Orange Is the New Black: Season 4 Recap
June 23, 2016 6:58 AM - Season 4 (Full Season) - Subscribe

New inmates, new problems, new backstories. Full discussion of all episodes for Orange is the New Black season 4.

Episode 1: Work that Body for Me. A major security breach and a large influx of new inmates forces Caputo to call in the big guns; things get too real for Crazy Eyes and Lolly.
Episode 2: Power Suit. The new inmates cause ethnic and domestic conflicts; Maria eyes an opportunity; Judy's special treatment does not go unnoticed.
Episode 3: (Don't) Say Anything. Taystee gets a new job that put her closer to Caputo; Lorna gets creative; Soso and Poussey deal with awkward truths.
Episode 4: Doctor Psycho. Emotions run high and secrets are revealed; Red, Caputo and Healy try to quell conflict; Piper encounters a business competitor.
Episode 5: We'll Always Have Baltimore. Company policies result in a shortage of necessary supplies; a trip to a prison convention is eventful; a new anti-gang initiative is put into place.
Episode 6: Piece of S... Piper's plan to beat her competition could backfire; Cindy wants to make Taystee's job pay off; Luschek receives interesting mail.
Episode 7: It Sounded Nicer In My Head. Paranoia grows, aggravating a tense situation; Red sticks to a Russian tradition for a significant occasion.
Episode 8: Friends in Low Places. The inmates dislike a new work detail; Judy turns to Poussey for help; Maria finds a place to conduct business.
Episode 9: Turn Table Turn. Flores and Ramos look for ways to rebel against authority; a news item has a surprising impact; Lorna and Red experience personal disappointment.
Episode 10: Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull. Movie selection becomes controversial; Aleida makes a change; Piper thinks prison punishments are becoming medieval.
Episode 11: People Persons. Caputo is challenged; workers make an unsettling discovery that leads to a long night of lockdown for the inmates.
Episode 12: The Animals. Alliances in prison families shift; Piscatella and his guards go after Poussey; Alex and Judy look to the future.
Episode 13: Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again. Corporate bureaucracy and simmering feelings work against Caputo's attempts to control a sensitive situation. This is the full-season thread.

Season 4 of Orange is the New Black: It's About Time (NY Times)

'Orange Is the New Black': The 10 Most WTF Moments From Season 4
posted by gatorae (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just can't believe she's dead.

I mean literally I woke up in the middle of the night one night trying to conceive of the fact that she's never coming back, as though someone I really knew had died. Just thinking of her smiling at the camera in that least scene and having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that she could just not exist anymore.

I had kind of figured out from headlines that she was going to die, even though I was careful not to read any articles until I finished the season. Still, it was harder than I thought. And I just wasn't prepared for it to happen yet. I kind of assumed it would be the last episode, and when it happened it just happened so fast.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:17 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

This season is a goldmine of things to talk about. If I had to pick an adjective for the entire season I think it would be "bleak." I thought the season was wonderful, but it was extremely upsetting. The writers' rage at the entire criminal justice system was palpable.

Suzanne's backstory is what keeps creeping into my thoughts. I was afraid her crime would be something like that, where her childlike lack of awareness would get her into trouble, but the consequences were so much worse than I'd imagined. Suzanne, the little boy, his family, her sister.. so many victims.

I was pretty surprised by the unabashedly negative portrayal of war veterans as prison guards. "Negative" isn't even a strong enough word; I would be surprised if there isn't some blowback from military people/families over it. I didn't think the point was to say that all veterans are evil, but the overarching theme with the guards (and everyone, really) was that prison culture is terrible and makes people do terrible things; it isn't surprising that people who have very recently been to war, which also makes you do terrible things, would be susceptible to quickly fall into the worst aspects of prison culture. That said, the fact that they were so over-the-top evil that they made the rapist seem like an actual nice guy was kind of absurd.
posted by gatorae at 7:52 AM on June 23, 2016 [8 favorites]

I took the over the top evil od the new guards to be intended to reflect on MCC. They're the 9nes who were hiring people wjo werent in an emotional or psychological state to be proson guards. I've read studies of sevurity companies and how they refuse to hire anyone as even a mall cop if they have ambition to be military or police, because they tend to be too aggressive.

