“Orange Is The New Black” Episode 109 Recap: The One Where They Finally Do It

Hey, Orange is the New Black fans! You’re great. ALSO, just checking in, but do we have a cohesive fandom name yet? Oranges? Prisoners? …Newbs? Sweet Baby Jesus on a Stick, please don’t leave this decision up to me. I used to name my hamsters after four syllable characters from world mythology; I do not nor have I ever had a talent for christening things.

Anyway, if you’re reading this, it’s my birthday! That seems like a great reason to celebrate the existence of quality television shows, queer sex, and hot girls who remove their glasses before they fuck you. Also, let’s celebrate the existence of the only lesbian bar in all of Philadelphia where I celebrated my birthday, by being one of four people on the dancefloor breaking their awkward asses down to Madonna. I also did a quality clearly-not-drunk-enough-for-this version of Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ at karaoke. Somehow that was the most homosexual thing I’ve ever done.

Nicky’s in the kitchen with Red because shop was canceled due to the asshole just not showing up to teach today. Wow, that’s shocking, he’s usually such a responsible and admirable character! They’re working on the Thanksgiving meal where reject turkey parts are served as the main entree, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to react to the image of turkey anuses before in my life, but here I am reacting to the image of turkey anuses. I wish Nicky had made a joke about it not being the first asshole she’d ever eaten in her life, but alas. I guess Nicky is one of those front door only queers. I am also one of those queers, but if she’s insistent that I only use the backdoor, I guess I’d be willing to go to the other side of the house.

as opposed to the assorted animal assholes over there

as opposed to the assorted animal assholes over there

Red finds Pornstache’s drug shipment and she flushes it. I wish this was an allusion to Pornstache actually being flushed. Or murdered by hamsters.

it is time

it is time

Piper is getting her hair done by Sophia, and she’s crying because she trusts and isn’t creeped out by Sophia’s touch, a thing that she’s experiencing less and less in prison. Purely platonic and caring human contact is rare. I would be totally okay with Sophia touching me, but I also really want to make out with her face, so I don’t know that it would be purely platonic. Piper takes this moment of kindness to talk about if she’d be okay if Larry was transitioning to a woman, and I just…what? Really, Piper? I just…okay, what? Right now? Really?

and by asking this question i am implying that everyone doesn't think my very existence is rude

and by asking this question i am implying that everyone doesn’t think my very existence is rude

Mendoza makes Daya some tea that will cause her to miscarry. Ah, the homemade abortion tea plotline. I seem to recall in another show I recapped that we also had a homemade abortion tea plotline. So far, the similarities between Bomb Girls and Orange Is The New Black are strong female cast and homemade abortion tea plotline. Also, its 2013 so there’s a pill she can take, too.

Picking right up where the abortion tea left off, Doggett is in the laundry talking about the souls of departed fetuses. She’s got a pretty devoted following via the written letter, full of invasive questions and concerns about her availability. It’s like tumblr inbox for jail! Doggett reminds Alex that she will not be invited on the Rapture Bus that is taking everyone to heaven. Er, sorry, not everyone. Just the true believers and stuff. Us gays will be leaving on the Gay Bus that takes us to a roaring party on a beach where we get to have sex for hours without end as the world bursts into flames around us.

what's up bitches? hey...hey wait. i specifically asked that queers only show up to this rapture party. why are y'all christian conservatives? DAD DID YOU FUCK UP MY INVITATIONS

what’s up bitches?! hey…hey wait. i specifically asked that just queers show up to this rapture party. why are y’all christian conservatives? where are all the gays? DAD DID YOU FUCK UP MY INVITATIONS

Alex calls Doggett an Appalachian methhead. Doggett calls Alex rich. And this triggers a flashback to Alex as a kid, wearing shoes from Payless and getting made fun of by bratty-ass rich kids. They call her pigsty and make fun of her single mom, and Alex’s mom tells her that being the daughter of a rock star is way better than those snobby kids and their college futures. Alex is going to have more fun, anyway. Arguably, she probably eventually does. Being gay is generally way more fun.

which makes you a rock princess, first in line to the rock throne

which makes you a rock princess, first in line to the rock throne

Back in the present, Alex thinks Piper’s hair makes her look like JonBenet Ramsey. That is…not…how you pick someone up.

Um, Taystee, Poussey, Cindy, Chapman, and Big Boo dance scene? Where in the fuck do I sign up? But Taystee is leaving, so this is also a bittersweet dance party. But a dance party. The best is when Alex and Piper attempt to dance. God help us all.

and poussey can throw us down on a bed any time she wants

and poussey can throw us down on a bed any time she wants

Meanwhile, Alex and Piper are relearning the good old lesbian bump and grind. I saw this happen with couples a few times at the gay club, and it’s always that perfect combination of sexy and oh God, I think I slept with one of them last year maybe? Doggett is not a fan of the bump and grind, surprise.

She goes to Healy and delivers the absolute best lines of the season, in my incredibly humble opinion:


Piper goes to SHU. Why? Because she was lesbianing. Actually, because Healy called the dancing “attempted rape,” and his level of fear and hatred of specifically lesbianism continues to baffle and astound and straight up freak me out. Even Pornstache…Pornstache, go ahead and internalize that for a second…thought that call was wrong. How far in life have you fucked up when Pornstache is questioning your decisions?

SHU is no fucking good. SHU is solitary confinement the way you’d pictured it, and there’s few options for entertainment…or sanity.

Taystee is scared of rejoining the “real world” because she’s been in and out of government institutions since she was a kid, and she has no idea how to adjust. She doesn’t think she’s going to make it, even though she’s clearly a super intelligent, super funny, super fantastic person with her priorities straight. Or at least this is what Poussey wants to remind her of, because Poussey wants her to move on and flourish. I love them so much, I can’t.

i can't though

i can’t though

It’s visiting day, woopheedoo. Sue’s parents are here and holy beeswax, they are WASPs to end all WASPs. When I refer to this scene as unexpected, I mean it’s on a scale of walking down the street and a flying glittery vagina is suddenly flapping beside you on the sidewalk kind of unexpected. I will say this: I love this twist on Sue/Suzanne. Up until now, she’s been portrayed as the aggressive pursuer of Piper, the very negatively nicknamed “Crazy Eyes”, and the eyes we’ve seen her through have been limited to Piper and company. Is there a bias in their perspective? Absolutely. And I bet a lot of us had already written Sue off as the weird comic relief character; we’d assigned a background to Sue in our minds, regardless of what other characters knew or did not know. Even if we hadn’t fleshed it out yet, we had an idea of where she came from and who she fit in with, and the awkward social place she filled in the narrative was proof for us that we had her figured out. We called her “Crazy Eyes” in reference to her character, and then lo and behold, it was our character that was being revealed. I don’t think it’s until later in the season that we finally see the full fault of our ways, but this scene was the first step for a lot of viewers (or so tumblr and twitter have told me) in realizing that there is a lot more to Sue than meets the crazy eye.

Crystal is visiting Sophia, and shit. Shit, shit, shit. Crystal has a new friend…who is a man…who is the new pastor…who is good with Michael and someone Crystal really likes. Understandably, Sophia is not okay with this development.

Larry is informed that Piper is in SHU. Oh my god no why no. How do I properly express that I literally do not care? Like, here I am, watching this scene, and then there’s a really lame pale blob on the screen blocking my view of Officer Fischer being adorable and his name is Larry and will he just stop talking already? Larry wants Piper to know he loves her. Jesus Christ, dude, she’s in SHU because she’s in prison for a crime she actually willingly committed, not because an unjust society has imprisoned her and denied her outside opportunities based on her skin color, economic background, sexuality, or creed. Is it shit that she’s in SHU? Sure, yeah, I get it. Is it wrong that she’s in SHU based on the reasoning given? Yeah, definitely. But check your privilege, asswipe, and don’t assume that your fiancee’s SHU time is worth the extreme fuss hat any other prisoner’s SHU time is never given.

well pretty much

well pretty much

Later in the dining hall, Doggett is talking about her brother shooting and eating a bald eagle. Who is Doggett’s brother and how the fuck do we get in touch to hang out?

Alex grabs Doggett and kisses her.

I didn’t get into this in the last recap because it’s a conversation that’s hard to have in this space, albeit a possibly triggering one. But this is where Alex as a character becomes incredibly complicated for me, possibly irredeemable. In a lot of ways, we’re meant to see Doggett as an entirely unforgivable villain. She’s homophobic in a way that directly opposes the show’s “main couple,” she’s vocally Christian in the evangelical vein that is endlessly demonized by the media, and above all, she’s trailer trash. She’s the redneck hillperson low-class methhead that shows up and gets the shit kicked out of it, metaphorically or not, no matter what the media portrayal. Why does her class level and the assumed incredibly stereotypical traits associated with it make her irredeemable and so easy to hate? Why is the audience meant to feel justified, even encouraged, in their hatred of her as a character and as a representative of a culture? It troubles me greatly.

So when Alex, the lusted after and admired and fandom beloved main character essentially sexually assaults Doggett, albeit an episode after she’s verbally threatened to do just that, why isn’t there an intense outcry? Is it because in our minds, and the hivemind that is the perspective the show would like us to have, we’ve told ourselves that Doggett deserved it?

I’m from that Appalachian culture that is Doggett’s bread and butter. I have seen and known Doggetts, and I’ve seen the effect of our fatalistic community to produce people like her. With little health outreach, deadweight debt, and a tradition of living fast and dying young because your line of work and resulting untreated problems is gonna kill you anyway, it’s the perfect recipe for people to get desperate. It’s a tragedy within our system, and I feel like it’s being mocked and shit on all over the place on this show. And even worse, it’s convincing people that someone who is a product of this tragedy, someone who has experienced these circumstances firsthand and is in prison because of the way she was raised to deal with them, deserves what she gets. They see her as a villain with no chance of redemption, with no winking brightness beneath the hate. They’re supposed to laugh at her background and her manner of speech and her cultural nods as they assume her portrayal is a caricature. They even don’t blink when Alex, that character they all love and lust over, assaults her. They even cheer Alex on.

And look, I know the breed of evangelism that Doggett prescribes to is homophobic and hateful as all fuck. I know it stands in direct opposition to who I am and how I live my life, and hell, I’ve felt that hatred up close. But I still know the circumstances that drive people to that kind of escape and comfort, and I know that it’s as much a class issue as anything, and I think everything that Doggett is, even the shitty parts, need to be examined and seen as equally complex and human as the other characters. Displaying her as a cartoon and a villain because of her class level is fucked up, period.

Despite the odds, Red has made a delicious gravy with the turkey buttholes. Pornstache shows up for his drugs, and Red goes right up and tells him that they’re gone because guess what, bitch? She flushed them. Pornstache pees in the gravy. HE PEES IN THE GRAVY.

no really he is peeing in the gravy

no really he is peeing in the gravy

Larry is trying to use the threat of lawsuits to get Piper out of SHU. I just…Larry, stop while you’re ahead. Larry thinks they should cancel Thanksgiving. Family Friend Cal is like, yo, chill, Piper would want you to enjoy Thanksgiving. Would she? Does anyone in Larry et al know what Piper would want? Does Larry know what Larry wants besides being a general ball of lame?



