Whether it’s the “food,” three-day-old underwear, the rotten mechanics of a broken system, or the glances of a stranger, there are more than a few things that stink at Litchfield.
“Fear and Other Smells” delves into the unease, excitement, and anxieties many of the characters feel — imagined or not.
Alex’s fears about her potential assassination at the hands of ex-boss Kubra has been her dominant narrative throughout the season with her preoccupied stares and you-don’t-know-what-he’s-capable-ofs. With only her word to go by, the veritable boogey man’s lethal potential has mostly been met with Piper’s sarcasm and irritation. It’s not until eight episodes into this season until we’re shown a solid example of why she’s so terrified.
In a flashback, Alex mourns the death of her mother and Piper’s abandonment. Fari convinces her to come to Paris with him, handing her a vile of coke. They end up at a nightclub where Alex doesn’t want the party to end telling Fari to ignore his responsibility of picking up another pro-drug runner Missy at the airport. The “mum-azing” time is interrupted when the woman is arrested.
Hiding in a hotel room with Aydin, Fari and Alex have the ultimate comedown when they try to game out what to do next. There’s a knock at the door—room service with a side of murder instructions. Aydin shoots Fari dead and points his pistol at Alex.
“Worst thing I can imagine is my son becoming a thug.” Gloria Mendoza
Burset’s still got it in her mind that the attitude problems of son Michael are all Gloria’s son’s fault. “He’s from a different neighbourhood, a different culture” is Burset’s rationale—one that reeks of classist and racist undertones.
However, his mother Crystal is more concerned about Michael’s respect for women. She confronts Burset on the advice she gave the boy about “practicing” on an insecure girl. Burset finally concedes that it’s not totally Benny’s fault her son is acting like a brute. She apologizes to Gloria and they are able to talk as two concerned parents.
Food For Thought
Red’s back in the kitchen, but there’s no joy of cooking in her life. As per MCC’s new protocol, meals are prepackaged in steamable bags containing such delicacies as “poop wellington.” Red lowers her head in shame as many inmates throw their gruel in the trash.
“That’s too bad, I really liked eating. It was part of my daily routine.” Lorna Morello
Black Cindy, Warren, Poussey, and Taystee relish their kosher meals and scoff at Norma and her followers sitting silently. “Some people give religion a bad name,” says Cindy before stuffing kosher food into her technically non-Jewish mouth. Poussey mutters she doesn’t think Norma is that bad, and the other tease her for getting the “touch-and-stare” from the wordless leader.
Danny notices this expensive (poorly worded) “Jewish problem” the kosher meals presents and when he brings it up with the disgruntled Caputo, Danny asks—with the tone of a concerned boyfriend—if Caputo is mad at him. He is mad. MCC hasn’t granted any money for services that will benefit the inmates, and it’s starting to grate on Caputo.
Charlie (aka O’Neill’s donut nemesis) is charged with taking the van into town and asks Pennsatucky to do so with the authority of a limp linguini noodle, “I’m sorry I’m not used to giving orders.” His lack of training (and intelligence) is apparent as Penn literally walks the man through his job. They end up at Trudy’s Donuts, his other place of employment, where they discuss the self-awareness of pastries.
The Promise of Sex
S.R. Warren (aka Suzanne aka Crazy Eyes) has garnered a following of literary fans for her penned, “Time Hump Chronicles.” They anxiously await her new chapter and begin a Gilly vs. Rodcocker debate. She tells the bickering fans to leave her in peace so she can be “but a humble servant to the muses.”
“I’m like American Apparel with less implied statutory rape.” Piper Chapman
“Clever asshole” Piper has devised a plan to get her panty business going. The flavour packets from ramen noodles sold at the commissary are a good trick to mask the disgustingness of the new meals. Wearing a shit-eating grin Piper pitches the idea to inmates tired of… well… eating shit. With the “keys to the gastrointestinal kingdom” Piper invites them the join her on a miraculous adventure where she’s to farm their vag sweat and occasional colourless discharge.
Her impassioned “Make A Reek” speech is interrupted when Donaldson tells her to get off the table and the women agree to provide their juices. “You had me at flavour packets.” says Gina.
