Alex has received her fair share of flashbacks before, most notably in “F***sgiving,” but with her renewed presence on the show—and her paranoia about her life outside Litchfield this season—so “Fear, and Other Smells” offers a reminder of just what’s at stake from Alex’s other life.
That look begins on perhaps one of the lowest notes in Alex’s life: her mother’s funeral. She’s almost as sad about the funeral itself as the state of it. Only three other people showed up, the pastor’s eulogy might as well have been printed off the internet, and Piper did not show up. Saddened, angered, and lost, Alex’s old business associate, Fahri, appears to cheer her up with a pinch of drugs and a job offer. Initially she’s reluctant, but she ends up going away with him to Paris, where the two engage in more drugs, dancing, and other cathartic releases for the grieving daughter.
But the happy times go awry when Fahri and Alex decide not to pick up someone key to their job from the airport, that woman is arrested and the two sober up thanks to the shot of fear running through their bodies. They hole up in their hotel room, afraid of even the room service attendant. But it might be for good reason. The attendant hands their third associate a slip of paper that I can assume said something along the lines of “Killing Fahri would probably be a good idea.” So he puts a few bullets in Fahri and takes Alex back to meet Kubra.
He’s willing to spare her, even help her, and assures her he is a rational man who killed Fahri after a period of screwups on his part, not simply after one failure. But that show of power has been enough to instill a sense of danger into her daily life, knowing that Kubra could decide her fate at any time.
That paranoia has seeped into her life at Litchfield, and the current object of it is Lolly. Alex seems to find her wherever she goes in Litchfield, and, granted, while the prison is a small place, she’s been too prevalent in her life for Alex to feel comfortable. When Piper confronts Lolly about it, the new Litchfieldian plays it off as just a reaction to Alex’s overreaction to her.
In the end, it’s no overreaction, though. As Alex packs it in for the night, Lolly watches from her cube, taking notes of an “AV’s” schedule throughout the day. Alex may want to keep peering over her shoulder for the next few weeks.
And where’s Piper throughout all of Alex’s worry? Well, aside from trying to dissuade her girlfriend at every turn, she’s continuing to build up her business, Stinky Prisoner Panties LLC. (Not the actual name, but really, every brilliant idea needs a good name to market properly). With the food having gone barely edible in the kitchen, flavor packs are the hot commodity at the commissary. So Piper buys the entire stock, offering to give them to any women willing to wear and then give her the extra Whispers underwear she’s sewed.
“I need your vag sweat,” she says with utmost sincerity to a group of inmates, giving a rousing speech that, were it about American freedom rather than underwear, would fit right into any Aaron Sorkin drama. But this is Litchfield, and dirty underwear for profit is the hot topic. So the women agree, largely out of desperation for food with a flavor that won’t make them barf.
If all goes well with her new workers (and the young security guard she’s flirting with to use as a panty mule), Piper will be rolling in enough money to buy out the entire commissary. If she’s that rich, Caputo may be knocking at her cube very soon. Danny hasn’t come through on any requests for things like new books, higher education training, and in fact he’s upset that the cost of kosher meals has suddenly skyrocketed. But Caputo’s pleas for help get through to Danny, who decides to bring them back to the most uncomfortable corporate board meeting in recent TV memory.
NEXT: Litchfield finds its E.L. James and Daya wrestles with the truth.