It’s time to dive into another episode of Orange is the New Black and this week it’s one of the best episodes of Season 2, the delightfully titled Valentine’s Day episode “You Also Have a Pizza.”
The episode opens with various inmates saying what love means to them. Each inmate has their moment to shine, but the capper is Lorna getting all screechy as she says, “I’ve got lots to say about love!” The poor woman is absolutely breaking.
Everyone working in the kitchen talks about how it’s Valentine’s Day. When Bennett enters, Daya asks him where he made reservations for tonight. She explains that she’s playing a game where they pretend to be a normal couple. The conversation between them is pretty cute, but it’s quickly interrupted by Aleida, who wants Bennett to smuggle in some things for her or else she’s telling on him.
In another one of the interviews about what love means, Poussey says, “Just chillin’. Kickin’ it with someone. Makin’ mad stupid jokes.” It is the most adorable thing in the world. Poussey’s face just lights up as she smiles. As she speaks, “Hey There Delilah” starts to play which is, uh, a little bit of a weird buzzkill. But it goes into a flashback of Poussey in high school at a party and I guess indicating a bunch of teenagers hanging out is acceptable use of “Hey There Delilah.” We find out that Poussey used to live on an army base in Germany, where she had a very hot German girlfriend. It’s nice because you get to hear her say “nein, motherfucker, nein” to a guy who wants to watch her and her girlfriend be together.
Cindy and Janae ask Suzanne who her Valentine is, mentioning that she’s always batting her eyes at someone. Suzanne responds, “This year, I’m loving someone who deserves me: me.” Suzanne is a real treasure and it’s a nice moment of friendship between the three women.
Larry is visiting Piper. She immediately starts babbling, which is pretty cute, but Larry is a basic bitch so he cuts her off like she’s not the most adorable little person. After a bit of silence, Piper summons up a lot of vulnerability and says, “I want to come home.” I love the most desperate expression of her wanting Larry the show has ever given us; we see that she doesn’t want Larry. It’s all about what comes with being with him. She wants a home and a family and some sense of security. These are major things that you can’t begrudge her wanting, but it’s obvious why Larry isn’t eager to be a means to an end for her. He asks if she’s sure about that and won’t change her mind in the future, missing the point entirely. This is my frustration with both Larry and Alex. They both constantly accuse Piper of flip-flopping or changing her mind too much when, in fact, Piper’s needs are consistent it just happens that neither of them satisfies them. I love this on a basic story level and even more as a metaphor for misconceptions about bisexuality. When he asks Piper to help him with his article on the prison budget, they get into a fight and she really goes for the jugular, accusing him of being the moon because “it doesn’t have its own light.” He tells her, “At least people can walk on the moon. If anyone gets near the sun they burn right up.” With most couples I’d say this conversation feels too scripted and inauthentic, but I truly believe these pretentious clowns converse mostly in well thought out metaphors.
Piper is moping as it sinks in that her and Larry are probably really over. She asks Nicky who she imagines coming home to when she gets out of here. Nicky, delight that she is, says, “Fiona Apple in the ‘Criminal’ video.” When Piper tries to talk about how sad she is about not being able to come home to Larry, Nicky offers to cheer her up. Piper cringes and says she doesn’t want to help Nicky gain three points in her game. She complains, “I don’t have a home anymore.” Nicky says, “Sure you do! This shit pile!” Then she points out that Larry is onto something with the article because the prison is clearly never spending money on repairs and it gets Piper thinking.
In the next scene, Caputo talks to Fischer and is acting like a dope with hearts in his eyes. I’m glad this show has become the Everyone-is-in-Love-with-Lauren-Lapkus show. He asks her to come see his band play.
We get a scene of Poussey and Taystee in the library. Taystee tells Poussey that she’s transferring to custodial because Vee asked her to and Poussey can’t believe it. This emotional conflict is really strong, but I have to say that as far as making an entertaining season goes, it kind of sucks that Poussey and Taystee are fighting. Their scenes were some of the strongest, funniest, sweetest stuff last season and a season of them having a rift between them loses all those opportunities for fun.
In a flashback, we see Poussey and her German girlfriend trying to “scissor”, grossly misunderstanding it. When it doesn’t work, Poussey says, “I told you scissoring wasn’t a thing.” Stop getting your sexual info from South Park, Poussey. Poussey starts going down on her and the girl’s father walks in. It’s clear from both of their nervous reactions that this is more than just embarrassing.
Soso and a new prisoner walk by Healy, discussing him because they don’t realize he’s in hearing range. Soso bluntly says, “I just get the sense that none of the girls really like him.”
Red goes around giving each of her former girls special items she’s snuck in just for them. In the first couple of cases, they react with affection and gratitude. Yoga looks at Red and says, “Well, look who’s back.” Kate Mulgrew pulls off this moment very well without much dialogue, as we see Red hurting over the fact that her girls only care about her for what she can give them. However, some of them aren’t having it even with the gifts.
Poussey talks to Vee and Vee does a truly terrible impression of her. I hate this woman. Manipulating vulnerable children is one thing, but I draw the line at terrible impressions. Poussey really has Vee’s number, pointing out that she’s just a bully who uses kids. Vee responds by going on a weird tangent about this boy she knew and how she just wanted to lick his arms. Poussey appropriately reacts with a damn-heterosexuals-what-are-they-even-talking-about look. Vee starts telling Poussey, “Taystee will never love you. She will never love you.” Poussey looks devastated while Vee is talking, but manages to instantly go into a laughing reaction and insists she doesn’t like Taystee like that. It is so sad.
