Thursday, August 13, 2015

Orange is the New Black 3x09 "Where My Dreidel At?" (Faith And Fantasy) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

"Where My Dreidel At?"

Faith, a framework, and fellowship are all things people can get from religion, and they are all things that a lot of the inmates of Litchfield are struggling with. So it’s no surprise that the women turn to religion to fix many different parts of their lives — from food in the cafeteria to finding a place to belong.

Norma is still running her cult, but her main tenant of kindness is thrown out the door when Leanne kicks Soso out of the group. They're struggling to form an official religion — Sosa thinks meditation club would be a good name for them, but Leanne is fighting hard for something more legitimate. To Leanne, legitimacy is equated with a name, a list of commandments, and focusing on how the world sees them. Soso, though, thinks that the more they focus on rules, the less time they have to spend with Norma. Leanne explodes, and Soso leaves.

It turns out Leanne is worried about looking legitimate because so many people in the past looked down on her Amish faith. That Leanne is Amish was something I didn’t expect, but after I thought about it, it made so much sense. Leanne ran away from her community and into her friends who had plenty of drugs and booze to pass the time. After a while, living this life (where someone laughs about putting a roofie in their own drink) seemed empty and awful to Leanne that she returned to her faith and her family. ... Until some cops found the backpack she stashed that was full of drugs from her time in the real world.

Leanne decided to comply with the cops’ plan and go undercover to catch her former friends selling drugs. She was successful, but that didn’t make living in her community any easier because many of the kids she helped send to jail were also the children of people still living in the Amish community. The community began to turn away from her family, and to save them and protect the unity of the group, Leanne left again and ended up in Litchfield, where she’s now kicking someone else out of a group.

I’m kind of worried about Soso, and I hope Norma realizes that the woman does need some kindness and community. Soso tries to reach out to Chang, but as we saw earlier this season, Chang is pretty much a loner. But Soso is one who could benefit most from finding a place to belong and a faith to believe in.

To Danny, it seems like too many people are believing in the Jewish faith — about 70 people are keeping kosher in a prison of 200 people. So Danny calls in a rent-a-rabbi, and the rabbi grills each woman on her faith. Caputo is pretty sure a federal institution can’t second-guess someone's religions beliefs, but that doesn’t stop Danny from limiting who can have kosher meals based on the rabbi’s evaluations. The editing between each person answering questions on her Jewish background was reminiscent of season one when Piper asked the inmates to define love. Faith and love are so universal, but also so unique to each person who experiences them that it works to cut to individuals and see what they say on the topics. This storyline also plays with the theme of the season of fantasy versus reality, because most of the women pretending to be Jewish are answering based on what they imagine they should say — not what they really experienced. Hilariously, the only person who passes for being Jewish is Sister Ingalls, the excommunicated Catholic nun.

In other parts of the prison, Sophia and Gloria are still fighting about their sons. Sophia was convinced that Gloria’s son was a bad influence, but it’s really the other way around. But Sophia isn’t willing to give into reality yet — it’s too hard to face. So she’s staying mad at Gloria until she can deal with it.

Piper is living in a fantasy, as usual. For someone pining after Alex and doing whatever she could to get her back into prison so Piper could have her all to herself, she sure is ready to drop Alex the second some new cute girl shows up. After tons of flirting, Piper and Ruby Rose finally kiss. This tryst, like the pantie business, will surely end in disaster.

And poor Pennsatucky. She thought the was having fun with the new guard, but the daydream of a nice, friendly guy at Litchfield gave way to the reality of a horrible man who abuses his power and abuses her. I am not ready to see what’s in the future for her.

Other notes:
  • Inmate of the episode is Suzanne, who is developing quite a following with her erotic fiction. Get it, girl. 
  • It was great to see how the panty business actually works, but I can’t imagine this could go on for very long. Good for Piper for getting good reviews, I guess?
  • Hilarious that Alex is reading the Quran, the only book they didn’t burn. Alex really needs to watch out for Lolly; she is definitely fishy. 


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