Orange Is the New Black: We Have Manners. We're Polite.
June 11, 2014 2:54 PM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Several futures hang in the balance as the inmates face and confront their worst nightmares: life will never be the same again.
posted by mathowie (119 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did anyone else get the impression that this could have been a series finale if it came down to it? It felt a lot less cliff-hanger-ish than the first season finale.
posted by lizjohn at 4:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I could see that, but I also think that the storylines they wrapped up (Fig's shitty management, Daya's secret pregnancy) were going to start wearing thin if they were carried over to the third season. And it's pretty clear what the major drama machines of next season will be (Alex back in Litchfield! Caputo's optimism shattered!).

I can't believe how fast I got through all 13 episodes. I love this show.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh thank god, I binge-watched and have been afraid to comment in the other threads.

SO what did we think of that ending?? I was crying and cheering, though in retrospect it's kind of a copout. Especially since I didn't recently rewatch season 1 and didn't remember Rosa at all. But still awesome in the moment.

I'm just glad Taystee and Poussey are buds again, that was the hardest part! And I hope we NEVER see Larry and Polly again. Worst plotline ever. And it's not like we NEED Piper to have outside friends for outside favors--she has her brother and his wife!
posted by leesh at 7:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

It was kind of a cop-out but it was a satisfying one.

Since I finished the finale I've been thinking about how much the student has become the master w/r/t the Lost-style flashbacks. The OITNB flashbacks are all genuinely insightful and useful to the plot, which is itself straightforward and (usually) well thought out.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am admittedly really, really bad at accents (I wandered all over the backend of Wales trying to find someone with a welsh accent only to discover that welsh people don't sound like the Scottish or Irish as I had imagined) but I spent the whole time thinking Rosa had a Russian accent (I have several really close friends that are Russian!) but it appears she is Latino instead? Am I the only one who was confused by her accent?
posted by saucysault at 8:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [21 favorites]

I was confused by the Rosa flashback too. And thought the "all her boyfriends die" angle was dumb. I'm glad she broke out though, even if it's short-lived.

Tiny nit-pick: so Vee has escaped and made it to a road. She's not very far from Litchfield. Why would she be on the shoulder, and why wouldn't she try to hide from a recognizable prison vehicle? It was cathartic to see her disposed of, but it made no damn sense.
posted by donajo at 9:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]

I ALSO thought Rosa had a Russian accent, and it took me a while to realize that was supposed to be her in the flashbacks (and the casting for young Piper and young Taystee was so good!).

donajo, good point on Vee, though she didn't seem at her best. She still would have been thinking in hardcore survival mode, based on what we know about her.
posted by leesh at 5:10 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

The finale embodied one of my big complaints about the show: implausibility. Rosa passing just as Vee makes it out of the wood? It's so pat. A number of other major plot points have involved similar 'coincidences' etc. Nor would there be any chance of Pornstache returning to his previous position, in anything approaching a realistic world. (There's also the implausibility about living arrangements, and other background stuff. Like -- unsupervised work in a greenhouse? With glass panes?)

My other big complaint is the way it handles sex. First, there's still a lot of gratuitous lesbian prison sex, which, hey, I find as titillating as the next cis dude. But its a worn cliche, it feels like throwaway fan service, and it makes me feel a little skeevy and uncomfortable when we're shown sex that has no or only the most half-hearted relationship to the plot.

Similarly, everyone's hidden agenda, ulterior motive, secondary plot arc, etc, is sexual, if it isn't greed. In Rosa's backstory, they fuse greed and sex. It's like the writers have two ideas. When you're shown the campaign assistant and Fig's husband looking at each other, it's like they don't even need to bother with the kiss. If you've watched a couple episodes, you know what to expect with certainty.

The worst was the blowjob humiliation of Fig after her fall. What the fuck was all that about? Were we supposed to vicariously enjoy her subjugation? I was a little queasy.

That said, I really enjoyed season two, and felt it suffered less from these issues than did the first. The second was also a lot less Piper-centric, which was hugely appreciated. The other characters backstories also felt more human and less like some bourgeois imagination of 'how the other half lives,' which was a significant problem during the first season. Although there's still room for improvement there — Rosa's backstory, for instance, felt pretty stereotyped as 'hot, wild, tragically romantic, latin woman.'
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:38 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

The worst was the blowjob humiliation of Fig after her fall. What the fuck was all that about? Were we supposed to vicariously enjoy her subjugation? I was a little queasy.

Made me a little queasy too -- I think the point was to remind us not to trust Caputo too much. He might have more basic decency than Pornstache or Fig but he still has some pretty gross ideas about women.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:41 AM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]

When Rosa took off in the van I turned to the wife and said "I bet she ends up running over Vee", because that was the pat solution. I was so disappointed when I was right.
posted by Runes at 7:51 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

So, Soso was there so that Piper wasn't the most annoying character, right?

For slowroll favorite character of the season I'd like to nominate O'Neill. We all already knew Poussey and Taystee are awesome. What we didn't know is that O'Neill can sing improvisational songs about nuns on his banjolele.
posted by phunniemee at 8:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [46 favorites]

I think the point was to remind us not to trust Caputo too much.

I agree with this. Caputo's been on the right side of things for most of S2, but he's still the creep from S1 who masturbates in his office regularly. Being better than the worst of the Litchfield administration doesn't make him good.
posted by terilou at 8:30 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

Reaching back to S1, Tastee talks in AA about waking up topless on some kind of heavy machinery covered in bbq sauce and a bum in her shirt lying on the ground, dead and also covered in bbq sauce - that was when she "hit bottom". Crazy Eyes / Suzanne pipes up that it was the same for her too but tuna salad.

No hint on what they did to get sent up.
posted by tilde at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

he's still the creep from S1 who masturbates in his office regularly

And he totally fired Nice Lady Guard b/c she was flirting with the electrician at HIS band's show! So yes, Caputo in charge should be . . . interesting.

And again, we saw Bennett confess (finally! I am still wondering how that baby's birth certificate is gonna go), and Caputo was just like, oh come on, whatever, you're a Nice Guy and I can't deal with this. Whcih is not a great mark of leadership, either.
posted by leesh at 8:43 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

I definitely agree with the complaints about the season. I had no problem with the killing of Vee, but run over by the prison van? come one, she is way too smart for that.

I was hoping for a death during the black out and keeping the perpetrator a mystery for a few episodes in the next season. Though are we 100% certain she is dead? She might just be seriously injured and they are really close to the prison, so the people chasing Rosa will come across her pretty soon.

Ugh and Caputo is gross, just not financially corrupt. That BJ scene was disgusting.

My sister and I are trying to figure out if this season reached Game of Thrones level of female nudity. I really think they over did it there.

Despite these issues, I did love this season and am really excited for next season. As long as Poussey and Tastyee are once again BFFs I can be happy with the resolution.
posted by Julnyes at 9:02 AM on June 12, 2014

Thanks to Scott Aukerman and Lauren Lapkus on Comedy Bang!Bang! (podcast flavour), I cannot stop calling this show "Oranges! The new black."

I loved the season overall, but felt like it got cartoonish at times -- more so than S1 -- and the key examples are already mentioned above; Rosa's "every bank-robbing boyfriend dies" story and Vee getting smacked by the van were the most flagrant examples, but even Morello's backstory and Red finding a totally unsecured, man-sized, literal pipe that goes to the *middle of the woods* for no apparent reason kind of bugged me.

WRT Vee's death, I honestly thought it was going to be the cliche bus-comes-from-left-of-frame-POW when she got to the road, so at least I got a comedy (?) beat out of Rosa just deliberately running her down, but again... jarringly cartoonish.

And yes, O'Neill and his banjolele literally came out of nowhere in the last episode to win Favourite Character.

Once again, my least favourite storylines and characters were all Piper-related. There are a couple of points in the season where people actually call her on her narcissistic, self-absorbed shit (Nicky in the last episode springs to mind), but I feel like she could have been shipped off to Virginia in mid-season and I'd have been just as happy or happier watching The Pousee and Taystee Hour.

