OITNB: Litchfield Coming Apart at the Seams

Figueroa is not interested in Caputo or the deplorable conditions at her prison.
Orange is the New Black (Screen: Netflix)

Orange is the New Black Season 2 Episode 12: It Was the Change — A superstorm hits the prison, but it’s the tension inside that is causing all the damage.A superstorm that is totally not Sandy1 is bearing down on New York, causing all kinds of problems in the prison. From a structural standpoint, lake water has backed up into the plumbing and floods the basement. The waters continue to rise, forcing the prisoners out of the dorms and into the cafeteria. It probably won’t surprise you that Figueroa’s lack of resource management has caused a lot of these problems and that she is in no rush to address anything until the storm passes. More on her later.

As for the prisoners, several of the relationships have a difficult time weathering the storm. Red and her crew are figuring out how to recover from the botched assassination attempt on Vee and become increasingly paranoid. It doesn’t help that Vee’s outside people have tracked down Red’s family (or at least looked up her son on Spokeo) to add to Red’s worries. In case you aren’t sure what kind of villain Vee is, the flashbacks do everything to assure you that she is officially Not Nice. After discovering her foster son/boytoy has set up shop in her territory, she uses a cop friend she has on the take to set him up and become the victim of a police shooting.

Along with Red, Vee’s other liability is Taystee, particularly as it pertains to Poussey. Taystee learns she is on the outs with her crew, even when she assures them that she and Poussey aren’t on speaking terms. However, when the two women are assigned to move books out of flood range in the library, the two have a spat and end up hugging it out. Although I am happy to see Poussey and Taystee reconciled, I fear what the repercussions may be.

As all of this chaos unfolds in the prison, Caputo tries to get Fig on the phone so she can address maybe one concern at her facility. She is too busy hosting a fundraising event for her husband and may be on the verge of firing Caputo. As she leaves for the evening, Fig catches her husband making out with his male campaign manager. As if that cliché isn’t enough of a problem, Piper manages to sneak into Fig’s office and snatch some invoices from Fitzcorp. Piper gets caught by Caputo, but that may lead to an alliance rather than trouble for Chapman.

Red’s paranoia peaks and she gets her chance to act while Vee empties a pee bucket outside. Red managed to find a plastic produce bag and uses it to strangle Vee. Vee fights back and is able to subdue her attacker. The two call a truce and shake on it. The episode ends the next day with Red in the greenhouse, cleaning up the debris left by the storm. As she starts, we see footsteps and someone approaching with a cloth similar to the plastic bag. It’s Vee with the sack of something heavy in the greenhouse. Not Nice.

What I like about this episode is how it draws the distinction between the summer camp vibe of the first season and the reminder that this is a prison story about people who have committed criminal acts. As I speculated previously, Soso is similar to first-season Piper and represents the prison-isn’t-so-bad vibe. She eventually leads the entire cafeteria in a group sing-a-long to Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” for goodness sake. But then you have the violence happening between Vee and Red taking place in roughly the same location. I guess the moral is prison is what you make of it—enjoy your stay!

  1. Wink  

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About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv