OITNB Episode 5: Gloria Goes Gangster

Don't f*** with Gloria's Girls
Don't f*** with Gloria's Girls


There’s been a war brewing between the Latinas and the Black girls for some time. Not only do they run the kitchen, the Latinas sit front row at movie night and on high pillows that cause them to block everyone’s view. Everything comes to a clichéd head in Episode 6 “Low Self Esteem City” when the Latina showers aka “Spanish Harlem” become backed up with sewage and the Latinas barge into the “ghetto” aka the Black girl showers, demanding to cut the line so they can make it to work in the kitchen on time. Ain’t no way that was going to go over. Vee, who has wiggled her way into the leader of the Black girls, unceremoniously shuts Gloria, the leader of the kitchen and apparently the Latinas, down.

The Black girls pow wow and decide the Latinas need to learn some manners. Taystee and Black Cindy “attack” by tying up their shoelaces while the Latinas are prepping for work. The Latinas retaliate by over-salting their food. Janae asks Daya for a new plate since she’s been sucked into this race beef just because she’s Black. When Daya dismisses her, Janae trips her in the cafeteria. Overprotective for obvious reasons, CO John slams Janae on the floor and takes her commissary for 30 days.

Gloria, who we learn in a backstory is in prison for fraud after she was caught running an EBT scam in the bodega she owned, has had enough. She squares off with Vee in the bathroom to hash out the Latina/Black girl beef. Vee complains to Gloria that she’s “too old for this sh—“ and is willing to barter: the “Spanish girls” can have the “ghetto” bathroom in exchange for transferring the Latinas in the warehouse to the kitchen so the Black girls can work the warehouse. It’s a deal.

Gloria thinks she has the upperhand with Vee until Red storms into the kitchen later, telling Gloria more or less that Vee played her entirely and “you have no idea what you’ve done.” Vee's up to something we just don't know what yet.

Over in Piperland, Piper’s mother and brother come to visit, and in the most round about way ever, reveal her grandmother is dying. Piper goes to Healey to ask for “furlough” to say goodbye to granny, reminding him that he did nothing when Pennsatucky attacked her. Healy still says “no”

Healy, who I’m slowly starting to believe is bipolar, goes to a local bar (sans wife since he talks to her so bad) and runs into Caputo. The guys get drunk and bond over how much they hate their jobs, particularly Fig. Healy would prefer not to talk to women about women’s issues, and Caputo just wants the bathroom fixed and for Fig to act like she cares about the inmates. This conversation gives Healy a change of heart about Piper’s furlough and he agrees to submit paperwork for a 3-day release.

Piper calls Larry for the first time since they’ve broken up and she sounds like Piper wants to work things out. Larry says he’s missed her as well. Womp, womp. Note to Piper: two dysfunctional people in a relationship does make it functional.


Some Other Thoughts….

* What was Black Cindy thinking referring to the Black guard as “Sister”?!

*Big Boo and Nicki decide to do a “Bang Off”, a competition for how many women they can have sex with in a given amount of time. When Boo pulls ahead in the game, Nicky sabotages her success by spreading a rumor that Boo has an STI.

*Gloria’s abusive boyfriend was a douche who had a bad ending coming, but even so, I felt bad to see him go out that way. RIP Arturo.

*Best line of the episode: “It’s hate speech, it’s not meant to be accurate. It’s meant to be hateful.”


What did you think of Episode 5? 

OITNB, Episode 4: Morello's Not Who You Think She Is

Don't be fooled by the smile. She is batsh-- crazy.  

I had no clue—none—where OITNB’s storyline with Morello was going. I only knew it wouldn’t be good after the way she flipped out on the phone when her sister told her Christopher was getting married and moving near Litchfield. But where it went? My God.

I had to stop and rewind this episode like it was an old school tape and I just heard a hot verse.

I’m sorry. Morello only went on one date with Christopher?! I’ve sat through one and a half seasons of her talking about her fiancé and their wedding. Just last episode when the career counselor asked Morello what she wanted to do with her life, her only plan was to have babies with Christopher. And all he is some guy she bumped into at the post office and had coffee with?!


Morello was devastated after her sister’s update, but seems back to her old self when she’s charged with driving Rosa and a CO to Rosa’s weekly chemo treatment. How this works is a guard escorts Rosa inside the hospital and Morello sits alone in the prison van reading magazines and listening to the radio for three hours. Given what we’re about to learn about Morello’s back story here, I can’t believe anybody signed off on this job assignment.

