Binge Club: Orange Is The New Black Season 4 Recaps

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Season 4 of Orange is the New Black is on Netflix today. And, like any responsible adult, I'm binge-watching it on my couch. I know, I know. Lucky me.
But what's even more exciting is that we're in this together, friends. This is a safe space — a tree of trust. We can openly discuss anything and everything that's happened this season without worrying about spoilers. This way, your coworkers won't cut you off mid-sentence and freak out if you say anything remotely related to the show.
It feels weird to say it, but I've really missed Litchfield. I want to know if everyone just ran away forever after a nice swim in the lake. I want to hate-watch the will-they won't-they relationship between Alex and Piper. I want Crazy Eyes to say literally anything she wants. And most of all, I want to see what's gonna happen to Abe after he assaulted Doggett. Read ahead for my recap of every single episode of the new season.
Photo: K C Bailey/Netflix.
Episode 1

When we last left the inmates of Litchfield, they were all swimming in a nearby lake, having run to temporary freedom after finding a hole in a fence. What a joy! Oh, and also a hitman undercover as a corrections officer was strangling Alex in the nursery.

About that: Lolly, the woman who believes she’s under constant government surveillance, comes to her rescue. She pulls the guard off Alex and stomps on his neck until he’s dead, then casually asks Alex if she’d like to go swim in the lake. As if she didn’t just kill a guy! There’s a really gross moment where Alex takes the hitman’s phone to text her former boss who wants her dead to tell him the deed is done. Except, he asks for a pic of her dead body — with her breasts out. It’s assumed she obliges, for her own safety, as Lolly offers to take the picture of her. “Dead girl porn,” she tells Alex. “Cosby dream shot.” They cover the guard’s body with a tarp and plan to come back at night to bury him.

Of course, when Alex returns to the greenhouse, she sees that the guard isn’t quite dead yet. And, left with no choice, suffocates him using a wad of toilet paper. She cries during it. I’ve had a hard time feeling bad for Alex throughout the series, but in this moment I ache for her. She might be a selfish jerk, but a murderer she clearly is not. Can you imagine having to do that?

The next morning, Alex and Lolly go to bury the body, but find Frieda there, who totally knows what they’re trying to do. She decides to help them and suggests cutting up the body into six pieces and spreading it out among six holes, instead of digging one six-foot hole. As she hilariously puts it, “That’s just murder math.” Somehow they do this without getting caught — at least not for now. I also am ashamed to admit to you that I love the phrase “murder math.”

What else is going on? Crazy Eyes finds out pretty quickly that Kukudio is unstable. It’s implied that she’s a special case, but we don’t get the full details on what that means just yet. Morelli got married, but her news is upstaged by all the tales from the lake. Healy’s wearing a fun shirt with too many buttons undone. He’s accessorizing with necklaces and a smoothie. Basically he’s like the guy from Office Space who no longer gives a fuck. Oh! And Judy King is here to serve her sentence. What a treat!

This episode touches very briefly on Doggett’s rape. Abe passes by her in the cafeteria and she makes a comment about how he “can’t help himself.” Later, we see Abe talking to another guard about how his lady is angry with him and he doesn’t know why. I’m so nervous about how this situation will play out.

And then there’s Piper, who’s bound to be as annoying as ever. She’s walking around the prison like she owns the joint. “I’m gangsta. Like with an a at the end,” she says. And when a huge group of new inmates show up, and one of them asks Flaca who’s the HBIC, she points to Piper. I guess we can expect a new clashing of the titans between Piper and the woman who was the Piper of her former prison. And just in case you missed that setup, Yoga Jones spells it out for us. “Overcrowding is dangerous. We’re already fighting over resources.”
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
Episode 2

So, Aleida messed up. She went behind Daya’s back and told Pornstache’s mom that the baby died during labor. Of course, the baby is just fine and was given to Aleida’s scumbag boyfriend Cesar. Cesar got arrested, and now the baby’s in foster care. Daya is rightfully pissed off about this.

