Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Orange is the New Black 3x02 "Bed Bugs and Beyond" (Spin Cycle) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

"Bed Bugs and Beyond"

To be associated with Litchfield is to constantly be fighting an uphill battle. That battle could be with yourself, the system, or another person -- or a mix of all three -- but the end result at Litchfield is always the same. Like Sisyphus and his boulder, the inmates, workers, and visitors of the prison end up pushing, pushing, pushing, only to fall right back down to the bottom.

Caputo seems to be flourishing in his new role after the messes he cleaned up last season. He dealt with a rape, an escaped prisoner, and Rosa's murderous joyride, and somehow managed to keep his job and come in under budget. But when bed bugs are found in a prison dorm, getting rid of them becomes the obstacle that knocks him back down.

Flaca is the first to find a bedbug -- or, rather, a bedbug bite. But, as usual, if one bug is found at Litchfield, there's a hundred more just waiting come to light. The infestation spreads from one dorm to the library to who knows where else.

The prison grossly mishandles the bedbug situation, starting with not buying enough temporary uniforms for the women to wear while their uniforms are washed, and burning mattresses before securing new ones. The women who aren’t wearing paper uniforms from an office supply store are wearing garbage bags or their underwear. “I’m literally garbage,” Alex says as she still struggles with being back inside -- and you have to admit, wearing a trash bag probably won’t help her feel any better.

I’m no bed bug expert, but was burning mattresses really necessary? People in real life get bed bugs and don’t have to burn their mattress, so wouldn’t an exterminator spray do the trick? Maybe they spray was too expensive for Caputo to get cleared, or maybe he didn’t care and burning seemed easier, but I guess it does do the job of getting rid of the bugs. Unfortunately it also gets rid of every mattress in the prison. (Red would be ok with no mattresses though, it’s good for her back.)

Poussey and Taystee try to save the books in the library in a funny scene with Caputo and the exterminator. “Am I allowed to interact with them?” the exterminator asks about talking with Poussey. “They are people, yeah,” Caputo responds. (Is he the only one running the prison system who remembers that?) The exterminator claims he finds a bed bug in a book, but Taystee claims it is a muffin crumb. In the end, it doesn’t matter (nothing matters), and Caputo burns the books anyway when he finds out the plan to close the prison.

Of course no one told Caputo the prison was closing, and of course there was no plan for how to take care of the women in the meantime. Every time someone takes a step to take care of something in the universe of Litchfield, it feels more and more futile. (As she’s washing clothes, Soso literally says they are stuck in their own spin cycle.) When Nicky and Boo come up with a plan to get rid of their heroin, they find the heroin missing when they go to retrieve it. Nicky constantly fights a battle with herself to keep her addiction in check, and depending on where this heroin shows back up, it could be what knocks her out of her sobriety again.

Aleida and Bennett both have plans to take care of Daya and the baby, but — like everything else — it doesn’t look like anything will be figured out any time soon. Aleida tries to shake Pornstache’s mother down for money, but his mother (played by the wonderful Mary Steenburgen) offers to adopt the baby and give it a life that Daya and Bennett wouldn’t be able to. Bennett responds to the threat of losing his child by getting closer to Daya and proposing. But she can’t wear a real ring while she’s in prison (because she could get shanked) and they can’t tell anyone (because Bennett would be arrested), so what feels like a step forward in their relationship is really just more of the same.

Piper and Alex are trapped in more of the same, too: more lying, more manipulating, more kissing and making up. They are in a cycle they can’t seem to break, and as much as I can like them together when they aren’t being terrible to each other (which really isn’t that often), what they do to each other is really not healthy.

Piper realizing she is manipulative is way overdue, am I right? She is the absolute worst, and the way she played Red and Alex and then acted like SHE was the victim made me so infuriated. Because of this realization, she supposedly is going to take a no-BS approach to life from now on. Based on this, it looks like Piper is the only one who made progress on herself and actually addressed the root of her problems, but something tells me this state of enlightenment won’t last long and is just another way for her get what she wants.

It’s a testament to the show that even spinning its wheels is fun and interesting to watch, and never feels like it’s just more of the same. I love the time I spend at Litchfield, even if the characters do not. And amid all the horrible things that happen are still sweet and touching scenes like Daya and Bennett getting to celebrate their love for at least a moment, and Cindy’s hilarious explanation of what she washes in the sink.

Other notes:
  • Inmate of the episode for me is Poussey, who is getting into Gloria and Norma’s magic remedies. I love that Poussey loves to learn, whether it is about butterflies with her mom, reading books in the library with Taystee, or about harnessing forces of the universe with Gloria and Norma aka Glona.
  • #teamglona
  • This new CO Rogers is a bit strict, and I do not get her motives. I feel like giving shots to Alex in the bathroom was, like, way harsh, Tai. 
  • Why do you guys think Bennett left the crib on the side of the road? 
  • How terrible was Healy when he was talking to Red? So terrible. It kills me that when Red tries to do one of the few things she has the power to do — take her husband off her visitor’s list — Healy keeps her from doing it.
  • I love, love, love that this show showed almost everyone in their underwear. Seeing different kinds of bodies on TV is so valuable and important, and that kind of inclusivity and diversity is one of the reasons I love this show so much.


  1. Rae,

    I'm guessing the reason why Bennett left the crib on the side of the road is because he might be preparing, much to his chagrin, to acquiesce to the idea that Diaz' unborn child might be best off with Mendez' mother. Again just a guess ...