Orange is The New Black Episode 307 Recap: Some Kind Of Fetish Fangirl

Hello and welcome to the seventh recap of the third season of Orange is the New Black, a reality competition that pits cat-owners against babies to decide once and for all who looks better in an bee costume.

This is The Book Of Norma: Norma’s Episode, an hour-long treatise on the benefits of human touch, shrugging your shoulders, chopping off your fingertips and possessing pungent vaginal discharge. No, really it’s about how to find purpose or meaning in powerlessness, maybe, or about strength in silence. Or it’s about how a quiet follower can become a spiritual center, made holy by her refusal to talk — let alone live — as loudly as those who surround her, ever-so-convinced they’ve got something important to say. It’s about how we decide what to believe in, and how that decision claims to be wide open but really never can be.

It’s also about two people connecting. With four other people. And aliens.

I swear to goddess if those teenagers who live above me don't stop playing 24/7 dubstep I'm gonna lose my mind

I swear to goddess if those teenagers who live above me don’t start fast-forwarding through the theme song at some point in this OITNB marathon I’m gonna lose my mind

This is Norma’s episode and everybody thinks Norma is magic. She hexes your ex’s new girl by rubbing paper between her hands, which coincidentally is also how you warm up Sally Hansen waxing strips. They’re about as good for removing hair as Norma is for removing your ex’s new girl from your ex, I imagine. Norma’s got healing energy hands, too. I learned about this in my Reiki Master training. You should try it.

Meanwhile the new guards have started “training,” and by “training” I mean watching a ’90s video about sexual harassment while Caputo hangs out in the back with Danny, trying to pretend like he’s never masturbated in his office.


Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?


That kid never fucking shows up

Back in the Underpants Factory, everybody’s chatting about men who pay for women’s panties. I really hate the word “panties” but I’m gonna try to roll with it for y’all.


You know, I did try douching with vinegar and water and I have to say, that did tamper down the smell a little bit —


Nobody wants to hear about the time you left a tampon in for eight days. Literally nobody.

The girls can’t believe that’s a thing:

Flaca: I can’t believe that’s a thing!
Black Cindy: Man, everything is a thing. Like the people who like to fuck in animal costumes!
Stella: Furries.
Piper: Or those guys who are really into My Little Pony.
Stella: Bronies!
Black Cindy: Look at you, boo-boo.
Piper: What are you, some kind of fetish fangirl?

Black Cindy says there’s somebody out there for everybody these days, like even for cannibals and ticklers and whatever Larry Bloom is.

Black Cindy: See, it used to be all these weirdos sitting alone in their houses, jerking it to bugs or falling in love with their toasters, feeling all creepy and sad. Now, all they got to do is log on and find the same-minded toaster-loving peeps and, like, bam, suddenly shit be perfectly normal.

Sometimes it’s hard to recap this show because the jokes in the show are just so good that you don’t really even need my jokes anymore.

Wait, hold up. PONY PLAY??

Hell no you will never be as perfect as me

Red returns to the kitchen, where Gloria and the girls celebrate her arrival by doing some double-dutch routines to a Debbie Gibson CD. Just kidding! She returns and nobody celebrates anything.

That's right. I've seen the finale and I will NOT hesitate to spoil it for you in the comments

That’s right. I’ve seen the finale and I will NOT hesitate to spoil it for you in the comments


Norma, at least, is pleased by her Alpha’s return.

FLASHBACK! Young Norma, a tender button-nosed curly-haired girl who looks like she’d be a really good babysitter is hitting up an EMPOWER YOURSELF meeting, lead by a long-haired bearded guy in white linen pants and sandals named Guru Mack. Not to be confused with “Guru Mac,” McDonald’s failed rice patty project.

What gives me so much power, you may ask? I'll tell you. It's because I'm a man.

I’m a man. And I know everything.

But isn't it men who got us into this war in the first place?


Guru Mack’s got all the standard spiritual mumbo-jumbo that charismatic and slightly unhinged guys like him used in the ’70s to become “spiritual leaders” and bang a lot of chicks with center parts. Good news, readers: I’ve watched a lot of documentaries about cults, and I’m pretty sure this guy’s based on Father Yod and The Source Family.

Cults like this one tended to follow a certain pattern: A charismatic and slightly unhinged man, usually a man who was rejected or otherwise felt alienated by the religion he’d initially aimed to dedicate his life to, begins gathering young, wandering followers under the auspices of equality and harmony. He spots an opportunity within the sexual revolution and second-wave feminism to create a dangerous and highly patriarchal and sexualized society while advertising it to be precisely the opposite. (FREE LOVE!) It was much easier to run off, too, than it was today, and running off felt like a real departure because phone calls weren’t cheap and letters take time to travel and require an address. So it was easier for women to get lost and become the possession of a controlling polygamist.

Guru Mack calls Norma “Sister Sad Eyes,” tells her she’s among friends, that here she can share her story. Norma opens her mouth to speak but instead stutters — and Guru Mack, with his eagle-eye for exploitable weaknesses, seizes the moment. Here, she need not speak, he implores, he’ll just place his hands on her forearms and declare her empowered.

And this is how men give cooties to women

And this is how men give women acne

She’s all in.

Berdie’s been given the gift of erotica, courtesy of her enthusiastic drama student Suzanne Warren, fan of purple love muscles and mammals with scales and vaseline dildos. Berdie reminds Suzanne that drama class is mostly about violence and Palex, not beastiality.

Berdie: I asked you to re-imagine a primary life experience, not write a kinky sex fantasy set in space!
Suzanne: It’s not just sex. It’s love. It’s two people connecting. with four other people. and aliens.

Bless us, everyone.

So Spencer runs into Aria in the basement of a mental institution?

So when exactly do Spencer and Aria come into the story?


I took some creative liberties with the assignment —

The assignment was SPARIA fan-fic, Suzanne.

The assignment was SPARIA fan-fic, Suzanne.

Get this Emison shit out of my office.

Get this Emison shit out of my office.

Suzanne’s devastated by the rejection but Taystee’s there to turn her frown upside down: reminding her that even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got rejected ten billion times and that she can’t let Berdie stop her from living her best life. Just like there’s a splosher out there for everybody, there’s a reader out there for every terrible e-book. For example, a sequel to 50 Shades of Grey “from Christian’s point of view” is #1 on The New York Times bestseller list AS WE SPEAK.

Suzanne: Chang got to do her scene and it’s all heads popping off and organs coming out!
Taystee: That’s because this is America. Violence is all good and fine but SEX?! Lord no!


In the Mel-Caf, the girls have gathered ’round for an intoxicating game of MASH, famous for its prominence in slumber parties of yore. Daya says she always got “shack” but she bets Piper always got “mansion.” Also in real life, probably Piper had a mansion in real life too.

You bet I ate his brains first. Sucked 'em right out of his eyeballs and ate that shit with soy sauce, motherfuckers

You bet I ate his brains first. Sucked ’em right out of his eyeballs and ate that shit with vodka sauce!

Piper sing-songs about her four bathrooms and the half-bath off the playroom and how truly, she was a very lonely child — which is both true and not really gonna work too well with this crowd.

Morello: Do you hear yourself sometimes? Like when you speak?

Over at Cafe Halal, Black Cindy, Taystee, Poussey and Watson are enjoying the hell out of their kosher meals, which’s more than I can say for the kosher meals we all were treated to at A-Camp.

Wait, tribadism and frottage are the same thing?

Wait, Hannah Montana is queer now too?

Did you read the Autostraddle article about Scissoring I sent you?

What part of “EVERYONE IS GAY” did you not understand?

Morello’s Suitor Talk gets Piper thinking about all this on macro level, and why caged women appeal to free men:

Piper: It’s like we’re all in Chained Heat or Cellblock Sisters and all we do is have lesbian sex and strip searches and have naked catfights in the shower.
Piper: We also do other things.

Morello’s not concerned, ’cause they get what they want and she gets what she wants and everybody wins. This gets Piper thinking, too: now that she’s no longer crafting artisinal soaps with Polly to cleanse the buttcracks of Williamsburg’s finest, she’s ready for a new project. She’s ready for the opposite of soap.

Errrr I really don't think "tribadism" is a word but let her screw up her own crossword puzzle if she wants to

Errrr I really don’t think “tribadism” is a word but let her screw up her own crossword puzzle if she wants to

Piper, practically near-combustion regarding the first good idea she’s had since doing the Macarena to “Milkshake,” reveals her business plan to Alex Vause, who thinks it’s FUCKING BRILLIANT.

New CO training continues to remind us why private corporations taking over prisons is a terrible no good very bad idea. Caputo insists they need 40 hours of training, Danny insists they should just read the manual and maybe watch some late-night MSNBC specials about prison and then they’ll be 100% ready to supervise a motley crew of attractive young women with low-level criminal histories.

Now imagine your forearms are rainbows, spiraling outwards into the sky

Now imagine your forearms are rainbows, spiraling outwards into the sky, and let yourself hear the cry of inmates starving for love, and then take a deep breath, and let it go

In the kitchen, Gina and The Not-Weeping Weeping Woman creep in to beg Norma to start a spiritual healing group with them now that their witching club has fallen into disarray. Red thinks it’s nonsense but Norma glows radiantly when they talk about her magical healing powers.





Red railroads ’em as Norma stands there shrugging, half-smiling, doing the non-verbal equivalent of attempting to get a word in edgewise but ultimately, of course, submitting to Red. Red is bossy and thinks she knows what’s best and Norma is a person who is drawn to people who can tell her what’s best. But now she has a chance to be the person who knows best and she’s going for it.

Norma’s an interesting character because she’s relatively free of malice and ill-intent. There’s no dark, deviant side to her, nothing ugly and misanthropic that emerges when shit gets tough or crime shows up like it does for pretty much every other character on this show. She’s just a follower who cracks maybe once or twice a lifetime.

FLASHBACK! Guru Mack and the cast of HAIR have gathered in a grassy field for Guru Mack to wed himself to all his flaxen-haired followers, therefore achieving the holy purpose of banging as many chicks as possible.

When the moon is in the Seventh House And Jupiter aligns with Mars

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets

Then peace will guide the planets And love will steer the stars!

Are we supposed to know the lyrics to this?

Why does everyone know the lyrics to this song?

Norma Moon is seemingly unprepared for the fact that her astral plane moon sun goddess love and light wedding to Guru Mack is to be followed by Guru Mack’s astral plane moon sun goddess love and light wedding to Kirsa Rain and then his astral plane moon sun goddess love and light wedding to Silver Tree and then his wedding to every other girl in the cult.

I wonder who will get to braid his hair tonight!?

I can’t wait ’til later when we put arsenic in his dandelion wine

One of the guys says this is kinda weird and maybe he shouldn’t have given this dude his Volvo? Pro tip: never give “spiritual leaders” your Volvo, y’all.

Out in the yard, Donaldson delivers important info about how to be a guard to this guy who looks like a diaper.

Tell me everything you know about dental dams

Tell me everything you know about dental dams

Piper spies Lolly with her two eyes but Lolly doesn’t recognize her, which ignites Alex’s paranoia that Lolly’s been sent here to kill her. But no mind: there’s a Prison Panty Party Enterprise to plan! They’ll just need to gather some girls to wear the panties for 2-3 days (Piper has a “strong brew,” says Alex, so she’ll need less time). Alex will be the brains. Everybody else will be the genitalia.

Okay so Nicky is like, the hub, and then Nicky connects to Morello, but Morello also connects to you, and then I connect to you —

Okay so Nicky is like, the hub, and then Nicky connects to Morello, but Nicky also connects to you, and then I connect to you —

Now they just need a panty mule.

Alex: Someone gullible, and insecure enough to be flattered that you picked them—
Piper: For the record, I was not gullible, I was trusting, and perhaps a little inhibited—
Alex: You had a flimsy sense of self. You dressed head-to-toe in Urban Outfitters.

Who should stroll on by, then, but the new recruit Alex pegs for his resemblance to a Gerber Baby, who promptly proceeds to pepper spray two girls fighting over a tight game of UNO, and then, ultimately, himself, and CO Donaldson.


