‘Orange is the New Black’ season 4, episode 4 review: Lolly pops; Stiff competition for Piper’s prison biz

Remember when “Orange is the New Black” focused on Piper and Alex? We almost forget what that was like. They have only seldom interacted in the first 3 episodes of the season, and we wonder if this truly signals the end for them, or if Alex’s building guilt over the murder she committed will drive her back into Piper’s familiar embrace. Time will tell.

In Episode 4 of season 4, titled “Doctor Psycho,” we finally get our first glimpse of Sophia after hearing about the efforts outside the prison by her loved ones to locate her and get her released from solitary. She looks broken. Being isolated in a small space like that will do that to even the strongest of us. We still see the spark in her eyes, though. As the guard gives her a meal through the slot in the door, she requests to see Caputo because her son’s birthday is approaching. She thinks. She isn’t even sure what day it is anymore. The guard refuses her even that small bit of information. She’s had enough of being ignored and clogs the toilet, causing it to start flooding the room. Never count Sophia out.

Frieda has slept on it, and still feels Lolly needs to die. Alex is panicking and trying to rationalize with Frieda, but she knows Lolly is unmanageable. Alex feels indebted to her for saving her from the hitman. Frieda wants to handle it neatly, with the poisonous Oleander she’s been saving up for a rainy day. Judy King continues to bond with Luschek, whose honesty and lack of pretense she seems to find refreshing. She shares details of her promiscuous lifestyle. The new girls approach Healy about various things they require, but he has no sympathy for the fact that they aren’t assigned jobs and therefore have no income. Healy interrupts Judy and Luschek’s conversation and comes off as creepy as he generally does around women. As he walks away, he overhears them laughing at him. The chosen backstory reveal this episode is his, and we see him in the backseat of a car, a confused looking young chubby boy with an abrasion on his left cheek. He’s with his father, who he explains to us that the reason he fought was because a boy was making fun of his mother, calling her a “lesbian who howls at the moon”. His father tells him that lesbianism is a mental illness, a different kind than his mother suffers from. We are getting a look into why Healy views women the way that he does. His mother has schizophrenia, and suffers extreme delusions. He worries he will get it from his mother, but his father assures him that only women get it. His mother is wheeled out of the hospital looking vacant, and we wonder if she has been lobotomized.

Piper heads to the cafeteria to approach Maria about the situation with her friend Ouija stealing panties. Maria laughs when Piper suggests it can’t happen, and insinuates that she is ready to be the main competitor. Since Piper will never learn to keep her mouth shut, she spouts off all the things necessary to make the business work. Maria looks off, making mental notes as she talks. Piper warns her that they’ll be exposed since it won’t be well run. Maria assures her she intends to be successful. Alex saunters in the room, and completely blows Piper off. She needs to see Red. It’s time to get her advice.

Red is furious when she realizes what she’s been dragged into and maybe even more offensive to her is that the produce is being fertilized by human remains. Alex pleads with her that Frieda intends to kill Lolly with the Oleander tea, and she needs help convincing her it’s a mistake.

Taystee is relishing in her role as Caputo’s secretary, and all of its fringe benefits, such as free candy from Healy to schedule time for him to see Caputo sooner than she suggests. Healy’s idea is to start a cooking class with Judy to keep her occupied, and keep the inmates busy and entertained. Caputo is on board when Healy suggests a way to keep it in budget. One condition: no knives. Back in time, young Healy wakes up in the middle of the night to his mother cooking eggs, which she has forgotten he is allergic to. It turns out she’s getting shock therapy treatments, and she tells Healy she intends to stop them to see angels again. He objects, and she goes to shut off the sprinklers outside, and never comes back. The origin of Healy’s abandonment issues with women is revealed.

Piper spots Ouija stealing panty scraps again, and follows her to the porta-potty. Once she leaves, Piper looks for where they were dropped, finding nothing. There is only one place left to look, and she sticks her hands all the way in and comes back with a baggie of joints. Ouija greets her outside with a middle finger and a grin. Red spots Lolly in the garden poking around, and sees Frieda walking over with a cup, which she knocks to the ground. Frieda is insulted that Red would think she’s that blatant, and wants her to mind her business. Red warns her that she will likely get the death penalty if she follows through, but they spot Lolly losing her mind again in the garden and Red knows this is a big problem.

Healy calls Judy to his office to let her know he’s managed to get her cooking class approved, and he’s a little too touchy-feely for her taste. She politely declines, and this is a rejection to Healy. She wants a break from the cooking, but Healy informs her it’s not a request, but a requirement. She accepts it. It’s flashback time again, this time to a Healy likely in his 40s, judging by the black hair. He’s on a very awkward date with a younger, uncomfortable woman who just wants to get a cab and get away. He objects, and we learn that he is her social worker and it feels inappropriate to her, and it is. Healy has clearly had a lifetime of boundary crossing that he has had no learning-growth from. He spots a homeless woman he thinks is his mother.