Speaking of her back story: Lorna Morello’s is a stereotypical Jersey girl, who escapes the madness of her big, loud family by watching Twilight repeatedly and locking herself in her child-like bedroom. Her vice? She has expensive taste and runs Internet scams to get free clothes and accessories.

One day, she’s in the post office running her mail scam when she meets he dream guy, Christopher, who invites her for coffee. He’s the type who tells her she looks like Audrey Hepburn and takes her to Atlantic City to ride in sailboats and on ferris wheels. OK, if that's what you're into.

Morello is waiting for Rosa and the CO when she gets all in her feelings thinking about how Christopher's moving on and she gets the bright idea to drive off in the prison van to see him again.


I knew something was off when she goes up to Christopher’s house and turns the knob instead of, you know, ringing the doorbell like someone sane would do. Then she breaks into the house by smashing a glass door.

Christopher’s wedding has clearly pushed Morello over the edge. She wanders around the house until she finds the bedroom and puts on the fiancee’s veil and then slips into the bathtub where she falls asleep. When Christopher comes home, she jumps out the window and speeds off in the prison van, making it back to the hospital to pick up Rosa and the prison guard on-time and neither are the wiser.

Morello’s not only crazy… but she been crazy. She’s not in prison for mail fraud or Internet scams, but something like stalking and attempted murder. After that one coffee date, Christopher made it clear that he wasn’t interested in taking things further. Morello “relentlessly” contacted him, even showing up at his house. He changed his email address, his phone number, and moved twice to avoid her. When he began dating his now-fiancee, Morello threatened to strangle her and then left a homemade explosive under the girlfriend’s car.

I’m sorry… what?

We’ve spent one and half seasons thinking Suzanne aka “Crazy Eyes” is the well, crazy one in Litchfield. Moreno’s got her beat by a long shot. But here’s my question: why is she--- and for that matter Suzanne—in prison when what they really need is mental help? Morello made up an entire relationship in her head that she believed and still does believe to be real. At the end of the episode, she tells Yoga Jones that she’s decided not to wear a veil to her never-ever-was-it-planned-or-will-it-happen wedding because she wants Christopher to see her face.

Um.. ok.


Other thoughts:

*There’s a raging debate among the Black ladies of Litchfield over how many holes a woman’s vagina has— one or two. Poussey insists there’s a separate hole for urine and sex.  Taystee and Black Cindy say it’s all the same hole for sex and making water. Sophia, the trans woman who had to build her own vagina, settles the argument and offers Taystee a mirror to see for herself. Poussey was right— sort of. She thought the urethra was inside the “big ol’ hole” somehow. Sigh. It was a hilarious exchange, and I wonder how many viewers broke out mirrors to see what was 'down there'.

*Piper annoys me to no end sometimes, but she was hilarious walking around the prison repo-ing her books and thangs.  I hated her again when she tried to pimp Brook, the new girl, for a blanket. I know Brook's annoying, but really? A blanket?

*I had no clue Poussey had a crush on Taystee. I figured Poussey was into girls, but I thought they were genuine friends, like sisters sorta. Was that a leap for anyone else?

*This Polly and Larry “friendship” doesn’t end well. An older couple assumed they were an “attractive family” and neither of them corrected the old lady to explain that they have a mutual friend, but played along with the story. Really? When Polly fell asleep on Larry’s shoulder I knew exactly where this plot was headed. This is bad. Joe Jackson.


What did you think of Episode 4?

Recap: OITNB Episode 3- Oh, Suzanne!

images-3 Piper’s back at Litchfield, and she has a new swagger. Word has spread about her unexpected fight with Pennsatucky and everyone’s surprised that Pipes had it in her to fight— and actually win. Piper relishes her new reputation, but Brook, the newbie ,is the only person who’s remotely afraid of her.

Speaking of Brook… I didn’t know it was possible for a character to be more annoying that Piper, but then Brook- no “e”—  Soso arrived as a new inmate at Litchfield. She’s the worst of Piper O.D., even more privileged and more clueless. In comparison, Piper, at least now, is tolerable. Brook also shows us how much Piper has grown during her stay at Litchfield, especially when Piper gives  the “it’s gonna be okay” speech on Brook’s first night in prison.

