Orange Is the New Black: Take a Break from Your Values

We’re nearing the end of these weekly Orange is the New Black recaps, which means that if this show was on a linear network, everyone would be buzzing with finale speculation right now. This week’s episode is “Take a Break from Your Values”, which builds up the tension in all of the plotlines while also giving some interesting and surprising development to Sister Ingalls.

The episode opens with a news report about Superstorm Wanda. Every time they bring up the storm, I get so stressed out. I’m not complaining. It’s great. It was a huge way to add tension as we approach the finale.

Soso and the other hunger strikers are discussing demands when Sister Ingalls asks them to keep it down. They bring up the fact that she’s in prison in the first place for protesting and she says that was a long time ago and now she’s old and just wants to rest. Leanne calls her a pussy. In a flashback, we see Ingalls when she first became a nun. They’ve been nailing it with the casting of younger versions of the inmates all season and here we have Aubrey Sinn doing a great job as Sister Ingalls.

Caputo talks to the hunger strikers about the demands they had Piper print in her bulletin, pointing out that all the demands are a little vague. Ingalls pipes in, asking what they’re going to do about elder care. “This is because I called you a pussy, isn’t it?” Leanne asks her. “It’s for Jimmy,” she says. Leanne proudly says, “It’s because I called her a pussy.”

In another flashback, Ingalls has taken to protesting because of the influence of another nun, who points out that they don’t have husbands or jobs and should focus on making the world a better place. Ingalls is hesitant, but she says, “It did feel good.”

Larry and Polly sit Pete down to tell him about their affair and that Polly is leaving him. At first he thinks it’s an intervention and tells them, “I’m not an alcoholic. I’m Australian.” When did this become a CBS sitcom? Bazinga! When he realizes it’s not an intervention, he thinks they want a threesome. And he is into it. This plot is the worst and Pete is the worst, but it’s weirdly adorable that the dude just wants to have sex with his wife and Jason Biggs. However, when he finds out that he’s being dumped and isn’t getting a piece of that Larry ass, he gets mad and punches Larry. Truly the audience surrogate.

Daya goes to Aleida for comfort which really lets you know she’s desperate. Aleida tells her, “I’m telling you, this rape is the best thing that’s ever happened to you,” because she can get money from Mendez and Bennett. Um, can we talk about how that’s supposed to be hilariously bad advice from this terrible mother but that line is said completely earnestly on Jane the Virgin? What’s up with that show? Anyway, Daya says she feels stupid and Aleida tells her, “A lot of people are stupid and still live full productive lives.”

Ingalls is taking charge of the protest, telling Soso how to get the press involved and how to make the movement take off. Leanne and Angie get annoyed that she’s acting like a leader when this is supposed to be a leaderless movement where everyone’s ideas are important. Leanne explains that all of their interests have to be represented and she and Angie want demands like more desserts and musical guests to the prison added. Just then, the guards come up to offer the hunger strikers pizza. Did I immediately pause and order a pizza when this scene came up? Yes. When Leanne and Angie go for the pizza, Ingalls tells them go ahead. “Take a break from your values.” She explains to Soso that they confused their message anyway.

In a flashback, we see Ingalls doing another protest. She’s planning gimmicks to make the pictures of their break in look better. When the other protestors tell her that she might not have the selfless spirit, she reminds them that she’s the one giving their movement credibility.

Because of this, in the next flashback a priest tells her that she’s an embarrassment and a narcissist. He points out that she timed the protest to coincide with her book release. She insists she’s really good at protesting. I love seeing the prideful side of her. The priest reads out loud a passage of her book where she claims that she only went to one protest because of a handsome dude with amazing abs. She insists that’s just for the book club crowd that needs there to be some hunks in their books. He tells her that the church can’t support her anymore. “You mean you won’t pay my legal fees?” she asks. “I mean we can’t support you period,” he tells her.

Back in the present, Ingalls has fainted from her hunger strike. She wakes up only to find out that Soso and Yoga have given up on the strike. Caputo reveals to them that Ingalls has been ex-communicated. Ingalls is sticking to her guns and Caputo points out that there’s no media interest so no one even knows she’s doing this. “You know,” she tells him. That moment and his reaction to it are pretty great.

She ends up having to be transferred to a medical wing, when she sees everyone watching her, she flashes them peace symbols and grins at the attention. She’s happy to be protesting again.

In the hospital, she asks Jesus, “Why are you always so quiet? Why do I always have to do all the talking?” She starts singing a gospel song. She drifts off and when she wakes up, she sees that they’re going to feed her through tubes. She shouts, “I’m awake! I’m awake! Don’t feed me! I did not give permission!” Caputo sees this but signals the doctors to continue. It’s a deeply disturbing episode ending.

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.