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Orange Is the New Black “Low Self Esteem City” Review (2×05)

12 Jun

oitnb-gloria-veeAs the race war in Litchfield progresses, the feud becomes not only about the individual women and the conflicts between them, but also about the various races as a whole. Issues of incarceration, privilege, and even hypertension are brought up at different points throughout the episode, and the inmates are very well aware of class and race issues that are ever present in both the prison culture and the world in general.

Of course, the conflicts between these specific women are still there, and with each confrontation, the situation is exacerbated. Vee, for example, has everybody right where she wants them; she outplays Gloria here, pretending to melt under the heat in the bathroom when in reality, she’s moving chess pieces across the board. Gloria believes she has the upper hand, but Red sees otherwise. She’s dealt with Vee before, and she knows exactly how cunning her enemy can be. “Don’t ever let go,” she tells Piper, and it’s clear that she’s slowly waiting for her opportunity to dive headfirst into the fray.

It’s also interesting how similar Gloria and Red’s stories are: similar places of work, similar criminal dealings, similar troubles. Gloria’s flashbacks aren’t the most interesting in the show, but they shade in her character nicely and portray her as someone toughened by her dealings with domestic violence. Arturo traps her in the same all-encompassing, oppressive situation he’s in at the end of the episode–just without, you know, the fire–and it has a profound effect on her psyche both then and now.

Maybe her past will help her deal with the now, with the threats in the form of Vee and Red. Maybe it won’t. We’ll see.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

–  “Fork on the left, knife on the right, little fork on the outer left.” Suzanne knows what’s up.

-Fischer is now going to start monitoring phone calls. We’ll see what will become of that.

-Bennett, with the “I’m dating Daya, world!” take down of Janae.

– “A game as old as time: exclusion.”

-I love “Guess Who Died”! It’s an awesome game, and Piper gets to play it this week. Taylor Schilling does some great work in that moment, really conveying the shift in tone of the situation. Funny and sad.

-Nice parallels with how Arturo and Vee both act to get Gloria to give them what they want.

-Hey, Caputo’s pretty likeable in this episode, and he genuinely has an interest in keeping the women safe, as well as kicking Fig off a bridge. He gets through to Healy, who allows Piper a furlough to visit her dying grandmother; while it may seem like he’s just doing this to compensate for his troubles with Katya, it’s also a good moment for his character.

Photo credit: Netflix, Orange Is the New Black

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