Red overhears Vee singing in the shower, and it’s a voice she would know from anywhere. Her reaction to seeing Vee is about like Taystee’s in that she’s none to happy to be reunited with her frenemy. Red knows Vee from back in the day when Vee served a previous bid. And Red’s preparing for the worst.

The Black girls—Taystee, Poussey, Janae, Black Cindy and Suzanne aka “Crazy Eyes”—  square off in a game of prison Taboo.   Suzanne wants to play, but  instead, has been assigned to watch the clock. She feels left out— again. It’s been a reoccurring theme in her life.

Kiddie Suzzane

In a flashback, we see (again, her mother was shown in the visiting room during Season One) that Suzanne was adopted by an affluent white family, one that seems naïve about the needs—social and perhaps, special— of the Black child they’re raising in an all white community. One of these people is not like the others, but Suzanne’s Mom seems determined to pretend otherwise.  “You know which kids suffer in this world, Melanie?"  she asks a Mom who doesn’t want 10 year old Suzanne at her 6 year old (white) daughter’s slumber party. "The ones who are told they’re different,” Mom is impassioned and liberal and means well, but pretending Suzanne isn’t Black and that she doesn’t need a different (but equal) type of attention than other children doesn’t benefit her.

Suzanne’s not crazy, despite her nickname, but she wasn’t properly socialized, and maybe not told “no” by her parents enough (I’m thinking of the swimsuit with angel wings. On the fence as to whether that’s evidence the parents don’t set boundaries or them just choosing their battles with the kid.).  And maybe she just needed a Black mama. Suzanne freaks out in the hospital room when her dad takes her new sister away and her parents are entirely clueless as to how to calm down their own child. The Black nurse on duty automatically relates to Suzanne and chills her out. The same thing happens when Suzanne meets “Vee” for the first time. She’s being all, you know, Suzanne and “Vee” hits her with “don’t interrupt” in a firm Black mama voice. Suzanne  automatically pipes down again. Is it the Blackness or people who know what to do with kids, or er, child-like adults? Both? (I’m leaning toward both with an emphasis on Blackness.)

Pennsatucky was the unofficial leader and the one with the biggest bark in her group of girls, former meth addicts. While she recovered from/ was punished for her fight with Piper, LeAnn and the other girls realized there was less conflict and drama when Pennsatucky  wasn’t around, so they aren’t happy to have her back. There’s that, and then there’s Pennsatucky’s new teeth. All the girls have messed up grills, the physical markers of the women’s shared drug habit. But now Pennsatucky doesn’t have it anymore. Lookswise, she can fit in with any other white groups at the prison. Her improvement makes her friends self-conscious and too, jealous.

Vee and Taystee finally have their showdown. Taystee’s pissed she had nowhere to turn when she got out. She was likely locked up in connection to her work for Vee and Vee being her Mom and all, was supposed to take care of her. Vee apologizes, but Taystee isn’t getting it over it— yet.

Since she’s not up for taking on her daughter role to Vee in prison,  Vee sets her sights on Suzanne. She immediately senses Suzanne’s lacking sense of belonging and she is clichéd putty in Vee’s hands.

It’s nearly impossible for anything good to come out of Daya’s ongoing relationship with the CO and the resulting pregnancy. It’s just too muddled and that’s sad because they genuinely care for, if not love, each other. “I want to be better than my Mom,” Daya tells John. “I want this baby to have everything.” It could happen someday, but anytime soon?  No. We’ve seen what happens to women who give birth in prison. If they’re lucky, they get to coo over the baby on visiting day. That’s the best-case scenario, and Daya and John can’t even have that because John can’t publicly claim he’s the father.

Morello’s dream has finally turned into a nightmare. Everyone but her knew that fiancé Christopher wasn’t waiting around for her until she got out, but no one wanted to be the one to tell her. Or maybe because she’s such an incredibly sweet girl, they were hoping for the best along with her. But Morello’s sister, Franny, has confirmed the worst— Christopher’s getting married. Morello loses it, like we’ve never seen her before “You don’t go Jessica Simpson when you got Rihanna,” she bellows to Franny.  Great, great acting by Yael Stone.

Other thoughts:

*As a kid, Suzanne has a big personality and given the way she quotes Shakespeare and her dramatic flair for counting the clock, I wouldn’t be surprised if her parents channeled all her extra energy toward the theatre. In some ways, her story reminds me of Audra McDonald’s recent Tony Award speech where she thanked her parents for recognizing they had an energetic child, and instead of putting her on meds, they introduced her to the arts. Audra got some flack for that from a Mom who medicates her ADHD kid. And McDonald  responded that she wasn’t criticizing medication, just saying what worked for her. Suzanne’s parents seem to have the tried the Audra McDonald approach on a kid who needed more than that.

