What would you do if you could travel back in time? Lolly and Healy sit in Lolly’s homemade time machine and ponder this exact question. There is no moment for either of them wherein they would go back to fix their lives, but instead, as Healy uncharacteristically wisely puts it, “Everyone wants to go back in time… but what we have to do is make the most of what we have now.”
“It Sounded Better In My Head” shows us how many of the inmates are confronted by the mistakes of their past, the consequences in their present, and their options for the future.
Time After Time
I wonder when Piper would go back to considering she’s now scrubbing her teeth in the company of a White Power brethren. She—rather limply—tries to discourage them, and yet after Blanca does a threatening walk through of their washroom, she decides to depend on the strength of numbers. Despite the fact that Piper hasn’t necessarily proclaimed any kind of belief in white power, she still keeps the company of the likes of Skin Head Helen.
“I don’t think racism should be a group activity. It’s private.” —Lorna Muccio (Morello)
Ovaltine loving roommate Hapakuka is left out to dry since there’s no Hawaiian power group for her to join. Piper can’t, and at this point, won’t help her. She’s been a real dick to Hapakuka, Piper has. She’s basically bullied, used, and mistreated her since the moment she walked into her cell, and “Gangsta” Piper simply discards her when she’s of no further use.
I wonder if Aleida would go back in time and learn some kind of trade. Daya yells at her when she finds her mother blowing off studying to play dominos. Gloria tries to coax her into thinking about what she might be good at, and Aleida despairingly says she’s not good at anything.
Although, it’s not until she talks to Judy King, who compliments her on her nails that Aleida gets the inspiration to start a nail salon when she gets on the outside. Looks like she’s got a bright future to look forward to after all.
“Selling education as a means of control.” — Linda From Purchasing
Caputo is trying to make the futures brighter for the inmates at Litchfield with his ideas for enrichment classes. However, after MCC had a look over the proposal, they decide to change all the classes towards vocational training, you know like carpentry and construction. Who needs art or math right? “It’s a chain gang.” Caputo aptly observes. Looks like MCC is not going to change its past ways any time soon.
Back In Time
“Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” — Lolly Whitehill
Lolly used to be a journalist, young and furiously typing up her stories on an old fashioned typewriter. We see her first hear the voices in her head with her editor. It’s not long until we see her without any family and just one friend who checks her into a half way house. A man with similar delusions of government conspiracies threatens her, “Randy gets violent,” he warns. He is Randy.
Fast forward years later and she seems to be doing alright, all things considered. She’s able to chase away the voices in her mind with a music stick, has even found a home in an abandon lot, and makes coffee for the members of her community. That is until the lot is turned into condo buildings and she and the rest of her friends are forced to relocate.
Time moves forward yet again and she’s arrested on the street for panhandling and pretty much just being an eye sore. When the voices in her head tell her the police officers she’s speaking to aren’t her friends, she reaches for her stick with bells to shake away the nasty voices, but the cops interpret this as an act of aggression and arrest her.
“Keep a tighter leash on your pet nut.” — Piscatella
Piscatella is more like the police on the sidewalk that day. He’s suspicious of Lolly and when he catches her rummaging through the dumpster he brings her to Healy and lets him know he won’t hesitate to send her to Psyche—a place we all know is more terrible than anywhere in the prison. Like the Magic Eye posters from the 90’s Lolly sees things that don’t appear to most, and sometimes she sees dragons that she has to contend with.
Some people fight dragons, whilst others chase them. Nichols is back from Max and is met with the love and affection of her friends—especially Red who’s been mother to Nichols for years. Nichols quickly catches up on the things that have changed since she’s left: Morello is married, Piper is “a Nazi”, and Boo “has the BMI of a healthy human being.”
But there’s another significant change since Nichols left, and that’s the change in her. After three years of sobriety, Nichols is back on drugs. She’s been trying to score around the prison, but to no avail. But unknowingly to her, Morello tells her exactly where she needs to go to get what she wants; Angie Rice has been the infamous Shower Pooper Morello and Suzanne have been attempting to apprehend. After a quick summary of the case, Nichols is able to deduce Rice is macking on her bf during visitation and getting a baggie full of drugs she poops out in the shower so she can get the goods without the chance of them being flushed. Nichols makes friends with Rice immediately, and Red watches with a concerned stare.
What It Looks Like
“Sometimes what it looks like is all anybody can see.” — Nicky Nichols
Red isn’t the only one concerned about her fellow inmates. After Judy King confides in Yoga Jones that there’s a compromising video of her on the Internet (no, not a sex tape, hers came out years ago and she looked fantastic) wherein she made a puppet show she claims to be in Vaudevillian tradition. However, with characters like Chitlin’ Joe and Watermelon Sam, it sounds more like a Minstrel tradition than anything.
Yoga Jones is quick to assert that Judy King needs to be hidden away from all the black people, as they are surely to be after her.
“I’ll pretend to not know how to read if it makes me famous.” — Cindy Tova Hayes
And, there are, in fact some black folks looking to get at King. Cindy, Allison, and Taystee are trying to get the a less blurry photo of the Loch Ness Judy. They use janitorial signs to box her into a hallway, but when the “High Five” shoot goes sour, the only shot they get is Cindy chasing King down the hallway.
Just A Bad Day
There’s a party in the common room for Nichols return, although not everyone is rejoicing. Piper realizes she has no friends. Her grand posturing, constant manipulation, and general fuckery have lost her the kinship and respect of almost everyone who she may have once called an ally.
She’s thrilled when Hapakuka takes her aside. “I have not been cool to you since you came here.” A rare apology from the once mighty Piper Chapman. Hapakuka agrees and quotes Piper’s own sentiments about pragmatism back to her.
Hapakuka’s pragmatic move was to work with the Dominicans who grab Piper and carry her off into the kitchen, while Piper’s ex-body guard says Aloha and re-joins the party.
Piper Chapman has finally met her match. She tried to be the boss, tried to lead as some sort of crime expert, but she’s messed with the wrong crowd. For her Nazi sympathies Ruiz and her team brand her physically.
Labeled, like how Ruiz has been labeled by the administration as a menace, and so Piper gets a label too: a Swastika burnt into her flesh.
Out In The Yard
So does Linda just not have a last name? Even in her boyfriend Caputo’s phone she’s listed as Linda From Purchasing. There’s not that much we know about her, except that she’s good at her job and is decidedly NOT DTFIAPR (Down To Fuck In A Public Restroom).
I love Taystee’s new attitude as the boss after working with Caputo, “She’s gone mad with slight empowerment.”
So it looks like Yoga Jones is less like the mandala yoga loving Zen lady she used to be, and is starting to get a little too comfy as the 1%.
Looks like Wanda Bell is working as a crossing guard, and a fairly terrifying one at that.