OITNB: Prison family is key for survival

Red and Vee in a prison flashback

Finally Orange Is The New Black gave me the episode I had been waiting for since they introduced Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) this season in “40 oz of Furlough” by flashing backing back to Red (Kate Mulgrew) and Vee’s prison past. It revealed when these two different but strong women met each other at the Litchfield Penitentiary.

Both Red and Vee arrived to the prison around the same time and as soon as Vee came in, the black girl gang brought her some prison essentials as an offering to be part of their gang. Vee told them she didn’t want it and offered some to a fragile Red who has been recruited to kitchen duties. Red quickly takes advantage of the kitchen, beginning to sneak in goods and shows Vee her secret.

One day a black girl comes back and tells Red she wants to buy the kitchen smuggling business. The Russian redhead laughs it off and tells her to bring in her boss. Vee later shows up in Red’s kitchen and asks Red who she though ordered the girl to buy it. Red is confused and considers Vee a friend but Vee tells her they never made a friendship bracelet. Vee demands her to continue taking in orders but that her girls will distribute the product. Red tells her she will tell Healy but Vee tells her that Red’s first mistake was not having any backup and slaps her across the face and orders her girls to beat up Red.

In prison you need family to survive and if you got one the better off you are and Red has been on the outs with her friends since she lost her kitchen and has been desperately trying to get them back since Vee arrived. She’s made new friends with the AARP club (old ladies) but since she’s had her “greenhouse” business going with no backup, she has been trying to get her old friends back.

She asks Nicky to get the girls at the greenhouse for dinner. The gang (Nicky, Lorna, Big Boo, Gina, Yoga Jones, Sister Jane, Norma and the AARP gang) meet for dinner and Red tells them they are her family and she is sorry for hurting them in the end. Norma, the quiet one, accepts the apology and the rest follow. The dinner reminded me of the last supper with Red, playing Christ, and her posse of apostles and a trader among them.

Red and her AARP gang.

These flashbacks are what the season needed to tie Red and Vee together. They were strong women before the prison and continue to be strong in the prison in knowing how to survive. Red is not making the same mistake this time around.

The other major story in “Furlough” was Piper (Taylor Schilling) getting 48 hours of freedom to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Schilling showed her comedic side again as there were plenty of jokes about Piper’s prison days and her ex’s flaccid penis. However, the jokes are quickly overshadowed by the fact that Piper wasn’t there for her grandmother’s last surviving days and her father being disappointed in her. To add to that, Piper learns that Larry slept with a close friend of hers as they tried to have sex. While in the bathroom with Larry, she realizes their relationship is over.

Piper drinking a 40 oz across NYC

While Piper had 48 hours of freedom, it seemed like she never felt more lost in her old world. Her relationship was over, her grandmother was dead, her brother was starting a new life, and her father was didn’t approve of her life. She ended up leaving the funeral/brother’s wedding reception to go check on Red’s business which was now closed. She buys a 40 oz. Colt 45 and watches New York City from Harlem, realizing that her life isn’t there anymore.

In other prison news, Poussey learns that Vee is not just smuggling in tobacco. She questions Taystee about it but Taystee tells her not to get in Vee’s way because Vee’s her family. Pornstasch enters prison and begins his reign again as the prison asshole but has competition from a jealous Bennett who makes a big reveal to Caputo.

Here are some memorable quotes from this episode:

“What could I possibly be taking out of prison?” Piper.

“It just warms my heart you’re finding your way in here, settling in with the AARP crowd,” Vee.

“Mendez is back bitches,” Pornstach.

“Just one, I learned I like to smoke after I read my sati times novelas. It feels glamorous you know. But I am not a real smoker,” Flaca.

“This sound great. I like where your head is at. It’s great to know you’re a rule breaking criminal at heart,” Cal (Piper’s brother).

“Nope see, no handcuffs,” Piper.

“I can see that with my normal people eyes. I bet those slits make it hard for you to see,” Pornstach to Soso.

“How long as it been since you came in a real life vagina and not in your hand,” Piper to Larry.

