Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Orange is the New Black Season 2, Episodes 4-6.
"He doesn’t realize she's a whore. You don't go Jessica Simpson when you've got Rihanna."
After the first three episodes of reintroduction, the next three episodes threw us right into the thick of things. Namely, the all out war over control of the prison. The generals in the self-segregated war remain Vee, Red and Gloria.
We already got the lowdown on Vee, she’s a master manipulator and she stuck with that tactic in order to trick Gloria into giving her what she wanted: her girls working custodial. But the fifth episode, “Low Self Esteem City,” gave us Gloria’s backstory.
Gloria was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t find the strength to leave until the state took that choice away from her and locked her away itself. She was running a food stamp fraud and also mouthing off to unhappy customers until the latter ratted her out for the former. So now she’s in prison where she finally found the courage to stand up for herself. In other words, to be a big bully.
Either way, it was strange to see Gloria go from scared, battered woman to gang leader in the span of a few seconds thanks to the flashbacks. But her hand in the war starts and ends with her control of the kitchen. They’ve never expressly mentioned if inheriting the kitchen equals inheriting the smuggling monopoly, but I doubt Aledia and the others would need Bennett and his fake leg if she had.
Thankfully for the inmates, Red and Vee and taking up the contraband torch.
Vee revealed that all her maneuvering to get “her girls” on custodial was because she planned to sneak in tobacco with the cleaning supply deliveries. She also made it clear that she will not tolerate disloyalty. She approached Poussey about getting in on her hooch business and when she turned her down Vee made it her mission to hurt Poussey as much as she could; by driving a wedge between her and Taystee.
Of course in episode six, “You Also Have a Pizza,” we saw how Poussey responds to having the women she loves yanked away from her. And in Litchfield she doesn’t have her father to hold her back.
Our final contender happens to be the one with my support. Gloria is too volatile to be trusted with the power of running the prison and Vee’s too good at the game to be allowed back in. But Red already had control and everything ran smoothly when she did. It looked like she was out, but seeing Vee vying for her position lit a fire and she quickly found a new way of getting in her contraband; a hidden manhole inside the garden shed.
Unfortunately, Red’s girls are finding it a little harder to forgive and forget because this time the scars are visible. So Gloria has the kitchen, Vee has the manpower and Red has the contraband. Which will prove to be the best asset?
But the metaphors of war would not be complete without a little love. “You Also Have a Pizza” gave us a look at Valentines Day in prison (Spoiler Alert: its very sad), but the love plotlines are everywhere this season. From Nicky and Big Boo’s orgasm competition to Larry attempting to not be a moon by kissing his married with child friend to Daya and Bennett playing the pretending game, we were given many kinds of love. We had the chocolate pudding bath while eating pizza kind, the coming home kind and, of course, the painful kind.
And no love story was more painful than Morello’s. Not only painful for her, but probably for the couple she stalked and attempted to kill.
Last season it was a running joke that Morello’s wedding plans were unrealistic. No, no one believed that her fiancé would wait for her to get out of prison, but they all assumed she actually at one point had a fiancé. The truth of Morello’s story, that she had gone on exactly one date with Christopher before he called it off and she refused to let go, is tragic.
Tragic because it caused her so much pain, but also tragic because this girl clearly does not belong in prison. She belongs somewhere she can get the help she obviously needs. This was not a matter of lying to look better to the other inmates, Morello truly believed that she and Christopher were engaged, that they had an actual relationship.
Its sad, but not sadder than any other backstory we’ve seen so far and perhaps that is the truly, truly tragic part.
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