Piper has long outlived our need for a gateway character, I do not give even the slightest of fucks for Larry and Polly and Pete, and while Cal is cute he is again another part of the show where the dial is cranked all the way to 11 on cartoonish caricature.
posted by Shepherd at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]

Broader question, and maybe a MeTa one, but I'm a bit tired of seeing FanFare all over MeTa... is there really much of a point to individual episode entries for this series when everyone's basically going to watch it like a big ol' movie and then want to talk about it as a whole? I notice that there's zero to six comments on every episode since the Big Dump of all the eps on FanFare, and I'm wondering if there's a need for it.
posted by Shepherd at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2014

I think I hate Piper less than most people, but I really found her fight not to be transferred to be fascinating. One of the other inmates (I forget which one--Yoga Jones?) talked about how amazing it was there and how she had Martha Stewart's old bunk--but Piper would rather stay with the familiar than have a slightly more luxurious prison experience (plus, presumably, family visits would be a lot harder, as they highlighted with the prisoner with the little baby girl). I jsut really thought her desire to keep her prison family--and not have to fight for a new one--was interesting.

is there really much of a point to individual episode entries for this series when everyone's basically going to watch it like a big ol' movie and then want to talk about it as a whole?

I assume this is why Matt posted them all at once and then clumped them together? Some people aren't watching them all at once, and a lot of the tv review sites (AV Club, Sepinwall) are reviewing 1-2 a week, so people might go back and want to re-comment when those go up.
posted by leesh at 10:32 AM on June 12, 2014

I'm guessing Vee had assumed she could manipulate and/or overpower the driver of the van.

And I hope Kate Mulgrew gets an Emmy nod for her supporting role this season. She was absolutely riveting.
posted by mochapickle at 10:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]

Also I'm bummed in general that There Was Not Enough Laverne Cox.
posted by mochapickle at 12:43 PM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]

The ending was good, but it needed more cowbell.
posted by Elmore at 3:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]

Actually I really enjoyed it, even if it was a bit of a cop out. Vee would never let herself be exposed, in prison uniform, by the road. And Rosa, would probably consider running her down, but give her a pass just 'cause. But still, I had a big smile on my face once Morello left the van and the nuns nearly got run down, and much as the writer's have tried to make Caputo more sympathetic to the audience, he did used to wank over the women's misery. So I smiled.
posted by Elmore at 3:43 PM on June 12, 2014

The finale embodied one of my big complaints about the show: implausibility.

You can take the showrunner out of Weeds, but you can't (entirely) take Weeds out of the showrunner.

Caputo has been totally NiceGuyFriendZoning Fischer since Season 1, and the main reason I'm glad Fig is gone is I can live without one more instance of the Harpy-in-Heels stereotype. Extra eyeroll points for the hoary old "too stupid to know her husband is gay" plug-in.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:07 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

You can take the showrunner out of Weeds, but you can't (entirely) take Weeds out of the showrunner

This. It turns out that Jenji Kohan (and her writing staff) is a one-trick pony.
posted by donajo at 6:21 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

This. It turns out that Jenji Kohan (and her writing staff) is a one-trick pony.

Well, if the one trick is "crafting worlds populated mostly by fully realized, three-dimensional female characters in a literal desert of media that generally treats women as objects or afterthoughts, with the minor flaw of sometimes not hewing 100% to reality," it's a good trick. I like this trick. I wish more people in television knew this trick.
posted by Shepherd at 7:04 AM on June 13, 2014 [44 favorites]

Also, I felt (and maybe this is just me having guessed what was up from the first instant I saw Gavin, and projecting) that it wasn't a case of Fig being too stupid to realize her husband was gay, but knowing and choosing to ignore it until it was literally thrust in her face.

I had less of an issue with the Harpy in Heels stereotype; my thinking is that the whole character (especially once her husband's preferences were made clear) was a broad swipe at the Michelle Bachman type; 1%, conservative, self-serving without a shred of empathy. Yes, handled with Hands of Ham, but I'm allowing for considerable benefit of the doubt...

...benefit of the doubt that extends up to and stops right at the Caputo blow job thing, which was frankly super shitty and awful and had overtones of "put the woman in her place" that really, really, really made me wonder what the fuck they were thinking about when they wrote that beat. It was just so unnecessary, too.

If it had been piled into the last episode, I could stretch for a charitable read where they were going for a kind of broad parallel "how low will you sink to escape" thing, with Vee literally lowering herself and crawling to (brief) freedom while Fig lowers herself and humiliates herself for the illusion of escape, but the blow job was in Ep 12, IIRC. So there's not even that.

It's not a deal-breaker, and filed under the "stuff we like is often still problematic sometimes," but among all the other occasional excesses, it was my only "Jesus, really?" moment of the season.
posted by Shepherd at 7:21 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

And Rosa, would probably consider running her down, but give her a pass just 'cause.

I'm not sure about that. Although we've only been shown the one interaction between Rosa and Vee, we've also been shown that Rosa is extremely observant. I think that, beyond knowing Vee to be rude, she was also aware on some level that Vee's was a dangerous and destabilizing presence.

My girlfriend and I are both so so so glad Taystee and Poussey are friends again.

I couldn't handle Suzanne crying at the end of that episode. It was almost exactly the way my ex cried when I broke up with her (long story short: we loved each other and were together for years, but, in the throes of mood disorder, she was physically and emotionally abusive, and it had to be done). The sound of that grief will be with me for a while.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:15 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

Ahhh, finally with the ep 13 thread. I watched them all last weekend.

This is the darkest timeline. I feel like a GIANT asshole for complaining about the lack of levity in my drama series about the American prison industrial complex, but so much of what I enjoyed about the first season was lacking from this. I missed the joyful interactions between women, more in their backstories than only their trauma and the small details of day to day life in Litchfield. The wonderful nunsongs not withstanding. I missed lustful sexy scenes instead of sad and faceless competition fucks in toilets.

My heart broke a thousand times in this season (over the space of a whole 3 days). Poussey and her babydyke lack of gears, Morello and how badly she interacts with reality, Jimmy. Not to mention I think fuckin' Daya is falling for Pornstache.

The most fucking tragic and horrific (and wonderfully played) part of the season was weaponization of Suzanne. Vee is such a completely malevolent being and all the interactions between the amazing Lorraine Toussaint and the astounding Uzo Aduba were in their own horrible way a joy to behold. The same to be said for the fabulously rotten return of Pornstache.
posted by Iteki at 3:16 PM on June 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

Also, the boyfriend magically starts talking to the baby? Out of nowhere?
posted by the twistinside at 7:47 PM on June 13, 2014

Not out of nowhere, she was really adamant the previous ep that if she's not going to be seeing the baby as often he really needs to step up to the plate and get baby-chatty for the sake of her development.
posted by Iteki at 12:00 AM on June 14, 2014 [14 favorites]

I figured it was from relief. We don't know what he's like in private (she's so talkative, so you have to assume that he's not grumpy and stoic all the time or she wouldn't have gotten with him in the first place), all we see is the tough face he fronts to the world. But he's got this baby now that he maybe doesn't really know what to do with, and the person who he needs to help him is in prison, and was facing moving so far away that he couldn't even come visit...I read that last scene with him as total relief, like, he was so scared that he was going to be truly alone, and now he's not, that he forgets for a minute that he's supposed to be all tough gangster cool guy. That's how I read it at least.

I love all the scenes between him and Ruiz.
posted by phunniemee at 6:55 AM on June 14, 2014 [18 favorites]

I thought it was just like "I heard you and I stepped up. You don't have to worry."

The thing about the blowjob I thought was supposed to be about what a small, desperate, shitty person Fig really is. It's not like Caputo offered her a deal and reneged. She offered without negotiating anything.
posted by bleep at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

God, Suzanne crying at the end of this ep was fucking heartbreaking.
posted by azarbayejani at 11:01 PM on June 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

Planetesimal, you read my mind. I almost posted this in another thread but then I realized it was spoileriffic.

