The Prodigal Daughter of White Trojan Horsery has returned to Litchfield, minus her bespectacled toxic popsicle and plus a newer harder attitude. What adventures await our little vanilla wafer? Time can only tell, inmating ritualists.
Enter Brooke Soso, the carbon copy of that one girl in your Women’s Studies class who wouldn’t shut up about that time she went to Ghana as part of her study abroad program and like, I don’t know, fucking breastfed the starving babies with AIDS, curing them of said AIDS and taking lots of pictures with all the little brown children! Brooke wants to be Piper’s best friend. Too bad Brooke has also been marked as Big Boo’s prison wife target. Ugh, we can all agree Big Boo is gross this season, right? Not that she wasn’t kind of gross last season, but now it’s less as a background laugh and more in a predatory everyone-on-this-show-is-terrible-but-she-in-particular-comes-off-like-a-person-to-avoid way.
Red’s in the bathroom casually shaving (as opposed to formally shaving) and hears a familiar singing voice. Why, it’s none other than Vee, and the way Red has an inner panic attack makes all of us here at homebase feel like Vee and Red have an intense past marked by betrayals and broken dreams! Red hightails it out of there like my latex-allergic ass whenever the geniuses at Pride decide to throw condom balloons into the crowd.
Your favorite clique is playing a raucous game of Celebrity that peaks with Poussey’s “the white Michelle Williams!” and the deep connection between her and her boo, Taystee. I just love everything about their friendship and their relationship and their deep emotional bond, platonic or nay. Also, it’s time for a flashback, so your feelings are about to bust out of their already tender love cages. Suzanne’s story is just as heart-strangling and effective as ever, with the child actors on this show continuing to smash it out of the park. I love the way Orange is the New Black treats flashback sequences like a superhero’s origin stories. It’s not just about the character’s time before they were incarcerated — it’s about how the character got their telltale physical traits, their larger-than-life personalities, why they choose the sidekicks or henchmen that they do, etc. It’s poignant and complicated and always really wonderfully acted, so of course, Suzanne’s origin story is no different. Flashback to young Suzanne visiting her new baby sister in the hospital. Cue OITNB-typical moments of subtle commentary on race — “She looks like you.” — and family — “That’s because we made her.” — all in one. Kid Suzanne gets very overstimulated by the experience of holding her baby sister, and a nice black nurse comes over to help her calm down by doing her hair, which she can probably tell has never been properly addressed by her very white parents. This is the origin of the Suzanne bantu knots.
Piper’s returned to her old cell, which feels to her like an intensely emotional homecoming. Morello gives Brooke her toiletries because she looks like she could be part white, and tells Vee that another black lady will probably provide her with a gift basket. Vee could not be more pissed, but apparently she forgot the most important part of prison?
Taryn Manning doesn’t have to wear fake teeth anymore, which means everything is right in Pennsatucky’s world. Except her former toadies are all pretty sure that they want to stage a coup, and Pennsatucky’s pretty sure that they’re jealous of her pearly whites. You can already see the rebellion burning in all their meth-yellowed eyes! Pennsatucky’s like, pretty much, whatever.
Finally, it’s the Vee/Taystee confrontation y’all have been waiting for since… last episode. Anyway, Taystee’s getting irritated with her roommate Suzanne when Vee comes up and tries to make cozy. Except guess what, bitch? You weren’t anywhere to be found when Taystee got out, leaving her minus a support system and with no choice but to head back to prison. Before Vee leaves, she makes a note of giving Suzanne a nose boop and calling her by her real name. As everyone should know by now, a) Vee is not to be trusted, and b) Suzanne will do just about anything for someone who treats her like a human being for more than five seconds. Could Vee have picked a more vulnerable and desperate-to-please individual? Nope, that bitch could not.
Flashback to Suzanne and her little sister being dropped off to a sleepover that only her little sister has been invited to, an inevitably awkward situation. Did anyone else start sweating and getting upset as soon as this scene started, knowing just how cringeworthy it would end? Does anyone else feel like all the scenes involving young Suzanne have made your heart literally bleed into your brain and then explode into a million pieces? Okay, good, I’m not the only one. When Suzanne says that dragons are cool, I want to wrap my arms around her, I want to tell her how amazing she is and how she doesn’t need to feel bad just because her mom’s need to prove her abilities as a mother has bled into her need for Suzanne to prove herself to everyone.
Anyway, Suzanne is a perfect girl and I wish she were real and had been the same age as me so we could teach each other Shakespeare translated into Sindarin and write extremely dark fairy tales.
Daya and Bennett have one of their typical interactions that’s more depressing than it is cute these days. Like it was cute before they were making terrible decisions, such as having sex without a condom in a fucking prison. Now it’s just this sad doomed thing where Daya has to depend on Bennett for the health of herself and her child and Bennett doesn’t seem totally ready to be serious about anything. What a healthy and serious situation that will absolutely turn out in a positive no-flaws way! Mazel tov! Later, Bennett will give Daya spinach and it’s like kind of cute but also indicative of how desperate shit is and you want to say “aww” but instead you say “this could have been avoided so easily, dummies.”
Red says she needs a makeover because she needs to scare the shit out of Vee. Sophia’s fierce versus “fierce” line is probably one of the best on this season, I must admit. In Other White People News, Morello finds out Christopher is getting married to someone else on the day she’d picked out for their wedding. If tiny but insistent alarms aren’t going off in your head at this point, I’m not sure you’ve been paying attention. On one hand, Morello has a cute but semi-terrifying voice that sometimes says things that strike me as really fucking unhinged. On the other hand, everyone in prison is a little bit off their rocker, so maybe it’s just business as usual! At any rate, I was surprised at this point that Christopher wasn’t actually a volleyball in Morello’s basement with a face drawn on it in blood, you know? Because that’s sort of how Morello strikes me.
Piper and Nicky have a cute reunion, talk smack about Alex and how they are now eternally bonded by the Great Homo Spit Chain, a term I think I invented but probably didn’t. Nicky seems to recall Alex being brokenhearted by Piper, and Piper seems to recall that Alex was a conniving cunt. Yeah, it’s the day hell freezes over, because I’m siding with Piper on this one, guys. Speaking of people who are on Piper’s side or trying to crawl up it, Soso spends the night crying and Piper, in what is probably a combined effort to be a decent human being but also shut this girl the hell up, comforts her with the knowledge she also cried on her first night. Brooke is, like, totally obsessed with Meadow, guys, since once again she cannot stop taking about the chick and I don’t know, her freckled breasts swinging low over the fields of the organic farm, the commune they lived on briefly while Brooke’s parents paid rent on her apartment in Georgetown… I’m just, I’m just saying you all know this girl, right?
Suzanne has overheard Vee asking Cindy to get her something from the maintenance room, which Cindy rebuffed in typical Cindy style. Suzanne takes it upon herself to win Vee’s loyalty with this task, and already we are feeling our chests flutter and our little hearts race because no, baby girl. You don’t have to do this. Even if you messed up that graduation song, even if no one believes you when you say you’d be good at Celebrity, you don’t have to do anything Vee wants you to do, honey. Because Vee figures out that Piper and Suzanne have a past, and despite the sheer beauty of the pep talk she gives Suzanne — “you are a garden rose” — I just kept cringing because I knew she’d picked out the one person who would never say no. And that continues to break my heart. Other Vee things that got to me: her and Red hugging it out was still the fakest shit ever. I don’t care how they laughed and teased each other, you know there is something absolutely cutthroat beneath their gentle reunion. Give it time, kids. Give it time. Or, witness it as tumblr user rexuality has put forth:
We finally found out some more details about the night Piper and Pennsatucky had their showdown — the reason Piper was returned to Litchfield and not sent away forever was because Suzanne, humiliated from messing up her part in the pageant and overstimulated by the moment, punched Piper in the face, unintentionally making it look like the Pipertucky fight had been an equal match. Piper wants to thank Suzanne for this, but Suzanne rebuffs her offer to be friends, knowing it’ll please Vee if she stands up for herself.
I gotta address it: the Nicky and Big Boo shit, it was gross. I understand Nicky is someone for whom sex is kind of her only source of self-esteem but also this weird way she asserts power and Big Boo is like, the definition of creepy motherfucker this season, but this scene man. It was like watching someone drunkenly critique another person’s bowling technique. Blech, gross, misogyny, ugh.
Oh, by the by! In picturesque Nopetown, Larry is back on the dating scene! It goes about as well as you’d expect, with him pretending like he is a great guy in his thirties whose parents don’t pay his rent, and us watching with one eyebrow raised or using this time to take a bathroom break or microwave some tofu. I know you really needed your Larry updates, here’s a picture of him in this episode:
Piper finally turns on Soso; she seems to have turned in her sanity, too. “I am a lone wolf, and a vicious one. Don’t make me rip your throat out with my teeth.” Not to worry, folks. This didn’t just become an episode of Hannibal. How do I know? For starters, they’re not killing off or belittling all my favorite female characters! Haha! Killing off all the women on your show is hilarious, isn’t it, Hannibal? Anyway. The show ends on Vee providing her new black posse with a funfetti cake, which, okay, is really appealing, but coming from Vee, we’re all a little suspicious. Don’t trust bitches with funfetti, guys. That’s your takeaway lesson from this episode.