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.

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