I also just watched the first few episodes of season 1 and Fig introduces herself as the "executive assistant to the warden" but then she's portrayed as having a huge amount of power, like a deputy or 2nd in command. Where IS the warden? What does he do all day? And why does Caputo moving into that role make it seem like he's now in charge of everything when he's only an executive assistant? Does that mean something else in this world?
posted by bleep at 3:33 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

That also accounts for the extreme lack of guards and prisoners chopping up fresh vegetables with machetes.
posted by bleep at 5:58 PM on June 15, 2014

Regarding Fig, in the second to last episode Capuyo calls Fig while she is in the NYC party kitchen and insults her for coming up the ranks from the warden's secretary. I believe her official title is assistant warden and the implication is that she fucked her way into that job rather than earned it.
posted by saucysault at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2014

She definitely says "Executive assistant to the warden". If The Office taught us anything, they're not the same.
posted by bleep at 7:43 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I really like this show but in all honesty it leaves me feeling depressed. The prison industrial complex is so fucked up and terrifying (and real). I know that these women are criminals, but Sister Ingalls and Vee are of such a different caliber that it doesn't make sense to me how they can be in the same prison with each other. A nun who got caught protesting too much and a violent murderous heroin dealer shouldn't be sharing the same hallways. And this is real life, real people in this country man or woman get grouped up together for any number of reasons good or bad and get universally treated like total shit. So yeah, great and compelling show, but my biggest takeaway is that it highlights the most egregious part of our society (and that's saying something).
posted by pwally at 8:23 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Fig started off as the executive assistant (secretary). She moved into the assistant warden position. Caputo would have no interest in a secretarial job but had been angling for Fig's job and moving into her old office.
posted by saucysault at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah, I see. I must have missed that.
posted by bleep at 8:30 PM on June 15, 2014

I think, due to Vee's sweaty desperation, we were meant to assume she was using the heroin herself as well as dealing it, and was in withdrawal. Which would make her walking out into the road a lot more plausible.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:33 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

So many emotional moments this season. Suzanne crying over the Uno cards just devastated me.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:34 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

What was the "we have manners, we're polite" speech from? It seemed vaguely familiar.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 PM on June 15, 2014

Suzanne was awesome -- seriously great this season. Almost as awesome as O'Neill singing to the nuns. But after that, probably my favourite.

How long was Piper's sentence for? shouldn't she be out soon? Then we can stop having her and Alex on the show. (I assume Laura Prepon is coming back next season?) Sure, Piper was better this season than last, but that's a pretty low bar.

I found the blow job scene icky -- I understood it, but it was gross -- and I didn't care about how pat the thing with Vee was because she had to get off the show. What was that powder thing someone blew on her though?
posted by jeather at 9:41 PM on June 15, 2014

What was that powder thing someone blew on her though?

Quiet lady and Gloria were doing a santeria spell, that was part of it.

I think they established that Piper has 8 months left.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:49 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Was it ever made explicit what the legal consequences of her perjury were? I have a very clear recollection of her testimony and Alex's betrayal and the general way that played out, but I don't recall any actual laying-out of what Piper's perjury cost her, other than the permanent scorn of Larry's dad.

Maybe this was made clear and I got distracted by a cat or something, but I don't remember anything as cut and dried as "well, my perjury got another six months added to my sentence," even when she was venting at Alex.
posted by Shepherd at 11:22 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think she was charged with perjury, actually. Nothing Alex said would necessarily have contradicted what Piper said- that she didn't remember because she didn't care/wasn't paying attention.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

So, I did admittedly have a crazy emotionally fraught weekend, but I cried tears of relief and sadness and happiness all together at the end of the finale. Suzanne's tears, Morello's compassion, , Poussey, Tastee and crew reuniting, Rosa's freedom, both from prison and from any kind of consequences. It was all wonderful.
posted by chatongriffes at 12:04 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I didn't see the conclusion for Rosa as magical - I think she is still dying from cancer and Morello just gave her the chance to die on her own terms.

I am still not sure Vee is dead. Though that may just be because she was so wonderfully evil (kudos to the acting skills of Lorraine Toussaint) that I kinda want her around to ruin things next season.
posted by Julnyes at 2:15 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

In an earlier episode this season, when Fig and her husband are sitting in a hotel room and Mr. Fig mentions something about having children, Fig says something like, "you'd have to fuck me first." So I read the whole Fig-crying-in-her-office scene as Fig has known for a long time that her husband is not attracted to her, and probably not attracted to women generally. But I think she had somehow rationalized their marriage as politically advantageous, and the two of them having genuine affection for each other. Discovering that he was cheating on her with his male assistant was a huge violation. And there was probably some amount of willful denial happening. But I don't think she was shocked that her husband was gay. Just that he betrayed her trust and put his political future in jeopardy by acting on his inclinations.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:51 AM on June 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

> Suzanne was awesome -- seriously great this season.

I love her character, but I was disappointed to see so much of her time onscreen this season turned into just playing Igor for Vee The Villainess. There's this whole psychological backstory for Suzanne that was hinted (the actress did an AMAZING job with that), but there wasn't enough time to actually play it out.
posted by desuetude at 11:59 AM on June 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

there wasn't enough time to actually play it out

The perils of an ensemble cast.

I really hope Uzo Aduba gets some really awesome roles soon, because I think she's just been standout, taking what could have been a one-note character somewhere much richer. (I am super curious what role she auditioned for and didn't get.)
posted by jeather at 12:48 PM on June 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

> The perils of an ensemble cast.

How's about less of the credulity-straining wacky capers (escape-hatch in the greenhouse, Rosa and Morello unsupervised and unrestrained while off campus) and fewer repetitive examples of Vee's manipulations? That would'a freed up a lot of time.

I would have liked to have seen the balancing act of "entertaining" vs "harsh" carried by the ensemble cast in prison and in flashbacks, instead.

I enjoyed the second season, but was a little disappointed at times, especially when I think about it as a whole.
posted by desuetude at 5:46 PM on June 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am still not sure Vee is dead.

The typical cliches of Hollywood staging in a case like this are: eyes closed--person may just be unconscious and could wake up; eyes open, blank, unresponsive, turned toward void---person is dead.

Anything could happen, I guess, but the staging they used is usually indicative of DEAD.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:35 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

DirtyOldTown: "Anything could happen, I guess, but the staging they used is usually indicative of DEAD."

This is actually why I'm giving it a 50/50 shot that she's not dead. They like being tricky. After establishing that she's basically a monster, I wouldn't be surprised if Vee gets one more nope-not-defeated-yet.
posted by desuetude at 8:19 AM on June 18, 2014

But if she's not dead, surely she'll be sent to a maximum security facility for assaulting Red, so we will not be seeing much of her anyway next season? I figure the only reason Piper is still in minimum security is because prison management really wanted to sweep her attack under the rug (by bribing Pennsatucky with new teeth), but that ship has already sailed with Red's attack so I cannot see how they'd keep Vee in this prison.
posted by blub at 8:55 AM on June 18, 2014

I figure the only reason Piper is still in minimum security is because prison management really wanted to sweep her attack under the rug (by bribing Pennsatucky with new teeth)

Piper's saving grace here was Suzanne -- Suzanne's wires crossed when she saw Piper in the yard and she confused Piper with her mother, so she punched Piper and knocked her out, leaving both Piper and Pennsatucky to be found passed out in the snow. They were both in bad shape, so the prison considered it to be a fair fight. And that's a lot easier for paperwork, too.

When really, had Suzanne not knocked out Piper, Piper would have murdered Pennsatucky.
posted by mochapickle at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

So, I just discovered FanFare exists. I have Thoughts about this show:

Firstly, ew, I'm so glad other people felt the same way about the Fig blowjob. I really hated it because I felt like the show was trying to pass it off as some sort of just desserts spy vs. spy thing when actually it was super gross and rapey.