Healy is visiting Piper in SHU. Piper says that this is illegal. Well, not…really…anyway. Healy is still on this lesbian dancing thing. Piper has had enough and snaps back at him about how she would never sleep with him, if that’s what this is all about, and she thinks Alex is hot. Okay, that’s a lot of bullets shot in your own foot, honey. Healy slams the little door window thing and guess who is probably going to have a much shittier time in prison? Head down, lie low, Pipe. Head down, lie low. Not that fucking hard.

Alex’s mattress has been stolen by her roommate, who is also besties with Doggett. This triggers a FFFFLLLLAAASSSSHHHBBBBAACCKKK to Alex going to one of the rock gigs to introduce herself to her father. This does not go well at all. AT ALL.

oh god no

oh god no

Her father is mad sleazy and gross and shitty and I just…I’m sorry, Alex. And tonight of all nights is the night she runs into someone from an international drug cartel who has something numb the pain.

Mendoza was convinced by Daya’s mom to give her tea that didn’t actually solve baby problem but made Daya feel like shit. This is Daya’s mom’s way of teaching her a lesson and telling her she has to keep the baby and WAIT ARE YOU SERIOUS. This is not okay on any level. Daya’s mom says that kids are good because they give you hope that they’ll turn out okay. Daya, sweet and lovely Daya who knows what the fuck motherhood is because guess what? she basically raised her siblings, has a moment where you know she’s going to try and listen to her mother and do what her mother wants because acceptance from her mother is something she’s never known and always wanted. And your heart just kinda breaks all over for her. Because it’s Daya’s life that’s in the balance right now, and no one else’s.

It’s a tough week in the showers. In SHU, you get a male guard who watches you shower while you’re handcuffed. Disgusting. In Alex’s shower, your glasses get broken while you’re showering. Jinkies!

Poussey and Taystee being separated…that moment when Poussey is banging on the window because she didn’t get to say goodbye…Taystee acknowledging her with a little wiggle…sorry, this is the most emotional thing that’s happened to me since Bomb Girls was canceled. I need to go recharge my batteries for 200 years or so.

Picture 348


It’s Thanksgiving in Privileged White Liberal world. Someone who I assume is the pseudo fill-in for Ira Glass has been invited by Piper and co. and boy, did he like Larry’s article. We all see where this is going, right?

Piper is talking to a voice through the vent who is also in SHU. They are musing on the power dynamics of prison. Is the voice real? The voice doesn’t even know, man. Deep as shit.



Alex is repairing her glasses and pointing out that Nicky’s the same kind of kid who used to make fun of her on the playground. Nicky is surprised that Alex could tell she’s rich, but Alex says it used to be her job to find people like Nicky to be drug mules. Also, can I just say that as a kid who grew up working class, you can smell money on people like it’s your job? I don’t think I’ve ever been fooled by a rich kid playing at poor hipster and fuck it all if I can’t spot rich from a mile away, even when it’s trying hard not to be. And before Nicky can tear apart whatever Piper and Alex had, Alex says that Piper was different.

Sophia and Sister Laura Ingalls Wilder have a moment because Crystal is leaving Sophia for the new pastor. Apparently, Sophia needs to learn to let things go. I just want good things for Sophia, guys. Why can’t Sophia have nice things?

Alex doesn’t like eating Thanksgiving without Piper. Nicky says a line I think I’ve said about ten million times:

Picture 350

Even though um, Piper is not straight. Wish this show wasn’t so eager on the bi erasure.

Larry’s whining has apparently worked? Who knew? Who cares? Piper is going to be released.

This week in simultaneous “awws” and “oh nos””: Daya is going to keep the baby. Oh, honey. Sophia calls Crystal and tells her that it’s okay if she’s with the new pastor. Oh, honey, no. Taystee’s cousin’s address is old, and she has to sleep in an abandoned shitty house for the night. Baby girl, no. YOU ALL DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER.

What’s the first thing Piper does when she gets out of solitary? I don’t know, man, what’s the first thing you’d do after you’d been locked up alone for weeks? You grab that hot young number that makes your panties drenched and you let her turn your privates into a wormhole of pleasure. You’re embarking on new dimensions up in there, you have no time for playing around and learning each other’s hobbies and dwelling on the past of being utterly and completely and forcibly alone.

And that’s where we leave off with Alex and Piper. In the chapel. Removing each other’s clothes. Banging like two coconuts pretending to be horse hooves. Smashing like Nigel Thornbury. Demolishing each other’s pleasure zones like a construction crew with a new and energetic union representative. Boom, ladies.

Picture 351

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Kate has written 130 articles for us.


    • yeah, as i stated in the recap, i understand alex is a complex and complicated character but i just feel uncomfortable in doing what would ultimately be glorifying and giving lots of positive sexual attention to someone who did, whether or not we believe it was hot or not, threaten sexual assault and kiss someone without their consent. i feel like there are enough examples of positive queer sexuality in the world that i’m not desperate enough to make an unflinching heartthrob out of this problematic of a character

      • I’m glad you wrote about that in your recap. It’s interesting how when we think someone deserves it the word isn’t “assault” but “payback.” Hate shouldn’t justify certain things.

      • That makes sense. Props to you for taking that stance. I totally agree with you about the portrayal of Doggett – it’s probably the show’s biggest failing.

        • The way poor white people are treated in media isn’t addressed enough. I’m really glad that Kate addressed that, and man, I want to like Doggett. I wish they’d develop her more next season.

      • That scene when she threatens doggett made me soooo uncomfortable… I’m guessing at this point Doggett has gone from homophobic due to ignorance to homophobic due to fear.

        After that I lost all respect for Alex. This show is good at showing characters at their best and at their worst, but this was too low a point for her character to recover in my mind.

      • I always had this same issue in the episode of the L word, after Tina finds out about Candace, and their fighting leads to some questionable intercourse. I felt it was a little too close to being non-consensual. I’m glad you realised the greyness of this area. Although I struggle with it because I’ve totally fallen for Alex, and want to find everything she does right and adorable/sexy!

  1. I think you have an interesting point about not hating Doggett for her class, but it seems like that’s why a everyone hates Piper and Larry. Hating the characters because they’re irritating, self absorbed, boring (Larry), etc. makes sense, but the whole I-hate-you-for-being-upper-middle-class thing is kind of eye roll worthy.

    • Can we, as a people, stop perpetuating the myth that Larry and Piper are upper middle class? Their PARENTS are upper middle class (and Larry’s parents are so much cooler than their child)! Larry ain’t even got no job.

      • Pretty sure the fact that Larry and Piper are able to have the lifestyle, housing, and voice that they do all while un/underemployed might be a pretty perfect definition of class privilege, actually…

  2. I don’t mean to defend what Alex did, because you’re absolutely right, it WAS sexual assault, and that is never okay, but just like Suzanne, we learn more about Doggett in future episodes, and what we find out is that no, she didn’t come to find religion as a result of poverty and desperation, she found it through hypocrisy and self-servitude. And again, I don’t mean to imply that this makes the demonization of Doggett okay (and we do come to feel VERY sympathetic for her in later episodes) but rather to emphasize that EVERY character and EVERY action and EVERY relationship on this show is so fucking complex and that is fucking amazing. Alex is not perfect, very far from it, and Doggett is not pure villain (or pure Christian).

    • absolutely – i totally agree that everyone is complex. honestly, though, i can still take issue with her portrayal as either comic villain or comic relief, either or, nothing else – like, we are never laughing with her, are we? we are always laughing at her, at her lack of education (“are you joan of arc?” “no i’m from my waynesboro, my name is tiffany”), at her religion (“i mean look at my dress, have you seen it?” and here i picture a kid who has never had a fucking nice dress in her life and she does feel like a goddamned angel of god in it), etc. she’s complex, and there’s more sympathy later, but it just…yeah, it’s still something i have trouble swallowing.

      also “no, she didn’t come to find religion as a result of poverty and desperation” – without spoiling others reading this thread, i would actually argue that her circumstances, that attitude of hypocrisy and self-servitude are EXACTLY the results of growing up in a specific environment of having to take care of yourself first and not thinking of everyone else, which are a result of a culture of a very specific kind of poverty where certain things are prioritized and certain things are not and religion is a great way of smoothing over the edges so that the outside world might not see you as quite so unequal. of course, they laugh at you anyway, but. anyway. we don’t see that on the show. we don’t get that background even in her flashback so we miss out on the moment where you realize the depth of her past. alex got the sympathetic flashback that “justified” her later actions of wanting to not return to being poor or made fun of – with doggett, we just don’t get that, and that seems like a specific gap that needs filling

      sorry i keep rambling about all this, but damn it if i didn’t end up having one million feelings about this lady and her portrayal and personal stuff. hurrah for this show dragging all the complicated feelings out of us

      • I don’t think she IS portrayed solely as comic villain or comic relief. I think Doggett, like every single character on this show (Hell, even the men! Even the guards! Except for Larry, because he’s awful.) has so many freaking layers and this show is so brilliant because it unpeels those layers one scene, one episode at a time. This really is a show designed to be binged-watched. So while yes, in the early episodes we do laugh at her, (SPOILERS!) by the time she ends up in psych we are definitely not laughing any more.

        Luckily, Peyton Manning has been made a series regular for season 2, so hopefully we will find out more about her. My big question is whether she has come to believe the stuff she preaches, or whether even now, she’s putting on a front to convince her fans and donors.

        Regardless, I think we can all agree that complicated women on television is rarely a bad thing.

        • HAHAHAHAHA

          Thank you for catching that!!

          Did you know Tarryn Manning is actually related to Peyton Manning!?

        • I respect Kate’s opinion on Doggett, but like Allison I never saw her as just a comic villain. There are only a couple of times in the beginning when I thought her dialogue was funny, but most of it I found frightening and really disturbing, in terms of her hate and disillusionment. Doggett is definitely a complex person, and I don’t think she belongs in Psych but she does have some issues to deal with — like her big violence trigger of being disrespected. Like Kate, I grew up around her “people” so to speak, but I think there’s a big difference between the evangelical religious family next door and a person who will murder (at least one) person in cold blood, unprovoked.

          I kind of see Alex and Doggett as coming from similar backgrounds, and their stories show how different people deal with what life has handed them. I am not saying that Alex is a saint, because obviously her line of work probably ruined a lot of lives (like Doggett’s and Nicky’s). But I relate a lot more to Alex, based on the person I grew up to be when faced with similar circumstances. I’m not saying that Alex was right to go up and kiss Tiffany, but it also wasn’t right for Tiffany to use her hatred to send Piper to SHU.

        • I also think that for Doggett’s character it’s important to remember that she doesn’t come from an evangelical or religious background (as far as we know now). A lot of the arguments in defense of her say that her faith and religious background is presented in a problematic way. But she wasn’t even a religious person until after she killed that woman. She was lead into it because of the situation that she, as a murderer, put herself in, and from what we’ve seen so far, her turn to religion has been incredibly hypocritical. All other religious characters, who seem to be actually religious and not just for their own benefit, are very likeable characters.

      • I wonder if I’m one of the only people that just flat out doesn’t like Doggett, doesn’t feel bad about that, and doesn’t sympathize with her, even later on. I just don’t like religious zealots. And I have had unfortunate encounters where I’ve run into religious fanatics of this variety and they were middle and middle-upper class, so I also don’t see this as a class issue at all.

