It’s time to look at the Season 2 finale of Orange Is the New Black, “We Have Manners. We’re Polite.” This episode wrapped up a lot of plots so there’s plenty to go through.
The episode begins with S.I.S. visiting the prison to investigate the assault on Red. Cindy and Janae discuss what they’re going to say when S.I.S. talks to them. Cindy says she’s going to say she didn’t see shit “because I didn’t see shit.” Janae says, “Yeah, but you know who did it.” Just then Vee suddenly appears which I know is supposed to demonstrate how powerful, scary and almost all-knowing she is, but I’m mostly just annoyed that Janae didn’t glance to the door before talking. Vee instructs them to point S.I.S. towards Suzanne. Cindy points out that’s cold and Vee hilariously replies, “Really? Is it cold for Amazon to underprice books just to ask for market share?” Cindy rightfully says, “Not sure cheap books is the same as pinning shit on Crazy.”
In the investigation, several people point to Suzanne but no one actually knows her name until we get to Janae, who says her full name, “Suzanne Warren.” It’s sad to see Janae ratting on her, but it was a nice touch to show that she knows her name when not everyone does.
Caputo knows Piper has found corruption in Figueroa’s invoices and gets her to tell him everything in exchange for stopping her transfer out of Litchfield. He goes to Fig’s office and excitedly announces, “I’ve got you now, you bitch!” only to discover that Fig is crying on the floor. She confides in him that her husband is having an affair with a man. He actually talks to her about it for a bit before revealing that he knows all about her embezzlement. In an extremely uncomfortable scene, she gives him oral sex to try to keep him from reporting her, but then he reveals afterwards that he’s already reported her. It’s the first of several scenes to repeat a big theme of this episode and this season: men thinking they’re nice guys for the tiniest bit of decency while actually being exploitative. Caputo truly believes he’s a much better person than Figueroa — Piper gave him an entire pep talk about it in the previous scene — but obviously his behavior here indicates otherwise. He does seem to do a better job when it comes to the prisoners interests, but this scene still gets to the bottom line of his willingness to exploit women, so the idea of him being in charge next season is pretty stomach-turning.
Later, Caputo sees Ruiz crying because of her transfer and is excited to tell Bennett that he’s cancelling those transfers because he’s in charge now. He exchanges words with Bennett, recognizing him as a fellow nice guy, and tells him to go give the news to Ruiz so he can get to be the hero. Of course we the audience know what Bennett did to Daya so it once again hits the thematic note of false male heroes.
Meanwhile, Poussey and Taystee reconcile (thank God; I wish it had happened sooner) and then warn Janae and Cindy that Vee will eventually turn against them.
Healy organizes a meeting of Safe Place but no one shows up. He sees that Pennsatucky is hanging out with Big Boo, getting a haircut. When Pennsatucky sees him, she doesn’t know she did anything wrong and happily says hi to him. He glares back and tells her he’s cancelling Safe Place before walking away. When Big Boo teasingly asks Pennsatucky, “Aww, is your boyfriend hurt?” she very seriously says, “Don’t do that.” It’s a great moment for Pennsatucky.
Leanne and Angie mock Pennsatucky with literal schoolyard chants. Soso jumps in to defend Pennsatucky and is rewared with Pennsatucky telling her, “You know, I can take care of myself, Ching Chong Chinadoll.” Leanne tells her, “She’s Japanese-Scottish, you ignorant dumbass,” and Angie happily adds, “Ignorant dumbass dyke.” When Soso asks what’s with all the name-calling, Pennsatucky proudly says, “We’re expressing our feelings in lieu of physical violence. Something Mr. Healy taught me.” Leanne reveals to her that no one came to Safe Place. In an amazing moment of pure vulnerability, Soso says, “I need a friend,” and in an amazing moment of pure apathy, Angie responds, “Don’t look at me. I got a friend.” This scene is gold.
