And we’re back. There’s only two episodes left in the season, for those of you who are on your fourth or fifth rewatch at this point. Here’s a gif of Poussey to reward you for your vigilence.
For you honey, I could be.
Piper is serving out her sentence as sort-of janitor since she turned herself in for the whole Doggett fiasco. This sentence includes mopping things at midnight. Thinking back to Doggett’s treatment in psych, this doesn’t seem totally…even. Anyway, here’s a fun joke to keep your mind off of inhumane practices: How many queers does it take to clean a floor? It depends on how wet they got it.
Sue is also in the process of cleaning, and Piper wants to apologize for everything Larry said on the radio. Which, again, let’s emphasize that this was radio, and a program broadcast nationally to thousands and thousands to people. Not the prison newsletter. Not the prison zine library. Like, a really huge audience of folks. That’s not the place to be humiliated and mocked, not there is an ideal locale for that. So if Piper wants to start apologizing to people, she has a nuclear fallout’s worth of a mess to clean up.
Sue says Piper is a mean person, and Piper insists she is not, in fact, a mean person. Sue gives her a brief mopping tutorial that is also a metaphor for how Piper forms and interacts within social relationships. Also does anyone else think that Sue delivers her lines like she’s doing spoken word poetry? I love that about her.
I know y’all have said that Sue’s earlier behavior was nothing to defend, and I’ll agree that the way she initially pursued Piper was uncomfortable even when it wasn’t aggressive. When I say I feel bad for Sue, I’m not saying that she’s a magical pony who has done nothing wrong and can never be blamed for causing Piper discomfort. The crazy thing about this show is that you can feel sympathy for characters who aren’t 100% perfect and good! Who knew?! I should also be clear that mental illness is not an excuse for her behavior, but the way she’s treated and ostracized based on the fact of her mental illness alone is cause for my wanting her to be treated better. When I see that a lot of people watching the show don’t even know that her name isn’t actually Crazy Eyes, it makes me sad. So this scene and the ones like it where Sue has reached out to Piper, they make me really sad.
Anyway, speaking of people and relationships and other messy business, Alex shows up just in time for Piper to fill her in on all the shit that went down with Larry, and oh, yeah, the fact that Piper now knows that Alex turned her in. Piper says whatever, she’s over it, it’s fine. They should probably dedicate more time to that conversation, but this is not their style, is it? Ah, Pipex. The ship that sounds like a tampon brand but still manages to bleed all over the place.
Pornstache is hitting on Daya in Ye Olde Cafeteria and oh, ancient yonic goddesses have sweet and just mercy, that is super gross. “I like the shape of your ears?” What is this, a fucking Mary Oliver poem? Jesus, why don’t you compare her figure to a flock of geese alighting on a New England marsh while you’re at it? Daya’s mom gives her a reminder via shin kick that Pornstache is the key to her keeping the baby, and Daya flirts back. Vomit in my mouth.
Morello misses mimosas. Man, I miss mimosas every second I’m not ingesting one. Meanwhile, Claudette isn’t hearing Piper’s attempts at apology. I do not blame Miss Claudette one goddamned bit. This episode’s theme is “people are mad at Piper and we don’t really blame them that much” and I know y’all agree.
Doggett is in the laundry room and Alex is trying to convince her that Piper did the right thing, so she shouldn’t shit talk her. Doggett is actually quieter than usual, which makes her scarier than usual.
It’s a flashback. Yes, a flashback. Doggett’s in bed with her boyfriend. He wants her to keep her pregnancy so they can get the government aid, although he sees it as an opportunity to eat the free shit rather than actually contribute to the health of the baby. Doggett isn’t going to keep it. The boyfriend says she never keeps it. Well, there’s a telling line. Doggett says that she doesn’t want to go to jail for a baby, and if she’s drug-tested, she will be. Doggett’s boyfriend says they should stop doing drugs, but this is so hilarious to both of them that their laughter manages to make their teeth fall out. Please tell me I’m the only one who is terrified, TERRIFIED, of their teeth falling out.
Alex finds Piper in the kitchen and is hot and bothered. Like most queerios, emotional turmoil makes her horny. As my ex once said, Tears: the Lesbian Lubricant of Choice.
Just kidding, and here is your public service announcement of the day: If you’re in a relationship that makes you cry a lot, please don’t repeat my mistakes and stay in it because you think that feeling terrible is a part of being in love. It’s not. Love isn’t worth more because you suffer for it. You are worth so much more than unhappiness and hurt, honey. Save yourself, because you’re a wonderful human being.
