Orange Is the New Black Episode 306 Recap: All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

Why are y’all laughing? You should totally be gay together. You would be the most powerful lesbian couple in history. You’d be the Frank and Claire Underwood of Litchfield! No one could stop you! Anyway, the music goes, “Something so sweet is about to happen!” Red raises her hand to wave. Healey walks by and frowns at her. Gloria vomits.


You wanna get gay married, or nah?


Married is just married now. Love won.

Later, Red follows Healey into his office where he whines his Men’s Rights Activism drivel about how unfair it is that every woman on earth doesn’t just shut their damn mouths like the Bible says and have sex with him. Like so unfair. The most unfair. To a woman who is in prison taking the fall for an entire incompetent crime ring run by men, Healey talks about how unfair it is to be a man in this world. Red says when you rob women of their agency, it robs them of their currency, which leaves them with one coin to spend. How dare you judge them for spending it?

The jig is up for Taystee. Poussey has caught that squirrel she thought was thieving her hooch, and Suzanne spots it when she comes to share the news about Judy King getting arrested. “The one who has that plantation vibe, but in a fun way” is how Poussey describes her before falling to her knees and begging the Lord to send her to Litchfield. Probably she would not be as good a prison cook as Chang is, but she’d probably challenge Red and Gloria for managing the kitchen (…unless Red and Gloria were MARRIED). Taystee sits Poussey down and tells her she’s the one who was stealing her jail juice.


Oh shit what if I became Walter White?

In the Panty Shoppe, Flaca and Piper have a giggle about how they’d trade places with the catalog models in a second, even though their lives are probably just pills and cutting. Ruby Rose looks over and smiles coyly. Piper pretends to not know why, like she’s never seen an alternative lifestyle haircut or something.


What season do you think it’ll be before a black woman gets to have prison sex on this show, and how much nudity on a scale of one to The L Word?


All right. Season ten and ABC Family-style side-boob.

At a different Panty Shoppe station, Black Cindy is also flipping through a Panty Shoppe catalog.

Black Cindy: White bitches, white bitches. How many pages do you think it’s gotta be before they put in the token black person, and how dark is she, on a scale from one to Grace Jones?
Janae: All right. 14 and four.
Black Cindy: Oh, so close! Here she is, page 11. But she’s like a two. The bitch’s got blue eyes.
Janae: Yeah. Look at her abs, though.

Morello is working a new angle with a prison pen pal program. The first dude she meets, she weaves a yarn about how she was behind the greatest jewel heist in Arizona’s history. He’s a gun enthusiast, so he’s hella impressed. He talks to her about weapons for an hour. Later, she talks to an anime nut, and tells him Daya is her favorite artists. He’s hardcore into her too. She studies to meet a bird watcher, but mixes up the days and ends up telling a karate guy about the mating habits of mallard ducks, and he flips out because he doesn’t care about birds! Maybe that’s because he’s never met Litchfield’s magical chicken. Or maybe it’s because he belongs to the same MRA subreddit as Healey and thinks women are made to fuck him and only talk about his very specific set of interests.


These are the various hairstyles I had when Nikki gave me my favorite orgasms.

Morello breaks down and admits she’s bored and lonely because Nicky is gone. I feel you, girl. I feel you.

At lunch, Lolly asks for a kosher meal, and everyone reacts like she asked to order in pizza or something. They finally come up with one for her, a frozen thing from waaaaay back in the freezer. Chang, meanwhile, wants two milks and peas and that’s all. She dumps the milk, stashes the peas, and takes them to her dorm where she mixes them together with crunched up Fritos and hot sauce and bakes them in the microwave. No one even notices.


Chang, do you think I’m as annoying as Piper?


No one is as annoying as Piper.

Well, Soso notices. She laments the fact that Asian people don’t commit enough low value crimes to end up in Litchfield, so she’s never going to have a “big Asian prison family.” Chang tells Soso she’s Scottish, but she says her white friends all think a single drop of ethnic blood makes her as Chinese as her toothbrush.

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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 1138 articles for us.