Are those women kissing?





Taystee declares Suzanne’s erotica worse than 50 Shades, which is actually impossible. The 25-book series I penned in first grade about a family of genderfluid dinner plates named “The Simpletons” is better than 50 Shades. Episode 608 of The L Word is better than 50 Shades, and that’s the worst hour of television I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing. The week-old grocery list in my back pocket is better than 50 Shades. I have no doubt that Suzanne’s erotica is better than 50 Shades. 

Damn I had no idea lesbians were so into anal

Damn I had no idea lesbians were so into anal

Suzanne, unaware that Taystee’s not exactly salivating over the material, eagerly delivers her a second chapter. Luckily, there’s at least one inmate more than ready for a fictional journey straight out of this hellhole and queerly into a vaginal canal / Space-Time Vortex:

Oh so ladies are sticking what up their butts now

Huh. So scissoring IS a thing.

Caputo yells at Donaldson and Gerber Baby (alternate names suggested for Gerber Baby by Caputo: Fucking Baby Huey Over Here, a Trigger-Happy Knucklehead Who Just Got Out Of Diapers). This is what happens when you put untrained officers in Gen-Pop, says Donaldson. I know, says Caputo, fuming and powerless.

Red eyeshadow is a very difficult look to pull off!

Who do you think you are, Arabelle Sicardi? Red eyeshadow is a very difficult look to pull off!

We know.

We know.

Back in the relaxing ambiance of the Yelp-approved Litchfield Visitors Area Lounge, Gloria struggles to connect with her son and convince him that fractions matter. Who needs fractions, though, when he can pal around with his new best friend Michael!


How many times do I have to tell you to watch Degrassi? YOU MIGHT REALLY ENJOY IT!

Michael’s swearing like a sailor after a few hours in the car with Benny and his Moms are NOT having it. They’re raising eyebrows at each other like Stef and Lena.


Well I heard that somebody forgot to update their credit card for their A+ membership and now Mommy can’t read interviews with Dannielle Owens-Reid’s exes from jail anymore


Remember what we promised. Do not give her the new password

Before Gloria and Benny have time to recover from Benny being a condescending teenage twatwaffle, Gloria is yanked away from her family-family to care for a member of her chosen family: Martiza chopped her finger off!

Gloria: Sorry baby.
Benny: Whatever.


Elsewhere in the Visitor’s Center, Piper’s brother is lamenting the new trend in labor relations wherein everybody he knows except him has a job, like even Larry has a job at Zagats and an office.

You gotta tell me, do Alex's rugs match the curtains?

You’ve gotta tell me, do Alex’s rugs match the curtains?

Thus, the final piece of the Prison Panty Power Project snaps into place: Cal, one of a few names on the list of Men I Don’t Hate, is suspiciously well-aware of the online demand for underroos and will be more than happy to assist his sister in the execution of this revolutionary work.

Everybody needs something to believe in, right? Sometimes it’s a misguided “spiritual leader” and sometimes it’s just capitalism.

Daya wants to know if growing up with money made Piper a better human and she mostly gives it two thumbs up, like she had ballet lessons, but wasn’t too good at the flute? You know how it is. The flute is hard. The moral is: money buys happiness, but only so much.

Piper: Love is the most important thing.
Daya: Yeah, but money helps.
Piper: Yeah, money helps. But you know what? We both ended up here.

Seriously you can't see it? It's a tiny hair, coming out of my chin, and it's ruining my life.

Seriously you can’t see it? It’s a tiny hair, coming out of my chin, and it’s ruining my life.

In the Rest and Relaxation Audio/Visual Room, Poussey’s vadge-deep in Suzanne’s Sex Spectacular while Black Cindy hunts for some Jewy movies (e.g, Seinfeld, Fiddler on the Roof) to become adequately acquainted with the religion that inspired her kosher meals. Unfortunately, Shalom Sesame is nowhere to be found.

Black Cindy: Ain’t any Jewy movies in here? Shit.
Poussey: Aren’t all movies Jewy?

Hell YEAH look who just found "If These Walls Could Talk 2"

Found it. “If These Walls Could Talk 2.”

Poussey leaps out of her prison pants when Suzanne shows up — she’s got questions about Edwina’s romantic future, like is she gonna pick the wearwolf, the vampire, Jose or Alicia Cargyle? Suzanne has fans, y’all, and she deserves ’em.

Ever gonna throw a bone to the Sparia fans, though?

Ever gonna throw a bone to the Sparia fans, though?


Halloween. Special.

Danny visits Caputo for a little one-on-one in which Caputo wants things that the prison needs, like 40 hours of training so Gerber Babies don’t lose their shit and spray their seed all over the card sharks, and Danny wants things like Caputo to be “open-minded” about “changes around here.”

I’m not exactly President of the Caputo Fan Club, but lawd, how the fuck can you take care of people — and not just any  people, but mostly people who’ve never, ever, been adequately cared for — when the people in charge are serving another entirely separate interest of “delivering profits to shareholders”? Prison should never be privatized. It’s really, truly awful.

You know, like a beer can

You know, like a beer can

Nah man, I'm talking about a fifth of Grey Goose right now

Nah man, I’m talking about a jug of Mickey’s Ice right now

Danny attempts to explain to Caputo what he does as “Director of Human Activity” and why he’s not really Caputo’s boss, except that he kind of is, ’cause Caputo gets no access to the top and Danny does.

Caputo: If you are my boss, then you’re the warden.
Danny: No no we don’t call it that. I’m the Director of Human Activity!

You'd call me a switch? Really? Are we in the same relationship here? I'm ALWAYS the top.

You’d call me a switch? Really? Are we in the same relationship here? I’m ALWAYS the top.

Norma’s reluctant to pursue her spiritual practice although Gina insists she’s helping people. But leading is a lot for Norma. Following, though? That she can do.

Yup that's right I just want a little picture of a Tweety bird RIGHT on my lower back

Yup that’s right I just want a little picture of a Tweety bird RIGHT on my lower back

Red’s distraught about the fate of her kitchen and “those tacos” walking around like they’re in charge. You’re still in charge, writes Norma.

