Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer TV Rewind: Orange is the New Black 1.12: "Fool Me Once"

“There is someone waiting for me. That is plan enough. And I’m going to eat dinner at dinner time. At seven o’clock. Like a person.”
-Miss Claudette

As you might expect from the title, the penultimate episode of “Orange is the New Black” season one dealt with second chances. There were many different plots going on in this one, but most of the plots shared that common theme. The flashback focus of this episode was none other than Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, and the story of the second chance that landed her in Litchfield was really an interesting twist. Also fitting in with the theme is some further exploration of the Alex/Piper/Larry triangle. Although I have to question why it’s even a triangle anymore. Larry should have dumped her ass long ago (or the other way around…they’re both pretty despicable people). We also get a bit more of an exploration of what happens to people after prison, which also fits in with the theme. All in all, it was an engaging hour.

So, like I said, this episode focuses on Pennsatucky. While her flashbacks might have been a bit clichéd, I enjoyed the twist. When we first see her in flashbacks, we see she’s a tattooed drug addict who likes her sex as much as her drugs. There is nothing wrong with being tattooed or liking sex, but it’s not what you’d expect with ultra-fundie Pennsatucky. She tells the guy she’s sleeping with (I’m not sure if he’s her boyfriend) that she’s pregnant and wants to get an abortion. The boyfriend doesn’t entirely love the idea, but it’s not like they can afford a kid, so abortion it is.

Pennsatucky makes it through the abortion just fine. On the way out, though, the nurse makes a snide comment about how this is Pennsatucky’s fifth abortion, so was she hoping to get the sixth for free. Pennsatucky marches out of the clinic, then marches right back in armed with a rifle. The shoots and kills the nurse for “disrespecting” her, much to the delight of the anti-choice protesters outside the clinic. At the courthouse, a guy from a “Christian law firm” approaches Pennsatucky and says he’s representing her now. Her legal defense is being paid for by a crowd of anti-choice activists who cheer for Pennsatucky as she enters the courtroom for her trial. She smiles at the approval, and her fundie transformation is complete.

The plot that stuck with me the most back at Litchfield was the latest chapter in the Daya pregnancy drama. Several of the inmates, including Gloria, tell Caputo they think they heard crying in a utility closet. In that closet is Pornstache about to have sex again with Daya. Caputo catches them in the act, which really isn’t a very pretty sight at all. Pornstache is immediately suspended without pay, although he probably deserves worse. We’re told multiple times in this episode that someone in custody can’t give consent, so what he did was rape. Fig tries to get Caputo to really tone down his report, because she doesn’t want to bad publicity for Litchfield. This disgusts Caputo, as it should anybody with a conscience. Yes, Daya knew what she was doing, but statutory rape is statutory rape. If it weren’t for the inherent power balances of prison, none of this would have happened in the first place.

Pornstache figures out who set him up when Red gives him a smirk as he does his walk of shame off grounds. Bennett is really pissed when he finds out what happened, because he thought better of Daya. There’s a super awkward scene between Pornstache and Bennett at the bar where Pornstache wants Bennett to take a note from him to Daya. Pornstache also sets off his revenge against Red, though. He suggests that Bennett should stop the Neptune Produce truck. There will be drugs in it, and catching contraband will put Bennett on Caputo’s good list. Bennett follows Pornstache’s directions and finds the drugs. By the end of the episode, Red is called into Caputo’s office, and we knows that whatever happens next won’t be good for Red.

A character who seeks and doesn’t get a second chance in this episode is Miss Claudette. She has a hearing for her appeal coming up. Piper is trying to make amends for Larry’s radio show, so she loans some contraband nail polish for the occasion. Miss Claudette is clearly excited at the possibility of spending the rest of her life with her love outside of Litchfield. Unfortunately, the appeal doesn’t go Miss Claudette’s way. She’s not content to wait anymore, so she tries to strangle one of the female COs. This gets her sent to maximum security (as she planned), presumably for the rest of her life. On the other end of the spectrum, we see that Taystee has squandered the second chance she was given. She reappears at Litchfield. At first, Poussey is really pissed at Taystee for squandering that chance. Then Taystee explains exactly how horrible her life was on the outside. At least at Litchfield, there are people like Poussey who care about her.

There’s plenty of Alex/Piper/Larry drama in this episode, too. When she finds out that Larry broke up with Piper, Alex wants to know if Piper is only with her because she’s afraid of being alone. Piper also admits that she knows Alex named her in the indictment (Alex says it was because she was pissed at Piper for not supporting her through her mother’s death). Eventually, they start talking to each other again and wonder if they could be compatible in outside Litchfield life. Alex’s only skills involve smuggling heroin, after all. Larry, for his part, spends most of the episode at Cal’s trailer in the woods, where he witnesses the rather dysfunctional relationship between Cal and his fiancée. Since the Chapmans were very repressed in the typical WASP-y way (my own family included), he likes that he and his fiancée can just put their feelings out there. It’s a nice change of pace.

At the urging of the Christian lawyer dude, Pennsatucky tries to make nice with Piper. She wants to be able to forgive. First, though, according to Pennsatucky, Piper has to make things right by God. Piper prays about how she has been ashamed of her recent behavior. At first she feels comforted by the idea of absolution, but by the end of the episode, she feels guilty for praying when she really doesn’t believe. Pennsatucky wants to baptize Piper in the laundry sink. At first Piper is going to go ahead with it, but eventually the guilt is too much, and Piper backs out at the very last minute, in front of a bunch of onlookers. Pennsatucky views this as personal “disrespect,” and we learned earlier in the episode what she does to people who disrespect her. She kills them.

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