        I do agree that what Alex did was sexual assault and NOT okay. I like her anyway, because she’s a character in a show and she’s interesting. But, this sort of sexual assault is almost always considered acceptable, and its rarely pointed out as sexual assault, so props for pointing that out. What was it, Twilight I think, where the main female character was assaulted in much the same way, by a “friend”, and everyone was cool with it and some even saw it as romantic? Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t watch stuff like that, but I remember hearing several people talk about it. I was the only one that saw it as assault. I had a lot of people tell me no, it was def not, it was just a kiss.

        • i don’t like doggett and don’t feel bad about not liking doggett. for the religious zealotry. i find her entertaining as a character but i don’t really feel sympathy for her. even doggett’s friends aren’t assholes, it’s really just her. it seems like there is a lot of empathy and sisterhood happening between most of the women in this prison but i don’t feel that from doggett. i understand that a lot of who she is is shaped by how she grew up, but i think OINTB makes it abundantly clear that your circumstances may define your current situation, but they don’t define your capacity for kindness and compassion. tricia is poor and white and not an asshole. black cindy grew up in the church and she isn’t intolerant or preachy. doggett has one of the coolest nuns of all time around to learn from but she’s not interested in learning. idk.

        • [SPOILER ALERT!!!!] (but i did think piper was a TOTAL jerk for tearing her down in front of everybody in the laundry room in episode 12. (and i don’t hate piper either) like – let this girl have this thing that keeps her going, don’t take that away from her. say it’s not for you and walk away. that whole speech was really unnecessary and REALLY unkind.)

        • [SPOILER] Are you talking about the attempted baptism scene? If so, I was all for it. I love that quote. I didn’t really feel like she was tearing Doggett down cause it seemed to me she was just saying she couldn’t do it because it didn’t mean anything to HER, and while she could understand why people want religion, it didn’t work for her. This was after she prayed, while not believing in that either, in an attempt to appease a zealot. I mean Doggett had been pushing and pushing and pushing with the “you have to believe what I believe!” thing and I felt like Piper finally reached a point where it was just too untrue for her and she was trying to explain herself.

        • I would’ve done the same thing as Piper, although probably with more flattery, like “I’m not going to make a mockery of your faith by dishonestly going through the rituals”.

        • [REDRUM] I think the beginning of Piper’s speech (“I can’t pretend to believe in something I don’t”) was fine. But Piper seems to enjoy lecturing people, inside and outside of prison—she explained a poem to disinterested listeners, quoted Neruda but in a prison way, told a homeless person he shouldn’t own a dog. So of course she had to keep going, name-drop a little, and condescendingly tell the women that, on some level, they probably agree with her that most of their religious beliefs are bullshit. She had to, I say.

          For me, her lectures are (unintentionally) funny, relatable, somewhat unnecessary or completely obnoxious, depending on the context. Sometimes all those things at the same time.

        • yup, what wepa said! i also thought it was fucking hilarious, because i think it’s hilarious every time piper launches into one of those lectures. i know SO MANY PEOPLE who do that — i’ve done it, i do it, i used to do it SO MUCH when i was younger and a pretentious fuck about film. and “you have to laugh at yourself because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.” (plato said that) (just kidding, emily saliers from the indigo girls said that)

          i think there are lots of moments when piper acts shitty in a way that is indeed kinda shitty, but also totally authentic and relate-able and hilarious. (kinda like girls in that way, at times)

        • You know, that Saliers quote doesn’t mean what everybody thinks it means. I’m just saying that everyone […]

        • Ugh I know this is like two years old, but I’m just so glad someone else finally pointed out that part of Twilight that I had to comment! In high school I was super into the series, but that moment in Eclipse always bothered me. Jacob is a werewf with superhuman strength. He grabs Bella and kisses her. She tries to push him off but again, superhuman strength, and when he finally lets go she tries to punch him. She breaks her hand, and he laughs at her. He takes her home where her dad tells her basically that boys will be boys and it was just a little kiss Bella. Then Jacob and Edward get into it, and Edward tells him if he ever kisses her against her will again he’ll kill him. Jacob assures him that next time she’ll ask because she wants
          it. It was all incredibly gross and rapey, and NO ONE I TALKED TO EVER SAW IT AS PROBLEMATIC! Not even my other queer family members! It was just so frustrating that I wanted to cry. So thanks for letting me vent.

      • It’s been my impression that as an audience we are supposed to hate Doggett because she is a bully and goes out of her way to bring people down. In terms of christian characters on the show, she is the only one that is a “villain”. As an audience, we feel at least positive about Sister Ingalls. Doggett is also not the only “White Trash” character, just the only one we hate. Doggett’s sidekick (whose name I can’t find despite some frustrating research) is protrayed as well-meaning girl that is just going along with what Doggett tells her to do.

      • I totally agree with you in terms of the portrayal of poor Apalacian women.

        To be fair, though, there is a very complex matrix of poor women. Really, beyond Piper, they all appear to have grown up poor and all of them have different ways of dealing with that poverty.

  3. thank you so much for everything you said about doggett. the fact that you’re the first person on the interwebs to actually comment on all that bothers me a lot, actually…
    & also, happy birthday!

  4. One, Happy Birthday!

    Two, I’ve HAD the Alex/Dad reunion, it is a real thing. And it is uncomfy.

  5. As someone who grew up near Appalachia with people like Doggett and the people that come together to shape people like Doggett I have a lot of problems with her development and lack their of on the show.

    Maybe it’s because I know she did a terrible thing, but unlike with all of the other characters they never showed why or what came together to make this happen. I feel like they should have started her flashback at an earlier time in her life.

    I hope that they continue to develop her next season even if it’s a bit too late, and I acknowledge that, like with Sue, we could be told to see her in this way and then later have our perception shattered.


  6. Oh my gosh, thank you a million times for saying what you said about Doggett. I grew up in rural northern Michigan and I found both the trope and treatment of this character very insensitive. I’ve known and learned the value of many Doggetts in my life, and it was really important to me that you acknowledged what was going on there. Happy Birthday, by the way.

  7. I take a break from the very insightful above comments to say…

    Smashing. Like. Nigel. Thornberry. !!!!

  8. So, I agree with everything you said about how problematic Doggett’s character is on this show, and how we’re supposed to be okay with hating her and thinking she deserves what she gets because she’s homophobic and religious and poor, and that’s really not cool at all.

    And I agree that rape threats and assault are really not okay, but if you’re in Alex and Piper’s situation w/r/t Doggett and the shit that Doggett pulls with them, how do you fight back? The prison administration isn’t on their side, and in Healy’s case, the administration is actively against them. Alex tried going to the guards when her mattress was stolen, and they did fuck all. And sure, you can say that Alex could have just ignored it and taken the high road when her mattress was taken or her glasses were smashed, but once Doggett ran to Healy and used the power of institutionalized homophobia to get Piper thrown in the SHU, I think they had to do something. As Red said earlier, once you’re perceived as weak, you already are. So Alex fought back, in ways that were just as cruel and not okay as the things Doggett did. But what other choice did she have?

    I’m not trying to say what she did was good and should be cheered (though the show set it up as something we’re supposed to cheer for, which is itself really problematic). But I also think that given the context of the way things work in prison on this show, the way that power functions among inmates and between inmates, guards, and administrators, and also given what we know about the characters involved so far, I think it was pretty believable for Alex to do what she did. Hers is a flawed character just like everyone else on this show. And I have to admit that I still root for her, and for Piper when she tells Healy to fuck off in the SHU, because the ways in which (institutionally sanctioned) homophobia operate on this show are so horrifying that it’s kind of awesome to see characters that are defiant and fighting back, even if the things they do in that fight aren’t always admirable.

    And yes, I also root for her because, on a totally shallow level, I still think that Alex and her glasses and her swagger are totally fucking hot, flaws and all.

    • Yup, I agree with you. Not everything is black and white. People don’t become perfect or evil with just one action. They are constituted by all of their actions and choices. They are in prison and they have no way to fight and no institutionalized powers except what they can utilize at the time. That doesn’t leave them entirely justified, but look at, and understand the context.

    • You’re bringing up some good points here. I don’t like what Alex did, but I don’t find Doggett defensible either.

    • Yep, even though it was morally objectionable I actually liked this response by Alex because it was basically the best way to get back at Tucky without damaging her property (which seems to be a favourite for Doggett) or actually physically hurting her (um, Doggett again). Alex’s ways of fighting are all mind games, as we especially see in the next episode. I see this more as a mind thing, I mean sure she touched her without permission, but I think the point was moreso to freak her out.

      I actually don’t hate Doggett either, and I too have lots of issues with her representation, but I find Alex’s ways of fighting as intriguing and Doggett’s as just childish. I didn’t dislike Alex for the kiss, but I did dislike her for telling Piper not to get Doggett out of psych because she deserved it/belonged there. That, to me, seemed much more cruel.

      • Really valid points. But I would have to say that it doesn’t get Alex off the hook at all, because the root of sexual assault is power and control through fucking with people’s minds. That strategy is not unique to Alex.

      • I should also specify, the kiss itself made me somewhat uncomfortable, although I was kind of impressed that she’d have the balls to do that. What I really liked was how she thanked Doggett for the head, loudly, in front of everyone. That was terrific revenge.

    • yeah, the whole question of what exactly Alex or Piper or any other inmate is supposed to do in their situation is what I was thinking. like we’re shown so many different ways the prisoners try to protect themselves and their image, ways that would be way fucked up in real life. but in real life Doggett wouldn’t able to get piper locked up because of a milkshake dance and a couple of words, so. (though i do agree that it’s framed that we’re supposed to be on Alex’s side when she does that to Doggett.)On some level, you use the weapons you have. Alex has her mind games, Doggett has Healy being a homophobic git. Which is why I don’t get the anger at Larry trying to get Piper out of SHU? Yes, he’s only able to do it because of his privilege, but is he supposed to avoid using his privilege to his advantage when his fiance is in solitary for no discernible reason? (and larry is one of my least favourite characters, for the record)

      on a side note I find it very hard to sympathise with Doggett because her actions just seem….unnecessary? like with going to healy about the milkshake thing or what she does to Piper later on, Piper never really poses a threat to her. and the fact she’s so willing to sell out a fellow prisoner to an CO also is a mark against her, when even Piper tries to avoid getting the inmate with the cellphone, someone she barely interacts with, in trouble. So far, it seems like Doggett acts, and Piper reacts, and it’s easier for me to sympathise with the character that reacts…

      • firstly i agree that i don’t know what else piper or alex could’ve done to strike back against that kind of thing. yes yes.

        secondly — “in real life Doggett wouldn’t able to get piper locked up because of a milkshake dance and a couple of words, so.”

        Actually she would. the guards pretty much can put anybody in the SHU at any time for any reason, including “for their own protection.” the rules for evidence are paltry. and if they’re challenged it’s their word against the prisoner’s. and physical contact is strictly against the rules, even if it seems like it’s rarely enforced on this show and all the guards were telling healy he had no grounds to throw her there. but seriously there are dudes in SHUs for YEARS because they checked a book out of the library that had also been checked out by somebody who’s cousin’s uncle’s son’s dog’s second wife was in a gang in the 80s.

        That all being said, no they can’t put Piper down there because the only reason they can unjustly send inmates to SHU on the reg is because most inmates are too disempowered to fight back. Piper had connections on the outside so they would’ve needed a stronger case than they need to put everybody else down there. I mean they threw Watson in there for two weeks because she asked to be patted down by a female guard!


