feel about her because she has occasional moments of being a complete racist then she turns around and does something kind and I want to forget the abhorrent behavior I witnessed beforehand. Two such moments are her later scenes with Crazy Eyes and Rosa. Morello does something so epic in the finale for someone else that I’m still Hell Yessing about and makes me want to forgive her for everything. I think Yael and the writers did a really good job of making her Three-Dimensional this season and had me really conflicted about my feelings about her from episode to episode so for that I am grateful.

    Also, I don’t know why but it never even occurred to me all last season that her relationship with Christopher was a complete fabrication until I actually saw the reveal that she had created this connection to this stranger all in her head. Honestly, I was blown away. I’m usually pretty good at sussing these things out. Yael does such a good job this season that even though I totally sympathized with how Christopher felt about her I still felt really awful when he lets her have it with both barrels.

    • Thumb up 3

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      The only thing about the “Morello as stalker” plot line is that this was a part of her trial, and that she wasn’t just convicted of mail fraud (she placed a bomb too). There’s no freakin’ way the prison administration would allow her to have such a cushy job as driving that van much less being allowed to drive off prison grounds given her conviction. They have hundreds of other inmates who they would place in that job ahead of someone like Morello. Nor would they allow Christopher to visit her in prison. As incredible an acting job as Yael Stone does as Morello, I thought the plot line seemed contrived.

  6. Thumb up 3

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    “Vee continues to stir her gigantic crockpot of shit by proposing that she and Poussey go into the craft beer business together, or at least the prison version of the craft beer business. Poussey, not one to jump on hipster trend bullshit and dedicated to her friends, turns her down. ”

    this is how you get me cackling at work

  7. Thumb up 4

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    The episode where you’re just kinda like :O :O :O :O :O the whole time Morello is at A DAMN HOUSE WHILE SHE’S INCARCERATED!! with your palms sweating and your heart going BOOMBOOMBOOM. Then home made bomb. Let’s just say that I’m glad my stalker-ish situation was NEVER like this but still scary and nerve wracking nonetheless. Telling someone to leave you alone and they don’t and they go to extreme measures. yoooooooo.

    “I don’t want you to feel like an unforgiveable horrible person because you laughed at the scene where Nicky had sex with Soso to shut her up. That material was carefully crafted for you to laugh at it. The show is designed in order for you to find it funny. Don’t hate yourself because something created to evoke laughter has done its job. What’s important is that you take some time to think about what it means to find shit like that funny. That’s the basic point of consuming media that will never be completely free of problematic concepts: know that shit is fucked up, know that the fucked up shit may not be punished in the world of the fiction, and know that when you see that shit in real life, you’re gonna punish its ass twice over on behalf of the unpunished shit of the media you enjoy consuming. It’s okay to enjoy things that aren’t 100% perfect if you recognize where they go wrong, especially because you recognizing what makes it wrong in the show will make you more likely to spot it in real life, and shut that shit down.”

    Also all this. I had these feelings where I was like should I be laughing cause that was fucked up. But still laughed.

  8. Thumb up 13

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    Yeah… All those critics about the fact they’re bad people going insane and crazy and all… Morello being erotomaniac, Piper selling Soso to Big Boo, who is playing a nasty gamegirls with Nicky… Of course this is fucked up. They’re fucked up. Because what you seem to forget is that they live in a fucking PRISON. Obviously they don’t act “properly”, and that’s what is fascinating on that show. To acknowledge what changes human nature gets to face during confinement. They could have been the most perfect human beings out there – as Piper quite thought she was and everyone around her – but they are not. And they will never be now that they went to jail. Awesome thing is: it doesn’t matter. Because every single character in this show is moving, in its own way, which is flabbergasting. Even Pornstache. Yep, I said it.

    I don’t ‘hate’ Morello, Nicky or Big Boo any less since that episode, I love them so much more. With their flaws and their madness.

  9. Thumb up 2

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    This episode was probably one of the most whiplash-inducing of the whole damn season. laughter/tears/jaw dropping horror/probably other emotions that I’m blocking out. I had seriously forgotten that _all this shit_ happened in this one episode. As if the Morello truth-bomb wasn’t enough, the Taystee/Poussey interactions (complete with Vee’s interjections) just about broke my damn heart. I went from a huge enormous SQUEE THEY’RE CUDDLING WILL THEY KISS THEY ARE KISSING OMG to utter heartbreak and devastation and needing tissues in like, fifteen seconds. Emotional whiplash. Yeah.

    Also, A+ captions. Truly.

    Also also, I don’t think I ever thought I’d see the phrase “meet-cute” on autostraddle. Kudos.

  10. Thumb up 0

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    I’ve been waiting for this recap! Like, always checking back until it was posted waiting. Yeah though, this completely shocked me. I just assumed Christopher was Morello’s fiance at some point but kind of broke it off or whatever when she got locked up, but wow.

  11. Thumb up 2

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    I am not excusing Nicky’s behavior AT ALL with the contest, but she was guided toward it by Lesbro Boo. She’s clearly trying to fill some emotional void with sex (c’mon queermos, a lot of us have been there) and this very private series of diary entries that she made were read against her will.
    It’s still gross. V. V. Gross. But she’s working through some stuff.

    • Thumb up 6

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      Yes, thank you. Nicky and Big Boo’s contest is disgusting. But it’s important to remember Nicky is an addict… and an addict who never really went through prolonged rehab of any kind. Addicts tend to swap one form of addiction for another.

  12. Thumb up 2

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    This episode threw me for a loop and really made this season for me. It was everything.
    And also terrifying. Can you imagine if you realized your stalker, who was in prison, had taken a bath in your bathtub and touched all your stuff and things? I think I would have a heart attack.
    But her conversation with Suzanne was just the most precious thing.

  13. Thumb up 0

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    Seriously, this episode… I had to go find my sister afterwards just to tell her how f-ing crazy Morello is. I figured they weren’t a “thing” anymore but the stalker thing was a total surprise.
    I still have several more episodes to watch and I can’t wait!

  14. Thumb up 4

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    This article is fucking exhausting to read. You know what? We’re all adults. We know that stalking is bad, and that trying to trade people as commodities is bad, and that attempted car-bombings are most definitely bad. Holy shit, do we really need to take a time-out every goddamn scene to state explicitly that we don’t approve of these things and think they’re no-good-very-bad things to do? It’s insulting! We get your politics autostraddle and we’re all here, you are officially preaching to the goddamn choir so please assume we all got the hymn sheet ok?

      • Thumb up 0

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        Although my biggest complaint regarding the Nicky/Big Boo sex contest was that I felt like the writers ran out of things to do with those characters so they just figured “hey let’s just make them have a sex contest for most of the season”. I feel like that time should’ve been spent on developing more relationships/characters, like Sophia was woefully underused this season. I would’ve loved to see her actually struggle with meeting her son for the first time while she’s in prison and to expand more on their relationship or even show her moving on from her wife and meeting someone new. I also would’ve like to see more minority character’s sexualities be explored and (Spoilers) we got some of that with Maritza/Flaca and Poussey but it didn’t go anywhere and was either resolved or dropped. It also kind of bothers me that none of the Latina characters are queer.

  15. Thumb up 1

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    *clears throat awkwardly*

    So um, actually, it’s totally possible to pee standing up without the help of a handy dandy penis. I read about it in a book one time. Basically, you just gotta be willing to reach in there and rearrange your bits a little. It’s really just the labia that make your pee stream so hard to manage, so if you move those, you’re good to go.

    Just adding to Sophia’s female-anatomy education fun time, here.

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