Bed Bugs and Beyond begins with the realization that there is an infestation of brand new, unseen, bloodthirsty inmates. The staff and prisoners at Litchfield blame each other or and even themselves for bringing in the bed bugs. They relinquish their clothes and linens, wear garlic necklaces of garlic to ward off the vampiric critters, even spray their bodies with disinfectant. For some, uncovering every nook and cranny to seek out the cause of their discomfort isn’t just a literal quest to seek out pests — but also a more metaphorical coming clean.
Piper’s up to her predictable narcissistic, manipulative, self-serving tendencies with keeping Alex in the dark and all to herself. On the verge of a mental breakdown, Alex fears her former drug-dealing boss is going to have her killed. Disappointed and guilt ridden over her new weepy partner, Piper reveals the truth that it was she who called Davy Crockett (Alex’s probation officer) which lead to Alex’s re-incarceration: “You manipulative cunt” is Alex’s response— a line that seems the to perfectly sum up the two’s relationship.
Red’s also done with Piper’s shit. She’s pissed that Piper lied to her about visiting the store she had so much pride in—a store that’s been closed for months without her knowledge. Piper cites the Korean tradition of kabun (which she heard about on a podcast. Ugh Piper, you really can be the worst sometimes). But their harmonious relationship is not upheld, given that Piper has never possessed much nunchi, and Red quickly retorts, “In Russia we call it bullshit.”
Pornstache’s mother, Mrs. Powell visits the prison and she’s surprisingly lovely (save for the inappropriate joke-as-coping-mechanism she makes about her and her son’s predilection for Hispanic lovers). She leans over to the wide eyed actual baby daddy Bennett, “George [Pornstache] says he loves her, what do you think?” She has no idea this question is worse than the joke.
Daya’s mother shakes the demure Powell down, asking for monetary compensation for the “bad emotionals” her daughter is going to suffer after her rape. Mrs. Powell wants to adopt the baby, and is more than happy to offer support with the “certain lifestyle” she can offer the child so it doesn’t end up like—not like Daya as Diaz suspects—but like her drug dealing scumbag rapist son. Powell cites her track record with her two other children (one at dental school and the other an art historian), to prove her wayward son was merely a blip on her maternal record.
Bennett is freaking the fuck out, yet momentarily distracted by seeing Daya in her under things. He’s never “seen this much of her all at once” and honestly, he has no idea.
Bearing It All
Diaz tries to convince her daughter to give the baby away to Powell because of the life that she can offer it with “clean towels and shit” referencing how Daya was raised and her year in foster care. Daya takes a moment to consider while Bennett isn’t ready to — as Caputo puts it — give up the dream. In an attempt to assure her that they can have a family together, he proposes to Daya with a ring made out of gum wrappers (gum is how they first met D’AWWWW). But despite all his affirmations and the sentimental piano music playing in the background, is Bennett really thinking this through? The time they’ve shared together has consisted of stolen moments alone in the yard and brief sexual encounters in janitorial closets. How well does he really know her?
Cue Cesar’s house. Left with no one else to celebrate his upcoming nuptials with, Bennett stops by with the news and a birthday gift for the despondent little Lucy. We see Cesar has a “side of bacon” while caring for Daya’s siblings. His “strict” nature entails him pulling out a gun on one of the children for not eating his French fries. Bennett is getting a crash course on where Daya comes from. Cesar balks at the fact that he doesn’t even know Daya’s quinceañera story.
Suzanne still grapples with the loss of her beloved Vee. Pennsatucky taunts her by claiming Vee’s in hell with “… Satan’s three-prong up her butt”. Suzanne is warned that she has to watch herself or else her outburst are going to land her in trouble.
Black Cindy sprays her body with aerosol cans filled and when challenged about its safety, she retorts, “My grandma used to douche with disinfectant” and furthermore, “This was the original birth control. It’s cheaper than condoms and it leaves the koochy crack smelling lemony fresh.” Honestly, if there is any character that should have a book written from their perspective a la Mad Men’s Roger Sterling—it’s Cindy. That woman knows what’s she’s about.