I felt like the problems of for profit prisons were a running theme earlier in the season, but it was so completely overshadowed by the ending that that theme wont get much discussion.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:21 AM on June 23, 2016

Yeah, and I just remembered that in the boardroom there was a discussion about hiring veterans who had been out of work the longest because they got more bonus money. So these are probably people who couldn't find jobs because they are so fucked up. I'd kind of forgotten that since with the economy nowadays I don't automatically associate someone who's out of work for a long time as having inherent problems, but it makes more sense here.
posted by gatorae at 8:27 AM on June 23, 2016

I was a private prison guard Via Mother Jones
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

I had no idea Sophia wore a wig. I'm a little clueless, I guess.

Also, I didn't understand what was meant to be happening in the salon this season.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:38 AM on June 23, 2016

Maria made the call to instead of continuing with the panty smuggling scheme that was falling apart, they would go big time and progress to drug smuggling. Which is why Nicky went in 'for an updo', and then was upset when she was blocked from coming in.

That whole mouse thing was so disturbing.
posted by sweetmarie at 10:49 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

That Mother Jones article is disturbingly on point. Jesus.
posted by gatorae at 11:00 AM on June 23, 2016

We watched the episode where Poussey died and we've had to take a break from the final episode. What happened was a complete surprise. I thought Sophia's arc was bleak, and the psycho guard horrifying but Poussey...geeze, that was like a punch in the face from nowhere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:49 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

1.) Poussey's death...Wow. Wow. There has never been a death on a television series that has gotten to me like that. I had trouble sleeping afterward. And so quickly after I was happy to get Nicky back. Orange giveth and it taketh away.

It was a really superb TV moment, though. That and the Poussey flashbacks after. The actress and writers should be proud.

2.) Cindy’s and her Muslim bunkmate’s dispute as a parody of Israel and Palestine was brilliant comedy. The Muslim using a shaken up pop bottle as a bomb and Cindy warning her that she has powerful friends were particularly good laughs.

But the very best part—very best—was in episode 6 when Taystee channeled Jimmy Carter to mediate peace. This was even better than Curb Your Enthusiasm’s “Palestinian Chicken”. Which, to me, was the best episode of Curb.

3.) It makes sense that the guards who walked off the job end up scrapping by on low pay service employment. How else could it have been? They needed friends who work outside the prison to warn them, “Strictly speaking, upstate New York is part of the Rust Belt. And the bennies you get at that prison are better than you’d get anywhere out here. Don’t fuck your good shit up.”

4.) Piscatella was so interesting. He started out as the guard Litchfield needed, such as when he picked up Lolly and chewed out the guards who were laughing.

But then he shifted into the main bad guy. I think what caused hat wasn’t the discovery of the body. It was a small moment in episode 3. Piscatella asks Caputo why he chose Taystee as his assistant, and Caputo tells him:
“She’s the only semi-intelligent one that I’m only semi-attracted to.”
It’s a very Orange line, and consistent with Caputo—who, the first episode, masturbated in his office after meeting Piper. Piscatella is visibly bothered. I think this is really important because this is the moment Piscatella lost respect for Caputo. And Piscatella would not have mutinied if he respected Caputo as warden.

5.) Daya is off to max now, right? Either she pulls the trigger and gets life, or just holds the gun and gets a few more years. Or hands it to someone else who uses it, then gets life as an accessory.

The show was trying to tell us that Daya was going down a bad path by hanging with the crew in the salon. But she didn’t do anything other than get kind of mouthy with Gloria, so it was a violation of ‘show, don’t tell’. Maybe there was something about that final scene the writers wanted to convey, but had to cut things leading up to it?

I had no idea Sophia wore a wig. I'm a little clueless, I guess.

I didn’t know it was a wig either, until it got knocked off when she was attacked last season. I don’t know anything about black people’s hair. I’ve seen the Barbershop movies multiple times, but they have no useful information.

Suzanne's backstory is what keeps creeping into my thoughts. I was afraid her crime would be something like that, where her childlike lack of awareness would get her into trouble, but the consequences were so much worse than I'd imagined. Suzanne, the little boy, his family, her sister.. so many victims.