Red: Of who, you? No, I’m your friend. Your bossy friend, but still, your friend!

The kitchen is her baby, says Red, her voice cracking — so Norma reaches out with her hands to give the healing touch.

Red: Is this the thing you do? The magic?
[Norma nods yes, clearly proud of herself]
Red: Well stop it. I’m not comfortable with that. Come on, Norma, let’s get back to the real thing.

FLASHBACK! Norma and Guru Mack drive through the countryside in a sad empty van, riding out the tail end of his cult’s final days. Norma’s making a flyer for a meditation session but without all those chicks to bang, Guru Mack’s not feeling the warmth of G-d’s love anymore… or even the warmth of Norma’s love.

Guru Mack: All those wives and I’m left with you, my one true believer. So much for sacred vows. Now I’m going down on those trumped-up bullshit charges. Those girls were there on their own accord.



Guru Mack’s plan to avoid what I assume are charges of rape and kidnapping is to get off the grid and commune with Gaia. Until the truck breaks down. Then he reverts to every asshole bro’s #1 strategy for dealing with things that break: kicking it, yelling, and using the lord’s name in vain.

Back in the present day, Daya’s trying to get some fetal input on whether the baby would prefer a mansion or living on 149th street with Grandma. Aleida points out that “fetuses don’t know shit” and that Daya’s options for motherhood will be very limited by her criminal record. But Daya doesn’t care about all that. She wants her kid to have the one thing she never had: a mother who wants her, loves her, treasures her, and tells her so, no matter what. A mother who can look back on days like Daya’s 17th birthday and remember being there with her daughter, not the man who gave her money so they could get their toes done.

So, what do you think of my gown?

So, what do you think of my gown?

Looks an awful lot like mine...

Well, it looks an awful lot like my gown…

Aleida can’t go there, though: not having real feelings about her choices as a mother is the only thing keeping her sane and stable and most importantly, tough.

Daya: All I ever wanted was to spend time with you.
Aleida: You were stupid to want me. Kids are dumb. You gotta make decisions for them.

Aleida says money is the problem, was the only problem. Daya doesn’t think so. She thinks love matters most.

In the kitchen, Gloria’s got some choice words regarding how she can take care of her son when her prison daughters keep chopping off their limbs and appendages. Then Sophia drops in to tell Gloria to tell Benny to stop swearing all the time. Control! Everybody wants some of it over something and there’s nothing nearby to hold on to.

My child is NOT to consume any foods containing Yellow Number 5

My child is NOT to consume any foods containing any kind of animal products whatsoever.

Betty Crocker's Bac-O's Bacon Flavor Bits are vegan fool! Check the label!

Betty Crocker’s Bac-O’s Bacon Flavor Bits ARE vegan, fool! Check the damn label!

Gloria: He’s 15. So what he says “fuck.”
Sophia: We don’t talk like that in our house.
Gloria: You think my son is your son’s problem?
Sophia: Tell Benny… to cool it with the dirty jokes and the language. That is if he wants to keep his ride.

Gloria then proceeds to scorch her hand on the saucepan handle and when Caputo shows up to yell at her for ditching her shift to see her son, she quits, but Caputo says she can’t ’cause this is prison and who the fuck else wants this job.

Who the fuck else wants this job?

Did somebody call for Captain Janeway?

Did somebody call for Captain Janeway?

Norma smiles. Red smiles back. Maybe the magic worked, she says with her sad eyes. Maybe she’s a follower with leader powers.



Piper informs her Australian friendmate that she could be hoarding leftover fabric to construct additional pairs of panties which she then can wallow in for a few days to pawn off to creeps on the internet. Stella refuses to participate, unwilling to denigrate Whispers’ good name.

Are you wearing a Rodeoh?

Are you wearing a Rodeoh?

Am I wearing a Rodeoh? You bet your ass I am.

Am I wearing a Rodeoh? You bet your ass I am.


Just kidding yes she will.

Alex sweeps the yard while casting longing glances at the Gerber Baby, who practically pops out of his pants with enthusiasm.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by...

I dreamed a dream in time gone by…

I love Les Mis

I love this song!

Inside, Piper reconnects with Tank Girl, who loves her some Litchfield. Stella cuts Piper in line and flashes her a sneak peak at her panties. The panty business has begun.

I'm gonna fuck you so hard later you won't even count what you did with Larry as "sex" anymore

I’m gonna fuck you so hard later you won’t even count what you did with Larry as “sex” anymore

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Red’s ordering everybody around and being a bitch to Norma. Maria wants to know if Norma intends to let Red talk to her like that. Probably she’ll slip her a copy of Codependent No More later, like my mother once did for me.

Guru Mack just wants to be a crow. Probably they just saw The Crow. It was a really intense movie. If he’d seen Lost and Delirious, he’d probably wish he was a raven. It happens to the best of us. Or maybe he just saw The Source Family and knows what his storyline was based on and wants to be like Father Yod and jump off a cliff to see if he really does have special flying powers.


Guru Mack wants to know why Norma’s still following him. I don’t know, maybe it’s ’cause you manipulated her to be a part of your weirdo cult, ya big asshole?

Guru Mack: I’m a false prophet, Norma. I’m not your God. You have wasted your life on a worthless man. Human. Not special. Not honest. Not good. And now, I’m old. And you’re old and childless, and poor, and damned…

Norma starts crying and he hates it. He hates weakness, he hates witnessing the repercussions of his actions, he hates the idea of taking responsibility for anybody else, which is why he silenced dissent from the get-go by declaring himself an actual G-d.

Guru Mack: If I didn’t tell you where to go and what to do, you’d have no sense of self at all. Nothing. Silent nothing. Worshipping nothing. Speak, woman. FUCKING SPEAK!

He says she’s not speaking ’cause she’s got nothing to say. Welp, joke’s on him ’cause she does have one thing to say…


And then she throws him off a cliff!

It doesn't make any sense! Why isn't there a White History Month?

It doesn’t make any sense! Why isn’t there a White History Month?