And ugh, Larry and Polly make me want to claw my face off, yo. Can they just get a spinoff comedy so I can NEVER WATCH IT EVER.

Vee is the worst. The fucking worst. I kept waiting for her to be given a tiny shred of humanity, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards. Man, the finale really lowballed cosmic justice for her by randomly taking her out with Rosa's van. MOST IMPORTANTLY, Poussey and Taystee are the shit and I want to see them palling around forevermore. The women who play these two are incredibly talented, I think.

Does anyone else find Sister Ingalls super annoying? I feel like her character teleported in from a Nickelodeon comedy or something; she comes off as both poorly-written and poorly-acted, to me.

And, ok, can someone explain to me the point of Soso? Obviously this is TV but her character just beggars belief. And I thought maybe she was going to start having some depth when it seemed like she had potential Major Issues around not wanting to be naked / take a shower, but...nope! As far as I can tell, turns out she just doesn't like to shower! wut

Considering how much publicity Laverne Cox has been getting of late, it's kind of remarkable to realize how seldom she's actually in Season 2. She probably had what, like maybe two or three real scenes in the whole season? Which is a shame, because Cox is good. (Although IMO when the script isn't focusing explicitly on her backstory, Sophia spends a lot of time dancing reeeeal close to the line of being a Magical Trans Lady character. She'll do your hair all sassy! She'll teach you about your hooha! She'll give you words of wisdom and reassurance!)

I can see a zillion reasons to hate Piper, both within the context of the show and on the meta-level, but I think Taylor Schilling does a really, really good job acting her. Particularly, she strikes me as a natural comedian-- which actually is sometimes at cross-purposes with the show.

The finale in general was kind of a mess, right? Norma and Gloria getting their Lucumi on...a vaguely cute idea with two characters I enjoy watching, but really, what was the point of this. Rosa making a run for it...again cute, but so cartoonish. The nun-gaggle...annoying and cartoonish. (Though O'Neill, cartoonish BUT AWESOME)

For some reason I really want to see Ruiz's backstory next season. This season lingered so often on her and her baby/dude that I was left confused when ultimately they didn't.

I feel like this show is totally trying to have it both ways with Bennett. Occasionally it's all like, "look, the so-called relationship between Bennett and Daya really is fucked up" but then out of the corner of its mouth is all "but Bennett is so cuuuuuuute and niiiiiiice". I don't think the show intends us to feel any actual ickiness about this prison guard having sex with an inmate, and that itself is quite icky.

How did Doggett get so cute and lovable this season? I also really enjoyed the additional screentime given to Leanne and Angie (though I would totally get it if someone else found them annoying).

I think one problematic aspect of the show (among many) is how the prisoners of color, especially the black ones, tend to have personal demons that translate to them lashing out, being violent and menacing, etc. This would fine, or even appropriate since they're in a prison, except that the white prisoners' demons, on the other hand, are, almost across the board, internally-directed or even quirky. When white prisoners are implicated in violence, it tends to be cartoonish-- i.e. the old ladies with the knitting needles, Pennsatucky's over-the-top braggadocio, Red enabling a fireball. When black prisoners commit violence, it's brutal: Poussey's beatdown in the shower, Vee doing pretty much anything, etc.
posted by threeants at 12:35 PM on June 18, 2014 [9 favorites]

I have mixed feelings about this whole show, really. While it's great entertainment-- I was mostly glued to it from start to finish-- I also feel kind of icky about being entertained by a show that's about, but doesn't necessarily do justice to, the prison-industrial complex. Something I said on the OITNB thread on the Blue is that I can't decide whether this is ultimately a great show with problematic elements or a problematic show with great elements.
posted by threeants at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

I had less of an issue with the Harpy in Heels stereotype; my thinking is that the whole character (especially once her husband's preferences were made clear) was a broad swipe at the Michelle Bachman type; 1%, conservative, self-serving without a shred of empathy. Yes, handled with Hands of Ham, but I'm allowing for considerable benefit of the doubt...

I can't remember, was Mr. Fig ever declared a Republican in the script? Fig and her husband always struck me as the quintessential stereotype of limousine liberals. (I'm not sure Republicans are allowed to even pretend to care about prisoners.)
posted by threeants at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Ugh, and the most annoying character in this show-- well, aside from Larry, Polly, Polly's husband, everyone in Larry's family, everyone in Piper's family, Sister Ingalls, Soso, Boo, Mendez (uh maybe I don't like this show as much as I think I do?)-- is fucking Alex. Does this character have any redeeming qualities other than being good at sex? For real.
posted by threeants at 12:50 PM on June 18, 2014

Does this character have any redeeming qualities other than being good at sex? For real.

She's also very good at selling heroin!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:55 PM on June 18, 2014 [11 favorites]

Hah, I loved Nicky's vocal impression of Alex in that one episode. Shit was priceless.
posted by threeants at 1:14 PM on June 18, 2014 [8 favorites] kiiiind of bothers me that the one known Jewish character in this series is a whining, nebbishy manchild with an inappropriately overbearing mother and a lawyer father.
posted by threeants at 1:30 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Why Taystee Is So Great
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:20 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

New FPP.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:43 PM on June 18, 2014

Vee is the worst. The fucking worst. I kept waiting for her to be given a tiny shred of humanity, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards.

Vee did one good thing: She got everyone to stop calling Suzanne Crazy Eyes. That's about all I can think of.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:54 PM on June 18, 2014

Though, yes, that was to serve her own purposes.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:58 PM on June 18, 2014

After Rosa's final comment, did anyone else hear the Curb Your Enthusiasm outro theme start playing in their mind?

I was hoping for Vee's death to be more dramatic and less ridiculous, but then again maybe she comes back.

Overall, I thought this season dealt with some more interesting themes than the first, but also teetered on the edge of cute/screwball more than I'd like, and the finale tipped the scale a bit too far in that direction. While the comic relief side is still well produced, I think alongside the compelling deeper themes, they tend to distract and cheapen everything a bit. Although I guess like Breaking Bad, they're using it to keep audiences who would tune out if the show got too dark.
posted by p3t3 at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can I just take a moment to go on a slight rant that most people on this site won't really get (but feel free to offer your perspectives!) about Black Hair on OITNB?

Ok, so the first thing that bugged me was little babygirl Suzanne. Aside from the racelift, her hair in the hospital was supercute -- it was clearly combed and thoroughly detangled. It wasn't styled, per se, but it was well-kempt. The main reason you wouldn't want your four year old running around with hair like that is that she'd have it screwed up into a knotty mess after 10 minutes, and it would take the whole next day to detangle it. You could not even start to give Bantu knots to a little Black girl whose hair was truly unmaintained without a thorough conditioning and detangling session first, and that kid would probably hate you for causing her so much physical pain, not remember you fondly for making her hair 'fit in'.

Little Suzanne's hair wasn't at all what you get when 'clueless whites' take care of black girls (pre-internet). What you actually get is what happened to a childhood friend of mine: after a summer in Europe with her white relatives (but no parents or black people around), she returned to the US with one big mat of hair; there was no detangling that ish -- her mom just had to give her a pixie cut.

Anyway, the other thing that is Driving Me Nuts is much more subtle: Vee's hair. Is her hair meant to look unkempt to the viewer at home? Or is it meant to look more stylish than the other Black women's hair? White people: how did it look to you? I swear I won't be offended either way. I just seriously am not sure what the viewer was supposed to take away in terms of how her hair was a reflection on her personality. On one hand, I can see if it was supposed to come across as "crazy" or "wild", but on the other hand, I know what it takes to maintain a WnG (that's Wash n' Go, for the uninitiated), and I know that the producers of OiTNB sometimes do not know what it takes to maintain a Black hairstyle (as in Little Girl Suzanne's case.)