“Kids that go into the system is like flushing a goldish down the toilet,” she tells her mother. “They don’t swim back up.” But Aleida is like, 99% sure, Cesar won’t get put away for his crimes. Except he does get put away, and Aleida sobs in Daya’s lap like a baby because she knows she really fucked up. I don’t know how Daya handles that woman.

Before we get into the heavier stuff from this episode, let’s talk about the roommate drama everyone’s having. Cindy and her bunkmate are in a very juvenile war over things like window space and where they can put their shoes. Sofia’s still in the SHU, so she has no roommate. Red’s roommate has a snoring condition so bad it’s keeping her up all night. Piper can’t seem to bully her new roommate into submission, so instead hires her as a bodyguard after Red suggests someone will come after her in pursuit of her power over the inmates. And Yoga Jones has been assigned to share with Judy King, which is basically as close to living a normal life as you can get. They have herbal tea. Judy’s learning Italian. What a world!

But at the heart of this episode is the tension between Dominicans and whites in the prison. That means we get a Maria backstory. Her father ran a drug ring and was insistent that their Dominican culture was the only thing that mattered. But Maria bristled at the idea that being Dominican meant selling drugs. If that’s all there is to it, she wants nothing to do with it.

That childhood experience crops up when Flores gets beat up by two white inmates in a stairwell. Now Maria sees she needs to embrace her identity again, because in prison there’s always a side to choose. She and her friends beat up the white women in retaliation, and she and Flores form a new friendship.

And, of course, there’s Doggett. She sees that Maritza has taken over driving the van, and she expresses to Boo that she’s afraid Abe will go after her. She looks for signs in Maritza’s behavior to indicate if anything’s happened to her, and she even approaches her to ask her how she’s doing. It seems like nothing’s happened so far, but it also doesn’t seem like Doggett will be able to avoid seeing Abe altogether. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
Episode 3

Alright, we need to get something out of the way and talk about Morelli and her husband and the weird imagination games they’ve got going on. I get that some people are into phone sex or whatever, but these two just had straight-up imaginary sex in the visitor room of the prison. There was an actual table between them. They weren’t even touching. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Another thing: Piper’s losing employees in her dirty-panties business. Some think it’s too dangerous now. Could get interesting.

Now, on to more exciting things. Taystee got a job! Caputo hired her as his assistant, and it makes me so happy for her. Remember when she won the job fair? Her friends think it’s unfair, though, since she has a desk and an arguably more cushy situation than, say, mopping floors. And as for why Caputo chose her, I’ll just quote what he said to Piscatela. “She’s the only semi-intelligent one that I’m only semi-attracted to.” Gross, dude. Just gross.

Speaking of Caputo — he went on a date! With Linda, the woman he jointly brainstormed about having veterans serve as COs and live on the prison campus. It’s so sweet it almost makes me forget about his comment regarding Taystee. Almost.

You know who’s really annoying? Brooke. She means well, but she almost means too well, like she’s constantly on a crusade about something. But even she couldn’t deny that she goofed big time with Poussey, who is pretty much her girlfriend at this point, though they decided not to put a label on it. Basically Brooke tells Judy that Poussey is too nervous to talk to her because she grew up poor and the daughter of a crackhead, where Judy is privileged and white. And obviously Poussey is really upset when she hears that Brooke spun that tale about her, mainly because it’s an assumption Brooke made based on the color of her skin. Brooke wins her back after pulling a Say Anything and holding up a radio outside of the library.

And finally, Lolly’s losing her shit. She can’t stop freaking out about the hitman they buried in the garden. She even grabs a shovel and starts frantically digging the body up because she thinks they should move it. Luckily Alex stops her and Frieda lies and says she already moved the body. But of course she didn’t. And, on top of that, she tells Alex: “We’re gonna have to kill her.”
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
Episode 4

Let’s start in the SHU. Sofia looks awful. She doesn’t know what day it is and repeatedly asks for Caputo, to no avail. In an act of defiance for not being heard, she shoves a towel in her toilet and flushes it repeatedly, so her cell will start to flood. When that doesn’t work, she smashes a lightbulb to create a flame and lights her mattress on fire. As the guards are evacuating the SHU, we also catch a glimpse of Nicky for the first time in a long time.

Meanwhile, Freida still wants to kill Lolly and considers using oleander tea to do it. Alex begs Red to try to talk some sense into Freida, so Red has a talk with the three of them. However, the conversation only reveals that Lolly doesn’t have the mental capacity to keep this secret, since she’s so convinced that the government is after her. So, Red agrees: They’ll have to kill her. During one of Lolly’s freak-out sessions about the drone and possible government surveillance, Piscatella grabs her and starts dragging her to psych. But Healy intervenes, insisting that what she needs is a counselor — not to be locked up with padded walls.

Here’s the thing about Healy that we learn in this episode: He’s got a soft spot for women with mental illness, because his mother suffered from one when he was a child, ultimately deserting the family because she didn’t have the necessary help. That’s right! You got a Healy backstory, friends. It’s almost as if every time he helps a woman, it satisfies some lingering guilt he feels for not doing more to help his mother. He’s so intent on helping Lolly and using his counseling skills that when she tells him that she killed someone and buried them in the garden, Healy chalks it up to delusion and assures her she didn’t do it. So, maybe we don’t have to kill Lolly?

You know who doesn’t care for Healy and his soft spot? Judy King. Healy gets jealous when she starts spending time with Luschek, and to win her graces back arranges for her to teach a cooking class to the inmates. But Judy’s trying to take a break from cooking, man. And who can blame her? Girlfriend just wants to take the next six months and quietly learn Italian in her posh AF cell. But Healy’s pissed about her reaction and insists she must do the class. So, Judy asks he be removed as her counselor.

Oh! Aleida is up for early release, since she’s been such a model inmate. She tells Daya, because this means she can get the kids and Daya’s baby back. Daya hugs her in an unusually sweet moment between the two and says, “I’m gonna miss you. And you’re probably gonna fuck up my kid.” I mean, that’s probably true, in the way that every parent fucks up their kid a little bit.

The hands-down, rip-your-heart-out moment in this episode, though, is when Doggett finally has to talk to Abe. He asks if she’s been avoiding him, but she says she’s just been busy. Then she asks if he’s “doin’ it” with Maritza. It’s not jealousy. “Just wanna make sure you’re not rapin’ her is all.” And he is genuinely surprised to hear that she believes she was raped — even though she clearly was. His explanation? “But I love you. I told you that. And I said it. So, that makes it different.” To which Doggett replies, “That doesn’t feel any different.”
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Netflix.
Episode 5

I feel like some guys love to joke about what happens when a bunch of women are on their period at the same time. But here are two truths about those kind of guys. One: They are compensating for a larger insecurity about how little they truly know about women. Two: They really should be joking about what would happen if the world ran out of period supplies. To give them an idea, they just need to look at this illustration from Litchfield.

The prison is out of maxi pads. Even though inmates can purchase tampons at the commissary for $10 a box, the commissary is all out of those, too. Hence, a black market forms. A single tampon goes for $25 or whatever. They’re the new cigarettes! Also, the women are forced to get creative. Namely, they’re shoving toilet paper in their underwear. Classic stuff.

There are a few storylines in this episode, but I am most pleased to tell you we finally have a backstory for Maritza. She was doing some small-time hustling as a bottle-service girl, then graduated into posing as a sexy car-dealership employee. Basically, she’d get all dolled up, go to a dealership, make men believe she worked for the dealership and would take them for a test drive. Then, when the test drive was over, she’d just drive away with the car. You’re probably not shocked to learn that Maritza is possibly the worst thief of all time.

Caputo and Linda go to a corrections facility convention — brilliantly named CorrectiCon — where they finally bang. Quick question, though: Why does Caputo always get a love interest? Sure, he evokes a certain amount of sympathy, but he definitely still has a questionable mustache and is in a band called Sideboob. The mind reels.

