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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Recap Season 3, Episodes 5 – 7: The New Prophets

Listen up, inmates: this is a recap of Orange is the New Black‘s third season — in particular the episodes “Fake It Til You Fake It Some More,” “Ching Chong Chang,” and “Tongue-Tied” — if you haven’t seen them, turn away now! Because lemme tell ya, this one here is chockablock with spoilers so don’t say we didn’t warn ya, mmkay?

The thing about being locked up that we learned from the last three episodes of OITNB, is that everyone wants a savior — someone to pull them out of the dreck and into where they belong. Be it self-reliance, belief in a higher power, or just someone willing to be a mother/father figure, everyone so far has waged their own war for a prophet that could believe in with varying levels of success. Hey: even those living in the Pubetropolis need someone.

Some put their faith in their work. With the arrival of MCC was a new, mysterious job that purportedly paid $1.00 an hour — a heck of a lot more than all the other jobs the women have in prison. This, of course, got the women real competitive with one another: something Caputo warned could bring trouble. But Pierson didn’t seem to mind, preferring the psychological exercise of a pointless test in order to be “hand-selected” to stitch up $50 panties. Which, um, not cool? What is this managerial style, Pierson? We’re not fans and it’s all but guaranteed to start trouble.

The job itself — once won — was definitely a chagrin-laced bit of business for Flaca. As we learned in flashbacks that the budding con-artist/entrepreneur got arrested for selling fake acid (after a young lad killed himself), we learned that one of the more self-assured characters on the series also has a bit of a chip on her shoulder about working hard — especially when it comes to sewing. Flaca’s always been an individual — what with her love of emo music and his on-point eye make-up — but it wasn’t until episode 5 that we really got a sense of how determined she was to not only stand-out, but make a name for herself. And that goes doubly for leaving her mother’s profession as a seamstress behind her.

Spoiler alert: she was less than keen on the job after that.

For some folks, though, their prophet might just be themselves. Like if you’re Crazy Eyes or Chang. Hoo boy, Chang! Her flashbacks were particularly sad, after a failed arranged marriage due to some acne/skin issue on her face. But to see her self-assurance in life grow out of the shit people threw at her was pretty inspiring — even if it did land her in jail. Still: Chang’s day-to-day life is largely one that’s still based largely on invisibility, so to see how she utilized it to make a quiet life for herself was fascinating. It’s always the quiet ones though, isn’t it?


Piper — not satisfied to have gone to prison once for illegal work endeavors — has decided to venture into the world of panty-sniffing creepsicles. She’s the panty prophet of the penitentiary! Can she create enough worn panties for the world at large? Only time will tell — but it is pretty ingenuous of her, even if she’s totally probably going to get caught. Oh and what’s up with the hot new girl, Stella, eh? She seems mysterious (but maybe not in a good way). GASP/A THOUGHT: What if Lolly (the blonde lady from Chicago that seems to be a shoe-in for a Alex Vause murderer) is just a red herring and it’s actually Stella who’s out for Alex’s blood? That’d be a TWIST. Right?

The highlight of these three episodes, though, was far and away the prophetic nature of Norma. The always-silent inmate has been a fascinating sidekick to Red these past two seasons, but to finally see her shine on her own was downright illuminating. You see, Norma was a lost girl with a stutter, looking for meaning in this life. Through flashback we saw her join a cult, fall in love with its leader, and follow him to the ends of the earth — only to push him over a cliff when she realized just how unappreciative he was of her fellowship.

And though we largely see Sister Sadeyes’ life was a very silence affair, we learned it was quite the opposite for her. Because she doesn’t talk, people talk AT poor Norma like crazy. Projecting their own insecurities and feelings onto her at a near rapidfire pace. (No wonder homegirl doesn’t talk much! I mean, outside of the whole ‘debilitating stutter’ thing.) But Norma — after helping Gloria with some of her kitchen voodoo — began to appropriate those doings to her own accord, which made Gloria pretty upset since, y’know, this is her actual culture and Norma’s just glomming on. But the inmates believe she actually has magical power within her, and hoist her up as their new prophet of healing and kindness. Red, of course, wasn’t too keen on all of this — preferring Norma’s capable hands for herself — but this isn’t about YOU, Red! GOSH.

Still — it’ll be interesting to see where all this goes. How can a new religion that involves Poussey, Leanne, and Soso actually going to function as a cohesive unit? I mean, do you see the three of them turning over a new leaf for a couple smiling eyes and an arm pat or two? DOUBT IT.

Elsewhere in the prison…

Our girl has become quite the Litchfield Best Seller with her too-graphic-for-theater-class; Cindy and several other ladies are becoming “culturally Jewish” in the name of Kosher meals; Daya is dealing with the reality that Bennett might not be coming back (his apartment is empty!); Morello is going on dates with prison pen pal-ers to “get commissary money” but I think we all know the truth there; P’s wandering around running after presumably drunk squirrels; Pornstache’s mom wants to take care of the baby and Daya’s seriously considering it (shouldn’t she?); Red’s back in the kitchen after a lot of mental manipulation of poor, sad Healy’s feelings (but the meals have gone the way of pre-packaged slop so she still ain’t happy); oh, and the COs are getting their hours and benefits cut for more part-time staffers that are all-but-guaranteed to be the worst. And guess what? They’re not happy.

Overheard in Lock-Up:

  • “It’s always 5 o’clock in prison.”
  • “You go around losing body parts? That’s some pretty irresponsible shit.”
  • “Red Velvet is shit.” “Red Velvet can go to hell.”
  • “That’s too bad because if you were a Christian you could tell everybody what to do and then they’d do it because they didn’t want to hurt your feelings because that’s against the law.”
  • “Where’s my big Asian prison family?”
  • “Shabbat Shalom, bitch!”
  • “I’’m going for the Jewish experience. I need some Seinfeld episodes.”
  • “I am concerned that you know all this.”
  • OH AND BY THE WAY: Healy went to WOODSTOCK? EL-OH-EL, you guys LOL.

What’d you all think of the episodes? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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