“Do not defend your boner to me right now,” Piper to Larry limp penis.

“The D list Burt Reynolds but more rapey,” Soso about pornstach.

“One of them looked like a Disney witch,” Ramos.


OITNB: El beso de la muerta (The kiss of death)

Miss Rosa and her young protege

The smell of money can bring a certain rush and ignite a hunger for more and in the eight episode of Orange Is The New Black, Miss Rosa’s character vice was money.

In “Appropriately Sized Pots,” the story focused on Miss Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) and her battle with cancer. We had already learned in a previous episode that Miss Rosa was in jail for robbing banks when she told a young cancer patient of her Bonnie-type days,  and in “Pots,” it dove into her past as well as the present.

In the opening scene Healy tells Miss Rosa that the doctors recommend surgery for her cancer, however, the prison isn’t willing to fork out the money for the surgery. He tells her she has to continue with chemo. Miss Rosa is a tough lady and instead of crying or making a big scene she takes the news as reasonably as possible.

A young Miss Rosa gives her cursed kiss

Her cool demeanor is what made her one of the guys as the flashbacks showed a young, vibrant and sexy Rosa was part of a trio of male bank robbers. But with her first heist came the first casualty. Her boyfriend Mario’s superstition was to get a kiss from Rosa one before and one after the robbery. As they made their way out Mario caught the security guard’s bullet and Mario died in the car after his second kiss. The second casualty came when her second boyfriend, a surviving member from the gang, died from a heart attack after a heist after receiving the second kiss.

With the last surviving male bank robber, Rosa’s thirst for money did not end and wanted to continue to rob another bank. Her male companion tried to stop her and as she tried to give him the second kiss, he refused. She decides to rob the bank solo. It was the last time she smelled money.

At her chemo sessions, Miss Rosa had befriended a teenage boy, who is also getting chemo. To show him she was the real deal, Miss Rosa told him they would pull a heist of their own. They were going to steal money from a nurses’ purse. Her keen eye for observation paid off and they made out with $68. The boy got $20. Back in the prison Miss Rosa lay in her bunk and smelled money once again.

In other prison news, everyone hates Piper (Taylor Schilling). The word is out that she was granted furlough to visit her dying grandmother and the rest of the prison isn’t happy. A theme throughout the season has been the racial divide among the women and the privileges white women receive in prison, and upon learning that a privileged white girl was granted furlough when the other women of color like Poussey who couldn’t visit her dying mother or Sophia who didn’t get closure with her dying father is creating tension between the women. I’ve never been to prison but just like in the real world these racial privileges happen way too often. It wasn’t Piper’s fault for receiving furlough but it shows that in prison the color you are still allows you certain privileges.

Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) plan to turn the greenhouse into a tunnel to sneak in goods hit a road block. Caputo (Nick Sandow) wants to grow some vegetables in the greenhouse and notices that some of the plants are in oversized pots. Figueroa, the warden, questions him why some of the girls in the prison are chewing gum, which is banned in prison, after her very expensive Manolo Blahnik’s steps in one. He has no clue and she ridicules him for not doing his job in front of the correctional officers.

Correctional Officer Fisher stands up to Caputo about how unfairly he singled her out and he fires her on the spot even though he is crushing on her. Caputo realized that Red is the one bringing in the banned goods and turns the greenhouse upside down but Red is way too smart to get caught and has them moved to a safer location.

With Fisher gone, Figueroa brings back a figure from last season who will more than likely be causing trouble once again for the women in the New York prison.

Miss Rosa’s story was one of the better ones to watch this season as her crime spree and cursed kiss showed a sexy and exciting character’s past that some of the other back stories this season have lacked. Her battle with cancer also demonstrates how unfair prison life can be and the politics that goes along with it.

Here are some memorable lines from the show:

“Am I like the boy in the Sixth Sense who sees infractions that no one else sees? Am I in a Shalamala movie?” Figueroa

“One, two, three…what comes after three? I forgot,” Nicky.

“You smell like a turtle tank. Go fucking take a shower,” Pennsatucky to Soso.