I nitpick, though, because I saw and loved how hair -- so important to so many women, and one of the few things an imprisoned woman has any control over -- was used as a signifier very successfully in OITNB this season. For example -- Pennsatucky's butch lesbian cut as she turns over a new leaf (or, erm, ditches religion and joins up with a more prison-appropriate new fad for protection) and Morello's curler rags. And I especially loved how Taystee got corn rows in anticipation of the fabulous new sew in (a weave) she'd be able to afford now that Vee was taking care of her again. But they just grew fuzzier and fuzzier as Vee's promises (again) remained unfulfilled.
posted by lesli212 at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2014 [23 favorites]

That is a great analysis, Lesli.
I thought with Suzanne we weren't meant to think that her parents were totally clueless (see also her mom's impassioned speech at the birthday party) maybe her hair being obviously cared for but not going all the way also reflects something about her patents, they did their best but it wasn't enough somehow.

I thought Vee's hair was supposed to be like what Red wanted for her hair, to look fierce and intimidating and IDGAF.
posted by bleep at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

Ohh, I like that theory about Suzanne's parents, bleep. I hadn't even considered it because it is so insane, but now that you mention it, I can totally see her parents spending several hours a day washing, moisturizing, and detangling their daughter's hair, oblivious to the fact that you have to 'constrain' Black hair in some way if you want it to remain untangled for longer than 24 hours or so at a stretch. aww tragic for all involved.

I do agree that Vee's hair was supposed to be badass (and also fairly distinct, for mistaken shaking purposes!), but I'm more confused on whether it was supposed to be, "I spend 2 hours every day getting my hair looking this good", or was it more, "I just wake up this FIERCE, like my HAIR."
posted by lesli212 at 7:18 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

And I didn't even get into Sophia's long bob and Red's dye job, but yeah... more instances in which hair is that woman's best/only opportunity for self expression, to mark a transition from a weaker state to a (hopefully) stronger one. And Taystee's job fair afro, and Nicky's refusal to tame her beautiful mane. I had whole paragraphs, but I cut them because they summarized to basically: So much hair this season, good job OiTNB.
posted by lesli212 at 7:24 PM on June 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

I saw Vee's hair to be a carefully styled wild hair -- not unlike Nicky's in that way. It does not look unkempt.
posted by jeather at 7:32 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

I think the rub with Suzanne's parents isn't supposed to be that they're clueless white folks. It's supposed to be they're actually very kind, progressive people who went all out trying to be prepared for the challenges of being white people raising a black girl. The rub is, she's straight-up mentally ill, and not only are they not prepared for that, but they've steeled themselves so hardcore against the different races issue that they have trouble even seeing the mental illness for what it is.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:35 PM on June 18, 2014 [25 favorites]

Totally fascinating reading on the hair stuff, lesli212. I think someone could probably go similarly in depthnon the use of eyeliner. You've got those sharp upticks Red has, whatever Flaca has going on, Alex's angled thing, etc.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

I thought Vee's hair was about taking up space. She has presence. You have to physically make room for her when she comes into the room.

At the end, when all of her ex-crew surrounded her, Cindy purposefully did not make room for her and she had to squeeze by.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:14 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Vee's hair. Is her hair meant to look unkempt to the viewer at home? Or is it meant to look more stylish than the other Black women's hair? White people: how did it look to you?

I thought it looked pretty dang fancy for prison. I definitely don't think it's intended to look unkempt; even though Vee is fucking hard, she also seems to very much consider herself a sophisticate and someone who appreciates the finer things in life. I can't imagine her letting herself give off an unkempt vibe except for strategic purposes.
posted by threeants at 8:34 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Speaking of hair, was anyone else at first convinced that the not-Vee stabbed by the old white lady was Janae? Janae had just begun wearing her hair differently within an episode or two of the stabbing (I think as a result of going to seg?); it didn't look particularly like Vee's, but when the camera showed the back of the woman who got stabbed, the hair looked just like Janae's new do! I was genuinely surprised when this turned out not to be the case, especially since that would have added a really interesting wrinkle to the developing plot. I guess Vicky Jeudy has a good agent. :)
posted by threeants at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh my gods, thank you, lesli212, for confirming that little-girl-Suzanne's hair wasn't actually unkempt, just unconstrained. I kind of thought so, but I was afraid I was sounding all "White Woman With Some Black Friends Knows Some Things." (I see more and more parents letting their kids run around with natural hair all combed out, and it makes me smile with the adorableness every time.)

Vee's hair looked betwixt and between to me. Not quite deliberately crazy, not quite proudly natural, and not a maintained style either. I could see Vee thinking that her hair was more stylish and daring than the other black women, though. And is it just my faulty memory, or was her hair done a little differently, more curled, in the mistaken-identity botched assassination?

Ohhh, Pennsyltucky's makeover. I just got perplexed by where they were going with her towards the end of the season -- it seemed really unfocused and random. What does she need Boo for again? She didn't lose a protector, she lost followers. Her religious gig is a much better deal. We know she adopted it (and was adopted by it) for opportunistic reasons, but there is real money on the outside backing it up, and culturally it's a sensemaking fit. And her religious fervor strikes me as more reliable currency to attract a new little crew of hick white girls to dominate while she's inside. Her "counterculture" conversion just seemed...dumb.

But on the bright side, a couple episodes back, her bossiness in Safe Place and then asserting that she was the facilitator was just perfect, totally on point for her character. I liked her and Healy's little symbiotic alliance, and seeing Healy trying his hand at somewhat clumsily emulating his own therapist was also pretty pitch-perfect.

Man, am I the only person who liked Alex as a character?

Did anyone else think that almost everyone's eyebrows were waxed a little extra wide in the middle?
posted by desuetude at 9:07 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think Pennsatucky heard Healy talking about how women are going to take over and render men obsolete and decided she wanted in on some of that. Boo clearly isn't just 'gay for the stay', so she'd be the most likely to know about the secret gay agenda, right?

Boo of course is having some fun messing with the lonely dumb hick. Which may or may not come back to bite her in the ass next season.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:17 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hey, random, but did anyone catch how Taystee suddenly knew about Vee offing RJ? I was confused about that-- did she kind of know it all along but she wasn't willing to accept it until then? Did Vee deliver a Gloating Villain Monologue while I blinked?
posted by threeants at 11:04 PM on June 18, 2014

As a resident of Pennsylvania, I cannot go on any longer without providing a quick spelling lesson.

Pennsyltucky. Pennsyltucky.
posted by desuetude at 11:23 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Came in to complain about the super gross blowjob, stayed for the really great discussion.

Does anyone know if there will be a season 3?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:18 AM on June 19, 2014

As a resident of Pennsylvania, I cannot go on any longer without providing a quick spelling lesson.

Pennsyltucky. Pennsyltucky.

I had thought this too, but then I started watching the show with captions and I'm pretty sure that for whatever reason the character's name is technically spelled Pennsatucky.
posted by threeants at 9:52 AM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I can't remember anyone ever pronouncing an 'l' in the middle of her name.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:46 PM on June 19, 2014

It's also Pennsatucky in the book.
posted by danabanana at 2:00 PM on June 19, 2014

I'm reserving judgment on Suzanne's adoptive parents. We've only seen brief snippets of them, in which they seem loving and kind, but maybe they'll turn out to be overbearing and demanding... or worse, secretly racist? The impassioned speech at the doorway of the birthday party could have been calculated to make Suzanne's mother look saintly. And that scene where it was arranged for Suzanne to sing a "special graduation song" just creeped me out. Whose idea was that? I keep getting a strong Pecola Breedlove vibe from Suzanne.
posted by Soliloquy at 3:07 PM on June 19, 2014

Yup, they're filming season 3 right now, according to Jackie Cruz (Flaca).
posted by lesli212 at 3:40 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, she's from New England, I wouldn't expect the term to have previously been part of her vocabulary. (Let alone common parlance in Los Angeles.) Most people in PA wouldn't voice that "L" very strongly, it gets kind of skimmed over -- she probably transcribed it the way it sounded. I maintain that "Pennsatucky" is a misspelling. /end complaint
posted by desuetude at 8:33 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh oh and Red's dye job! Okay, this is such a small thing, but it brought me joy -- the color of her red changes and fades like actual red dye on actual hair!

