Listen up, inmates: this is a recap of Orange is the New Black‘s third season — in particular the episodes “We Can Be Heroes” and “Don’t Make Me Come Back There” — if you haven’t seen them, turn away now! Because lemme tell ya, this one here is chockablock with spoilers: so don’t say we didn’t warn ya, mmkay?
We’re nearing the end, OITNB fans! It’s been a real walloper of a season, hasn’t it? And as things have started to wind down while also simultaneously get more serious, we’ve decided to go episode by episode for these final three, so let’s get to it, shall we?
In Episode 11, “We Can Be Heroes,” everyone fancied themselves an idealized beacon of saviordom — not just the flashback’d Caputo. Who — woof. But even the likes of Boo, Piper, Leanne, Healy, and Red were all doing their duty and helping others in the name of helping themselves (some more than others). Others — like Crazy Eyes — were helping even when they maybe didn’t intend that to be the case.
Back to Caputo though, who spent much of the episode grappling with his own egomania, present, past, and future. With the CO’s jobs seriously messed up with the influx of part-time, untrained workers, an attempt to unionize is being made. And who ends up at the top of the heap, hoping to help them get the justice they deserve? King Caputo, man of the hour and hate-fucker extraordinaire. No one is satisfied to merely take what they’ve been given and show gratitude for it: not when its measly scraps and they’re all busting their asses to afford to live.
And it’s clear their efforts are needed: the most evident instance of such being the slip-up with Sara Rice, the inmate set for release that they mistakenly assigned to Angie’s inmate number. And though she was all “praise Norma!” about being released, she ultimately came back at the behest of Caputo (at the behest of Pearson …because everything has very nearly gone to shit over at Litchfield since MCC took over and daddy’s least-favorite-employee is doing his darndest to keep his seat at the table) after her taste of freedom left her feeling weird. Oy, Captuo and Pearson’s is one messed-up relationship of self-servicing faux-heroism at odds.
And Caputo is an idiot. I’m sorry but let’s be real about this self-hating hero-complexing so-and-so, who is so quick to “take one for the team” until he realizes that “one” won’t get him anything in return. At least the Caputo flashbacks gave us another glimpse at Rosa. Which: ROSA! Pre-cancer Rosa! Gah, we miss you Rosa girl. You were always the best.
Perhaps the best part of the show right now, though, is Crazy Eyes’ erotica storyline. Now that CO Bell (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite side characters) has the story in her possession — and she’s realized exactly on whom Admiral Rodcocker is based: CO Wade Donaldson — you know, the grumbly bald one? And now, well, the gloves are off and the sexual harassment of the apple of so many of the inmates’ imaginary eye is on.
We’re officially going to start calling Pennsatucky by her name, Tiffany, by the way. But we’re going to talk more about her story as a whole in the next part because HOO BOY is there a lot to say.
Elsewhere in the episode Piper had her employees strong-arm her into giving them collective bargaining rights (UGH PIPER THE WORST — and also a terribly mean prison boss. No wonder Alex is o-v-e-r her), Alex and Lolly doing their crazy dance of maybe-death and stalking stuff, Healy’s a total jerkasaurus (because of course), Soso is getting seriously hated on (and a haircut she didn’t ask for) and it’s not helping that Rogers was put on temporary leave because of Crazy Eyes’ story, and Gloria and Aleida and Sophia are in a terribly transphobic war.
Hey: at least we got a rousing rendition of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Mis out of the whole thing, eh?
In the second episode in this recap, episode 12 a.k.a. “Don’t Make Me Come Back There,” shit got straight-up violent on many fronts. And we’re not just talking about the groans of Daya’s impending birth (which definitely hurt us deep because UGH where the HELL is Bennett?). The long-brewing bit of business between Gloria and Sophia also came to a head, with her getting beatdown in a full-on hate crime, with three essentially nameless prisoners attacking her to see her alleged dick (that she does not have because she’s fully transitioned — something Gloria and Aleida already know but have decided to keep quiet on because they’re jerks).
Shout-out to Taryn Manning, though: she’s had such an amazing season and has really nailed it as far as broadening Penn/Tiffany from an ignorant religious zealot with a penchant for drug-addled nuttery, to a seriously hurt and fully realized character. After her rape in episode 10, Boo really stepped up (p.s., we love these two together, FWIW, Jenji Kohan — WELL DONE), showing Tiffany just how misguided and self-hating her logic and excuse-reasoning was for CO Coates, a.k.a. Donut Man. But that doesn’t mean that Boo didn’t have a ridiculous plot to roll out after convincing her what happened to her was wrong (dollar store bracelets don’t fix shit). In fact she did: she decided that they were going to rape him back. Oof.
