Orange Is The New Black: Low Self Esteem City, Review

Vee is up to no good and there are new shades of Caputo in OITNB's fifth episode.

Best scene of the episode? When Healy goes to a bar and sees Caputo playing bass in an over-the-hill-hipster band called Side Boob. For all his politicking, Caputo is the quintessential middle manager. He is basically a good guy who wants to do the right thing, but is forced to carry out Figueroa’s fucked up directives. After Side Boob finishes playing their set, he and Healy get shit faced while ranting that at the very least they should be able to keep the Litchfield women safe and clean.

Tough to do your job when you are wading through a river of shit. Literally.

Sewage has begun backing up into the showers in the Latin dorm. It is an eighty thousand dollar fix, so Figueroa tells Caputo to make the girls to take 30 second showers. But not before Mendoza and the kitchen crew crash the ghetto bathroom. This causes friction between the black girls and the Latinos. The kitchen staff get their shoes stolen, and the black girls get their food salted. Things get a little out of hand when Watson trips Daya, which causes Bennett to temporarily lose his shit and throw Watson to the ground.

Finally Vee and Mendoza face off and in a stunning display, Vee backs down and tries to cut a deal. Now that is suspicious. Vee does not strike me as someone who rolls over and shows her belly. No, Vee is much too clever for those shenanigans. Instead, she sees right through Mendoza and knows the woman probably has a soft spot (blind spot) for a victim. And may I just take this moment to say GODDAMN Lorraine Toussaint is flawless!

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It’s true. On the outside the tough head of the kitchen was routinely abused by her boyfriend. She saved money by running a food stamp scam at her bodega, which ultimately landed her in prison. And those candles she always swears by? Well, they certainly served their purpose (SPOILERS) when boyfriend burned to death after he knocked some candles over while attempting to steal Mendoza’s illicitly gotten cash.

Speaking of loveless marriages, Healy is learning Russian in an attempt to win his mail order bride’s affections. He plans a date night for them, but when his wife opts to visit with a girlfriend instead, he practically bites her head off and tries to prevent her from going out. It is suddenly obvious that, frustrated with the relationship, he has started trying to treat his wife as a subordinate. Good luck with that, buddy.

Still, the therapy (and his run in with Side Boob), coupled with his latent guilt over what happened to ‘Tucky has motivated Healy to try and do a better job. And by doing a better job, I mean actually doing his job as a counselor. In a shocking move, he agrees to process Piper’s request for furlough.

And why does Piper want furlough? Because her granny is dying. Piper’s uptight mother and hippie brother, Cal, visit her at Litchfield and break the news during a truly twisted game of twenty questions. Sound depressing? Don’t worry, the scene is actually charming and hilarious. What other show can make you laugh at the prospect of a dying granny?

Poor Piper. The realization that life (and death) are passing her by have gone from painful realization to a shiv in the heart. Missing Polly’s pregnancy, losing the soap business, heck, losing Larry. All of it has been hard, but the death of her granny has been the worst of all. And all the other prisoners can relate. Poussey was in prison when her mother died. Ruiz had to give birth and return to prison; she watches her daughter growing up during visitation.

Litchfield is like purgatory where everything, good and bad, seem to hoover just out of reach.

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4 out of 5