Orange Is The New Black 207: Comic Sans

HI YES HELLO, you may notice that I am also not your usual OITNB recap enthusiast Kate Severance. Although I can see how somebody might get confused.

For reference, I am the goofier looking one about to cry into those tortilla chips.

For reference, I am the goofier looking one about to cry into those tortilla chips.

Anyway, I cried about a hundred times watching seasons one and two of Orange is The New Black. Then I braved my feelings and even updated my Netflix Silverlight plug-in in order to go back and recap episode 207 because that is how much I love you. HERE GOES NOTHING.

Wait, first we have to wait for that Regina Spektor song to finish playing over the opening credits. I don’t want to skip it because I might overshoot and miss something important. We just need to wait and it will end soon.

Nope. Still playing. Listen, I love Regina Spektor. It’s nothing against the actual song itself, I just need it to end twenty seconds sooner than it does in this context. Can we talk to somebody about that? Okay, here we go.

Vee has launched a selling-cigarettes-to-inmates-for-stamps business, so episode 207 opens in the custodial closet with Suzanne, Watson, Taystee and Cindy rolling tobacco and discussing profit margins. It is not a collaborative workplace. Vee calls the shots and talks down to everybody because Vee is terrible (I know, Lorrainne Toussaint is the opposite of terrible and that can feel confusing — evidently it’s this thing called acting).

Just catching up on some light reading

Just catching up on some light reading

Suzanne distracts a CO by talking about germs (a method of diversion I will utilize henceforth). Cindy questions the fact that Vee stands to make 90% of all the profits from the cigarette racket. Vee contends that it is because she will be assuming all of the risk. Spoiler alert: We know that this is bullshit because Vee’s prison cigarette trade is obviously a thinly veiled microcosm of her drug trafficking hierarchy in the non-prison world. We also know that this is bullshit because Vee is a brilliant self-serving sociopath who would never willingly assume risk for another person.

Cindy’s like “nope, pretty sure we’re assuming risk tho” so then Vee’s like “ummmm okay, well, so, I’m helping you earn respect then.” After which she immediately tells Suzanne that she’s not allowed to sell any cigarettes.



Suzanne solemnly relinquishes the cigarettes that she has rolled and sheepishly admits that she “makes people feel uncomfortable.” Vee is clearly the person that has explained this fact to her. It makes you even angrier at Vee for adding to Suzanne’s negative self-talk because you love Suzanne and you want her to love herself and hate how Vee manipulates her. UGH, VEE IS TERRIBLE. ANYWAY.

Vee implies that she has a master plan to surreptitiously sell and keep cigarettes in prison. Do you want to know what her master plan to hide the cigarettes is? I will tell you. SHE IS GOING TO HIDE THEM IN USED TAMPON APPLICATORS. Basically, they are selling ciga-tampons. Recycled ciga-tampons. Environmentalists rejoice.



Caputo is scolding all of the corrections officers because Jimmy escaped from prison by accident last week and showed up at Caputo’s shitty rock gig. Instead of being like “aw, that’s so nice, somebody came to this bar to see my totally unremarkable band” Caputo is like “wtf corrections officers how did Jimmy get out of this prison?”



Caputo implements a shot quota. Now all the COs have to give out a minimum of five shots (documented reprimands) per week. This is clearly not a terrible idea that will breed nothing but resentment between all parties involved and ultimately result in the harassment of prison inmates. Just kidding, it’s as terrible as Vee.

shots shots shots shots

shots shots shots shots

Upon leaving the meeting, a CO immediately demonstrates the failings of the shot quota by writing Cindy up for a minor infraction while ignoring a white inmate performing the same infraction. When Cindy comments on the overt injustice of her shot write-up, the CO escalates the situation and orders her to drop to the floor. It’s flashback time!

