Oh, Suzanne (whom I will now refer to as such. After this episode Crazy Eyes just feels too cruel). Finally learning a bit about Dandelion’s potential prison-wife-to-be was long overdue in the world of Orange is The New Black. Since the show began we’ve been chomping at the bit to understand the backstory and beyond-surface-level workings of this particular inmate — something we’re thankfully seeing a lot more of this season. In “Hugs Can Be Deceiving” we got just that. And in the process of figuring it all she managed to nab herself a toxic, manipulative maternal figure. Hoo lawd, the mommy issues are strong with this one.
Growing up the adopted daughter in a well-to-do white family, Suzanne’s upbringing was fostered by well-meaning but ultimately misguided adoptive parents. They’re clearly close (as evidenced during last season’s “Fucksgiving”) to a point, but her mother — who’s blonde and uptight in that Piper Chapman sorta way — was so ferocious in her Mama Wolf behavior that she ignored a lot of things. Just look at that assertion speech she gave about Suzanne, age 10, deserving to go to the same slumber party as her sister Grace, 6. Already there’s something slightly strange about that, but to couch it under the guise of affording Suzanne equal socialization and the promise of a better future just as much as the other kids? That just felt willfully ignorant. In fact it seemed as though the whole family played oblivious on purpose to Suzanne’s mental health issues. Did she think if Suzanne hung out with other people everything would just work itself out?
This, of course, lent itself incredibly well to Vee taking Suzanne under her very manipulative wing. We already knew she had a particular fondness and ability with children to make them do her bidding (how else do you think she sold all those drugs?) and she was quick to latch on to Suzanne. Which, on one hand: yes! How refreshing it is to see someone finally appreciate her, but: did it really have to be the one with the track record of master-manipulation of the emotionally vulnerable and weak with little care for others?
Upon bringing her the cigarettes she indirectly asked Suzanne for (that whole ruse with Black Cindy was so a test), Vee was quick to assert: “I see you” and bolster Suzanne’s confidence in regards to her fear of Piper. “You are a garden rose — and that bitch is a weed,” she said. And clearly all of this has already had a profound affect on Suzanne, as she was seen parroting those exact words to Piper on the latter’s appreciation of the former.
Which is to say: the whole reason Piper is back in gen pop? It’s because Suzanne, in a fit of self-hating rage, stumbled upon Piper beating up Pennsatucky and threw enough punches at her “mommy” to knock her down and out — making it look like a fair fight and not something for which she’d be thrown into SHU.
Though after meeting Brooke Soso, she might’ve preferred a little alone time. Soso was Piper Times A Billion. She was out-Piper-ing pre-prison Piper with some serious aplomb. She was Piper to the MAX! And naturally that made it brilliantly, hypocritically hilarious to watch as Piper growled and snarled at Soso’s willing ignorance.
Only time will tell if Piper or Vee win for the season’s biggest villain (or perhaps someone else entirely), but given her serious frenemy status with Red — honestly, though, with that whole charade — and her ability to use people, our money is on Vee all the way. Mommies who know exactly how to exploit their daughter-figure issues always end up at the top of the heap. Ugh.
Odds and Ends:
– Best Line of The Episode: Nicky on what sort of woman would choose another woman’s wedding date: “Someone who doesn’t get excited by the wedding industrial complex and society’s bullshit need to infantilize grown women?” YES.
– Wow/jeez, Larry really is milking Piper’s being in jail, isn’t he?
– First with the NPR piece, and now with his inflated sense of how “in” he is with Piper in order to help City Post journo-boy with his story on Litchfield fraud.
– Lord he is so self-involved, it’s no wonder he and Piper found each other.
– Looks like Pennsatucky and The Guardians of the Meth are on the outs, aren’t they?
– Also congrats on the new teeth, girl.
– “The white Michelle Williams.” Oh god thank you forever, Poussay.
– In case you were wondering: Caputo’s still gross.
Have you caught up with this episode of OITNB? Let us hear what you think about it in the comments (or on Twitter)!