*Piper thought the administration knew how she got her now-healed battle scars from her fight with Pennsatucky, but they don’t. And Piper's not telling. It seems Suzanne had an episode after the Christmas pageant, stumbled out into the yard and went off on Piper whose blond hair and white skin reminded Suzanne of her mother. Being beat up by Suzanne is the only reason Piper's not facing additional time in prison for the fight. “You saved me,” Piper tells Suzanne when she tries to apologize. “I am so grateful to you.”

*Larry can’t escape Piper even when he tries. He gets a call from a journalist, the same one that’s on to Fig, and the guy only wants to know how to get in contact with Piper. He takes his father’s advice and tries to get laid and his date, who says she likes guys with no ambition, and the first thing she asks him about is… Piper. He can't win.


What did you think of Episode 3? 

OITNB Episode 2 Recap: Taystee Girl

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Most OITNB viewers endure Piper to get to the characters they really want to see, and that’s actually by design. Show runner Jenji Kohan gave an interview to the Huffington Post in  December that detailed why viewers are subjected to Piper: "If you go to a network and say, “I wanna do prison stories about black women and Latino women and old women,” you’re not gonna make a sale.  But, if you’ve got this blonde girl going to prison, you can get in there, and then you can tell all the stories.  I just thought it was a terrific gateway drug into all the things I wanted to get into."

So we’ll endure her to get to everyone else in Litchfield, especially “Tasha  Jefferson” aka “Taystee”, who emerged as one of the break out stars of OITNB, (in addition to “Sophia Burset” aka Laverne Cox, who was so popular she landed the cover of Time Magazine.)

Episode 2 begins with a backstory viewers have been waiting for. In Season One, we learned Tastyee didn’t have any family she could rely on when she was released from prison and wound up sleeping on the floor in an over-crowded apartment. But now we get the details. She grew up in a group “home”, desperate for a conventional “forever family” that never came despite being a smart girl with a big personality and a serious case of the cutes.

She’s around 10, when she encounters “Vee”, a neighborhood dealer who immediately makes me leery. It’s one thing to sell drugs, it’s another thing to seduce kids with crappy home lives into working corners for you by presenting yourself as a mother-figure, especially when the consequence of coming up short on the count is sleeping outside. Taystee, still just a pre-teen, has lived enough life already to suss out Vee as “a connect”, and despite her desire for a family, Tasha isn’t desperate enough— yet— to take Vee up on her offer to “learn the trade”.

Years later, Taystee is out of viable options. There are problems in her group home and Vee, who has always paid attention to her, is her last resort. She wowed her with her science skills when she was 10-ish, and years later it’s her quick math skills that win Vee over, and set Taystee on the road to prison.

The upside here is that Taystee gets the family she always wanted. In exchange for participating in Vee’s heroin operation, she gets a Mom (types of motherhood are a theme throughout the episode) who bakes bread from scratch, listens to—and humors— her crazy ideas and an older brother, RJ who lovingly teases her. When the family prepares for dinner in the kitchen table, it almost feels Cosby-esque— minus the heroin baggies they have to clear first.

Back at Litchfield— finally— it’s “Career Day” and we get an update on what the people we really care about are up to.

Taystee is the only one taking “Career Day” seriously. She picks the outfit that won the year before and she actually studies for the interview with a Phillip Morris recruiter. Her interview skills are impressive, perhaps better than most of the people on the outside with a legit job. Like most—but not all— of the women at Litchfield, she’s smart. With the right chances, a support system and a little luck—like say the cushy life Piper was born into and takes for granted— many of them could have gone far in life. (But, as Vee once told her, “you’re from the hood. You don’t get a career. You get a job. And this one [selling heroine] is the best one around.”) Still, Taystee is a stand out among the ladies of Litchfield. And best friend Poussey couldn’t be prouder.

Poor pregnant Daya hasn’t pooped in five days and swears she’s “dying”. Gloira and Daya’s Mom, Aleida—moreso Aleida than Gloria— battle it out to see who can make Daya poop faster. When she finally poops, Daya declares it a tie. They’re both winners.