In the ongoing saga that is Maria vs. Piper in the Dirty Panty Business, Maria can’t quite figure out how to efficiently get her product out. Piper, in an attempt to get Maria and her friends in trouble more often, creates Community Carers. You guessed it: This turned into an all-white racist fest. How Piper couldn’t see that coming is beyond me.
Photo: K C Bailey/Netflix.
Episode 6

Let’s get back to Nicky and Sofia. Nicky’s been sober a while and she’s staying out of trouble, working the janitorial duty in max. When she’s cleaning the SHU, she encounters Sofia, who asks her for a blanket. Nicky feels bad, but all she can really offer her is a Newsweek. Later, Nicky’s ordered to clean up a SHU cell, only to find that the cell in question is Sofia’s — and it’s covered in blood.

You know who else is in max? Stella. But she’s still using and I don’t want her around Nicky. Who I do want around Nicky is Luschek. He opens up to Judy about how he’s the reason she’s in max. Judy convinces him he should go and apologize to her — a decision made while the two of them shared a thermos of butterscotch liqueur — but Nicky freaks out at him. I mean he definitely is the reason she’s in max, so I get it. But I also think that they should try to fix that relationship. Now that Judy and Luschek are friends, she uses her powerful lawyers to get Nicky out of max. Too bad Nicky didn’t know that before she channels her anger about Luschek into a relapse.

What other loose ends can we tie up? Cindy and her roommate finally get over their bad blood by bonding over Scientology. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) Brooke tells Poussey that she loves her. Maria gets time added onto her sentence, because Piper planted some of the dirty panties in her bunk. Taystee is trying to get paparazzi pictures of Judy King to sell to magazines.

And here’s the really questionable part: There’s this weird moment at the guard housing where Luschek and Abe are hanging out playing video games. Luschek has his inmates from electrical working on something and Gina cuts her hand pretty badly. She needs to go to medical, but Luschek wants to finish his game first. Abe lashes out about it, saying that it’s his job to take care of the inmates and to help them when they’re in need. Finally, Luschek relents and takes Gina in. But here’s my question: Between the devastating conversation between Abe and Doggett about how he didn’t think he raped her and this moment now about caring about the inmates, are we being set up for a plot in which Abe will be painted positively? I’m not sure I can handle that.
Photo: JoJo Whiden/Netflix.
Episode 7

Nicky is back! And Red is over the moon about it. She gets permission to throw a party for Nicky, and pretty much every event in this episode revolves around the fact that everyone’s distracted at the party.

First of all, I think Red has a feeling Nicky is using again. And she’s not wrong. We see her get drugs from another user. However, Red isn’t saying anything — at least for now.

We also get a Lolly backstory. She worked as a journalist for a free weekly newspaper, but was turning in assignments about government corruption and surveillance, even though they weren’t assigned to her. After she was let go from that job, we see her trying to find housing in a group home. But ultimately she ends up homeless and selling cups of coffee out of a shopping cart she wheels around Seattle. Inevitably, she’s arrested.

It’s sad to see her in this position, and I imagine the point of her backstory here is not only for character development, but to illustrate how the mentally ill can end up incarcerated when what they really need is help.

It also gives us the rather sweet friendship between Lolly and Healy. Lolly’s been caught rummaging through the trash, which is definitely weird at the time, but everything she does is a bit weird so Healy thinks nothing of it. He takes her to Nikki’s party and tries to get her acclimated to the group. But all she can hear are the voices in her head telling her that everyone’s against her. She runs out of the party, and when Healy finds her, he discovers she’s sitting in a cardboard box with pieces of random garbage attached. She calls it her time machine. And rather than punish her, Healy gets in there with her and starts talking to her about how everyone wishes they could go back in time. “I know they’re not real,” Lolly says of the voices in her head. “But that don’t mean they have nothing to say.” I’m so nervous that Piscatella will snatch her away and send her to psych. Theoretically that sounds like the right place for her, but the idea of Healy watching over her just feels safer in this wack-a-doo prison system.

