So, this gif actually gives me life. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Shit couldn’t start on a sadder note than Tricia’s belongings being gathered in the wake of her death. Of course, fucking Pornstache that fucking piece of shit is the one doing the gathering, until Nicky tells him to scram and Red says they can do it without him. Fucking Pornstache, I want to drive a fucking dumptruck over his weird nasty existence and give him a handjob with a sandblaster. I want to rub gator chow on his face and leave him in the Everglades. I want to give him a goldfish to care for in his loneliest hour and then slowly eat the live goldfish in front of him. I want to drop him off for soccer practice but forget to pick him up. And when the coach calls me telling me that Pornstache has been waiting at the peewee league fields for two hours, I want to ask him to put Pornstache on the phone, and then I will tell Pornstache that no one loves him and no one is coming and no one cares. I want him to feel that kind of pain. That’s how strongly I feel about the shit he’s been pulling this season. I will not be happy until he suffers.
Over in Ye Olde Supply Closet, Daya is puking. I guess this is because when you have a baby in you, the baby really messes with the whole regular body functions and causes you to puke in the morning? Maybe it has a little puke button in its baby bubble sack and it presses it in the morning because babies hate mornings even more than I do. Maybe if it presses the puke button, it also gets coffee from a coffee machine in the baby bubble sack? Again, these are all things I have picked up from Lifetime Original Movies and teen dramedies, so if they’re inaccurate assumptions, I apologize. I look forward to your comments re: the politics of accurate reproductive notions.
Speaking of the devil with the baby juice, Bennett pokes his head in for a little howdy-ho and says he’s going to get Daya a Fake Grandmother Death Sick Note so she can leave jail and then come back and pretend that the whole pregnancy thing is related not to Bennett’s prison-employed dick but to an entirely outside dick. I believe it was the late great philosopher Soulja Slim who stated in Juvenile’s “Slow Motion” that the “outside dick keeps them hoes sick,” which would encourage anyone making assumptions about Daya’s current sickness to point to outside dick as the culprit, and not in fact Bennett’s dick.
At Ye Olde Fake NPR Station, Larry is presenting the Tale of Piper and Larry Now That Piper’s In Jail for the Fake This American Life. The other guy has it way worse, man! He’s talking about two years in Antarctica and you gotta drive up the Taconic, man? Simmer down. Simmer the fuck down.
By the way, y’all seem to think I’m too hard on Larry. Larry’s a decent guy, you say. Sure, he doesn’t pay his own rent even though he’s in his mid-to-late thirties, but he’s a nice guy who genuinely cares about Piper. What’d he ever do to you, you say. Man, if there’s anyone I don’t care about being mean to, it’s fucking nice guys. Must be all that pent-up shit from the fact that guys kind of sit at the top of the foodchain, you know? Like I’m just trying to get the cute girls, get a decent job, use witchcraft to destroy the sanctity of marriage, the usual bit, but then all those damn guys have to use their existence to perpetuate a power structure that oppresses my gender and sexuality. But shit, it’s crazy to ever be critical of men as a whole because it’s not like the existing power dynamic would make the act of criticizing and being a little bit harder than usual on a dude into an attempt at equalizing and taking down the system. Haha, shit’s crazy!
We assume that ‘tis the season because the kids are working on Christmas lights in shop class. I’d say that cold weather is the giveaway, but since winters in the lovely upstate New York last from October to March, that would not be much help. Morello reminds Piper that Larry’s going to be on the radio and Piper is clearly not jazzed about this fact. Piper is bumping ladybits with Alex, dude – she doesn’t have time for this Larry “Mediocre” Milktoast bologna. Luschek, another magical bunghole I want to fling unguarded into space so his brain will implode, asks (jokes?!) if Piper’s going to use that tangled-ass mess of lights to hang herself. Because, you know, Tricia didn’t fucking die in the last episode and that wouldn’t be insensitive as all get out. Was there a question on the prison employee application that said “Are you an unforgivable piece of shit and a definite waste of oxygen?” and if you checked that box, bam! you got the job and the illusion of importance! Piper’s response to Luschek’s shitty, shitty question isn’t one he appreciates, so he manages to ask her if she’s on her period. Pipers responds well to this, too.
In true Piper fashion, Piper’s going to organize a memorial service for Tricia, despite not knowing Tricia. Ah, Piper’s savior complex. Always the best intentions, always the wankiest followthrough. Speaking of best intetions, Doggett’s in the psych ward, and it’s not going well. Especially because her defense for why she shouldn’t be there is based in all that healing she thinks actually happened… which it did not. The psych ward has little sympathy for the whole Jesus schtick. They are taking the Christ right out of Christmas on this one.