        • I think what Sang meant is that outside of prison, Doggett wouldn’t be able to seek havoc on Piper for something as innocuous as a dance.

        • OH! really? huh. prison is also ‘real life’ though, so when she said “in real life” i thought she meant “if this show was real and not a show.” anyhow i wasn’t disagreeing, just adding my thoughts!

        • Sorry, the ‘real life’ was very terrible phrasing on my part, and I didn’t mean to imply that prison is not real life. I meant what Paper0Flowers said, that the environment of prison is what allows these characters to inflict harm on each other to the extent that they do , and sometimes forces them to.

          Thank you for the link to that article though! Both this show and Autostraddle have made me learn a lot about the US prison sys and made me want to read up on my own country’s.

        • yeah i’m still in that stage of shock after learning new awful information about a certain aspect of society that i have to repeat it to everybody all the time? it’s really charming. anyhow! your gravatar is cute.

    • I agree, I think that the sexual side of sexual assault is being overplayed because it was triggering. If it were a similar level offense that was violent in nature I would equate it to a slap in the face or maaaaybe a punch, over in a second and not seriously threatening. If Alex had done that instead would it be totally unforgivable?

      I’m not trying to justify sexual assault because it is never okay, but no type of assault is ever okay. But an unwanted kiss or an unwanted punch doesn’t make a character evil. Kate has admitted it was a triggering scene, so I think there is a lot of author bias coming from their history. Not a bad thing, and I don’t think Kate needs to change their personal opinion, but I really wish Alex wouldn’t get totally dismissed from all future recaps just because of this.

  9. I’m sorry but I will take the unpopular road and say that I Hate the Dogget character. Probably more than I hate the Jenny Schecter character and that is a lot.

  10. Also, Kate, would It have made a difference if Alex had threatened to beat the shit out of/Kill dogget instead of eat her pussy? What if Alex had punched Dogget instead of kissing her? I 100% agree that sexual assault is bad/horrible but it seems as if we are to sympathize with dogget who, in later episodes (SPOILER) threatens piper with death and then attacks her with a razor multiple times. In my opinion, that behavior is equally as bad.

    • okay, but doggett is never portrayed at any point as a sexual desirable person we are meant to see as a positive sexual character/main heartthrob. you cannot deny that alex is meant to be a character we see as desirable, sexual, complicated but still “hot”

      when you couple that with her actions, that’s problematic

      • So I guess the question is, do we ideally want our TV shows to only give us heartthrobs that are 100% virtuous?

        Alex was definitely set up as “hot but problematic” from the very beginning, for the viewers *and* for Piper. Her participation in the drug trade (and therefore her contribution to the cycle of drugs and criminalization that landed many of the inmates in prison with her) is just as problematic as her actions towards Doggett.

        TV and movies have a long history of giving us these characters that are hot but bad news, that we lust over while recognizing that they aren’t necessarily good people. I have no problem with enjoying Alex on this show as that kind of character, while also totally agreeing with everyone’s points about how some of the stuff she does is really not okay.

        • Man I wish we could edit our comments. I also wanted to say that one of the main issues here is the way the show makes it seem a little too easy to root for/lust after Alex, rather than prompting the viewer to consider the problematic side of her actions. It glamorizes her drug importer lifestyle and sets up her interactions with Doggett as sexy and heroically defiant, which I have to admit I really enjoyed despite all the very good points being made here about how those things are really not cool.

        • I agree Nolby, Alex is presented as thoroughly selfish. It seems like she honestly doesn’t comprehend any reason she should refrain from hurting people.

        • Same here (as to the not rooting for Alex), Alex is way to crazy and manipulative and deceptive and I can’t really deal with her OR Piper… I’m 100% team Nicki/ team Sophia/ team Poussey (it’s hard to pick one….)

  11. Okay, three things:

    1) “Banging like two coconuts pretending to be horse hooves” made me snort my coffee.

    2) Your ability to balance hilarity and thoughtful critiques in these recaps both amazes and delights me. So thanks for making this a space where I can obsess shamelessly AND think more critically about the stuff that makes me uncomfortable about OITNB, as well as problematic shit that wasn’t on my radar before.

    3) Happy birthday!

  12. thank you for helping me out of the blackhole of blinding love for Alex Vause. I now have to rearrange some things in my OITNB files while taking a good hard look in the mirror with everything Doggett related. Your wisdom is a gift to us all on your lovely birthday

  13. I feel these recaps are poorly written. There is so much opinion that is stated as if it were a fact that everyone agrees with. Some of it feels baseless.

    Like you can argue that Pennsatucky’s portrayal is something you disagree with without shaming everyone that dislikes her, by bringing up class and race issues, etc. Not everything is a social issue, some characters are simply not likeable- not because the writers had an agenda to target and hate on poorer whites. You are making that link on your own.

    I feel a lot of these recaps are you expressing your stance on a social issue as if you were the expert voice on it and that it’s the way everyone should feel about it. Which frankly, is rather uncomfortable.

    • Also want to add that maybe Pennsatucky is a villain character that happens to be poor and white. Not a villain because she is poor and white. There are other poor and white characters (Alex who came from a very similar background and most of the “whites” table)that did not turn out the way she did. If Pennsatucky were a black woman, the show would be accused of villainzing their minorities. So while I agree maybe Pennsatucky could stand some more nuance and redemption, I don’t think it’s a social issue.

    • I don’t always agree with everything that’s written in these recaps, but I feel like Kate does a good job of using “I statements” when she presents her opinions about the characters. I went back to read what she wrote about Alex and Doggett, and it was all very clearly presented as her own opinion.

    • have you read my recaps before, beyond the ‘orange is the new black’ realm? my recapping style is pretty specific. bomb girls recaps were adventures into my own weird sense of humor and penchant for repetitive jokes about pastries. it’s rare that i get into social commentary and i avoid it like the plague because this isn’t really the place for it. my voice through the entirety of these recaps is typically a satirical character voice. if that’s not obvious, i guess my humor isn’t coming across. my bad, i suppose.

      this is the first time i’ve descended into any form of “oh hey, let’s take a few paragraphs to talk about something that’s really been bothering me” because shit, i’ll say it. alex’s speech to doggett didn’t turn me on or seem hot: it triggered me and made me feel really fucking uncomfortable and anxious and upset. and i didn’t know why the rest of the internet seemed so accepting, even encouraging of that, so i talked about it. i never ever EVER say i am the voice of authority on these subjects. it’s a humorous recap – if you’re coming here for critical authority, you have found the wrong resource.

      also ointb is a really weird show to recap because there’s a lot of intense and heavy and difficult material to deal with here – it’s already doing a tough job on the show of dealing with these testy elements in a humorous way. i tread lightly around A LOT of stuff because i have no idea how to handle it in the sense of a funny recap. i don’t know, friend. i can’t please everyone, i guess. i just write recaps of a show y’all have probably already watched and eat cheese in my bed.

      • Kate, I may be a pain in the ass in these comments about Alex and her problematic nature, but I think that yours are hands-down the best recaps of this show that I’ve found on the internet. I can always count on you to bring the funny, notice the poignant stuff, and bring the awesome queer perspective that most other recaps are sadly lacking. Plus lines like “demolishing each other’s pleasure zones like a construction crew with a new and energetic union representative”, which I’m still in awe of. So hats off to you, for reals.

      • I have to jump in here and say I really enjoy reading your recaps, especially when you jump in with your opinions and social commentary. So, you know. Don’t stop.

        Also, I too, have a lot of feelings about Dogget as a character. Especially considering my extremely conservative evangelical background. I feel like you are right about her depiction being extremely problematic.

        Although I will say that I am holding out hope they will develop her further. SPOILERS! Because in the last couple of episodes, I feel like they were trying (if failing) to make her more universally sympathetic. There was definitely a moment when I cried for her when she felt like she was losing her faith. That was a very human and vulnerable place they took the character to. And then in the last episode they made her a zealot again, undoing all the complexity they built up in the previous episode. It was like they took us to the edge of seeing her as worthy of consideration as any of the other characters and then they pulled back and said, no, she’s just going to be a punch line.

        Anyway, my point is, you are dead on, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the last few episodes!

        • Love this post. WARNING FOR SPOILERS. Well, allusions to spoilers.

          I have confusing feelings about her because on the one hand, she terrifies me and is almost everything I dislike in a human being and on the other hand, I think she can sometimes be so childlike and vulnerable I sort of want to hug her. Like during the Joan of Arc scene, I found Taryn’s delivery of Dogget’s reply so innocent and adorable. I mean, I really really can’t stand her as a character but I definitely want more from/of her.

    • Yes, everything IS a social issue. Does it involve people? If yes, then social issue.

  14. During the misguided white neoliberal Thanksgiving scenes, I thought that the Ira Glass character seemed either disinterested in Larry’s story or put off by his opportunism. I think he asked Larry why he even felt the authority to speak on ‘the prison experience’ or whatever. Maybe I’m wrong, I feel like I have to go back and watch again.

    ANYWAY, I was surprised that *spoilerrrr* he even got the radio spot because I think we’re supposed to see that a lot of the people around Larry look at him as ridiculous too, and maybe how his and Piper’s (mutually privileged) relationship reinforces their respective assholery.

    • No, I got the vibe that NPR dude was exasperated with Larry’s mediocrity and fanboying. It was the only redeemable part of that scene.

      • Well yeah, exactly. I got a chuckle out of that because I was like YEAH LARRY the This American Life dude blew you off, but he winds up on his show anyway?

        • It was good though because the radio interview basically challenges the idea that Larry has any credibility. Larry comes on the show to gossip, and he’s asked all these hard-hitting questions that reveal how fucking self-absorbed he really is.

        • I think most of what I got out of the actual radio appearance is that A: it is possible to be a self centered, shallow, and mediocre person and still be allowed a wide-reaching platform like NPR because of your privilege, and B: the self-sincerity that said crappy people can have when outletting their world view. Like I’m not sure if in the scene Larry was ripped down to his audience as someone credible, but it really did highlight that Larry felt he had some claim to the subject matter and that he was allowed to take up a whooole lot of space on it.

        • yeah i LOVED that Fake Ira Glass was totally dissing larry at thanksgiving and was then really surprised/disappointed to hear that he wanted him on the show.

  15. *****SPOILERS AHEAD!*****

    Ok there’s no creepy doll to make me forget everything I wanted to say this time, so here’s some of my thoughts on this ep and the recap :

    1 – I’m surprised that the heavy suicide imagery in this episode wasn’t even touched on in the recap, given the way it foreshadows what happens in the next. First there was the “pep talk” by Pornstache at the beginning of the ep, then pretty much everything in SHU – the “KILL ME NOW” written on Piper’s door, I thinks there was also some prisoners shouting things like that in the background, and at the end when Piper’s neighbor suddenly stopped answering I was so sure that she killed herself and thought that it was what all of this previous subtext was about.

    2 – “Also, its 2013 so there’s a pill she can take, too.” Hmm, unless there another pill I’m not aware of, the “morning after” pill is named that way because it only works in the 12 to 48 hours after sex (I think it’s because it prevents the egg to attach itself to the uterus lining so it can’t get fertilized? I don’t remember, but I’m sure more informed people here will know better). BTW I wonder if those pills would be available in the prison shop? I guess not since guards are the only guys around and inmates aren’t supposed to have relations with them.

