The season's darkest flashback yet sheds new light on Pennsatucky.
Season 3 has been an interesting year of rehabilitation for TIffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett. Especially considering her journey from season 1 as an archnemesis to Piper to her surprising friendship with Boo, Pennsatucky has had one of the most curious journeys on the show this year. So it’s only fitting she has a flashback of her own this season—and a heartbreaking one at that—which completely opens up what we knew about the character.
“A Tittin’ and a Hairin’” opens with little Tiffany having her first period, and her mother attempting to comfort her in her own special way. She tells Tiffany she now has value… and that boys are going to start treating her differently. It’s time for “the talk,” but Tiffany’s mother doesn’t exactly paint sex in the greatest light for her daughter.
“…Go on and let them do their business,” she says. “If you’re real lucky, most of them will be quick like your daddy. It’s like a bee sting, in and out, over before you knew it was happening.”
It’s a sad framing but sadly not unrealistic description—given the life her mother intimates she’s led—of the value of sex in life. And so Tiffany grows up, thinking of sex as a thing to be done when a man needs to do it, so it’s no surprise when we see her having sex with a guy (in exchange for soda) and deriving absolutely no joy from it herself.
That changes, though, when a new boy, Nathan, comes to her hometown and asks her out on a date. She asks what she has to do to go with him. His answer? “Be my date.”
There’s no outright expectation of sex with Nathan, it’s not part of the deal. He simply wants to get to know her, and the two quickly fall for each other. But Nathan does more than just properly ask her on a date. When the two become a bit more intimate, Nathan shows her that sex doesn’t just have to be about letting a man “do his business.” He wants them both to enjoy the experience, and it opens Tiffany’s perception of relationships.
Unfortunately, the man she’s fallen for has to move away. He promises he’ll come back for her, but his family is moving away, leaving her alone. And who attempts to fill that space? The man who had sex with her before has returned, and he doesn’t want to hear about her new love. Instead he forces himself on her, pushing her against the wall as he rapes her. Tiffany’s eyes go dull as she lives through the harrowing experience, and in a horrific twist of the knife, this is not the only rape the episode contains.
Tiffany (will now make a completely not smooth transition to calling her Doggett) is contending with a strange relationship in Litchfield. After Coates forcibly tried to make out with her last week, he comes back this week contrite and apologetic, telling her that he likes Doggett and wants to be her friend, not someone she fears.
Coates mood changes, however, when Caputo puts him on probation for being late several days. His and Doggett’s detours to the pond have made him erratic on the job, and his job is at risk because of it. So when Doggett acts even remotely flirty with him later, he becomes immediately incensed. He fears the future of his job, and though she tries to offer her help, he says her help is only getting him in trouble. In his rage, he decides to give Doggett what he thinks she wants, grabbing her, throwing her onto the van’s seat and forcing himself on her.
This second rape comes almost immediately after the first, a double punch to the gut that is painful to watch from the moment the first scene begins to when a tear streams down Doggett’s face as the second scene, and the episode itself, ends.
It’s an absolutely harrowing centerpiece to an episode that has a number of surprisingly dark moments, perhaps most notably the dual-bathroom showdown. Gloria and Sophia argue about their sons in one bathroom, while Alex confronts Lolly in another.
NEXT: Fights break out and a surprising face returns.
In the former, the two argue over their parenting methods, the blame being cast on each of their sons, some of it founded and much of it the result of neither being open and talking with one another. Gloria makes a dig about about Sophia not being a real mother because of her transition, and Sophia shoves Gloria into a wall in response. Gloria ends up on the floor, attended to by Aleida.
Alex and Lolly’s fight also ends up on the floor, after Lolly pulls the stolen piece of shard from the greenhouse on Alex and attempts to cut Alex. Vause is too quick for her, however, punching Lolly in the face and beginning to choke her out until the new Litchfield inmate tells her the truth—she thinks the prison is bugged by the NSA and is trying to frame her as a terrorist. Alex may have been paranoid, but Lolly was equally paranoid the entire time. It’s a bit of relief for Alex, but it certainly doesn’t preclude Kubra from sending someone else into Litchfield for her.
Alex has been dealing with her paranoia alone as Piper becomes preoccupied with her panty business and her new love interest, Stella. She attempts to make Stella boring so she’s less attracted to her, but the two continue to bond, even after Alex discovers the two talking in Piper’s bed (fully clothed, of course), Piper kissing her in a defiant statement that she’s not going to stop Alex from letting her do something she wants to.
Piper isn’t the only one with relationship woes, as Suzanne finds that one of her fans doesn’t just like the material, she likes Suzanne, and wants to help clear her writer’s block with a bit of practical experience. The only problem is Suzanne has never been with another person, at all. And despite some advice from Morello, she ends up deciding not to go through with anything, leaving her fan alone in the broom closet.
More surprising than Suzanne developing a romantic subplot is the return of Pornstache (sans ‘stache, of course). His mother goes to visit him in prison to break the bad news to him that Daya’s baby is not his. But he refuses to believe. He adamantly shuts out the truth, telling his mother that the baby will make him the man she always believed he could be. So she makes one more plea to Daya. She wants Daya to know that she will still be the mother, but that she would love to adopt the baby and give it a good home (she leaves out the part about how it would emotionally devastate her son if she didn’t).
Daya after waffling previously, says yes after only a few moments of consideration. She wants the baby to have the best life it can have, even if that life isn’t with her.