Just sayin', sounds like reverse racism to me

Just sayin’, sounds like reverse racism to me


Back in the kitchen, Red is toasting with her new kitchen crew when Caputo rolls in with several large boxes he refers to as “pre-packaged boil-in-the-bag meals,” which strikes fear in the embers of Red’s vegetable-loving heart.

C'mon, just try it. It's poison.

C’mon, just try it. It’s poison.

You’ve just gotta dump these in a steamer! Says Caputo. The girls laugh. Red glares at Norma, like her magic hands were supposed to fix all this but didn’t. But this glare fixes one thing: Norma’s dedication to Red. She’s been taken for granted before, only to find herself hated for doing the one thing always demanded of her: to be wordlessly and faithfully dedicated. She is walking away from the possibility of being a girl on a cliff again.

I can't wait to catch up on Unicorn Plan-It

I can’t wait to catch up on Unicorn Plan-It

And thus begins Normaism. I’m gonna be real with y’all: I hated this storyline SO MUCH (and couldn’t buy for one second that Poussey would get involved with it). It didn’t make sense on so many levels and took up valuable time that could’ve been better employed.

AND if you touch your nose a little bit, like this, you can look like a baby pig!

AND if you touch your nose a little bit, like this, you can look like a baby pig!



She blesses them, every one, putting her thumb on their forehead, putting her hand on their shoulder. She knows how this works. She’s watched and waited all this time and now she knows the score. She kisses Soso on the forehead. She feels the energy. She’s glowing. AND SCENE.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3197 articles for us.


  1. This season made me feel like Norma could be super important and start something really wonderful, but she keeps ending up with/attracting people who don’t pay attention (and by that I mean listen, but she doesn’t speak so…). I THINK THIS SEASON MADE ME LIKE NORMA, which is kinda cool I guess.

  2. I feel like what this show does (and does well!) with meta jokes is kind of similar to what Glee tried and failed miserably to do?

    Also so help me I loved the Piper/Stella storyline (disclaimer: I still have a few episodes left to watch).

    • I agree, I loved Suzanne’s storyline. And I would totally read her erotica and wish it was an actual thing.

    • ME TOO ME TOO. Also, the fact that everybody calls her Suzanne. And like, she meets a girl who gets sweet on her, and holy shit, I got a toothache, that’s so fuckin sweet.

    • Yes! I love how they’ve moved farther away from “Crazy Eyes” and from her being a pawn and a victim of Vee’s abuse. Plus, of all the storylines this season, her’s was one of the more lighthearted and it was always fun to watch.

      Plus all the allusions and jokes relating to being the equivalent of a fanfiction writer tickled me.

  3. The fact that Poussey is Suzanne’s biggest erotica fan is probably my favorite thing ever. Also, in the scene where Guru Mack married all those women and the dude mentioned leaving I definitely laughed out loud. Poor Norma. I really hope she talks next season.

  4. Captain Janeway should be letting Norma do her thing. She let Kes do it. I see no problem.

    I love this show and these recaps!

  5. Ok,
    first of all:

    Second of all:
    50 Shades of Grey from the guy’s perspective is number one on the NYTimes bestseller list: O_O
    But,come on, if you think about it,it’ll be mostly women reading it. Women reading about doing women from a man’s perspective?
    Sounds kinda gay to me. Maybe even a little trans.
    So, the next time I’m going to be sitting next to another middle aged Lady on the train who’s reading Grey, all matter of factly, while I am basically melting into the wall and checking fifty times over my shoulder that the window isn’t reflecting the times new roman size 6 on my ipad with my fanfiction’s single scene of smut, turning 50 shades of Red, I am actually going to be SMIRKING.
    Smirking, people.
    Btw, does he have an inner deity crumping to Fifty Cents or something,too?

    as to the recap:I agree.
    I didn’t proactively hate on the whole Norma storyline,
    I just gave absolutely zero fucks.
    Which is a problem, because they could have used the time and energy to invest in the whole Aleida/Daya/Gloria/Sophia theme of being a mother in terrible conditions thing, that they begun in the first episode and which, I felt, was the true theme of the season.
    I love the show to pieces, but they bailed out on Poussey and Soso’s isolation and legitimate psychological issues by introducing the whole Norma cult in this episode.
    I know,that they wanted to lighten things up and introduce a commentary on religion and something to believe in, but the season really took a regrettable detour with the storyline and it fell somewhat flat.
    That said: Open criticism of the privatisation of prisons? The Corporate Speak? Yes,please!That is awesome, and was awesomely done.

    By the way:Speaking of religion:
    Please do me the favor and watch the first four seconds of this Hare Krishna clip from “Hair”and see if there isn’t someone you might recognize:

    Well done, show.Well done.

      • I didn’t.
        I just really, really love “Hair”.
        So when the music started blaring away in my head, while I read the captions, I figured I could procrastinate going to the library a little longer and revisit that merry bunch for a couple of YT clips.

  6. So this entire season was pretty unsettling, but this episode left me with a weird, unshakeable vibe that I don’t particularly like to revisit… but can’t figure out why??

  7. POUSSEY WOULD NEVER!! i so agree about the norma cult storyline and would have found it much more tolerable if they didn’t bring poussey into it. it seemed very unlike her to me.

    something in general that i noticed this season was that some characters were written really consistently and others were all over the place!! like taystee is pretty much perfect in her taysteeness throughout while poussey is just going crazy over squirrels and joining cults and whatever for the sake of the larger plot. and it’s i guess supposed to be b/c she’s kind of lost and sad and lonely but it doesn’t really work for me.

    • I completely agree with this! I feel like the entire Norma storyline could have existed and probably would have irked me 1,000% less if they just hadn’t included Poussey in it. That felt entirely out of character for her (and for Soso, to a certain extant) and I had a hard time reconciling it.

      I also ended up with the justification for Poussey’s erratic behavior as she was lost/ still reeling from everything that happened with Vee/ feeling without a “family” as a result of everything that happened with Vee. But since the show doesn’t make that connection clear or apparent, Poussey kinda just comes off feeling all over the place this season. Which was such a disappointment for me because she’s my favorite character by a mile.

      I found myself having to “fill in the gaps” and make justifications for character’s actions a lot this season, which is unusual and frustrating for OITNB because strong writing is typically one of their better assets.


