“Orange is the New Black” recap (2.9): 40 oz. of Furlough


It’s the blessed day of Piper’s furlough and she wakes up to find a smiling Red watching her. Red hands her a post it the address of her shop, and gives her a hug before sending her off into the world. It’s one of the sweetest maternal moments we’ve seen on this show, and a far cry from the days when Red was trying to starve Piper. When Red lets her guard down, she is a hell of a doll. Before Piper leaves, she has to go through a strip search by CO Bell who encourages her to “shake out that pink.” Good lord. I’m beginning to think they have modeled CO Bell after the prison matrons from ’70s exploitation films. Piper gets a pair of prison issue civies, and is escorted out by CO O’Neill who runs down the lists of rules and regulations for her furlough. No booze, no drugs, no fun. Got it? She steps out into the cool spring air, free for a full 48 hours. Cal and his monstrous station wagon have come to pick her up and Piper screams with joy as she piles in. Soon, their smiles turn somber as Piper laments missing her grandmother’s last days. Cal tells his sister that he made sure Nana knew that Piper was thinking of her.


Red stops by the commissary to pick up a shit load of spices. Vee, who is handling the transaction, is wildly curious but Red tells her to mind her business. Vee can’t help but notice how flush Red’s account is and starts digging around about Red’s family. Red growls back at Vee to leave her family out if it. Vee condescends about Red “finding her way” with her new crew of mature matrons.

Red finds Nicky in the hall and asks for a favor. Sure, it will only cost two boxes of Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies, Nicky tells her. (Those things really are fucking fantastic.) Red agrees and asks Nicky to gather Red’s former crew the next night for dinner in the greenhouse. Nicky agrees but advises Red that she’s not exactly handing this whole “apology” thing the right way. Before they can finish their conversation, the doors swing open and Mendez’s second reign of terror begins. He’s handing out SHOTS left and right, and feeling might good about it.


The inmates aren’t the only ones who are horrified to see Pornstache again. Bennett bursts into Caputo’s office to ask why the hell Mendez has been allowed back at Litch. Caputo informs him that Mendez’s suspension is up, and his brand of boorish civil rights infringement is just what the administration is looking for. Bennett exclaims that he is more that up for the task of being the bad guy and Caputo asks him to prove it.

In a nicely decorated office, on a couch with tasteful throw pillows, Mr. Healy sits for his first therapy session. His therapist tries to get to the heart of Healy’s anger issues…a thing that makes him very angry. Not exactly one who is comfortable being questioned by women, he lashes out at her. He apologizes but the therapist knows she’s got a lot of work ahead of her.

At the podium of the Litch AA meeting is Nicky, who expounds on the evils of heroine in her own special way. She’s painfully honest about the drug that landed her in prison. “Heroin is the love of my life. She’s my best girlfriend. She’s my soulmate, coz she makes me feel better than anything.” Also sitting in on the meeting are Vee (reading The Fault in Their Stars), Suzanne (getting her back rubbed by Vee) and Taystee (generally glowering). Rosa, who is the leader of the meeting, wishes them all well and ends the session. Vee approaches Rosa at the end and offers her the copy of TFiOS, thinking it’s would be right up a dying woman’s alley. Vee asks Rosa what her escape is, trying to get a feel for any weakness of addiction she can exploit. Rosa doesn’t play that game though and walks away. Vee sets her eyes on Nicky next, but it’s pretty clear how to push our favorite lion-maned lesbian’s buttons. From the other side of the door, Red watches they exchange with a wary eye.


Red heads straight to Gloria to discuss her stashed goods, but their conversation is interrupted by a puffed up Bennett. He orders Red out of bounds for being near the kitchen and issues her a shot when she talks back to him. Fearless, Red walks up to him and whispers, “You’re going to make a great father.”

Flashback to Red’s first night in prison. She and her long hair are huddled up and terrified in her bunk. Also there are Anita, who has just arrived as well, and Vee. As Vee starts to make her bunk, we learn this isn’t her first prison rodeo. A group of African-American prisoners make their way into the bunk, led by a woman named Rhonda. Rhonda hands Vee a welcome basket of toiletries and tells Vee to meet them for breakfast. Vee, who doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do, tells them that she’s not a morning person, so no thanks. Rhonda gets in Vee’s face and tells her that she’s a breakfast person as of right now. Vee offers Red a toothbrush and toothpaste from the basket and starts making chit-chat. Red reveals that she’s on kitchen detail and her store’s produce guy is now the prison produce vendor because of her. Vee suggests that Red use the connection to her advantage but Red is hesitant to break any more rules. Vee tells Red it’s all about survival.


In the library, Poussey is doing a bang up job with the stamps for smokes racket. The inmates stick the stamps in the library card slot and voila. Tampon cigarette and Flowers in the Attic for you! Suzanne stops in to drop off replenishments and for a second, she and Poussey act like actual friends. But just for a second.

A nervous Larry prepares French press coffee in anticipation of Piper’s arrival. When he answers the door, he and Piper share an awkward hug. Piper gets teary at the homey smell of the apartment, which is no longer hers. All of Piper’s stuff is literally in a box on the left. (To the left, to the left.) Piper asks about Polly, which makes the color drain from Larry’s face as he fumbles around for some reasonable answer. “She’s fine!” Larry reluctantly offers to let Piper stay at his place, but she knows that isn’t something he wants. Plus she has to stay at her folk’s house since that is what’s on the prison paperwork. Piper suggests that she, Larry and Cal all go to the Spotted Pig and eat overpriced burgers and drink bourbon. Cal thinks that’s a swell idea, except for the whole funeral home viewing thing. Once there, Piper stands in the greeting line with her parents, as she has to explain herself to mourner after mourner. At least she’s got her mother there to passively aggressively remind Piper that she’s not the only one who is dealing with pain.


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