Orange Is the New Black recap: Power Struggles

The lights are out at Litchfield, leading to shadowy confrontations -- and some very dark places
Ep. 12 | Aired Jun 6, 2014

Let's keep our fingers crossed -- because Lord knows everything else is looking pretty grim going into the finale. Vee and Red head into the Open Pee Bucket Slumber Party nervously, knowing that their cold war could heat up at any moment. They settle their families on opposite sides of a fence and start talking strategy. Interestingly enough, both leaders agree on one thing: Red's a trickier, shrewder schemer than Vee. No matter what disparaging things they may have said during their last greenhouse showdown, each woman does seem to have some baseline of respect for the other -- an important detail, since it keeps them from underestimating each other.

And that's why what happens next is so shocking. While emptying her pee bucket outside, Vee is ambushed by Red, brandishing a rope made of plastic wrap she stole from the kitchen. She manages to get it around the drug lord's neck, and nearly ends their war right then and there... until, in the end, the Russian can't go through with cold-blooded murder. The whole situation, in fact, has begun to take on an unmistakably absurd cast: "You just tried to strangle me with plastic wrap so you could sell mascara in jail," Vee notes wryly. Reality is setting in; their fight has no real stakes beyond old score-settling, and Litchfield's market actually is big enough for the both of them. So there, in the rain, still gasping from their nearly fatal tussle, Vee and Red declare a truce. They shake on it and everything. And lo, the storm breaks, the sun comes out, and the prison is graced with a new age of peace and prosperity. Contraband body wash and heroin for all!

Except, of course, that isn't actually the end of it. The next day, Red's first post-storm trip to the greenhouse is interrupted by a nasty blow to the head, courtesy of a makeshift mace fashioned from a lock and a sock. Though Flaca once declared this to be her weapon of choice, she's not the one wielding the slock -- instead, it's of course Vee, who intends to honor the terms of that truce just as soon as flying pigs soar over a frozen hell on the 12th of Never. Forget Piper's imminent transfer to Virginia -- could OITNB possibly survive without Red? Thank the Gods of Netflix we don't have to waste a single second wondering if it's even necessary to voice this worry.

The Commissary:

- The episode's other big moment, plotwise: Piper, who's decided she has nothing left to lose, heads into Fig's office during the blackout to steal the all-important, corruption-exposing FITZCore file. As always, she's a victim of absolutely terrible timing; the lights come back on just as she's taken the file, and she also bumps into Caputo in the hallway. He asks her to explain herself, and we don't yet see her answer; could it be, though, that these two are about to team up to take down their common enemy?

- Healy worries about a future in which men have been rendered obsolete and women are left alone to run the show -- a world, in other words, that looks a lot like the microcosm of Litchfield. But while the thought terrifies him, his new bestie Pennsatucky is sort of on board with it; after all, men being in charge has never done her any good.

- Poor Maria delivering a last desperate plea to her baby -- "You grab Daddy's face and make him say sh-- so you don't end up like me" -- is one of the purest gut-punches OITNB has ever delivered. And we hardly even know Maria. This show!

- More fascinating gender stuff: Daya begins the episode assuming that her unborn child is a boy. (Apparently male fetuses cause uneven boob growth in expectant mothers.) But after she has a panic attack that Bennett is helpless to quell, she starts referring to the unborn child as a "she." Why? Could it be because she's starting to think of the kid as an extension of herself rather than a product made by the two of them? Or is it that Bennett's ineffectiveness is convincing Daya that men are useless -- so she's hoping not to give birth to one?

- Soso launching a singalong with "Bitch" may be the first (and only) delightful thing she's done all season.

- An anti-drug PSA from Leanne and Angie: Don't do nutmeg, kids, or you'll start to feel trapped inside of your own face.

- Show of hands if you'd listen to an hour of Boo explaining the Gay Agenda in great detail.

- Watch out, Reznikovs -- Vee knows where you live, and something tells me "scorched earth" might be her middle name.

- The guest of honor at Fig's husband's fancy schmancy fundraiser: Tiki Barber, signing footballs and speaking casually about Foucault. Be still, my pretentious heart!

- Okay, guys, F/M/K: Caputo, Bennett, and O'Neill. Go. (There is only one correct answer, by the way.)

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