Red’s not adjusting well to her loss of power in the prison. She’s let herself go – her hair isn’t fire red anymore or standing up— since she was ousted from both the kitchen and her position as the matriarch of her prison family. To make matters worse, her real family hasn’t added money to her commissary, so she’s forced to return to the cafeteria and face the Latinas who have taken over the kitchen— or starve.  Since she’s been kicked out of her group, the Grey Mafia offers her a spot in theirs. She declines. “My life is sad and small and a burden to those I love,” she tells her son on visiting day. Because old ladies don’t take no for an answer even from other old ladies, they ignore her rejection and push up anyway.

Little Boo (the dog) is no more after an incident between the dog and Big Boo got “weird.” The implication is that Big boo had the dog perform oral sex on her. Desperate times call for desperate measures… I guess. O_o

Morello is still holding on to the idea of marrying her fiance’, Christopher, when she gets out of prison. “Fig” aka the lady who runs the prison brought in some sort of resume specialist to help the women clean up their resumes and when he asks her what she wants to do for work when she gets out, she responds, “I just want to get married to Christopher and have his babies and make the house look nice.” Um, okay.

Pennsatucky isn’t dead, as we learned in OITNB’s season opener, but it’s here we get a glimpse of the damage Piper’s done. It’s been over a month since their big fight and Pennsatucky’s face has healed, but… When asked about the fight, Pennsatucky downplays how brutally Piper beat on her: “I suppose she got a few licks in”, she offers, but her teeth tell another story. If thought they were bad before….

New teeth or nah?

Healy’s still trying to make headway with his wife when Pennsatucky shows up and reminds him that she remembers everything about her fight with Piper, specifically that Healy saw it revving up and did nothing. She might be a “hillbilly meth addict” (and completely delusional), but she isn’t stupid. She also reminds Healy that she is still the poster child for the Right to Life movement and her version of the story holds more weight than he thinks it does. Healy buys her silence by agreeing to fix her teeth.

Natalie Figueroa aka Fig’ is the executive assistant to the Warden and her husband is running for office. Hubs heightened popularity has brought more scrutiny to the prison that his wife runs. There are funds missing  (because she embezzled them) and an overbearing reporter is determined to get the story. Fig shows off her rehabilitation activities at the prison (aka “Career Day”), then flirts her way out of the questions reporter’s questions before brushing him off.

Outside of the Litchfield, we learn Piper’s best friend Polly had the baby, and her husband Pete promptly bailed to go find himself on a “vision quest in the Tundra.” Polly, is a stressed new mom who gives zero f****s, evident when she greets Larry, who’s pitching in to help, at the door with a boob hanging out.  For what it’s worth, she offers Larry her sympathies about his break up with Piper, but she’s loyal to her bestie: “She’s my friend and I will always take her side over yours,” she tells him. “And I will always be friends with her, and who knows how long I will know you.”

Piper’s ex-fiance’ Larry and his father wind up at gay bathhouse—Dad found it on Groupon—to discuss Piper. Larry isn’t ready to move on yet, which his father (and the entire viewing audience) doesn’t get. That said, I do understand why no one would be interested in him. He’s an ass, just like Piper. They’re actually pretty well-suited for each other. His one redeeming quality thus far is his paternal skills.

Other thoughts:

*Gloria has been locked up long enough that she doesn’t know what “Molly” is. Luschek, the CO who fixes the electricity, explains, “it’s the pure powder form of MDMA. It’s supposed to be a clean ecstasy, but it made me grind my teeth.” Here’s a CO admitting to taking illegal drugs. “How come you ain’t in jail?” Gloria asks Luschek. Technically, he is, which he points out. What she meant is how come he breaks the law, but isn’t punished for it like all the women in Litchfield. Gloria asked a great question.

*The only real lick we saw Pennsatucky get on Piper was when she cut Piper’s hand with the shank. But when an inmate sees Pennsatucky she says, “I heard you beat the holy mess out of each other.” Um, was there a part of the fight we missed? Or is the prison grapevine like a game of telephone where the story gets distorted the more it’s told?

*Taystee is none too happy when Vee shows up in the prison doorway after Taystee wins the interview competition, one that garners her $10 to her commissary, not the job offer she was expecting when she’s released.  The last we saw of Vee and Taystee, Vee was promising to protect her forever. Seems Taystee hasn’t forgotten she had nowhere stable to turn when she was released.


What did you think of Episode 2?