Look, I've dyed my hair red for 20 years, and reds fade weird, like getting three shades for the price of one -- you'd have to dye it every week to keep the color semi-consistently vivid.
posted by desuetude at 10:11 PM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Huh. To me, Suzanne's parents were more clueless / harmful than others seem to think, so maybe I missed something in my late night binge watching.

They insist she -- as a 10 (?) year old -- attend a 6-7 (?) year old's sleepover? Their misguided efforts to get her included resulted in her being (somewhat understandably) viewed as a weirdo outsider by the girls who are all the same age and much younger. (Not that racism didn't ALSO contribute. I can't remember exactly what that snotty little girl said, but I remember it being pretty screwed up.)

She also didn't seem mentally ill to me during that flashback, making me wonder if it was just decades of all that that caused the behavior we see. And did anyone else remember a time in S1 when it was implied that she was following the other woman's strategy of deliberately acting "crazy" for her own protection? Does she have a biological mental illness; is she really strategic and faking it; or was the main issue her difficult childhood? Overall, I found her character really confusing and kind of disappointing. A few early episodes make it seem like she was going to be very interesting and multi dimensional, but the rest of the season she was just Vee's staunchest supporter in a simplistic kind of way.
posted by salvia at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I thought it was very true to life that her mental illness was clearly affected by her environment and whether she got a supportive and healthy response to behaviour that was "off". I guess because I am around a variety of mentally ill people in both my personal and professional life that I appreciate seeing her spectrum of behaviour instead of the usual MSM of one-note mentally ill behaviour. It was nice to see her move away from the persecuted role of season one to a role with more agency, which yes, included making "bad" choices.
posted by saucysault at 12:04 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well I'm not sure how I feel about this season at all. I loved the first one so much, and elements of this season have been astounding but there's been some deeply strange stuff as well and it felt way more ad hoc than season 1. Like the writers hadn't quite fleshed things out before filming and stuff being hypothesised rather than shown - Sister Ingall's backstory was just bizarre and Poussey in flashback seemed like a completely different character to Poussey in Litchfield.

I've kind of come to terms with the BJ scene. I was more floored by Fig losing it emotionally in the office, but once I'd got past that the next bit actually made a lot of sense. She'd already reached a desperate low in admitting the humiliation of loving a man who was not sexually into her so Caputo's validation of her desirability (he confessed he found her 'hot') could have triggered some confused primal power play on her part to get him off in order to feel in control. I felt like he wasn't exploiting her - she just kind of lunged at him in an attempt to assuage a deeply bruised ego and have at the functions and benefits of basic heterosexuality and he was already so giddy about the surreal turn of events that he just went with it. I don't know if that was the intention of the producers but that's the reading that made sense to me.

In any case, and despite the logical inconsistencies (the 'pipe', the Larry/Polly, the greenhouse etc) I still loved it. So many women just there on my screen without having to perform 'woman'. Event the boob count was great because it was never coy - just women's bodies doing their thing, the way men get to be topless without comment. I loved it. Roll on Season 3.
posted by freya_lamb at 7:15 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

my thinking is that the whole character (especially once her husband's preferences were made clear) was a broad swipe at the Michelle Bachman type; 1%, conservative, self-serving without a shred of empathy.

In the brief scenes with Fig and her husband, I think it's pretty clear that he's meant to be a Democrat.

I do agree that Vee's hair was supposed to be badass (and also fairly distinct, for mistaken shaking purposes!), but I'm more confused on whether it was supposed to be, "I spend 2 hours every day getting my hair looking this good", or was it more, "I just wake up this FIERCE, like my HAIR."

I definitely read some interview which I can't seem to dig up now --- possibly on New York Magazine's blog? --- where the makeup team mentioned that they were going for a lioness effect with Vee's hair. Big and bold and mane-like to emphasize her fierceness, as you point out. It was intentionally metaphorical hair.

When white prisoners are implicated in violence, it tends to be cartoonish-- i.e. the old ladies with the knitting needles, Pennsatucky's over-the-top braggadocio, Red enabling a fireball. When black prisoners commit violence, it's brutal: Poussey's beatdown in the shower, Vee doing pretty much anything, etc.

Eh, I dunno about that. Pensatucky attempted to shank Piper at the end of last season, to which Piper reacted by nearly beating her to death. One of the cartoonish old ladies actually did shank someone this season --- for all that the scene had comic elements, she was the one standing there with blood up to her elbows, with a woman who'd been knifed in the kidneys at her feet. Red nearly garrotes Vee with some Saran Wrap. And a bunch of white prisoners beat the shit out of Lori Petty for basically no reason in the first episode. The black characters who were involved in violence this season, it was all tied to Vee in some way, and she was clearly presented as a manipulative sociopath, the great villian of the season. She is ruthless and able to manipulate people into being ruthless on her behalf --- something Red tries but fails at because she's not as heartless as Vee.

In re the finale in general, I thought it was a bit disappointing --- too over the top for me. It wasn't even so much the tunnel and the van --- the scene where her former crew confronts Vee and Taystee turns on her felt a little too pat, and even the great actors that they are, they couldn't quite rescue it. Like, the scene where Vee goes after Cindy with the broom, that was legit menacing; it just didn't strike the right tone, quite, I thought to have her turn tail so quickly in the very next scene. There were a lot of moments like that, just a little off, a little rushed. It would have been better as two episodes, really.

I fear it will only get worse as they go on and get further off-book, as it were. I feel like the relative tameness of the real Piper's story constrained them a bit in the first season, in a good way. The problem with any serial show which is tightly constrained to a setting is how to keep on raising the stakes within the set boundaries of that world --- it's super goddamn difficult to do well without a set endpoint in mind; without it you run into a problem where your ordinary Joe main character gradually turns into Superman as he keeps on defeating a bigger and bigger Big Bad every season.

I did enjoy Piper's scene with Larry and Polly. Taylor Shilling does a good Sarcastic Happyface Which Is Ineffectually Concealing My Urge To Kill. I sometimes worry about Crazy Eyes, though --- she had so many amazing moments this season, but there were a couple times when I felt like Uzo Aduba's underlying intelligence shone through in the character, in a way that breaks character for me. Tricky thing to pull off --- Suzanne has this high-arts cultural background, but she herself is naive and impulsive; it's not that she can't make the references she makes, the connections she makes, but sometimes Uzo is so quick, so perfect in her timing, that her wit shines through when Suzanne is only witty accidentally, glancingly. Quibbles, though, about a very fine performance.
posted by Diablevert at 10:46 PM on June 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

The worst was the blowjob humiliation of Fig after her fall. What the fuck was all that about? Were we supposed to vicariously enjoy her subjugation?

I actually kept thinking he was counting his chickens before they were hatched, and that Figueroa would slap him with a sexual harassment suit. Or possibly bite off his dick. Or that shit like that would make him too big for his britches too fast, that he'd think "everything's coming up Caputo" and do something even worse, resulting in immediate firing.
posted by Sara C. at 1:34 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

No hint on what they did to get sent up.

It's pretty obvious just from what we know about them. I figure Taystee got sold out by Vee in some kind of drug thing. My first guess about Suzanne is that she flipped out and killed somebody, but I feel like she wouldn't be in minimum security if that were the case. I do feel like violence was probably part of it, unless it's something really out of left field like Morello's mail scam. Her demeanor makes the garden variety drug stuff slightly less likely. But she does go to AA meetings so who knows.

I'd love it if Suzanne were in for something totally silly like insider trading or tax fraud.
posted by Sara C. at 1:38 AM on June 23, 2014

White people: how did it look to you?

Fabulous. But I've always loved big tousled curls, on anyone. Either way, I definitely felt like Vee's hair was a deliberate style and not some kind of ratty unkempt metaphor for her being evil, or whatever.

I'm also guessing that she has a distinctive style for two reasons:

1. She's supposed to be a counterpart for Red, who has wild hair.

2. It sets up the shivving the wrong inmate thing better than a more nondescript hairstyle would.
posted by Sara C. at 1:56 AM on June 23, 2014

But she does go to AA meetings so who knows.