I agree. What I don’t get is, why would she be in federal prison for that? Was the building federal property? Or on Tribal land?
posted by riruro at 7:35 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Would Suzanne have been charged with kidnapping too? Could that make it a federal charge?
I am so, so sad for Poussey. And for Taystee too, although I still have hope for her. I'm going to be crying when I think of Poussey for a while ... 1/2 an ounce! This show is so great and also makes me so incredibly angry. I agree with the sentiment that the writer's frustration and anger is palpable. Everything MCC does is realistic, maybe even not realistic enough. I'll be eager to see what happens to Linda in this "Attica is that the bird dad?" riot. She's so smarmy, I have a feeling she'll talk her way out of danger.
Re Daya: I think the "all you guards are shit" line was a direct call back to the guard that abandoned her and the baby. She has more reason than many to be really angry at a guard, although of course I hope she doesn't shoot him.
posted by areaperson at 8:29 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of crankiness out there about the fact that they killed off a queer woman of colour, and it does seem like kind of a cheap choice. Pick the character on the show who is least likely to get themselves involved in some shit that'll get them killed and they're the one who dies. It's almost obvious in its non-obviousness.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:42 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, why didn't Bennett come back? I really thought he would come back. Are they really going to leave Bennett's whereabouts unresolved forever? And I'm surprised Daya's mother isn't making some attempt to track him down, though admittedly she has a lot on her plate right now trying to get her life together, but I don't think she's even expressed any intent to eventually try.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:24 AM on June 24, 2016

4.) Piscatella was so interesting.

!! I was totally thrown when Piscatella started out seeming like a good person, then the reveal that he's gay, then the reveals that he's a horrible person.

I was disappointed that Healey turns out that - yep - he's a horrible horrible person.

Caputo - wow - interesting back story and turns out he's a good person, even with all the flaws.
posted by porpoise at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2016

Was Healey a horrible person? I didn't see it that way. He didn't really have much choice which Lolly wants she admitted to killing the guard. I actually kept waiting for the "Healey is a bad guy" shoe to drop. And it doesn't. Bel, he gets kind of shitty with Judy King, but if anything that seems to serve as more of a wake up call. And his leaving the prison after Poussey dies reads more as extreme mental turmoil; it ends with him first trying to kill himself then checking into some form of inpatient treatment.

I burned through all the episodes last weekend. I have to agree, I think this season was the show's strongest. As a random anecdote I was thinking earlier on the previous Thursday "I wonder when OitNB is coming back. And I turned on Netflix some time after midnight to watch something short before going to bed, and was greeted with a countdown screen for and was greeted with a countdown screen for OitNB. The logical explanation is that I saw mentioned in media but it didn't consciously register. However, it just seems so random and coincidental. Anyway, I didn't intend to watch the whole season in a weekend; it was just so good that I couldn't help myself.

That Mother Jones article dovetails nicely with the release of this season. It was a harrowing read, but worth it if anyone hasn't read it yet.

I cried so much during the last two episodes. I don't think I've ever cried that much for a character that's died. I was openly sobbing and had to stop at times during episode 12 and 13 until the sobbing past. And the guard that did it- the show did such a great job of making me feel so incredibly conflicted. I can't imagine what going back, if you can go back, will mean next season. He killed someone! And it doesn't matter that he's sorry, or he didn't mean to, or he's a "good guy".

I loved how much depth they've given to the characters as well. I know the show has been doing this all along, but seeing characters like Blanca as not just the crazy haired one dimensional character was really important.

I'm not sure how I felt about the Judy King story line. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I did like that they had some fun subverting the older woman is a sexless, wise nurturer.

I have so many more thoughts and feels, but I think I'll end it here for now.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Was Healey a horrible person? I didn't see it that way.

Undermining, sabotaging, and otherwise griefing the other - competent, empathetic, innovative - counselor.

Also, Red-Him-Mailorderbride nonsense.

Also, pressuring Judy King into doing a cliche cooking class.

I kinda did like the Judy King arc; at first she's sympathetic (and hilarious with wosnam Luschek) but she's as flawed as everybody else and is ultimately driven by self interest/selfishness.

I've always liked Luschek and it's nice to see him get a little bit of scenery to chew on.

Kinda loved that the show moved a little bit away from Piper. Wished there was more Chang.
posted by porpoise at 6:43 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Healy is a weak, pathetic person who is more invested in salving his own gaping emotional wounds than in anyone else's needs.
I agree. What I don’t get is, why would she be in federal prison for that? Was the building federal property? Or on Tribal land?
My theory is that Suzanne was supposed to live in or right near DC (hence her sister's weekend getaway to St. Mary's), and she took the kid across the Maryland line in between the park and her apartment. I think kidnapping across state lines is a federal crime. Because otherwise, it makes no sense.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:10 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by roger ackroyd at 9:05 PM on June 24, 2016

Oh my heart. I was emotionally devastated when Poussey died. Of course she was everyone's favorite character and of course she was just trying to help calm down Suzanne. Ugh, and Suzanne's suicide attempts with books? Just, God Damn. I don't know if I can watch the show anymore since it has been a day or two since I finished this season and I am still out of whack from the death of a fictional character . I made this comment in the Mother Jones thread, but it's kind of horrifying to realize Litchfield, as fucked up as it is, is better run that actual prisons with actual people on them. Man, I need to go find Samira and give her a hug or something.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 3:02 AM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Game of Thrones is an epic fantasy, with a large cast, huge set locations that are supposed to thousands of miles apart.

