Hello! Welcome to the fifth recap of the second season of Orange is the New Black, a charming program about indoor plumbing and the women who suffer when it breaks. You might notice something a little different about this recap — most notably, that I am not Kate, your esteemed, hilarious and insightful Orange is the New Black re-capper.
Unfortunately, bois and grrrls, Kate’s work schedule has gotten so overwhelming that she can no longer commit to recapping the rest of the season (but she did publish an excellent piece on femslash today), and thus we’ll be doing something creative for the season’s remainder — I’ll be recapping 205 and 206, and after that we’ll be featuring a different recapper for each episode! DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN? I mean, not as much fun as Kate’s recaps… but fun! Please don’t throw produce at my head. I’M NOT WEARING A SNAPBACK. Kate looks better in hats than I do. OR DOES SHE.
We open in the “Spanish Harlem” bathrooms, where Maritza’s talking to Flaca about missing her son’s first birthday and everybody is naked or almost naked.
Gloria pulls a lady out of the shower by her nipple so she can assert her righteous position atop the personal hygiene throne but before Gloria can strip down and lather up, the sewers revolt, spewing forth liquid feces because THIS PLACE IS A HELL-HOLE.
So Gloria and her girls head to the bathroom in B-Block and are met with immediate resistance from Taystee and Black Cindy and basically everybody. Gloria says nobody gets breakfast until her crew freshens up. Then Vee emerges from the swampy hellscape where she ingests whatever sour poison replaces the blood in her veins to inform Gloria that her “girls” are “not inclined to offer special privileges.” What does that even mean.
Then everybody tries to punch each other in the face! Then everybody gets a shot! Like the song.
Cut to Flashbackland, where Gloria’s operating a bodega that also sells Santería candles because she is #1 Boss.
Also, she’s running a little food stamp scam operation ’cause she’s saving up cash to drive to my house to see the #1 Boss candle I made in her honor.
Also, she’s got at least two kids and her sister Lourdes does Santería in the backroom.
Also, her boyfriend is an unemployed asshole who beats her. So, I hope he dies in a fire.
This has become a relatively common story in Orange is the New Black Flashbackland: that there are these smart, tenacious, resourceful women who are trying to overcome their oppression by breaking/bending the rules created by a merciless, racist oligarchic government … and then there are these men who fuck up their shit. Many Litchfield inmates are their own worst enemy, but that’s not what’s happening to Gloria, and it’s not what happened to Watson or Daya, either.
Back at Litchfield, Big Boo and Nicky are continuing to hash out the detailed rules of their Bang-Off Spectacular, which is like Regionals but for prison.
Chang: All of the girls must want to have sex.
Big Boo: Yes Chang, we know, it’s not a rape contest.
Nicky and Big Boo bicker about who’s better at giving girls multiple orgasms and Chang reveals an illustrated guide to The Women of Litchfield, in which each lady’s worth a different number of points. Chapman’s devastated to be worthy of a mere three points.
Chapman: I am so more than a three. I am so not easy.
Nicky: You’re slutty, not easy. There’s a difference, semantically.
Big Boo: Yeah, you’re not easy. You only fucked your worst enemy.
Chapman: Alex was not my enemy. At the time. That I knew. It was complicated. She has that effect on me.
Big Boo: Me too. Love to get my dick in her mouth.
Yes, ladies and gentlemyn, that was Lea Delaria getting really meta and referencing a thing she said in an interview right here on this website that was not very well received (it plays much better coming from Big Boo). WE WERE IN THE SHOW YOU GUYS WE WERE IN THE SHOW. I wonder if she said the word “Autostraddle” on set and if so how Samira Wiley felt about it.
Elsewhere in this fine cafeteria, Vee is stirring shit up ’cause that’s what she does, she’s a shit-stirrer. She should go to the Spanish Harlem bathroom and make some soup but instead she’s in the cafeteria reminiscing about the good old days when she could stick forks in everybody’s eyeballs and get to work on time.