    3 – I’m very uncomfortable about the way these recaps and some commenters try to push the bisexual label on Piper even though she never identified that way herself on the show or showed any interest in other women besides Alex. Not everyone who isn’t a square Kinsey 0 or 6 for the entire duration of their life is necessarily bi. Fluidity =/= bisexuality.
    Bisexuality is being attracted to two (or more depending on the definition) genders. Someone can be exclusively attracted to another gender than their own their whole life but develop feelings for one individual of their own gender at some point (the key word here being *individual*) ; they’re still straight, just kinda fluid (and vice versa for gays). Someone can also be exclusively attracted to their own gender at some point in their life, and then become exclusively attracted to another gender at another point ; in that case, they were legitimately gay before and straight now (and vice versa), their sexuality is just fluid and changed.
    Bisexuality is varied and diverse, but it isn’t either an amorphous “trashcan” label under which monosexual people can cast off anyone whose sexuality isn’t as rigid as their because they don’t want them in their community or whatever (not saying that’s what Kate is doing here, but I’ve seen a lot of that here on AS and elsewhere).

    4 – Doggett. Okay, I’m going to get a lot of shit for saying that, but I think people need to calm down on the Tumblr brand of social justice here. We’re supposed to hate Piper and Larry for their run-of-the-mill human flaws because they’re upper-middle class, but not Doggett because she’s poor and a former drug addict, even though she’s insensitive, virulently homophobic and transphobic, vindictive to the point of being gratuitously mean (getting Piper thrown in SHU here), and *murders* people in cold blood when she feels disrespected? I don’t believe one second that Doggett would have been a good or even morally neutral person were she from a different background. I also don’t feel any more sympathy towards her after the season finale – she tried to murder someone for no legitimate reason, a murder she premeditated, and got (possibly?) killed in self-defense. Are we supposed to pity her because her intended victim didn’t let her carry it through and had no choice but to defend herself?

    5 – I do agree on the part about Alex kissing her though. I’m not sure I would qualify it as full-on sexual assault (maybe because of cultural differences since here kissing people on the mouth is sometimes done as an affectionate gesture that isn’t sexual at all), but that was way out of line, and I hope that the writers didn’t mean it as something that we should cheer Alex on.

    • Sidenote: there is a pill that induces medical abortions up to 7 weeks or so (RU-486, or mifepristone). Not to be confused with emergency contraception (Plan B) which is a different drug. Plan B is over the counter, but RU-486 is prescription and is administered in clinics, I believe.

      carry on.

      • I accepted the tea story line because I assumed she probably couldn’t get that pill in prison without raising suspicions.

        • Oh yeah, no way could she get it in prison and even if she could, it’s unlikely she could hide what was going on.

      • Heh, when I wrote that I was totally thinking “Marika is going to come drop some science on me”!

        So there *was* a pill I’ve never heard of – why did I never heard of it?? It’s amazing that there’s a more gentle solution for people who don’t want to carry a pregnancy to term, and I’m both surprised and not surprised that it isn’t talked and taught about more in the general public. Now I’m off the wikipedia how it works.

        • Yeah, there was a big to-do about it probably 10 years ago or so because everyone is like ‘this is the worst thing everrrrr’ but use of it is actually pretty common now, I guess.

          also yes, word to your moms, I came to drop SCIENCE.

        • You probably haven’t heard of it b/c it’s just considered a regular abortion–a “medical” abortion, and it has to be administered over a few days by a doctor. I took my sister to get an abortion at PP and that’s what they gave her.

    • I mostly agree with your 4. I TOTALLY agree with your 3! I had a female friend that dated another woman for over a year. She called herself straight the entire time. Her gf agreed with her. A single, or a very rare, attraction out of a lifetime, I don’t think should automatically point to bisexuality. Its not a “catch all” and how many times I have read here on AS that the label should belong to the person, not be forced on them? I mean yes I can see how she may appear to be bisexual, and it would be nice to see someone actually identify as that, but Piper was attracted to a single female and does not see herself as bisexual, so who are we to say she is? On the other hand, when considering a majority view point that may not be familiar with anything other than heterosexuality and stereotypes, I can totally see how annoying it is when its said that Piper is “no longer a lesbian” because I certainly don’t want other people buying into the idea that lesbians just need to wait for a man to come around.

        • Well if that’s the case, I missed it. My bad. But I still stand by my “its her life, its her label” thing. I don’t want someone trying to force a label on me, and she obviously doesn’t feel enough of a connection to the word “bisexual” to yet use it for herself.

        • It’s more about everyone ELSE forcing that label on HER – from Nicky (“Straight girls. They will fuck you up every time!”) to Alex (“My mistake was falling in love with a straight girl”) To Larry, to her parents. Piper only ever refers to herself as “not as lesbian” or she says “I like hot girls. I like hot boys. I like hot people!” which pretty much says bisexual to me. The show doesn’t need to label Piper, but they SHOULD pay some lip service to the idea that there are other options besides “straight” and “lesbian”. The word bisexual has literally never been said on this show.

    • Thank you, I completely agree with #4. I’ve been growing irritated with the constant hatred of Larry and Piper because of their privileges, but we’re supposed to ignore all of the evils that Doggett has done that is irrelevant to her class standing.

    • I agree with everything you wrote except what you say about Piper and labels. Actually in episode 10 (I think) Polly makes a comment about how Piper is always dating hot girls that make her crazy. So clearly Alex isn’t Piper’s one and only woman she ever slept with/been in a realtionship with.
      I agree though that Piper may not be bisexual. All Piper ever said on the matter is that she likes hot girls and hot boys. I think Piper isn’t into labels. She just lets other people label her, like Polly and her mom who both mention that she used to be a lesbian. I think Piper doesn’t correct them because she doesn’t want to waste her time. Anyway, it’s not like her mom is going to be understanding so what’s the point? Similarly, Alex calls her a straight girl at some point, and once again Piper doesn’t correct her.
      I think she doesn’t care. Which is totally fine by the way. But I have to say that I’m slightly annoyed that the show doesn’t even have someone say the word “bisexual” (even if it may not be how Piper identifies).

      • You may be right, I missed that part in the flashback. Also didn’t catch on or remember the “liking hot boys and hot girls” part, but now I do (it doesn’t help that I’m always multitasking when I watch stuff).

        But #3 in my comment wasn’t solely directed at OITNB though, it’s something that’s been on my mind for quite some time now due to a lot of the things I’ve read here and on other websites about both fictional characters and real people – I just finally posted it here because it came up more than once in the recaps.
        There’s definitely some sort of “fluidophobia” going on where everytime someone veers from their usual attractions, people (and especially the queer women community when it concerns fluid women, especially if said fluid woman identifies as a lesbian or veers towards men at the moment) get all up in arms like “no that is not your label, that is MY label and you’re not like me so let go of it, here just take that one instead you can call yourself bi, we’re gonna stick it on your back anyway so you might as well try to like it”.

        Now I understand in part where it comes from – there’s this whole “lesbians are just going through a phase and haven’t met the right man yet” set of damaging stereotypes that just won’t die and they’re wary that the existence of fluid women using the label “lesbian” may reinforces it further, but putting other people down is never the right way to pull yourself up.

        • I get that some people aren’t interested in labelling themselves/prefer the fluid label. But I also feel people avoid the bisexual label because of the negative stereotypes around it (unfaithfulness etc.) Just read the comment section on any article about bisexuality haha.

          There are lots of situations where fluidity can be a helpful term but when someone is attracted to multiple men and women, bisexuality also seems to fit.

    • Also agree about point 4.
      Whilst there are a lot of problems with privilege and the complacency that can come with it, so much of the discourse from around upper/middle class characters on this show has been blind hatred. In places this hatred is presented not due to any attitudes or social blindness of the characters, simply because of their ‘WASPy’ status.
      I don’t mean to suggest it’s just happening here, I’ve read it in other places too, but this recap seemed to go as far as to dehumanise people with money (‘fuck it all if I can’t spot rich from a mile away, even when it’s trying hard not to be’).

      I have absolutely loved reading people’s opinions and thoughts about this show, there is so much to consider and the discussions are exploring so many avenues, all of which could be right because of the richness of the characters. Yet I’m really troubled by this one area of discussion which just seems to be adding unnecessary hatred. We don’t need any more hatred.

      • i think it’s fair to criticize racism/classism/the ways these intersect and i don’t really care if rich white people get their feelings hurt in the process. if they do, it’s their shit to unpack.

        • Thank you for saying this, kpee. I don’t see any blind hatred going on. I have seen some pretty harsh criticisms, but I think they are justified.

          And also, I don’t think anyone has said “You should hate rich privileged people” and “You are supposed to feel sorry for Doggett.”

          I think people have said why they are frustrated by the character’s privilege and ignorance of said privilege.
          And I think people have said that they feel frustrated by the portrayal of Doggett’s character on the show.

          There is a difference between expressing your opinion and saying that everyone else should also believe the same way. I am pretty sure that most people here are just expressing their opinions. If you don’t agree with them, don’t agree with them. If you feel cognitive dissonance because someone has expressed an opinion that has threatened your sense of identity in some way, that’s on you.

        • I completely agree with criticising racism/classism, the point I was trying to make is that in some things I’ve read, it seems characters are being criticised solely for being middle class rather than for their attitudes or actions, and that’s where I think there’s a problem.

      • (not sure if this needs to be clarified but obvs i still think larry is the worst, regardless)

    • Yeah, I don’t get the hate for Larry in this episode. If someone has the means/privilege to get their loved one out of SHU then why not use it? Are we also supposed to hate Sue’s parents for keeping her out of psych?

      • Totally. The injustice isn’t that he’s able to reduce her time in SHU due to privilege/connections; the injustice is that the other inmates lack this access, that solitary confinement (which the UN has deemed torture) is legal at all.

        But for real, fuck Larry. Piper/Alex 4ever.

        • yeah i fucking hate larry, but i’m not mad at him for using his connections to get her out of SHU. i’m sure any of us who could would do the same thing in that situation.

    • As there is no clear cut proof that nature or nurture is more important in the making of a person I, personally, think it’s wrong to assume that she wouldn’t be a different person if she had grown up in a different cultural or economic neighborhood.

      Me personally, I don’t like Doggett because of the things she does to the other characters as they are in no way justifiable, but I don’t like that she wasn’t given the same type of re-cap everyone else was. I could be remembering incorrectly, but everyone got a bit more background than she did in their flashbacks.

      If she is supposed to be an antagonist, as I assume she is, they should at least show a few sympathetic traits (everyone has them including people who do horrible things) to make her a fully fleshed out character. (If I’m not careful I’ll start talking about how awful I think the character of umbridge is in harry potter…)

      Anyway, sorry for writing a book over here.

      • I’m confused as to how Doggett’s flashback has been less developed than others. If I recall, she’s had the same amount of scenes as Tricia. There was the scene where Doggett and her partner were discussing whether or not she keep the baby (laughing at the idea of them being able to give up drugs); the scene where she had her abortion and had the nurse sarcastically point out how many abortions she’s had, followed by the subsequent shotgun-retrieval; and then the scenes later on where a Christian lawyer is coaching her and culminating in her entrance into the courtroom, thus revealing the inspiration for her zealous Evangelical proselytizing in prison.

