Taylor Schilling in a scene from Netflixâ
In the episodes leading up to the 90-minute (!!) finale of Orange Is the New Black's second season, poop stops coming out of the shower drains.
Instead, it hits the fan.
Episode 10: "Mustachioed Little Shit"
Back from her bizarre funeral-slash-wedding-filled furlough, a perfume-splashed Piper squat-and-coughs her way back into Litchfield and its revenge-filled ecosystem. This episode, in fact, is all about the language of revenge — how to tell someone they've pissed you off and how to guarantee they won't forget it.
Piper doesn't start the episode wanting revenge against anyone following the news of Larry's sex romp — in part because she declined when Larry offered to tell her with whom he'd slept — but the revelation of her ex-fiancé's affair weighs heavily on her still. Though, because Piper still has WASPy habits, she treats her feelings of betrayal like an afterthought. This is especially evident in how she talks to Red about her two days on the outside. There was a funeral. A wedding. And, oh, the man I was supposed to marry slept with someone else. Also, I kinda missed eating off paper plates.
Further complicating Piper's emotional state is the fact that she's received another card from Alex. She doesn't read it, but unlike the others she has gotten recently, she doesn't immediately toss it in the trash. Nicky — who, at the very least, should be given a prison newsletter shout-out for her excellent, deep-voiced impersonation of Alex — encourages Piper to read it, but Piper refuses. Piper tells Nicky that Alex's continued attempts to contact her are a sign that Alex expects Piper to eventually cave. Piper doesn't want to give her traitorous ex the satisfaction.
Piper's history with Alex has an interesting overlap with the theme of this episode, which began with a flashback to Alex and Piper's early days together. In it, a mid-foreplay phone call takes Alex away from the girls' blanket fort, and Piper finds herself face-to-face with a hooded attacker, who goes by the name Sylvie and claims to be Alex's girlfriend. In the flashbacks that follow, we see further evidence that Old Piper had a habit of letting things slide. She reunites with Alex and they continue their lessons in Lady Lovin' in a bar bathroom, as if nothing happened. Sylvie, meanwhile, proves to be an anti-Piper when it comes to revenge. Apparently, punching Piper in the face during their first encounter wasn't enough, so Sylvie leaves flaming excrement (possibly produced by a human) on Piper's doorstep, which poor naïve Piper promptly extinguishes with the bottom of her shoe. (Talk about putting the Ugh in Ugg.)
This isn't the Piper we know today, though. Our Piper is a mouthy, wall-punching, hardened criminal. Well, maybe just the first two.This isn't the Piper we know today, though. Our Piper is a mouthy, wall-punching, hardened criminal. Well, maybe just the first two. Nonetheless, she goes on a fact-finding mission, telling Larry in a voicemail that she wants to know the woman's name. Before he can tell her, though, the truth comes to her. Polly visits Litchfield, and in a subtext-filled conversation, Piper learns that her best friend was Larry's until-then nameless hook-up. Revenge becomes Piper's next step, on recommendation from Red. Her solution? A bag of flaming poop. Judging by Polly's reaction at the end of the episode, the message is received.
Speaking of truth, Piper chooses not to tell Red about her store being shuttered. Instead, she lies and tells her roomie that she had seen a line out the door and sampled a delicious sweet treat during her visit. Did Piper tell this lie out of fear or compassion? The day will come with Red will learn the truth, right? For Piper, that day wasn't today, so she didn't seem to worry about it. That said, enjoy your Very Nice Lip Gloss thank you gift from Red, Piper. I hope they ironically put it on your corpse after she kills you for lying to her.
Meanwhile, Vee's quest for prison world domination is out of control. Her girls harassed cancer-stricken Rosa in the cafeteria, she had Crazy Eyes beat up Poussey in the bathroom for showing backbone and she tried to threaten Red into "sharing" the riches of her secret garden. (To that, Red tells Vee isn't good at sharing and that she's only good at being a bully.) Luckily, Vee's empire shows its first signs of weakness — Watson is nabbed with cigarettes during an inspection.
The guards, of course, have their own problems. Healy's depression and anger issues are worse despite his efforts and his Safe Place therapy club has bombed bigger than Soso's hunger strike, which gains a participant. His problems are small, undercooked potatoes compared to Pornstache's, though.
At the end of the episode, the mustachioed guard is arrested for sexual assault after being framed for fathering Daya's baby. (Bennett, meanwhile, continues to be a handsome but cowardly companion.) Pornstache is hauled off by the police in front of the entire prison population, which frankly seemed unnecessary but made for a good scene. Among his final words? He declares his love for Daya, and offers wisdom to the mother-to-be: "Don't lift anything heavy. And no tuna fish — or soft cheese." Oh, Pornstache.