Poussey gets jokey and cute because she’s my girlfriend and Vee gets bitchy and cruel because she’s the worst.
Vee: Do you like being another woman’s doormat?
Poussey: Who said anything about being a doormat, man, I’m my own doormat.
POUSSEY I WOULD NEVER TREAT YOU LIKE A DOORMAT I WOULD HAND-CROCHET YOU A DOORMAT USING FABRIC TAKEN FROM HOODIES YOU WORE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND BLESS IT WITH A GLORIA CANDLE AND MAKE SURE IT NEVER GOT DIRTY BUT IF IT EVER DID GET DIRTY I WOULD HAND-WASH IT 10,000 TIMES WITH ORGANIC WOOLITE
Vee says they’ve gotta “do something” now or else “The Spanish” will run the place, and Suzanne enthusiastically agrees. ‘That’s right, baby,” says Vee, tenderly manipulating Suzanne with hand-to-hand contact. Jesus.
Cut to the greenhouse, where Red is leading the olds in some spring cleaning and Jimmy is excited about her date to see Easter Parade with Jack at the cinema.
Healy shows up to get Woman Advice from Red — should he take his wife to Our Town at Litchfield High School? If he asked ME I’d say “absolutely fucking not” because although I love Our Town and starred as The Stage Manager in the 1993 Emerson Middle School production of Our Town, it’s way too dialogue-focused and setless for a lady who’s not into English because even people who like English find Our Town to be a total snoozer.
“I don’t know, I’m not familiar with the actors at that particular high school,” Red snarks, and Healy keeps going — maybe he could take her to dinner? They just opened an Italian place! I hope it’s The Olive Garden. Red says they don’t scratch each other’s backs anymore so she doesn’t give a fuck about who’s getting a Create a Sampler Italiano or listening to Emily say goodbye to clocks ticking. But oh well:
Red: “Skip the play. Take her to dinner.”
Jimmy mutters “Shit licker” as Healy departs, because she is an angel.
It’s Visitor Time In the Visitor Plaza! Maria’s getting a visit from her silent husband/boyfriend and Chapman has the pleasure of spending time at a small table with her hilarious brother and uptight mother creature. It’s the first they’ve seen her since the three weeks she spent in solitary for her brawl with Pennsatucky. Cal’s disappointed she doesn’t have more dislocated limbs or visible bruising.
Also, Cal’s girlfriend Neri is in the lobby due to an apparent problem with her background check, where she’s chatting up an innocent youth about how this place looks just like her old high school.
Neri: “I tell you what I find most disturbing is that it looks almost exactly like my old high school in here. Same cinderblock construction, low ceilings, oppressive fluorescent lighting. I wonder if that’s intentional. Like part of the punishment? If so, kudos to the government, because it’s genius.”
Piper’s Mom wants to know if Larry visited, but she should already know he hasn’t ’cause her chair isn’t covered in mayonnaise. Piper reminds her Mom that they broke up and Mom wants to find her a new man but Piper says no because she read on the internet that Alex will be back for future episodes.
Also, after an extended (and hilarious) guessing game of “why isn’t Dad here” between Piper and Cal, we learn that Piper’s grandmother is dying. WOMP WOMP
Cut to the kitchen, where Gloria’s wondering out loud in the form of a question when Caputo intends to fix their bathroom so they don’t have to bathe in human waste. He says they’ve gotta wait for Fig to return from her undoubtedly relaxing vacation to Albany with her smarmy husband who’s running for office. I HATE FIG SO MUCH.
Flashbackland: Lourdes thinks Gloria should call the police and get her boyfriend deported ’cause he keeps beating her up and SPEAK OF THE DEVIL
Lourdes, goddess of the playground, tells him off while he pleads with Gloria to give him another chance. Lourdes says he can work on his problems on the way to hell and DONT TOUCH THE CHILDREN
Arturo gets down on his knees in the playground and makes a scene, grabbing Gloria, pulling her close. She’s got a black eye. Lourdes is praying for her. It’s really fucking sad.
