Back in the cozy seaside town of Litchfield, Hurricane Sandy, I mean Wanda, is ripping through town, setting the stage for some high winds that will surely up the ante as we approach the season finale.
It opens with a douchey newscaster forecasting into the Litchfield TV room as Soso, Yoga Jones and the two white girls hash out their hunger strike demands. It’s like a lesbian processing session without the possibility of sex at the end. But then Sister Jane gets pulled into the fray and we begin to learn that she is a protest badass.
Then Caputo and Fig start brainstorming ways to turn around the media storm and scandal surrounding their recent prison rape, lending more and more to our continually shifting feelings about the put upon prison counselor.
“Rape the vote?”
“This shameful sexual violation is really working out for you isn’t it?”
Chapman’s commitment to free press is tested when Soso asks her to print their demands.
“History will remember you for this… but I still don’t trust you personally.”
Vee confronts Poussey in the library and apparently Arnica is a bargaining chip in prison. We wait with our hearts in our throats, hoping that this doesn’t turn into another bathroom assault scene. But as shy as Poussey seems at first, she really brings it with the line, “You’re like a pedophile without the sex.” She finally calls Vee on what’s been making viewers uncomfortable all season — how successfully she preys upon vulnerable young people who are desperately in need of a support system and caring mentor.
Healy and Chapman chat about the name “Safe Place” and debate the merits of the softer sciences. Piper manipulates a way into getting Alex on her visitors list, the “feelings jar” is introduced and somehow the demands slip past. Those playing at home will undoubtedly be shocked that Piper let personal concerns of hers trump the needs of a disadvantaged group, but hopefully somehow we can recover from our shock and hurt and move on.
Red confronts members of her newly reunited family and Nicky tries to talk her down from the ledge of paranoia in one of OINTB’s famous bathroom scenes. Black Cindy takes a shit wherever she wants and sets them both straight on everything from racism to capitalism to drugs in prison and, finally, to the realization that it was Boo who ratted her out.
New riot gear is here. How fun! Let’s all play with the tear gas! Where’s the armory again? Does that lock? This won’t end badly at all, ever. It would be super great if this riot gear and militarized equipment plotline was part of the sometimes-absurd universe of Litchfield and not a fairly realistic commentary on law enforcement officers! Oh, and Caputo sees the demands that have made their way into “The Bugle.” Media hasn’t been so close to death since the introduction of the internet and the listicle.
Sister Jane gets in on the Hunger Strike with some actual real demands, stepping up Soso’s game. Will Caputo respond? Will he? Probably not because he’s terrible, but given that Sister Jane is an adorable older nun, he’ll probably be forced to do something. Who would win in the Hunger Games, Sister Jane or Caputo? Just a thought.
I’m loving the flashbacks to adorable young pre-nuns getting out of hippie vans. But then they get scolded by the mother. And there’s no sexual innuendo in all of this at all.
“I can’t believe it. I fell in with the bad nuns.”
We’re reminded that the SHU and the terrible psychological and emotional effects it causes are real and Watson freaks out in the lunch room before Pennsatucky tries to push safe place, aka, “snitching school.” It’s weird because this is actually the most likable Pennsatucky has ever been, and Watson’s anger is totally understandable, but it still doesn’t work out well. It’s almost as if prison is an inherently destructive system that makes these women worse off, not better!
Back to the “real” world of babied college graduates who travel the world even when they have newborns, and also have intriguing accents. Larry and Polly are trying to come out to Polly’s husband Pete. It would be totally the worst if, you know, we cared about any of these people. And of course, there’s talk of a threesome! Australians who abandon their babies for the Alaskan wilderness are INTO IT! Oh, but not cuckolding… Let the alcohol fueled testosterone fight begin! Seriously, is this what the first year of raising a child is like? I’m surprised Polly has the energy to deal with any of this, she’s probably gotten like three hours of sleep.
And then Larry gets punched. Let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to see this for two seasons now.
Good mother daughter talk between Aleida and Daya and the logic is all just too confusing. It’s adorable in that Aleida is really trying, but honestly she’s still doing the worst possible job. For example: But Mendez is going to jail right? You get to sue the government, extortion money, AND a baby! It’s the best of all worlds. This rape was really the best thing that could have ever happened you Daya. Seriously, how could you see it any other way?
Meanwhile back in Queens, Alex is tries to justify herself to Piper in the one minute left of Chapman’s phone credit. We find out that the drug dealer didn’t get sent to prison and Alex is in constant danger. Queens Greek food is the silver lining.