Thankfully, the ladies didn’t follow through with it (though they did drug him and very nearly attempt the act) because their guilt won out. But Tiffany’s reasoning and handling of her rape is a line of thought that felt incredibly prevalent. So often this is exactly the sort of self-shaming/they-can’t-help-themselves-ing that allows for the proliferation of these sort of crimes. It can be hard to empower one’s self when all you can see are the ways in which you erred. (And her mother’s explanation of sex stuff in the flashbacks wasn’t exactly empowering, either.) Big Boo may not be perfect, but her using Tiffany’s own reasoning against her was perhaps the only way she could’ve gotten her point across. OH PENN!
Things weren’t great for almost anyone in this episode, what with Soso’s defeated, lost, and broken turn that resulted in her overdosing in the library (noooo!). But would anyone really blame her? After getting kicked out of the Norma cult, Leanne cutting her hair, Rogers getting put on leave, and Healy’s bullshit “people like happy people!” speech, we’d be pretty deflated and looking for outs, too. Not only is Soso disillusioned by her life inside the prison, she’s disgusted by her friends outside of it now, too. Sometimes it’s hard to change your perspective. Aww, Soso. The time to find your prison posse is now, girl.
It was also a heartbreaking affair for Sophia, who was full-on hate crimed by some inmates, and sent the the SHU for protection. Which uuuuuuuuuuuugh. Her option — a demand for change in the system — was clearly the superior one. Only …the people running MCC are not only ill-advised but completely misguided in their intentions to “protect” the women — which is, perhaps, one of the most infuriating themes on the series. Totally accurate, but completely maddening. Because these women are capable, and isolating people doesn’t protect them, it aggravates tensions rather than remedying them. Especially because this “protection” only validates the bullies — saying there are too many of them is just as big of a problem as the bullies themselves. As was stated elsewhere in the episode, “I didn’t need saving!” Unfortunately Caputo, king hero of his own mind, sided with MCC rather than the best interests of the inmates he knows so well. Sigh. “It’s not personal” is exactly the problem though, ISN’T IT?
“Nobody asked you to hold the fucking door,” Caputo. So stop being a victim of your own choices and stand for something real for once.
Elsewhere in the prison, Daya’s pregnancy resulted in the birth of a baby girl for Mama ‘Stache to take home and care for…except for the fact that Aleida lied, telling her the baby boy Daya had died. Which…best idea? We’re not so sure. But Aleida’s always been a bit selfish and insistent that kids are there to serve their parents wants. Which, oy? But also it’s the least surprising thing ever, really. (Sidenote: how perfectly adorable was the actress who played lil Daya, eh?)
Red’s dinner parties of fresh food were at least a slight silver-lining though, weren’t they? Well, despite the part where Cindy stole all the corn and put on a feast all her own that Taystee, now taking on Vee’s mom role, had to step in and make right. (Also her little speech on fan fiction? TOO GOOD.)
Oh and just to continue our tracking of the series’ villain, Piper, and her illegal panty mafia: so far she’s lost her bag man, broken up with Alex, and learned that Stella her latest lady lover is slated to get out of jail on Tuesday. OY.
Oh and also THE CHICKEN IS BACK AND CAPUTO SEENT IT. HE SEENT IT, Y’ALL!
Overheard in Lock-Up
- “Sticky with loneliness.” – Fig talkin’ somethin’ real.
- “I’m gonna make him feel like he’s really doing it.” – Caputo, being a moron/ignorant hero-wannabe
- “Vee treated me like a person, everyone else thinks I’m a joke.” – Crazy Eyes
- “I’m shitting in pellets now.”
- “It’s like you’re Madam Curie, but stupid.”
- “Someone named their kid after pants?”
- “We’re going to go full-on Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on this one.”
- “I kept a pet frog in the laundry for 8 months and nobody noticed … We named him Benny, but then he suffocated and then he died.”
- “Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Methead.”
What did you think of the episode? Let us hear it in the comments.
Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of The Nerdist. Find her on Twitter @alicialutes.