Back to your hourly Pipex News: They feel each other up for a bit and then Piper admits she’s not okay with this, almost as if she never would have said anything had they not initiated something sexually. It’s interesting (and sometimes scary) how this pairing tends to work based on certain axes of senses. Physically, they know they’re compatible, but emotionally and psychologically they’re a loaded mess, so the only way they try to make things work is by relying heavily on that physical connection. And maybe that’s because the good memories are easiest to reach in the skin and muscle; they drown out the bad memories in the heart and head, even if it’s only for an hour or so. Piper and Alex have a fucked up history that seems to keep repeating itself, but if they pretend that the only thing that matters is how well Alex can give an orgasm, the rest won’t matter.
Larry and Cal are chilling. Cal is good at chilling because he’s a super chill dude. They discuss Piper’s sexuality, because, you know. Someone else’s identity and preferences are always a great conversation starter. Cal says a pretty unchill thing about how it maybe doesn’t count re: cheating because Alex is a girl, which is one of my absolute least favorite things heterosexual people say. But then Cal says something fairly enlightened? Cal, you weird chill guy with your contradictory opinions. And now you’re engaged, congratulations weird chill guy.
Well, Operation I Wish This Wasn’t Your Sole Option is happening. Caputo’s hanging up posters for the Christmas pageant, and Mendoza is chatting him up about shower fungus. Apparently the Latin@ group wants Sue to clean their showers, too, because she’s meticulous and they’ve got said fungus problem. The shower fungus is clearly a distraction, but ew. Shower fungus. You know what’s not at A-Camp, surprisingly enough? Shower fungus. You should go to camp because there’s no fungus in our showers. Morello makes a birdcall – because there are a lot of owls in prison, just chilling and making noise, not out of place at all, and Mendoza cuts the conversation off. Morello tells Caputo someone is crying in the utility closet. Caputo goes to check it out, because remember last time someone was sad in the utility closet, and finds Pornstache and Daya having sex. Well, then.
Miss Claudette lets Piper paint her nails. At this point, I am in full support of Miss Claudette only allowing a relationship with Piper that is strictly servitude on Piper’s part. Claudette is hearing about her case today, and she’s hopeful about reuniting with Baptiste and eating dinner like a normal person. Her hopes are so small but so big at the same time, and all you really want is for her to be okay. And with pretty nails, too.
Caputo’s brought the situation to the Assitant Warden Lady and she’s not happy about this at all. First of all, despite the fact that Daya can’t give her consent because Pornstache is an officer, they refuse to call this rape, even though it technically is. (This is also a great place to think about the relationship between Daya and Bennett and how it is portrayed as very cute but how the power dynamics are technically very similar to those between Pornstache and Daya. Daya, as an inmate, has to rely on Bennett for food, shelter, access to services, safety, etc. Regardless of how Daya feels about Bennett, he still has that technical power over her, in addition to the fact that he has been thoroughly trained in an official and legal manner on what happens when an inmate gets pregnant in prison, and yet he still balks on birth control? Insert video of Avril Lavigne singing “Complicated” re: my feelings on the manner.) Pornstache’s punishment is unpaid leave. Okay, right. That’s fair. Sure.
Bennett confronts Daya in the prison yard. She explains the situation and Bennett is not happy about what happened. Daya is mad Pornstache didn’t get fired, but Bennett is mad that Daya slept with Pornstache and tried to get accuse him of rape. Another thing about this show: No couple, no matter how fucking cute you think you are, is without inherently grey and complicated interests and motives. When Daya tells Bennett that she did it for him, and he just straight up walks away, you realize no one on this show exists in a safe moral zone where we can expect a happy ending. Piper can’t keep the floor clean, and the writers aren’t out to see anyone clean.
Doggett’s visitor is wearing a nice suit and talking about the Bible. Doggett says that she’s lost her faith in Jesus. Jesus let her get locked up and completely humiliated in front of everyone. That’s not the Jesus she’s been taking punches for in the past. Her visitor, who by now we probably suspect is her pastor or someone of similar religious ilk, reminds her that people who are shat upon for their Jesus lovin’ are actually the most blessed of all. Doggett thinks Piper needs to pay. Possible Pastor thinks Piper needs to be forgiven like Doggett has been forgiven. This is the point where you feel like the point is not getting across.