OITNB is epic in a different and more satisfying way. Everything is mostly occurring in one small area (not including the flashbacks), with a large cast, yet it feels like a lot happened with this huge cast over this one season, as the plot touched on a lot of different issues and sparked various changes and growth within the characters.

Soso and Poussey's relationship was a great look at the strengths and weaknesses of them as individuals, how those differences can harm the other and yet how the strengths overcame the weaknesses to build a solid foundation for a future. Those two had finally come to a point where they were a solid couple and then it was ripped away by a long chain of stupid and petty coincidences and actions.

What if another guard had dealt with her at the riot? What if Poussey hadn't tried to help? What if Soso was close enough to prevent her? What if Piscatella hadn't been in charge? What if Caputo had been smarter? Hell, he probably could have let Piscatella and the others guards walk off and managed to keep the inmates semi-controlled for a day or two.

Like Poussey's flashback, so many little things could have gone just a hair differently and she'd still be alive, planning her future with Soso. And what was it about her flashback that made Poussey almost literally sparkle? Jesus, there was so much potential there, such a wide open future and just for some minor thing she ended in prison.

Can we talk about Dogget and Boo and then Dogget and the guard Coates? The growing friendship between D and B was a joy to see, as Boo helped come to terms with the rape by Coates and grow from it. Then the continued relationship between Dogget and Coates was one of the most interesting and disturbing things I've seen on tv. They become friends, she confronts him and he apologizes and genuinely seems remorseful about what happened. Then there's that scene in the last episode where he tells her exactly what he'd like to do her, but he refrains, because he likes her. It wasn't pretty to watch, but geeze, it was a mesmerizing study in who those two characters are and how they interact.

Then there's Nicky! and Red and Nicky! Blanca's defiance and willingness to stand on the table to prove her point! Frieda's humorous quips about burying or hiding the body! Sophia's strength in being in SHU and eventually getting out! The various instances of laugh out loud humor! The fall of Piper! Depiction of racial tensions! All these things feel like they could spawn essays and numerous rewatches. Truly the best season yet
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on June 25, 2016 [9 favorites]

I loved this season. I saw the trailer and thought whoa, this is going to be bleak but there really was a lot of humour in the first few episodes. And then shit got real. And even more real. Lori Petty was just superb as Lolly. God, so much depth to that character. And then Poussey. I cried so hard during the last two episodes. There's so much more to dissect from this season (did anyone else notice the constant mention of ghosts?) but I really think I need to watch it again to be able to get into it fully.

I think I'm going to go back to season one and watch them all again.
posted by h00py at 4:36 AM on June 26, 2016

This was hard to watch. We would have probably blown through the season in a weekend, but I had to keep stopping and saying "nope, I can't take any more today." Such a strong season, and so god damn bleak. It took me right to that edge between "this is terrible because human beings deserve to be treated with respect" and "fuck humans."
posted by Nothing at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hooo boy I hope Daya doesn't shoot, because Taystee and a whole bunch of other people are right behind him.
posted by AFABulous at 7:00 PM on June 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Poussey's death was obviously the tragic low of the season but I was entirely crying when they took Lolly away to psych and she was alone. Healey standing behind those doors as she called out for him.....I know he's not a good guy but they seemed to have a bond and that scene really hurt my heart.
posted by hepta at 8:00 PM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Taystee? Judy King is right up there too on the front line.

Rewatching since I'm home sick ... Hilarious translations in captioning ... Pendejo as "joker" at least twice so far.
posted by tilde at 7:24 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was surprised at how whole conversations in Spanish weren't subtitled this season. I understand it with no problem but I remember wondering if the average viewer wasn't meant to understand the conversation (or the producers felt at least that it wasn't necessary to understand the conversation) and trying to think about what I would take from a scene or episode if I hadn't understood those conversations.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:33 AM on June 27, 2016

That explains why I haven't had caption collision (when cc and open caption overlap).

