Orange Is the New Black Episode 303 Recap: The Double Reverse Jinx Strategy

I’m sorry, y’all. I think Piper and Alex have sexy-as-hell chemistry, same as you, but they’re wearing on me this season. I think the thing is that, like, obviously none of these women want to be here, right, and most of them don’t think they deserve to be here (and most of them are probably right; the prison system is fucked), but Piper and Alex think they’re too good to be here. There’s this superiority and exclusivity to the way they act, like yeah they sold drugs, but they’re pretty white women who sold drugs, so it’s extra unfair that they have to go to jail for it, and I think that’s just waaaaaay too close to the way the world actually works for me to be even a little bit comfortable with it. They look real good when they’re making out, though! I do agree with you about that!

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Here are some new cantaloupes.

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Is that code for something gay?

Despite Suzanne’s excellent suggestion that Piper and Alex’s scene should take place on the moon and/or in a grocery store where a customer is returning the moon, they end up in the grocery store with a bruised piece of fruit. Alex is mad the fruit is rotten. Piper thinks it’s cool that the fruit is rotten as long as it’s pesticide-free. Alex doesn’t give a free range organic fuck about the origin of the fruit, just that it’s inedible. Piper sold the fruit to Alex because she wanted to have some power over her. Alex ate the fruit because it’s delicious, regardless of the power play. Piper kept selling the fruit so Alex would come back to the store. Alex will always come back to the store because she has a toxic addiction to Piper’s fruit. The whole time they’re saying “grocery store” and “fruit” and “customer,” Suzanne is doing air quotes around it. She is a magician.

Pennsatucky finds Nicky staring out the window at the inmates who are getting early release and tells her the best plan is not to care if you get out. If you do, it’s a nice surprise. But if you don’t, you didn’t expect it anyway, and so it’s not a disappointment. She calls it “a double-reverse-jinx strategy,” which is how my girlfriend watches sports. (It doesn’t work.)

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I heard they’re doing the Fun Home musical in Berdie’s drama class. Y’all wanna go?

Big Boo menaces her way in between Pennsatucky and Nicky to ask about the missing drugs and Nicky weaves a yarn about how it wasn’t her and Boo can’t prove it and deal with it and her friends can trust her, okay, and then we flashback to this time she was hanging out with her drug buddies after she’d been arrested for the taxi-stealing thing, and to get some money to score some more heroin, they decided to break into one of their friends’ houses and steal her rare books and pawn them. Which, apparently, is the thing that landed her in Litchfield finally.

While Norma leads a group of silent worshipers in prayer, Angie and Leanne come bebopping by, tripping balls, and Nicky realizes they’ve found her stash. She runs to Luscheck to dime them out and get her drugs back. He does, and when he brings the bags of smack back to electrical, Nicky gets so Gollum with them that Luscheck has to pry them out of her hands while she screeches about nasty little tricksy hobbitses. Her Precious. HER PRECIOUS. Nicky knows she’s fucked up about the heroin, and she knows if Luscheck doesn’t get it out of there, it’s going to actually kill her. She says she’s a master of self-destruction, and then in the next breath she says he’s just got to trust her because it will be different this time.

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Thor is a man!

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Well, Thor as a woman has sold about a zillion more comic books, so you can suck my Norse thunder hammer!

Red’s mediation with Healy and his wife is pretty awful because Healy and his wife are pretty awful. Red finally snaps about, like, what did Katya think she was getting into when some random dude off the internet offered to pay for her to come to the U.S. and then marry her for citizenship. Like, that’s not some kind of Disney Prince situation, okay? She’s lucky it was Healy and not Pornstache. (Sophie’s Choice of Immeasurable Horrors.) But then Red takes it one step further and says Healy is a handsome, hard-working good guy and Katya is lucky to have him. Which is ridiculous. That Red said it out loud, yes. But also, that she might actually believe it.

No! No, I refuse that reality. In the name of Norma, I command the evil spirits to depart from you, Red! Return her to her right mind, you devils, you hellworms!

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Oh gross, do you love me?

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Weirdly, yes.