The last piece of the puzzle is put in place as Piper shamelessly flirts with the Gerber guard, and her eye batting and shy smiles work like a charm—the panties are set to find their way into the hands of horny inhalers.
A Woman Thing
“It’s always a woman thing.” Sam Healy
Speaking of sniffers, after Berdie catches Healy smelling Red’s jacket in his office, she expresses her concern about his inept advice he has for Soso’s mental health issues. Healy’s sits on a throne of superiority with his Masters in Social Work, but Berdie’s got a Masters in Mother-Fucking-Psychology. Not wanting to continue a pissing contest, Berdie tries to level with him explaining maybe she should take on Soso for a while; perhaps she might be more comfortable with a woman?
“I suppose you understand her better because you’re also a minority.” With that, Healy’s racist, misogynistic cards are on the table. He spitefully gives Berdie Soso’s case file with a salute and a “thank you” that sounds more like a “fuck you.”
“I used to say little positive quotes in the morning but now there’s some concern about legal clearances. So. GOOD MORNING.” Wanda Bell
At the meeting at MCC headquarters, Danny stands apart from his fellow cost-cutting-initiative-driven coworkers when he carries the torch for Caputo and suggests that maybe they could spend a little cash on appropriate books for the library and job training programs for the inmates. They look at him like he has three heads.
It’s revealed that Danny’s the son of the silver haired SVP and his fatherly advice is that just because he’s working in a women’s prison doesn’t mean he has to “act like a woman.” Danny takes his new bravado back to the Caputo, who’s playing hooky with his band Side Boob. No longer the chummy on-the-same-level-as-you non-boss, Danny asserts himself.
Turning his frustrations into music, Caputo jams for a bit, singing into the microphone, “You say you’re not the warden, but you’re the fucking warden!”
The Money Shot
“Love is just sex without the money shot.” Poussey Washington
After reading the latest installment of “Time Hump” Poussey drunkenly mourns the protagonist’s choice of the virulent Admiral Rodcocker, essentially opting for lust over love. Taystee tells her she needs help for her alcoholism and Poussey agrees, although the “help” she seeks out isn’t something her friend is too happy out when she sees her sitting with Norma’s silent sisterhood.
Daya decides to give her child to Ms. Powell, on the condition that she writes to her. But the deal is broken when Powell reveals that Daya’s mother has been working her for cash, and Daya let’s the cat out the bag that Pornstache is not the real father, “I can’t lie for money.”
Getting To Know You
Back to Alex’s past, we see her brought to a garage to meet face-to-face with the villainous Kubra. His hands hover over potential torture tools as he assures her that he’s not an unreasonable man. Fari wasn’t killed just because he fucked up the pick-up and fled, but it was the fact that he was careless and stopped using burners to make calls. A mistake that is “too fucking human.” Kubra sends Alex to a rehab facility to dry out and assures her, “Fari wasn’t your friend. I am your friend. And I have lost of friends.”
After catching her snooping in her bunk, Alex is sure that Lolly is one of Kubra’s so-called pals. She’s unnerved by Lolly’s stare and like Healy with Soso’s depression, Piper believes Alex’s suspicions are all in her head. She asks Lolly if she’s staring at Alex, “Oh yeah” says Lolly. She’s staring at Alex because Alex is staring at her. It’s all resolved right?
Nope. The episode ends with Lolly’s leering in Alex’s direction, and a notebook filled with her every movement, and a close-up of her unwavering, determined stare.
Out In The Yard
My favourite input Suzanne receives about “Time Hump” is from Cindy who says from her bunk (decorated with a photo of Denzel Washington) when she inquired about what happens to the man made out of Vaseline, “That shit was so hot…and tragic.”
After an extremely inappropriate joke about Jews and soap, one of the members of the MCC group is promptly fired in a cold, and pretty hilarious fashion:
“Hey Cheryl, can you go talk to Edward in HR?”
“He’ll walk you through it.”
I’m happy that Orange is a show about the lives of the inmates at Litchfield, but there are certain moments like when CO Kowalski reads a magazine about firearms with the rapt attention of someone immersed in a gripping novel where I’m like, who is this person?