      I actually thought Poussey joining, and then leaving, the cult made sense, and that her characterization was one of the MOST consistent of the season. Her whole arc this season was about searching for something to give her life in prison some meaning – first the library, then alcohol, then the Time-Hump Chronicles, then Normaism, and then finally, Soso. It made sense she try Normaism, as that seemed to be working out well for some other people. But unlike the others, she eventually recognizes the faults of their “religion”.

      And per C.P. above, Soso getting involved in the cult also made sense, because her whole arc this season was about searching for her people. Her and Poussey both came to the cult looking for something, realized the cult wasn’t what they were looking for, and found each other instead.

      • “Her and Poussey both came to the cult looking for something, realized the cult wasn’t what they were looking for, and found each other instead.”

        Ok, that line was beautiful. I will live with the cult storyline, if only because it does make way for Poussey and Soso ending up together.

        • (spoiler alert) although . . . the norma thing was too much for me even with this explanation. like that’s kind of my complaint, that the library, drinking, etc, made sense for poussey, the searching made sense but not specifically the norma thing. i guess that is getting nitpicky. BUT i did love where it eventually went with soso.

          i guess i just thought the cult was a weird vehicle for the whole theme of searching for your people and felt too gimmicky in an annoying way to me. the other ways they went at that i really liked, like the kosher / cindy converting thing.

          • yeah it just didn’t land with me — i think the norma thing could’ve been slightly less wacky and it would’ve made more sense for either of them to have been involved.

    • It bothers me how Poussey has become the token ‘black woman who hangs out with white women,’ like the Norma followers, in the show. I thought season 1 did a better job of highlighting the racial tensions in the prison, but season 3 seems to have moved more into fantasy-land where everyone gets along. Maybe this is so (white) viewers of the show don’t have to think about racism as much?

    • I think it makes sense in light of her recent sobriety – she’s not doing AA, her friends care but they can’t help her do the emotional work to stay sober (it’s risky enough to care too much in there, let alone do something as emotionally intensive as helping a friend get sober) – so Poussey latches onto something that comes with a crowd of people who will keep her safe & sober, and a charismatic leader who gives her something else to fixate on. She’s got a purpose now, which is something she clearly needed to get sober (see: the squirrel hunt), so it does make sense to me, even if the writers really didn’t make that connection. (NB: addict here, so that probably colors my reading a bit, lol)

  8. there is something about piper’s indomitable entrepreneurial spirit that makes me really dislike her even more than I would just based solely on her dead fish personality. is it because I am a dirty socialist? I just feel like she should be off doing some character building exercises or personal development journaling instead because she is objectively THE WORST.

    • Also, what happened to her journalism? Just because Fig resigned, there’s no more interest in how much bullshit goes down at Litchfield?! I would think that the whole thing with a highly placed administrator resigning under suspicious circumstances would make more reporters jump on the story, but I guess not in this universe.

      • I thought her interest in journalism stemmed from her interest in Larry, so it made sense to me that she would be over that.

  9. I also hated the Normaism storyline. It was bizarre and took up so.much.time.

    My question is: how did Norma wind up in prison? It seems unlikely that they would have been able to convict her for Guru Mack’s murder. There were no witnesses, and there’s definitely reasonable doubt that he could have just fallen off the cliff. Also, it would be hard to prove motive – anyone that they could find to testify would say that Norma was a devoted follower of the Guru, his one true believer. I guess we have to assume that she was probably involved in various shady dealings of the cult over the decades she was in it. But I wish the show had given us more to go on.

    • agree, I wondered that too. as much time as they devoted to Norma, it seems pretty weird that we still dunno why she’s in prison.

    • I was thinking she might have been plagued with guilt and turned herself in, or cracked under pressure when questioned by police (although how do you question someone who doesn’t speak?). It seems like either of those scenarios could be consistent with her character.

    • oh wow, hm, i never thought about that but you’re right, how could she have been convicted? i think her turning herself in is all that makes sense, but even then…

      • She’s definitely not in a federal minimum security prison for murder. They’ve had some fun giving us backstories without straight-up arrest stories for a lot of characters, I think it just gives them room to go back and tell more later.

          • Miss Claudette has committed murder, but we don’t know that that is why she is in Litchfield. It is more likely that she never got caught for that, but is in for her involvement in human trafficking.

    • I felt like a lot of the storylines this season were a little sloppy like this. It’s always seemed like they were particularly good at following a story to it’s logical conclusion, but this season felt like they were going in too many directions and some of that really quality storytelling got lost in translation.

      I wish they had shown like, a couple hiking by or in the ravine below so there was a moment to allude how she was found out and thusly sent to prison.

  10. These recaps are better than the actual season 3 episodes. Although I will say, Piper looks more like a Jaguar than a RodeoH user. Just my humble opinion. :P

  11. I love the fact that Piper is so unlikable. The Sopranos, The Shield, The Blacklist, Breaking Bad, and a bunch of other shows have male protagonists who are execrable.

    Red will always be Janeway to me.

    • Absolutely, about Piper! I love that I can grow to dislike her now.

      It was hard to not feel connected to the privileged, white, cis window into this series when this is your own point of view. Even when she behaved a bit shitty, I was always thinking “yeah I know, BUT…”.
      So that they are now making her so extremely unlikable is fantastic! I can finally fully embrace that she is not a nice person and I would not want to be friends with her.
      That doesn’t mean I want her out of this show. I really like not liking her.

    • My favorite Piper is when she embraces all the things that make her so unlikable. I hate her most when she’s trying to be the blameless victim who doesn’t own up to any of the shitty things she’s doing, so shamelessly exploitative and scheming Piper is a lot more tolerable.

  12. I, too, thought the Norma storyline dragged on.

    The one storyline I DID really like, was LOLLY.

    I thought they broke the tension in that storyline way too soon.

  13. The actress they got to play Young Norma really had older Norma’s facial expressions down. Like, something about her sad, kind eyes, etc.