A couple of loose items worth mentioning: After receiving a compliment on her manicure from Judy, Aleida decides she’ll open a nail salon when she gets out in a couple of weeks. Taystee and friends are still trying to get a paparazzi picture of Judy, but when they see ‘80s news footage of her hosting a racist puppet show, they become even more committed to profiting from her. And Caputo’s education program was approved — except the board took out all the math, science, and english and replaced it with the basics of construction work. “It’s a chain gang,” Caputo tells Linda. But she’s all have a glass of Champagne and celebrate so they can bang later.

Finally, Chapman’s bodyguard gives her up to the Dominicans. I think she feels bad about it, but Chapman also hasn’t treated her very well. They take her to the kitchen and burn a swastika on her arm. What happened to the Chapman who was just trying to be in prison and mind her own business and get really buff? I think she’s wishing she was still that person right about now.
Photo: JoJo Whiden/Netflix.
Episode 8

The most important thing you need to know about this episode is that the panties employees have been reassigned to work construction. Sorry, “learn” construction for free. And their instructor is a total babe. His name is Mr. McDonald, and he can’t say anything without the inmates turning it into sexual innuendo. I am so here for it.

Okay fine the real important things are that Red’s mirror and makeup are missing, and she slowly realizes Nikki is the thief. She’s trading her things for drugs. Also Piper’s hit rock bottom. She finds out her brother and his wife are expecting a baby, her burn is bleeding through her clothing, and feeling pretty defeated by all this, she decides to smoke some crack in the garden with Nikki and Alex.

You know how they say crack smoking is basically like a tree of trust? Of course they don’t. But Alex felt vulnerable enough to share with them that she killed a guy. When Piper asks where she put the body, she simply says. “You’re sitting on him.” Later, Piper tells Red about the swastika burn, and they have no choice but to bring her to the kitchen and even it out so it looks like a window instead of a Nazi symbol. And the whole time Piper’s like “I’m sorry” and crying, but I guess it’s too late for that.

Maria’s selling drugs out of the beauty salon, which stresses out Aleida because she has two days left in prison, and she doesn’t wanna get caught up in any of that. And Maritza wants out of the drug smuggling business, but Maria has turned into a cold-hearted business person at this point and refuses to let her leave. Morelli gets this idea in her head that maybe her husband’s cheating on her, and so she asks her sister to go find out about it. Oh! And Cindy and friends finally got their paparazzi picture, once Judy finds out from Poussey that it would be the perfect way to forgive that whole racist puppet show thing. And what better way to show you’re not a racist than to kiss Cindy right on the lips for a photograph?

The Abe and Doggett situation continues to rear its head in ugly, uncomfortable moments. She’s handing out water to the construction class and he tells her if he had a time machine that he’d use it to go back to 1999 to a Judas Priest concert where he got too drunk and missed some of the show. “Regrets, you know?” he tells her.

Later he corners her in the hallway and delivers what I guess we could call a heartfelt speech, but really just highlights how rape culture works. He tells her the Judas Priest thing was just a joke, and that he’d instead use a time machine to go back to when they first met. “I would have treated you like a person, not like a duck or a thing. I would have liked our first time, if we had gotten there, to have been nice. And I would have wanted to see your face and to have told you what I told you about loving you, but softer. I wish I hadn’t been so mad. It wasn’t fair, what happened. That’s probably what I’d go back to. And I’m still trying to figure out why it happened. Why I did what I did. I’m sorry, Doggett.” She just says, “Thank you for saying that,” and walks away.

I think the point of this moment was to maybe show how complicated the situation is, and how deeply ingrained rape culture is in our society. But it certainly doesn’t make me feel bad for Abe — especially because he won’t even say the word “rape.”

At the end of the episode, Crystal shows up at Caputo’s house when Linda’s there for dinner. She demands to know that Sofia is alive, but Linda pulls a gun on her. What the hell! And instead of channeling his inner glimmer of good guy, Caputo gets turned on by Linda threatening Crystal. “That was so hot,” he tells her, and the rest is behind closed doors. Gross.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 9

Let’s get the smaller stuff out of the way. Morelli thinks her sister hooked up with Vinny, and honestly I can’t tell if it’s her paranoia or if maybe they really did hook up. Sister Ingalls is trying to get in enough trouble that she goes to the SHU to see if Sofia is still alive. To do that, she punches Mendoza in the face. Kind of incredible that the non-violent protester was willing to go through such lengths to check on Sofia. But once she gets to the SHU, she realizes what she’s done, and that there’s probably no real way of seeing if Sofia around since they’re all isolated.