        I found this background to be quite clever and illuminating because it shows how crafty Doggett is, and how potentially her own faith is the result of immense hypocrisy. Just because it doesn’t paint her as sympathetic doesn’t mean it’s an unfair treatment of the character.

        • Her flashback is different from the others because it doesn’t humanize her at all; some other characters also aren’t shown as children, but they are all presented in ways that make us sympathize with them more. She is already a meth addict and an opportunist who’s had multiple abortions (aka, total “white trash” stereotype, I personally have no problem with abortions, I’m just saying it’s part of that) in the flashback, and we don’t learn how she became that person. They’ve chosen to write a character who occupies a very specific class/race position that is already loathed by the liberal-urban demographic of the show’s audience as a bad and, for good measure, unattractive person, thus allowing the audience to indulge in hating on rural poor uneducated white folk through her (Tricia is not the same kind of “white trash” cliche at all, and we don’t even know if she grew up poor or ran away from a middle class home in which she was being sexually abused). I think Kate’s totally right that this is a very problematic aspect of the show so far. The only redeeming thing for me about her portrayal is her rage and resentment at her powerlessness, which the actress does well.

    • I’m pretty sure Piper specifically said at Polly’s wedding “I like hot girls. I like hot boys. I like hot people. What can I say? I’m shallow.”

  16. Smashing like Nigel Thornberry is my new favourite phrase ever. I will use it at every possible opportunity.

  17. I appreciate the realtalk on Doggett’s character. I don’t think we can go to any other websites and see discussions like that happening right now on this show.



  18. ok so a few things here:

    1. re: doggett as “social issue”, or the “target of tumblr-brand of social justice” (the what?) – the point is that this character is demonized and villified BECAUSE she is poor, not because of her character. the character traits we are meant to dislike in her are direct stereotypes of poor white folks, i.e. stupid, selfish, etc.

    i think it’s also important to note the way she is demonized as a drug user and how that intersects with her class. i’m having trouble articulating this but i want to say something about how her poorness and her drug use seem to be conflated in a way that is not applied to the other characters, e.g. nicky, alex, etc. doggett and her friends – the poor, evangelical whites – are repeatedly referred to as “methheads” where the other characters’ drug use is not attached to their identities in the same way and is even presented as glamorous in the case of alex and piper, or redeeming (nicky). again, this to me reads as classism.

    2. kate – gotta check you on your use of the word “lame”. that’s ableist language.

    3. i’m glad you pointed out alex’s assault of doggett. re: GV’s comment, sexual assault isn’t about SEX, it’s about power. the mouth-kissing thing isn’t sexual in this case either and i think that’s an important distinction; this is exactly what makes it assault.

    • “i think it’s also important to note the way she is demonized as a drug user and how that intersects with her class. i’m having trouble articulating this but i want to say something about how her poorness and her drug use seem to be conflated in a way that is not applied to the other characters, e.g. nicky, alex, etc.”

      Okay, I see this. Nicky and Alex get to be more complex characters where Doggett and her friends are pretty flatly associated with their real or assumed relationships to meth, which is also tied up in how their class status is perceived. Nicky even gets a heavily sympathetic backstory around her drug use.

      (also thanks for bringing up the “lame” thing.)

      • I’d like to see more background on Doggett’s main friend. I think showing a more sympathetic portrayal of someone from the same background could be a good balance for Doggett’s negative one.

        • wasn’t there a scene where one of Doggett’s buddies agreed with/laughed to something either Piper or Alex said? I want to say there’s already been at least a hint Doggett’s opinions aren’t everybody’s, and I hope there are more.

        • yeah when piper was lecturing doggett in the laundry room about religion, leanne says “the angel thing does sound kinda desperate”

        • Yes, totally! I feel so much better about her friends than I do her. It just seems like they organize around her because she’s the loudest/scariest of the bunch, even though they obviously don’t buy everything she says.

      • Rallying around her because she’s the loudest and the scariest? Yep, that’s how these things work. Seems pretty realistic to me.

    • I don’t see this show as classist at all. I feel they do a good job of portraying many lower-class white characters: Red, Alex, Tricia, Tucky. Tricia is also from a rural shithole (as she says herself), and she steals, takes drugs, and lies. And she is known pretty well for being a junkie, like Nicky or Tucky. But yet she is not a villain. She’s got a heart of gold. She comes from a similar background as Doggett and yet she turned out to be a nice, if highly troubled, young woman. So no, I really don’t feel like she is villified because she is poor, even though I’d agree that her upbringing helped steer her along that road.

    • she’s not vilified “because she’s poor”, she’s vilified because she’s a hateful bigot. if she was a rich christian hateful homophobe (a.k.a. republican) she’d be just as detestable.

    • I don’t think she’s demonized for being poor or a drug user. At all. There are plenty of poor, drug-addicted (and white, if you think that matters) women in prison. Tricia for example. Like Nolby I have to say that she’s demonized for being an incredibly hateful person. I think sometimes we force ourselves to play devil’s advocate, TOO HARD. Sometimes characters are just pretty shitty, and that’s ok.

      • Sometimes characters are just pretty shitty, and that’s ok.

        yeah exactly! i mean REAL TALK: doggett MURDERED A NURSE AT AN ABORTION CLINIC for “disrespecting” her. and then when piper refused to be baptized, doggett decided the best way to deal with that would be… to MURDER PIPER! that is straight-up evil shit. she calls sophia “it.” and this is a show about prison, which means it’s a show about criminals, so we’re not gonna be looking at the best cross-section of any demographic group. it makes sense that at least a few of those characters would just be shitty.

        • But here’s the thing. Why is it that not a single person in Doggett’s very specific demographic – her little clique of stereotyped Christian-methhead-hillbilly followers – calls her out when she TELLS them she is going to murder Piper? Why does nobody say, Hey, that’s maybe a bit morally questionable and not such a good idea?

          While it’s true that there are other poor people, and drug users, and Christians portrayed sympathetically in the show, Doggett’s clique presents several characters with presumably her same specific type of background, and not one of them is humanized as other characters have been. They are almost literally all nameless carbon-copied minions who follow Doggett around like sheep and think whatever she tells them to think.

          Doggett’s character makes no sense at all as anything other than an extreme stereotype. There is no explanation whatsoever offered for her over-the-top murderous impulses. She isn’t high when she shoots the nurse or attacks Piper. She isn’t portrayed as a sociopath, or we wouldn’t be made to feel sympathy for her in Psych. We aren’t given enough insight into her backstory to know if she’s been tortured or abused or anything at all that could explain her violent nature. With every single other character we are eventually shown some motivation (REAL motivation, not just “she disrespected me”) for their actions, but not Doggett. So we are left to conclude that she’s violent because – what? Because she’s a stupid redneck hillbilly?

        • I do want to add to my comment though that despite my discomfort with how her character is written, I find Doggett to be by far the most morbidly fascinating persona on the show, in large part due to an incredible performance on the part of the actor. And everything else in the series is so well-done that I have every hope the writers will redeem themselves on this count in season 2, and prove my comments above wrong.

          Anyway, the fact that a show that sparks such intense discussion about all of these issues even exists is pretty freaking awesome. I swore off TV a decade ago, and now here I am not only binge-watching and re-watching episodes, but waiting impatiently for Autostraddle recaps to show up and tell me all about what I just watched. Sigh.

        • In response to Chandra’s first comment, I don’t see a connection between Doggett’s violence and her being a “stupid redneck hillbilly.” I think she has a lot of issues that will be explored more in depth in season 2. I don’t think it’s fair to take Doggett as a representation of an entire group of people, because she is just an individual in a show with a lot of diverse characters. There has to be villains, and I think the show does a good job of showing that they’re not putting labels on a certain “type” of person – a lot of the show is actually about revealing who people are beneath what labels society places on them. And with Doggett, we’ve seen that she’s a troubled person.

        • But again, it isn’t just Doggett that’s representing an entire group of people. It’s an entire group of people (Doggett and all her followers) that are representing an entire group of people (poor rural midwesterners).

    • Note also the emphasis on her meth-ruined teeth, while the damage to Nicky’s body, for example, gets much less attention. When focus is put on Nicky’s scars it’s done to help inspire sympathy for her and the setting is even a little sexy, whereas we’re reminded of how messed up and awful Doggett’s teeth are repeatedly, in scenes that have little to do with her background.

  19. I’m going to be shallow and instead of talking about the portrayal of Doggett on the show, I will say that I thought the last scene of this episode was unbelievably hot and that I shamelessly ship Alex and Piper (Pipex? Vauseman?), even if their relationship is toxic and that I hope they get their shit together.
    I also LOVED Piper’s speech to Healy. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do but I completely get where Piper was coming from: she’s angry, frustrated and terrified and she finally lashes out.
    Healy is truly dangerous because of the whole “I’m trying to help you, you should be thanking me” crap. Pornstache is an asshole but at least he’s not pretending he’s acting as some sort of humanitarian.

    • Thank you, all of this. And as much as I appreciate the conversation around class and drug use and villifying characters, I gotta say that I was looking forward to recap space on Alex and Piper. Kate even said in the first recap that she would ship them for the length of the show, so I totally expected this to be *the* recap. And I missed the opening gif. Yes, Alex is problematic, but most characters on this show are, and that’s one of the things I like most about it… plus I have a thing for bad girls, what can I say?

    • yeah, real talk: I love that on this website we can have serious discussions about representation on fictional shows, but I also really love that on this website we can have discussions about girls making out with girls on fictional shows. and I miss that a lil bit.

  20. Nothing new to add besides the fact that Cal isn’t a Family Friend; he’s Piper’s younger brother.

  21. I’m actually so glad that I’m not the only one who was SUPER uncomfortable with the way Alex’s rape threats/sexual assault of Doggett were portrayed by the show…
    I don’t necessarily have so much of an issue with Doggett being villanized because she’s actually just a pretty terrible character. I mean I think the viewer feels sympathetic toward her at first (with her first flashback) in a similar way that they feel Alex’s backstory excuses her, but the flashback showing Doggett literally KILLING SOMEONE for being rude to her also kind of killed my sympathy for her. The jokes made at the expense of her class make me really uncomfortable (like when the writers want us to laugh at her as the angel in the Christmas pageant, that was very uncool), but honestly I think she’s pretty evil. And I don’t think her drug addiction is necessarily demonized or played for laughs, especially if you consider the portrayal of Nicki (who is admittedly treated differently by the show because of her class, which is problematic) and Tricia (who is much more comparable).
    I think one of the strengths of the show is that none of the characters are cardboard cutouts of heros OR villans. There’s a limited amount of sympathy for Doggett because of her situation, especially before we find out about the murder, and then again after she’s sent to psych, but she’s the most evil end of the spectrum (except maybe Pornstache…). I think Alex’s seriously not fine behavior toward Doggett complicates her character and stops her from becoming someone we see as a purely good heroine. (I sort of agree with the person that pointed out that Alex didn’t have a lot of ways to defend herself against Doggett and her gang but that doesn’t make the sexual assault excusable, just like the fact that Piper sent Doggett to psych doesn’t make Doggett’s attempts to violently attack/kill her excusable).
    Hopefully Doggett will go the way of Sue next season and the writers will make us feel bad for having laughed at her character (not that I ever really laughed at either of them, but I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when they actually gave Sue some character depth and stopped making her a punchline).

  22. THANK YOU. I felt my lust deflate like a balloon when Alex said that. And I’m also really put off by the characterization of Doggett, particularly given that we know the show can and does represent other characters may would find unsympathetic in a complicated way. It just could have been better.