I'd say Suzanne would go to the opening of an envelope. I'd imagine she hangs out on the perhiphery of anything she's not actively driven away from. I disagree quite a bit though with the suggestion above that it is Aduba's and not Suzanne's "underlying intelligence" that is shinging through. I think Suzanne's major malfunction is that she is very badly mentally ill. I think her parents have possibly actively avoided pathologising her behaviour (for various reasons we've touched on previously). I think it's very possible that Suzanne's path in life could have been a tradionally sucessful one. I think it's also possible she's "given in" to or embraced her craziness, just let go and chosen feel over conceal. You could see flashes of that in the interregation where she's like "I don't remember doing this, but it's the kind of thing they tell me I do, so sure, why not, it kinda has to be me that did it. I wonder how?". I think comparisons could be made to Carrie Mathison in Homeland. What sort of impression might we get of her, a fiercly intelligent woman, if she hadn't had the family and career path she had but instead had spent a few years unmedicated in prison.

After all the talk of Vee's hair I had to go do an image search because I don't remember it as being at all "wild" but looking at the stills it does look a little less controlled than I was remembering. My mental impression was of it being hella regal, taking place, unabashed. The lion styling I am hearing about now makes total sense, adds to the stalk, the prowl that is Vee. Gawd, I loooooove hatehatehate Vee!
posted by Iteki at 10:41 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm white, and I read Vee's hairstyle as a deliberately high-maintenance status symbol. That is not the hair of a woman who expects you to have the spine to fuck with her.
posted by Zozo at 1:03 AM on June 25, 2014

Thanks, various white people who chimed in to say Vee's hair looked maintained!

Metafilter: White People With Some Black Friends Know Some Things (thanks desuetude!)

The reason I asked (and why I second guessed what OiTNB's producers were trying to communicate) is because I have so often seen a black girl on TV or in the movies who is meant to have janky hair -- not just "messy" or "bedhead", but more "abused and left in a tiny cage in her own faeces for weeks" -- and so the stylists give her a gorgeous, amazingly styled natural-hair wig. As in, the kind of hairstyle I would kill to achieve easily on a daily basis. And it makes me think, "Ok so that day when I was thinking I was rocking the best hair I'd had in weeks, were people looking at me thinking I just crawled out of a basement somewhere?" It's nice to get confirmation that it really is just another stupid TV trope, like women waking up wearing full makeup.
posted by lesli212 at 3:54 PM on June 26, 2014 [10 favorites]

That reminds me of the DVD commentaries for HBO's Rome Where they were saying the Italian hair and make up crews had a hard time with the idea that the slave girls should not have these beautiful intricate hairdos and some of them need to have dirt on their faces etc.
posted by bleep at 9:22 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was impressed that this episode followed Chekhov's banjolele to the letter: If a banjolele is introduced in Act I, you can be sure that it'll be played by Act III.
posted by umbú at 9:36 PM on June 27, 2014 [20 favorites]

How did Doggett get so cute and lovable this season?

The thing I liked most about the Doggett storyline is that unlike a lot of other shows I watch, the Big Bad of last season couldn't simply be dispatched and forgotten so they could move on in a new direction... she had to be reintegrated into this small society where everyone is forced to live together, which necessitates her doing some soul-searching and finding a new (somewhat marginal) role (or two) for herself. It was a tricky move to pull off, but I think it worked. I'm less satisfied by Vee and Fig both getting axed (so following the conventional defeat -> exit path), but I still liked that of the various plots massing against Vee, the least-planned one was what got her. I'm sad for Nicky, though, with that tantalizing stach of heroin now within reach.

Hey, random, but did anyone catch how Taystee suddenly knew about Vee offing RJ?

I feel like Taystee was the most inconsistently-written character this season, ping-ponging from trust to distrust of Vee, firendship to antagonism of Poussey, and (after the job interview) really betraying her natural intelligence. I hope S1 Taystee is back in the future.
posted by psoas at 7:17 AM on July 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Am I right that we still don't know what Daya did to get sent up the river? It's been bugging the crap out of me - I didn't just miss it, did I? (I recall her flashback but it didn't actually explain her crime, right?)

Also - the corny-ass music they play every time Daya and John get together makes me want to rip my eyeballs out. UGH.

Lastly: I thought Vee's hair was supposed to be a lion's mane, straight up. (God that woman is gorgeous.)

I love Black Cindy so much. "Just in case math ain't yo JAM...." hahaha
posted by tristeza at 9:31 PM on July 14, 2014

OH and why Taryn Manning isn't up for an Emmy I will never understand. She is SO GOOD this season!
posted by tristeza at 9:41 PM on July 14, 2014

Am I right that we still don't know what Daya did to get sent up the river?

I'm late to the party, but based on Daya's flashback last season (with her taking up with her mom's boyfriend and all) I assume that she was sent up for the same reason that her mom was, and it probably had something to do with all of the drugs on the kitchen table.

I spent most of my watching of this season deeply jealous of Vee's hair.

Re: the tunnel -- I'm not sure it's as implausible as folks are making it out to be that a storm drain might run from inside the enclosure out to a creek somewhere in the woods or whatnot. Especially if the greenhouse was originally built outside of the boundaries of the prison, and then when the prison expanded, it just became yet another outbuilding that wasn't being used and so never really inspected. Whoever built the greenhouse at first obviously knew the drain was there (and might have thought it convenient, after all). But that person might not have been planning a greenhouse for a prison?
posted by sparklemotion at 5:05 PM on July 27, 2014

I loved Vee's hair. Thanks for the name of the technique, lesli212, I was wondering how it was done.

Pure speculation, but I think Suzanne did something to hurt her sister and that's what got her thrown into psych.
posted by goo at 5:21 PM on July 31, 2014

In case you didn't see it yesterday, Uzo Aduba (Suzanne) did an IAmA on Reddit yesterday. Bonus, her "audition" tape.
posted by saucysault at 2:54 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

We just finished up with the series the other day, so I'm late to the party, but still wanted to chime in with some feels.

Regarding Polly and Larry -- in the words of my college roommate's grandpa: "may he become a cat and may she become a blintz, and the cat chokes to death on the blintz and the world is rid of the both of them." (It sounds better in Yiddish.) They add nothing of any worth to the show at this point, and I hope Kohan & Co. come to their senses and get rid of them entirely for Season 3. HATE. (And not even the fun "love to hate" kind of hate, either. Actual filled-with-contempt-and-impatience hate.)

I am this close to wishing cat/blintz transmogrification on Daya and Bennett as well. They're both drips, neither of them seem that bright, and they aren't interesting in the slightest (though they both seemed potentially interesting in season 1, and he seems to have slightly more of a personality than she does).

I loved Rosa getting to make a break for it at the end, even if it was pat. I just wish they hadn't done the cheesy "turning back into her badass glory-days self" thing.

Taystee is really the greatest, but I also didn't quite buy the whole bit where she would flip the switch between distrust and loyalty to Vee that quickly and completely. I mean, it felt bullshit enough when she goes over to the dark side in the moment -- for a slice of cake! -- even when we think that Vee had sold her out in some way. But when Taystee makes that reference at the end to knowing that Vee had RJ killed, it renders it totally unbelievable: either Taystee's love of cake trumps her love of RJ (which goes against who she is as a character), or she figured out Vee killed RJ sometime after the cake incident (which makes no sense to happen off-screen). Vee's hair was absolutely magnificent, however.

Oh, also, speaking of inconsistent... Season 1: Litchfield goes into lockdown over a missing screwdriver. Season 2: Litchfield allows unfettered access to a greenhouse that -- between the glass, gardening tools, and planks of wood -- could provide weapons to every single inmate in general population.

