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.