  23. There may technically be a pill Daya could take, but good luck trying to get it while in prison while not letting anyone in charge know she’s pregnant cause then Bennett would be busted. Abortion tea actually seems like one of her best options in those circumstances if she doesn’t want a kid and doesn’t want her prison guard boyfriend going to prison for rape.

  24. RE Sophia: I disliked that she made Crystal feel bad about wanting to see the pastor. While of course the news didn’t make her happy it also shouldn’t of come as a surprise. After all she’s going to be in jail for at least 3 more years and even when she gets out, their marriage is obviously going to have some serious issues seeing as Crystal doesn’t have any queer leanings and expecting Crystal to suppress her sexuality for the sake of their marriage just isn’t fair. And I hated that we’re suppose to give her points for later giving Crystal her blessing. Just no. Crystal is a grown woman and shouldn’t need anyone’s approval to pursue her own happiness.

    • I think Crystal needs approval as long as she’s still in a marriage, otherwise your last sentence comes off as sanctioning adultery. I agree that Crystal has the right to happiness, but I think she did the right thing in being honest with Sophia, and in turn Sophia deserves credit for recognizing her wife’s right to happiness. A mutual understanding is much healthier than betrayal.

      • ^ meh. whichever way. i’m just hoping that storyline will be wrapped up and not trotted out in 2nd season – and screw it and plant a gravestone on the top of it. With gargoyles, because cool and because it makes the stone heavier.

        And i hope she (as, from what i have so far gathered Sophia is a queer woman) gets something that would be… meaningful? interesting? erotic? ENJOYABLE …to watch.

        And yea i really love seeing 80% of the sympathies with the straight side of the story on a queer site. This is what i come here for. thanks.

        • Umm, what? I’m merely pointing the necessity of two spouses arranging their lives together and communicating honestly. By all means Sophia should have the same freedom as Crystal in terms of extra-marital relationships. I have no idea where you’re assuming I’m on the “straight” side. There is no side to choose unless it’s between honesty and dishonesty.

        • @Paper0Flowers: I really apologise, i was kinda unclear and sloppy – the bit about straight side was about folks in general, not you. The situation technically is no different from any straight marriage ending with one half coming out as lesbian (those things happen) – in which case it would be unthinkable for the community to blatantly support the straight side or do the ‘impartial’ spiel. Sadly they see Sophs as less of a person.

          She’s not my favourite character by far (Crazy Eyes is) but i’ve had two relationships with transsexual women and am kind of sensitive to this and it gets to me.

          I actually agree with you, they’re two adults who have a right to do whatever is best for them and it’s just cool, considerate and polite to communicate – which they owe to each other even if it’s obvious where it’s going. Mehwhatever is my thoughts on the arc, not your comment :)

  25. Two things:
    new moral guidelines: “How far in life have you fucked up when Pornstache is questioning your decisions?”
    But just for fun: “Smashing like Nigel Thornbury.”
    Thanks kat/de!

  26. i agree with you about alex threatening doggett.

    however, i think if your partner was in SHU, you’d be freaking the fuck out too, not checking your privilege.

  27. First off, I love these recaps. I’ve been reading a lot of OITNB recaps and find these the most thoughtful and fun. My heart does this little leap whenever you post a new one. Been wanting to thank you for a while now.

    Concerning Doggett – I’ve skimmed through the previous comments and if someone has already pointed this out I apologize.
    From how I’ve been reading the show, it isn’t Doggett’s character that is being villainized but the a s p e c t of her character that is a bigoted religious zealot.

    Doggett herself is a tragic character. All of this is portrayed in the [SPOILER] grueling scenes in the psych ward and her existential/”religious” crisis that follows, as well as her back story.

    Her religious fanaticism, we learn, doesn’t actually come from her. Significantly, Doggett was recruited. Though one might think she uses fanaticism to get through, it is actually the other way around. She might be an agent, but I always felt the show was less judgmental of Doggett or her background than it was of hate-filled religious fanatics.

  28. I should have learnt the first time my ipad deleted my comment. Much of what I want to say has already been said. I’m not going to bother rehashing things that have been said this time but I like watching Alex and Piper even if I think they’re both dicks.

    Except for the sexual assault bit.

    I agree that sexual assault is wrong but I think that of all the violence that could be reported by the inmates that would be the one which would be taken most seriously by Healy. I definitely think it was wrong and a bit triggering (it gave me nightmares) but I can keep it in mind and still be sympathetic towards Alex. There’s so much other violence and threats. I think it is wrong to hold sexual assault as a worse crime than all the beatings and emotional abuse that has come from other characters. Doggett is happy enough to speak vitriol to them and beat people up. She’s not an innocent victim, but she didn’t deserve it either.

    I felt bad for Doggett when she was assaulted but I still think she’s a really nasty piece of work. It doesn’t redeem her in my eyes.

    I found it really triggering when Red was starving Piper, but it doesn’t mean I can’t see the better things about Red. (Not trying to suggest you should feel the same way.)

    • Somehow I forgot one of the “Important” things I wanted to say – that I think the show is a process, making people seem bad and then revealing the good or making them seem better and then seeming to do something awful. Like how we watched Sue and laughed, even though I think Doggett is horrible I have to wonder if I’ll later come to kick myself for demonising her.

    • You make some valid points. I would, however, like to point out that there are very few “innocent victims” in real life. Everyone has a back story.

      • I know there’s not, and I’m starting to feel a bit more sorry for her hopelessness now that I’ve got that far. I guess what I meant is that someone being sexually assaulted doesn’t mean I have to like them, but it also doesn’t mean they weren’t a victim.

  29. ” Jesus Christ, dude, she’s in SHU because she’s in prison for a crime she actually willingly committed, not because an unjust society has imprisoned her and denied her outside opportunities based on her skin color, economic background, sexuality, or creed. ”

    this is true yet misleading – she is in SHU because of homophobia.

  30. i don’t get the sympathies for Doggett. I am not someone who would hate people just for being religious or conservative – but sorry she is an embodiment of yellow rag target audience.

    And if i don’t respect her as a fellow sentient – how much worse can it get?

  31. I don’t think the show wanted us to endorse what Alex did, but we could if we wanted to. I think that’s all we’re going to get from this show in a lot of cases. Like when Nicky called Piper straight. Some viewers are going to take that away, but many are going to remember her dating history and think otherwise.

    Also, as with life, people don’t know everything about other people and are working off their perceptions. Nicky probably thinks Alex was Piper’s twenty-something thrill, but of course she never dated ANOTHER woman, for status and economic security. It’s just Nicky’s opinion, not that of the show. Nicky wants Alex for herself anyway, so she’s not exactly unbiased.

  32. Can I just say, after floating around this site for over a year, these recaps are what made me finally get an account.

    This show is really important and I have so many feels and opins and crushes that I’ve just worn myself out trying to express them on the internet, so instead I’ll:

    1. Thank you for the Wild Thornberry reference!

    2. Thank you for the killer hamster picture, which will be unleashed to all my friends via text message threats.

    3. You were at Sisters on Friday?! Happy Birthday!

    4. I love Sophia but I also like her wife and I feel like she should be able to fulfill her dreams and make herself happy just as much as Sophia did. Let women make choices damnit! We don’t always have to hold ourselves back for fear that we won’t be caring enough to the people we feel obligated to!

    • While i am 100% the spirit of the comment – behind choices and not letting past hold us back. thus am all for the new relationship…

      …wait, by dreams and happiness do you mean Crystal should be able to be alive and not live in constant pain and suffering. I couldn’t agree more – but i would have thought that wish is trivially, by definition granted. At least so far so good *touches wood*.

      or healthy relationships – which again i’m all for. Nobody should be held back from one.

      just the obvious double standard in what constitutes happiness is a slight case of ‘Why so serious, Sophia baby? Turn that frown upside down – i thought you would be unconditionally happy and grateful now? Aren’t you?’

  33. (most of this post contains spoilers/long-windedness)

    Despite your view of Doggett representing an exploitation of her background/class, I feel like the character of Doggett is one of the most interesting, well-written characters on the show. Most of the commentators on here seem to agree with your view of her as a two-dimensional caricature; however, I see her as a clear-cut example of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The narcissist feeds on/greatly desires others’ admiration, believes he/she is special/chosen, exhibits a lack of empathy and beliefs of jealousy in oneself/others, etc. This inflated sense of self-esteem, if threatened, can destroy the narcissist as we saw in Doggett after she returned from Psych. It was pretty sad when she lost her usual zeal for life–and i think we were meant to sympathize with that.

    Usually, this inflated sense of self-esteem (which the religious fanaticism fed nicely into) is a result of compensating for self-hate/an extremely low-self esteem. I honestly don’t believe that the fact that she comes from a ‘working class’ area or is a meth head is actually AS relevant to her characterization as you have stated. Most of the girls in the prison seem to come from that background or lower. It would be similar to complaining about Taystee’s character being in and out of foster care+the system her entire life/her inability to adjust to civilian life as a way of stereotyping a lower-class, black character. She is a bit of a caricature in the sense that she’s at times pretty outrageous (AA meeting anyone?), but we sympathize with the character’s plights regardless. Yes, Taystee is a more ‘likeable’ character than Doggett, but I think that at this point (ie the season as a whole), most characters are more likeable than Piper, our anti-heroine (even Doggett).

    Though Doggett can be perceived as a joke by many, I found her to be more complex and more mysterious than the others. We got only some insight into her background, but not much overall–i’m assuming that more of her story will be explored later on; so in my opinion it’s a bit early to be making judgements against the writers just yet.

  34. ok so… this is a show, and it tells a story. and stories need villains and they need conflict. i think that the show has been really careful in who it’s chosen to be its villains.

    I think it’s definitely important and interesting for this show to dig into the fact that historically poor white people in america have been used strategically by rich white men in power, through policy and rhetoric, to be deliberately pitted against people of color to assuage The Man’s fears that if poor people of all colors banded together, they’d have a revolution on their hands. evangelical religion, anti-gay attitudes and anti-choice attitudes have been key cogs to this strategy. and i have total respect and lots of nods for everything in this recap about the need to interrogate that system.

    that all being said, this is a show, and a show needs villains and conflict and i still can’t help but get behind a show that seems honestly to have bent over backwards to avoid sorting those villains along racial lines or even by sexual orientation or gender identity. the #1 Worsts in this show are all white cis males – pornstache, larry, healy. (they’re all the worst in different ways, but still the worst.) then we have complicated white cis female characters like piper, red and alex who are sometimes the worst and sometimes not and a lot of how we feel about them is related to our own backgrounds. the only unsympathetic character (in my opinion) we have who is a woman of color is Aleida. and honestly if we wanna talk about somebody dealt a shitty hand w/r/t backstory… we could start with her.

    the fact that doggett, the only inmate who functions as an antagonist/villain, is also homophobic, racist and transphobic? not only that, but lest we forget she literally murdered an abortion provider?? i’m okay with that! doggett being the villain is a-ok with me. and no, i don’t think doggett would be a different person if she’d grown up under better circumstances. i feel like she’d probably just be michelle bachmann.