This triggers a flashback to Doggett in the abortion clinic. She’s pulled out her own IV, which is a thought that actually makes me faint, and she’s ready to get the hell out of there. The nurse says something a nurse in an abortion clinic should never fucking say, and reminds Doggett that this is her fifth abortion while simultaneously making a nasty joke about getting a punch card. Outside is a ring of anti-choice protestors who are singing a song pretty darn similar to the one we’ve heard from the present Doggett. Doggett grabs her squirrel gun from the pick-up truck outside and goes back in to shoot the nurse. Doggett’s defense? The nurse disrespected her.
So Doggett’s cleansing her own sins by believing the lies used against her. She knew she couldn’t erase her past, so she found a religion that would wipe it clean for her. It still not clear if she took the easy or hard way out of her mistakes, since she’s obviously paying for them every second of the day. We learn later how most of this is pretty darn deliberate, but we also know just from the way Doggett says ‘Jesus’ that there’s a whole chunk of her sad heart that believes this shit like it’s snow on Christmas.
Caputo is attempting to give advice to Fischer about taking on a bigger role now that Pornstache is out of commission. He does this while flirting with her, which is awkward and not the worst thing he’s ever done? But then he says some misogynistic bullshit and you’re like, oh, wait, he’s a piece of shit. Fischer has such large and kind eyes that you just kind of want her to turn around and sprint in the other direction, maybe to the comforting arms of Red.
Speaking of Red and how we all want her to adopt us, Pornstache is leaving the prison and sees Red. She gives him a wink to know that yep, it was her master plan. Fuck off, Pornstache. This is Red’s territory. Don’t you take our comforting godmother from us.
Cal’s lady love found processed meat in the trailer and she starts yelling at him. They are only supposed to eat meat that they’ve hunted themselves, not this processed Wal-Mart bullcrap! Are we sure that his fiancee is not actually a lesbian? They argue loudly while Larry is still there and then she storms out. Larry is confused by the fact that Cal is taking this in stride, and Cal explains that his repressed WASP childhood makes this kind of shit a huge turn-on for him. He loves putting shit out in the open and not holding it all in to process at a later and inconvenient time. Okay, so Cal is definitely not a lesbian.
Watson and Yoga Jones finally have that conversation we have all been waiting for. Watson asks Jones why she’s not holding yoga classes anymore, and Yoga Jones says that she’s on a break. All that pent-up Zen got to her. She tells Watson that she did kill a kid, actually. She accidentally shot her neighbor’s kid to protect her weed from what she thought was a deer, in part because she was an alcoholic. The thing about even the characters you thought were added for comic relief, guys? Their stories are sad, too. Everybody’s story is a sad story.
Poussey and Cindy are having an amazing exchange about trying to get Kwanzaa off from work even though they don’t technically know what it is. Doggett wants an official word with Piper. And damn, she lets it all spill.
Doggett tells Piper that she didn’t save Doggett by sacrificing herself since she’s the reason Doggett was in there to begin with, so she shouldn’t feel all good about herself for that move. She tells Piper that she took away the one thing Doggett had in here, and that was her belief in Jesus. She says she never had anything nice, but she did have Jesus. And Doggett thinks that once Piper figures a few things out herself, she’ll see that this is all part of Jesus’ big plan. Piper attempts to pray to Jesus. She’s rusty.
Sister Ingalls suggests she should have mentioned the Virgin Mary, and I literally did a fist pump at this. Catholic solidarity, man. Don’t even bother with Jesus if you’ve got problems. You just go straight to his mother. And all the saints, don’t forget the saints.
Bennett is still going to the bar with Pornstache for some reason. You’d think his miserable ability to be normal company and the fact he slept with Daya would be reason enough to quit these bro sessions, but here they are. Pornstache believes he and Daya are soulmates, and he wants Bennett to give Daya a message for him. Bennett is not keen on this. I wonder why?
Piper and Alex are together in Alex’s bed doing some processing. Please don’t call this scene anything but processing as it is the most blatant lesbian processing I have ever seen. I can’t make this shit up. It’s got everything: it’s got the “it’s not you, it’s me, I am the horrible person in this situation” moment, it’s got the “I’m the one who ruined this but this is all I have” moment, it’s got the “let’s find the root of our problem in our pasts and not actually our present issues” moment. Classic.