Taystee and Crazy Eyes discuss all of her responsibilities after a long day in her new position. Taystee called the library to find out answers to her burning questions, such as what dragon skin is made of. Every so often Crazy Eyes spouts a nugget of wisdom that makes so much sense. “With responsibility comes power” is truly perfect for this situation, as Taystee has more freedom than just about any other inmate at this point. Black Cindy wants Taystee to help her out with something used in her war with the Muslim roomie, but she refuses before telling them she has dirt on Judy. She wants to tell Poussey, but she is having private time with Soso.

Sophia’s stunt to get Caputo’s attention has worked. He shows up and wonders why she has gone to such extremes. Caputo tells her that he has spoken to her wife Crystal, and lies that she agrees Sophia should remain in solitary for a while. Sophia doesn’t believe him, and responds by defiantly removing her shirt and clogging the toilet some more. She leaves him with no choice but to move her to a dry room and treat her with some dignity. We appreciate Caputo in these moments, because it’s interesting how the “right” side of the law often seem less savory than the prisoners themselves many times. Alex approaches Piper in the middle of the night to meet in the bathroom, which confuses her because Alex has mostly ignored her for days. It’s clear that Alex’s conscience is eating her alive. When Piper asks questions, Alex thinks better of it and leaves.

The next morning, Yoga complains to Rita and Boo at breakfast that Judy is getting special treatment teaching a class. Rita points out the hypocrisy to an irritated Yoga, since she does, too. The Muslim girl, who we learn is named Alison, joins Black Cindy, Poussey, Soso and the rest. They sort of ice her out a little, but Crazy Eyes is curious about her. The buzz is all about Judy’s class, and it looks like everyone is planning to attend. Breakfast is called before many of the girls get to eat. The overcrowding is creating a powder keg situation. In the kitchen, Aleita is cocky with Gloria, who asks her what is going on. She tells her that is getting early release, and is not happy about it. She’s scared of getting out, feeling alone and beaten down. Gloria lifts her up and tells her she’s got this. Live. She dreads telling Daya. Outside in the yard, Piper’s minion has been forced to attack Ouija and steal her panties.

It’s time for Judy’s cooking class, and Healy takes the opportunity to take a dig at her in his introduction of her. She cooks real food, and wants to teach the ladies practical skills. She starts with cornbread, and calls Poussey up to assist her. Back to Healy in a diner with the dirty homeless woman. He professes to her that he will take care of her now, but then notices a hospital bracelet that proves she is not his mother. He tries to convince her to stay and eat with him, but he freaks her out and she runs out. Healy can be really pathetic in a sad way. Coates corners Tucky and asks why she’s avoiding him. She asks him if he’s raping Maritza. He is alarmed by the suggestion, asking if she believes that’s what happened. For a brief moment it almost appears that Coates has confused her that it was rape because he claims to love her. She knows what it was.

Red confronts Lolly with Alex and Frieda. Lolly is paranoid that Red is bugged and goes off on a tangient about drones sent by the government that kill people. Red takes it all in, and when Lolly leaves Red concedes that killing Lolly is the only option. Caputo informs Healy that Judy King wants no further contact with him. MCC intends she stays happy, so he intends to comply. He lets Healy know the cooking class was a great idea, and will carry on without his assistance. Aleita finds Daya drawing alone in the auditorium to break the news about her early release. The shock wears off, and she hugs her and says she will miss her. It may not be much, but it’s family and they love one another. Maritza and Flaca quit Piper’s panty business to work for Maria because she’s giving them free slipper socks and lots of big promises. Piper tells them not to be stupid, that they have no means to run the operation like she does. Piper approaches Maria and tells her this needs to stop before the war gets out of hand. Maria informs her it’s just business. Lolly is in a complete psychotic break and Piscitella orders the guards laughing that she needs to get to psych. Alex tries to intervene, but the guards get there too fast.

Sophia has thought of another way to be heard. She breaks a lightbulb and starts a cloth fire that fills the room quickly with smoke. As they are evacuated, we are so excited to see Nicki. Healy sees Lolly being transported to psych, and stops them to go to his office to talk. She repeats her psychotic story about the drones and the government but eventually tells the truth about the hitman buried in the garden. Healy, of course, sees his mother in her. He has compassion for her, and tries to explain to her that it is all in her mind. He assures her if someone really was killed, he would know. He convinces her that it wasn’t real and sets up a treatment plan for her. Alex grabs her immediately when she walks out of his office, demanding she tell her what they talked about in there. She apologizes to Alex for her mistaken belief they killed someone. Healy sees them talking, and he and Lolly share a smile. He feels purpose.

We really appreciated hearing the truth behind Healy’s awkward and inappropriate interactions with women, as we have often wondered who raised him. The backstory serves to fill in reasons why these people are there literally, but also the way it shaped how they think and who they truly are at their core. Every episode makes us question things about ourselves, and make us feel more compassionate about others. You never know how someone got to where they are. We look forward to how Piper intends to deal with Maria and the panty situation, whether or not Frieda and Red can be convinced that Lolly is not longer a threat, and how Judy King fits in going forward. We also have that same bad feeling that Poussey’s happiness is destined to be short-lived, but we hope we are wrong. Things are getting interesting. Grade: A.

What did you about this episode of “Orange is the New Black”? Do you want to see more of Piper and Alex together? Leave us a comment below!

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.

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