Alex and Piper return to the empty library for another hate-fuck but they can’t work up the anger because they got tricked into being empathetic for a nanosecond. Well, now what are they going to do? No books and no sex? What a bleak world! What they need is someone to write a book about sex for them, inside Litchfield. But who could be such a hero?

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Daya hears a couple of women in the bathroom talking about how the cute, good-smelling guard is back, so she rushes out thinking it’s Bennett. Her face is so sad when it is so not Bennett.

Caputo is having a day. The guards have heard the word that Litchfield is probably closing down, and they’re guilting him about it, and so he calls up his old frenemy Natalie Figueroa and asks for her help, which is dumb as shit because she’s got a vendetta against him and all kinds of power now because her gay husband is the governor or mayor or something. Some kind of political guy. She does give him a hot tip about getting an independent firm to take over Litchfield, though, because allowing unchecked capitalism to govern a group of powerless people, that always works out. The point is, Caputo is angry and annoyed and when he hears Leanne and Angie talking about Luscheck lifting their drugs, he marches to electrical to conduct a search.

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He hasn’t even read any of the female Thor books! He doesn’t get to have an opinion about it!

He does find one small bag of heroin, taped underneath Luscheck’s desk. Luscheck says it’s Nicky’s, and Caputo immediately believes him. Or, well, who knows if Caputo actually believes him. It doesn’t matter. It’s the bro code, the law enforcement code, the power code. It’s one of those things or all of those things. Caputo grabs up Nicky, no questions asked, and hauls her off to max.

Red and Morello find her being pulled down the hallway and tell her how much they love her.

On the way to max, Nicky remembers the day her mom stopped bailing her out. She was in her lawyer’s office on the hundredth floor of some high-powered law firm and her mom pulled the plug on the money, the support, all of it. Nicky said everything an addict does, blamed everyone but herself. Her mom said Nicky’s desire to self-destruct was unquenchable, and Nicky knew she was right.

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KISS ME GOODBYE I’M DEFYING GRAVITY!

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BRIIIIING MEEEEE DOOOOOWWWWWWNNNNNN

I think what’s most poignant about Nicky’s flashbacks is — unlike so many of the other characters who had different options and didn’t take them, or were truly victims of a severely broken system (like if Flaca was a white dude, she’d never be in prison for basically selling little squares of notebook paper to her high school classmates) — Nicky kind of knows that if she had it to do all over again, she’d fuck it up the same way. Driving down the hill, Pennsatucky says the bright side is, it can’t get worse. Nicky disagrees; she’s says she’s very resourceful. The embodiment of a Shakespearean tragedy. A Bloodhound for Oblivion. Chlamydia dell’Arte!

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1141 articles for us.

45 Comments

  1. I was sad to see Nicky go. I don’t read spoilers so I was completely shocked that it happened. I missed her all the rest of the season.

    I don’t know if the writers wanted us to be turned on by Piper and Alex’s hate-fucking but I was so far from that. I didn’t find those scenes sexy at all. And while the actresses may have chemistry(though that is subjective), I just don’t care anymore. All of their scenes these days leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. I am so glad that I don’t watch this show for them or I would have quit watching a long time ago. Thank God, everyone else is so much more interesting. Piper and Alex(to a lesser extent), look whiny by comparison.

  2. it is a massive testament to natasha lyonne that she has me rooting for a scheming, lying junkie to turn it around like she keeps promising she’s going to. i hope we get nicky back next season!

    and i agree with you about piper and alex thinking they’re too good to be in there, although part of me feels like alex was sliiiiightly more aware that this was a potential consequence of their actions.

    healy is just so, so gross.

    • Yeah, so agree with you about Natasha Lyonne. I will be heartbroken if she doesn’t come back. She is a wizard.

      I also agree about Alex being like a fraction more self-aware than Piper about her horribleness. But just a fraction.

  3. I had a bad day but reading this made me cackle and all of my roommates think I’m INSANE. I’m probably going to be thinking about the phrase “masturbating to the sounds of their own voices” for many, many days. I’m still giggling about it.

