... which is why a whole lot of buried stuff is bubbling up to the surface as season 2's endgame draws nearer

By Hillary Busis
Updated June 14, 2014 at 04:36 AM EDT
Credit: Ali Goldstein/Netflix

Does anyone else hear a chorus of meows and hisses?

That’s because there are multiple cats leaping out of multiple bags in “Little Mustachioed Sh–,” in which inmates, guards, and audiences alike learn the truth about secrets that have been hiding just under the surface all season — and, in some cases, since last year. Some of these confessionals lead to catharsis, or at least the hope of catharsis to come; others slash open wounds like makeshift shivs, leaving bloody trails in their wake.

But enough metaphorification. Let’s examine the episode’s many bombshells, in order of least to most earth-shaking:

10. The reason Poussey got sent to prison

It’s not a secret that P has been keeping from her fellow inmates — but it is something viewers have been wondering for awhile now, especially when no answer came in her episode 6 flashbacks. The answer: She got caught selling weed — relatively innocuous, considering some of the other women’s rap sheets (“I cut my husband’s d–k off with a butcher knife. And it wasn’t even sharp”).

9. Young Alex already had a girlfriend when she and Young Piper first got together

This secret is the focus of the episode’s flashback sequences, which may as well be titled “The Year of Magical Hair Extensions.” Everyone in Northampton but Young Polly must go to the same stylist. Anyway: As it should be, this discovery — which comes moments after another fairly explicit sex scene; way to lull us into a false sense of security, Orange — is a huge red flag for Young Piper. Their relationship begins on a foundation of dishonesty; clearly, it will lead to nothing but tears. And there’s also the matter of Alex’s soon-to-be-ex girlfriend herself, a full-grown woman with the soul of a jealous 13-year-old boy. (She actually puts a bag of flaming dog poop on Piper’s doorstep. What’s next, a Hurtz Doughnut?) Ultimately, the chemistry between the two is strong enough that Young Piper decides to throw caution to the wind and be with Alex — and, well, we all know what happens next. (Love. Travel. Breakup. Straight period. Jail.)

8. Fig’s crooked scheme

Take it away, Journalist Andrew, who’s putting the pieces together for all of us: “The prison is giving inflated contracts to companies that are either shells or subsidiaries of FitzCORE, and FitzCORE is paying kickbacks to the Jason Figueroa campaign.” And she would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling inmates! We won’t know the truth about the corruption until Piper actually sneaks into Fig’s office to steal her files, or at least take a few pictures with a contraband camera — though now that the idea has been planted, it’s sort of like Chekhov’s Corruption-Exposing Plan.

7. Polly slept with Larry

Utterly devastating for Piper when she finds out, thanks to a very suspicious prison visit from her (former?) best friend — though if it speeds along Piper and Alex’s reunion, having this secret out in the open can only be a good thing. (Actually, pause, let’s take a poll: Would you rather watch these two engage in a relationship with one another, knowing that it’s destructive, or are you invested enough in their individual happiness that you’d rather watch each woman strike out on her own?) At least one good thing comes out of this whole mess: Piper getting revenge on Polly by asking her brother’s new wife to leave a flaming pile of dog crap outside her door. Polly, knowing when she’s been had: “I deserve this.” Hee!

6. Red is hiding her contraband in bags of manure

Which would be why all of it literally smells like crap. The guards, alas, don’t get the memo; they sniff the stuff and assume it stinks so bad because it’s coming through “the rectal pipeline.” Lotta poop in season 2, guys. Looootta poop.

5. Morello is a crazy stalker

After what must have been years in prison, Lorna’s fellow inmates finally learn the truth about her beloved Christopher — and more importantly, for the first time, Morello herself seems to realize that something is truly not right inside her brain. The catalyst: Christopher himself, who comes all the way to Litchfield just to tell Lorna that he knows she’s the one who broke into his house, even if the police don’t believe him — and that if she ever comes near him or Angela again, he swears he’ll kill her with his “bare f—ing hands.” It’s a powerful, incredibly tough-to-watch moment; while Christopher’s totally within his rights, how could anyone enjoy watching Morello’s carefully crafted delusions come crashing down around her? The silver lining: Even though Nicky now knows the truth about her ex-quasi-girlfriend/current whatever, she isn’t going to abandon her. To wit:

Nicky: “F— that guy. So many people are going to love you.”

Lorna: “Nobody’s going to love me.”

Nicky: “I do.”

My heeaarrrttttt.

4. Operation Tampon Cigarettes

Newly invigorated by Caputo’s crackdown initiative, the guards stage a surprise sweep of the bunks — and discover a box of tampons hiding Vee’s homemade cigarettes. The bad news: The box happens to be sitting in Janae’s bunk, which means that the former track star has just booked her second all-expenses-paid trip to the SHU. Man, Janae has the worst luck. She’s like a reverse leprechaun. Vee, naturally, says and does nothing as Janae is hauled away; more troubling, neither do Cindy or Suzanne or Taystee or Poussey. But P, at least, is upset enough about this turn of events that she breaks with Vee in a big way, first getting wasted on her disgusting homemade hooch and then physically attacking Vee in the bathroom. She’s so far gone that she can’t even land a punch — or defend herself when Vee, using nothing more than a flick of her head, sics Suzanne on Poussey. It’s heartbreaking to watch Litchfield’s most poetically-inclined soul be reduced to acting as an attack dog. Vee won Suzanne over by appealing to her sense of individuality, calling her a garden rose among the prison’s weeds — but her influence has bred the uniqueness right out of Suzanne, making her perform the role of the scary thug everyone sees her as until they get to know her. In short: Free Suzanne! (I’m making t-shirts.)

