Orange Is the New Black: 40 OZ of Furlough

In this week’s episode of Orange is the New Black, Piper gets to leave Litchfield for 48 hours … despite the fact that her grandma has already died which feels weird. I assumed her furlough would be cancelled.

She’s let out of the prison and runs into Cal’s car to hug him and it’s wonderful. So far Piper and Cal is one of the purely cute, completely unpolluted by betrayal relationships on this show and I cherish it.

Red makes her purchases from the commissary and Vee is working. We really get to see the intense hatred between them in this scene. Once Red has all her cooking ingredients, she goes to Nicky and tells her to get all her former girls to come to a dinner. She assures Nicky it will be really special and Nicky tells her she’s going about this the wrong way: “You know what you haven’t said.”

In a flashback, we see a young, wide-eyed Red watching new inmate Vee get pushed around by Rhonda, who’s clearly the leader of the black women. They have a polite conversation and Red tells her that on the outside she used the same vendor that she uses in here and that they owe her. Vee tells her to use it to make her life in here better. Red says that she doesn’t want to break rules.

Piper is reunited with Larry. Larry forces out, “You could stay here if you want.” Piper tells him, “Wow, you couldn’t even try to make that sound like you meant it. Well, lucky for you it’s in my furlough paperwork that I have to stay with my parents.” Piper suggests they go get burgers and drinks. When Larry reminds her she’s not supposed to drink, she says, “Do not ruin this by being a pussy.” Cal tells her that he likes that she’s still a rule breaking criminal at heart, but says “but there’s this one thing…” It cuts to Cal and Piper greeting people at their grandmother’s wake.

At the wake, Piper is stuffing her face with lettuce. Larry says he can’t believe she’s wasting her time on lettuce and she asks, “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a vegetable that actually crunched?” She takes his glass of wine, chugs it and then starts feeling his body. This Piper is the best Piper. When Larry says he’s not sure he wants to do anything, she asks, “Come on, Larry. How long has it been since you came in a real live vagina and not in your hand?” Um amazing.

Piper’s father tells her that she shouldn’t be drinking and that the last thing anyone needs is her getting her sentence extended because of a silly furlough violation. In one of her best moments, Piper asks, “Really Dad? Is that the last thing anyone needs? Or is that the last thing you need because you refuse to visit your only daughter in prison and you don’t want that weighing on your conscience any longer than it has to.” He tells her that he can’t stand it because the woman in prison isn’t who she is. My favorite running theme on this show is other people telling Piper they know who she really is.

Larry and Piper try to have sex in the bathroom. As soon as Piper starts blowing him, he blurts out, “I slept with someone.” She cries out, “You decided to tell me that with your flaccid dick in my mouth?” He says, “It’s a semi,” and she says, “Don’t defend your boner to me right now.” Great scenes in American television. It gets even better as they discuss the cheating but instead of getting angrier and angrier like you might expect, they just end up sitting curled up on the floor. Larry says, “I love you,” and Piper says, “I love you too.” It’s absolutely incredible

In another flashback, Vee tells Red that Rhonda is suddenly gone, something happened that got her sent off to maximum security prison. Red shows her that she’s gotten the vendor to help her sneak stuff in, but she’s still testing the waters because she doesn’t want to get in over her head.

At their grandmother’s funeral, Cal and Piper give speeches about how much they loved her. Towards the end of his speech, Cal announces how happy he is that Piper is here visiting and that today is a day to celebrate life. He explains that he and his girlfriend Neri are getting married right now. Piper is caught off guard, but it’s still a nice moment for her and Cal.

Red has all her former girls over for dinner and finally actually apologizes. She tells them it will be more of a democracy and “I just want my family back.”

Piper happily watches Cal and Neri have their first dance. A couple of family friends start talking to her about the person she used to be, the overachiever. They say, “We’re sure you’re anxious to return to your old self.” She turns to watch Cal and Neri’s unapologetically silly happy dancing and then tells them, “I’m not, actually.”

Piper takes the time to go all the way out to Red’s old shop at the address she was given. She arrives there and discovers the building is up for lease. It’s a nice, understated way of bringing the A and B plots together. Piper gets a 40 of beer and a burger and goes off by herself. There’s a fantastic moment of her putting her full concentration into completely savoring and appreciating a bite of the burger.

In the final flashback, Vee leads a big group of black women to get Red to let her takeover her smuggling business. Vee tells her, “Your first mistake was not having back up.” Then all the women start to beat Red, badly. It’s a great scene that not only gives us backstory for the Red / Vee rivalry, but shows us why Red has been working so hard to get her friend group back.

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

About Lenny

Lenny Burnham is a TV blogger and co-host of the podcasts Secret Lover and Rerunning Wild, available on iTunes. Follow Lenny on Twitter @lennyburnham.