    I agree with you about Piper and Alex, Heather. I’m having a hard time getting through the season because I give no fucks about them.

    Do you think Healy owns a meninist t-shirt? Because I imagine that Healy is always wearing a meninist t-shirt under his CO uniform, and that at least makes me giggle while he’s saying dumb shit.

  4. Perfect recap, just perfect.
    I missed Nicky so much for the rest of the season. Also I agree, I’m not feeling the Alex and Piper thing. (Okay…yes, their scenes were hot af.) Too much back-and-forth hate and love and it’s just a weird relationship that I don’t see having a healthy future. Reminds me of the one relationship I’ve had. And that shit was dumb.

  5. Agree with everyone else re. Piper and Alex. Snore, go away already.

    Poussey doing the book elegy in her I’m-tough-but-in-a-cute-way persona was the cutest cuteness.

    Any opinions on whether the heroin that Caputo found was actually stashed there by Nicky for later (which seems like a not very smart idea and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t have just taken it back down to the laundry room or wherever), or by Luschek so that he could screw her out of the 20% (which also seems unlikely because he could just… not give her the 20%)? Neither scenario makes much sense to me.

    • I assumed that Nicky stashed it there because she couldn’t let it all go. She didn’t really seem like she was angry when she was carried away. To me it seemed more like she was pissed at herself for fucking up again because of drugs. But I could be very wrong, I haven’t finished the season yet so I’m not sure if it comes up again!

      I think your right that it seems really odd for Nicky to stash it under Luschek’s desk rather than put it somewhere where it had gone undiscovered for so long. I mean, OF COURSE someone was going to find it eventually. I wonder if there was a bit of self-sabotage involved. She knew that it was possible for her to get heroin in minimum security, and she knew that if she started using again she would probably die. So maybe getting caught and transferred to max is the better option?

      I think the more likely answer is that they needed a way to get Nicky busted and that seemed convenient. I’m not at all surprised that she held on to some, but I’m with you that the placement was weird.

    • I imagined Nicky had only a couple of seconds to hide it somewhere — like if Luschek turned away for a moment — and she saw the desk and went for it, meaning to retrieve it when she had the chance later.

      I’m pretty sure that Nicky was the one to hide it though, from her panicked look when they started searching.

  6. The end of this episode really had me bawling my eyes out, particularly how Red feels a sense of responsibility for Nicky. You can tell in some sense Red feels like she failed as a prison mom in looking out for Nicky, but at the same time you see that Nicky’s problems go back so much further and probably have quite a bit to do with her actual mother, and Red couldn’t have stopped Nicky’s self-destruction.

    • Everyone I know watches the show because of Alex and Piper so trust me you’re not alone! I’d like to see what would happen if some people got their wish and they weren’t on anymore. My guess is that would be the last season for sure.

  7. Heather I died, like scream laughed to my death in front of Laura W. with this line:

    Nicky gets so Gollum with them that Luscheck has to pry them out of her hands while she screeches about nasty little tricksy hobbitses.

  8. I am so happy with the use of the captions to make silly pop culture references. Was especially pleased with the Fun Home runner.

    Heather, you do such a great job of distilling the essence/subtext of scenes/jokes into both different jokes and poignant words. (I realize now that this is just kinda a job description of recapping. Still great though!)

  9. The drama scene with Alex and Piper was hands down one of the best written, directed and especially acted scenes ever on the show. Laura and Taylor played the hell out of the subtext of that scene and played it to perfection. I would’ve liked Alex waiting longer to forgive Piper but it played out so perfectly that I can’t argue with it. I will miss their hate sex though ;)

  10. ” but Piper and Alex think they’re too good to be here. There’s this superiority and exclusivity to the way they act, like yeah they sold drugs, but they’re pretty white women who sold drugs, so it’s extra unfair that they have to go to jail for it”

    Damn that’s some huge projection. LOL. There is literally nothing in the show to support your projection-claim, particularly for Alex. Sounds like you’re just bitter they’re “pretty white women” who have a tumultuous ongoing relationship you dislike and they get screen time.

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