Boo and Nicky try to figure out how to sell all of their “candy” (heroin) now that Red’s tunnel is cemented over. After undressing in the laundry room in fear that he’s infested with bed bugs, Nicky sees Luschek with is baggie of “sleepy time tea” (marijuana) and takes this as a cue that he might be the best candidate for getting rid of the drugs. At first he pretends to be outraged that she would ask him to sell a “shit ton of herion” but he’s just “fucking with her” and agrees to be the Oompa Loompa they’re looking for—except for one set back: the heroin is missing.
Giving Up The Dream
Caputo is blindsided by the news that the prison will be closing in two months. He’s been mentioned favourably and will most likely get a transfer, but it looks like the other employees at the prison will get the axe. Like the mattresses burning outside his window, his hard work and dreams for the future at Litchfield are going up in flames. After trying to save the books in the library (after the bed bug vs. muffin crumb debate) Caputo resigns himself to failure throwing a fistful of books into the heap, “It doesn’t matta.”
Healy’s in his office watching videos of dog farts, and is met by Red who’s decided to ditch her husband for lying about the store she so loved. For a moment it looks like Healy’s genuinely trying to make himself useful and trying to give Red some good advice about reconsidering her divorce, saying she, “owes it to her younger self to remember why you married him.” It’s seems he really cares about her well being—OH WAIT NOPE—like most of his dealing with inmates, this quickly becomes about his own shit.
“Trivializing a man’s emotions. What is that a Russian thing or something?” Sam Healy
“Mrs. Reznikov” quickly becomes an avatar for his own Eastern European bride, a fact blaringly obvious to Red as she silently leaves his office.
Almost as though on a psychiatrists couch, kabunster Piper lies on her mattressless bunk feeling sorry for herself and quickly makes the connection that her propensity towards white lies is one that she inherited from her mother (she did miss out on reflecting on her mom’s impact on her in the Mother’s day episode). She swears this attitude off deciding instead to adopt her roommate’s perspective of “Black, white… and Red”.
Piper and Alex stand off in the library, Alex gets a good slap in. “Fuck you Piper!” Piper fights back “Fuck you!” And then…well, they fuck. I’m sure this is just a happy ending and there won’t be anymore bullshit drama between the two.
We’re shown flashbacks to Bennett’s time in the service: barking affirmations in Texan lilt to his superior, making homoerotic music videos, and befriending a Muslim allied soldier. We get the general picture that he’s a nice guy who sticks to his resolve; when it’s all talk that is. He bitches about not seeing an action, but then his buddy warns the American soldiers a bomb is about to be thrown into their tent and is promptly shot. A grenade hits the floor and Bennett cowers in the corner leaving another soldier to take the heat. Much like when he’s faced with the reality of his baby with Daya, Bennett doesn’t step up. The fantastical bubble of living on love and love alone is abruptly burst by the annoying mechanics of reality. At the end of the episode he leaves the crib gifted to him by Cesar at the side of the road, signaling that he’s leaving this all behind.
Martha Wainwright aptly plays him out. “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole” indeed.
Linens, books, and baby furniture are discarded or destroyed after an uncomfortable truth comes to light, and the same goes for dreams and aspirations. Like Red says you may not be able to feel the bite when it happens, but the itch is real.
“Now you’re just abusing the metaphor” Nicky Nichols
Maybe a little.
Out In The Yard
When the prison physician tells Flaca, “you don’t get crabs on your arm” her retort, “So what, I got imitation crabs?” could have seemed hokey and well—artificial, but it’s so dryly delivered I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Between her telling Soso, “If you say bean leaf one more time I’m going to punch you in the fuck hole…One of the fuck holes” and talking about her “Sawgy bax” meth head Leanne Taylor’s colourful description of anatomy is something I can’t say I’ve heard anywhere else.
Luschek talks about undressing in front of the inmates like, “undressing in front of his dog.” With Pornstache out of the picture, he’s definitely in the lead (with Healy as a close second) for the worst employee at Litchfield.