Cindy was once a TSA agent! She was once a TSA agent who also abused her own position of authority! Cut to her speeding around in one of those airport go-carts in her TSA uniform, snagging free snacks, groping passengers, stealing electronics from peoples’ luggage. Cindy as a TSA officer clearly can’t abuse her position over a traveler to the same extent that a corrections officer can abuse their position over an inmate, but we see the parallels you are trying to make, OITNB!

Happiness is a Pittsburgh Airport go-cart

Happiness is a Pittsburgh Airport go-cart

I see Autostraddle finally ran that scissoring piece

I see Autostraddle finally ran that scissoring piece

Meanwhile, back at the prison, a journalist dude is meeting with Piper. Piper talks to him about wanting furlough to visit her dying grandmother, and you know, some other unfair prison conditions that don’t involve her (mostly the furlough). Journalist dude says something awesome, which is that he lays awake “fantasizing about personally taking down an institution that is the single greatest stain on the American collective conscience since slavery.” Then he explains that he can’t actually do that, but that he can write a story about how two million dollars was misappropriated at Litchfield if Piper can bring him information about which companies Fig has contracts with.

Piper’s like “I don’t have the internet in here, and even if I did I would be too busy going through the Autostraddle recap archives, and anyway, what do you want me to do, break into Fig’s office and jeopardize my furlough?” Journalist dude’s mouth says “no problem, let me know if you change your mind” but his face says “I AM VRY DISAPPOINTED IN U PIPER U ARE ACTING LIKE SEASON 1 PIPER RN.”



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Mal Blum

Mal Blum is a New Yorker and a musician who has released five albums, tours nationally and mostly sticks to writing songs, but also sometimes writes other things that aren't songs (like the preceding piece and also secret poetry that nobody is allowed to read). Website. Albums. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr.

Mal has written 3 articles for us.


  1. Can we actually get Soso to A-Camp? We could have a Litchfield party instead of a carnival. There would be handcuffs. And possibly a Kink 101 workshop..

  2. “Direct communication, y’all”.

    I want all my lessons about relationships to be from Mal Blum via orange recaps kthx

  3. If only Litchfield stocked the commissary with OB tampons, this whole violent mess of a cigarette subplot could have been prevented.

  4. ok, NZ doesn’t have OITNB and I am not illegally scamming Netflix here…. so far….

    so I am getting my fix on recaps alone. Yes, going on the smell of an entertaining fortnightly fix of an oily rag..

    So what has prompted me to write in here as I haven’t seen the show and it is bugging me, people, is this

    “Vee is talking long-game strategy while playing chess with Suzanne when Cindy walks in. Vee has gotten into Cindy’s head and she’s ready to sort through used tampons and work at the bottom of Vee’s hierarchy”.

    Ok, this disturbs me as a human because used tampons, and cigatampons. Are we talking tampax here with applicators? Is the used applicator going into some lucky punters mouth?? Please no, but please clarify, because I am getting worried about future sub plots involving diminished quality of life scenarios because of vaginally (used tampon) orally transmitted (ciga tampon) stds in the future for Litchfields smoking population. Just a thought.

    • I watched the show and I can’t figure this one out and I’ve been wondering how they would make sure that there was no blood on the applicator. Maybe I’m just bad at using tampons, but I always get blood on the applicators (before I switched to non-applicator tampons, which I’m also bad at using).

    • They sort of just store the cigs inside the applicators, inside the wrappers, to disguise them because (in theory) COs aren’t going to be checking individual tampons for contraband. And if I recall correctly Vee was asking Cindy to get to work on cleaning applicators for that purpose. Still very icky, but at least you’re not, you know, putting the applicator itself in your mouth, and hopefully as part of the cleaning staff they have access to disinfectant and stuff.

      • Yes, plus the plastic of the applicator and the wrappers acts as a water-repellent so that the cigarettes won’t get soggy and spoil the tobacco.

      • thank god, I was worried, and although I am still grossed out, I am relieved there is some attention to infection control measures. In NZ the tampon applicator comes in two options: shiny soft cardboard, and plastic. There is so much in the way of flora and fauna living on a used tampon, though its probably more of a jungle on the cardboard option.

