Bea goes to Jaqs’ cell, trying to channel her inner mama bear to protect her cub. She’s ready to pounce when Jaqs is like “I want you…TO STYLE MY HAIR.” Even then, Bea clutches the scisssors and contemplates giving her carotid artery a little trim, but Jaqs tells her to slow down and pay her dues before committing murder. Because Jaqs sees something in Bea that Bea doesn’t even see in herself: a contender. Jaqs also claims that she didn’t order Ronnie to use her daughter as mule, which I’d say is about as likely as that being Jaqs’ natural hair color.
After being released from his own prison, Vinnie Holt appears on the telly to have a good laugh at the concept of justice. After sticking his fingers in his ears and waggling his tongue, he walks off with his hand directly on the ass of a very young, more convincingly blonde woman. And Jaqs’ ever-present smirk pulls a U-turn. So it is in very bad spirits that she goes for her pre-visit strip search. Up until now, the searches we’ve seen have been sites of dominance, when the guards assert their authority even over the most private places on the women’s bodies. But Kris McQuade has the charisma to dominate her own strip search, which is an astonishing feat, let me tell you.
Elsewhere, it is finally time for everyone’s prison testimonials. Before a crowd of VIPs and fellow prisoners, Franky Doyle shares her true feelings about Erica. It is equal parts sincere praise and sexual proposition, and Erica is equal parts moved, turned on, and mortified. Arguably the best part is the way all the prison trustees are too busy saving this to their persoal fantasy database to question the appropriateness of a prisoner declaring her desire and devotion to her warden.
Just, watch it. Watch it nine times.
And then, as if things couldn’t get any more delightful, Boomer stands and shares the secret to rage control taught to her by Franky.
Boomer: Puppies. And Jelly. I get this picture in my head of puppies jumping around in jelly and they’re all mushy and cute and sticky.
The important thing about that is 1. Boomer is fucking precious. And 2. At some point Franky took her aside and helped her, which means that there really is good in her. Not just charm, bravado, sex appeal, and wit, but at least one piece of her heart that is reaching for the light.
While everyone else is accentuating the positive, Liz is at her lowest. She sneaks off to the closet and downs a cup of booze, which is exactly what she did on the day of her mother-in law’s party. When her husband found her drinking all those years ago, he ordered her to pack her bags and leave, and she responded by accidentally running over his mom with a tractor. (OK, horror and tragedy aside, how do you accidentally hit someone with a vehicle that has a top speed of five miles per hour?) With the image of the life she destroyed fresh in her mind, she goes out to destroy her new one.
She manages to hit all the low-notes of drunkenness—incoherent, belligerent, self-pitying, and sexually inappropriate—before the guards drag her off stage.
Afterward, Erica confronts her, demanding to know how she could ruin such an important event for Erica’s career the prisoners. Liz says “I’m sorry,” but it’s as inadequate now as it was when she mowed down Celeste. And I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on alcoholism, but I will say that certain people would rather fail loudly, flagrantly, and on purpose, than risk failing simply because their best efforts weren’t good enough. Not to mention that this outburst ensures that Liz won’t have to leave prison and return to a world full of temptations and a family that is probably still mad about how she killed grandma.