  14. I love the Norma and her followers storyline. I really want to see The Source Family now, too.

    It is entertaining to watch how Norma’s kindness, compassion, and support are desired by women of all backgrounds. I was fascinated with each follower’s application of Norma and use of Norma in their lives, and the meaning and prestige each would attribute to Norma, for Norma’s almost unconditional support, kindness and “healing” tricks. Leanne in particular was so determined to enforce rules, exclusions and routines, in order to maintain control over their community. Soso wanted to have a place where she felt valued, safe and belonging, which was pissed on by Leanne, and Poussey maybe saw it as some kind of comfort/support with a community without resorting to her hooch. Poussey’s inclusion in this storyline made sense to me, in a kind of surrender to a higher power, kind of way (?Norma? though).

    The conflict within the community of Norma followers to “structure and organise” their fellowship was portrayed with dissent, disagreement as to their purpose, their goals. It was such a mirror for cults in general. Cue Monty Python’s Life of Brian, anyone? Norma just wanted recognition and appreciation for her kindness, I doubt that she would have accepted anyone manipulating her intent or actions. She blew of Leanne’s desire to control and manipulate her, and raised her eyebrows in disapproval over a few ideas proposed by members of The Cult of Norma. I really enjoyed this storyline as it shows the need for love giving and receiving between people, and what humans tend to do with love and support to ensure it and control it. Norma cannot be controlled.

  15. Also the Lolly storyline was good for showing degrees of unhingedness, but I can’t say I was sad when it faded. Also, Black Cindy’s interest in becoming Jewish is greater than the pull of kosher food, which was cool to explore.

  16. The Praise Norma storyline made me hella uncomfortable. It felt manipulative even though Norma wasn’t really trying to manipulate anyone, she was just trying to help people. And I agree, Riese, I had a hard time believing that Poussey would get involved with them. I just didn’t care about that storyline at all.

  17. Excellent captions! I didn’t buy Poussey getting involved with the cult either especially after last season.

  18. I seem to fall on the opposite side of popular opinion, as I enjoyed the Normaism storyline to show how these women are so desperate for connection that they’ll go over-the-top just to find meaning and community.

    I also think Stella’s character was a complete waste of space and time. I didn’t find anything about her to be interesting, and all the buzz about her being genderfluid seemed really overrated considering there was only one throwaway line in regards to that. Just an overall useless character.

    • Yeah. Stella could have been a much more interesting character, but maybe anyone who has Piper as a sidekick doesn’t stand much of a chance…

    • Stella was trapped in the horrendous Piper storyline, to the point where she barely interacted with any other characters. She really wasn’t integrated into the series well, which was such a waste! And honestly Piper is so goddamn revolting that any character who doesn’t recognise that comes off worse as well.

      • I agree I feel like Stella was just used as a marketing tool to be honest. She did nothing to enhance the story at all. I gave the show some rope because I thought that she was the one who was after Alex but she really is pointless. Also you’re telling me that out of all the fine women on this show Sophia, Maritza, Watson etc. Piper was the one that Ruby fell for? I mean how awesome would it be to have Sophia get a love interest.

    • I really disliked Stella as well. Largely, I think, because Ruby Rose seems to be a really bad actor – her only expression was a sexy smirk. Or maybe they just didn’t give her enough to work with? Anyway, she seemed to be really out of place in a show that is generally filled with subtle, outstanding acting.

      • When they did give her something to work with she was not able to deliver especially compared to the other amazing actresses on the show. I’m thinking of the scene where she and Piper discuss the panty business but are really talking about liking each other then kiss for the first time. She had no clue how to play the subtext of that scene and poor Taylor had to overcompensate to get the real meaning across since she was getting nothing in return. She should have stuck to winking.

    • I feel like the writers missed a golden opportunity for Stella and Sophia to interact. I mean you know someone in there is keeping that cut fresh, and THAT would be a conversation about gender I’d want to watch go down.

    • Not to mention the fact that she basically negs Piper from the get-go over her gender. You can be genderfluid/nonbinary etc without being an ass to femmes.

      And as much as I enjoy as much queer eye candy as possible, they already have the dreamiest queer character of all time, POUSSEY. Give Poussey a romance for Sappho’s sake! They’re wasting her.

    • I felt the same way about the Normanism storyline. I mean, I don’t think I was in love with the execution of it 100% of the time, but I think overall it was good. And I liked that Poussey was obviously floundering, and it felt like one of the big reasons she sought out Norma was because Taystee was so worried about her and Poussey was making the attempt to find a better way to cope with life in prison. Also, I did think it best served to underscore Soso’s story, which I definitely enjoyed.

      Also not a fan of Stella. I just don’t think Ruby Rose has the acting chops to keep up and it showed. Not to mention that even if she did, Stella wasn’t given anything to do anyway.

  19. I watched the source family I few months ago and I was totally thinking about it throughout Normas back story, glad I wasn’t the only one.
    Suzanne and her storyline was one of my favorites this season, and am sure I would read it any day over 50 shades, of course I would read food labels over 50 shades so idk how impressive that is but honestly I kept thinking can we please write her story and make it a thing??

  20. I was so confused by the Normaism thing, and agree that Poussey being involved was bizarre.

    However, I am in constant awe of the casting department’s ability to find amazingly believable younger versions of all the characters. I thought Young Norma was spot on.

  21. I really just want to steal young Norma’s innocence and help her unleash her inner warrior.

  22. i sympathized with norma here still, but disliked her more and more as the season progressed. there were so many instances where she could have stepped in and nudge her “followers” back towards being kinder, and didn’t.
    also: the prison mothering storylines broke my heart over and over.
    and: yay suzanne!!! i love every minute that woman is on screen.

  23. If Piper were a hashtag she would be #UrbanOutfittersBeLike. As much as she drives me crazy, I do love seeing her brother from time to time. He seems a bit more self-aware than she does.

    • About Piper’s brother though, I do mainly like his character, but ugh the scene where his wife confesses to not having had sex with women (and being sorry that she hasn’t), during the panty ferment recipe making scene, that she doesn’t “really know what day 3 female underpants smell like”, and Piper’s brother compassionately says “well I do”, and takes the lead with vadge simulacrum flavour profile with Miso, Tuna? and god Braggs sauce? (maybe there is some personal bias here)that scene made me feel kind of groan/eyeroll/mmmmm ok/lets roll with that. It pissed me off that is was a guy who designed the Day 3 panties wearing eau de vadge.
      He is so likeable, though.