In a flashback, Poussey finds out that her family is being transferred out of Germany.
Piper goes out to check out some electrical stuff that was never fixed. I don’t know a lot about prison but it seems super weird to me that the women on this show are sometimes able to just walk outside unsupervised. Healy finds her and lets her know that he’s heard she’s asking a lot of questions. He reminds her that he’s trying to help her with her furlough. She bullshits that she’s starting a prison newsletter. Healy tells her that he might say yes but has to see some sample stories. Then, in a great moment, he flat-out says, “The girls used to like me.”
Taystee confronts Vee about how much her custodial job sucks and doubts that Vee actually has a plan. It turns out Vee is sneaking in tobacco with the custodial supplies. Yawn. Yawn to every plot about smuggling stuff in.
In the cutest of the what-is-love interviews, Flaca explains that love is like taking a bath in chocolate pudding. She wins me over by saying “and The Smiths are playing” but then loses me when she ads “There’s a Light That Never Goes Out.” I know that’s picky but come on she had any Smiths song to choose from to capture love and she kinda dropped the ball. Maritza adorably adds the titular line, “And you have a pizza!”
Bennett and Healy are supervising a Valentine’s Day dance and Bennett tells Healy that he doesn’t understand women, which is obviously very, very true if he’s actually asking Healy for advice. Healy tells him, “With women, you make ‘em think you’re meeting ‘em halfway when really what you’re doing is you’re meeting them about 10-15% of the way. Women are really bad at math. Don’t forget that.” Bennett says, “I won’t, sir.” They’re both incredibly solemn and it is fantastic.
Taystee comes up behind Poussey, pulling Poussey’s head into her chest. It is absolutely adorable. Taystee tells her to close her eyes and open her lips and Poussey does. We can see on Poussey’s face that she thinks there’s going to be a kiss. I feel for Poussey but I also think this moment is a bit off. I don’t totally believe that she would still, at this point in her relationship with Taystee, actually believe there’s going to be a kiss. But I get what the moment is going for and it’s still quite emotionally resonant. Taystee puts a cigarette in her mouth, happily announcing that they’re in business now and will make money.
In a flashback, while Poussey is packing, her girlfriend cries and tells her that she loves her. Poussey is totally emotionally shut down and actually says, “You have killer tits. I’ll remember those.” Yeah, she’s being a real jerk although she is also correct. Her girlfriend asks how she can be so closed down and she says, “I’ve had a lot of practice.”
At the dance, we see that Piper is the one who’s been asking everyone what love means to them, to seem like she’s writing a fluff piece while Healy watches. But once she gets people’s answers, she leans a little closer and asks them if they’ve ever actually witnessed any repairs happening.
Meanwhile, Soso rambles to Sophia about how in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off there’s actually no Ferris and it’s all Cameron imagining everything while he’s lying in bed. Now listen up Soso, why the hell would he imagine Jeannie’s plotline? The Dean’s plotline I can understand because Cameron is so ridden with anxieties he wouldn’t even be able to imagine a fun day without also imagining the threat of getting caught, but Jeannie discovering herself? There’s no way he’s lying there thinking about that. I don’t accept it.
Pennsatucky tries to dance with her old friends but they’re ignoring her. Leanne tells her that the group is done with her. When she’s gone, Leanne says, “Angie, go get me some punch,” and stands there playing with her hair, enjoying playing Regina George. It’s fun.
In another great what-is-love interview, Suzanne says, “It’s like you become more you … but now it’s okay,” which sums her up so beautifully and is so deeply sad.
Poussey is talking to a girl when Taystee tries to get her to come dance. Poussey is pissed off and very rudely tells Taystee to leave, saying she doesn’t give a fuck what she does. It causes the girl she’s talking to walk away and Poussey turns to Taystee and says, “Great,” angry at her for the cockblock. This part is interesting to me because Poussey is so open about how she was pursuing someone. This makes me really curious about how much hookin’ up she’s done during her time and if her and Taystee usually have an understanding about it.
In the final flashback, we see Poussey confronting her girlfriend’s father about transferring her family. Now see her being expressive and saying that she really loves her. She’s about to take out a gun when her father comes up and stops her. It’s a powerful moment on its own, but even more powerful in how much curiosity it provokes. Now we see that Poussey has a violent streak, but this time she didn’t get caught. So what exactly is it that landed her in Litchfield? Now that we’ve seen her almost pull a gun on someone, the possibilities are scary.
Pennsatucky gets lonely and wanders out of the dance, where Healy is sitting. She sits down next to him. They’re both near tears. She ends up reaching over and hugging him tightly. It is such an incredibly human moment from the two main antagonists of last season and really one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever seen on TV. And this is as good a time as any to admit that I think Healy is kind of hot. He wore flannel in the last episode and now he’s being cuddly. My hands are tied.
In the final interview, Nicky turns the tables and asks Piper what she thinks love is. She says that she thinks love is like coming home and she gets teary because of everything she’s lost.
“You Also Have a Pizza” is a great episode because so much of it focuses on Poussey, who really ended up being the MVP of the season, but it’s also great because of how much it uses the ensemble. Everyone gets their chance to shine. Even the staff are humanized here more than we’ve ever seen them before and it really strengthens the show.
Photo Courtesy of Netflix