This week’s Orange is the New Black episode is “Appropriately Sized Pots.” It’s got Piper at her most cringeworthy, some enjoyable Rosa backstory and lots more of the development of the prison staff characters that has made this season stand out so much from the first season.
It begins with a sad, tense scene of Healy telling Rosa she can’t get the surgery that doctors recommend for her. Michael Harney and Barbara Rosenblat do some of their best acting yet as Healy genuinely tries to be sympathetic and Rosa meets him with a more quietly sad version of her usual snark. He tells her that it’s not the end and says, “We’ll keep doing the chemo,” to which she brilliantly replies, “We? You got cancer in your ovaries, too?” He tries to tell her that she should remain positive because no one knows the future and she replies, “Doctors know the future.”
In a flashback, we see her planning a robbery with a group of men. It’s her first. The man guiding her through it, Marco, says “We kiss before, we kiss after,” and gives her a kiss before they pull off the robbery. After the robbery, she discovers that Marco was shot. She wants to take him to the hospital, but Marco doesn’t think it’s a good idea. She asks what they’re going to do and he says, “First, give me a kiss.” Right after they kiss, he falls over and dies.
Brook is doing laundry along with Pennsatucky, Leanne and Angie. Leanne and Angie try to dance around the subject of the fact that Brook desperately needs to take a shower. Pennsatucky walks up and says, “A real friend just tells it like it is.” She turns to Brook and says, “You smell like a fucking turtle tank. Go take a fucking shower.”
Piper talks to the Golden Girls about Jiimmy’s “compassionate release” and how harmful it actually was. When she says that she knows a reporter who might be able to help, they reply, “No one gives a shit about old ladies. We remind them that they’re gonna die.” Piper says, “I don’t feel that way. I find it comforting to be around old people.” She tells them that her grandmother is dying. She affectionately recalls her grandmother telling her to go out and eat the world and to not get stuck at home with some man. As she’s saying this, Healy calls her out to the hall to talk.
She’s surprised to learn that she actually got her furlough. Healy made a few calls to push it along through processing. Piper can’t believe it, but when he assures her it’s really happening and tells her to say ‘thank you’, she gives the most heartfelt ‘thank you’ he’s probably heard in a long time and we see him bask in that gratitude he’s been wanting.
Fig shows up to put more pressure on the C.O.s to enforce the rules harder. She looks around at all the infractions and asks if she’s the only one who can see them “Do I have super-vision? Am I like the boy in The Sixth Sense who sees infractions no one else can see? Am I in a fucking M. Night Shama-Llama-Llama movie?” Never trust people who can’t be bothered to learn the names of celebrities of color.
At chemo, Rosa continues bonding with Yusef and he realizes she’s been “casing the joint” and figuring out how she would theoretically rob it. She tells him, “We’ve got time here. You’re not that interesting.” He gets her to say how she would pull off a heist in the hospital room.
In another flashback, we see another robbery. This time Rosa is completely different: she’s in charge, telling her cohorts what to do. Before they leave, she tells one of the guys, “We kiss before, we kiss after,” and they make out. After the robbery, the man she was with has a heart attack. Rosa cries out, “This can’t be happening again. Not again!”
Piper calls her mom and gets so pissed off by her mom’s voice on her voicemail message she immediately hangs up, which is pretty funny although it’s frustrating that she would be so petty.
While Daya, Flaca and Piper discuss the newsletter, Piper tells them that she got furlough. Daya tells her, “Girls are gonna be pissed at you. I kinda wanna punch you right now.”
Back at the hospital, Rosa and Yusef actually put Rosa’s plan to steal a nurse’s wallet into action. When he sits back down next to her after getting the wallet, they have an incredibly sweet, fun moment. Rosa looks through the cash and says this is the most trouble she’s ever gone to for $63. To be fair, that still seems really high for just a random person’s wallet. People still carry that much cash around? She gives him $20 and he complains that he did all the work. “I was the brains of the operation,” she says, which actually makes him smile. These two are the best.
In another flashback, we see Rosa with just one guy: the only guy left from the group we saw in the beginning. She tries to kiss him, but he says it’s bad luck. She keeps kissing him and he says, “Fine.” He pulls over and she says she wants to rob another bank, and goes into one without any plan.
Piper goes to Sophia to get her hair down for her furlough. Piper says that they’ve “finally taken pity on me” and “maybe, maybe this prison has a heart after all.” It’s not even her most cringeworthy moment of this episode but it’s so uncomfortable. Sophia tells her a story of when she applied for furlough because her father was dying. They hadn’t spoken since her transition, but in the end he started asking for her, even using her new name. She tells this heartbreaking story and then stoically says, “But grandmothers, they important too.” This captures Sophia so well. She’s such a strong, quiet person but there’s this huge rage at the world just underneath.
Back at the hospital, Rosa sees Yusef and his mom crying together. When she sees him crying, she says that she knows she’s cursed and that all the men in her life die. He tells her, “I’m not gonna die. I’m done with chemo. I’m in remission.” This happy moment for Rosa is so, so gratifying. He awkwardly tells her, “Enjoy prison,” and she happily calls back, “Enjoy your life, shit pot!” She chuckles so genuinely and it’s wonderful.
At the prison, the black women loudly complain about how unfair Piper’s furlough was as she listens. The Latina women also join in, pointing out the unfairness. Taystee shoves Piper and she just cannot believe it, then Poussey yells that people’s parents die or sick people can’t get proper treatment, but Piper still gets special treatment. Because she’s insisting on making me embarrassed for her, Piper stands up and shouts about how she realizes she has special privileges because she’s white but she can’t help being white so people should shut the fuck up about it. Seriously. I hate watching this scene. I’m not even saying it’s a bad scene it’s just so painful to watch. I can’t even try to claim it’s out of character for Piper, unfortunately. Suzanne, rightfully, throws her dessert at Piper’s hair.
What is nice and a bit redeeming is that even after this misguided speech, I guess something did sink in for Piper; she goes to Healy and says that she can’t take the furlough because it’s not fair. On the other hand, it seems like she’s more upset about having to hear about the unfairness than about the actual unfairness. Healy tells her that there’s no taking back furlough.
Piper talks to Red about how she should spend her furlough and Red, because she is assertive and awesome, pressures Piper to go to Queens and make sure that the food at her restaurant is still good. Piper says she’ll go if she has time.
When Piper gets in contact with her mom to make arrangements for her furlough, she finds out that her grandma has already died. She missed her last chance to see her.
In the final scene, Fig tells Caputo that she’s gone and hired Pornstache. He has a scary victory walk through the halls. But now he has a mullet. Shit is getting real in Season 2.
Photo Courtesy of Netflix