Alex visits Piper and they start talking about what happened in Chicago. As they’re re-hashing it, Alex says, “We’re like a fucking O. Henry story,” and adorably this is what wins Piper back and her face becomes full of love again. Alex apologizes and tells Piper, “I’m pretty much the master of handling things completely wrong.” Alex reveals she’s considering fleeing.
Suzanne tells Taystee that she thinks she may have really attacked Red. Taystee tries to convince her that clearly she doesn’t remember doing it, and that Vee is manipulating her. Suzanne yells, “No! Don’t you dare speak ill of her.” Taystee tells her, “You’re a crazy fool.” Suzanne very firmly says, “No. I am not crazy. I am unique.” It’s a powerful moment and Uzo Aduba kills it.
Bennett explains to Daya that he can’t admit what he did because he might get a promotion soon and doesn’t want to rock the boat. Daya translates this, saying he was looking for an excuse to not come clean and this promotion thing is as good as any. He claims he’s not looking for an excuse but she interrupts and says, “I love you, John. But you’re a pussy.” Top 10 most cathartic Orange Is the New Black moments ever, am I right?
Suzanne talks to S.I.S. and insists that Vee wouldn’t attack Red. Her testimony is incoherent, but sounds suspicious enough that an S.I.S. agent writes down “primary suspect.”
As Lorna drives Rosa to her doctor’s appointment, she starts rambling and describing the movie Toy Story in detail, seemingly oblivious to the fact that everyone knows what Toy Story is. It’s kind of unrelated to anything in the episode but pretty delightful.
A group of nuns have gathered to support Sister Ingalls’s hunger strike and O’Neill has to watch them. He’s clearly pretty pissed and is making up angry songs to sing to them. He reminds them that Sister Ingalls isn’t a nun anymore and they tell him that she’s still married to God because Catholics don’t recognize divorce. He pauses and then sings, “This is a song about my mom and dad. And the divorce that they should have had.”
The doctor tells Rosa that the chemo isn’t working and she only has 3-6 weeks.
There’s a great pay off where we see Maria, crying tears of excitement because she won’t be transferred, talking to her boyfriend and now instead of being stoic he’s already talking to the baby constantly. It’s so sweet.
Larry and Polly tell Piper that they’re in love now. Piper plays the audience surrogate and says, “Oh god. Gross.” Fantastic.
Pennsatucky is sad that Healy is mad at her and says she wants to keep doing Safe Place and that he shouldn’t be mad that she has another friend. She goes on to say that it’s because of him that she made a new friend. He keeps responding with anger. She very eloquently tells him she understands he’s mad but she’s still forever grateful to him for taking the time to talk to him. It’s really powerful and unexpected without seeming out of character, especially when she ends it all with, “And I will never finger her and I will never let her finger me!” He walks away. It’s another beat of these guys who want to think of themselves as saviors but really aren’t great guys. Healy convinced himself so much that all he wants is to help these women but even when he did and Pennsatucky tells him outright that she’s giving him the gratitude he’s been longing for, he’s still pissed that it’s not entirely on his terms because she has one friend he disapproves of.
A lot happens in the end and it moves quickly through some short scenes:
Taystee and Poussey have convinced Cindy and Janae that they need to stand up to Vee. They all surround her, pointing out that now she has no one.
As Lorna drives Rosa back, Rosa is obviously very depressed about having to live her last few weeks of life in prison.
The staff discovers that Vee has fled.
Bennett finally confesses to Caputo and Caputo flat-out ignores it, reminding him that Mendez has already been prosecuted and there’s no need for any more trouble.
Piper calls Larry and Polly for a favor, asking them to call Alex’s probation officer and report that she’s trying to flee. Larry, of course, is hesitant but Polly, in her best moment on the show, is ready to help. This scene doesn’t fully justify all the time dedicated to Larry/Polly in this season but it’s nice to at least now they were setting something up.
Lorna tells Rosa that she should drive away and Rosa does. As she’s driving away, she runs over Vee. She doesn’t much care and says, “Always so rude that woman” before cranking up “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and smiling broadly as she drives off.
Photos Courtesy of Netflix