Litchfield's inmates enjoy a few moments of peace in a stellar season finale, but a storm may be on the horizon.
“Trust No Bitch” left me with a stupidly large grin on my face. Not just because it brought the already strong season to a satisfying conclusion, but because it delivered — as far as I can recall — one of the series’ happiest moments.
But first, let’s rewind to the beginning of the episode, which is almost shockingly dark in comparison to the final moments. Boo and Pennsatucky are worried about what happened with Coates. Poussey is freaking out after having found Soso seemingly dead in the library. And movie night’s showing is No Reservations. The poor conditions at Litchfield only continue to shock at every turn.
Thankfully, things aren’t as bad as they seem. Boo and Pennsatucky don’t get into trouble, but Coates is still free to walk around. With Pennsatucky still stuck on van duty, they need to figure out a way of separating Coates from Doggett. Luckily, Boo teaches Pennsatucky how to fake a seizure, which she does during a van ride that sends her and Coates careening into a divider.
They both survive, but Pennsatucky is deemed unfit for driving duty. Unfortunately, there must be an inmate on van duty, and Maritza replaces Pennsatucky as the new driver. Will Boo and Doggett try to save her, or are they washing their hands of Coates completely? That is an answer, sadly, for another day.
We do get an answer to the last episode’s cliffhanger, however. Soso isn’t dead — she’s just been knocked out by the number of pills she took. Taystee, Poussey, and Suzanne force her to throw up, but rather than cure her by way of Pulp Fiction, like Suzanne suggests, they keep her awake to make sure she doesn’t pass out. She eventually regains her strength, but her pain remains. In her next meeting with Healy, a dead-eyed Soso tells him how bad he is at this job, which lands like a gut punch.
Healy’s life at home is a mess, too. He can’t connect with his wife (his problems extend much further beyond her not bringing him leftovers from Olive Garden, but he’s sick of her behavior by now). He spends his entire day around women who are locked up, he tells her. He doesn’t need to come home to that, too. So he promises to help pay for an apartment for her and her mother.
The Litchfield counselor is ready to move on, partially thanks to his continued crush on Red. Ever since they bonded at the beginning of the season, he hasn’t been able to get Red out of his mind. He wants to make things work, and they both acknowledge they have a special relationship. Their ships, however, passed too late in the night for it to be more, Red explains. But I’d be surprised if Healy simply gave up this ghost.
There is at least one romance that works out during “Trust No Bitch”: Morello proposes to Vince Muccio, who promises their love is like Pauly D. and JWoww circa 2010. So she proposes, and he accepts. The two have a ceremony shortly after, which, include Morello’s vows made up of lyrics from Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” (Good thing Foreigner is Vince’s favorite band.) CO Bell, however, likely could have done without having to supervise the newlywed couple consummating the marriage up against the vending machines.
Piper’s new relationship with Stella, meanwhile, doesn’t quite reach those exuberant highs. After Stella revealed she’ll be released from Litchfield shortly, the two share one seemingly final intimate moment when Stella decides to give Piper a tattoo. Using a makeshift needle (that can NOT be safe), Stella stops Piper from going for anything too cliché and writes the words “Trust No Bitch” on her skin.
And it’s appropriate for Piper, who has gone full Godfather and turned nearly her full attention to the panty-selling business. She’s allowed, against Alex’s advisement, Marisol to return to work, but things go south when Piper receives news from her brother. In addition to learning that he and his wife have been creating their own makeshift prisoner-scented panties (without the prisoners), she also discovers that all the money in her account has gone missing.
She assumes Marisol robbed her blind, having supposedly seen Piper use her burner phone in the library. Piper confronts Marisol in the chapel, but Gloria comes to her defense, leaving Piper with only two other possible suspects: Alex and Stella.
So she confronts Stella, and her new partner in love and crime confesses. Being released soon with only $20 to her name, she felt it was her only option. Stella seems sincerely sorry (or at the very least, sorry she was caught), and promises to make it up to Piper. Piper seems to take the news surprisingly well, but her lack of immediate punishment makes some of the inmates view Piper as a soft, easily played leader.
But they would be wrong about that.
NEXT: Piper exacts her revenge and Cindy finds her faith.
Stella thinks all is well between her and Piper, but the conniving entrepreneur has one last trick up her sleeve. She stashed contraband around Stella’s bunk, and then tipped off the guards. It’s a cold move from Piper, ensuring Stella possibly sticks around and that no one tries to cross her again.
Litchfield is fraught with tense showdowns in “Trust.” Norma’s prayer group has been weakened, with Leanne determined to improve the group’s standing even if it has deviated from Norma’s original goal of being kind.
Leanne makes a last ditch effort to renew everyone’s faith. She claims to have found Norma’s face in a piece of toast, reigniting some interest while fortifying the faith of the last few believers. They create a shrine to Toast Norma, but it proves to be more of a false idol than a miracle.
During one of their offerings to the not-so-holy toast, Poussey stumbles upon the ceremony and confronts Norma about Soso’s attempted suicide. The news hits Norma hard. She realizes she’s become nothing but a false leader—the very thing she escaped when she pushed Mac off that cliff in her flashback. So when Leanne tries to smooth things over with Norma, she decides to send her away, not wanting to not waste her life in prison the way she did outside the confines of Litchfield.