“Try to reason with the bitch to lay off the sticky fingers but if she doesn’t listen, drag her to a place no one can see and bash her head real good,” Flaca on her prison advice column.

“No way that white ass is going to clap,” Dayanara to Piper.

“I had medical and dental. I was paying off my Kia,” Fisher after being fired.

OITNB: Clowning around in ‘Comic Sans’

Adrienne Moore as Cindy Hayes on OITNB

Have you ever traveled and some of your belongings from your luggage went missing? Or were felt up in appropriately by a TSA agent as you went through the security check point at the airport? Then you’ve probably ran into someone like Cindy Hayes, Orange is the New Black’s fictional character.

OITNB seventh episode “Comic Sans” focused on the comical Cindy Hayes character played hilariously by Adrienne Moore. In her flashbacks, Hayes employment prior to becoming an inmate at the New York state prison facility was working as a TSA agent, who would rather be fooling around than working. She had no work ethics – stealing laptops and snacks from airport vendors and practically molesting passengers and she tapped them down during the security check point.

As funny and likeable as her character might be, this girl is a slacker, forgetting all sense of responsibility. In her flashbacks, she visits her younger sister for her birthday and gives her the stolen IPad which still contain pictures of the previous owner. She then decides to take her for ice cream but leaves her in the car alone while she talks to her hommies.

When she comes back home late at night, Cindy’s mother chastises her for coming home late. Cindy backfires at her own mother telling her that she can do whatever she wants with her since it’s her own daughter! Yup, her younger sister is her daughter but she does not want the parental responsibilities that go attached with having a child. Instead, Cindy chose to leave her daughter to be raised by her mother.

Cindy and her younger “sister”

Cindy’s lack of responsibility is also visible at the prison. As a worker bee for Vee selling cigarettes, she starts doing what she likes and instead of collecting stamps as she’s supposed to, she has other inmates clean her bunker or bring her food in exchange for smokes. Vee, of course, is not having it and tells her if she wants to continue selling smokes, she better come up with the stamps.

Being the loud mouth that she is, Cindy tells Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) she isn’t afraid of her. But during the night, the lioness pays her a visit and calls her a loser, telling her she has never taken anything serious in her life and has given up on herself. As cruel as it may sound, Vee is right. Cindy is a loser who can’t even admit to having a daughter to a complete stranger.

In other prison news, Piper (Taylo Schilling) meets with the reporter who is trying to find out about the missing 2 million dollars from the prison fund. The reporter thinks the prison warden is either embezzling the money or is getting duped. Piper is also busy with her prison newsletter with the help of Lorna, Flaca and Dayanara – who wrote a comic sans featuring a walrus based on the counselor, Mr. Healy.

Larry (Jason Biggs) and Molly (Piper’s friend) end up having sex. This has been building up in previous episodes as they were spending time together but Molly is married and just had a child so we’ll see what this develops in the next episodes.

Red is continuing her smuggling of goods into prison and learns Vee is smuggling tobacco and knows it will end badly. The old lady with dementia, Jimmy, injures herself in fall and is released from prison but has nowhere to go and the prison isn’t willing to pay for special care. Nicky tells Poussey she should get close to Vee so that Taystee won’t pull away from her.

“I’ll just look that up in the handy inmate Internet they gave us for when we get curious about stuff,” Piper to reporter.

“Have you ever been kissed by a 6 foot tall transgender women?” Sophia to Red

“Have you ever been kissed by a 6 foot tall transgender women?” Sophia to Red.

“A bunch of Latinas can’t make rice and beans. What’s wrong with this picture?” Gloria.

“Ok but good porn. None of that Japanese shit. And I want a magazine with just guys in it. What?! It’s hot! And plus I don’t want to be exploiting women and shit. It sucks out all the sexy,” Flaca.

“The year book isn’t even a real class. You just take pictures and smoke weed,” Lorna.

“Trust me you do not want to short Vee. She will go wolverine on your ass,” Taystee.





