The birth of Dayanara Diaz’s baby has been more than two seasons in the making, fraught with as many ups and downs as her relationship with her mother and fellow inmate Aleida. Aleida has been callous toward Daya since her first day in prison, and the way she handled practically selling off Daya’s baby has left their relationship tense in the last few days of her pregnancy.
But it’s not Daya who is at the center of “Don’t Make Me Come Back There.” She appears, but Aleida receives the spotlight, helping us to better understand, even if it doesn’t completely excuse, the way she’s treated her daughter.
“There” travels back to when Aleida was still raising a young Daya and trying to decide how best to take of her daughter. Aleida wants a better life for Daya, but as her own mother points out, is she willing to give her that even if it doesn’t include Aleida?
Not exactly sure of her answer, she decides to bring Daya to a camp for an extended stay. Aleida says she needs the time away as her daughter breaks down in tears, screaming to be taken home. Aleida leaves her there, but tears well up in her own eyes when the shock of the separation first hits her.
She returns weeks later, expecting to find a daughter just as attached to her mother as when she left her there, only to discover that Daya has gotten by just fine on her own. She barely acknowledges her mother’s presence, and the surprises keep coming as Aleida sees the first sign of Daya’s budding artistic talents (but doesn’t expect that to carry her daughter far in life).
When they return home, Aleida begins throwing out some of Daya’s art projects, telling her she can make new ones. But really, she’s less interest in the physical clutter and more interested in the mental clutter. Daya’s head has been filled with new ideas, new faces, and new bonds that have nothing to do with Aleida. And that concerns the mother, because as she wants the best for her daughter, she does not want that best to not include her.
It gives some context to her behavior toward Daya ever since she arrived in Litchfield. In many ways, Aleida resents Daya for having a life on her own, devoid of her influence, but in many ways she also holds guilt over whether or not she gave Daya the life she deserved. And that’s because in the end, as mean as she may act, she loves her daughter, and she loves the ways in which her life was filled with love because of Daya. She recognizes her mistakes though, and while, yes, she did use Daya’s baby as a means to make money, she also believed the baby would truly have a better life with financial support.
She tries to tell her daughter this, convince her that Aleida actually cares about giving this baby a good future, but Daya thinks of it as nothing more than B.S. So when Daya is taken to the hospital as she’s begun to bleed, Aleida decides to make one final decision to prove that the money wasn’t the most important factor. She calls Pornstache’s mother, and tells her that the baby died.
Now, in the moment, it’s a horrifically sad scene. This is the only information we’re initially given about the birth once Daya is whisked away, leaving us to believe one of the longest ongoing plot threads on the show ends in utter tragedy.
But it’s a bait-and-switch, as Aleida simply lied to Pornstache’s mother. Daya’s baby is happy and healthy as the new mother takes the child in her arms for the few short moments she’s allowed to spend with her child. And Aleida’s conscience is cleared, believing that she’s given Daya the chance to have some relationship as a mother to her new child (Cesar is set to take care of the baby). Now that she’s a grandmother, she’s hoping she can do something right for the child this time out, or, as Gloria puts it, “a little less s****y.”
And while Aleida’s maternal problems extend to her actual progeny, a sort of adoptive mother is also having to do right by her family. At the tailend of “Back There,” Taystee realizes that she has become the mom of her group, Poussey, Watson, Cindy, and Suzanne being her children. It’s a hilarious moment and one that rings absolutely true when not just considering Taystee’s actions in the episode but throughout the season.
NEXT: Fights, drugs, and a broomstick.