Orange Is The New Black recap: People Persons
Suzanne’s past and present take tragic turns as the prison goes on lockdown
The discovery of the body under the prison garden takes an already crowded, tense situation at Litchfield and pushes it to full-on Lord of the Flies hysteria — Piscatella, no longer even pretending to take orders from Caputo, puts the prison on lockdown and goes rogue, enlisting the other guards in his quest to track down the culprit.
We also got a new, heartbreaking look at Suzanne’s backstory that connects to the chaos now brewing at Litchfield. Pre-prison, she was a friendly, though somewhat manic and emotionally immature, greeter at a big-box type of store — one unabashedly thrilled to be named Employee of the Month. When she sees a young boy she recognizes from work playing in the park, it seems totally normal to her to invite him over to play video games. But her enthusiasm turns frightening when he asks to go home — her sister and boyfriend were out of town for the weekend, and she wanted a playmate and company — leading to a shocking moment when he ventures out onto the fire escape and accidentally falls over.
That revelation comes alongside another horrifying moment in Suzanne’s present when, during the lockdown, CO Humphrey continues his run as an evil, garbage fire of a person and goads Kukudio into fighting her as inmates and some of the other guards look on. She resists and resists, unwilling to fight, until she finally snaps and beats her former love interest to a bloody pulp.
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The lockdown does give Blanca and Piper a reprieve from standing on the cafeteria table, but that’s about the only silver lining in this whole mess. In Caputo’s absence (and against his orders), Piscatella tells the COs to keep all the lights on and begins making a list of inmates he wants to personally interrogate. The list includes Red, who gets pulled in for questioning while Piper and Alex are left to wait and worry in their bunk (Frieda, hilariously, is offended her history wasn’t considered violent enough to make her a potential suspect).
NEXT: Someone takes the fall for Aydin’s murder
Set up in a makeshift interrogation room, Piscatella tells Red he hates prisoners like her — the kind he describes as the type who tries to be your friend and makes you forget they’re locked up for a reason. In his mind, people don’t change — “I should know, my mom sent me to gay conversion camp,” he says — and a search he orders of Red’s belongings turns up a set of keys hidden behind a file cabinet in her office.
In the midst of all this, Lolly approaches Alex and asks if what happened in the greenhouse was real. Alex could have easily lied and said it was all in her head, but tells her the truth — that it did happen, and she saved her life. Doggett also showed Nicky a bit of kindness, keeping her company as she puked through her drug withdrawal. And Luschek, Yoga Jones, and Judy King took molly (ecstasy) and had a threesome. You know, as one does.
Healy returns to the prison after a call from work interrupts a suicide attempt. He points them towards Lolly, who ends up taking the fall for Aydin’s murder and gets committed to psych. Alex, for now at least, is in the clear.
Caputo’s trip to MCC HQ, meanwhile, was really just so the head honchos could tell him what to say and what not to say when the FBI arrives to investigate. For them, this isn’t about a murder — it’s damage control. And Linda is just upset that Caputo didn’t tell her about it himself. Earth to Linda: He was busy dealing with FINDING A BODY AT HIS PRISON. When he tells her he wants to go back to Litchfield that night, she assures him the guards can handle it — the inmates are all behind bars in their cells, right? Wrong. Litchfield is a minimum-security prison, and Caputo realizes she’s never even been there. Has she ever been in any prison? Her reply: “It never seemed necessary.”
And back at that prison, Coates alone is tasked with watching over the crime scene, where he is visited by CO Bayley and they both marvel over what their jobs have become. “I guess you can get used to anything,” Coates tells him. He’s referring to being able to sleep with a dead body nearby after reading Stephen King’s It to pass the time, but he could also be talking about what’s happened this season at Litchfield.
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.