Episode 11: "Take A Break From Your Values"
A storm's a-brewin' outside Litchfield's walls but the ladies on the inside would likely say it's the changing winds inside that are the biggest cause for concern. Why? For one, Poussey and Vee's feud hits new levels of Oh Crap following Poussey's shower assault. And elsewhere, Red hunts for the person within her inner circle who told Vee about the contraband garden. Boo turns out to be the culprit and earns herself an Amish-level shunning, which doesn't bother her immediately. But when Boo learns her betrayal earned her no points with Vee, she becomes peeved.
Peeved is also a good way to describe Sister Ingalls when the hunger strike group — now up to a membership of four — tries to make a movement using misguided goals. She encourages them to set their sights on a bigger fish: fair treatment of aging prisoners. The heartbreaking "compassionate release" of her friend from a few episodes ago is still fresh in her mind, and she leads a movement to bring attention to the issue.
Her passion for activism is nothing new, we learn. In flashbacks, we see a young Sister Ingalls get involved with a number of movements, but as the years go on, her passion for noble causes starts to fall second to her love for self-promotion. She puts more thought into her photo ops than her ideals and even writes a biography — titled Nun Shall Pass, which is brilliant — in which she makes some very un-nun-like statements. When called out on her pridefulness and missteps, a church official informs her that they have decided to distance themselves from her.
Back in present day, an attempt to drum up publicity on the hunger strike fails, and Soso says the impending storm has dominated the news cycle, with no room for a story on a hungry nun. But Caputo puts it all into further perspective for her prison buddies: Ingalls has been excommunicated. Fed up, Caputo orders Ingalls hauled to medical for force-feeding. Her screams and protests echo in the final minutes of the episode, in a very haunting moment.
The developments with the sister — or, former sister, I guess — would have been the biggest moments of the episode, but then Piper is called into Healy's office for a chat. There, she learns that while curiosity kills cats, hers has landed her a transfer out of Litchfield. She's going to Virginia, on the order of Figueroa, who hated that Piper was putting her nose where it didn't belong.
Piper freaks out for a few reasons, naturally. First, WTF. Second, she's set for departure the same day Alex was supposed to visit. Yes, that Alex.Piper freaks out for a few reasons, naturally. First, WTF. Second, she's set for departure the same day Alex was supposed to visit. Yes, that Alex. Earlier in the episode they had a chat that ended with Alex being invited to visitation day — for closure. Also, Piper is terrified for her friend after learning that Kurba got off on a technicality. So he's out in the real world ... with Alex — the woman who tried but failed to get him put in jail for life.
Side note: The Virginia prison sounds terrifying. Healy doesn't get into specifics when talking to Piper, but he looks her in the eye and says gravely, "Chapman, you're going down south. Not having closure with Alex Vause would be the least of your problems." Times at Litchfield are anything but sunny, to be fair. The episode ends with the stabbing of someone who appeared to be Vee — but isn't. Vee sees the whole thing and realizes the shank that ended up in some other woman's back was meant for her. She's not going to sit idly and wait to become a victim.
A storm's a-brewin', for sure. Take cover.
Episode 12: "It Was The Change"
With her position as supervillain secure as ever, the penultimate episode of second season dug further into Vee's backstory to reveal a fact that's so heinous that even the Vee sympathizer with the crustiest and blackest of souls couldn't possibly stay on her side. And if learning that she was involved with the death of her surrogate son didn't do the trick, you definitely got there by the end of the episode. But let's back up.
We begin with Red and Co. on full alert after a botched assassination attempt on Vee. The gang decides to create a new plan or, at the very least, create a plan for damage control. Meanwhile, Poussey is extremely unconcerned with laying low. In fact, she decides to make waves by destroying Vee's tobacco supply, putting a hitch in that reunion with Taystee — or so you'd think. The incident actually brings the two former besties together because Vee kicks Taystee out of the gang, claiming she's a liability. Despite her dedication to the concept of family, this isn't the first time Vee turned her back on those she loves. In a flashback, we learn Vee orchestrated R.J's shooting death, which we first saw several episodes ago, after learning he had started a side business as competition.
For a moment in the episode, though, it looks like her reign might be over. Red corners Vee during the storm and chokes her nearly to the point of death with some plastic wrap. But Red's humanity gets the best of her and she lets her go. That was a huge mistake. Later, Vee sneaks up behind Red in the garden, wielding a slock (sock with a heavy lock inside), and bashes Red's face in. RIP?
Her fate isn't the only unknown going into the finale, though. Also TBD: Chapman's fate.
During the storm, she is caught by Caputo stealing incriminating files out of Fig's office, and she's left hoping that Caputo's deep hatred for Fig might work in her favor. And speaking of Fig, she's does some spying of her own and catches her politician husband snogging his young, male campaign manager.
Karma, what a slock-wielding harpy.