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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Orange Is The New Black Review: A Whole Other Hole

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix), Episode 4 of Season 2
"A Whole Other Hole"
Written By: Sian Heder
Directed By: Phil Abraham
Flashback Of: Lorna Morello


Brief Description: Our de-facto three main characters, Piper, Red, and Vee, spend their time in "A Whole Other Hole" in some sort of power struggle with each of the three in different stages of it. At the beginning, Piper is on top, Vee is still climbing, and Red is at the bottom. Piper is back within the general population and the memory of why she was sent to the SHU is still fresh in the inmates minds. She spends the beginning part of the episode taking back items other prisoners took from her when they assumed Piper was never coming back (except for Suzanne's picture she took of Larry and Piper, she can keep that). She even stands up for herself to Big Boo, who looks like she's ready to whoop Piper's ass to keep Miss Claudette's afghan.

As Piper integrates back into the general population, she becomes bunk mates with Red, who hasn't had a roommate in over 12 years. Red starts off this episode at the very bottom of her power struggle, and Piper exploits this. When Red gets mad at Piper for moving her stuff, Piper responds back, "What are you going to do? Not feed me?!" It's the perfect scene to get a sense of where these characters are at. And it's true, what is Red going to do to Piper? Red truly has no leverage and Piper exploits that. Red is also still on the outs with her old prison family as they still blame her for burning Gina (I know Gina complained last season that a Hispanic inmate didn't her know name, and truthfully, IMDB had to help me out with that one as well) and the guards aren't doing her any favors anymore. However, Red is working her way back up. She finds an old greenhouse in the prison yard and strikes up a deal with Caputo to get the elderly ladies up and at 'em again. Red clearly has a plan hatched up to get her power back, but we don't quite know what that plan is yet. At one point, the episode implies that Red will put rats in the food, but Red seems too smart for that. Red is playing a long game that we'll just have to see unravel. My guess is that the prison will have to give Red supplies and by doing so, it will allow Red to start smuggling items back into the prison as well as giving her mob connections a business to launder their money again.

While Red is trying to get her prison family back, Vee- the evil doppelganger of Red- spends this episode trying to split up the Black crew apart. She already has Suzanne under her thumb and is slowly getting Taystee there as well. We knew how close Taystee and Poussey were last season, but we found out in this episode just how close they really are. It was a nice little moment for the two characters that turned into blackmail leverage for Vee. I don't know if Vee is just upset that Poussey wouldn't go in on the Hooch racket with her, or if she's just using whatever leverage she can get her hands on, but Vee is one damned snake-in-the-grass.

At the end of the episode, Piper goes back to being herself, granted a little bit stronger, but still being a dick as Big Boo is now the third (Suzanne and Alex being the first two) person to call Piper out on being a bad person, Red's power is on the rise, and Vee seems firmly in control to become the Queen Bee (ahem, Queen Vee!)

However, this episode is really all about Morello. In Season 1, she seemed normal enough. We had gotten hints there was something funny about her soon-to-be nuptuals to Christopher, but holy shit did we go down the dark Morello rabbit hole with this episode. Morello had the perfect flashback episode. We found out why she's in prison (although as it turns out, it's not really mail fraud), we found out a little about who she was on the outside, and we now look at her in a completely different light. However, as we felt bad for Sophia or Watson after their flashback episodes, we are now scared of the Single White Female Morello truly is.

It's interesting how OITNB spaced out those flashbacks as we forgot/didn't pay close attention to the fact that Lorna had her eye on this cute boy for a while before she ever ran into him at the Post Office. In the first flashback, Morello runs into her room and kisses this random dude on her wall. She later runs into this same dude on the wall in real life while at the post office and he asks her out for some coffee. The third flashback we get is Lorna dressing up for her sister and telling her that Christopher is taking her away for a weekend. We seem to ignore the fact that Lorna refuses to bring Christopher over to dinner to meet the family, and that she had Christopher's picture on the wall in the very first flashback scene. The audience is led to believe that things are going really well between Lorna and Christopher and that she really is set to marry him. It isn't until the fourth flashback scene where we cut into Morello's trial and hear Christopher's testimony about how Lorna was stalking him for all this time that we really get a sense of who Lorna Morello truly is. That scene is a "holy shit" moment for the audience for our perspective on Morello. Not only does that make the break in that we see in this episode that much MORE freaky, but it really makes you re-evaluate all the scenes you saw her in last season.


* I didn't buy the fact that Morello could drive all the way to Christopher's house, take a bath, and drive back to the hospital just in time for that Cancer inmate to complete her treatment with no repercussions. That being said, I'll suspend my disbelief for the sake of the plot.

* I loved how the bet between Nichols and Big Boo came around full circle in this episode. Piper's plan to get Brook to fuck Big Boo backfires horribly, which in turn allows Nichols to win the bet. Also, I understand from Big Boo's and Brook's perspective what a horrible fucking move it was on Piper's part to pimp out Brook, but since this show is told from Piper's perspective, I didn't have that much of a problem with it.

*I think the show is now using Piper in the perfect doses. She's still the de-facto main character and still will get a significant amount of scenes week to week, but she's still absent in a good chunk of the scenes as well to let other characters' arcs breathe.

*After having excellent flashback episodes with Sophia and Watson last season, the two are pretty much relegated to the background so far in this season. Watson is just another girl in Taystee's crew and Sophia is mainly used as comedy fodder and one-liners every now and then. Taystee's crew in general in still being used a lot as comedic relief, but in this episode of all the girls trying to find their pee-hole, it seemed like the OITNB team was trying too hard to make us laugh.

* Thank goodness for no Daya and Bennett scenes this episode. And frankly no Healy as well. Larry's subplot is now relegated to the least interesting story line of an episode. With Piper and Larry broken up, I couldn't care less if he has a fling with Polly or not. Maybe it'll be important down the line, but for now, I couldn't care less.

*PORNSTACHE ALERT: It's now four straight episodes without Mendez. Truthfully, I should start grading each of these episodes down a half grade because the show is not utilizing its best character, but the cast is so deep that I don't mind as I'm watching the episode.

*Natalie is safe for now with no reporter scenes this episode.

Click here for my thoughts on Episode 1 - "Thirsty Bird"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 2 - "Looks Blue, Tastes Red"
Click here for my thoughts on Episode 3 - "Hugs Can Be Deceiving"


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