  1. It is as if the writers of Chang’s backstory did not know how to build in complexity and humanity into Chang’s lines. Besides the priceless bathroom scene where Chang is given visibility, and validity, in her interaction with Piper, where Chang shows Piper how to interact with another human being with dignity, confidentiality, and respect, and just for a moment, Chang is there, taking up space and time as though she existed beyond her limited and go nowhere excuse for pre prison life. I can’t imagine if the OITNB writers have given themselves enough credible leads in introducing Chang as a Human, to develop her as nuanced, idiosyncratic, paradoxical, with conviction enough to extend her character into future central storylines, say, in the way that Pennsatucky, Black Cindy, Gloria or Big Boo have grown. I was cheering for Chang, as her temperament of being so far, contained, self sufficient as to ?not want small talk, or risk her security, could be represented with more authenticity and investment. I was disappointed at the lack of investment of complexity and depth in her character.

    • Same. I just felt like they could have done so much more. But they haven’t really built anything around Chang as a three dimensional character up to this point, so maybe it was too much to ask for one episode? However, I feel like the writers did it with Rosa in Season 2 in a really meaningful way. I’m glad they decided to finally focus on Chang as they have with other secondary characters. I just wanted more for her and better Asian representation on the show, in general.

    • Right. Like, yes she’s not trying to assimilate to white American culture, but that doesn’t mean she’s not relatable on a human level? As a first-generation American I’ve seen people in my parents’ immigrant community be “othered” due to their heavy accents in ways that are not always so blatant, but still quite damaging, especially in health care contexts. Though I am white and blend in with American culture, I see the struggles that my family and friends have had just to be treated as human sometimes. By portraying Chang as an immigrant who doesn’t mind being left alone and treated as other in an otherwise progressive show, it loses a dimension of humanness that is almost completely universal: the need for connection.

  2. Laura, KaeLyn, Yao, and Fikri: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys hustled over the holiday weekend to create this wonderful, insightful commentary, without which this recap would just be even more erasure for Chang. I learned so much reading your thoughts and am so so so thankful that I get to work with you every day.

    KaeLyn, that part about Chang symbolically killing the male gaze was so on point, and I’m so glad you called it out. I would haven’t seen it on my own.

  3. I’m sorry but I found the writing for Change incredibly racist and predictable. Is it so much to ask that we get Asian characters with stories that don’t involve arranged marriages, Karate, Asian ~mysticism~ or violence?


    I personally found the parts of the episode about Chang’s day really heartbreaking at first. Totally projected myself onto those lonely meals. Then I just found it kind of badass that she had a hidden bag of oranges and a phone – WHO PUT THE ORANGES THERE?!

    I’ve always found Pilex/Aper a bit annoying/boring – but I’m really starting to actively dislike them in this series- they’ve been hella racist and bitchy. WTF is up with that?

    Also- no spoilers but- can we all hold hands and eat marshmallows during the Episode 10-11 recaps? I really struggled with those episodes.

  5. aahhhh, thank you so much for the roundtable! I was having trouble articulating why this episode didn’t really do it for me, and it was so helpful to see my reactions reflected in other people’s responses. Also, I want more Soso in our lives. Hapa girls unite!

  6. That screen cap of Chang looking at Piper– oh, my heart. KaeLyn, your commentary on here was really fantastic to read. Roundtables like this expand my worldview, which I appreciate so much.

  7. I have wondered where Chang’s story might get explored.
    It just strikes me as kind of unique that the audience hasn’t been shown yet, a few things about Chang that seem to be pretty forthcoming and common for the show’s other characters.
    Themes such as How does Chang cope with remaining sane and balanced while being in prison? Who supports her? Why have her desires and the struggle to fulfil her desires and goals while she is in prison not been elaborated on? Is she as self sufficient as she seems? She is not depicted as struggling, but she is visible by the very fact that her support systems within and outside of prison have not been disclosed and explored. No one is an island, but if Chang is an island, I wish the writers would provide context for how and why Chang is. Who is bringing her her supply of oranges and her cell phone? How does she fly so unnoticed under the radar to remove food items from her food tray in the cafeteria without anyone reprimanding her for doing so?

    How did she get her job in commissary? Why is she in prison, exactly? I am hoping that the writers of OITNB have as yet not finalised her story, since there is so much to explore. Any thoughts? There is no danger of a spoiler here in speculating as season 4 has not been released.

  8. I don’t know if Fikri can respond to questions, but do you know what a better translation of “你说你要我们把他怎么办” would have been? I studied mandarin chinese in the past, hence my curiosity.

    What about “你要我们把他做什么?”

