NEXT: More tangled love webs
Put simply, nobody is having a good V-Day. Exhibit B: Daya and Bennett, who try to imagine what their holiday might be like if they were a normal couple instead of one that's literally illicit. The role-playing is fun, until it isn't: "I don't want to play the 'normal' game anymore, 'cause I don't know how we ever are going to be normal," she tells him. (Side note: Be more obvious about your relationship, guys. Geez. They're practically skywriting about it at this point.)
Even after they manage to sneak away to do what regular pairs do on Valentine's Day, there's still plenty of tension in the air. Part of that is thanks to a Valentine that Daya has just received -- which she thinks is from Bennett, but was actually sent by Mendez. (Consider this the beginning of season 2's official Pornstacheocalypse Countdown.) The rest comes courtesy of Daya's mother, who's decided to exploit the leverage she has over Bennett... as do Maritza and Flaca, who cheerfully blackmail the guard for high-status contraband including an iPod Shuffle and a camera phone. Oh, and Yoo-hoo, because who doesn't love Yoo-hoo?
Little do the ladies know that Litchfield's about to become awash in more contraband than ever before. Not only is Vee starting a tobacco ring -- Red is also finally starting to reap the benefits of her new greenhouse project. As it turns out, that grate beneath the floorboards does lead to the outside -- but Red isn't planning to use it to escape. (Breathing a sigh of relief over here; Orange may be heightened, but a "Red on the lam" story seems like it'd be a little too wacky to pull off.) Instead, she's enlisted her sons to sneak beneath the prison using the tunnel and bring her bags of forbidden stuff -- eyeshadow, sunflower seeds, Yoga Jones's favorite New Age-y tea. As glad as I am to see Red staying put, it's also incredibly sad to think that she knows she could break out but chooses instead to use a potential escape route as a method to regain her perch inside of prison. Better a big fish in a small pond, I guess.
But even Red can't manage to have an entirely happy Valentine's. She tries to buy back Gina Norma, and Nicky's love and loyalty, but her attempt fails. Thus Red joins a long list of Litchfield folk whose V-days are a total bust. Morello is so despondent about Christopher's wedding that she's eating giant serving spoonfuls of mac and cheese straight from the tray; Piper almost reconciles with Larry, only to learn that his opportunism hasn't dimmed since they've been apart; Caputo discovers that even though Fischer's broken up with her boyfriend, she still doesn't want to be with him; Pennsatucky's former friends formally break up with her, tossing the worst insult they can conceive at their former leader ("You've been lording over this group like some sort of Hillary Clinton dictator!"); Healy tries to leave a romantic message for the woman who doesn't love him, gets cut off, and returns to chauffeuring a party for a bunch of women who also don't love him.
It'd all be too much sad trombone music if there weren't also a few bright spots to be found -- generally of pairs bonding because of their mutual loneliness. (Which is sad in and of itself, but eh, you take what you can get sometimes.)
For example: Depressed, drunk-on-bearded-lady-hooch Flaca and Maritza share a few kisses, then dissolve into uncontrollable giggles. (Hey, so some platonic friends are really platonic friends!) Boo and Nicky decide their sex contest is gross and happily end it with a tie. Pennsatucky and Healy share a heart-shaped cookie and a surprisingly robust hug. Then there's Suzanne, who may be uniquely qualified to comfort Morello: There's a secret about loving people who aren't smart enough to be loved back, she says. "They don't deserve it." Morello's touched; they embrace. It'd be a perfectly sweet moment... if not for Suzanne stealing a whiff of Lorna's hair. Could a new obsession be brewing already?
- Some really on-point music choices in this episode; "Hey There Delilah" is guaranteed to inspire a rush of angsty feelings in anyone of a certain age.
- Important progress report: Probably thanks to Vee, everyone has finally started calling Suzanne "Suzanne" instead of Crazy Eyes.
- And also, just in case you were wondering, Suzanne is her own Valentine this year. But if you're lucky, maybe she'll choose you in 2015.
- Piper: "When you get out of here, who do you imagine yourself going home to?" Nicky: "Fiona Apple in the 'Criminal' video."
- Was anyone else having subtitle issues while watching this episode? The translations seemed to appear too quickly; I kept reading them before the characters onscreen had actually uttered the lines being translated.
- Red, doting mother: "I'm sorry she left you, Vasily, but I'm sure you did something to deserve it."
- Today in Larry: Larry has decided to steal Reporter Andrew's idea for a story about corruption at Litchfield. Not to be outdone, Piper has also decided that she'd like to write an article about that same topic -- only she'll be conducting her research under the guise of starting a prison newsletter.
- Dear Netflix: Please consider an OITNB spinoff in which Crazy Jimmy just keeps wandering into incongruous places. You could call it "Jimmy's Day Out!" I'd watch the crap out of that.