“Turn Table Turn” opens with Poussey, Soso, Taystee, Suzanne, Watson, and Black Cindy watching TME report Judy Likes Chocolate by showing Judy King’s staged kiss with Black Cindy. Taystee asks what everyone plans on doing with the money. Poussey wants to take Soso to Amsterdam (siiiiigh). Suzanne wants to rent a bounce house in the shape of a frog. Taystee wants to follow D’Angelo around like white people follow Phish. Watson jokes that she’ll probably spend most of it on rims because this is the season of stereotypes and race issues. Black Cindy, in one sentence, sums up the writing of this entire season: “Y’all, we ain’t think this shit through.” However, she’s referring to how Caputo and the other higher-ups are going to react to the Judy King situation. Poussey tries to assuage her worries by saying that Judy King is on their side, but Black Cindy hits the table with facts. Judy King used them and will come out of this situation looking post-racial while Black Cindy will probably get in trouble. Realization sets in on the faces at the table, and Suzanne ends with scene with, “Lesbians…am I right?”
In Caputo’s office, Judy King tells Caputo that the heart wants what it wants, and she and Black Cindy are indeed a couple. Caputo tells them that it better be real and not just a stunt. Black Cindy and Judy King start spending more time together. They have cookies and tea in Judy’s room, much to the dismay of Yoga Jones, who doesn’t like the new people in their room because “They might steal.” Yoga Jones, who used to be such a likeable character, is now the epitome of what happens when you give lagniappe to an undeserving poser. Soso vents to Poussey that Black Cindy and Judy King’s “relationship” has knocked them down as a power couple. Black Cindy and Judy King are Beyoncé and Jay Z, while Soso and Poussey are just Kim and Kanye.
Piscatella wants to know which guard was on Judy King duty and let her out of sight. Rapist Coates explains that he was her guard, but she told him to leave her alone. He left her because Caputo said to keep her happy. Piscatella is not concerned about Judy King’s dalliance with Black Cindy. He wants to know how the photo got out and demands they do a phone sweep, headed up by Luschek. Luschek is annoyed because not only does this require him and the other guards to look behind every nook and cranny of the prison for phones, but also, the phone used to take the Judy King photograph is his. Piscatella additionally informs the guards that the SHU is almost full, so instead of sending inmates there for every infraction they are now allowed to “go freestyle.” Haven’t they been going freestyle all series?
This episode does a good job showing foils, particularly with regard to friendships. There is the friendship between Sister Ingalls and Sophia. Sister Ingalls is trying to get sent to the SHU to prove Sophia is there. She is acting out, but her antics of cursing out Rapist Coates and smoking in front of McCullough earn her nothing more than a slap on the wrist. After explaining to Mendoza that she has a phone and plans to get proof, Mendoza tells her that she has to do something big to get sent to SHU. Sister Ingalls punches Mendoza, which finally lands her in SHU, where her cross is taken and she is placed in isolation.
There is also the friendship between Big Boo and Tiffany. Tiffany tells Big Boo that Rapist Coates apologized. Big Boo is not accepting of Tiffany’s empathy for her rapist and tells Tiffany that she’s done with her if she resumes a friendship with Rapist Coates. Big Boo is the ride-or-die friend that everyone should have. She’s not only a shoulder for Tiffany to cry on; she is also helpful in orchestrating revenge plots. Tiffany sees just how much she’ll miss her friendship with Big Boo when they share a look while Tiffany is sitting with her former crew as they discuss television shows. In both friendships, there is love and a sense of protection that one feels for the other, but Big Boo is at that tough love stage.
At lunch, Lorna Muccio (neé Morello) tries to make small talk with Nicky, but Nicky is not having it and questions how Lorna could meet someone and get married so quickly. Lorna tells Nicky that it is her fault because she loved heroine more than her. Nicky’s response is, “For your information, I was clean at the time, you peanut-brained, fickle-hearted whore.” Red walks up immediately after this statement, and Lorna tells Red that Nicky is back on drugs. When she asks if they’re going to pretend this isn’t happening, both Red and Nicky walk off. Later, Red and Nicky have a mother-daughter moment in the bathroom. Nicky assumes that Red is going to disown her, but Red says that she tried to be tough with Tricia and now Tricia is dead. Red doesn’t want that for Nicky, but she does not know what to do to help her at this point. This moment is why Red is the Russian matriarch we all need in our lives. She clearly loves Nicky and pleads with her to, “Tell me what to do!” Later, Nicky comes to Red’s office and tells Red that she’s going to get clean. Red holds Nicky’s face in her hands and softly says, “Okay.”
In another mother/daughter moment, Aleida and Daya briefly discuss Aleida’s impending release. She leaves in two days. Daya tells Aleida that she’ll miss her, and Aleida responds that they’re grown ups and it is what it is. Later, however, Aleida comes to Mendoza and asks her to look after Daya and not let her get into trouble. She worries that prison may turn Daya cold and doesn’t want that to happen, so she tells Mendoza that Daya is her daughter now. Aleida and Mendoza agree: “Daughters are the fucking worst.” This moment reinforces what we’ve known about Aleida since she slapped Daya upon seeing her in prison the first day: She loves Dayanara and wants better for her daughter.