Nicky interrupts because Nicky is the wisest dyke on this block. Surviving that gay camp and eloping with Clea DuVall clearly taught her a whole lot.
And now for a scene that really broke my heart in two entirely separate ways. Miss Claudette’s appeal failed. Fischer has taken this time to actually be a hardass for the first time in probably her whole entire life. Miss Claudette, whose hopes were so small but so big at the same time, loses it. She starts strangling Fischer.
Claudette is dragged to maximum security, but she doesn’t care. She says it doesn’t matter anymore. If your heart didn’t break into a million pieces at this, please check to see if it’s working.
And here’s the next thing that kinda broke my heart. Taystee is suddenly back. On one hand, yes! One of my favorite characters is back on the show, providing me with the best lines ever. On the other hand, wait. She’s back in prison. She had a chance to make it outside of prison, to be okay and flourish and do well in the real world, and she didn’t make it. She’s back.
The inmates are splitting up Claudette’s stuff because she’s not coming back. Fuck. If Little Boo wasn’t here and Cindy wasn’t assuring the picture of Denzel Washington that she’s forgotten The Book of Eli, then this scene would be completely dark and sad.
Taystee and Poussey are in the library. Taystee has her job back, and in some way, everything is back to normal. Poussey, bless her fucking gem of a soul and her unbelievably attractive face, asks Taystee what happened. Taystee says that life beyond prison was just too hard to handle, and when she starts listing everything she needed to do to keep afloat out there, you see why. Prison doesn’t prepare you for success in the real world. If anything, it seems set on keeping you from achieving it. Minimum wage isn’t gonna pay the prison fees you have on the outside, if you can find and keep a job at all. Taystee knew how prison worked. It was safe and familiar.
Poussey tells her that her hair looks good. I love her so much, I can’t.
Watson’s got a nail and an idea. Jones catches on and sticks the nail into an electrical socket in the chapel, which basically means she electrocutes herself. She survives, and in some way, it seems like it worked on all the shit that’s been weighing on her all this time. She seems to be better. She gives the nail back to Watson, and it’s the kind of moment where that one gesture means there’s a whole new world of understanding between the two of them.
Piper’s getting baptized. Actually, a baby picture of her is getting baptized, it’s weird. Piper didn’t actually think this was going to be serious, but no, Doggett is dead serious. Get it? You will. The lights flicker, probably because bitches are sticking nails in the electrical sockets, but Doggett is 99% sure that it’s Jesus coming back to her team.
This gets us back into a flashback mode. For those of you wondering why I’m not typing out long-ass flashbacks, I’m typing most of this on my phone because my keyboard isn’t working and I’m a broke little queer, so everytime I try to type out multiple letters, it autocorrects it to a word I can’t remember ever needing to say so enthusiastically. Anyway, turns out the guy we thought was Doggett’s pastor is actually, surprise, her Christian lawyer. Christian lawyers are a thing. His strategy for Doggett’s release is to make her murder of the nurse not about Doggett’s being disrespected, but about seeking justice for aborted babies. Those folks that were screaming outside the abortion clinic now think she’s the bee’s knees. Doggett, a hero? She’s never been a hero. How do you think it feels for her in that moment, realizing she has a shot at that?
Red is apparently the new marriage counselor for Healy and his wife. Healy’s wife wants a more interesting life, one with less Storage Wars. Okay, that was an unnecessary barb given how Storage Wars is probably like the third greatest television program of all time. Unfortunately, Bennett’s just busted Red like Pornstache told him to, and Caputo’s calling Red into his office.
Piper’s just about to get baptized when she decides, actually, how about no. She makes a statement every Reddit atheist in a fedora would be proud to type on a Neil Tyson Degrasse forum, and shockingly, this does not go over well with Doggett.
Oh, hey, the Assistant to the Warden is taking some heat from reporters who were listening to Larry’s interview. Turns out all those bad things that Larry mentioned about the prison administration are actually worth investigating, specifically the holes in the budget that were found with a little reporter snooping. Assistant to the Warden has a new Mercedes to drive away in, if only we were all so lucky.
Larry offers Piper an ultimatum: try and work through it starting now, or break up starting now. No more waiting around or mulling through your fellow inmates’ vaginas.
P.S. Doggett says she’s going to kill Piper. Because Piper disrespected her, damn it. If any of you are actually not done with the show and are shocked by this part of the recap, I will bake you a cake, you rare and strange bird, you.