A dark season grew darker in episode 9 of “Orange is the New Black” when Piscitella gave the guards free reign to dole out “freestyle” punishments in place of sending the inmates to the SHU, due to the overcrowding. Each of these new guards is more disturbed than the last. Caputo seems to be at a crossroads in his career. Will he follow Linda’s lead towards being a good little MCC soldier, or will his conscience grab hold of him? We also have our doubts that Nicky will follow through with treatment without putting up some resistance. Piper and Alex are back together again, and we wonder if it will turn romantic again, as it has throughout their time together.
Episode 10, “Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull” starts the morning Aleida is being released. Daya and Gloria escort her to the door. She’s excited, and nervous about what awaits her. Cesar sends a woman to fetch her at Litchfield. Maria notices Daya is missing her mother, and invites her to work in the salon. Sensing trouble, Gloria distracts her. Aleida’s first meal out in the real world has her feeling paranoid, like everyone around can tell where she has been. Her goal is to get her children back from foster care, and start working on nails. She finds out the woman Cesar sent is his new baby momma. Aleida truly is alone out there. We are starting to understand Aleida, and why she is so defensive and guarded. Nobody seems to have ever been very loyal to her, yet she stands up for Cesar blindly, excusing his mistreatment of her. She argues with Cesar’s other woman, and she tells her she is leaving. But, where does she go? Daya is taking over doing nails at the prison salon, and notices the drug scene. She doesn’t have a problem with it. Aleida is still trying to figure out what to do, and visits her cousin, who has been holding her clothes and money. It is all gone. She offers Aleida a place to stay. Gloria warns Daya about getting involved with Maria. Daya is headstrong and will see who she wants to see. Aleida slinks back to Cesar’s other woman and asks if she can stay.
Blanca is still standing on the table. She is defiant, even lack of sleep, food, drink, being able to move or even use the bathroom will not break her. Piscitella tells the guard who ordered it that he supports the punishment, and she will eventually break. The inmates cheer her on in support except the white power group, who fling food at her–which she promptly eats. It is really disturbing to see Blanca humiliated and degraded in this way, and Piper wants to talk to Piscitella about the situation. When she does, he pretty much tells her to shove it up her rear end.
Sister is in the SHU and finds Sophia. She sends her in a note, and it is the hope Sophia needed. As Sister showers in SHU, the cell phone she was hiding in her lady parts falls out when she sneezes. Caputo tells her she’s brought this on herself, and leaves her in SHU, but not before he takes a photo of Sophia. Later, he meets with Danny and gives him the phone with the photo of Sophia. He wants to help Sophia and Crystal, but wants no part of being tied to it.
Nicky informs Red she is quitting drugs cold turkey, but Red is skeptical. Turns out she was right to be, as Nicky is searching high and low for heroin. Everyone has been told not to sell it to her. Piper apologizes to Nicky for enabling her in the cornfield. Red approaches Dixon at the guard station and threatens to tell Piscitella about the guards selling drugs to the women. As Nicky is jonesing for smack, Luschek catches her tearing up his desk. She discovers that he is the reason she is back at Litchfield. He gives her a joint. She will take what she can get.
Maritza is extremely traumatized because Humps, the creepiest guard in the group, forced her to eat a live baby mouse with a gun to her head. McCullough and the guard who punished Blanca discuss whether or not Humps might have sexually assaulted her. They eventually shrug it off, but the thought is there. Maritza struggles to tell Flaca what he did to her. Flaca is so sweet to her, and is so angry she wants to tell someone. The problem, they realize, is that the people they should be able to tell are their tormentors.
Suzanne and Morello find Lolly’s time machine and they discuss where they want to go back to. Morello wants to relive her wedding day in perpetuity, Suzanne wants to go back to when she almost lost her virginity to Maureen Kukudio. Morello suggests maybe the opportunity for Suzanne and Kukudio hasn’t truly passed. Suzanne approaches Kukudio and invites her back to the broom closet to finish what they started.
Caputo sets up movie night, and Taystee has slipped in “The Wiz”. It takes some convincing, but Caputo agrees to show it. Absolutely nobody but Taystee is at all excited to see the film. The white power group is angry that the other groups are running things. They ruin the movie by shouting out racist remarks throughout. Pennsatucky makes small talk with Coates. We aren’t sure what she intends to get out of this, but maybe it’s to find a way to convince herself that the assault didn’t really happen. Red and the others notice Nicky there, and she stinks of pot. Kukudio signals to Suzanne to meet in the closet. She shows up, and Kukudio put her hand down her pants and brings Suzanne to near-climax, before shutting her down and telling her that’s how it felt when Suzanne left her in the woods. As the racial tension escalates between the Nazi group and the black women, Coates makes the call to shut down movie night to diffuse the situation.
Piper takes a stand and gives Blanca a granola bar. Dixon orders her to join Blanca on the table as her punishment. When he tries to radio Piscitella about what is happening, he’s busy. The construction project requires they dig through the garden and greenhouse. Piscitella okays this. As Red and Frieda look on, the body that’s been rotting out there is exposed.
We always enjoy this show so much. This episode served to further propel the storylines, including the simmering racial tensions all throughout Litchfield. With only 3 more episodes left, it is all about to explode. We missed the backstory reveal this episode, but since it was replaced with real time updates on how Aleida was surviving out in the world, we didn’t mind. As she had previously been one of our least favorite characters, we feel empathy for her now, and we’re rooting for her. Is Piper ready to commit to this cause defending Blanca’s mistreatment, one that she knows in her heart is truly worthy of fighting for? We think so. Grade: A.
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This review was written by Michelle Wilmot and if you’re not already following her on Twitter, you can do so at the link here. (Photo: Netflix)