    • I’m a native speaker and I feel like it’s not grammatically wrong, but it’s just a lot of words for that sort of moment…it’s unnatural.
      你想怎么处置他or 咱们该怎么处理这个家伙or something like that would have been better.
      It just showed that they didn’t have a script consultant who was fluent in Chinese while they wrote this. x_x

  9. “One last thing that bugs me about this episode (I’m sorry! I told you I hated it!) was that Chang’s backstory is probably not going to be worked into the rest of the prison’s story in any meaningful way, just as how Chang is going to be relegated back to the sidelines after this.”

    Yes this! Even just from a storytelling point of view, nothing about Chang or her backstory ended up going anywhere this season and I’d be surprised if that changed next year. It felt gratuitous, which made the stereotypes all the more egregious. If you’re gonna tell a story that riddled with stereotypes, make it matter.

  10. Thanks so much for this. This is why Autostraddle rocks so much. .. no matter what minority within our minority is representedby something, more often than not you find someone who identifies with it to share it with us.
    I’m reading the AE OITNB recaps too, mostly out of boredom and I’ve realised what difference it makes.(and not just OITNB – exactly the same thing with Transparent and The Rich Man’s Daughter…) it’s always better here when you put the effort into matching the best writer/s to the task! :)
    I feel like in general they give the ‘Piper lens’ on the world and you guys share the lens around for the betterment of us all.

  11. This article was so great and insightful. I was so excited and pleased that Chang was getting an actual backstory. She had been used pretty much exclusively for comic relief in past seasons, and I was afraid that her character wasn’t going to be explored at all. But I was kind of disappointed in all the stereotypes. Maybe if there were more Asian characters on the show with lots of varied backstories, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But when the Asian representation is so low, every single stereotype that you put into one character becomes that much more prominent. I was really enjoying young Chang being so strong and badass, but I literally could not believe that they threw a martial arts fighting scene into the mix. Talk about excessive.

    I don’t know. Like Heather, I’m a white woman, so my views are limited. I just was so happy that you guys did this roundtable thing. It was really helpful to me and opened my eyes to a lot of issues I was blind to because of my white privilege. Thank you!

  12. I’m so glad the roundtable was part of this recap. People have been saying OITNB has a problem with how they underuse their two Asian characters, and it looks like this ep didn’t really redeem the writers on that front — too many stereotypes.

  13. I just watched this episode today and was unsure how I felt about it afterward. The roundtable format was super helpful in clarifying the many things going on and helping me see things in ways that I, as a white woman, did not before. Thank you for this!

  14. I really liked that they showed Chang making her own food that seemed way more appetizing than any of the other food available. I would agree that I don’t think she was envying the prison families, she seems very set in her independence and self made comforts.

  15. I always enjoy reading the OITNB recaps, but am especially grateful for this one because when I watched the episode, the source I was watching it from didn’t provide subtitles. So the recap helped me to catch up on the parts I missed! I did roll my eyes pretty hard at the martial arts scene though – thanks for calling out the stereotyping. Really appreciated the round-table discussion.

  16. i really appreciated the roundtable at the end of the recap! i also had some weird feelings about this episode–glad they included a backstory, but why choose THIS backstory, stereotypes, etc–so reading about how y’all felt about it was helpful with organizing my feelings about it.

  17. Regarding Chang’s backstory, it felt too much like an 80s American action-movie style storyline to me, and I felt a bit ripped-off compared to the back-stories of some of the other characters.

    But then I wasn’t sure whether I was so disappointed because I’m Asian and so to me it’s the Asian storyline that’s dripping in stereotype, or whether folks from other minority backgrounds feel like the back-stories of other minority characters were similarly as overtly stereotypical?

    But to echo what everyone else has said, it’s really disappointing that Chang is still on the periphery. I’d be really really pleased if they somehow utilised Chang’s invisibility (the scene where the brother points out that they’d use Chang because she’s invisible really rang true for me), and have some sort of ‘it was Chang all along’ reveal of a major plot-point or season arc.

  18. Echoing others above – great recap, and I’m so glad the roundtable was part of it. Y’all are so insightful, I love it!

    Also I just watched A League of Their Own for the first time about a week ago (even though I was a Rockford Peach at A-Camp 4.0, whoops) and I thought that Kit and Lolly(?) looked very similar but I didn’t realize they were the same actress until right now!! Also p. sure the ball was dropped on purpose.

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