Guess they figure you know it or you can turn on captioning. Been a lot more Spanish in shows I've been streaming; maybe it's a new trend.
posted by tilde at 11:10 AM on June 27, 2016

In an earlier season, we thought they weren't captioning the spanish, and then found that our older "smart" TV had an outdated Netflix app. When we moved to a newer app, the Spanish was subtitled as you'd expect.

I had CC on most of the time (I often do) and the captions were there the whole time. If CC hadn't been on, those scenes wouldn't have been captioned? Or just some of them? Interesting.
posted by terilou at 3:11 PM on June 27, 2016

Huh....I wasn't watching via Netflix, though I guess someone upstream of me was watching on an outdated app. Anyway, I think I saw only one conversation subtitled the entire season and if I recall correctly, there were other conversations in that episode that were not subtitled, which is what made me think not subtitling the others was a deliberate choice.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:15 PM on June 27, 2016

I watch on AppleTV (latest) on a three year old Samsung TV (no smartness enabled). It randomly turns off captioning at frustrating times (or it's the app ...)

West Wing has most of the dialog but misses a lot of subtlety. Old old tv shows are much spottier.
posted by tilde at 8:06 PM on June 27, 2016

I haven't seen the last two episodes yet but I accidentally read spoilers on Twitter so fuck it.

jacquilynne, Samira Wiley actually addressed that in an interview with E:
I know you've had to keep this secret for over a year. At any point did you have a conversation with Jenji [Kohan] or the writers to find why it had to be your character?
Oh yeah. Actually, we had a conversation about like that. They felt like they couldn't really tell the story with a character that didn't have such a strong moral compass, like Poussey did, and such a bright future ahead of her. You could imagine Poussey's life outside prison, you could imagine her succeeding and to have that cut short, it wouldn't have the same impact if there was a character whose future wasn't as bright as Poussey's. They wanted it to hurt. And it hurt.
I mean, the scene is OBVIOUSLY a reference to the incidents that have given rise to the BLM movement. It wouldn't have worked to have any other character be killed. It just wouldn't have. It only helps that Poussey's was basically everyone's favorite character.

I thought the writing this season was so, so good, and the writers really did their work with foreshadowing and red herrings. I mean, BLM was mentioned in an early episode so of course they had to call back to it. And I knew the sweeteness of Poussey and Soso's relationship would end tragically — there's no other way a prison romance could end. I thought for sure there would be a skin rash outbreak after the pond swim in Ep. 1 since so many charactersmentioned being itchy. And before Ep. 11 you start to wonder if the garden storyline will ever be addressed again. They detail with the dead man's keys is so clever. Plus, there were wickedly funny background moments and great dialogue — too many to remember, in fact. Linda from Purchasing being constantly referred to as Linda from Purchasing, even by Caputo. One of the Dominicans called Piper's Hawaiian bunkmate (whose name is never mentoned on the show) a poi-eater, which is a pretty mean insult but clever because how many people know what poi is? And Caputo walking brainlessly past the display of Moon Cups at the Corrections Conference while Litchfield is in the midst of a tampon shortage. SideboobRulez. The friendship between Flaca and Martiza (FLORITZA!) after the baby mouse incident. So much more. Lydia's dialogue! The hilarious and clever verbal sparring between Andula and Cindy. The fact that the show introduced both a Muslim woman AND a Hawaiian woman into the mix. Blanca's backstory, which harkens back to her talking to the devil in the bathroom stall in Season 1. It's all just so well tied together, and I love what the writers are doing with regards to commentary on current events.

In summation, I have tansitioned to finding this show mildly entertaining to really, really loving it.
posted by Brittanie at 7:10 AM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm curious about what everyone makes of the decision to have the gun wind up in Daya's hands at the end, as opposed to basically any other character at all. Alex would have the whole inner conflict over I killed once already, I can't bear to again, but on the other hand Humphrey totally deserves it. Either Flaca or Maritza would have a similar conflict: not violent by temperament, but on the other hand, there's the mouse thing to avenge. Janae could plausibly shoot just about anybody at this point, because she's upset and everybody's pissing her off with their dumb attempts at condolences. Any of the women in the room when Humphrey tried to get them to fight would have a vivid memory of him being a shitbag. Etc.