Now that there’s a picture out of Judy and Cindy kissing, they have no choice but to lie to Caputo and say they’re in a full-blown relationship. That way it makes it seem like they didn’t stage the picture, but that it came from someone who’s obsessed with celebrity. Aleida asks Mendoza to look after Daya when she leaves. “She’s your daughter now,” she tells her. Red breaks down in front of Nicky about her drug use, and it’s enough to make Nicky commit to getting clean again.

Now the bigger stuff. Of course, “bigger” feels like a euphemism for “darker.” Doggett tells Boo about Abe’s apology. “He was really sweet about it,” she says. And Boo understandably freaks out. “That’s not how this works,” she tells Doggett. But Doggett comes to his defense. “What if he‘s just like a regular person who made a mistake?” she suggests, pointing to her own errors of shooting someone. Plus, she’s going to have to see him all the time anyway. Maybe it’s best they move on? “I’m really tired of walking around like a dog with mange.” But Boo isn’t having it, and neither am I. She reminds her that she should have shoved that broomstick up his ass when she had the chance in season three, and that if she even gives him so much as the time of day, their friendship is done.

And for Maria’s crew, things get a little out of hand. When Blanca realizes the guards won’t frisk her because she’s dirty and smells from not taking a shower for a few days, she convinces her friends if they make themselves stink then they won’t get touched. They douse themselves in sardines, hot sauce, anything that would deter a guard from going anywhere he doesn’t have to. And then we get a Blanca backstory. She was a live-in caretaker for an elderly woman, and she ended up having a romance with the gardener. The elderly woman disapproved and fired him. And so Blanca got back at her by having sex with him in the old lady’s bedroom. It’s unclear still what exactly landed her in prison, because that’s not it. But it paints a solid picture of Blanca as someone who doesn’t relent easily — a key trait for her upcoming confrontations with the guards.

Ok, then there’s something awful happening with Maritza. One of the guards is hip to her drug smuggling tricks and makes a comment to her about the van, where she’s been stashing goods. She and Flaca play a game in the cafeteria where they have to choose between two really gross things, and there’s no getting out of it because there’s a theoretical gun to your head. For example, eating 10 dead flies or a baby mouse. And so this guard, who’s been dropping hints that he’s onto Maritza, brings her to his on-campus housing, gun to her head, where she’s forced to play out that very scenario. It’s so twisted and we don’t get to see what happens next, but needless to say I’m incredibly ON EDGE about it all.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 10

Maybe it was only a matter of time before someone discovered the body buried in the garden. But to be honest, I had forgotten about it. I thought it would just decompose and no one would know and we could just forget about it. But McDonald had to dig up the garden to continue construction, and naturally he came across the corpse.

There’s also going to be brawl soon. I can feel it in my bones. The Black and white inmates are talking a lot of trash at each other, and that bubble’s gotta burst. Piper, who arguably unionized the white power in the prison, is trying to disaffiliate herself from the other white women. She not only keeps her distance, but even attempts to reason with Piscatella on behalf of Blanca, who has been forced to stand on a cafeteria table as punishment for not showering. Piper sneaks Blanca food, and is inevitably given the same punishment. Now they’re up there together. Fun fact about bathroom choices up there: You have no choice but to pee your pants.

Sister Ingalls successfully snuck a message to Sofia and was going to try to take a picture of her with a cell phone. But she accidentally drops the cell phone in the shower, and the guards notice. Caputo asks her what her big plan was there, and Sister Ingalls explains she was going to take a picture of Sofia and get it out to the public. Caputa revokes her phone, but then we see him doing exactly what Ingalls had planned to do — and he meets up with Danny to give him the evidence for Crystal to use in her case against MCC.