  5. I love Soso and I have celiac so the scene when she was told “prison is gluten” for laughs I was pretty disturbed. The show has pointed out how unfairly prisoners are treated in terms of getting appropriate medical care, and making a joke out of someone not being able to have a potentially medically necessary diet bothered me. I mean, I know many people these days think gluten free food is hilarious but wow, it really made me think about yet another way in which people who are incarcerated can be abused by the PIC.

  6. Bennett looks like an alien (or maybe Benedict Cumberbatch) when he’s angry. I’d be terrified.

  7. cindy is my favourite (she’s just so blunt), and although her backstory re: her daughter bummed me out, i still loved the montage of her being The Actual Worst in the airport, stealing a payday and giving zero fucks.

  8. “…but because of the shot quota, Litchfield is like SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS EVERYBODY.”
    Thanks, now I’ll forever associate that song with this show.

  9. YOU GUYS. A few hours ago I was sitting in an airport waiting for a connecting flight reading this recap and thinking about Black Cindy and her back story and riding through the airport being the worst. AND THEN I GOT ON MY FLIGHT AND LEGIT ADRIENNE C MOORE WAS SITTING ACROSS THE ISLE FROM ME AND I TOTALLY CREEPED ON HER.
    And then I got her signature and she was totally awesome and sweet and I died of happiness and my ghost came back to write this comment.

  10. Thank you so much for the Bennett rant. To be honest I prefer Daya when she’s with her mom and want that relationship to be explored more. The power dynamics between Bennett and Daya prevent me from shipping it. They kind of ignored it in season 1 and treated their relationship as more romantic so I’m glad that they touched upon it more in season 2 however I felt like they kind of brushed it under the rug towards the end. I will say that I find the actor who plays Bennett to be attractive, also Black Cindy’s antics as a PSA agent were hilarious. It sucks that she ‘s distant from her daughter though.

  11. That compassionate release thing…i think thats how we get a lot of our dementia patients tbh. Have you guys ever given an 80y.o lady you dont know from Adam a bath? When they think youre stealing house keys they dont have in the stockings they are wearing that have roaches cause no one cared or looked after them. Guys. Its sad. So sad.

    • honestly, bc I don’t live in the US, what does “compassionate release” mean? When I was reading Mal’s comment I thought that the woman was released from prison, but then who cares for her if she is mentally incompetent? Surely a social worker has sorted some care out for her so that she can get the level of care she needs for quality of life and safety. Or maybe not. Maybe she is released into the wild, at the nearest bus stop. This episode is bringing out all sorts of health concerns and questions.

      • yeah no that’s why it’s so extraordinarily fucked up–they just kinda leave her there all alone.

        • oh my god, thanks for explaining Jane. Does this really happen? (and I am asking a serious question) – it does, doesn’t it?

  12. I so wanted that picture of nighttime creeping Vee to be captioned ‘I am the ghost of Christmas Past’!

    I love Vee, by the way. You know how some people have an absurd love for Cruella DeVille even though she wants to skin a hundred puppies? I have that with Vee, that glorious sociopath.

  13. Piper is the worst, but I love her facial responses to the officers, particularly Caputo, so much. Perfect mix of blank and you’ve-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me.

    • I actually enjoy season 2 Piper a bit better. I’ve been really enjoying her moments of toughness and sarcasm, like when she confronted Polly and Larry or that little speech she made to Brook. Granted she still has her flaws but it’s nice to see this new version of her. I also really enjoy the fact that she’s taken a backseat and we get to explore other characters a bit more, like Taystee and Gloria really shined this season and of course there’s Suzanne.

  14. oh man. poor Jimmy and that so-called “compassionate” release thing. :( thanks for bruising my feels, Jenji! >:( + :'(

  15. Probably my favourite line is Piper talking about how even Paul McCartney would be all up in the tuna salad…lol Soso is hilarious

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