    ’cause looking at tv as a whole, there’s way more shows featuring complicated-backstoried poor whites than poor people of color. somebody’s gotta be the bad guy in that prison, and i can’t argue with who they chose. there’s macro stuff missing in everybody’s flashbacks, i think, little is ever said explicitly about context for the others but maybe we’re just better at filling it in for the other characters.

    and i do feel they go out of their way to show that it’s doggett’s personality, not her background, that makes her a racist homophobic transphobic asshole. there are other poor white people in the show who don’t suck, so i don’t think that this show is deliberately exploiting that demographic.

    and i don’t think class makes piper automatically unsympathetic any more than it makes doggett automatically sympathetic.

    • I agree with you about being careful about most villains (race, for example, or ethnicity) EXCEPT, as I’ve said on previous recaps, I know soooo many Pennsatuckies. So many. Almost every single person I graduated high school with in rural Tennessee is a spitting image of Tucky. That’s not an exaggeration.
      They showed up to school in KKK regalia when our school started busing up twenty black kids from a poorly performing school. They beat those kids up in the parking lot after school. They spewed vitriol about the one out gay kid in the school and he was regularly beaten up. The basketball coach/health teacher went on a ridiculously homophobic rant in health class and all but two kids in that class defended him. They sent me Facebook messages telling me that I was disgusting and going to hell after I came out. During election seasons, they were absolutely horrible. They spew hate. Yes, a lot of them are poor, and have had a lack of education and experience, but still. I’m not going to defend them. They’re hateful, hateful people.
      Pennsatucky might be a stereotype, but she’s an accurate stereotype. I know a few poor, rural Tennesseeans/Alabamians/Georgians/Floridians who are extremely supportive of me, who are feminists, etc, but that’s not nearly the majority. Not even half. So I don’t really see the need to defend Pennsatucky, or the stereotype. I just know it’s pretty true. You’re in California. It’s in my face.

      • i don’t really see where in this comment you are disagreeing with me. i don’t defend pennsatucky — my entire comment is about how i approve of pennsatucky being a villain and i don’t think she’d be a better person if she’d grown up rich. as i’ve said throughout this thread, i don’t like doggett and i never have.

        “You’re in California. It’s in my face.”
        you know, i was really interested in what you had to say in your comment and your perspectives and experience… and then you said that and i felt really confused? just like i tuned out of kye’s comment after the first sentence “i feel like this recap was poorly written” — maybe kye had important things to say after that, but as soon as somebody goes unnecessarily personal, even if it’s true (although it wasn’t, re: kye), i don’t know what to think. you know what state i live in right now, neat! that’s it though, so there’s no need to make it personal, i don’t feel like it adds to your argument (which doesn’t disagree with mine, anyhow!).

        anyway! kate wrote about how people from that background are in her face, too, growing up, and she came out of it with a much different perspective than you — nobody owns a definitive absolute opinion on this issue. not me, not kate, and not you. we’re all just talking about a show.

        i am so sorry to hear of what you went through growing up. that’s horrific. <3

        • hi, I said it was poorly written because that really is my opinion. I didn’t go into detail in the earlier comment and instead commented on her commentary of Doggett. But, since you are responding to me directly, I will say so now.
          I’m not a fan of kate’s innuendos and constant references to how she likes to sex things up and her tendency to paint everything in a very sentimental, overly-romanticized light. (re: chapel sex in catholic school, etc) Like she’s a mega stud and needs to remind everyone of it all the time. I’m not a fan of the constant derailment into her personal life when it’s a recap of the show-
          and lastly, I am not a fan of her espousing ideological beliefs as if everyone needs to think in the same way and shame on them if they don’t. Because I don’t think she has the expertise to state some of it as if it were fact.

          That’s my /opinion/ and I decided to state it. Perhaps I don’t like her writing style but I have as much a right to comment on that as anyone else has to comment.

    • riese you really nailed everything i was thinking with that first comment. this is a tv show, and it has soooooo many good things about it, like enough that we, of so many varying backgrounds and experiences, could all sit through it and for the most part not want to put a fork in our eyes or ears, which is something i rarely get to say about a tv show. but still…. it’s a show. and i like watching complex villains and i like watching laura prepon say the word “pussy” and i’m pretty sure i’m not the only one. and that’s ok.

    • re: the worst people in the prison being cis white males (if you do count Mendoza), there’s also Figueroa, who (spoiler) turned at least some of the funds for the GRE course into a luxury car for herself, and whose reaction when to the best of her knowledge Daya had been raped and drugs were being smuggled into the prison was that both should be covered up. She is another villain, big time.

      • Fig also had a big redeeming moment when she reamed the officers out for not caring that Tricia had hung herself. Yes, she wanted to cover it up, but when people were making jokes, she got righteously mad. I don’t like her, but I did appreciate that moment… she doesn’t seem to have the same “they aren’t people” attitude as Caputo, although she is an aloof bitch.

  35. I feel like the beauty of OITNB is that no character is without serious character flaws and no-one is without humanity (except maybe Pornstache, this may be an unpopular opinion but I hate him way more than Larry, he scares me).

    I think the way we react to Alex kind of mirrors the way Piper perceives her. She’s incredibly attractive and charming and disarmingly vulnerable, but she also displays an astonishing disregard for her actions impact on other people. She’s not a hero or a villain, she’s a person.

    Doggett may be a more traditional villain, but I do think her portrayal is more complicated than that. Her backstory certainly doesn’t show any major redeeming features, but I think it does demonstrate how vulnerable she is. I was incredibly upset when she got taken to psych. She clearly did need some psychological support and it was totally clear that that was the last thing she was going to get there. In the final episode, while her actions were obviously inexcusable, I think they were a response to the way Piper and Alex had totally undermined her religion, which was really the only thing she had to hold on to and give her an identity she could be proud of. She is vicious and hypocritical, but she is a human being.

    I think there are so many things in this show that can press lots of different buttons for different people. What is so powerful about it is that it has us all talking about things that don’t necessarily get talked about much.

  36. Ok, I’d just like to point out that these recaps are something I LIVE FOR. THEY. ARE. EPIC.

    The way things are broken down, it’s not really immediately spoiling anything about the story…at the same it keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand, totally love Nicky’s line. Straight girls. They’ll fuck you up every time. HANDS UP EVERYONE, I know you’re all out there.

    And for the record, Taystee’s dance was awesome!!!

  37. Hi guys! So Emily Nussbaum, TV critic for The New Yorker, noted on Twitter that Ani DiFranco’s “If It Isn’t Her” is a “freakishly perfect” song for Alex/Piper, and I instantly felt a surge of pleasure because OH MY GOD THAT IS MY FAVORITE ANI SONG AND I’M OBSESSED WITH ALEX/PIPER AND I’M SO GLAD THE CONNECTION WAS BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION. And then my next thoughts were ‘I feel like Riese would appreciate this” and that this really ought to be shared with Autostraddle. So here we are.

  38. I enjoyed the show’s first season a lot…but the more I think about the cartoon villain they made out of Doggett the more uneasy I feel.

  39. I agree with almost everything you’ve said about this show, but…

    Could we please stop acting like being middle class is a horrible crime that means everything that is a privilege of the middle class (education, connections, etc) are terrible? I’m not saying it’s right that the middle class has those privileges while others don’t, but that doesn’t mean that no one should have them. I don’t really have much in common with Piper, Larry and crew, and I dislike many of them for individual reasons, but that doesn’t mean they are literally the devil for it.

    It seems hateful, and makes me really uncomfortable. I’m sure it makes people who actually are middle class WASP types even more so. Surely there’s a way to talk about privilege without demonizing people lucky enough to have it?

    I really hope someone can explain it to me, I’m pretty new to this whole “adult discourse on class” thing, but the recaps seem to get worse on this issue. Sad, I love everything else about them, but hate isn’t okay towards anyone just for something they couldn’t control.

    Sorry about the wall of text!

  40. Kate:

    1st off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY (belated)!!! I’m super happy you were born and get to share your awesomeness with the world. :)

    2nd: I think this is my favorite recap of yours thus far. I’ve had a difficult time with Alex and Doggett for a while. Alex has always struck me as this hyper-sexualized character who gets a lot of outs for her behavior because of the whole fantasize-able aspect of her – I particularly do not like this because it feels like she can be excused for sexually assaulting her fellow inmates, when other characters who are less sexualized would be dehumanized for doing the same thing (take Sue’s flirtation with Piper in earlier episodes – sorry if this is repetitive of you or other comments, I’m basically free-writing at this point). As for Doggett, I’ve had much more mixed feelings about her, mainly because I grew up with several people from the culture her character represents and I used to work in the North Georgia mountains with families like the one Doggett is likely from. Those former experiences – growing up with and being bullied by girls like Doggett – made me automatically have the inclination to dislike her in the beginning, but, the latter experiences of mine allowed me a considerable amount of sympathy for her as the show went on. After watching this episode I feel like the show has made a pretty interesting (not in a good way) juxtaposition of Alex’s and Doggett’s individual histories. Doggett’s flashbacks show her “failures” in life – she’s gets pregnant, but continues to use drugs knowing she’s pregnant and scoffs at the idea of quitting, thus, according to what we’re given by the show to evaluate her character, she made bad choices and she’s responsible for the repercussions. Alex’s flashbacks in this episode show things happening TO Alex, not because of choices she made – she’s made fun of by the girls at school because of her family’s low-income status and introduced to the drug world in a time of desperation after meeting her crazy creepy dad, not because of any choices she made – we don’t see her making any bad life choice in this episode’s flashbacks, that I can recall. So, by the time the sexual assault scene happens, Doggett had it coming because she’s made bad choices, while Alex is cheered on because she’s sexy and stuff has happened TO her. I don’t like it and I’m interested in seeing how it all pans out.

    Sorry for the rambling, like you I’ve come to have a lot of feelings on this subject. Can’t wait for the next one… off to re-watch this episode :)


  41. Wow. I had not thought about what Alex said as a rape threat. Kate, you get five-stars for that one. You are so right.

  42. Honestly, Alex and her amazing glasses really had me going up until she threatened to rape Pennsatucky. That completely killed the lady-boner I had for her and now I just can’t look at her the same way. No matter how terrible/repulsive Pennsatucky is, there is absolutely nothing that justifies assaulting her.

  43. So many thoughts!

    I’m interested in how surprised we’re supposed to be at Sue’s parentals, how for you that was a moment of self-examination about our own biases. I thought Sue has been super chill/low-profile the last few episodes – really, her storyline so far has only happened in that one episode with her super-crush on Chapman. So I wasn’t any more surprised to find out who her parents are than I was to learn that Alex is the daughter of a rock god or whatevs.

    Speaking of Alex, I too am uncomfortable with her sexual predator-creepiness. But it doesn’t actually feel much worse to me than when these characters hit each other or threaten each other or steal each other’s stuff. It’s all violence, and it’s all about power. Some of it might be creepier and some might be sneakier, but I don’t think Alex is singularly icky because of her actions. They’re all trying to survive using the only power they know, and that looks/feels different for each character. I’m not saying it’s excusable, but there’s a lot going on in this show that is inexcusable. It’s not just Vause.

  44. late to the party, but I don’t care. I’m binge-watching the first season in preparation for season two and… yeah.

    the last scene of this episode, with Piper and Alex kissing? the first time I saw that, I straight-up HOWLED, “YES!!” even though I don’t like the idea of Piper cheating on Larry. for many reasons. this, even though I do agree that Larry’s name should be “Lame-ass”… also for many reasons.

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