“Orange is the New Black” recap (2.1): Thirsty Bird


When we last laid eyes on Piper Chapman, she was liberating Pennsytucky from a few of her teeth. Pennsytucky, drunk on religious and homophobic fervor had been attempting to shiv Piper with a homemade crucifix, while a spiteful Mr. Healy looked on. Piper was able to best her however, and all of Piper’s pent up anger, fear, frustration came pouring out as she pounded her fists into Pennsytucky’s face and the screen faded to orange.

In this Jodi Foster directed episode, Season two opens up in a familiar place for Piper: The SHU. A CO, demanding that she get her ass up, awakens piper. Piper is rightfully confused, as the days would all bleed into one another if she hadn’t created a handy little chart with red crayon. (It’s been about three weeks, fyi.) She scrambles as the CO barks demands and criticizes the “art” that Piper has created by smearing her breakfast on the wall. (Thirsty Bird, mixed medium. Cost: Two Twix Bars and a bottle of Pantene.)


The CO is not an art aficionado so he tells her to cut the shit and come with him. He asks if she has to pee before they leave, but Piper is in too much of a panic to plan her bladder strategy. She begs the officer to tell her where she’s being moved and if it’s because of Pennsytucky. Piper, just like the rest of us, is uncertain about Pennsytucky’s fate. For three weeks she’s been agonizing over her actions and she still doesn’t know the truth. She’s put into a van, then a bus, still unaware of where she is being sent. The guards seem to delight in her fear, and once seated she starts to flip the fuck out until the driver gives her a warning.

This triggers a flashback to when Piper was a middle schooler, and a strict rule follower. Her best friend tries to convince Piper to take part in the traditional pre-Christmas break jump from the back of the bus. The friend is convinced that following the cool kids will elevate their status come January, but Piper remains unconvinced. While most everyone else jumps, Piper stays behind. Even the bus driver is confused, but Piper is risk adverse. She tells him that her father taught her to have strength of character, not to jump out of buses like a jackass.


Back in the present day, Piper tries to get some answers from fellow inmates and officers, all the while nursing a very full bladder. The inmates don’t have a clue and the guards aren’t talking. A kindly inmate schools Piper on the world of “pee pads” for just such occasions. (In case you are wondering, it’s two maxi pads layered) Shortly thereafter, the bus arrives at an airport where the inmates are checked for contraband before boarding. The US Marshall in charge finds a razor blade under the tongue of a particularly punchy inmate, and she’s carted off. When it’s Piper’s turn, she begs for a bathroom break. She finally gets one when they board, albeit with the door wide open.

Piper is seated next to an inmate played by Lori Petty, who is kind of like your cool but kooky Aunt Barb, if Aunt Barb was a felon who smuggled Vaseline in her ear. Across from Piper is the razor blade carrying, spitting inmate, who is now wearing a Hannibal Lector-like mask. Piper and Aunt Tank Girl bond a bit on the flight as Piper confesses her fear that she’s being sent away for murder. Piper breaks down about the trauma of being pushed to her breaking point, and realizing there was something beyond it. Something scary and alien that she wonders has been inside her all along, just waiting to come out.


Piper flashes back again, this time to her tweens, where she and her friend Sara get an older boy to buy them tickets to Dazed and Confused. Sara is excited but Piper is concerned that the material might not be appropriate and could scar them for life. Her friend tells her to lighten up, and just then, Piper sees her father across the street. He’s with a strange woman whom he opens his car door for and kisses before taking off. It will be the first time in Piper’s life that the earth beneath her feet crumbles.

The plane touches down in order to pick up a crop of new prisoners. Male prisoners. One of the male inmates takes a shine to Piper, calling her First Class, and offering her a prime seat on his junk. Piper tries to sink further and further into her seat. The plane begins its descent and Piper finally finds out where she’s headed when she sees the skyline of Chicago.

She’s driven to a prison that makes Litchfield look like a prep school. I’m not entirely convinced that it isn’t the same prison from Oz. Male inmates perform custodial duties, and as she looks around, Piper knows she is definitely not in Kansas anymore. She’s still unable to get any answers about why she’s been moved, but she does get some new roommates. Unfortunately, she doesn’t make a good impression, as she unwittingly steps on the cell’s prized cigarette smuggling cockroach, Yoda. Dead he is, yes. She is ordered to find a new roach of the same size and temperament, or have her ass handed to her. In addition to Joyce, who appears to be the leader, Piper is sharing her cell with a sensitive redhead, an intimidating lady with tattoos all over her face named Felcia and Mazall (played by out actor Rebecca Drysdale), an astrologically obsessed lesbian with Warby Parker glasses. She tries to get Piper’s info so she can do her chart, but Piper is warned by the redhead not to give too much away.


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