The drug dealer boogie man might be at Alex’s door! But it’s only the militant eco-police Super of the building telling her to separate her recyclables and deal with her trash. Oh yeah, and scary drug dealers have been looking for you, just FYI. This part is heartwarming because it’s what everyone’s anxious aunt was convinced would happen when you moved to NYC at 19, just bald men screaming through your peephole about recyclables and drug dealers.
Back to our new favorite and also least favorite straight couple. Oh how I’ve missed you these last five minutes. Larry has a steak on his face and is now a Daddy. And he says he’s too Jewish for a trek across an ice field. But, yeah, he’s super rugged. This would almost be tender if I wasn’t so grossed out.
“Safe Place” is popping off! The first one with the talking stick is Blanca, who we’ve almost never heard speak. So let’s take a look at the Feelings Chart to know how we’re allowed to feel. “Bored” isn’t a feeling. But “mad” is. Word!
“Did it ever occur to you that we don’t want to get in touch with our feelings? Actually feeling our feelings might make it impossible to survive in here.” Poussy is insightful as well as adorable. It’s especially intense to hear this because we know how many feelings Poussey is going through — she’s afraid she’s losing her best friend, she’s afraid Vee is going to hurt or kill her, and her whole world is turned upside down, but she actually can’t talk about it because Vee has cronies in the room. Healy’s good intentions are just unbearably naive: for these women, there’s no such thing as a “safe place,” in or out of prison. Just another super tender, mega-swoon, will you marry me and take me away from all of this moment.
Sister Jane is having none of Soso’s hipster bullshit. We’re contacting the big non-profits and media here…
“We want more musical guests… like Johnny Cash.”
“Johnny Cash is dead.”
“I want what I want.”
The guards tempt them with pizza:
“I’m just licking it. Licking it is all right!”
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID, LADIES. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.
Are Sister Jane’s motives pure? “Without me you’re just a couple of hippies on welfare. I give you credibility.” Is her activism for God or her own ego? Does that matter? We’re treated to a flashback in which past Sister Jane is using fake blood to call an audible and write a message on a building, to the chagrin of her co-activists. We see that she’s become a lot more interested in how their direct actions will be perceived than the issues behind them in the first place. All of a sudden this is feeling really real y’all. But will the pictures look good, indeed.
Riot gear training is going really well and Watson is still freaking out from being in the SHU. Yoga Jones is seriously going to waste away. Nothing about this part feels good or happy.
Red confronts Boo in the schoolyard just when she’s trying to seal the deal with “fancy boobs.” It’s an ambush. But this time its a community shunning rather than a beating — much like Facebook. Or Ello, whatever your deal is.
Protest poster making time! But I’d rather be a part of Chapman and Nicky’s foosball conversation about strip clubs that can’t serve alcohol. “Some schmuck decided that nudity and booze are just too much fun at the same time. Probably a Mormon with six wives,” Nicky says. She keeps it real about Alex too, “It’s like Spy vs Spy but sexual… The system doesn’t have a conscience.” Nicky should probably have a talk show.
Then Fig comes in and abolishes “Waldorf style prison” and suddenly media is dead. If only we had such a easy villain to point the finger at.
Another flashback where the sister is being called out for being a narcissist! Is she bringing Catholicism to the people or just promoting her own book? But all joking aside, boom, this is when we find out she’s actually been excommunicated. This is supposed to be affecting, and it is, but also it’s hard not to be impressed that Sister Jane had a book. She didn’t even have a blog first! Very impressive.
Next we see a comparison of club meetings, sort of like that first week of college when you thought you had time to go to Vegan Basketweavers Unite and Homebrewing for Homeopaths. The Golden Girls are back and having their meeting in the greenhouse. It seems that these girls are even tougher than we knew, which is pretty effing tough. At Vee’s club meeting, Suzanne is being silly crazy. Vee is being really crazy for real. And Taystee is starting to figure out where her loyalties lie. COME BACK TO US, TAYSTEE.
The Sister faints and everyone else gives in. Now everyone else knows she’s not a nun anymore. Sister says “bad habits die hard,” and she’s also working on a seven figure deal to make it the 6th in the Die Hard series when she gets her strength back and shaves her head. Did we all get the “bad habits” pun there? Because it was a really good one.
Chapman tries to save “The Bugle” and instead Healy drops the bomb that she’s being transferred to Virginia. But it’s not prison politics for sure.
The upgrade of the bathroom is going well but chocolate and vanilla swirls have to wait in the same shower line in the meantime. Boo gets snubbed and now she’s a lonely soft serve.
Sister Jane is talking to God in a hospital bed but he’s playing hard to get. So to really exacerbate all that is unfair in the world her force feeding tube scene is intercut with oldie-turned-toughie Taslitz shanking the wrong curly-headed black woman while Vee creeps just around the corner.
And oh, remember Wanda? A storm is a-brewin’…