Back at Bang-Off Bangers Club, Big Boo tells Nicky that she banged Gruber in the shed or something. Nicky claims to be aiming much higher than good ol’ Gruby — she wants to bang Correctional Officer Fischer! THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA.
Nicky: “I’m a sexual Steve Jobs and that bitch is worth ten points.”
Also she will make that bitch pocket-sized, hook up some headphones to that bitch, and sell her to you for one hundred points! While wearing a turtleneck.
Cut to Healy’s House of Sadness, where Katya’s refusing to attend their date to The Spaghetti Factory ’cause she already has plans with her girlfriend. Not the good kind of girlfriend, the other kind.
Healy yells at her about how she should speak English and how it’s not crazy for him to want them to do something nice together, because it’s not like she has to WORK or anything. Healy is such a sad sack. He says her girlfriend can come along on their exciting date because his friends are her friends and vice versa and she’s like BUT YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS, SAM. Ouch.
Some inconsequential amount of time later, the ladies of Spanish Harlem are unable to find their shoes, which happened to me all the time when I lived in Spanish Harlem too. One time I made a LOST sign for all my unmatched socks and hung it up all over the apartment and my roommate was like WHY ARE YOU SO WEIRD. Anyhow.
Good news! Gloria has found their shoes — all tied up to each other in her bed. (No word on my unmatched socks, however. Probably because they’re nowhere near my old apartment on 115th & First Avenue.)
Meanwhile, Chapman’s in her cell feeling sad because her grandmother is sick and dying.
“I don’t wanna bore anyone with my problems,” says Chapman, which is a total lie. Consequently Red is a good friend and asks kind questions about the situation and makes some astute remarks about the fallibility of human organs.
Chapman: “I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m trying to follow your lead, actually. Be strong. Suffer in silence.”
Red says Piper can’t ever let go, and casts longing glances towards Gina, who isn’t having it.
In the Spanish Harlem bathroom, the plumber says a lot of plumbery stuff to Caputo about snakes and pipes. Then Fig marches in to Deb out!
Fig is pissed that they hired an actual plumber who isn’t on the list of “approved vendors” and insists that the prison is suffering from a budget deficit so significant that she’d prefer to have the girls take 30-second showers than spend 80 grand to fix the situation.
Caputo: “Let’s just cut their food rations so they don’t shit as much!”
Fig: “I will crunch the numbers on that and get back to you.”
Meanwhile, Chapman hits up Healy’s Hideaway to inform him that her grandmother is very ill and request furlough.
Healy: “Furlough is like the Loch Ness Monster. Much discussed and rarely seen.”
Chapman points out that Healy left her to die in the snow while a maniac dressed like an angel of Jesus attacked her with a magic stick and then he gave her attacker brand new teeth so maybe he should think about THAT for a minute.
Over by the telephones, Nicky is continuing her uncomfortable pursuit of Officer Fischer while the Weeping Woman weeps. Nicky, honey, lovely dove: the likelihood of this hook-up happening is about equal to the likelihood that tomorrow the dentist will tell me they’re looking for volunteers to try Invisalign for free. You know how there are straight girls and then there are STRAIGHT girls? Yeah, well, Fischer is a STRAIGHT girl. Like she is STRAIGHTER than an arrow, like she’s already hanging out on the bullseye while you’re still on your first drink.
Also, Fischer is SERIOUS about her job and very committed to order and rules. So when Nicky tells Fischer that she knows all the places where the cameras don’t work “if you’re ever feeling curious about other things” I just feel embarrassed. It’s like watching bad improv.
Fischer snaps back that if Nicky doesn’t have a phone call to make, she needs to gtfo. So that ship, my friends, has sailed.
Back in the glorious monument to sodium that is the prison cafeteria, the girls are not enjoying their meal ’cause Gloria put a truckload of salt in it.
Poussey: Man, they fucking with us this way because they know our people’s predisposition for hypertension!
Taystee: Man, they tryin’ to kill us.
