Black’n’Orange: Season 3 Episode 4

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In keeping with what I noted as a big theme of the first couple episodes, episode four “Finger in the Dyke” was all about relationships’ expectation vs. reality. For some, the parallels were a bit more clear cut: Alex and Piper are, for the first time in present plotlines, offisch, while Daya struggles to understand where the hell the father of her baby went.
But it’s in the subject of the flashbacks that we find our focal point on the issue. Her identity being at odds with her parents (and later, the world) is a pretty clear cut demonstration of how the expectations or projections one has for a relationship can pan out in ways that leave both sides feeling disappointed. And though it’s hard to not let the dialogue here feel too after-school special, Boo’s episodic arc is perhaps one of the most mature I’ve seen from these flashbacks. There really is no easy answer. And while I’m really in no way on the side of her parents, the show didn’t shy away from the fact that some problems don’t get easier just because you’re out from under their roof.


Giving Boo some back story was painfully necessary, because despite being a major player in a lot of plot lines through the first two seasons we really don’t know too much about what she’s about. She’s cheeky, she’s out for herself, she loves women, but what makes her tick? It made me feel doubly glad that the flashback was as nuanced as it was, given how glib I often find her character.

And as we’re four episodes in plot arcs continue to roll, although not in any direction in particular. This season the writers seem to be moving away from any sort of “Big Bad” as the Buffy gang would say, and instead really digging into the roundtable of characters they’ve got (and more than ever we see meal times becoming a sort of rounds on everybody’s goings-on). But it’s definitely a slow boil.

But here that boil is more under the microscope: Where “Mother’s Day” looked at relationships strained by prison, this one pulls apart its storylines into relationships, and prison.

Soso’s sort of been in the slow cooker for a while; demystifying and then disparaging serving time. The visit from her friend gave her the opportunity to vent a lot of frustration that I feel like has been building (and slung at her) for a long time coming, and her monologue managed to feel true to herself and her arc. But poor Soso; disconnecting with friends, and realizing the reality of your relationship with them—strained by a court-mandated prison sentence or no—can be tough. But Kimiko Glenn is acting the hell out of it.

Meanwhile Piper is finding new peace in her jail stay. Whether or not that has something to do with her new girlfriend, I can’t say yet. But given Piper’s general fucked-up attitude towards people and how she adopts the lifestyle of the one she’s with, I’d say we’re in for a helluva ride.

  • Alex’s shift to suddenly very much into Piper and prison felt very abrupt to me. I often appreciate the gutter time between episodes and what writers are able to do (or not have to do) with it, but this felt too jarring.
  • Did we know Boo’s name before this? Memory for names is not my forte, but I don’t think we did. Carrie.
  • $5.37 ($1.79/meal) to feed a prisoner for a day. Jesus christ. (And the national average is $1.58) I’m really hoping that OITNB can finally really dig into the prison industrial complex, like they always promised it sort of would be. Even if it’s just popularizing more statistics like this.
  • Admittedly they are doing that somewhat by bringing in the privatized prison sale. Interested to see where that goes.
  • That was a nice brick joke with the synced up periods.
  • “White people. And other.”