OITNB: Love is like pizza

Poussey (SamIra Wiley) in “You Also Have Pizza”

Valentines Day can be a sucky day for single people anywhere, now imagine how it can be for a group of women living in prison. The 6th episode of Orange Is The New Black “You Also Have A Pizza” focused on this cheesy romantic day.

It started off with several inmates talking into the camera expressing what love meant to them. It varied from inmate to inmate. For some it was great sex, others pain, or having pizza because love is pizza. I love pizza. If love was like pizza, everything would be cheesy and gooey and fantastic….

However, “Pizza” left me wanting more in this episode as it focused on Poussey (Samira Wiley), the girl who is always wearing baggy clothes and joking with Taystee. The flashbacks from this season have given us details about what the women did to be in prison but with Poussey we only got glimpse of her teenage years when she lived in Germany with her parents in what looked like an army base.

In Poussey’s flashbacks we learn she speaks German and has a German girlfriend who is the daughter of a high ranking military general who catches them having sex. Poussey is smart and cool but once she learns she is leaving the base, she shuts down and becomes cold. The girl who described love as being with someone you can just chill with can only tell her girlfriend that she has nice tits and will remember her for that.

Poussey real test of character was in prison when she stood up to Vee (Lorraine Toussaint). Just like she stood up to her girlfriend’s father, who tells her she needed to be “fixed,” Poussey told Vee she better not get Taystee in trouble or she will kill her. Just like her girlfriend’s dad, Vee took it as a joke and told her that Taystee will never love her the way Poussey wants. Although she walks away like a tough bitch, her eyes tear up knowing Vee is right.

Vee continues her quest to become the lioness off the prison. She starts smuggling in tobacco through the cleaning supplies. But she is not the only one. Red (Kate Mulgrew) is also smuggling goods through her green house. Instead of using the sewage to escape, Red is bringing goods to buy her old friends back. She knows that a war is coming and wants to have her crew together.

To keep with the theme of Valentines, the inmates had a dance. One couple “Pizza” focused on was Dayanara (Dascha Polanco) and John’s (Matt McGorry) relationship, who despite being stuck in prison, seem to actually care for each other. During the dance, they sneak out to a private room and have sex. Dayanara’s emotions have made her act a little crazy recently from the pregnancy making her lash out at John. And the poor guy isn’t getting any slack from Dayanara’s friends (Aleida, Flaca, and Ramos) who are asking him to sneak them things in order to keep their silence about their romance.

Piper (Taylor Schilling) also gets a visit from her former fiancee, Larry (Jason Biggs). She tells him she wants to go home when she gets out but he fires back telling her he can’t live off of hope. Larry also tells her about the reporter who wants to write about the prison funding and asked Piper to get information for but he wants to write the story. They argue and Larry storms out.

Piper starts asking some of staff and other inmates, who have been there for a longtime, questions about funding and programs that have not received money. Sam, the counselor, questions her about this but she tells him she wants to start a prison newsletter. She tells him the newsletter is a great way for the inmates to get to know each other, and since Sam has overheard the inmates saying he’s a creep, he goes for it and asks Piper to give him writing samples.

“Pizza” has some melancholy moments between the inmates. Ramos and Flaca get drunk and makeout and they realize they are missing the best part of their young lives stuck in prison. Lorna is still heartbroken about Christopher but Crazy Eyes comforts her.

Here are some memorable lines from “Pizza”:

“Pain, horrible pain that you want again and again,” Sophia describing love.

“Gabriel got me flowers. He stole them from his cousin’s funeral. It was so sweet,” Ruiz.

“I had a thing once with my boss at Long John Silver. Then I found out his wife was wicked hot,” Leanne

“Freedom of the press should not be only for the free,” Piper to Sam.

Ramos and Flaca describing Valentines Day

“And you have a pizza,” Ramos

“You’ve been hoarding this room like some Hilary Clinton dictator. And we want to be a democracy,” Leanne to Pennsatucky.

“You know what gets me? We are wasting the best years of our lives in here. Like, our tits are never going to look better, our asses are never going to look better,” Ramos

“It’s like coming home after a long trip. That’s what love is like. Like coming home,“ Piper.