I lucked out by getting to recap the even-numbered episodes of Orange is the New Black. I have a soft spot for Valentine’s Day episodes of TV shows; for example, “Galentine’s Day” from Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite episodes. I am also a hopeless romantic, so I was glad to recap this episode.
Opening with some of the inmates talking about what they feel about love exposes each character’s inner workings. Lorna is still reeling from her illicit trip to the her ex’s house; watching Lorna become a fully actualized person has been a trip. Taking her one note character of love smitten kitten and turning it on its head has made the character interesting.
Daya and Bennett have, unfortunately, become boring. They have taken all the fun they had last season as our favorite prison couple and sucked the life out of it. I have no idea why the writers took this track. Watching the women in the kitchen exploit Bennett’s leg is really uncomfortable. Daya and Bennett pretend to be a “normal” couple on Valentine’s Day to normalize their relationship. Yawn. Maybe the writers did this because Daya is pregnant and they don’t know how to make them exciting.
Vee’s empire is coming together as she continues to pressure Taystee to join custodial. Her bullying, using Taystee’s past against her, begins to work in this episode. Suzanne loves the fact that she is Vee’s right hand woman. Because she has always been on custodial, Suzanne lords over the new transfers even with Vee running her. Taystee getting transferred out smacks Poussey right where it counts.
The flashbacks of this episode center on Poussey, who we find out was a military brat. She had a local girlfriend when her family was stationed in Germany. The girlfriend’s dad turns out to be the head of the military base. I felt super connected to this story arc, since I grew up in a base town, and while I didn’t hang with the gay kids, I knew plenty of queer military personnel. This was before the repeal of DADT, and a lot of them had to walk a tightrope between living their lives and getting caught. There was a gay underground scene even in my small Montana town. I appreciated that Poussey’s dad was so supportive of her, but I don’t appreciate how Vee treats her in the present. Poussey actually cares about Taystee.
Piper and Larry continue to be boring. Larry tries to steal a story from a fellow reporter. He wants to use Piper as his mole and meal ticket. Larry really is an asshole. I would not be shocked if he spends lots of time on Reddit. The only good thing to come from this is Piper wanting to do the story with the other reporter. She even asks Healy to start a newsletter. The interviews about love, we learn, are for the newsletter.
Healy is an asshole. I do not need to expand on that. His end game is confusing, but his continuing love/hate relationship with Piper is fascinating.
Red is back! That seems to be the consensus after Red’s new smuggling hole is open for business. I figured Red wasn’t an idiot and that she’d use the tunnel for contraband rather than escape. She values her prisonmates and her family equally. She is setting up her new empire and a collision course with Vee.
Caputo’s flirtations with Fischer come to a head in this episode and unfortunately for Caputo, it ends badly. I feel bad for him. Caputo invites her to his band gig, but she invites a lot of the other guards. This should have tipped off Caputo, but it didn’t. What did was Fischer and Luzcheck flirting. I feel this will not bode well for the rest of the season.
The Valentine’s party proves to be a hit and a nifty plot device. A lot of the small storylines are woven throughout here. I laughed a lot at Nicky and Big Boo because who doesn’t like a fuck contest? Leanne and the girls giving Tucky the cold shoulder is heartening. They need to stand on their own. Lorna and Suzanne is an interesting pairing for a friendship. Suzanne is probably the only one who can out-intense Lorna.
As a middle season episode, it provided exactly what you need to make a show successful. The writers didn’t drag on a bunch of the small plots. They used the episode to set up what will be the main conflict in the rest of the season. The shot of Red and Vee standing side-by-side definitely screams plot set up. Overall, this season so far has been better than the last, although I still think Sofia is underused. I do like the fact they are humanizing the guards a bit. It shows that everyone is stuck in this hell hole of concrete and faulty wiring. Every episode I watch, I just get sucked in more and more. But writers, can we please have less of Larry? Please?