3. Vee’s girls are selling heroin

It’s a big deal that Red learns this all-important fact in episode 10 — and that it’s brought to her attention by junkie Nicky, who somehow finds the strength not to snort the bag of smack Taystee gave her last episode. (Gina, who acts as Nicky’s self-appointed watchdog, can’t help beaming with pride when Nicky resists the urge to use. Ain’t sisterhood grand?) The intel comes just as Red has also learned that Vee’s onto her contraband delivery route — meaning that now, the Russian might have a bit of leverage.

2. Daya is pregnant

And finally, everyone knows. Caputo is positively giddy; this means he’ll finally be able to get rid of Mendez once and for all. Fig is slightly less gung-ho, probably because she knows the stink a sex scandal will leave hanging over the prison. There’s hemming and hawing; there’s victim blaming when Fig goads Daya into telling her the sex was consensual, then congratulates her on “officially destroying a man’s life.” (Although, hmm — is Daya still a victim after all that’s happened? Discuss.) But in the end, Red’s big scheme finally pays off; Caputo practically tap dances while firing Mendez in the most drawn-out, indulgent way possible, then watching as U.S. marshals escort him out of prison. Which is when the episode’s biggest secret finally comes out:

1. Pornstache still loves Daya

Enough to shout it from the prison’s hallways, in front of everyone — enough to warn her against eating tuna and soft cheese, and to swear that he’s going to find a way to take care of both her and “their” baby. It’s a crazy, passionate, Morello-worthy display of outsized emotion — and it’s precisely what Bennett has been unwilling to give Daya since this whole mess began. Could there be a snowball’s chance, somehow, that Daya and Mendez will have some sort of long-distance co-prison relationship? And if so, where does that leave noble, cowardly Bennett?

Bonus: The secret not told

When asked by an eager Red how her market is faring, Piper just can’t bear to tell her bunkmate it’s been shuttered. So instead, she delivers a not-so-white lie to Red, saying that the place is busy and bustling and vibrant. Think Red’s going to discover the truth somehow?

Bonus bonus: Another secret’s aftermath

Oh hey, it’s that Sophia storyline you’ve been waiting for! The prison beautician is apprehensive and excited to see her son come visit for the very first time — a visit that’s supercharged with emotions on all fronts, considering that little Michael Burset is the one who turned her into the feds. Things are rough at first, but by the end, bonding seems to be happening. Sniff. At least someone’s getting a semi-happy ending.

The Commissary:

– If we hadn’t already seen her shirtless, I’d guess that Soso has this phrase tattooed over her heart: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” In any case, it’s a trajectory she seems to be following as she spends more time in prison; though her hunger strike isn’t exactly sweeping through the prison like wildfire, she at least seems to have Yoga Jones and Sister Ingalls on her side now.

– Bell, holding Morello’s stolen bear: “I’m going to take this home after I rip it open to check for drugs. It’s adorable!”

– The guards are to Litchfield as the accountants were to Dunder Mifflin; discuss.

– Litchfield’s oatmeal gets compared to snot several times this episode; it does, in fact, resemble the description of troll boogers given in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

– Red, as always, offering sound advice for the ages: “Stop hitting walls and plot your revenge.”

– Though the inmates naturally divide themselves by racial lines while in prison, Taystee and Poussey prove that this classification system is as arbitrary as any other. Their backgrounds are totally different, to the point where this horrible breakup may have been inevitable all along. Except I’m still really, really hoping they’ll find a way to patch things up.

– Vee’s not impressed by Red’s delivery method: “A tunnel, Red? That is so Bugs Bunny!”

– You know how they say doctors make the worst patients? Apparently, prison counselors also make the worst therapy-goers. He declares to his poor therapist that he doesn’t need her help, then heads back to Litchfield to parrot her words to Pennsatucky — and try, unsuccessfully, to set up a group therapy meeting where he’ll have an even bigger platform to dispense his wisdom. There are two ways of looking at this: Healy as long-suffering idealist, beaten and broken by his soulless job; or Healy as misogynist petty dictator, a man who can’t stand to take help from a woman and needs instead to assert his dominance over the other sex by assuming a paternalistic, ostensibly caring role. The neat thing about OITNB? Both of these characterizations of Healy can be true at the same time.

– One reason I’ll actually miss Pornstache if he does go to jail: “What were they serving in there, Red? Humble pie? Crow? Whipped old lady? ..High horse hamburger? Egg on your face? Did you eat your hat?”

– What could Alex’s friend possibly have been doing with that Ray Romano puppet?

Episode Recaps

Orange Is the New Black

Jenji Kohan’s absorbing ensemble dramedy, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, takes viewers inside the walls of Litchfield, a minimum security women’s prison where nothing’s as simple as it seems—especially the inmates.

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  • 6
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  • Netflix