Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Orange is the New Black 3x12 "Don’t Make Me Come Back There" (The Best Laid Plans) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

"Don’t Make Me Come Back There"

In which the inmates of Litchfield take control, kind of.

Every inmate has seen their plans change unexpectedly — that’s how they ended up in a prison they certainly didn’t mean to go to (except maybe Soso). And in prison, freedom, choices, and power are pretty much nonexistent for the inmates. So when fate takes over and your plans change, how do you regain control and get what you want?

Each inmate is doing the best they can with the cards they were dealt in life. Whether it’s making dinner for your friends, helping someone get revenge, or deciding the fate of a newborn, the women of Litchfield are making their own decisions. At least, until fate steps in and intervenes. Again.

Daya is having a baby in the present based on choices she made months ago with a man she thought loved her. Now, she is having contractions while Maritza asks if she wants to fix her sweaty hair. Daya most likely would not have chosen this way to give birth to a baby. Even so, she can, at the very least, choose what happens to that baby.

That is, until Aleida steps in. Daya had agreed to allow Pornstache’s mom to adopt the baby. This was in order give her a better life with more money and more opportunities. But Aleida decides that Daya will need her baby just as much as she needed Daya. So she tells Delia that the baby died, and therefore, will not have any need to be adopted anymore.

That was cold. I knew Aleida was selfish and terrible, but telling a woman who was going to adopt a child that the baby died when it didn’t, and tricking your own daughter into reneging on her adoption without her consent was a whole new level of low for Aleida. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. And Aleida can spin anything. So when she tells Gloria what she did later, Aleida claims she has a clean conscience now because she undid talking Daya into adoption in the first place. That is some twisted logic, but you can’t say Aleida isn’t making decisions she think will benefit her. The problem, though, is that her decisions only benefit her, and her daughter and granddaughter’s well-being are secondary concerns. Maybe being with Daya is better than being in the Pornstache family, but Aleida certainly has not thought this decision and its consequences through.

Tiffany had her control taken away when Coates raped her — repeatedly, apparently. But Big Boo is helping Tiffany get revenge and regain some of the power back that she lost. Their plan involves “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”-ing Coates, using some dog tranquilizer pills that Boo has stocked away. It’s not the best plan, I’ve ever heard, I’m not gonna lie. Boo and Tiffany get as far as dragging an unconscious Coates into the laundry room, but they both balk at the act of sodomizing him — thankfully. Boo says she wanted to help Tiffany take out her anger, but Tiffany’s not angry — she’s just sad.

Sophia’s circumstances have changed significantly since she and Gloria got into a fight. Aleida’s rumors about Sophia have spread and have changed how people think about her. She used to be able to run her hair salon in peace without causing any trouble, but now people are calling her "dangerous," and "more man than woman." Some women are violent in their hatred and beat Sophia in her salon. And when Sophia calls for help, the undertrained guard runs away to get someone else, thereby re-emphasizing how truly alone Sophia feels and is in that moment.

Sophia tries to make things better for herself by talking to Caputo and asking what he could do to help her. She asks for training for the guards, but she and Caputo both have very little power to actually do anything. She says she will get her lawyer involved, but Caputo replies that the new corporation has teams of lawyers on their side. So Sophia says she will tell the media, and as a result, the prison decides to put her in solitary confinement, so she won’t be able to talk to anyone. Upper management says that this is for Sophia’s protection, but even the prison guard sees through that and tells her that she must have pissed off someone important.

Sophia has been so stripped of power and control that the only thing she does have control over is her reaction to being taken to SHU. She goes quietly, and holds her head high. Seeing her get locked away, alone, is devastating. When the door shuts, Sophia’s face is small, and she's framed in the window of the door, symbolism of her entrapment. She starts to cry and sits down, her face falling lower and smaller in the frame, reflecting her vulnerability. How much of your humanity can you hold onto when everyone around you is denying you of it?

Soso has just about given up hope in her humanity. She has felt so alone and so depressed for so long, that she decides to try listening to Healy. She wants to feel anything but this, she says. So she finds herself in a doctor’s office with surely the world’s worst doctor. And when she notices pills that are left out, she grabs them. And then she takes them all. Poussey finds her unconscious in the library with empty pill packets beside her. Her fate is unclear, and I hope she is okay.

Red knows that one way to feel like a person again is to eat good food. She believes in cooking, and it’s what helps keep her sane. In one of the few lighthearted storylines, Red decides to host a dinner where she cooks the corn from the garden. When her corn is stolen, Healy does an actual real nice thing and gives her corn so she can still host her dinner. Red’s dinner is an act of kindness to herself and the other inmates, and Healy’s kindness is what helps her accomplish it. In contrast with the other inmates, Red’s story shows what recognizing humanity in others can do, even in Litchfield, where it that humanity is so often denied.

Other notes:
  • Inmate of the episode is Taystee, who takes care of her friends and realizes she is the mom of their group. 
  • Piper is the worst. It’s pretty cruel to tell someone you know has a crush on you that you like them, just to ask them for a favor. Ruby Rose is getting out in a few days, though, so Piper has pushed Alex away for a woman who is leaving. Without anyone fawning over her, Piper will truly feel alone soon.
  • “Either that or there’s some kind of flaw in our randomly improvised Norma-based theological system.”
  • I… really do not care about Piper’s panty business.
  • The chicken made a comeback! 


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