Aleida’s out of prison and Cesar’s latest girlfriend picks him up. She learns that although she's left money and clothes for herself with her sister, she in turn spent the money and sold her belongings. So she has no choice but to stay with Cesar’s lady.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what happened with the baby mouse situation. The guards see Maritza throwing up and speculate as to what’s going on. The female guard has a feeling something’s up, but decides to ignore the red flags. “It’s not like we have any proof,” she justifies to herself. But she clearly thinks that one of the guards has done something to Maritza. And Martiza’s so embarrassed by the whole situation. She told Flaca that he made her swallow the baby mouse, but that she doesn’t want to report it. I am thoroughly grossed out and outraged.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 11

I feel that I should give you a fair warning: Things got very dark and sad in this episode — and it was hard to watch.

Now that the body’s been found in the garden, Caputo’s prepping the guards about the next steps. He has to go to MCC headquarters; but in the meantime, they’re to just maintain order. No excessive reactions. Piscatella ignores that order and starts questioning inmates. As an extraction technique, the guards are also keeping the lights on 24/7, so no one can really sleep. Abe and Bailey express concern over these tactics, so they’re sent outside. The rest of the guards stay and do some pretty messed-up stuff.

First, you should know that there’s a small bit of comic relief in this episode. Luschek is assigned on Judy King duty, and he, Judy, and Yoga Jones end up doing Molly together. This is a real storyline. They also have a threesome. Again, no real storyline. You can also take comfort in a few moments that don’t absolutely suck. Like the fact that Dan has shown up to MCC with Crystal and the photograph of Sofia, so hopefully, she’ll be out of the SHU soon. Or the sweet moment when Doggett gives Nicky her handmade basket to puke in. But the rest is dark, guys.

Now, back to the bad stuff. We get some more of Crazy Eyes’ backstory. She was a greeter at a superstore and became friendly with a mom and her three children, who were regular customers. One day, Crazy Eyes sees the youngest child at the park and she invites him over to play video games. But when the child wants to go home, Crazy Eyes doesn’t let him. He calls 911 and tries to escape out the window, but falls to his death in the process.

Obviously, Crazy Eyes has some mental illness that never got proper care and attention. We see it manifest when the guards force her to fight Kukudio. I’m not kidding. Not only do they force them to fight, but the guards bet on the winner. Crazy Eyes tries her best not to fight, but Kukudio’s taunts are a trigger for her. Inevitably, Crazy Eyes loses her shit and attacks Kukudio. The other inmates pull Crazy Eyes away before she kills Kukudio. The guard’s response? “Looks like I won $20.” HATE.

Piscatella orders the guards to strip Red’s bunk. After all, she runs the garden club. How could she not know there was a body in there? They find the deceased guard’s keys.

In the meantime, Healy realizes that Lolly wasn’t hallucinating. He realizes that she actually did kill someone and that he failed to help her. Feeling defeated, he leaves his estranged wife a voicemail, apologizing for how he treated her, and then starts walking into the river. It’s implied that he’s going to drown himself. But he gets into knee-high water when his phone starts to ring. We can assume it’s someone from the prison, because that’s right where he goes. He tells Piscatella about Lolly and they go to her bunk to retrieve her. But, of course, she’s not there. She’s in her time machine. When Healy and Piscatella arrive, she greets them sadly. “Hi Mr. Healy,” she says, holding a potato. “I’m just trying to travel back in time before I killed that guy.” And then your heart breaks in half and you think, This couldn’t get any worse. You are wrong.

We see Alex holding the potato in her bunk, crying. And then Healy watching Lolly, who’s being dragged by guards into the psychiatric unit of the prison. She’s screaming his name over and over again, but it’s too late.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 12

If you’ve somehow managed to remain positive through the first 11 episodes of this season, then this is the one that’s bound to crush you. I’ll try to ease you into it.