The other major religious plotline this season comes to a happier ending, though. Cindy brings back the rabbi who tested all of the inmates on their Judaism. What started out as a scheme to eat tastier food transformed into a sincere attempt on Cindy’s part to convert. She hasn’t explicitly stated her reasons for doing so yet, but her feelings all rise to the surface in a beautifully acted scene by Adrienne Moore.
Cindy asks the rabbi if she can convert. He initially says no, but she continues to ask him. Raised in a church, Cindy believed in a heaven and hell, to accept faith and God as it was taught. But in her view, Judaism encourages her to keep arguing and asking questions. If you do something, you have to figure it out yourself. She knows it may be hard, but as far as she can tell, she’s in it for the long haul.
Truly moved by her explanation (and not at all pushed by the blackmail Ginsburg, who is with Cindy, has on the rabbi), he tells her she can convert. They still need her to perform a Mikveh, however.
More confused about what he wants than Cindy during “Trust” is Caputo. He and Danny go to confront the latter’s father about Sophia. But the talk goes exactly as Danny predicts—his father attempts to change the subject and make them want the opposite of what they desired walking into the meeting. But Danny has had enough of his father’s behavior, quitting on the spot and leaving Caputo to deal with the fallout, and a possible new job opportunity.
Caputo discusses what’s transpired with Fig during one of their sex sessions. Caputo is having performance issues this time around, though. His mind is too preoccupied by the state of his life (“I work for a sleazebag corporation and I am hatef–king a dead-eyed anorexic crone… who’s the only person i can talk to,” he says). He’s not considering the new position because he doesn’t want to capitalize on Sophia, he’d rather protect and fight for her.
Fig has a much more me-centric view of the problem. Caputo needs to stop martyring himself for other people. Has anyone thanked him for all of the times he passes up opportunities to help others? We know the answer to that, and regardless of whether it’s the right thing to do, Caputo takes her advice to heart, and accepts Danny’s job.
Sadly, this puts him in terrible standing with the COs. He’s betrayed them and their plans to unionize. He’s begun to defend the very thing he was going to help them fight. They call him a traitor, but he argues that any one of them would have taken the same promotion he did.
They’ve turned against him, though. Maxwell says that today of all days, MCC needs the trained guards, but Caputo switching sides and undermining their importance causes all of them to walk out on him.
Their absence is is soon felt when a mass prison break occurs. Well, OK, it’s not exactly a full-on break, but the hole in the fence discovered last week becomes a major opportunity when a work crew attempts to fix it. They remove an entire panel of fencing while prepping a replacement, but leaving a large enough window to cause all the women to run for freedom.
And so the impulse of a few inmates transforms into a prison-wide run for the shores of the nearby lake. It’s a release, not just from prison, but from so much of the pain, frustration, and outright anger that has fed their lives for so long.
NEXT: The inmates enjoy the calm before a possible storm.
It comes as such a shock that, at first, the inmates stop where sand meets water, afraid to take that one extra step. It’s Suzanne who pushes them over the edge. She runs full force into the lake, breaking the calm surface, diving headfirst into the water.
Her leap of faith gives everyone else the courage to jump in after her. And for nearly 10 minutes of pure elation, the inmates simply enjoy life. All the fighting, scheming, jealousy, grudges, and negative energy that fills every minute of their lives disappears.
Marisol and Gloria embrace, Pennsatucky and her new friend (Boo) play a game of Chicken with her old friends (Leanne and Angie), Suzanne and her fan/admirer bond (over throwing a turtle repeatedly into the water… but still, it’s a bond). Poussey and Soso, two of Litchfield’s inmates who have most dealt with loneliness and isolation, find each other floating in these new waters of hope.
Daya and her mother, who earlier in the episode argue over what happened to Daya’s baby, enjoy each other’s company. It’s what Daya wanted all along, to spend time with her mother.
Taystee lets loose after spending so much time as a parental figure. And her group comes to accept Soso as Poussey’s new friend (and maybe more?). Norma and Red reunite, putting the issues of this season behind them. Cindy takes her final step toward conversion and performs her Mikveh.
In so many ways, the lake sequence is a beautiful encapsulation of Orange Is the New Black at its best.The show’s best plots are often those hinging on the development of characters we’ve come to know and love. There’s so much pure joy and love that feels earned with every character highlighted in the sequence.
No matter what’s come before, or what is on the horizon, our favorite inmates have the chance to enjoy themselves for a little while. And if only they knew how much they should cherish those moments, as we learn why Maxwell stated the guards were so important today. New bunkbeds are being installed, and that’s because, presumably as part of MCC’s cost-saving measures, they’re increasing the Litchfield population. And, as Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” plays, we see two busloads of new inmates marching into Litchfield.
It looks like our favorite inmates are going to return to one massive surprise.
Thanks for following along for our season 3 recaps of Orange Is the New Black! If you’re looking for a place to discuss the season as a whole, head on over to my ranking of every episode from the third season and talk about everything Litchfield with your fellow fans.