All that said: I still really loved it, because it's so great to see an ensemble of women and so many incredible performances. I even don't dislike Piper all that much; I think Taylor Schilling has become a lot more nuanced over the two seasons, and I also think that what we're seeing with Piper as a character is a gradual development of her self-awareness. We've seem that she comes from a family of narcissists, so being at Litchfield really does appear to be the first time in her life that she's forced to confront that the rest of world doesn't exist as the supporting cast in the movie of her life (as Nicky points out at one point).
posted by scody at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I also have trouble following Taystee's motivations. They make sense to me for most of the season - she's loyal to Vee, as family, and moreover knows that you don't want to get in Vee's way.

But switching back to being buds with Poussey almost immediately after getting outsed by Vee? I didn't buy it. I expected a lot more bitterness, instead of this "wow can you believe I followed that crazy Vee lady, oh well!" Same with the other girls.

The season spends so long setting up Vee's rise to power, but undermined all that in about two episodes by the prisoners just deciding "oh actually I guess we should stop this lady? okay." I certainly expected much worse consequences (I spent the whole season so worried for Poussey) after the stakes were raised so high. Totally loved the season as a whole, but the resolution did feel easy.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:01 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's weird to me that many people seem to consider Daya and Bennett dummies. There are definitely waaaaaay problematic elements to their relationship, but they both strike me as fairly intelligent-- if not particularly sophisticated-- characters. They're both in situations that really don't have any good outs.
posted by threeants at 4:47 PM on August 5, 2014

Daya and Bennet are written as patsies - having no control over their destiny because they're so in love. Also the situation is highly expected and cliché- I like both Daya and John as characters but the situation is so bland I wished she would have a miscarriage already so that the storyline was done with and they could spend time on more interesting people like Poussey.

One of the major disadvantages of binge watching a show like this, and the season-at-a-time format is you actually come to like and care about the characters and become way too invested in their lives, and as such an invested person it feels as though I am wasting time on the blandness that is Daya and John when there are much more interesting stories to be told.
posted by goo at 6:45 PM on August 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, it took me this long to finish. (I don't binge, I rotate, so usually it's at least a few days between eps.) Anyway, I did share some concerns voiced above about characterization and the meandering of some subplots -- during the season. Still, in general, I like to evaluate a show based on what it wants to be, and this show is not aspiring to anything like realism, despite a veneer of naturalism that underlies some really great acting work. That was all the more true this season, since almost every zig turned out to be an important zag in this finale. It was really exhilirating to watch the world close in on Vee (and others, in particular Caputo) in so many different ways -- they played a very long game on some setups. As I say, it's a show that creates its own particular world and you just have to roll with that. (The biggest signifier to me is the uniforms that say D.O.C. when the federal agency is the B.O.P. -- it's a flag that says "We're over here in our own universe, folks. Physics may work differently.") For me, the payoff here was well worth it.

Most obvious was the different story strands being toyed with about different comeuppances in the offing for Vee. You had her crew turning on her, at last (there was a weakness here, I admit), Red deciding to change her story, Healey exonerating Suzanne, the kitchen ladies and Norma hexing her (which may have worked, smh), and of course finally the seemingly minor muscling of Rosa out of the way ages back.

Let's look as Sister Ingalls. I had some issues with this storyline until it was seemingly dropped when she was turfed out to the medical ward, but of course that was just misdirection, because that's where Red was headed too. I mean, I like Sister, but the earnestness of the subplot seemed at odds with the usually non-polemical nature of the show. But what they had planned was this meeting of the minds that worked beautifully -- and of course subverted the expectation of some sort of solidarity of principle by being a breaking of principle. They actually put that in dialog so I'm pretty sure they meant it to be noticed. That affected both the Vee and Caputo storylines which were beginning to amp up the pressure.

Healy was another one that seemed to fall into the weak sauce category. He was great as a nemesis for Piper, who as a character needs something to push back against or she's unbearable. That wasn't working as well as a dynamic between him and Pennsatucky. But it helped flesh out Healy's miserable character, a misogynist doomed to counsel women, yet an idealist capable of kindness who really, deep down, wants to make a difference. The joke is that he's awful at it, of course, but the way in which he became Tiffany's only friend for a while meant that she was able to deliver the coup de grâce by making him feel marginally useful and decide that he would do the right thing -- but naturally, in the most unethical and atrocious way -- and get Suzanne out of the investigation. See, here I had thought that Healy sitting alone with his cookies was going to be the end of that arc, and it wasn't. (And of course while the changed stories might have helped, it was a CO's paperwork that was necessary to really throw the SIS guys off Crazy Eyes.)

And here a note about Uzo's performance -- I had also been a bit meh about her Emmy because I think she's great and was still interesting this year, but I hadn't seen this episode which is clearly the one that was submitted for voting. Wow, what terrific, heartfelt work. You hate Vee, but you love Suzanne, and you can' t help but feel empathy when she loses the chance to do what she really wanted and take the fall, however that worked in her reality (and of course as the conversation with ... forgot, sorry ... shows, she actually has a better grasp of reality than her own view of her reality will let her believe). Again, some confusing meandering during the season, but with a great payoff.

OK, so Daya and Bennett. It is a bit painful at times, they're both confused and they have terrible communication skills. But here again the way this works out is to trigger Bennett into not only being the kind of guy that Caputo likes, but who will be the guy who will seemingly be the thing that screws up Caputo's second day on the job. The way he so avuncularly sent Bennett in to deliver the good news to Ruiz was such a proud-daddy moment, you just loved when that rug was being pulled out from under him. Caputo, now. Caputo is another complicated dude. He may have been an idealist once, but we know that when Fig calls him that he really isn't (it doesn't hurt his feelings at all). He's become cynical and opportunistic. At the same time, he's someone who values his job and wants to feel useful, and he's also been shown as probably the single most competent person on the entire prison staff. He wants to fix the problems that he sees as brought about by Fig, but obviously there's a Peter Principle at work here as well and he's going to be shown as way out of his depth in Season 3. It's more than just checking boxes, Joe.

Not much left here (I won't cover the Piper/Polly/Larry/Alex stuff, that's in its own space. Except wow, Alex, you really stepped in it....) So Rosa and Morello. I mean, the very conversation in the van showed they had never actually clicked, but Morello's experience with the break-in and the counseling she got from Nicky really seemed to put her into a better mindset. Rosa's setup was all there, so it wasn't a deus ex machina, more of a non-protagonist resolver [tvt] with a strong dose of rule of empathy [tvt] (also of fun, of funny, at least). But again, the payoff was as much about the story we'd followed Rosa through, thinking it was just another prison industrial complex angle, and how Morello would not have been able to do this for her if she hadn't gone through her own transformation.
That said, yes, realism of unsecured prisoners, or of Vee standing by the road, a bit dubious. The drainpipe I could almost believe was "improved" by Red's crew, as unrealistic as that sounds.

So this was another bit of the season that may have seemed a sidebar at the time, questionable time spent away from our firebrand actors and key roles, when it all tied together in the end. Not only was Rosa the deliverer of justice, she also managed to be Caputo's second escapee on his second day, and of course he was logistically well placed to see her blow through his gate and the gaggle of nuns, with just the metaphorical force with which he had imagined Sister Ingalls helping him do. (I hear that the SNL writers have begun resorting to writing "Kenan reacts" in scripts. OITNB could probably just do "Caputo reacts" for all next season....) To me, this was a helluva show, and made some of the mucking about in the weeds eventually worthwhile.
posted by dhartung at 12:30 PM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Does anyone know if there will be a season 3?
I hope so. I watched the whole of both seasons in one weekend and look forward to losing another half a weekend at the earliest opportunity!

Like some others, I was a bit divided about the girl-on-girl action in some cases and felt that some of it was there more for titillation than to support the story, so I was kind of titillated and cringing at the same time.

I think another series would see the development of Caputo into the unprincipled sleaze that sits just under the skin there. The blow-job scene was, I think, really setting that up and making it clear that he's not the principled defender of the downtrodden he makes himself out to be.
posted by dg at 8:43 PM on June 2, 2015

June 12th baby, get ready!
posted by Iteki at 4:01 AM on June 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

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