Alex and Piper are back together, though what that truly means or how long it will last is anyone’s guess. They’re going to try and mind their own business from now on and stay out of trouble. Meanwhile, Poussey and Brooke are starting to plan their lives together for when they get out of prison. Poussey even asks Judy about getting a job in a kitchen after she’s released and Judy’s happy to connect her and get her started somewhere.

Sofia is back from the SHU, though not quite herself. Mendoza helps her reclaim her salon from the drug dealers and brushes her wig for her. It won’t be an easy adjustment for Sofia, though. That much is obvious.

Bailey tells Caputo about Piscatella’s interrogations and how the guards were forcing inmates to fight. The hatred for Piscatella and the universal desire to see him leave unites the inmates, who decide they will stage a protest until Piscatella resigns. Caputo attempts to suspend the guard — Humphrey — who instigated the fighting. If you remember, he’s also the gem of a man who forced Maritza to eat a baby mouse. But Piscatella threatens to pull the entire staff if Humphrey goes. It seems like Caputo’s powerless and he goes to Fig’s house to apologize for not being more understanding when she was in his position.

Doggett tries to make Boo understand why she’s ready to move on from her rape. She points to the Bible, which teaches forgiveness, and reminds Boo that forgiveness is really for yourself, not for the other person. Boo relents, but decides to slap Abe in the face and remind him of what she thinks. “You are still a rapist in my book. You didn’t fuck up. You didn’t make a mistake. You’re a fucking rapist,” she says. My thoughts exactly.

The moment that sets everyone off, though, is when Piscatella starts targeting Red. He’s depriving her of sleep and forcing her to work when she shouldn’t be. When he pushes her onto the floor, the inmates decide they’ve had enough. Blanca stands on the table, and just like in Dead Poets Society, everyone stands on the tables, demanding Piscatella’s resignation. He calls for backup and the guards start to remove inmates. In the process, Bailey tackles Poussey and is kneeling on her back while also fighting off Crazy Eyes. He can’t tell that she’s gasping for air; once Crazy Eyes is removed by the other guards, we see it’s too late. Poussey is lifeless on the floor and Taystee screams beside her.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Episode 13

You know, I was wondering why we were getting so much Bailey backstory in the past couple episodes. I thought it was so insignificant at the time that I didn’t even include it in previous recaps. But now, I get it. We were supposed to understand that Bailey’s a sweet, mostly innocent boy. But that it doesn’t matter, because he’s still responsible for Poussey’s death.

Real quick: Is anyone else blindsided that Dixon didn’t turn out to be the big baddie? I thought with all the remarks and ball-showing that he would do something horrible. Even Piscatella seemed like someone who maybe took his job a little too seriously at first. And Abe has this weird, albeit mild, forgiveness from Doggett. Maybe the point of the guards is to illustrate various shades of douchebag.

Speaking of Doggett, she has a moment with Abe where she sympathizes with his desire to get out of working the prison. She kisses him, but he warns her that it’s not safe to do that. I just can’t hang with this story anymore. Someone will have to explain to me why the story is happening this way, because it feels so wrong.

Much of this episode is dedicated to Poussey’s backstory, of the night she got arrested and the vibrancy with which she lived her short life. The inmates are understandably crushed. Crazy Eyes keeps covering herself with books, because she wants to know what it feels like not to breathe. She goes so far as to knock over library shelves onto herself. Luckily, a slightly inebriated Brooke was nearby to help her. Brooke had just been crying in Norma’s arms as she sang to her.

Meanwhile, there’s no respect for Poussey’s body. It’s lying on the cafeteria floor. MCC hasn’t even called the police or notified Poussey’s family, because they want time to get the story straight. This is where things really escalate. Humphrey sneaks a gun into the prison for protection. And if you see a gun, you know it’s probably going to go off. Caputo speaks at a news conference in which he tells the press they will not be firing Bailey. The inmates learn that Poussey’s death will go without justice and they finally gather to riot. In the process, Humphrey pulls out his gun, but it’s knocked to the floor. Daya picks it up and holds it pointed at Humphrey. The inmates encourage her to shoot him, but the only thing we see in the end is Poussey’s smiling face from a memory — perhaps as it should be.


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