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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Recap Season 3, Episodes 8 – 10: Panty Promises

Listen up, inmates: this is a recap of Orange is the New Black‘s third season — in particular the episodes “Fear, and Other Smells,” Where My Dreidel At?,” and “A Tittin’ and A Hairin'” — 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?

New relationships and evolved dynamics abounded on the middle three episodes of Orange is the New Black — mostly thanks to panties. Yup, that’s right: Piper’s gone full-on undie kingpin, hell-bent on raking in all of the monies by essentially exploiting the women who need the money most. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, Piper’s learned nothing and is still the ever-loving worst. I will never understand you, Piper and Alex ‘shippers — not sorry.

But let’s not focus on them yet.

Over in the Kitchen

Red seems to be losing it because everyone hates the food — which is wholly not her fault: shit — oh, I’m sorry, I believe the correct term is “Poop Wellington” — poured out of bags will never not be awful. (It’s practically science!) In fact, she’s downright depressed by it all, constantly regaling the rest of the women with her woe over not being responsible for the taste of the food. So much for getting what you thought you wanted. Now that MCC has officially taken over, all the good that Caputo instituted in his short stint running the show has been nullified. Everything sucks now. And we mean that sincerely for everyone: even the COs have been made part-time with no benefits. No one likes any of this. Except for the girls eating the kosher meals.

After Lolly turned Cindy and the crew onto the kosher meal option, everyone’s all about being a Chosen One. Some more than others — Cindy is taking it real seriously — but it’s enough to raise eyebrows at MCC and cause them to bring in a rabbi to test out the validity of these claims of Judaism. (Enter: Caputo’s joke about putting stars on WWII captives.)

Which: Let’s talk about Caputo for a second. His new battle with Pearson (a.k.a. Mike Birbiglia. BIRBIGS!), the MCC underling running the show, was quite the 180, wasn’t it? At first we thought Pearson was sort of a jerk, but as was revealed in the meeting with his dad-ly head honcho (which: of COURSE he works for his dad), he does really care about doing a good job. The problem wasn’t his work ethic, but rather his father and the crushing reality of corporate living. It’s all about profits, profits, profits and quarter numbers for the stockholders. And guess who suffers while a buncha already-rich assholes get richer? Literally everyone else. Sigh. It’s too bad, too, because Caputo and Pearson could really make a great team if they worked together and weren’t so self-serving in their actions.

Unlike Red who seems to have really done that whole leaf-turning thing she promised (well, to an extent: she’s still gotta be a strategic prison-boss type), what with her fancy garden dinner parties. Ratatouille! Just like the rat movie!

Down in Pennsatucky

We just have to go on record now to say that Taryn Manning deserves an Emmy nomination. Homegirl has made such a journey from zealot-y extremist to something far more sympathetic and human. Penn has grown so much this season — and not just from our own learning about her past (which was incredibly heavy and sad). But also because of her relationship with Big Boo. Did anyone ever anticipate Boo would be a force for such good in Penn’s life? Because I sure didn’t, but I’m glad Penn has her.

We got several flashbacks to Penn’s younger days in the three episodes: from her mother’s explanation of what a period is to her experiences with men and sex. All of this felt couched in her mother’s approach to what getting her period meant: “Now you’re like a case of pop: you’ve got value.” Oh, Penn. It all explains so much. Which is what made the flashback to her first genuinely kind interaction with a man — her summer boyfriend Nice Boy Nathan, as I’m calling him — all the more heartbreaking.

As was the double-whammy of a rape scene at the end of episode ten. Which: wow. To see Abe’s rape of Penn as a teen juxtaposed to someone we thought was actually a nice guy — the Donut Man, as I’m calling him — turning the angry tide and doing the same? It was not only aggressively awful to watch, it was hard to take on an emotional level. We were getting pretty wary of him after that whole “I said fetch, inmate” situation, but even still, to see the rape just happen like that? All the more terrible. Fuck.

Over In the Factory

Meanwhile, Piper’s turned into quite the little panty kingpin, trading flavor packets for well-worn panties in order to make bank on the Internet. She even managed to go all Abe Lincoln-y on us with her speech to her “sisters.” But the love was short-lived after the girls realized how much money Pipes was pulling in. Even her new sidepiece (because I mean that’s inevitable, right?), Stella, wanted in on the money-money-money-money. MON-EY! Still, Piper committing a major felony inside prison for nothing more than power and financial profit proves that she’s learned LITERALLY NOTHING IN PRISON. Hopefully somebody steals everything from her or she gets caught because she is Le WORST — otherwise known as a clever asshole.

And it’s making for some serious tension between Alex and Piper. To which we say: dump her Alex. Move on (If you can, I mean: when you’re not busy being terrified for your life because Lolly is possibly/maybe trying to murder you)!

Up in the Time Hump Chronicles

Can we have a moment for Crazy Eyes’ foray into writerly superstardom? Everyone was thirsty for Crazy Eyes’ Berdie-Play-Turned-Erotic-Fiction. And it’s not just Poussey: word has traveled around Litch and those chapters are being passed around like hotcakes. Basically, she’s famous. So famous that she’s even got herself quite the socially awkward admirer. OH TWIST: is Crazy Eyes going to fall in looooooove?! That other girl was nothing if not persistent. Although we will say this: a bit on the nose, Jenji Kohan — we know this is a bit of a nod to the superfandom of OITNB worshippers. That said, we have two words for you: Admiral Rodcocker. Hahaha!

Up in Heaven

Norma is playing the willing muse for a bunch of religious fanatics like Leanne and Poussey and Soso and other lost causes. Perhaps the most surprising part of all of this, though? The flashback revelation that Leanne was actually AMISH! And here we thought her knowing German was because she was a white supremacist. It actually explained a lot, didn’t it? That said her fanaticism is sure to turn away some of Norma’s followers and then what? Norma will likely feel hollow (as she always has — sorry but that feels super accurate to say) and without purpose. It’s her cult roots. “Some people aren’t cut out for believing.”

And Finally, Everything Else

Gloria’s son Benny is up to no good. Sophia and her wife dealt with their son’s sudden influx of bad behavior (and that awful “insecure girl” comment). Soso battled her depression but no thanks to Healy — “Depression? It’s all in your head.” “Nobody likes sad people.” — so she ended up with Rogers as her new, better counselor. Lady ‘Stache and Daya came clean to one another about the baby not being George’s very likely screwing herself over and ensuring that Pornstache — despite his denial on the matter — sues her back. Morello had a date with some creepy pen pals and a guy named Vinny and her latest creepy latest pen pal. She then had Vinny beat up freakin’ CHRISTOPHER, the guy she’s in jail for stalking and harrassing. Oh jeez oh boy.

Oh yeah and Paula Deen stand-in Judy King may be coming to Litchfield.

Overheard in Lock-Up:

  • “You could be eating Poop Wellington.”
  • “It tastes like brown.”
  • “You are one clever asshole.” “It’s all I am.”
  • “I need you vag sweat … for stinky panties for perverts.” “You had me at flavor packets.”
  • “All the black Jews were there … Lenny Kravitz.”
  • “I mean the Horah and the Conga Line? Basically the same thing!”
  • “This is life coming out of you. Kinda like pee.”
  • “I’m but a lowly instrument to the muses.”
  • “There’s something about a man in a gold chain that makes me feel protected.”

What did you think of the episodes? Let us hear it in the comments.

Alicia Lutes is the Associate Editor of The Nerdist and is totally on Team Rodcocker. Find her on El Tweeterino @alicialutes.

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