This episode didn’t have a lot of Piper and Alex. Over lunch, they discuss their fantasy meal: a burger and shake from Shake Shack. Alex also wants a side of Cate Blanchett because this season would not be complete without a Carol reference. Piper and Alex ask CO Bayley if he will sneak them two burgers in, and he says yes. He will do it…for a hand job. Even though “society has conditioned [Piper] to see female sexuality as currency,” they decide to forgo the hand job for a burger and choose to eat guilt free Spam sandwiches instead. Alex is still coping with the fact that she killed a guy, and Piper is still reeling from her Nazi branding/window cover-up.
“We got power now. We can’t be petty and shit,” Maria Ruiz says when she informs her gang they have the numbers and are in control but do not need to do anything that will cause the officers to be even harder on them. Blanca says that the guards are already degrading them with the stop-and-frisks. Ruiz tells her that being in prison is degrading, and since the guards won’t find anything to just let it go. Ruiz also tells her to take a shower. Blanca says that the lines are too long. Ruiz tells her to go shower now and that she’ll cover for her.
With lather in her hair, blinds, a properly tiled wall, and a glass door, we are treated to a Blanca flashback. Prior to prison, Blanca was a caregiver to an elderly woman named Millie. Millie is old and set in her ways. She calls Blanca “Bianca” because she read her name tag wrong when they met and prefers the name Bianca. Blanca does not care what she’s called because with Millie she is Bianca, just a name and some comments, not a person with feelings or desires. Then she meets Millie’s new gardener, Dario, who tells Blanca that everyone calls him Diablo. We know Diablo as the man Blanca talked to in the bathroom stall and sent naked pictures to in Season 1. It was nice to see how they met.
Millie didn’t like how close Diablo and Blanca became, so she fired Diablo. Blanca didn’t like that Millie was trying to force her to bend to her will. In retaliation, Blanca had loud sex with Diablo in Millie’s room, waking her from her sleep. When Millie saw Blanca and Diablo, Blanca gave Millie a look that said she may not like the decisions, but they are Blanca’s decisions and Millie has to deal with it. The next morning, Blanca clearly won the test of wills because she microwaved Millie’s coffee, something Millie hates because it alters the taste. Blanca opened the blinds wide, letting sunlight pour on Millie’s face. Blanca chose a pink outfit, which is clearly not something Millie likes.
Through it all, Millie says nothing, and Blanca wears a satisfied expression.
What we learn from Blanca’s flashback is that she is more than just the “crazy” inmate who spoke to the devil in the bathroom stall. Blanca is a strong-willed character and a force to be reckoned with. Officer Stratman will not frisk her because she smells, which gives Blanca an idea. If she stinks, the guards will not touch her. She informs her fellow groped inmates that they do not have to be dirty, just smell bad by dousing themselves in foul smelling substances. This briefly works for them, but Officer Stratman demands that Blanca shower. When he next sees her and she still has not showered, Stratman forces Blanca to stand on a table in the cafeteria until she’s ready to stop her civil disobedience. Blanca’s response, “Well, dude…that could be a while.” Stratman later tells CO Dixon that this punishment was a spur of the moment decision, but they are going to have to ride it out. Blanca waves condescendingly, and Dixon, seeing the ease with which Blanca is standing, tells Stratman, “I feel like you mighta made a mistake.”
The darkest parts of this episode involved Maritza. First, Creepy Officer Humphrey eavesdrops on Flaca and Maritza’s game of Would You Rather. Maritza asks, “Gun to your head, do you eat ten dead flies or an alive baby mouse?” Flaca chooses the flies, but Maritza says that she would eat the mouse because it’s like swallowing a big jelly bean and the wings of the flies would stick to your teeth and tonsils. Humphrey bends down and speaks to Martiza in Spanish, letting her know that he knows she’s been up to something with the van. Humphrey is this season’s version of Pornstache, but whereas Pornstache was obvious, weird, and unapologetic, Humphrey tries to be sneaky, and it’s annoying.
It’s Maria versus Maritza after Maria confronts Maritza about her cousin being caught by Officer Dixon, at Maritza’s urging. Maritza lets Maria know that Humphrey was on to their scheme and if they’d have gotten caught, Maritza would’ve gotten in trouble and Maria would’ve played naïve. Maritza lets Maria know, “I saved you, and I ain’t even Dominican.” Maria lets her Maritza walk away unharmed.
The same is not true for Maritza when she is alone and being guarded by Officer Humphrey. Humphrey makes Maritza come into the kitchen where, sitting on the table he has ten dead flies and a baby mouse for her to choose from. When Maritza tells him that he can’t make her do this because he has nothing on her and will find nothing, Humphrey literally puts a gun to her head, forcing her to make a choice.