Instead, the show elects to give the gun to . . . Daya. I don't get it. For all the hand-wringing about her falling in with the bad younger group after her mother leaves, it doesn't seem plausible to me that she'd actually shoot. She's been pretty passive so far in the show, but not especially violent or impulsive. The only thing I can think of is that this is an attempt to give her a personality in season 5, by forcing her to make a huge decision, since she didn't get much to do in season 4. Anybody have a better theory? Does anybody think she might actually shoot?
posted by Spathe Cadet at 6:29 PM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think she's a character that has guard-related issues, but her issues are less one-sided than some of the other characters' would be. So choosing her creates more internal conflict. She's also allowed herself to be pushed into doing things she didn't really want to do in the past, so there's an opportunity for external conflict as other inmates try to coach her on what to do.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:13 PM on June 28, 2016

posted by threeants at 7:20 PM on June 28, 2016

Amazing season, though I found the end of the finale (which I just finished five minutes ago) pretty disappointing. Y'all, POUSSEY IS DEAD, and you're seriously trying to get me to care about Daya? Honestly, I legit wanted some semi-mawkish catharsis over P, not a weird, mostly kind of lulzy riotus interruptus.

As much as I came to enjoy Poussey and Soso's relationship, I thought it was perfect that Taystee was ultimately the one who threw herself at her side right after she died. This season actually made me kind of forget their intense friendship but this took me right back.

Ugh, I'm so sad about Poussey! I'm kind of embarrassed at how much the episode she died in cast a pallor over the rest of my week after I watched it, as I'm not really someone who invests in fictional character at that level.
posted by threeants at 7:30 PM on June 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

The last ten minutes of the season felt like they were written in about as much time, tbh.
posted by threeants at 7:33 PM on June 28, 2016

I just feel like the choice made with Caputo at the end was sort of...not the way this show usually works? I think the tone OITNB really owns is how it works over-the-top fantasy and horrific, numbing reality so hard on both ends that they fold into each other, and having Caputo find a dull Third Way that betrays both the corporation and the prisoners feels dramatically unsatisfying in a direction these writers don't usually take us.
posted by threeants at 7:43 PM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

why is this page not a chatroom
posted by threeants at 7:48 PM on June 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Piper's Hawaiian bunkmate (whose name is never mentioned on the show)

Her (last) name is Hapakuka. I think it was mentioned at least once.

I loved that Taystee asked Caputo if he hired her because she won the job fair.
posted by donajo at 7:52 PM on June 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

OTOH, there are some post-S4 commentaries really worth reading that take Poussey's death as a new jumping-off point for the longstanding critique of the show as commodifying the trauma of women of color.
posted by threeants at 8:28 PM on June 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

That was a far darker season than I expected; guess they really want to be on the drama side of dramedy.

having Caputo find a dull Third Way that betrays both the corporation and the prisoners feels dramatically unsatisfying in a direction these writers don't usually take us.

I figured Caputo was going to go off-book; what was disappointing is that he didn't go off book in such a way as to lay blame at the feet of MCC (I mean, the obvious press question with the "angle" cooked up by corporate is that if this guy was so unstable and untrained, what is going on with MCC's hiring and training practices?). There was a lot of people ducking responsibility, skating past their situations this season, and I was really hoping Caputo wasn't going to be one of those people. Maybe the better finish would have been Caputo toeing the company line, only to have it blow up in his face with a couple of obvious questions, but one of the big themes this season was around the various group identities inside the prison, which finally culminated with the guards versus the inmates, and Caputo had to come down on one side.
posted by nubs at 9:28 PM on June 28, 2016

I expected Caputo to go rogue too, but then he had to do it in the only way Caputo could, which was to not quite take the prisoners' side. I like that the writers took the third way becaause I don't want to see him as either an all-bad or all-good character.

Did anyone notice that during Poussey's flashbacks, she passes Bailey very briefly on the street in NYC? The scene with her and the improv troupe/monks reminded me of the ending of Nights of Cabiria, when Cabiria is surrounded by scooters in the forrest. I've always interpreted that scene as happening after Cabiria has died. Poussey seeing Bailey would lend creedence the the visions of heaven theory.

heyho — sorry, not Lydia. FRIEDA.
posted by Brittanie at 3:25 AM on June 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's so typical of Caputo, though. That's what I love about this series - shit happens and the people who are normally portrayed as bad do good things and those who are supposed to be good do bad things in shitty ways but their character thinks that it's good.

I feel bad for Bailey because he obviously didn't mean to kill Poussey but he did and it wasn't necessarily because he was a bad person. The prisoners aren't going to give a shit about that because their friend/compatriot/lover died and was left on the floor for hours and hours while an arsehole corporation tried to spin doctor what happened with no regard to dignity or truth or anything other than covering their arse.

