At the end of my recap of “Approximately Sized Pots” and “40oz of Furlough,” I predicted that with recent happenings like Vee learning the location of Red’s smuggling route and Bennett telling Caputo Mendez is the father of Daya’s unborn child, things were going to get a whole lot worse. And while the world didn’t come crashing down, “Little Mustachioed Shit” and “Take A Break From Your Values” tightened the screws on these characters.
As Vee predicted, the black inmates’ tobacco operation has afforded them special privileges like extra waffles and back massages. It’s also given them the green light to act like assholes; Suzanne in particular has become little more than a bully and Vee’s attack dog, pouring water over Rosa’s food, and attacking a drunk Poussey when she lunges at Vee in the bathroom.
“Little Mustachioed Shit” also finds characters being exposed or discovering uncomfortable truths. Morello gets outed for her stalker past in the most awful way, as Christopher shouts the truth about their non-relationship from the mountain tops and threatens to kill her if she comes near him and his family again. Piper realizes the friend Larry cheated on her with was Polly, putting her in the same position she and Alex put the latter’s jilted ex Sylvie in when they first got together. Red learns some people don’t change when a distraught Nicky brings her the drugs Taystee slipped to her. Janae learns Vee’s not a captain “save an inmate” when she gets sent to the Shu after cigarettes are found in her bunk during a sweep. And Poussey learns that for now at least, she is alone. She and Taystee are barely speaking, and she’s being pressured/threatened into giving up her library job so Vee and Co. can rug drugs through there. After downing some hooch, she breaks, leading to the aforementioned latrine beatdown. It’s a sight sad enough to make even Black Cindy shake her head.
Despite the slip, Poussey regains some of her resolve in “Take A Break From Your Values” and tells Vee off (though later, she tenses up when Suzanne drops in on Healy’s Safe Place therapy session). Though it’s admirable, it also puts Taystee, who has consistently defended her, in a dangerous position. Vee demands absolute loyalty, and places any fallout from Poussey on Taystee’s shoulders. And Vee’s got other problems to worry about. While Red may have shut down her operation to keep Vee from taking it over, one of the Golden Girls of the Litch opt for taking her out permanently; unfortunately for her she mistakes Janae for Vee and shanks her. There will be consequences and repercussions.
The Daya-Bennett situation continues to be a completely hopeless one. The plan to make Mendez the fall guy is a success–he gets canned and hauled off in handcuffs, screaming his love for Daya (along with a few prenatal dieting tips) as he’s taken away—but it leaves Daya feeling guilty and lashing out at Bennett. He in turn lashes out at her, pointing out the lack of other options that don’t involve him going to jail. He’s right in theory, and she knows it too, but it doesn’t stop the messy, irrational emotions from bubbling to the surface. Daya goes to her mother, who proceeds to offer the worst possible advice: sue the government, take the child support, and give me a taste. Lovely.
On the brighter side, Sophia begins to make amends with her son Mike, and Soso has found another fasting buddy in yoga Jones, who is abhorred by Janae’s latest trip to solitary. However, things really take on a religious fervor (pun intended) once Sister Ingalls joins the group.
“Take A Break From Your Values” fleshes out our favorite (ex-communicated) nun more, adding a few shades to her personality. Through flashbacks we see Sister Ingalls life of activism ran in opposition to the church; even moreso when said activism evolved into photo-ops at nuclear plants timed for a book release in which she rhapsodizes about a possible tryst with a buff freedom fighter named Carlos.
Though she deflects the bit about comparing never hearing Christ in her heart as a joke and dismisses the Carlos excerpt as good book club politics, it’s obvious Sister Ingall is not as comfortable in both in her position as a nun and her faith as she’d like to appear. It’s also obvious that, working for the greater good aside, she loves the spotlight, and her combination of ego and commitment takes Soso’s hunger strike to the next level.
Piper finally decides to contact Alex, and as is often the case with Ms. Vause, her reasons for screwing Piper over are complicated. It turns out she was facing a hella long jail sentence, and testifying against her former drug boss Kubra could have put him away for good and allowed her to walk the same day. Unfortunately a mistrial allowed him to walk, which has left Alex out in Queens and in deep shit. She plans to come see Piper on visitation day, but wouldn’t you know it, Piper’s being transferred to Virginia.
Unlike her stint in Chicago, a transfer to Virginia would seemingly be a more permanent change of scenery. What this would mean not only Alex and Piper, but the show as a whole, is an exciting prospect.
–Larry and Polly are together. Umm, yay? At least the two had the decency to tell Pete face to face. Though Larry made the stupid mistake of actually thinking he could open his mouth to the man whose wife he’s been sleeping with and who’s child he plans to raise and criticize him. Pete may be a self-indulgent jerk, but he is the innocent party in all of this.
–Red on Mike diming Sophia out: “So you’re strangling him at the beginning of the visit or at the end?”
–Healy’s Safe Place session had a better turnout than I expected. It was also interesting how quickly the inmates assumed Safe Place meant a snitching school or a way to get shots off their record rather than a therapy group. Social science aside, prison’s not the best place to exercise ambiguity.
–Speaking of Healy, his continual dismissal of Pennastucky in the Safe Place meeting—especially after she helped get the thing off the ground—is both ironic (the counselor encouraging others to be more emotionally aware while being unaware of the feelings of the person he’s spent the most time with)–and potentially disastrous, knowing how badly ‘Tucky reacts when she’s been disrespected.
–Big Boo’s plan of joining up with Vee’s crew once Red kicks her out of hers falls apart when Vee glibly informs her she has no space for snitches. Oh well, at least Boo got Boo.
“A lot of people are stupid and still live full, productive lives.”
“I’m not an alcoholic. I’m Australian.”
Written by Kevin Clarkston