Closing in on finishing the season, episode 8 stands out as one of the best of the series. I absolutely loved this episode, because we got a lot of what makes OINTB special.
The “A” story for this episode, complete with flashbacks, is about Rosa. Season 2 has been building her up as a great character and the episode delivers some hard truths about what she did. As a viewer, I was shocked to find out why she was in prison. I also appreciated getting to know her better. Given that she was pretty much a background character in season 1, seeing her elevated to main player rocks. How often do we get a badass bank robbing lady that would have still been pulling jobs? Her beliefs about love are finally understandable too. Learning that she believes she has a curse on her since her two husbands died made me understand her statements a bit better. The joy that Rosa has in setting up the con with the delightful teen cancer patient is priceless, and I couldn’t help but laugh watching that whole story play out.
Red and Caputo’s dance of the greenhouse provided a great “B” plot. I kind of like Caputo even if he has to be a hardass. I don’t believe Red really sweated about Caputo wanting to grow some plants, because Red always seems to have contingency plans. She and Gloria seem to have some sort of détente even though Gloria still doesn’t trust her. Gloria referring to Red and Vee as scorpions made me laugh. Red is going to own the rest of this season. Well, depends if Vee sheds too much blood or not.
The politics of the prison is at the forefront this episode. Caputo’s attempt to control the inmates after his confrontation with Figueroa plays out in this episode. Obviously, him tossing the greenhouse for contraband demonstrates how stressed out and out of control he really is. I really had a chuckle over Caputo giving Chapman the third degree about her makeup. “What about the eyelashes? I was born with them.” Unfortunately, for the rest of the workers, they are not faring as lucky as Caputo. Healey is all sorts of messed up over what is happening at Litchfield. If he wasn’t such a misogynistic prick, I would almost feel sorry for him that he had to tell Rosa her surgery wouldn’t happen. Even though he got Piper her furlough in this episode, he is still a horrible person.
The saddest part of the episode but happiest in some ways is what happens to Fischer. Her getting fired sucks because it cuts down on the number of sympathetic guards, and it also cuts down on the number of women guards they have shown. Story wise, though, you can’t feel too sorry for her. She is definitely better than Litchfield and deserves something better in life. I do hope they feature her character.
Some of the other side stories were OK. SoSo actually made me feel sorry for her. I know what its like to be depressed and not wanting to shower or wear deodorant. It is actually a fairly common thing about people in depressive episodes. Nicky sharing moments with both Luschek and Fischer was a nice bookend to her crush on Fischer. It felt like a passing of the torch to Luschek, like she wants him to get what she cannot attain.
Piper is Piper. Our manic pixie prison girl got her furlough because of course she did. Somehow discussions about racism, power, and privilege never really penetrate her mind. She is oblivious to pretty much everything around her. No wonder she ended up with Larry. Her speech in the dining room did nothing but show how clueless Piper really is. She deserved the food that got tossed her way.
The closing of the episode sets the tone for the rest of the season. Yup, Pornstache is back. He replaces Fischer. What a trade. I am interested to see where his interactions with Bennett and Daya end up now. He is probably more vengeful and assholeish than he was last season. If I were an inmate at Litchfield, I would be scared.
The last five episodes have lots of promise after how this episode played out. Where does Vee go from here? Piper? Red? I have some theories but am not sure if they will prove correct. I am having a hard time not skipping all my commitments and finishing the series.