Assistant to the Warden Lady or Assistant Warden Lady — I can never remember which because Dwight Shrute has ruined all possibilities of me ever knowing if those are one in the same — says that having someone kill themselves during a Scared Straight day is a big fucking deal, mainly because even the higher-ups don’t believe that it was a suicide. They went ahead and cremated Tricia’s body to guarantee that no one can tell either way. Jesus, that’s not okay. Tricia, sweetheart, you deserved better than this. So much better, honey. In case you were wondering who’s still a gaping asshole on this team, Healy has better things to do than write a memo supporting the inmates’ grief, and Pornstache thinks that suicide among inmates is a joke. Hey, Pornstache, how about I put your feelings in a blender and deny you a support system? How will that feel? Pornstache asks Bennett to get drinks with him later. Maybe Bennett can drop a truth bomb on him about his terrible personality and stupid face and leave him sobbing in the bar bathroom. I can dream…
Daya’s mom is in the kitchen trying to get morning sickness cures for her daughter. She is asking the aggressive little androgynous one whose name I didn’t know. “What’s my name,” says aggressive little androgynous one. Well, in defense of those of us who did not know Gina Murphy’s name, it has not been used yet on the show. So. Now that we know who Murphy is, we also learn she’s on her period. Do you think everyone’s cycles at the prison have synced up? Ha ha, just kidding, I’m not a 12 year old boy. I know how menstrual cycles work. Ha ha ha ha ha.
No, but actually, I’ve synced up with everyone I’ve slept with for more than a month. Someone tell me what’s going on down there. Is my uterus actually magic?
Poussey and Cindy are reading horoscopes in the library. Claudette asks for Taurus. Damn, Claudette’s a Taurus? Never saw that coming. If anything, she’s a solid Capricorn or Virgo as far as I can see, but hey. Clearly this show’s production did not involve consulting a horoscope expert and I’ll have to shoot them my resume, which is actually a Youtube video of Sylvia Browne highlights. Oh, Sylvia. Because we were all Egyptian slave girls in our former lives.
Piper’s in the chapel awaiting Alex for a little McNasty. Looks like it’s going to be a sad round of McNasty, because no one showed up to help with planning the memorial. Alex reminds Piper that she didn’t actually know Tricia and it’s kiiiiiiinda weird that she’s in charge of the funeral service. Piper says she talked to Tricia. So am I now qualified to plan the funeral of the person who bagged my tampons at the Rite Aid? Hope she likes disco balls. Alex says maybe Piper knew Tricia better than she knew Alex’s mom, which you will see in a second is an old wound. Why? Because it’s a FFFFLLLAASSSHHBBBAACCCKKK.
Piper and Alex are in the Paris of the past. Piper can’t seem to decide if she actually likes this whole drug cartel business or not, since she doesn’t want to participate in moral greyness but sure does like all the nice stuff it buys. Alex reminds her for the one billionth time that she knew what she was getting into. Piper leaves anyway.
Back in the present, Red is explaining the plan to take down Pornstache, and it involves having Daya sleep with him and report that he raped her. That would take care of the baby thing and the Pornstache thing in one fell swoop, and the moment it was suggested I knew it would be a huge mess. So did you, audience. So did you. Daya doesn’t want to cheat on Bennett because, I don’t know, she’s a decent human being, but hey, these are ladies with few options. Everything’s been taken from them, and the thing about being made into objects is that using your sexuality to gain back your power seems a lot less moral than it actually is. I understand where they’re coming from on this one, but holy toledo it’s hard to see Daya be put up to it.
Tricia’s things are being redistributed. Boo says she already told Mercy about Tricia. Boo, you’re good people. Everyone gathers with food and homemade booze and it’s sweet and sad and perfect.
Ha ha, were you worried that Larry would do a good job on the talk show? Well, he doesn’t. He starts talking about all the prison stuff that is douchebaggy as all get out, and could also get Piper stabbed. But keep going Larry, really. Your mediocrity and general fail is astounding. Like, really, dude.
Piper and Sue have a moment that rips me down to a lot of teary nothing. I’m serious. When Sue asks why everyone calls her Crazy Eyes, I actually lost it. Shit. Doggett’s strapped to a cot, and she’s down to nothing, too. Doggett doesn’t need more meds, but they’re gonna give them to her anyway. Doggett asks for Jesus and he’s not there. We know she came to this religion from a lot of complicated stuff, but this is the moment when you realize she believes herself and she believe in this. And it’s not here to save her, and she can’t quite believe that either.
Boo pours one out for Tricia. Piper is mad that her whole memorial is not happening, but honey, this is a memorial right here. Memorials are about getting together and laughing about old times and probably drinking. In my last will and testament, which is a TextEdit document in my “Not porn” folder, it specifically lists all the boxed wines I want served at my wake and how they are connected to various moments of my life. I feel very strongly about this. The inmates gathering to toast Tricia and redistribute her things is about the most fitting thing they could do for her.
Pornstache and Bennett are at the bar. Where is an infectious hot tub when you need one, Bennett? Have Pornstache shave drunk and then stick his face in there, man. Anyway, Pornstache continues to knock it out of the park with the ladies and then feel like his feelings are never acknowledged. I don’t care. You’re a poopyshit. You don’t deserve feelings. Love and kisses, me.
Piper and Alex are fighting, for a lot of complex reasons but in this case because of Doggett being in psych. Piper, still in savior complex, wants to get Doggett out of psych. Alex is like, are you serious with this bullshit, but Piper is going to go sacrifice herself. I know they’re super sexy together, but damn, their personalities do not convince me they should ever say, foster a cat together, or make joint purchases at Ikea. You know why? Because this upcoming FFFLLLAASSHHBBAACCKKK told me why.