Suzanne says the secret is to “pretend the salt is sugar,” and then she taps her forehead with a plastic fork because she’s amazing. As Daya passes their table, Watson sticks out her leg to trip her, thus setting off a series of events that leads Bennett to using unreasonable force against Watson and threatening to send her to the SHU.
Daya’s mom is pissed at Gloria for starting shit that could’ve hurt Daya’s baby so now Gloria has to take care of business with Vee.
Then we journey back to Flashbackland, where Gloria’s emerging from the bodega’s backroom crying, clutching her two children, telling Lourdes that Arturo hit the kids and now they really really really must flee which’ll be fine ’cause she’s got all this money in a box at the register from her food stamp scheme and now they can leave everything behind! Then Arturo shows up to apologize and Lourdes calls him a Beaner, and he’s like WHOA I’m Dominican, not Mexican, and Lourdes is like, “It’s hate speech. It’s not meant to be accurate. It’s meant to be hateful.”
But before we can talk about how great Lourdes is and how Arturo should probably run into traffic, the police show up. Arturo freaks out and runs, thinking they’re here to deport him — but no such luck. They’re here for Gloria because of the food stamps.
As they stuff her into the backseat of the police car, Lourdes shouts that it’ll all be okay, they’d never put a mom in prison! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA. Gloria’s neighbor — who was complaining in the first flashback about how he bought a candle that didn’t magically procure him employment — looks on smugly, making it clear that he’s the one who called the cops.
So you know that really sad bar where everything is sort of vaguely sticky and you actually worked there for like two weeks that one summer before you got what seemed like a slightly better job at a place that turned out to be slightly worse, pay-wise? But you still don’t regret quitting the sad bar because that woman who trained you made you feel hopeless and barren? But you do regret going through training because now that you know the potato skins come frozen and are just microwaved before being served to guests you can’t enjoy the potato skins as much as you used to? This is the bar where Caputo’s Jam Band Side Boob has a gig!
Healey shows up because he wants to be a guy with friends.
Back at Litchfield the girls have gathered to ponder the sad state of affairs with Gloria’s determination to make their lives and scrambled eggs unpleasant.
Watson is LAYING IT DOWN:
Watson: We go to prison 20% longer for the same crimes as white people. They can stop and frisk us whenever they want, and now, when some bitch fucks with our food, I’m the one who gets thrown on the ground?
Vee sits there reveling in their outrage, clearly delighted that the girls have been made miserable enough by her scheming to potentially participate in whatever dark arts she’s got up her cloak.
Gloria summons Vee to the bathroom for a little chat. I hope it’s gonna be like when Rachel and Charice went to the bathroom together on Glee.
Also, Black Cindy says she’d put a coconut in a sock and be like BAM.
Back at the bar, Healy is drunk-talking to Caputo about working in the mine. This scene is physically painful to watch because I mostly hate these guys. HOWEVER we do learn that Caputo is sick of Fig’s fucking nonsense and the fact that they can’t get approval to fix the shit showers.
Caputo: “The least we can do is keep these women safe and clean.”
As if on cue, Fig shows up on the Bar TV in her husband’s campaign commercial.
This is good, you know, I mean this is really good — that Caputo’s maxing out on how much misery he can, in good conscience, deliver to the inmates via his supervisor, and Healy seems to suddenly get it, too. Like he remembers in this moment that his job has a purpose besides sitting in a chair and playing with plastic dolls all day.
Meanwhile in the bathrooms, no musical numbers are happening. Vee says she just wants to be friends but Gloria shoves her against the wall in a very un-friendly way.
Vee says she doesn’t want any trouble, that she’ll totally take the Spanish bathroom because Suzanne loves to mop or something. Vee is visibly and dramatically on the verge of tears and goes for the lowest blow of all, which is to fake vulnerability to shame your sparring partner out of seeing you for the sociopath you really are. Vulnerability, especially from a villain, raises the stakes, because don’t we all think the villain’s villainousness could be cured by just opening up? And then what — you either play into it, or you call them out, and the latter consists of accusing them of being a sociopath, so really, it’s a lose-lose. You’re toast.
