In many obvious and subtle ways, Orange Is the New Black’s third season has been an episodes-long case of identity. It’s been part of the show’s DNA since the start, but as Litchfield’s staff and inmates settle down from the deadly showdowns of season 2, it seems like it’s time for everyone to take a long hard look in the dirty bathroom mirror and figure out who they are and what their lives mean.
“Fake It Till You Make It Some More” continues that trend in an episode that feels like the first slight misstep for season 3 so far. It’s far from bad or disappointing, it just can’t quite match the highs of the past few episodes, especially coming off Boo’s impressive spotlight episode. Another seemingly ancillary character is brought to the forefront of “Fake It,” as Marisol’s past reveals just how much she’s struggled to be someone she wasn’t rather than accepting who she was.
Marisol, in her time at high school, thought she had run of the place. She could talk her way out of anything, in her mind, her personality and alleged way with words helping her to escape the life her mom led. She wants to break free from the sewing her mom teaches so she’ll have a useful skill. Instead, she’d rather sell fake drugs at school to make become popular—and rich—much more easily.
Unfortunately, her desire to become something more clouds her judgment (though, really, she should have realized selling any kind of drug, real or fake, would end up going south at some point). She sells a bit of her homemade brew to a particularly shy, depressed student and his friend. Empowered by the placebo effect, the depressed student leaps from the top of the school, surviving but remaining in critical condition. Marisol is connected to his jump, and, even if the drugs are fake, is still arrested for endangerment and fraud.
Marisol never learned it seems, as she’s making a similar mistake in Litchfield. A new, high paying set of jobs is being introduced to the prison (one whole dollar!), and most of the prison are looking for a coveted spot in the top secret program. The test involved is, unfortunately, full of personality-driven questions that sound more like a psych evaluation than an aptitude test. The morality/philosophy-focused test drives Marisol into a nervous fit, and Maxwell has no choice but to throw her out midway through the test.
Luckily for her, it doesn’t really matter because the test, as Danny reveals to Caputo, was a way of playing the inmates. The best test takers were picked randomly from the pile, the test’s only purpose to ensure the inmates were upset with each other and not the system. It makes them think they’re not worthy compared to their fellow prisoners, rather than the system determining their worth.
And so Marisol, along with Piper and a host of other recognizable and background inmates, are brought to the new job headquarters, which serves as a bit of a coming home for Marisol as the job involves sewing. Specifically, underwear for a Victoria Secret knockoff. Hopefully she paid some attention to her mother.
Marisol isn’t the only inmate having a crisis of faith at Litchfield. Poussey has begun drinking more heavily (“It’s always 5 o’clock in prison,” she tells Taystee), and while it comes a bit out of nowhere for her this season (though, as has been pointe out, not in her past), the results are at least hilarious and heartbreaking.
Poussey has been mixing her own alcohol in a small garden adjacent to the library, hiding plastic bags of the prison wine in holes she’s dug up. But the bags have begun to go missing. While we discover it’s thanks to Taystee trying to prevent her close friend from becoming a problematic alcoholic, she’s not quite ready to reveal her misdeeds. Instead, she blames a squirrel, fingering the alleged drunk rodent as the culprit.
NEXT: Red strikes up a romance, and Daya makes an important choice. [pagebreak]
The prison is full of other Litchfieldians trying to escape or forced to accept their current situations. Daya learns that Bennett is gone without a trace (and again Cesar shows his strange morals by really harping on having a side girl while your real love is in prison), and so when she meets with Pornstache’s mother again, she decides she’s more than willing to give up her child. At least then the baby will have a room to itself, someone responsible taking care of him or her, and a life free of the tumult of living under Cesar’s roof. But the conversation’s not over, and in a moment played with wonderful sincerity and sweetness by Mary Steenburgen, she promises to come revisit Daya so they can get to know one another better.
Red is also hoping to lift herself out of her current predicament, flirting with Healy after they began to bond last week. And Healy really, truly believes she’s interested in him, and Healy realizes he has feelings for her. But, unfortunately for the maritally plagued counselor, Red really just wants a reassignment to the kitchen. It’s out of the question, of course—there’s no real reason Gloria would be removed from her post—but you can’t blame an impressively conniving inmate for trying.
But it’s not the end for Red. She can still make something of herself, as can Marisol, and as can Daya. They’re all trying to determine where their lives are going, some of them still refusing to accept where they are. While others have made peace with their current predicament and making the best of it. Whether that works out for all of them? Well, that’s a question we probably won’t see answered for a few more episodes.
- We’ve finally put a name to what Gloria was practicing—Santeria (which could have also been solved by a quick Google search, but such are the struggles of binge watching). She’s angry that Norma is branching out and trying to practice it on her own without any cultural connection to it.
- And while the inmates are excited about a new job, the actual staff of Litchfield is furious. The guards discover their hours are being cut, and they’re not sure who’s going to make up for all that time. It’s doubtful MCC is going to just let the inmates run amok for half the day, every day.
- I’m not sure whether I was more shocked at how Cesar described he’d kill Bennett for Daya or how quickly Daya agreed to that plan of action, as understandably angry as she is.
- Suzanne’s most trying question during the exam? True or false: “I spend most of my time trying to understand things,” she wonders aloud as she repeats the question in confusion.
- When Marisol learns Lorna wasn’t chosen for the new job, she promises to tell the other women she’ll make sure they pee neater to make her bathroom duty easier. Never has Lorna kept her rage so bottled up as when she lets out a curt but hilarious “Oh gee, thanks.”
- Alex and Piper are getting along now, but Alex is growing suspicious of whether someone from the outside may be coming to kill her. Piper makes a joke out of it, but Alex is concerned, and while, for now, her suspicions are unfounded, it would not be surprising if this episode seriously foreshadowed things to come.