Alex is crying. She just heard that her mother died, and Piper is leaving. Alex has to fly home because she’s in charge of the funeral and arranging everything in the wake of her mother’s death, and Piper… Piper doesn’t care. Alex needs her, and Piper walks out. Remember that scene in the dryer? This moment right here, this is why Alex said “stay” to Piper the way she did. The look on Alex’s face stayed with me for a while – Alex is vulnerable right now, and she knows it, and she hates that about herself but she also wishes it’s the reason Piper might stay. And when even that vulnerability fails her, she’s lost.
If there’s something I love about this show, it’s the way it makes you goddamned think about the strong feelings you have, and why. I have strong feelings about Doggett, I have strong feelings about Alex. There isn’t really a character on this show that I don’t react to, and through each and every one of those reactions I realize something important about myself. I was defensive of Doggett because of my class background, and I was suddenly unsure of Alex because of my background as a survivor. I react to this show with my gut way before I react with my head, and that says something about its quality. In this scene, I suddenly realized why Alex is such a complicated character for me. When she threatened Doggett, I was afraid of how much she reminded me of something that terrifies me, something that had a massive and personal and awful effect on my life. When I saw her as a poor kid who would do anything for the life she was cheated out of, I realized how well I knew that thirst. Alex fears vulnerability so much that she’s tried to destroy it in herself. I understand Alex, even though I am simultaneously troubled by Alex. When you take that much away from a character, especially in a few lines and a look, you know you’ve got a quality show.
Bennett and Daya are having a cutesy secret walk, and Bennett says the furlough could take weeks or months. So I guess Daya can pretend that the fully formed baby that comes out of her in nine months is the magic product of prison food and wishful thinking? Props to Bennett for not experiencing a constant panic attack about this, since this is, oh, I don’t know, potentially life-ruining for both parties? Meanwhile, Piper tells Caputo she’d like to write up a report re: Doggett’s faith-healing, sanity, hair product usage or lack thereof, and anything else that will clear the air. Bravo to the writers for this consistency in Piper’s character: Homegirl does the right thing a lot, but she only does it when it clears her conscience and makes her feel less bad about the thing, especially if it’s a thing for which she was directly but unknowingly responsible.
Daya asks Pornstache how his day is going. Everyone buckle your seatbelts, as this shitstorm of a narrative is leaving the station. Let’s immediately start thinking of happier couplings, so uh, we’ll zoom on over to the visiting room, where Baptiste is visiting Claudette. She tells him she might be out soon, and they goddamned plan the date night. If you aren’t filling out prayer cards and lighting candles to every deity you know that Miss Claudette gets nice things, then your heart is cold and dead and I pity you.
Daya tells Red and Nicky that she’s going to go through with the Pornstache plan. They explain the logistics required, which I don’t really need to type out here. You get the idea. Look, I want Pornstache to go down. I want these women to have agency and I want them to fucking own his ass and I want good things for these people, even though they are not 100% good people because none of us are 100% good people. But shit, it is hard to watch Daya think this is the way she has to do it. Because at the end of the day, this is the way she has to do it, and that’s misery.
Piper and Alex spoon. They heart each other. Guys, you’re really aesthetically pleasing and I like your coupling a lot more than the whole Larry thing because I’m automatically biased to any moment in the media when I get to see queer couples physically touching, but shit. I don’t think you’re actually that good for each other’s feelings and I just want everybody to happy. I have no idea if this is one of those shows where I can expect everybody to be happy at any given point, but y’all making me want that, darn it.
It’s time for Larry’s interview, and boy?
YA DUN GOOFED
Besides saying a lot of terrible stuff about people in prison, Larry makes Sue cry. He insults Miss Claudette, and he makes Sue cry. He. Makes. Sue. Cry. While this hot mess is happening, Daya and Pornstache are hooking up, and Pornstache uses a condom. Which means none of this is actually going to work. Daya, you deserved so much better than this, honey. Your eyes are gigantic and your face is literally the face of an angel, and you deserved so much better. When she tells Red about the condom and Red tells her she’ll just have to do it again, I just. I…yeah.
Piper’s getting first day of school vibes in the dining hall, except instead of not knowing anyone, she’s inadvertently enemy numero uno after insulting a lot of them and making them feel like shit about themselves. But hey, Doggett’s back, so the moment of semi-self-serving selflessness had some payback.
When Piper finally gets a hold of Larry, it’s time for all those important conversations we’ve been waiting for this season. Like wow, you’re both kind of asshats and Piper’s definitely sleeping with Alex and Alex definitely named her in the deposition and they still maybe love each other but they definitely need time apart and Larry’s peacoat looks like he got it at Gap Woman in 2004.
And now we can all take a deep breath, because the most emotionally rollercoastery episode of the season thus far is over. Everyone go cuddle the ones you love, be they girlfriends or cats or girlfriend pillows shaped like cats. I don’t judge.