Orange Is the New Black: Where My Dreidel At

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This week I’m writing about the Orange is the New Black episode “Where My Dreidel At?” This episode reveals a surprising backstory for Leanne.

Norma’s group meets in the chapel. A Catholic group comes in and says they need the space. She accuses them of not being a real organization with a focused belief system. Leanne stands up and says, “We got a belief system. We believe in kindness and acceptance. And finding the peace within that can then radiate out into the world, creating change. And through silent meditation, we address the roar of pain and loneliness and tame it. And through reflection we can see nothingness. And in nothingness we find clarity. We have faith.” The leader of the Catholic group asks, “In what? Her?” Leanne says, “There’s no body of the principles. They’re too big to be contained.” The Catholic leader accuses them of being atheists, which Leanne takes offense too. She says the woman isn’t ready to understand. The Catholic leader says they’re just a meditation club. As Brook walks in late, she says that “meditation club” isn’t a bad name. Leanne says, “She needs to be our first martyr.”

In a flashback, we see Leanne doing meth with a group of friends around a camp fire. They look into the fire and someone says that the black part looks like a door. Leanne asks, “Door to where?” He friend replies, “Hell, I guess. Isn’t that where we’re all going?”

Later, Leanne returns to an Amish village. She changes into proper Amish attire and leaves all her old stuff — including her wallet and some remaining drugs — behind.

She enters a house and says, “Mother, I’m back.”

Back in the present, Leanne sits with the group and says they need to come up with a list of commandments. Brook says, “For me, it’s less about, like, rules and more about what happens when I look at Norma.” Poussey agrees. Brook says, “The way I see it, it’s the armor you put on every day. The armor that it takes to get through every day. It gets heavier and heavier as you live your life, you know? Especially in here. But, when you look at Norma, you can take that armor off. Because it’s safe. You’re safe. And you’re crying because it feels so good to take that armor off. And you realize how tall you can be without it, how light.” Poussey grins and says, “Yeah, what she said! Maybe what’s so special about this … whatever … is that there aren’t any rules.” Brook agrees, saying she’s always had problems with organized religion.

Leanne says that they still have to deal with how the world sees them and Brook is making them look like a joke. She says, “We need to know who we are or they’ll think we’re a joke.” Brook says, “I know who I am. I am someone who’s sometimes late.” Leanne says, “Look, Soso, I know not committing is like your thing. You couldn’t commit to saving the world, you couldn’t commit to eating pussy, you couldn’t even commit to being 100% Asian. So, why don’t you go off and not commit somewhere else. Nobody wants you here anyways.” Brook looks around at all of them for a second before leaving when no one defends her.

Leanne tells them that they need to be legit. Gina asks, “Yeah, but weren’t you kind of a hard on hippie chick?” Leanne says, “Some people weren’t cut out for believing.”

In a flashback, we see Leanne’s baptism. She says a few words about how she wasn’t sure what she wanted until recently and she’s glad her parents have welcomed her back. She says, “It was fun for a while, but it started to feel like the fun was just covering up how empty people were feeling inside.” She adds, “They talk about us like we’re in prison but this is where I feel free.” When she steps outside, police officers are waiting for her.

Leanne meets with her group again and suggests they all do something to make them official, like get the same haircut. She says, “Or something with our clothes. Like an armband with a symbol.” Someone asks, “Like a swastika?” She concedes that it probably shouldn’t be an armband, but insists that they still need something. Poussey says, “Something else for excluding people. Like how you excluded Brook.” Leanne says that she left on her own. Poussey said that Leanne scared her away. Leanne says, “If she doesn’t get what we stand for, she’s better off gone.” Norma writes down “kindness” on a piece of paper and hands it to Leanne.

Leanne is in a van with two cops. One of them fixes a small microphone to her clothes. She says, “Please, all I want is to go home and be with my family.” One of the cops says, “Well, you kind of limited your choices when you left a bag of drugs lying around with your ID in it. I’d say you’re getting a pretty sweet deal. All you have to do is this one small thing and it all goes away.” Leanne says that hurting her friends isn’t a small thing. The cops remind her that her friends are a former Amish drug cartel. Another cop says that she’s kind of helping them — maybe they’ll find god in prison. Leanne says, “No they won’t. They love hell too much.”

She nervously talks to her friends. She explains that she’s back because she missed it too much. Her friend says, “Yeah, it’s important to know where you make sense. Otherwise you’re not really living, you know?” Leanne is near tears for a second, but she manages to say, “Speaking of living, do you want to hook me up with some crank?”

Leanne talks to Brook. Brook asks if Norma sent her. Leanne says, “No, my heart just changed with the power of your love. Yes, Norma sent me.” She sits down next to Brook and says, “I’m not that great at apologies.” Brook says that “I’m sorry” is a strong opener. Leanne says, “Let me work up to it.” She says that she takes structure seriously because she was raised in a church that people make fun of a lot. When Brook asks what church, Leanne says, “It doesn’t matter. The point is, it was hard sometimes. A lot of the time. But, if you knew who you were and what you believed, it didn’t matter if they called you names or made fun of your buggy or whatever. You knew you were better than them because you belonged. And when I stopped having that … Anyway, when I started doing the Norma meetings it finally felt like I belonged to something, even if it was small.” She says she got carried away when Brook acted like the rules were nothing. Brook laughs a little and says, “Your buggy … do you mean you’re like … so you like wore a bonnet?” She can’t stop laughing. Chang opens her eyes and says, “You churn butter and you Harrison Ford in Witness! You’re a total weirdo.” Leanne calls Brook a half-breed and says she hopes she enjoys hell. After she leaves, Chang tells Brook, “Yeah. She no good at apologies.”

In a flashback, Leanne is back in the Amish community and being shunned. Her mom tells her the elders are out of line because shunning is for people who’ve turned their back on the church, but Leanne didn’t turn her back on the church. Leanne says, “I did worse. I sent their kids to jail.”

That night, Leanne overhears her parents talking about how their business is suffering and no one wants their sons to work for Leanne’s father. He says that they’ll go broke over this.

Leanne tells Norma that she told Brook there’s a place for her, but Brook wasn’t in it. Leanne says, “Sometimes the kindest thing is to let people go.”

In a flashback, Leanne sits at home in her non-Amish clothes, debating. She goes and looks into her parents room and watches them sleep for a moment before leaving, walking down the highway and away from the community.

The final scene is truly, truly annoying but let’s just get through this together. Basically, Piper complains to Stella that Alex is annoying because of her horrible paranoia from her very real fear that someone is trying to kill her. Piper and Stella have some just awful forced sexual tension and then kiss. Bleh.

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.