Orange Is the New Black recap: The Eyes Have It

At long last, some insight into what makes Crazy Eyes Suzanne tick; plus, Piper returns to Litchfield
Ep. 03 | Aired Jun 6, 2014

Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Vee's wheeling and dealing—propositioning Cindy within earshot of Suzanne, trading the cigarettes Suzanne fetches to Gloria for a cake, using the cake (Taystee's favorite, of course) to win over the other black inmates—make her seem like a refugee from King's Landing. Actually, strike that: She might actually be OITNB's answer to Frank Underwood. Both want absolute power; both have few qualms about squashing a few people as they fight to get that power; both prefer to operate slowly and carefully, maneuvering their targets so skillfully that the poor saps are led to believe they're the ones who have the upper hand.

But while Frank's an expert at manipulating systems, Vee seems more adept at manipulating people—and knowing that at their core, all any of us really wants is to feel a connection to another person. And that's true even though, in Suzanne's deceptively simplistic words, "Sometimes people just don't want to play with you." The concept of connection—as well as failed attempts thereof—is this episode's running theme, even in the scenes that have nothing to do with Vee. Pennsatucky returns with her new teeth, only to find that she's being frozen out by her old pals; Nicky notes wryly that she and Piper have become "snatch sisters" before casually banging a few more inmates, nominally because she's bored but at least partially also because it's the only thing that makes her feel less alone; even Larry's trying in vain to connect by going out on a fairly disastrous date with a casually emasculating pediatric neurologist.

And then there's Brook "No E" Soso, another new character who immediately takes a shine to Piper. On the surface, the two share a lot; they're both relatively wealthy and educated, and almost equally self-absorbed. Initially, Piper is fairly receptive to Brook's neediness; she admits to the new girl that she cried her whole first night in incarceration, and reassures her that "everything ends, even prison."

But once Piper is rejected by Suzanne, the one person she could once depend on for an ego boost, her mood abruptly swings in the other direction. Earlier, she called Alex a wolf; now she's decided that she'd like to be a she-beast as well. "I am a lone wolf, Brook. And a vicious one," she snarls at the woman who so resembles the girl Piper used to be. "Don't make me rip your throat out with my teeth." You sort of get the impression that she means every word she's saying—or at least, that she wants to believe them. So maybe Brook and Piper aren't that alike after all; it's sort of tough to imagine the delicate WOOF-er threatening to pull a Khal Drogo.

The Commissary:

- So this is what it takes to get Red out of her funk: the reappearance of an old frenemy. From the way she and Vee approach each other—they're like gunslingers in the Wild West, but with higher hair—it's clear they've got quite a history. For now, the details will remain murky; all we know for sure is that when Red sees Vee again, she wants to look "fierce." And not like a drag queen—like a tiger. (Luckily, Sophia can work with that description.)

- So wait, Vee hid those cigarettes in the wall the first time she was in prison? Just in case she'd need them someday? That's some next-level schemery.

- Lil' Suzanne knows how to greet a new baby: "Hello, Grace! I'm your best friend and your sister, Suzanne."

- Nice touch: The nurse who calms down Lil' Suzanne after her temper tantrum does it by extending some empathy, then offering to fix her hair. Vee does basically the same thing, which means the days of Crazy Eyes's head knots are over.

- Heartbreaking: the story Suzanne tells her sister's blindingly white friends is really a story about Suzanne herself. "She screamed for help, but no one wants to come back to save her." I think I've got something in my eye.

- Uh-oh: Lorna Morello's beloved Christopher is marrying someone else. In Albany. Which is sort of like adding insult to injury. Note the uncharacteristic anger that seeps out when she swears to strangle the woman he's with now; suddenly, I'm starting to understand how this apparently harmless person could have ended up in federal prison.

- This Week in Larry: Andrew the Journalist contacts Piper's ex to chat about the corruption piece he's working on. And as angry as Larry may be with his Chapman, he's way too opportunistic to turn down a juicy story like this one.

- Caputo almost masturbates after Piper and Pennsatucky hug in his office, much like he did after meeting in the pilot—but stops himself in the end. Uh, character growth?

- More trouble ahead for Daya and Bennett: She wants prenatal vitamins, and he has no way to get them to her. Well, until he starts considering his hollow leg...

- Closing out the episode: "I've Got Crazy Eyes for You," naturally.

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