This week I’m writing about the Orange is the New Black episode by “Ching Chong Chang.” It’s the third episode in a row to look at a supporting character who hadn’t been the focus of an episode yet and, just like “Finger in the Dyke” and “Fake It Till You Fake It Some More”, it’s a very strong episode.
The episode opens with Scott O’Neill yelling at a baker about how much he hates red velvet. I don’t agree with his yelling at service workers policy, but I do agree with his hating red velvet policy. His anger increases when Wanda Bell shows him an ad in the paper that says Litchfield is hiring more correctional officers.
Pennsatucky is showing new inmates around the prison when Chang walks by. She yells out, “Ching Chong Chang!” Chang responds, “Fuck you, cracker.”
Chang goes into the bathroom, where Piper and Alex are talking. They start talking about Chang. Chang says, “Hey lesbians, my eyes squinty but ears work fine.” Alex says, “I’m sorry. I laugh when I see something super-weird.”
In a flashback, Chang meets with a woman who’s supposed to be finding her a husband in America. The prospective husband walks in and is visibly disappointed when he sees Chang. He tells the woman, “Is this a joke? You promised me a beautiful girl.” The woman responds, “I never actually said beautiful.” Chang’s brother tries to save the arrangement, saying that Chang is a good cook and very thrifty. The prospective husband leaves. Chang says that she doesn’t want to move back to China. Her brother asks the woman if she knows anyone else who needs a wife. The woman responds, “I’m only as good as the product. If you don’t have looks, you at least need charm.” Her brother suggests finding someone less picky. Chang says that she could help her brother in the shop and he reminds her that she owes him eight hundred dollars.
At the Whispers sewing factory, Flaca flips through the Whispers catalogue, feeling jealous of the models. Piper says, “Come on, Gonzales, looks are superficial. Everybody knows it’s about talent, originality, a sense of humor.” They both laugh.
Chang gets in the line at the cafeteria and asks for just peas and two milks. She dumps out the milk and fills the cartons with peas so she can sneak them out of the cafeteria. Back in her bunk, she crushes up a bag of Fritos and fills it with water. She adds peas to the mashed up wet Fritos.
Her lunch process is interrupted by Brook Soso walking in and saying she wants a big Asian prison family. Chang says she’s Scottish. Brook says that to white people one drop of Asian blood makes her basically “made in China.” Chang responds again, “You Scottish.” She microwaves the mashed up peas and Fritos and the result actually looks pretty delicious.
In another flashback, Chang’s brother talks to suppliers of illegal substances who tell him that there will be a two month setback on giving him anything due to cop surveillance. He brother says they should take Chang and have her carry the stuff he needs because “she’s invisible.” She tells them that she can do it.
Piper sneaks Alex out a picture from the catalogue of a girl with big boobs. Alex is very happy about how well Piper knows her. She is surprised to see that the underwear in the catalogue costs $90. Piper agrees that it’s ridiculous, especially since they’re being paid $1 an hour and it’s basically slave labor. Janae and Cindy overhear this and tell her that she doesn’t get to say what’s slavery, they do. Cindy says it’s more like indentured servitude and Janae adds that they’re making more than they were at their old jobs. Piper says that their old jobs were about prison upkeep, but in this case the Whispers people are profiting off them. Cindy and Janae say they’re okay with that.
Chang sneaks off to the shed where she has a phone hidden that she uses to watch a Chinese TV show. She also takes a mandarin out of her pocket. Nice. As she’s walking back through the prison yard, Maureen hits her in the head with a basketball. When she says “not cool” instead of apologizing, Maureen tells her to throw it back and calls her a dick when she doesn’t.
Another flashback shows her with a man at the pick up for the illegal products. She asks if the stuff they sell, which seems to be mostly penis pills, really works and the guy says that it makes you feel powerful. They meet up with the supplier who gives them turtle eggs. Chang realizes they’re just selling them ping-pong balls. The supplier starts beating up her male accomplice, so Chang hits him in the back of a head with a metal rod. The guy says she might have saved his life and that he owes her. She says, “I know what I want.”
Chang gets the criminal she saved to beat up the guy who rejected her. In the present, she has the other prisoners re-enact this in drama class. Only Suzanne likes it. Chang says, “Showbiz. All fake.”
Chang sees Piper looking at herself in stolen panties and tells her that she looks like Bo Derek. Piper tells her to pretend she didn’t see this. Chang tells her, “I don’t see nothing.” Piper says, “I just wanted to feel pretty.” She adds, “Chang, sorry about the other day.” Chang says, “Thank you, lesbian.”
The guy who rejected Chang is all beaten up and tells her that she’ll always be the ugly girl who no one wanted and even if he dies, nothing will change that. Chang agrees he’s right and nothing will change then walks away. They ask what they should do with him and if they should let him go. She says, “Nah. Cut out his gallbladder.”
Photo Courtesy of Netflix