That's life, and it's so rare to see it portrayed on a tv series. It sucks that Poussey died in such an awful and unnecessary way but that happens all the time.
posted by h00py at 5:34 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I feel bad for Bailey because he obviously didn't mean to kill Poussey but he did and it wasn't necessarily because he was a bad person

Yeah, I really liked the choice to have Bailey - who is the most human of the guards this season - be the one who kills Poussey. He didn't mean to, he didn't want to hurt anybody, he's just a kind of clueless dudebro who has enough limited self-awareness to know he's done some shitty things in the past but can't figure out what to do with it. He got in a situation that he wasn't prepared for - not just in terms of training, but in terms of experience of being a fully functional human being - and here we are. Someone is dead who shouldn't be, and Bailey will suffer for it for the rest of his life. Poussey shouldn't have been there in Litchfield, and Bailey shouldn't have been either. It's just messed up, and the problem is that the mess just keeps getting worse.
posted by nubs at 8:55 AM on June 29, 2016 [8 favorites]

I really like that this show generally goes for the difficult, realistic portrayals of human behavior. For instance, even though the audience perceives the inmates as one big ensemble, it's not one unified group within the reality of the show -- the cliques don't actually mix much except for specific reasons and the characters don't even all know each others' names. The guards are lazy and gross and callous, but they're not just a bunch of villains, they're just in a shitty job that they're not equipped to cope with.

But I have really REALLY mixed feelings about how Humps-guard is a straight-up psychopath. Yes, there is space for guards to engage in outright sadism like that, but it seemed over-the-top even for that.
posted by desuetude at 10:32 PM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like this show for the way it portrays emotional trauma as long-lasting and ongoing. In so many shows, someone gets betrayed/beaten/raped/killed, the victim and/or their friends cry/get angry, and in the next episode, they're back to normal.
posted by AFABulous at 6:33 AM on June 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

It's been a week and I still cry when I think about Poussey on that floor. Someone mentioned Bailey in the flashback to her last night of freedom. I did see Bailey walk by her on the street. I thought that was a bit heavy handed when I was watching, but on more reflection, it did help illustrate the randomness of how their lives intersected.
Caputo and his crap decisions are almost impossible for me to decipher, except that he is incredibly self-serving and also stupid. His penultimate speech was basically in defense of himself because he sees himself as Bailey (although Caputo, you wish you were as innocent as Bailey). I thought he was right that he was ultimately helpful as warden because he's better than an unknown, but I was wrong. Linda from Purchasing might actually be better as Warden. And btw, is Linda in the prison in the riots? I have a feeling she'll negotiate her way to freedom or somehow take over control of a prison gang.
Does anyone know if Lolly was played by Lori Petty in the early flashbacks? That wasn't her, right? But wow the actress completely nailed her voice!
posted by areaperson at 5:52 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Regarding Daya as the potential shooter: I like Daya, but I am curious about this too. I wonder if this is an attempt to also involve Aleida in more of the story line next season. I think Aleida's attempt to survive outside of prison are really interesting and I love Aleida and just want to see more of her, so maybe a Daya-focused plot line will help facilitate that. In any case, Daya, don't shoot!
posted by areaperson at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2016

Remember in the flashback Healey takes a date to Welcome to the Dollhouse... well
posted by sweetmarie at 10:45 PM on June 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

WHAT?! Whoa!
posted by areaperson at 6:47 AM on July 1, 2016

If I only had a penguin...: "Also, why didn't Bennett come back? I really thought he would come back. Are they really going to leave Bennett's whereabouts unresolved forever?"

I think it'll be perfect if he never shows back up. He looked at his situation and bailed, and that's it. End of story. Happens in real life, so why can't it happen on this show?

Speaking of characters not coming back, I was grateful to have a season free of Pornstache.
posted by komara at 10:41 PM on July 3, 2016 [8 favorites]

I wasn't that engaged by the first half of the season, but geez it kicked up a notch when Lolly stomped that guy. Lori Petty, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox all broke my heart in different ways.

I couldn't summon up much interest for Nicky's story once she was out of Max, or Lorna or Healy at any time. I was glad to see Piper get what was coming to her for being so fucking cruel and selfish. Judy King brought some new wrinkles to day-to-day life. Piscatelli was a great villain, just by being very uncomplicated. His belief that the inmates had no rights and his desire to do a good job combined to make him truly dangerous.