Vee says she’s too old for this shit, that she’s not being a great den mom and that she’s gotta give her girls “something” if they’re gonna give up their bathroom.
Vee: “I’m a good talker, but I can’t sell this shit unless you give me something.”
Gloria agrees to do what Vee wants: to switch two of Gloria’s girls out of custodial so Suzanne and Taystee can work custodial, which undoubtedly is part of Vee’s ultimate master plan.
Healy is gonna try and help Piper get a furlough so she can see her dying grandmother! Yay Chapman!
Healy wants to be bros with Caputo but Caputo just wants him to sign the forms to transfer the girls out of custodial.
In line at the commissary, everybody is talking about fingerbanging, which Big Boo is apparently doing a lot more of than Nicky, who accuses them of cheating.
Nicky is discouraged that her pursuit of Fischer set her back three days.
Nicky: “I was arrogant. It’s a classic story of hubris. I’m like Icarus whose wings melted before he could fuck the sun.”
Morello says Nicky should just tell everyone that Fischer has herpes because MORELLO HAS THE WORST IDEAS EVER.
Fischer confronts Caputo about the allegedly faulty security cameras and asks if anybody’s monitoring inmate phone calls. Caputo’s response is basically R U SRS and her response to that is basically YES YES I AM.
Back in New York City, a box of Wheaties is wearing a peacoat and walking down the street when his ex-fiancee Piper calls to listen to him talk about bag-nuts, which JSYK are bagel/donut combos. Also he tells Piper that brings his own cup to Stumptown, which’s weird ’cause usually cans of stewed tomatoes don’t actually drink coffee, they just hang out at Safeway.
Piper gets excited thinking about frivolity and also Larry. Larry wants to know why she didn’t call earlier, and she gets that “I have been hardened by this place beyond the pale” facial expression and then that “omg a bagel with frosting” facial expression and says “I guess I’ve been imaginging I could be the kind of person who doesn’t depend on anybody.” Oh girl.
Piper says she misses him and he says he misses her and WHYWHYWHY
Elsewhere in this fine institution, Vee is showing the girls their new bathroom up shit creek. Poussey aptly points out that this is segregation, like separate but way shittier. Taystee hates it. Vee says it might seem like the worst place ever but it’s THEIR worst place ever! WE ARE THE QUEENS OF SHIT MOUNTAIN.
Watson’s cool with it ’cause she hates waiting in line. Atta girl.
In the kitchen, the girls talk about their kids — Maritza’s daughter in Massachusetts turns one today, and Gloria’s two sons are in Florida with Lourdes but her older daughters live in New York and never visit. I wonder who the older daughters are! I WISH THIS SHOW COULD LAST FOREVER I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE.
Gloria sets up a situation with a candle for Maritza’s daughter and Maria gets a little biting about whether or not Gloria believes in her Santería. Gloria says she needs all the help she can get. Amen.
Then Red storms in!
Red: You’re getting new girls in the kitchen?
Gloria: You’re not allowed back here.
Red: Did you put in a request?
Gloria: What if I did? We need the extra help to keep up with the demand.
Red: She put you up to this.
Flaca: You got the scuttlebutt ass-backwards, Red, Gloria went in there and told that bitch what’s what!
Red: She played you. You have no idea what you’ve done.
Red storms out and Gloria is like OH SHIT.
Back in Flashbackland, Arutro hits up Gloria’s bodega so he can steal her money and go terrorize some other woman’s family, probably.
But in his haste, Arturo leaves the door key on the counter and as he’s dashing out through the backroom, he accidentally knocks over a candle. So Arturo is trapped in the room, unable to escape ’cause he’s left his key behind. The flames mount and take over the room and eventually take Arturo — and Gloria’s hard-earned cash — with it. If you’re wondering if this makes me feel weird about the fact that I said “I hope he dies in a fire” after he hit Gloria, the answer is NOPE.
Next time on Orange is the New Black, Poussey has sex with a girl!