So far, Orange is the New Black season 5 has felt very disjointed to us. The show seems to be struggling between wanting to take on darker content and also wanting to keep some of the comedy that the show is famous for. The problem is that they’ve gone darker than they ever have before and it makes it difficult to then inject comedy back into the show. Last season they just went full throttle dark and they left most of the comedy at the door. This season we have episodes that go very dark and then we have episodes like episode 7 where we thought that there was going to be fall out from the Cheetos burning protest, but nothing happened. Instead we saw the inmates having coffees and giving each other makeovers. The show really needs to figure out what it’s going to be moving forward.
Finally we’re getting some answers on what’s going to be going on with the demands of the prisoners! If you’ve been hoping to see Figueroa come back on the scene, then this episode is for you. The governor sent her over to talk to Taystee about their demands and it couldn’t have come at a better time now that food is running low and the ladies are getting restless. Figueroa tells Taystee that with the BOP’s private prison budget being restrictive it’s going to be difficult to get the prisoners everything that they want. What she doesn’t realize is that Taystee has done her own budgeting research (after going through the prison files) and has found ways to make that budget work with their demands – mainly by cutting some obscene bonuses that could be going towards making the living conditions acceptable. This gets the discussion going well until Figueroa learns that a guard was shot. Now amnesty is off the table. With everything on the line, some of the ladies decide that they’re going to negotiate with Figueroa by trying to find Daya and handing her over.
After receiving Red’s text message pretending to be Humps, Piscatella is determined to get into the prison (and right into Red and Blanca’s Home Alone inspired trap). After heading to the pharmacy in a panicked state, Nicole figures out that Red is high on pharmaceutical grade speed and not vitamins (which is pretty much what we suspected). When Nicole finds out what Red and Blanca have planned, Lorna tries to work her magic through text messages to stop Piscatella from coming into the prison… But he sneaks in that night anyways. We haven’t had a good Red and Nicole moment in a very long time (pretty much since Red helped get Nicole clean). The role reversal with Nicole helping Red come down from her speed trip has given them both a better understanding of how the other has felt over the years.
Gloria received some bad news about her son Benny learning that he’s in the hospital after getting jumped. After being told that Benny’s condition is quite bad with a broken jaw and a hematoma on his brain, Gloria decides to ask Caputo for furlough even though he’s still locked up as a hostage and can’t really do anything right. Caputo asks Gloria to let him out, but unless he guarantees Gloria that she’s going to end up in ICU with Benny she’s not willing to do it. Instead Caputo gives her an opportunity to make an outgoing call to someone who might be able to help her, but in return she has to help end the riot.
The story with Judy King isn’t over as she goes on a talk show to give her side of the story, but what she doesn’t know is that Aleida is also there. Aleida tries to discredit Judy by saying that her time in prison wasn’t like the rest of the inmates and that she was treated like a queen, but Judy claps back by starting to talk about how a CO got shot by a prisoner. While Judy doesn’t name Daya she gives enough of a description for Aleida to realize that it’s her daughter. The phone call between Daya and Aleida (as well as another flashback story to their troubled relationship) pushes Daya to call Mrs. Powell revealing that her baby isn’t dead and that she’s in foster care. Daya wants her to have a chance at a better life with Mrs. Powell, but she’s conflicted on whether or not to take Daya’s baby since she’s been grieving the baby’s death. George (aka Pornstashe) who we haven’t seen at all this season, wants the baby and after pushing his mom agrees to get Daya’s baby out of foster care.
With Linda taking all of Boo’s free time, Doggett has been left on her own to deal with a very angry Leanne and Angie. After being bullied long enough for what she did with Coates and the gun she goes to Boo for help. Because Boo is busy with her new relationship with Linda she’s abandoning Doggett and forcing her to deal with the problem on her own. This was insanely frustrating to watch after the long journey Boo and Doggett have gone through to grow this friendship. It actually felt completely out of character for Boo to turn her back on Doggett. We get that Boo hasn’t had a relationship in a really long time and that she’s “in love” but Boo can’t take 5 minutes to help Doggett? When Leanne and Angie start terrorizing Doggett again she headbutts Angie in the face. They use this as an excuse to show that Doggett cannot be rehabilitated and they lock her up for what she did.
For us the big moment of this episode was watching the conversation between Daya and Mrs. Powell unfold. Daya has always been so lost controlled by her mother not knowing who she really is or who she wants to be and not having any room to breathe. Daya has finally taken a moment to herself and she was able to do the right thing. Not only did she make sure that her baby has a good home with a chance of having a great life, she also turned herself into Figueroa to take responsibility for what she did giving the other prisoners and opportunity to make some changes at the prison. We always new that Daya had it in her to be a good person, it just took her hitting rock-bottom to make it happen. Episode grade: A-
What did you think of this episode of Orange Is the New Black? Leave us a comment in the box below with your thoughts. If you want more scoop on Orange Is the New Black season 5 or to read more of our episode reviews head on over to the link here. (Photo: Netflix)