It was also good to see longer payoffs in the plot. More comedy would have been nice, although maybe it would have been too hard to juggle as the season closed. Linda from Purchasing made me laugh every time though.
posted by harriet vane at 3:06 AM on July 6, 2016

Oh I forgot to ask though - did it seem like Rapey 'Donuts' McRapist had a personality transplant between seasons? He didn't just have some fuzzy-boundaries problem with assuming consent last year. He actively degraded her and was violent. Now he's all "oh whoops I'm sorry". I understand Pennsatuckey forgiving him, because it's realistic for her character (and many other women) to want to move on when she has no choice about seeing him. But I tend to agree with Boo's take on it. Did the writers just need another guard to be moderately acceptable to pair with Bailey and contrast with the new guys?
posted by harriet vane at 3:14 AM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last comment, I promise! It was great to get to know Flores better. She's now one of my favourite characters.

And it is so typical of Caputo to choose the least-useful way to rebel against MCC. He's not a bad person, but he is very stupid indeed.
posted by harriet vane at 3:17 AM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last night, after Alton Sterling was killed executed, I saw a lot of people on Twitter commenting negatively on the portrayal of Poussey's death because they felt that it used real peoples' deaths and the BLM movement for entertainment. Given that there are no Black writers on OiTNB, and that the tweets were written by Black people, I tend to agree.

Poussey's death was portrayed as an accident by a naive, well meaning, inexperienced cop. It's not reflective at all of reality; that is not what has happened in the vast majority of police killings. It may have fit with the plot but the fact that the audience is supposed to have some sympathy for the cop just furthers white supremacy.

I'm glad Twitter pointed that out because I hadn't considered that aspect until last night.
posted by AFABulous at 12:09 PM on July 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Good point. I don't have a problem with depicting horrible things in entertainment, but the writers and crew have a responsibility to be accurate or they are making it more difficult for real-life events to be properly understood.
posted by harriet vane at 7:49 PM on July 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved the device of the cardboard time machine. Multiple characters in the show either spend time there during which they talk about erasing the past, or have conversations or thoughts in other locations about the same general concept. All the characters (and really anyone in prison) has some moment or series of moments that started the cascade of events that got them to this sad place. Lolly is mentally ill but the desire to undo our mistakes in pretty universal. The various flashbacks in the show really encourage viewers to think deeply about how people get into prison, and how it's sometimes "life of crime", sometimes dumb bad luck, and sometimes something in between.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

I finished watching the season with my husband last night and he commented that the Pennsatuckey/Coates relationship is rather Luke & Laura.
posted by larrybob at 8:45 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was Healey a horrible person? I didn't see it that way.

His signature move, repeated over and over, is to do something "good" with the expectation of reward (maybe just a "good job, Healey") and then twist it into a power play instead when that reward fails to materialize. Look at what happened with Judy King. He sets up the cooking class without talking to her first under the assumption that she'll be grateful to him for it. When she declines, he immediately sours on her and forces her to do it anyway because he has power over her and he can do that. He does this a lot - he's very quick to sour on someone when they break his imagined idea of who they are and how they should behave. When he learns that Piper isn't straight was another prominent example from first season.

His arc with Lolly breaks the pattern a little. For one, he genuinely wants to help her because of the link with his mother. Also, Lolly never breaks his idea of her until he finds out that she really did kill someone, and then he uncharacteristically is shaken by it instead of lashing out at her.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:40 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well I do not know how I managed it, but I watched this season completely unspoiled, like six months after it was released. Thus Poussey's death was completely unanticipated by me and a punch to the gut. She was my favourite character and I loved her relationship with Taystee. I could hardly bear to watch the flashbacks of her wondrous happy last night free in NYC.

Other thoughts:

-I was on Boo's side regarding the guard and Pennsatucky. He was and is a rapist. I understand Pennsatucky's desire to forgive him, but I think the show did soften his awful nature this season and I think they fudged what had gone down by framing it later as not understanding consent.
-Oh god poor Lolly. Man her flashbacks were heartbreaking.
-Caputo is a coward. He's responsible for Poussey's death because he didn't carry through his initial suspension of Humphrey or Piscatella. And he was a coward for not supporting the prisoners in his actions at the end or defending them in his statement on TV. I felt he was blaming them in fact, by bringing up that people think women aren't violent and saying he supported Bayley's actions. I was angry at him all season but I think the show did a good job by showing that every time he takes a stab at doing the right thing he undermines it by chickening out and taking the easy route or the less difficult one at least.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:25 AM on January 14, 2017

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