Orange Is the New Black recap: Take the Money and Run

In which we focus on matters of life and death -- and badass bank robbery, courtesy of Young Rosa
Ep. 08 | Aired Jun 6, 2014

Ali Goldstein/Netflix

Most of the inmates aren't focused on Vee and Red's pas de deux, though. Instead, they're centering their attention and ire on Piper, who becomes the first of their kind to be granted furlough in what seems like anyone's memory. (To the Golden Girls, it's the equivalent of someone being granted the power of flight: "Did he say furlough?" "You're deaf as a post, honey. No one gets furlough.) Perhaps uncoincidentally, Piper also happens to be the first white, blond, beautiful Smith graduate ever locked away in Litchfield. There's grumbling from the beginning, though at first it's largely good-natured. Naturally, that all stops when Vee gets involved, griping -- half sincerely and half because she knows nothing unites like a common enemy -- that Piper's special treatment is equivalent to Jim Crow laws. Cindy follows close on her heels, speculating that Piper only got her temporary out because she paid a visit to Little Healy. Even Suzanne isn't on her ex-wife's side. Once she threw her pie to get Alex to leave Piper alone; now she's tossing the dessert straight at Piper's own highlighted head.

It gets so rough that Piper turns to Healy in desperation, asking if he can reverse-furlough her and give the time out of prison to someone whose need is greater than her own. (Even this move likely irks Piper haters -- now she's martyring herself?) Healy, though, won't budge. This is one of the only victories he's ever gotten in this God-forsaken place -- and he's clearly still feeling fired up by Caputo's post-Sideboob performance lamentation. She's going to go on furlough, damnit, and she's going to tell her grandmother she loves her, and she's going to make amends for whatever wrongs she may have committed against her. At his words, Piper is cowed. Then, of course, comes the kicker: Grandma died while Piper's furlough request was being processed. Ain't that just a kick in the ovaries? At least Yusef is okay! (Right? Right?)

Also suffering: Poor saucer-eyed Susan Fischer, who's dealing with both an alcoholic lunkhead of a boyfriend and a boss who's punishing her for rejecting his advances (though, to be fair, part of that's because his boss is also being a dick). And then, quite suddenly, things go from bad to much, much worse. Fisher finally gets up the courage to stand up to Caputo, telling him that his shot quota is unreasonable. Unfortunately, her move is sort of like Rosa's last robbery -- shoddily planned and ill-timed. Caputo is so frustrated by his feelings for her -- and an emasculating, infuriating visit to Red's mysteriously contraband-free greenhouse -- that he ends up firing her on the spot. Given the whole Morello thing, she may actually deserve to be let go. But not like this, and certainly not because she challenged Caputo's authority. (Who's gonna write the definitive examination of masculinity on Orange? Because I'd read the crap out of it.)

With that, the prisoners lose one of the few allies they had among the Powers That Be -- but I'm hoping it doesn't mean Fischer's out of the OITNB universe for good. I'm also kiiinda hoping that she reconsiders Nicky's proposition once Nichols gets out of prison, because those two might each be what the other one needs. Or have hours and hours in Orange immersion simply warped my mind?

The Commissary

- Terrible, thy name is Fig: "Am I like the boy in The Sixth Sense? ...Am I in a f---ing M. Night Shalamalama movie?" Also, who wears their Loubs to visit prison?

- Good thing Fischer made it into the second Big House Bugle before her unceremonious sacking. Her favorite books, in case you were wondering: G Is for Gumshoe, Forever, Jane Eyre, Bossypants, Little Women, and The Help. Speaking of books: Have you seen Stephan Lee's fascinating dissection of what the inmates are reading this season? Bookmark it for after you've gotten through the finale.

- Caputo, Certified Plant Judge: "Broccoli is no pussy."

- Today in Soso, which is getting about as irritating as Today in Larry: Brook stinks. She finally takes a shower. The end.

- "A little sweet, for my... you." Luschek ain't exactly Romeo.

- Vee compares Red and Gloria to the main characters of a fable called "The Scorpion and the Frog." The basic gist: A scorpion asks a frog for safe passage across a body of water, and promises that he won't kill the frog on the other side. The frog obliges -- but finds the scorpion stinging him halfway across, dooming them both to death. Why does the scorpion sting? Because he can't help it; it's in his nature. Do you think OITNB agrees with this bleak view of humanity, or would it argue that people have the capacity to change?

- Some possible foreshadowing: There's talk of Daya possibly spiriting her baby out of prison by passing it through Red's greenhouse tunnel.

- A snippet of Morello's latest column, "Three Ways to Get a Man to Like You" (hoo boy): "Men like to be in control and be protective. It is an instinct that goes back millions of years to when we were apes." Where's the part about trying to murder their current girlfriends?

- Daya's latest comic casts Fig as a greedy pig. Can't wait for a big bad wolf to come around and blow her house down.

- Despite the Caputo of it all, there's more guard sympathy in this episode than usual. The C.O.s share their idealistic fantasies of saving people; Healy reveals that as a young homophobe, he dreamed of changing the system from the inside out. They're not so different from Rosa, who longed for adventure, or Taystee, who just wanted a family. But where did all of these diverse desires get these people? In the same urine-soaked hellhole. It's almost enough to make you want more guard focus... until you remember that we've barely got enough time to concentrate on the inmates we already care about.

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