  24. I was doing a lot of travelling today and one of my trains was replaced with a really slow bus and I was having a proper sulk but then I got some elusive mobile internet signal and read this and it cheered me RIGHT up, thank you!

  25. I love that you reckon the show’s jokes are funny enough for the recap to not need your own jokes XD

  26. I kind of love that they weren’t afraid to make Sophia and Gloria’s kids pretty unlikeable. A lot of shows feel like they have to redeem kids after making them act bad but OITNB doesn’t really bother.

    Also died at the captions today.

  27. What exactly is it about the word “panties” that bothers so many people (and by people, I mean women, because it always seems to be women)? It’s a word that has always made me cringe. I can’t handle it, but I have no idea why. Someone needs to do science and figure that shit out.

    • No science here, but my anecdata: The diminutive suffix makes it seem babyish to me (like booties, nappies, onesies, etc.) so it comes across as infantilizing women’s sexuality. Ick.

    • Idk, for me I think it’s how I relate it to like hyper-feminine, super straight adult women (a group I’ve always felt very alienated from) and for some inexplicable reason that makes me feel very uncomfortable?

  28. “It’s two people connecting. with four other people. and aliens.”

    Sounds like some of the bad Xena fanfic I’d read 15 years ago.

  29. And thus begins Normaism. I’m gonna be real with y’all: I hated this storyline SO MUCH (and couldn’t buy for one second that Poussey would get involved with it). It didn’t make sense on so many levels and took up valuable time that could’ve been better employed.

    UGH ME TOO it was such an insane waste of screen time that otherwise could have been devoted to close-ups of Poussey’s face.

  30. Fun fact: I didn’t realize that I had fallen asleep while binge watching oitnb and completely missed this episode until two days ago. I was wondering why I didn’t see the Ruby Rose wink or didn’t understand what that line about two people and four aliens was referring to.

    I have more sympathy for Norma after finally watching this episode but the Normaism storyline still bothers me a lot. How is what she was doing different from Guru Mack? Sure, she didn’t marry all her followers but she let them idolize her and fight over the correct way to practice Normaism. It was very disturbing.

    • Yeah I don’t like the Norma-worship either. I feel like if she wanted to be spiritual, she could do that in all the same ways without imitating the “guru” thing and allowing people to worship her.

  31. I felt super weird about Norma’s backstory. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t this.

  32. The Norma story started off strongly enough, but I feel like the “crime” at the end — her pushing the guru off of the cliff — was tagged on to give them a reason to put her in jail, and it didn’t seem like something she’d actually do. (It also would have been difficult to convict her). It would have been much more believable if he had evaded taxes or written bad checks or something and had done it all in her name…

    • Agree. If Norma was convicted of murder (or anything directly involving the cult leader’s death), then she wouldn’t be in the camp, she would be in the high security area. OITNB gets extremely lazy about the realities of those two differing areas. I also think people like Lorna (who made bombs and bomb threats), Miss Claudette (murder) and Red (who was in organized crime) would not be in a camp either and would be in high security. Maybe it’s not a big deal in the long run but, it impacts the believability of the show in my mind and I start to see the producer’s puppet strings instead of an organic reality.

      • I’ve always assumed that Red, Claudette and Norma are in the camp because of good behaviour, so if they’d started out in max they’d be moved to minimum after years of good behaviour.

        But then that doesn’t explain the flashbacks to Red going to Litchfield for the first time as a wholly unprepared young person. Hmmmmm you’ve just popped my rationale bubble.

    • It’s not the reason she’s in prison, though, we still don’t know what her conviction was.

  33. “The 25-book series I penned in first grade about a family of genderfluid dinner plates named “The Simpletons” is better than 50 Shades. “

    THIS SOUNDS AMAZING, please put this on Autostraddle

  34. I am glad we got the opportunity to know more about Norma story, but I think it dragged out a little to long without actually helping the story progress.

  35. I thought the Normaism / Poussey as a follower storyline was more believable than the panty selling business. maybe that’s just because I find Poussey more tolerable than Piper and couldn’t believe people let Piper run with this business like she doesn’t have ALL THE MONEY SHE COULD WANT WAITING FOR HER ON THE OUTSIDE. like girl, I know your commissary account is full every week get the fuck outta here

  36. Thinking more about this (because OITNB is more interesting than my actual life lately), I feel like the fact that it was out of character for Poussey to get involved in Normaism was kind of the point? It emphasizes that she was SO lonely and SO bored that she let herself be taken in by the first thing to come along that made her feel a little bit hopeful.

    …And the reason I’ve come to this conclusion is because I can actually personally relate to it. I’ve been nonreligious/agnostic/skeptical my whole entire life, but several years ago when I went through a particularly rough patch of loneliness and depression, I got involved through a friend in the local Baha’i community. It even once went so far that I got talked into going door-to-door trying to find people who might be interested in getting involved in the youth groups. I felt really weird and uncomfortable about doing that, but did it anyway because at that time they were my only community and only friends here, and I wanted to make them happy. It’s weird to think that if I hadn’t realized I was queer and then discovered that same sex marriage is not allowed in their laws, I might at this very moment be straight married with a troop of little Baha’i babies.

    • This is quite relevant to me. I was really interested in the Baha’i religion at one point, but then I found out about their ‘curing homosexuality’ thing and so glad I didn’t go down that road.

  37. You know I actually didn’t mind the Normaism thing that much, though that could be because of how much I hated so many of the other storylines this season (maybe if this was in season one I would have hated it too). I thought Norma was much more interesting and I liked that her part of it was pretty harmless while also allowing her to be kind of selfish.

    The only thing I really hated about it and thought went on too long was everything related to Leanne’s involvement. That whole secondary storyline was awful.

  38. brilliant recap. the captions for the pics of Norma pushing Guru Mac off the cliff are the fucking best. and of course that weird shrug emoji thing, aka the stef, fit perfectly w norma’s face.

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